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Determining Legal Liability In Birth Injury Cases

Posted by on Nov 5, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Determining Legal Liability In Birth Injury Cases

In cases involving childbirth injuries, it’s often assumed that liability is limited to medical physicians. However, the spectrum of legal liability often extends beyond the conduct of physicians. Nurses, anesthesiologists and other medical staff may share responsibility for medical malpractice actions. Even pharmaceutical companies may be liable if it’s proven that a drug was the cause of patient injuries. The following explains how these parties may be held liable in birth injury cases. Understanding Vicarious Liability While nurses, physician’s assistants and other licensed medical staff can be held individually responsible for medical malpractice actions culminating in birth injuries, the hospital itself can be held responsible as a corporate entity based on the doctrine of vicarious liability. Vicarious liability describes a form of imputed negligence where the employer is found responsible for the negligent acts of its employees, especially if the employee was acting within his or her duties at the time of the negligent act. Vicarious liability ensures that a patient who suffers injuries due to the negligence of a hospital employee will receive adequate compensation from a financially responsible party. However, it may not be possible to hold the hospital vicariously liable if a physician or other healthcare provider works for hospital as an independent contractor, as opposed to a salaried employee. Although the hospital can’t be held liable for the healthcare provider’s negligence, it can be held liable for its own negligence, as explained in the section below. Liability under the Corporate Negligence Doctrine Corporate negligence is a crucial legal doctrine that holds hospitals, medical clinics and other health care facilities responsible for their patients’ well-being. As with vicarious liability, the hospital itself could face legal action for the negligence of its medical staff. There are several ways that a hospital can be held liable under the corporate negligence doctrine for birth injuries: If the hospital grants attending privileges to a physician later found to be unlicensed or incompetent in his or her duties. If the hospital fails to make reasonable inquiries during the hiring process about a medical staff member’s education, training, licensing and other credentials, especially when said member’s negligent care contributes to a patient’s birth injury. If the hospital has an insufficient number of registered nurses on duty, culminating in a birth injury that can be attributed to staffing shortages. When the orders or treatment plan of the patient’s private attending physician are ignored or contraindicated. When hospital employees fail to make reasonable inquiries regarding contraindicated orders. When Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Share Liability There are several reasons why pharmaceutical manufacturers are normally not held liable for injuries caused by a prescribed drug: The manufacturer’s primary responsibility is to the physician who prescribed the drug in question. The physician has the primary responsibility of advising his or her patient about the drug’s potential side effects and other risks.   The manufacturer only owes the patient, who is the ultimate consumer of the prescribed drug, the assurance that the drug will perform safely when used as directed. As long as it provides sufficient warning to physicians about its dangers or potential side effects, the pharmaceutical company is usually free of any liability. However, that could easily change if the company fails to warn a physician about the drug’s potential dangers. In such cases, the manufacturer could be...

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What Do You Mean I Have To Pay It Back?! Protecting Your Personal Injury Claim From Insurance Subrogation

Posted by on Oct 9, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What Do You Mean I Have To Pay It Back?! Protecting Your Personal Injury Claim From Insurance Subrogation

You pay your health insurance premiums diligently for good reason. Although you rarely benefit from your policy for anything more than routine checkups, you know that a day may come when you’re seriously injured, and your mounting medical bills leave you thankful for the security of your health insurance plan. But what if you were forced to pay back any major claims you were awarded by your health insurance provider? Depending on where you live and the terms of your insurance policy, this very well could happen.  Subrogation  Subrogation refers to the ability of an insurance provider to seek reimbursement for any claims it pays out to its policy holders. Insurance companies argue that, by seeking subrogation, the money they recover from paid-out claims can be filtered back into their budget, thus decreasing insurance premiums for everybody enrolled in their policies.  Most individuals and personal injury attorneys, however, feel that subrogation forces injured policy holders to pay twice for their insurance coverage — one with their premium installments, and then again when they try to actually use the protection they’ve paid for with those premium installments.  The Process Usually subrogation comes into effect when you were injured by another party and attempt to recover damages from that party. At this point, your insurance company can claim that you’ve already been reimbursed once for your injuries, and place a lien on the money you are awarded by the third party. This lien allows your health insurance company to immediately take a cut of your reimbursement that is equivalent to the claim you were awarded by your insurance company, minus you premiums and deductibles.  If You Don’t Sue The Third Party What if you’re not interested in recovering any damages beyond that which you were awarded by your health insurance provider? What if a third party was at fault for your injuries, but your insurance took care of your medical bills, and you’ve got no interest in filing a personal injury claim against the person who was actually at fault for your injuries? It doesn’t matter. Your health insurance provider can file a lawsuit on your behalf to recover the damages. They can bring the third party to court and sue them for any money you or your insurance company paid out as a result of your injuries, and then send you a reimbursement check to cover just your premium and deductible.  Tips For Protecting Yourself From Subrogation You don’t think that you should have to pay back your insurance company for coverage that you already paid to have, so how can you protect yourself?  Check Your State Laws. The extent to which your insurance company can collect on your damages ranges greatly by state. To find out whether or not your state allows your insurance company to recover any claims paid out to you following an injury, check its stance on the “made whole doctrine“.  If your state wholly supports an “insured whole” doctrine, you’re protected from forfeiting any portion of damages you might recover when suing a third party. On the other end of the spectrum, however, are states that follow “insurer whole” doctrines. In these states, your insurance company can sue on your behalf and recover as much as they can get from you (if you were at fault)...

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How Personal Trainers Can Help Protect Against Personal Injury Lawsuits

Posted by on Sep 23, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How Personal Trainers Can Help Protect Against Personal Injury Lawsuits

If you’re a personal trainer working for a gym or wellness company, the potential for your clients experiencing injury is higher than average. Normally, fitness establishments prepare for this problem by having customers sign waivers assuming liability for reasonable risks. However, waivers are not lawsuit-proof. There are certain things you should do as a personal trainer to help protect your clients from injury and thus avoid any expensive lawsuits. Test For Functional Fitness Even though you might be eager to get a new client started on difficult workouts right away, spending the first appointment on a functional fitness assessment is a great plan. If you are not able to perform a functional fitness assessment on your own, talk to the facility manager about hiring an exercise physiologist or a wellness consultant to do screenings for new clients. Functional fitness is not just testing for basic fitness levels– it looks at movement patterns, muscle imbalances, and flexibility. Each client will have different “muscle memory” that affects how they move and workout. For example, you will notice if a client is not able to keep his or her back naturally curved when doing a squat if they have poorly developed core muscles. Therefore, you will know that doing weight-bearing squats will likely cause injury at this time, since the client’s functional fitness level is not adequate for this exercise. If you do this assessment, you will have proof in court that you took preventative measures to avoid injuries in all clients and tailored your workouts for your client’s specific needs. In fact, not tailoring your workout plans for clients, as one trainer did in 2007, will make you look bad in court.  Have Each Patient Complete A Physical You can make it a policy to not accept any new patients if they have not completed a routine exam by a doctor. Require a doctor’s note that states the client is able to physically participate in a rigorous training program. If the client does have a health problem, the doctor should outline the difficulties so you can accommodate them as necessary. This is especially important for middle-aged or elderly clients, as they are more likely to have health concerns like osteoporosis or high blood pressure. The doctor’s note helps to prevent lawsuits because if a patient is injured due to an unseen medical condition, you can show that you require patients to be screened by a health professional. Liability may shift to the doctor or back to the patient if they covered up a health problem that would have prevented you from taking them as a client.  Play It Safe You may have clients who want to try the newest “fads” in workouts, but you should stick with effective programs that you know are safe. Stay away from moves that are often performed incorrectly, like box jumps, and substitute them for safer moves that are easier to execute. Keeping your workout regimens on the safe side may deter “extreme” workout clients, but remember that you are the professional. If someone is injured trying a controversial or incorrect exercise, you could be the negligent party in a lawsuit.  Stick To Your Area Of Expertise As a personal trainer, you get to work one-on-one with clients, and you may develop a bond with them...

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Real-Life Nightcrawler Raises Duty To Rescue Question

Posted by on Jul 27, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Real-Life Nightcrawler Raises Duty To Rescue Question

In the movie Nightcrawler, Jake Gyllenhaal plays a thief turned freelance journalist who films shocking footage of crime scenes and accidents and sells the images to a television news station. In a life-imitates-art moment, a man was arrested for vehicular trespassing after he allegedly entered a car to film two people who had just been involved in a serious car accident. The man reportedly did nothing to help the teenagers, who were severely injured, and one later died at the hospital. The incident raises the question of whether or not a bystander has a duty to rescue another person in jeopardy and if they can be held liable for damages if they don’t. Duty to Rescue Circumstances Legally, there are only a few times when people have a duty to rescue others. The first is when the person has a special relationship to the victim. For instance, a parent has a legal responsibility to help his or her minor child when the child is injured or in a dangerous situation. A parent’s failure to assist his or her child can lead to criminal and civil penalties for the adult. Medical professionals, paramedics, firefighters, and other emergency personnel are also required to help people in need, but only if they are getting paid for their services. A doctor who is on the clock and getting paid by a hospital, for instance, is required by law to help patients. However, a volunteer paramedic is generally not legally bound to do so, even if he or she is in uniform and at the scene of an accident. If there is no special relationship with the victim, ordinary citizens are only expected to help someone if they created the conditions that caused those people to need rescuing. For instance, if you lose control of your vehicle while speeding and cause an accident with another person, you would be responsible for helping that individual if he or she required it. Most states do stipulate, though, that you are only required to help if doing so doesn’t put you in harm’s way. So if the car catches on fire, you probably would not be held liable for not assisting, though you may be criminally or civilly liable for causing the accident in the first place. Lastly, about 10 states have duty to rescue laws on the books that require citizens to act in certain situations. Minnesota law, for example, requires bystanders to help others in emergency situations if the victims are or may be gravely injured. Failure to do so can result in being charged with a petty misdemeanor and bystanders could possibly be made to pay damages depending on the circumstances. Holding Onlookers Accountable Unless your case falls into one of the above exceptions, you generally won’t be able to hold someone civilly liable for injuries you sustained because the person refused to help you. On the other hand, the person can’t do anything to aggravate the situation either. If the person takes an action that contributes to your injuries, then you may have a case against the individual. The person opens the car door to capture video of your injuries, but the action causes the car to roll downhill into a ditch, for example. You could file a personal injury lawsuit against the...

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4 Compensation Possibilities To Explore When Filing An Auto Accident Injury Claim

Posted by on Apr 30, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Hiring an auto accident attorney is an effective way to ensure that your injury claim is filed properly with the courts. You won’t have to worry about dealing with your insurance company or that of the other party, because your lawyer will do it for you. And you can count on getting the support, resources, and tools you need to recover financial compensation for expenses incurred due to your injuries. Here are four compensation possibilities to explore with your lawyer when filing your claim: Vehicle Repairs and Rentals If your vehicle was damaged in the accident and you have to rely on rentals to get around, you can get compensation for these costs as part of your personal injury claim. In order to prove the damage that has been done and the costs associated with said damage, you’ll want to collect and provide your attorney with: Photos of any dings, cracks, scratches, and dents apparent on your vehicle that resulted from the accident. Repair assessments and bills from the auto body company you’re working with. Rental receipts for any and all vehicles you have to rent while you don’t have access to your own vehicle. It’s a good idea to take ongoing photos of the repairs being made to your vehicle so that its progress is officially documented and your attorney can refer to it. Medical and Rehabilitation Bills Most, if not all of your medical and rehabilitation bills should be covered in your personal injury claim as long as you have the proper documentation to back the expenses up. Initial hospital bills and screenings should be acquired for your lawyer, as should: Records of all doctor visits related to the accident. Receipts for money spent on prescriptions. Receipts for gas or rentals purchased to travel to and from doctor visits. It’s also important to retrieve records and receipts for any physical rehabilitation that is needed as a result of the accident. You may need to get documentation from your doctor that outlines any pre-existing conditions you have that were exasperated due of the accident. Personal and Group Therapy Costs If personal or group therapy is needed to help you get through the pain and suffering you experience that was caused by the accident, there is no reason that you should have to pay for the costs of these services out of pocket. You should be able to include these costs into your overall personal injury claim as long as you can prove that the services are being used specifically to support your accident recovery. Your attorney may want you to provide: Letters from your therapists that specify the reasons you’ve acquired their services. A notarized ledger of dates, times, and costs of the services you obtain. Names, addresses, and phone numbers of the therapy groups and counselors you’re working with. Even if you seek free support through online or community groups, it’s a good idea to document your participation because it can help prove the effects that the accident has had on you. Loss of Income Due to Missed Work Missing work due to injuries from your accident can put a financial strain on your household, which you may be able to get some compensation for through your personal injury claim. Your doctor will need to acknowledge your...

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Who Do You Sue In A Truck Accident?

Posted by on Apr 8, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Have you or a loved one been injured in an accident involving a commercial truck? These types of accidents are different than the typical car accident. For one, injuries from truck accidents tend to be more severe than car accidents. According to, the typical car only weighs around 3,000 pounds, while a fully loaded commercial truck can weigh 80,000 pounds or more. This sets up a situation where serious injuries for the people in the car are likely. Further, some truck drivers are independent contractors, some work for companies, and some truck accidents occur due to circumstances that are no one’s fault. They happen because of the unique dangers of driving a truck. So, if you or a loved one were injured in a truck accident, it can be difficult to know who to sue, or even if you can sue. Here’s what you need to know about suing for truck accident injuries before you call a truck accident attorney. 1. What to Do if the Truck Driver Is an Independent Contractor If the truck driver is an independent contractor, you probably won’t be able to sue the truck driving company. The only exceptions are if the company had a large degree of supervision over the truck driver, or if you can prove they were negligent in hiring someone who is an irresponsible or unskilled driver. Normally, you will be suing the truck driver directly if they are an independent contractor. While their insurance may cover some of your injuries, it may not cover all of them if the injuries are really severe. Once the insurance’s responsibility of coverage runs dry, you’ll have to go after the truck driver’s individual money. Many truck drivers don’t have the kind of money to pay on a lawsuit like this. You have to decide if it is worth pursuing the case, knowing you won’t get money to cover all of your medical and personal financial needs following the accident. Your truck accident attorney can help you decide whether to sue the truck driver. 2. What to Do If the Truck Driver Is an Employee of a Trucking Company In this case, you definitely want to sue the truck driving company. You can argue the company was negligent in training the driver, negligent in hiring a driver with a bad driving record, or any number of other things that place the responsibility for the accident squarely on the company’s shoulders. A truck driving company will also have better insurance than an individual truck driver. These companies are prepared to address lawsuits like yours by having extensive insurance coverage to be able to pay you without going broke. You are much more likely to get a good and fair settlement from suing the truck driving company. 3. What to Do If You Were Injured By the Goods the Truck Was Transporting Sometimes, it’s not the collision with the truck that causes the injury, but the goods it was transporting. This is particularly true if the truck was hauling hazardous material. In these accidents, you can often sue the company that owns the goods. A typical argument is that the company failed to let the driver know the potential dangers of the hazardous material they wee carrying. Conclusion Truck accidents are serious matters in...

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Hit By An Uninsured Driver? Here’s How To Handle The Fallout

Posted by on Apr 6, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

In the average auto accident, the script is usually the same: make sure you’re not hurt, make sure your passengers aren’t hurt, call the police, call your insurer and exchange information. At least that’s how it should be. Unfortunately, you discover that the other driver has no insurance info to exchange – and it’s not because he or she left their insurance cards at home. According to a recent study by the Insurance Research Council, nearly one in eight drivers in the U.S. was uninsured. Nearly every state requires drivers to carry some form of auto insurance, but many drivers often go without coverage due to excessive costs or prior circumstances that make it difficult to get coverage. So what should you do if the other driver involved in the accident is uninsured? How Insurance Companies Handle Accidents with Uninsured Motorists With accidents involving uninsured motorists, there’s no other party for your insurance company to deal with, save for the driver. If the driver lacks insurance, then chances are the driver also lacks the financial ability to bear the costs of the accident, leaving your insurer to take up the slack in terms of compensation. For this reason, many states require or encourage drivers to purchase uninsured and/or underinsured motorist coverage. This coverage comes into play when the driver lacks insurance or doesn’t have enough coverage to handle your damages. In many cases, you may be able to file a simple claim and receive full compensation for an accident with no issues. In others, the insurance company may require you to file a lawsuit against the uninsured driver and attempt to recover damages that way before your insurer provides compensation. Handling Uninsured Drivers in No-Fault States In states with no-fault liability laws, drivers must seek damages from their own insurers regardless of fault. No-fault laws also restrict your ability to sue the other driver for damages. These laws were intended to help reduce expensive litigation and make it easier for drivers to recover due compensation for injuries and losses. Of course, uninsured drivers don’t have an insurance policy to turn to. There are a couple of common exceptions to no-fault liability laws: If you’ve or your passengers suffered severe injuries during the accident, you may be entitled to sue the other driver for damages. No-fault liability laws only cover bodily injury. Uninsured drivers can still be sued to recover damages caused to your vehicle. What You Should Do If you ever find yourself in an accident with an uninsured driver, here’s what you should do immediately after the accident occurs: Contact the police. You’ll want to have an official police report of the accident in question. Such reports carry tremendous weight in the eyes of the courts and insurance companies. This step is also critical for helping victims receive prompt treatment for bodily injuries. Get contact information from the other driver. Even if the other driver doesn’t have insurance, you’ll still need their name, phone number, e-mail address and other contact information. Contact your insurance company. You’ll need to inform your insurer of the accident, the circumstances surrounding it and the contact information of the other driver. Take plenty of photographic evidence. Do your best to leave the vehicle exactly where it is and take pictures of the accident...

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Exploring Pedestrian Liability In A Car-Pedestrian Accident

Posted by on Mar 26, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Car-pedestrian accidents are, sadly, a very common phenomenon. Such accidents can play out in various ways. Whether the pedestrian is fool-hardy and attempts to make a risky crossing at a crosswalk or a driver is simply not paying attention, car-pedestrian accidents run the risk of being very gruesome, and, in many cases, fatal. Although liability may be the least of your worries if you are involved in such an accident, it is something you should be acutely aware of. The legal status of responsibility in car-pedestrian accidents should be common knowledge to everyone, regardless of whether you are a pedestrian or automobile driver. Throughout the course of this article, you will learn several things about these accidents, such as when the driver is liable, when a pedestrian could possibly be liable, and shared fault liabilities. When Is The Driver Liable? In almost every car-pedestrian accident, automobile drivers are liable. The legal term “responsibility of due care” or simply “due care” applies to automobile drivers in personal injury cases such as these. This simply means that you are supposed to take a reasonable amount of care regarding your driving habits. Making sure that all of the road legalities are obeyed (such as making sure that your turn signals are on), obeying posted speed limits, and paying attention to posted road signs are all phenomenon that are covered under responsibility to due care. It is not only imperative, but also legally required, that all drivers pay vigilant attention to the road and its laws. If such laws are violated, even slightly, and a pedestrian is involved in a car accident, the onus of liability will almost always fall upon the driver. When Would The Pedestrian Possibly Be Liable? Personal injury cases where a pedestrian is found to be held liable in car-pedestrian accident are few and far between, but there are certain cases where this is a possibility. For example, if a pedestrian walks into the roadway from behind a parked car, and the car is following all of the rules of the road, a pedestrian can be held accountable for any damages that the driver must pay for his or her accident. There are some cases where a driver going a bit above the speed limit can win a case, insofar as the pedestrian walked onto the roadway from behind a parked car. Shared Fault Liability Shared fault liability is a tricky status to navigate. Depending on the state, shared fault liability may work in different ways. In most cases, a jury will decide which percentage each party will owe in footing the bills. Shared fault liability judgments usually only occurs if both parties are acting erratically or abnormally. For example, if a pedestrian is jay walking, but the automobile driver is driving 20 miles above the speed limit, a jury may find shared liability to be the most product legal response. As you can see, there is quite a bit to digest when it comes to car-pedestrian accident liabilities. These are dangerous accidents, which can easily become a fatal phenomenon. It is recommended that you take all precautions that you can – whether you’re an automobile driver or a pedestrian – to prevent such accidents from occurring. Preventative measures aside, one should still be aware of the legal liability...

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Denied Disability? 4 Tips To Help With The Appeals Process

Posted by on Mar 23, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Preparing for the appeals process after applying for disability is critical, because the odds are low that you will win your case initially. Staying on top of your paperwork during the appeals process and asking people who know your case for support can give you a better chance at a successful appeal. Submit Your Appeal Promptly While you are waiting to receive your initial disability determination, you should be prepared for filing an appeal by familiarizing yourself with the appeals process. You should be ready to submit your appeal promptly once you receive a denial letter. You only have 60 days after a denial to appeal and it is easy for time to run out, or to lose paperwork. If you do not appeal within the specified period, you will have to start the process from the beginning. The appeals process has many levels, and you may need to appeal multiple times before reaching a satisfactory result. Immediately consult a lawyer if you decide to appeal, because you will need to spend time discussing your case with your lawyer, and they will want to order copies of medical records before the scheduled hearing. Since you have no way of knowing how much time you have between submitting your appeal and having your hearing scheduled, you want to continue reading more about the process and give your lawyer as much time to prepare as possible. Do Follow Up After You Appeal Since the appeals process is time sensitive, make sure you follow up with your local agency once you have submitted your appeal. You want to make sure they have received your notice of appeal, and have the necessary information before the deadline. You do not want to be in a position of losing your disability appeal, simply because the necessary documents did not arrive in time. This will allow you sufficient time to send documents again if they become lost, and possibly send them by registered mail to ensure their arrival. Ask Your Doctors For Letters Ask any medical professionals who manage your health for a letter to help explain your condition. Letters from various medical professionals may be helpful because each person can discuss your health from a different perspective. For example, a specialist is better able to explain how a specific condition affects your ability to work and do routine tasks. Your primary care doctor can explain your overall health and how multiple medical or psychiatric conditions influence your daily functioning. This information is usually more detailed than what can be inferred from reading medical records or test results. Have Your Caregivers At Your Hearing The opportunity for anyone other than your lawyer to talk at your hearing is purely up to the judge who is assigned to your case. If you have any people who act as caregivers, it can be beneficial if they are willing to attend the hearing and speak on your behalf. Letters from medical professionals and your medical records will usually weigh heavier in the decision, but information from caregivers can be important. Your caregivers can explain how they help you and if routine tasks cause you difficulty. This information can give the judge an accurate indication of what goes on inside your home and the amount of help you may need...

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