Will There Be Coronavirus Personal Injury Lawsuits?

Many of us already suspect we’ve been infected — and even recovered from — the new coronavirus outbreak tearing across the globe. Some believe they contracted the disease COVID-19 as far back as January. The real question is this: who is responsible for this outbreak? People have already been financially devastated by this pandemic, and they’re hungry for someone to blame — someone whose money can help make them whole again.

Of course, the answer isn’t likely to alleviate growing worries about the economic reality that will inevitably become the new world order for many Americans. There is no one person to blame. One law firm has already sued business entities in China for allowing the viral outbreak to grow unimpeded for weeks without notifying leaders around the world. The suit even goes so far as to make the baseless claim that the virus came from a Chinese lab (it did not).

We’re not very optimistic about the chance that this suit succeeds.

Who else can we blame? The government? President Trump? His early ignorance regarding the severity of the then-potential pandemic is arguably the biggest reason that there are more cases in America than anywhere else in the world. Our deaths will eclipse everyone else’s shortly. He denied tests from the World Health Organization (WHO) when they offered, which prevented local and state governments from locating and tracking down those who were infected early.

Who else? The people who have denied stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders? Many people have yet to take this outbreak seriously, even though the number of deaths in our country will likely equal seasonal flu deaths by the beginning of May. The numbers will only continue to go up from there, in part because people didn’t stay put. 

One man was even recently arrested for making a terrorist threat after licking products at a local Wal-Mart while asking, “Who’s afraid of coronavirus?”

Although many individuals and organizations share blame for allowing the coronavirus to spread needlessly, businesses are the ones who might take much of the early blame. Personal injury law firms expect hundreds of thousands or even millions of cases on their desks in the coming weeks and months.

This is because some businesses are still forcing employees to work sick or face termination, failing to offer (paid) sick leave or time off, failing to offer hazard pay even after workers are classified as essential, or failing to offer a safe environment and personal protective equipment (PPE). These blunders make businesses easy targets.

But do these necessarily make easy cases? No. Negligence does not mean proof of negligence, and that’s what people need to attract the attention of a personal injury lawyer and settle or win a subsequent case. If you think your individual situation requires our attention, then by all means: get in touch.

Florida Car Insurance Could Change Drastically Under New Law

Florida has long supported mandatory personal injury protection for drivers. The insurance helps support Florida’s current system in which neither party can be blamed. It’s a “no-fault” system. New legislation poised to make its ways into law would replace the personal injury protection with mandatory bodily injury coverage instead. Sound like the same thing? It’s not. Here are the key differences you should know about when the law passes.

First, it would effectively eliminate the no-fault system. Humans prefer to place blame, so that’s where the new system would be headed. This would also make it easier to mount personal injury lawsuits after car accidents in Florida. But the point is actually to decrease litigation.

The proposal, HB 771, is on its way to the House after passing through the House Commerce Committee in a 17-7 vote.

One of HB 771’s sponsors, Erin Grall (R-Vero Beach), said, “That is massive, that is tort reform.”

She was talking about the increasing rate of fraudulent cases that have resulted in pricier insurance rates: “They have increased year over year, sometimes as much as 50%, depending upon the carrier,” she said. “We can talk about the fact that rates will increase if we transition the systems. But rates are going to increase because of the severity, frequency and cost of living that we see in the state.”

The previous personal injury coverage was only a mandatory ten grand, which Representative Matt Willihite (D-Wellington) said was “laughable.” His wife had been in an auto accident only two months prior, and the bills far exceeded the amount of mandatory PIP. “My first brush at the hospital and the emergency services bill exceeded $28,000,” he said. “I haven’t gotten to the car repair yet.”

Opponents of the new bill say that rates could skyrocket, a big concern for Florida residents who are already struggling financially. Representative David Santiago (R-Deltona) said, “In Florida, I think the study I read, one in eight are uninsured. And could this potential increase, if it does have an increase, cause more to go uninsured?”

And that’s a legitimate concern. The entire point of insurance is that as many people are included in the pool as possible. When those rates increase to the point that many people cannot afford them, fewer people are included in that pool as a result, and the cycle inevitably gets worse and worse until the system cannot sustain itself. 

Others think the risks could be worth the rewards, but that improvements can and should be made before it passes. Representative Anthony Sabatini (R-Howey-in-the-Hills) said, “I think we need guardrails on the bill.”

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.

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.

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.

Biggest Personal Injury Cases of All Time

What Are The Biggest Personal Injury Cases Of All Time In Terms Of Damages Awarded?

When you think about personal injury cases, what comes to mind? You might think about slip and fall accidents, or maybe you recall the traffic accidents involving tractor-trailers portrayed in the commercials for personal injury attorneys. There are all kinds of cases involving personal injuries. Perhaps you have even been involved in one. What are the biggest personal injury cases of all time?

There are some landmark cases, and the biggest ones feature judgments or verdicts, not settlements, as you can imagine. The damages awarded total in the billions, and the first case on this list is tragic indeed. A boy’s life was lost in the aftermath due to skin cancer after having already been set on fire using gasoline. The boy was just eight years old. The teenager responsible didn’t have $150 billion, but that was the total awarded to the victim’s family.

The next big personal injury case involves a group of people and several top cigarette manufacturers. This case happened in 2000, and the settlement was just shy of $145 billion. What’s really interesting is that the next biggest personal injury case also involves cigarettes, and there was only one plaintiff, in that case, a woman who had lung cancer. While the settlement was well under the $100 billion mark, it is substantial due to the fact it was awarded to one person only.

What company was on the receiving end of the last case? It was none other than RJ Reynolds, and the settlement prior to being reduced was $28 billion. These are the three biggest personal injury cases of all time, and there are many more interesting cases to read about. As you can see, the verdicts and judgments in these cases can result in billions of dollars awarded to plaintiffs who have refused to settle.

The Differences Between Medical Malpractice And Personal Injury

There are a lot of people who think that medical malpractice and personal injury are the same thing. The truth is that there are a number of differences between them that you need to know about. These differences will help you understand what each cover and where your case may fall.

The Complexity

Personal injury cases will generally have a wider scope than medical malpractice. However, medical malpractice cases are generally more complex. This is due to the fact that the plaintiff needs to demonstrate that the medical professionals or hospital were at fault. With a personal injury case, it is generally easier to determine this.

Issues In Dispute

With personal injury claims, there is generally a clear sign of who was negligent. The driver of the other car may have cleared rear-ended your vehicle causing your injuries. With medical malpractice cases, doctors and hospitals will generally fight very hard to deny any fault. It can also be harder to determine negligence because of the complexity of the medical procedures.

Expert Witnesses

Medical negligence cases require the hiring of multiple expert witnesses to determine negligence. These witnesses will examine the medical records and provide an objective opinion on the case. Expert witnesses are generally not required with personal injury cases and will not cost as must to hire as medical negligence ones.

The Statute Of Limitations

The statute of limitations for personal injury claims will vary depending on the state. The statute of limitation for medical malpractice cases will generally be shorter than personal injury. In most cases, a patient will have one year from the time of injury to file a medical malpractice case while personal injury cases can be filed anywhere from 2 to 5 years after the accident. Of course, the exact times will vary on the case and the state.

What is Wrongful Death?

There are a lot of people who wonder what constitutes a wrongful death. These people will generally be the loved ones of someone who has passed before their time. If you are in this situation, you might want to know what a wrongful death is and whether your loved ones passing constitutes this.

What Is A Wrongful Death?

A wrongful death is when someone is killed or dies as a result of the wrongful actions of another person. What constitutes a wrongful death will vary depending on the state and the Tort Laws which are in place. In most states, the family an individual who has died due to the willful negligence and misconduct of another person will have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Most wrongful death lawsuits will generally follow a criminal trial for the death of the individual. The criminal trial will provide the evidence which is needed to file a wrongful death claim. The benefit of these claims is that the standard of proof will be lower than for a criminal trial. It is important to note that people who are found guilty in a wrongful death lawsuit may not always be convicted of the crime associated with the death.

Who Can File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

If you believe that your loved one passed away due to the actions of someone else, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Most states will allow for the surviving spouse, children and next of kin to file a lawsuit. Other family members may have a harder time proving their claim and you will need to speak with an attorney in these cases.

It is important to note that there are certain states where only minor children are able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. These states believe that adult children do not require the support provided by the claim. Contact The Miami Injury Lawyers if your loved one has passed away due to another person’s reckless behavior.