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Could Your Doctor Actually Profit From Your Personal Injury Case?

Imagine this scenario: you don’t have much cash in your bank account, but you need a big surgery. Without the operation, your life expectancy will decline substantially. With it, you have the chance at a bright future. You ask your doctor to help you explore some reasonably inexpensive treatments to reduce the cost once the big day arrives. Rather than go through insurance, your doctor decides to help you out.

That was nice of him, right?

But wait: your operation was the result of an injury you sustained because of someone else’s negligence. You have an ongoing personal injury court case against this individual. The reward could leave you better off than you were before. Since your doctor didn’t bother to bill you through insurance, he now has the option of requesting a lien payment.

A lien payment is basically a request for repayment for those bills you didn’t want to pay through insurance. That means as soon as you win your case, you’re going to be charged for whatever you couldn’t pay before. 

But if you lose your personal injury case in court, guess what: you still need to pay your bill in full, insurance be damned. 

These lien payment requests are becoming a lot more common in states like California, Colorado, Georgia, and Florida. That’s because of new policies and regulations that have changed to make it easier for doctors to recoup costs in this way.

There are pros and cons for the person treated. We already told you about the obvious downside if you lose in court. If you win, then hopefully you’ve already reaped some of the rewards. You had more treatment options than you would have without the lien. 

The doctor might actually be compensated more than he would have if he went through traditional insurance, which is why it’s worth it for him. Some people argue that doctors take more of the risk, so they should get more reward. They also have the option of selling the lien to a company before the lawsuit is resolved in court, providing yet another means to get paid. 

The biggest problem is that a lien agreement often bars a patient from opting for insurance should the case not work out in court. 

The bottom line is this: before making any medical decisions, you might want to check with your lawyer and financial adviser. They’re both accustomed to helping clients make these decisions. They also might be able to help you explore more options that no one else considered. It depends on the small details of your case.

Do You Carry Enough Personal Injury Protection Car Insurance? These Are The Laws!

Florida drivers are required to carry at least $10,000 in personal injury protection — per person per accident. Sometimes, this insurance precludes Florida drivers from actually suing the person who caused an accident that gravely injured others. But not always. It’s important to speak with a personal injury lawyer about your personal circumstances and the details of your accident. Not every case is the same. Plus, few people know many of the relevant laws.

Here are just a few personal injury laws you probably should know about.

Florida is a no-fault state, which is why drivers are required to have a certain amount of protection for themselves and their passengers (and why suing is usually a non-issue). When one person causes an accident, compensation almost always comes through the insurance company. 

Parties can sue when subjected to: permanent injury, permanent scarring or disfigurement, permanent loss of bodily functions, etc. Third parties can sue for wrongful death. Keep in mind that you only have so much time. Depending on the circumstances, a statute of limitations might preclude you from making a case.

For product liability claims, you only have four years from the date of an injury to file a claim against a manufacturer. Oddly enough, a death reduces that statute to only two years. Again, you should speak to a personal injury attorney to ensure you have a winnable case.

Personal injuries that result from dog bites can result in lawsuits. Florida state abides by “strict liability” for dog bites, which means that if your dog bites someone, you’re liable no matter what. Other states use the “one bite rule,” which means owners are given a single free pass if their dog bites someone but they have no reason to believe the animal was aggressive. 

Sometimes those who try to build personal injury lawsuits without the direction of an attorney forget that the burden of proof is on them. If you cannot prove that the injury occurred due to the negligence of another or that someone else is somehow at fault, then your case will not succeed. 

This is why it is so important to speak to a personal injury attorney before fully preparing for a case or getting your hopes up. Personal injury attorneys usually don’t accept payment before winning a case — and that means they won’t take a case they cannot win. When you have incurred an injury due to someone else’s negligence, it’s important to write down all the details you can remember. Don’t delay! What you recall is the difference between a good case or no case.

Are You Sure You Have A Medical Malpractice Case? Here’s What You Need To Know!

Although hospitals will always pretend that frivolous medical malpractice cases are putting their bottom line at risk, the truth is much different. First, medical malpractice falls under the umbrella of personal injury, which means your lawyer usually won’t be paid until you do — and that means the case needs to be won first. A medical malpractice lawyer won’t take on a frivolous case, because it means they won’t be paid when they lose.

Second, very few medical malpractice cases are even tried. The statute of limitations severely limits how many cases could even make it to court. Others are settled, but even that number is less than it should be.

That’s why you need to know a few things before you try to make a medical malpractice case.

First and foremost, speak to a medical malpractice lawyer about what you know. If there are gaps in the story that need filling in, your lawyer will help you figure out the details you left out of the story. This first session is technically just a consultation — but remember, your lawyer doesn’t get paid until you do anyway, so there’s no reason not to get one.

Second, proving a case isn’t always easy. You need to accomplish several things before trying to make your case. Be sure that you can establish that a doctor-patient privileged relationship occurred. That means at some point a payment was made. Then, you need to establish how a physician was negligent when treating you. It’s not enough to walk away unhappy — you need to have been literally injured through negligent care.

And more than that, it’s not enough to be injured through standard operating procedures (which they have in place to avoid lawsuits). You need to establish how the care you received was different than typical standard operating procedures.

Only after you successfully establish those facts can you determine the extent of the damage, both physical and emotional. This number is complicated. The judge will first look at the bills incurred during treatment. Afterward, the damages become more objective. How much did you suffer because of the doctor’s negligence? Will there be additional medical bills in the future? Did the injury reduce your future earning potential? How much time off from work did you require?

You can see how complicated the process can get. You’ll be arguing to establish these rather abstract points, whereas the opposition will be arguing that you didn’t suffer as much as you say, and that you probably didn’t get injured because of negligence. The best possible outcome is avoiding court altogether. Your attorney will try to reach a settlement outside of court, because fighting courtroom battles always ends in a question mark.

Where Are Dog Bite Attacks And Injuries Most Common In The United States?

Perhaps it isn’t all that surprising that California ranks as the number one state in both frequency and occurrence of dog bite claims. At least it shouldn’t be surprising since California has more people (and more dogs) than any other state in the country. There are about 4.7 million dog bites every year in the U.S., which means you have about a 1 in 69 chance of being bitten each year. It also means that you’ll almost certainly be attacked at some point in your life.

But while that might seem pretty bad, there’s a lot of hidden information that goes into those statistics that you might not be aware of.

For starters, most bites are minor and occur right at home. Even though bites are so frequent, someone has only got a 1 in 112,400 chance of losing their life due to a dog bite. To put it into perspective, you have a much bigger chance of being killed by a firearm in a given year: 1 in 6,905. The reason for that is probably simpler than you think. 

When dogs “attack,” they’re not really trying to hurt you. They don’t want an altercation. They’re just trying to tell you they need more space. This is the number one reason why kids are the primary targets of dog bites. Kids are the least likely to understand when a boundary has been crossed. Kids are also the most likely to suffer serious injuries because their necks and faces are more likely to be about eye-level with some dogs.

Most dog bites also occurred when dogs were not spayed or neutered.

You’re most likely to get a bite from a Chihuahua than any other dog. But also high on the list are bulldogs, pit bulls, German Shepherds, and Australian Shepherds. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the dog is at fault for the aggressive behavior. Usually owners will seek out a breed of dog because of stereotypes. Dogs are dogs. They act the way they act based on the type of training they receive from their humans. 

Here’s another important statistic you’ll want to keep close to the chest: insurance companies pay hundreds of millions of dollars every year due to dog bites. That means if you were bitten by a neighbor’s dog, you might be entitled to compensation. You should call a personal injury attorney right away — and keep track of all your medical records.

Will California Make Medical Malpractice Laws More Progressive?

California is a state known for being one of the most progressive places to live in the United States of America, but oddly enough its medical malpractice laws hardly reflect it at all. That could all change when a new law hits the ballot box as soon as 2020. The purpose? Eliminating a hard cap on how much a court can award a victim in damages.

The 10-page proposal comes from the Zuckerman & Rowley Law Firm and Consumer Watchdog. It would essentially remake California’s Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) into something entirely different.

Right now MICRA prevents victims from receiving any more than $250,000 in damages. 

This kind of cap prevents attorneys from using pricing structures that work in the best interests of both the law firm and their clients, which in turn sometimes reduces the chances that someone living in poverty will bother with a personal injury or medical malpractice lawsuit they do not have a strong chance of winning.

Jamie Court of Consumer Watchdog said, “We are the most progressive state in the country with the most regressive medical malpractice laws in the country.”

The law technically does not raise the cap, but instead adjusts it for inflation and ensures it remains tied to the rate of future inflation. That would increase the damages cap to $1.2 million. It would continue to be readjusted each year the new law remains in effect. In cases of extreme negligence, catastrophic injury, or death, courts would still be allowed to award victims damages and punitive damages above the aforementioned threshold.

Perhaps even more importantly than that, the new law would also prevent a defendant’s attorneys from arguing that the plaintiff is already receiving compensation through other means, like insurance payouts. 

Although attorneys rarely take on what they consider to be “frivolous” lawsuits, the proposed law is amended from the old one to reduce the number entered into the court system. Plaintiffs’ attorneys must prove beyond reasonable doubt that there is a reasonable basis to make the medical malpractice claim. 

Unfortunately the only way to do this is through a third-party health care provider — and opponents of the new law say that could actually reduce the number of legitimate cases as well, because practitioners might feel compelled to stick together in combating medical malpractice cases that could lead to the destruction of their health care practices. 

Opponents of MICRA tried to overturn the law once before in 2014 with another proposition that ultimately failed. Whether or not the 2020 initiative will succeed is a question for later.

Artificial Intelligence Works To Reduce Construction-Related Deaths: And It’s A Huge Market

The construction industry is growing all over the world, and with it the market for artificial intelligence forecasting. What does this mean? Right now, AI is increasingly used not just to simulate potential scenarios that could lead to injuries at a construction site, but also how to reduce construction costs in other ways. Should current trends continue as expected, the market for this AI forecasting will reach an astounding $4.51 billion by 2026.

While the new technologies are great for almost all construction operations, the highest growth rates are expected of smaller and medium-sized outfits. These will enjoy a growth rate of over 35 percent by 2026 as construction firms scramble to implement the cost-cutting tech.

The technology will undoubtedly lead to a disruption in the industry as productivity is increased substantially and risks are mitigated. 

In 2018, the United States and Canada made up about 29 percent of global demand for the growing market, in part due to government spending on development and infrastructure. Big tech firms have also spent a pretty penny on the forecasting services, which is another reason why they are growing so fast.

Even though these trends are speeding up, it should be noted that the construction industry has actually been one of the slowest to jump on the artificial intelligence bandwagon. Healthcare, automotive, tourism, and more have all adapted much faster and will continue to do so.

Many companies that are investing heavily in the forecasting tech will be familiar to onlookers. They include players like IBM, Microsoft, SmarTVid.Io, Doxel, Bentley Systems, Darktrace, Askporter, and many more. These companies are attempting to grow their share of the market by assimilating or buying out smaller ones or merging with larger ones. 

One approach used by these organizations is called Building Information Modeling (or BIM). This process allows many of the individuals or organizations involved in construction to easily pool data and interpret it through machine learning algorithms. The AI can even autonomously make simple decisions without the need for human input.

It is estimated by McKinsey that the majority of costs for most construction projects are undercut by waste amounting to about 33 percent. These costs are expected to be significantly reduced in the coming years.

The new technologies won’t just be used by architects, operators, or workers — they’ll also be used by stakeholders to help them make important investment decisions for the company to which they’re bound financially.

Were you injured on the job at a construction site? Contact us for a free personal injury case consultation today!

Do African Americans Have A Case For Slavery Reparations?

Restitution is a legal word to describe repayment of damages. These damages can be both criminal and civil, which means restitution can become quite expensive even for a small crime. But you’ve probably heard of the debate revolving around reparations for slavery, a practice which ended around the same time of the Civil War. Is there a strong case?

Say an assault perpetrator punched you in the face, and the resulting injury was great enough to land you in urgent care. Although the injury is relatively inexpensive to treat with insurance, you can also ask for restitution in the form of pain and suffering — it’s impossible to put a dollar amount on this facet of the case, which means it will ultimately be up to the prosecutor or even the judge overseeing the case as to whether or not you receive the funds.

However, let’s say you have no insurance. Suddenly your injuries are much more expensive. You could seek restitution for the full amount even when Obamacare’s insurance mandate was in place. Meaning even if you broke the law by going without insurance, you can still ask of the perpetrator for whatever you were forced to pay.

How does this compare when offered into the debate of slavery reparations? Obviously no one who was enslaved by our ancestors is still alive.

But good lawyers can still prove that the racism, prejudice, indentured servitude, and maybe even epigenetic factors will continue to keep African American citizens whose forefathers were slaves at the lowest rung of society. The key is determining who is most at fault — our ancestors who inspired in many of us these racial prejudices, the Caucasian majority that continues to in one way or another subjugate the African American minority, or the African Americans who have failed to find a way to wiggle out from the marginalized lives they lead?

Based on the aforementioned examples of restitution, African Americans are not at fault — even in spite of mistakes they may have made in the day to day living of their lives — as long as the Caucasian majority continues to treat them as second-class citizens through blatant discrimination. 

Part of the problem is that the United States government promised reparations to former slaves when the practice of slavery was abolished, and then went back on that promise when Lincoln was assassinated. This is why the argument of Black restitution is so persuasive. It’s more an argument about following through on what was promised than simply providing reparations, and the case is a strong one.

Can I Get Compensation After Hit & Run Perpetrator Escapes?

Sadly, Florida is one of the most dangerous places for a pedestrian to walk the streets. All of us know that if we’re hit, though, we have legal avenues available to compensate us financially for any injuries we incur. But it’s not always so simple. Take this example: a driver turns a corner too fast and doesn’t see you walking, then runs into you at a high speed. Later you find out you’ll need a half-dozen surgeries to make everything work right again. After that you’re looking at months, if not years, of physical therapy before you might be made whole again.

Even then, it’s not a certainty.

Normally we would sue the driver for any medical bills that resulted from the accident. In addition we might sue for any predictable medical bills that might arise in the future. We might sue for overall pain and suffering and emotional trauma. We might even sue for any wages we lost during our time in the hospital, or any diminished earning potential in the future.

But what happens when you get injured after being struck by someone who then fled the scene of the accident? What happens if that person is never found? Is there a way to find compensation?

There’s some good news.

If you own a vehicle yourself, then you probably (and hopefully) have car insurance. When the driver of a hit and run remains unidentified, you can still use the underinsured or uninsured motorists clause of your own insurance to cover all forms of compensation previously listed.

If you don’t own a vehicle, then things get a little bit more complicated. There’s still a shot to get reimbursed depending on where the accident occurred. For example, workers’ compensation should cover costs if the hit and run occurred on the job.

If you’re the family member of someone killed in a hit and run, then you also might be able to file suit against the perpetrator or find financial relief from the deceased’s insurance. Not only can you find compensation for all the aforementioned issues, but you can also collect for the deceased’s pain and suffering.

If you’re unsure of whether or not you can be covered through insurance after being injured in a hit and run where the driver was identified or not, then it works in your favor to find an experienced personal injury lawyer with whom to discuss your case. If you can make a claim, you’ll know it soon enough. Before you go, gather any relevant medical and billing information in addition to the documentation of any insurance you own.

Who Is Liable For An Injury On A Cruise Ship?

One of the highlights of Miami is the fact that is a port for many cruise lines. And while for most, a cruise in a relaxing vacation, on rare occasions accidents do happen. The biggest causes of injury on cruise ships include slip and fall accidents including falling overboard, fallen objects during rocky seas, swimming pool accidents,  and medical malpractice from the resident first-aid station.

Maritime laws are complicated and state laws do not apply. The only way a cruise ship can be held liable for an accident if it can be proven that the ship’s operator knew or should have known about the unsafe condition of the ship.

In order to protect themselves from lawsuit, many cruise lines have specific conditions within their tickets that limit the statute of limitations of filing a lawsuit. Passengers can sometimes have as little as 180 days to bring about a claim and then a year later file a lawsuit. It is important that if you believe that you were injured due to the negligence of the cruise line that you bring about your claim as quickly as possible and hire a personal injury attorney.

Specifically, when it comes to passengers falling overboard or disappearing from cruises (a sad but true reality), a family might be able to bring about a civil lawsuit. They can sue for economic and non-economic damages such as funeral expenses, emotional distress, and pain and suffering.

If you or a loved one has recently been a cruise sailing out of the port of Miami and have been injured in an accident on the cruise ship or during excursions, then contact our Miami personal injury law firm for a free consultation. Remember, we don’t get paid unless you do so there is absolutely no risk to you by contacting us now.

Is The Government Liable For Crumbling Infrastructure?

In a day and age during which an unheard of amount of money is spent on bolstering the U.S. military, and the government is experiencing a partial shutdown because no one wants to give Trump the $5 billion he wants for his wall, it should come as little surprise that we’re still not investing much money into the future. Our infrastructure is outdated, inefficient, and much of it is crumbling before our eyes. Is our government liable?

Sometimes. The biggest problem is that they’re not liable until something goes wrong. So much is going wrong, though, that we can hope legislators wake up to the need for more investment soon enough.

Flint, Michigan residents filed a lawsuit against the state of Michigan–something normally impossible. The usual course of action is filing suit against the Court of Claims. This process usually saves the state a lot of money, and prevents legal entities from using tax dollars to form a fund for compensation. Residents have also filed lawsuits against Governor Snyder, the city’s emergency management agencies, engineers, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for failing to prevent the crisis.

If your car is damaged or you are injured because of a pothole or other road conditions that you can prove are negligent, then you can file a lawsuit against the local municipality or government in charge of maintenance. It’s not easy to prove negligence in court. It’s easier to make a case if there are other factors in play, such as bad street signage or debris in the road from construction. Sadly, there are also limits to how much you can sue the government for this type of injury or damage.

A lawsuit has been lodged against the FCC by two dozen cities and counties in order to complain about rules for the construction of 5G wireless equipment, a process that is still ongoing. In particular, the local governments in question are upset over FCC regulations that place limits on how much a phone company will have to pay when building their new equipment on public property. In addition, they contend that local municipalities aren’t being given enough time to review the equipment applications.

While these lawsuits seem fair on the surface, they also bring to light the problem that the government can be sued when they are trying to get certain types of infrastructure up and running as quickly as possible.