Author: Karl Trucks

But they didn’t read me my Miranda rights!

Well, the truth is, they don’t have to give you Miranda warnings.  The majority of people think that law enforcement officers are required to read Miranda warnings to a suspect at some point during the arrest procedure.  This is not the case.  Most simply stated, Miranda warnings are required only when two specific factors are present.  First, the suspect must be in police custody.  Second, the suspect must be subject to interrogation.  When these two factors are present, the accused must first be informed in clear and unequivocal language that he/she has the right to remain silent, that anything said can and will be used against him/her in court, that he/she has the right to consult with a lawyer and to have the lawyer present during interrogation, and that if he/she is indigent a lawyer will be appointed to represent them.  Failure by law enforcement to comply with the Miranda warnings when they are required should result in the evidence obtained during the interrogation being suppressed by the court.

Social Security Disability vs. SSI

In order to qualify for Social Security Disability, you must be “insured” just like you had paid premiums into a private insurance policy, and you must be insured at the time your disability began.  An individual is insured if he/she has paid into the Social Security System recently enough and over a long enough period of time to have reached “disability insured status.”  This insured status, like that under a private policy, eventually expires leaving a claimant without coverage.  So how much is needed? Generally, a person over 31 years old is required to have paid into the system 20 of the last 40 calendar quarters before becoming disabled (often stated as 5 of the last 10 years).  If the claimant has maintained steady employment, they will remain “insured” for roughly 5 years after stopping work.  If the claimant can establish that his/her disability began during the insured status period, they will usually be entitled to disability benefits.

 

SSI however, is not related to how much or how long an individual has paid into the Social Security System.  In fact, it is available to those who have never paid into the system at all.  SSI is a federal welfare program.  It is available to the disabled, blind, and those over 65 whose income and assets fall below the limits allowed by the SSI program.  The claimant must be a United States citizen or fall into one of the recognized exceptions to the citizenship rule.  It is possible for claimants to receive both Social Security Disability and SSI simultaneously if the Disability benefits are low enough.

What do I do if I have a car accident?

Check to see if you or any other occupants of your vehicle are in need of medical attention. If so, call 911 immediately.  Turn on your emergency flashers.  Make sure that it is safe to exit your vehicle.  If you can safely leave your vehicle, check to see if the occupants of the other vehicle(s) are in need of medical attention. If so, call 911.  Contact the proper law enforcement agency and report the crash.

While you are waiting on law enforcement, preserve as much evidence as possible.  Use a camera or smartphone to take photographs of the vehicles before they are moved!  Also, photograph damage to vehicles and any other property damage caused by the collision.  Make sure that you photograph the license plates of all vehicles involved, write down the names and contact information of any witnesses, including the driver of the other vehicle(s).

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