Medical Malpractice: Adding Insult to Injury

Imagine being involved in an accident where you sustained a serious injury, and being rushed to the emergency room only to get an infection that further complicates your condition! It is the stuff of which sitcoms are made of, but nobody is laughing.

We are conditioned to believe that hospitals are safe havens and medical professionals are there to makes us better. This is the reason why we blithely submit to whatever the doctors and nurses do, follow their instructions without question, and accept their declarations as truth. But the fact of the matter is that hospitals are not sterile environments, and medical professionals are people who are just as likely to make mistakes and submit to weaknesses as anyone else. Those who realize these facts often do so from bitter experience.

Medical malpractice exists because hospitals and medical professionals are committed to a high standard of conduct that is necessary considering the responsibility they take on. They literally hold lives in their hands, and if they fail to meet these standards, the consequences to the patient can be catastrophic. As the website of the Steinberg Law Firm in Charleston puts it, medical malpractice can put a patient through a devastating, not to mention costly, ordeal.

The irony is that people go to doctors and hospitals because they are not well. They feel something is wrong, and need competent medical attention to put it right. Unfortunately, when medical malpractice occurs, the patient is worse off than before the initial consultation because someone was negligent. This is adding insult to injury that should not be tolerated, especially if there are considerable costs involved.

In order to get compensation for victims of medical malpractice, the best option is to file a lawsuit. However, medical malpractice is notoriously difficult to prove. It requires the expertise of an experienced medical malpractice lawyer to even make a successful filing. If you are considering a medical malpractice claim, choose a lawyer in your area with the qualifications to right the wrong that has been done by people who should have known better.

Filing an Insurance Bad Faith Claim

Whatever type of insurance you may need to claim, keep in mind that insurance companies do not typically make it easy to do so. You may feel confident that your insurance company would not try to shortchange you, and if they don’t then all’s good. In most cases, however, insurance companies may use delaying tactics to wear the policyholder down, undervalue their claims, or even wrongfully deny coverage. These are all examples of insurance bad faith, and unfortunately they happen more frequently than may seem probable.

Most people would just accept this state of affairs as the way it really is, but in fact, it is not. Insurance companies have a duty to treat their policyholders fairly and reasonably, and to accommodate their legitimate claims to the extent specified in their policies. But because most policyholders have no idea what their policies actually say or what the conditions mean for them, insurance companies bank on this ignorance to steamroll them into accepting less than what they should get. For those who become aware that they are being victimized but not precisely how, their next step after the initial indignation is either to complain to the insurance regulatory body or hire an insurance bad faith lawyer.

This latter is a good move because preparing an insurance bad faith claim is not for the inexperienced. The language employed in insurance policies is highly technical, and requires the knowledge of a specialist in the field to understand it. A lawyer will also be able to assist a policyholder protect his or her legal rights and get compensated for bad faith behavior through civil litigation.

If you believe that you are being given the runaround, offered a lower settlement than you deserve, or your claim was unfairly denied, you should do the same thing. Find a good lawyer in your area who has successfully handled cases against insurance companies for bad faith to get compensation.

Stages of a Personal Injury Claim

A personal injury claim is a broad category in civil litigation; each case will be different from all the others because the combination of a myriad of factors will make it so. A car crash victim may reasonably be supposed to have fewer or less severe injuries than someone who is involved in a semi truck accident and thus make a smaller claim, but not necessarily.

The negligent party may be anxious to make a generous settlement quickly to avoid publicity, or may deny any liability in the accident and insist on a trial. These and other factors will have an impact on how long a personal injury claim will take before it is finally resolved. Below are the stages that a personal injury claim will typically go through.

First, the injured individual will go through a period of recovery, at which point the extent of the injuries will be determined by a medical professional. The medical records will provide the framework for the lawyer to draft the commensurate damage claims against the negligent party’s insurance carrier. According to the website of the Law Offices of Vic Feazell, P.C. in Waco, these can be quite considerable in a negligent vehicular accident. At the end of this stage, the treating physician will certify that maximum recovery has been achieved, at which point any remaining problems will most likely be permanent.

The next stage would now involve a submission of the claim to the insurance company. The personal injury lawyer will prepare all the medical bills, lost days of work, projected costs for aftercare, rehabilitation, and therapy, and any other economic damages. This is referred to as a “submittal package.” This part of the process may take up to 60 days to prepare.

The third stage is when the insurance company gives the submittal package to the adjuster, who will then review the terms of the claim. After about 60 days, the insurance adjuster will contact claimant’s lawyer with a first settlement offer, which is typically a lot lower than the claim, and the lawyer will then make a counteroffer. This can take up to several months before a compromise is reached, or it is obvious that the parties will never reach a mutually agreeable amount. The next stage, therefore, is the trial, which can take a long time and costs a lot.

Fortunately, a majority of personal injury cases never come to trial. A really good personal injury lawyer can successfully negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company in a relatively short time outside the courtroom.

Striking a Balance: Risk in Industry

Industrial injuries are a modern-day phenomenon, the legacy of humanity’s need to do more, faster, and bigger. Since the rise of big industries 65 or so years ago, thousands of workers have died from being trapped in a collapsed mine shaft to falling off high rise buildings. These are what are called “occupational hazards” and it is true that workers in certain industries are compensated more than the average because of the risks they have to take.

But there are acceptable risks and then there are preventable events. Take for example the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion which took the lives of 11 workers and injured 17 others. Oil rigs are dangerous places to work on, but in this case, the explosion only occurred because of series of errors, inadequate monitoring, and procedural shortcuts coming together to father the costliest industrial accident in the history of the petroleum industry. The injured workers presumably qualified for a workers’ compensation claim and possible personal injury lawsuit, but the families of the workers who died may rightly sue for wrongful death.

An industrial accident is often more catastrophic than other workplace accidents because of the materials handled, the size and height of the equipment, as well as the nature of the work. Workers often work around chemicals, flammable materials, and other hazardous substances using sharp or heavy equipment. Even if employers are conscientious about following safety and health regulations, accidents can and do happen.

Unfortunately, there are employers who are less than conscientious, so the risks of industrial injuries increase. When an accident occurs in the industrial workplace, the resulting injuries can be disabling or even fatal, and are usually costly. When it is due to the negligence of the employers or their representatives, the injured worker may be able to make a personal injury as well as a workers’ compensation claim if the negligence is egregious enough. Consult with an industrial explosion or workers’ compensation lawyer as appropriate to provide legal representation in a claim.

Using Foreclosure Defense to Avoid Bankruptcy

Declaring bankruptcy is a very serious matter. It has long-term consequences for a person’s credit record which can bar them from qualifying for loans for a considerable period. Yet more and more people are being driven to it in desperation to save their homes from foreclosure.

Under bankruptcy law, a debtor who files under Chapter 7 can claim an exemption for the primary home plus a host of other property and assets that creditors cannot force the debtor to liquidate to pay off debts. This is called asset protection, and what the conditions under which these exemptions are vary from the interpretation of each state of what are the essentials to continue to live a productive life. In Maryland for instance, the family home is protected under the homestead exemption, although for a home that is valued at more than $155,675, the filer must have lived in the state for at least 40 months to claim an exemption.

That sounds like an ideal solution, and if there really is no other choice, declaring bankruptcy can very well give an individual a chance to make a fresh start. However, it should be noted that filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is not a walk in the park. There are complex laws involved and should be navigated carefully with the help of a bankruptcy lawyer to successfully pull it off.

But there are alternatives to bankruptcy when protecting the home from foreclosure. There may be “technical” defenses that can be used to prevent or at least delay the lender from foreclosing. According to the website of Hong Law, PLC in Cedar Rapids, most mortgagees only have a very vague idea of their rights when it comes to foreclosure, and in fairness the language used in these mortgage agreements can be very confusing.

Consulting with a foreclosure defense lawyer will give the mortgagee an opportunity more fully understand mortgage agreement as well as the procedures that must be followed prior to foreclosure.  It is possible for the lender to make an error in executing the foreclosure process, and an experienced foreclosure defense lawyer will be able to spot this. This can be used to give the mortgagee more time to pay off arrears or explore other means of avoiding foreclosure.