Planning for your Settlement is no Day at the Beach

Most families try to take a nice vacation every year.  The ultimate destination, attendees, mode of transportation, activities, dining options, length of stay and overall costs are determined through months (if not years) of research, inquiries with friends and families, budgeting, work vacation allowances and even consultations with a travel agent.  Let’s say that vacation costs $10,000.  This is a substantial investment for most families and it’s appropriate when making this financial commitment to do your due diligence.

Let’s add a few zeros and see if that changes the way one approaches such an important decision.  So, what if the amount at stake is $100,000? , $1,000,000 or even $10,000,000?  How much investigation should the family who is about to embark on planning for such a large investment proceed?  The sad truth is that many families spend less time pondering their settlement choices than they do planning their vacation; except that next year there will be another chance to plan another vacation.  There will rarely be another chance to plan for another settlement.

As a settlement planning attorney, I get the opportunity to work with people and their families who have suffered catastrophic injuries.  This work begins shortly after the injury and lasts well beyond cashing the settlement check.  Having consulted on over $100,000,000 in settlement cases, I bring a unique perspective on the right, and wrong, way to design these cases.

Let’s face it, several years can elapse from injury to settlement; and people have lots of questions.  They should be concerned about how much will their actual net settlement be?  What are the options for healthcare coverage now and in the future?  What about tax planning issues at the state and federal level?  Who is going to pay for an injured person’s long term care costs?  Is Medicaid the only answer? and if so, what sacrifices does the injured party make for future repayment to the government by accepting Medicaid?  Should the client accept a structured settlement?  Has anyone looked at the financials behind this transaction for the short and long term?  Who does the structured settlement broker at mediation actually represent? – the defendant insurance company who is being sued by the injured party?  Does the person need a Special Needs Trust?  If so, what types of trusts are there?  What if the person is over age 65 and can’t use a traditional special needs trust?  What other options are there?  Some related issues for Medicare coverage too:  How will the injured person enroll in Medicare?  Do they have to set aside funds for future Medicare covered procedures?  What happens if they don’t?  How does the person title their car, home, investments, etc. so that they are not reclaimed by the government after death?  What about family members who want to be caregivers?  The list goes on and on.

These are just a few of the very important decisions that affect how successful a personal injury case will be in the long run.  These are not issues that should suddenly be discussed at mediation or worse yet, AFTER mediation when the deal has been struck and certain options will no longer be available.

Here’s the good news:  We get involved in many cases shortly after the injured party has retained a plaintiff attorney and work with that attorney and the client to answer questions and educate the client along the way, usually for several months or years, so that when the time comes for that “permanent vacation”, the client is best prepared to make important lifetime decisions.  Oh yeah, most of our work is also done on a contingent fee so that if the case does not settle, the client owes us nothing for our services.

Julian Gray AssociatesThanks to our friends and contributors from Julian Gray Associates for their insight into saving your settlement.

Misdiagnosis Related to Antibiotic Misuse

In hospitals and other healthcare facilities across the country, antibiotics are often being overly relied on. This is often caused by a misdiagnosis or when the diagnosis is indeterminate. The improper use of antibiotics may have harmful effects. Factors that contribute to the misdiagnosis on the part of practitioners include lack of experience, inadequate knowledge of the side effects, fatigue, a patient’s previous diagnosis. It is important that the problem be addressed and changes made to improve antibiotic use in health care.

Besides increasing the odds of suffering to the patient, incorrect antibiotic use can decrease the effectiveness of the drugs, and raise the cost of health care. A recent study found that 56 percent of U.S. hospital inpatients receive antibiotics. Close to half of these patients received an inappropriate antibiotic therapy. Imagine just how much of the total cost of healthcare this issue accounts for. In many cases if an illness is viral, antibiotics would not be effective in curing or treating the illness. This could lead to a delay in recovery, or the development of a secondary infection. Sometimes a delay in treatment is caused by an incorrect diagnosis. If physicians do not use blood or other laboratory tests the odds of this increase. A group of 500 inpatient cases at a VA Medical Center was studied, and it was found that 95 percent of patients with an incorrect diagnosis, a failure to diagnose or no diagnosis at all received an improper antibiotic therapy. The patients who were correctly diagnosed were still given incorrect antibiotics 38 percent of the time.

Some common illnesses that are often misdiagnosed before or after improper antibiotics are prescribed include: respiratory infections, skin, ear, and urinary tract infections. In the case of misdiagnosed kidney infections, the risk of complications like sepsis or needing dialysis are increased. These are two extremely dangerous risks, as sepsis refers to whole body toxicity so it may be fatal. In the case of dialysis, the need for being attached to a machine to purify the kidneys may be temporary or become permanent.

An accurate diagnosis the first time, and knowing when it is safe to withhold antibiotics, will help hospitals as well as outpatient clinics to better distribute them. Patients whose conditions are improperly diagnosed can suffer greatly if their conditions worsen, leading to additional medical expenses. Those in this position, should consult with an experienced Chicago personal injury attorney today.

The Law Offices of Konrad SherinianThanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Offices of Konrad Sherinian for their insight into misdiagnosis related to antibiotic misuse.

How Do I Pay Medical Bills Until I Get My Settlement?

Suffering a serious personal injury from a car accident you didn’t cause can be not only painful but also stressful. Medical treatment is expensive. You may not be able work until your injury heals so you might not have any income for the time being. The following are some suggestions that might make it possible for you to pay your medical bills while you’re waiting for a settlement from the insurance company.

Your Personal Injury Lawyer Can Negotiate an Out-of-Court Settlement

A skilled personal injury attorney Cheverly MD trusts should have extensive experience with negotiating settlements with insurance companies. Very often the insurance company will not offer maximum compensation for your damages. Hiring an attorney can make all the difference. With the threat of a lawsuit as an alternative, most insurance companies will prefer to write the accident victim a check. This will enable you to pay your medical bills. In addition, most personal injury lawyers don’t charge accident victims unless they win them a settlement or lawsuit award.

Request a Lawsuit Loan

Special lenders are available that can help you pay your bills until you receive your settlement money. A lawsuit loan is a cash advance that you can get if your case is strong and likely to conclude in your favor. Your personal injury attorney may have to vouch for this on your behalf and speak with the lender.

File for Disability

Your medical doctor can provide you with the medical documentation that you need for a federal disability claim. You may also qualify for additional federal and state benefit programs if you are going to be disabled for longer than 12 months. It is up to your doctor to estimate how long your recovery might take.

Sell Your Unneeded Belongings

You may want to have your family members help you to decide which items you no longer need and prepare them for sale. A yard sale or an online auction can help you to find buyers quickly so that you can gather funds to pay toward your medical bills. This option may allow you to get what you need quickly so that you won’t fall too far behind.

Peer-To-Peer Loan

You can apply for funds from a peer-to-peer lending site. These sites allow you to tell your story, and then investors from your group of peers can provide you with the monies that you need for your tasks. People are often very sympathetic toward others who have been in accidents and are physically and financially struggling.

Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer

Possibly your best option is to hire a reliable personal injury attorney. Your personal injury lawyer will work hard to get you the funds that you need to pay for your damages caused by someone’s negligence. It’s important to contact an attorney as quickly as possible to begin the process of recovering your damage costs.

Cohen and CohenThanks to our friends and contributors from Cohen & Cohen, P.C. for their insight into car accident cases.

How Important Are Seat Belts?

Buckling your seat belt is something you should consider doing every time you get in a car, whether you’re a driver or a passenger. If you’re a habitual seat belt wearer, it’s probably such an instinctual reaction that you rarely think about it, if ever. However, your seat belt is more than just an added task prior to driving or riding in a car. It’s actually a lifesaver.

Lives saved

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that wearing seat belts has saved over 15,000 lives on an annual basis. When you consider that there are over 30,000 vehicular fatalities a year, the fact that wearing a seatbelt prevents that number from climbing another 33 percent is nothing short of astounding.

How do seat belts save lives?

Seat belt design and construction is very simple. As a result, you might wonder how effective it can be in the event of a crash or other collision. Turns out, they are very effective. A seat belt can save your life by ensuring that your body remains within the vehicle at the moment of collision. Many vehicular deaths result not from the actual impact, but from being thrown out of the vehicle.

Seat belts are also designed with attention paid to the structure of the human body. Ever wonder why the straps are designed to go in front of your shoulders and hips? It’s because these are the areas of your body best equipped to handle the impact of a vehicular collision. Seat belts don’t eliminate the risk of injury, but they are designed in a way that makes injuries much more manageable.

How to Wear a Seat Belt

A seat belt must be properly worn in order to be effective. The bottom strap needs to penetrate your hips comfortably, no higher or lower. The upper strap goes across your torso, chest to shoulders. Under no circumstance should it be in any other position. Improperly wearing your seat belt can be just as deadly a mistake as not wearing one at all.

Children and Seat Belts

All vehicle occupants should wear a seat belt. It’s especially important that children are properly fitted with a seat belt based on their age, weight, and height. Newborns and those under a year old or less than 20 pounds should be in a rear-facing car seat. One to three-year-olds should be in a front-facing car seat. Children four years and older should be in a booster seat until they are tall enough for a seat belt that fits them as it does for adults.

The Importance of Seat Belts

Seat belts are not just important, they are mandatory. There’s a reason why so many vehicles are designed to make a beeping sound if the driver or any passenger is not wearing their seat belt. Putting on a seat belt is a two-second process that could literally be the difference between life and death.

If you have been injured in a vehicle accident, please contact a attorney today. A skilled attorney like car accident lawyer DC trusts can review your case and potentially help you get the compensation you deserve.

Cohen and CohenThanks to our friends and contributors from Cohen & Cohen, P.C. for their insight into car accident cases.

Personal Injury Settlements and Child Support Payments

Questions about the impact of personal injury settlements on child support payments sometimes arise between parents who were once married to one another. Legal guidelines can be confusing when these two areas of the law overlap.

Personal Injury Settlement and Child Support Claims

Here’s a common example of how these two issues can collide:

  1. A man is badly injured in a car accident by a negligent driver.
  2. He wins over a million dollars in damages in a personal injury lawsuit.
  3. He already owes child support and is behind by several payments.

Will his personal injury settlement be garnished in part to pay the overdue child support payments? Ethically and legally, yes.

State Power to Levy

Under the law, the state has the power to attach the parent’s delinquent child support payments to his property, including a personal injury settlement. Under most circumstances, the process would proceed similar to this:

  1. If the custodial spouse has asked for legal assistance regarding child support enforcement, the legal process should already be in place to intercept his personal injury insurance settlement.
  2. In this scenario, the state would notify the noncustodial parent that he owes child support.
  3. If the noncustodial parent’s outstanding obligation is on the legal record, the garnishment process might be initiated by an income deduction notification. In that event, the noncustodial parent and the insurance company paying out the claim should be notified of the statutory lien.
  4. After the insurance company receives notice of the lien, they will likely contact the noncustodial parent’s attorney.
  5. The attorney should then authorize payment of their client’s funds to fulfill his obligation under the lien.

Personal Injury Insurance Settlements and Child Support Matters

In some states, the lawyer must have actual knowledge of a third-party lien or court-ordered claim to funds in escrow to prompt the payment of the client’s obligation. In that scenario, notice would arrive as an income deduction notice by the state’s child support enforcement office.

Prospective Perfection of a Child Support Lien

The lawyer’s obligation in the handling of settlement funds when a potential child support lien or claim is asserted is to make sure their client follows the law. The attorney’s primary duty in this scenario is to offer vigorous client representation. It’s the state’s duty to perform required investigation and to notify the law firm of the presence of a valid child support lien.

If you have questions or concerns about child support payments and how they may affect a personal injury settlement, contact a Charlottesville child support attorney or a personal injury lawyer.

MartinWren P.C.Thanks to our friends and contributors from MartinWren P.C. for their insight into personal injury settlements and child support payments.

5 Major Mistakes in Legal Video Depositions

Video depositions can be very helpful to lawyers, prosecutors, and witnesses. They provide a great opportunity for all parties involved to communicate better during trials or in settlement negotiations. Depositions can save a lot of time and money, while still helping cases move forward. However, video depositions can only yield the desired results if done right. Here are five mistakes to avoid during a deposition.

1. Neglecting to Pay Attention to Body Language

Certain body movements and facial expressions can give the wrong impression during video depositions. Expressions such as frequent and exaggerated eye movements can mean the person is agitated by the speaker or is lying; placing the hands over the mouth when talking could mean someone is being deceptive; sitting with the arms crossed or head pointing down could mean the person is ashamed or threatened. Try to encourage deponents to be mindful of these negative body languages during a video deposition.

2. Making Jokes While on the Record

Whether you are a personal injury lawyer or a deponent, you need to take the video deposition seriously. Laughing or cracking jokes are common coping techniques likely to occur in stressful situations like depositions, but these actions can make the other parties involved think that you aren’t taking the matter seriously. Everyone should maintain a professional and pleasant demeanor throughout the process.

3. Not Delivering Exhibits on Time

Some depositions may require the parties involved to produce exhibits. If you plan to use exhibits, make sure they are in the deposition room on time. Failing to deliver exhibits in a timely manner will force you to reschedule the video deposition so that the witness can see them. This can affect not only the progress but also the chances of winning the case. Create enough time for the exhibits to be transported and delivered to the location.

4. Losing Control of Emotions

Video depositions, at times, cover matters that are sensitive. This may include a serious injury, loss of a loved one, or the splitting of a family. Such issues can be difficult to talk about; it can hurt if someone is trying to minimize the damage or shift the blame onto the victim. The rule of thumb here — for all parties involved — is to stay calm. Blowing up, crying dramatically, or storming out of the room will only ruin the process and complicate issues. Spend some time and practice how to speak and answer sensitive questions during the deposition. This makes it easier for deponents to respond in a cool and less emotional manner.

5. Failing to Hire the Right People

Hiring people who do not have any experience in handling video depositions is a recipe for failure. You need to get the right court reporting company New Jersey trusts and video conferencing service provider for the event. Ensure the court reporting company has experienced professionals handling the video deposition transcription. Also, ensure the video conferencing service provider has experience in legal videography, especially in recording depositions. You should also choose the right venue for the event. The place should be well-lit, have the right equipment, and provide a conducive environment for all parties involved.

VeritextThanks to our friends and contributors from Veritext for their insight into video depositions.

5 Things All Hit and Run Victims Should Know

Auto accidents are stressful enough, but when the culprit flees the scene, things become even worse. A hit and run makes it difficult for your insurance company to cover any property damage or personal injury claims you may have, as a car accident lawyer Phoenix AZ trusts can explain.

Unfortunately, hit and run auto accidents are on the rise all over the U.S., so what can you do to protect yourself?

If you are the victim of a hit and run, follow these 5 important steps:

1.Don’t Chase The Culprit

Pull over when it is safe to do so and call the police immediately. If someone has been injured, make sure they receive medical assistance. Under no circumstance should you pursue the person who hit you, you may find yourself in a potentially dangerous situation. Besides, you need to remain at the scene so you can look for witnesses and make a police report.

2.Get As Much Information As Possible

One small detail may help the police find the person who struck your car, so try to gather as much information as possible, including:

  • The license plate number
  • The make/model/color of car
  • The direction in which the driver took off
  • The time and location of the accident
  • A physical description of the person
  • Witnesses to the accident
  • Pictures of the damage done to your car

3.Make A Police Report

Always call the police if you’ve been in an auto accident. Creating a police report about the incident will be crucial to filing a claim with your insurance company. Provide the police with as much of the above information as possible.

4.Contact Your Auto Insurance Company

Once there is a police report, you’ll want to file an insurance claim. Every insurance policy is different, and yours may not cover hit and run incidents. To avoid being financially responsible for an accident you did not cause, make sure your auto insurance policy has at least one of the following coverages:

Uninsured Motorist Coverage: this can help provide coverage for any injury caused by an uninsured, negligent driver. In the case of a hit and run, the negligent driver is unknown and therefore uninsured.

Collision Coverage: this can help cover the cost of repairing/replacing the damage to your car

5.Beware The “False Information” Hit and Run

If you and another driver exchange information after an accident, but their information turns out to be false, that is considered a hit and run. Don’t let the other driver talk you out of calling the police or offer you cash on the spot. Their avoidance to involve the police and insurance companies should not sit right with you.

If you’ve been injured in a hit and run, contact a skilled personal injury lawyer today.

Kamper Estrada LLP Thanks to our friends and contributors from Kamper Estrada LLP for their insight into hit and run cases.

What is forensic accident reconstruction?

In 2016, there were 40,200 deaths due to vehicle accidents according to the National Safety Council. This was a 6% increase over 2015. Every year over two million people are injured or disabled due to motor-vehicle accidents. These accidents must be investigated to determine who is at fault for the accident, who is financially liable to provide financial compensation for accident damages, and who should be criminally charged if a law was broken. To answer these questions, a reconstruction of the accident is often necessary.

Immediately after the Vehicle Accident

Shortly after a vehicle accident, the police arrive to do an initial investigation to determine the cause of the accident.

  1. They interview any survivors of the accident.
  2. They interview eyewitnesses to get their perspective as to what happened.
  3. The police also investigate any possible criminal wrongdoing, such as speeding, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or if there was an hours-of-service violation if a commercial driver is involved in an accident.

Accident Investigators

After the initial police investigation takes place, independent investigators who are hired by one or more insurance companies or attorneys are brought in to analyze the events leading up to and including the accident. The primary role of the independent investigator is to determine who caused the accident. Their conclusion will indicate who is financially liable for paying damages. Some of the things accident investigators do at a crash site include:Taking measurements of where

  • Taking measurements of where impact occurred and other important details.
  • Determining the point-of-impact and if there were multiple locations.
  • Examining the final resting position of the vehicle(s).
  • Examining skid, scrub, and gouge marks as well as damage to surrounds such as a curb, objects on the sidewalk, signage, etc.

For example, accident investigators can look at the length of the skid marks to calculate the speed the vehicle was travelling at prior to impact. Many current vehicles have onboard crash data recorders, which provide vital pre-crash data, and it also collects information during the crash.

Accident investigators also inspect the vehicle(s) involved in the accident to see if there was a mechanical malfunction. They assess the damage to the vehicle(s), and they check the driver qualifications in terms of valid licensing. Once the accident investigators have gathered all the information, including the police reports, then they upload this information into electronic surveying equipment to create a computer-generated scale diagram of the accident scene. At this point, they can start reconstructing the accident.

Accident Reconstruction

Accident reconstructions are performed when there is a vehicle accident that involves a fatality or bodily injury.

  • Based on the physical evidence and calculations that were gathered at the scene of the accident, accident investigators can recreate and present the events through forensic animation.
  • Forensic animation provides an important audio-visual presentation to LA personal injury attorneys, insurance companies, and jurors so that they can see a representation of how an accident occurred and who is deemed to be at fault.

Accident investigators play a critical in court cases involving vehicle accidents. Court-qualified accident investigators can use the information they gathered from an accident scene and reconstruct the accident so that they can accurately explain what happened. Their role is also vital in helping to create safer roads, highways, and vehicle safety features. Not every accident requires the services of an accident investigator, but if an accident results in a lawsuit, their expertise can help provide an accurate portrayal of the event.

Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyers Thanks to our friends and contributors from Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyers for their insight into forensic accident reconstruction.

Filing a Personal Injury Claim for Joint Injuries

As a chiropractor Gaithersburg MD trusts can tell you, joint injuries can happen to almost anyone. and if someone else’s negligence caused that injury, you may have recourse for compensation.

Joint Injuries

Joints can be damaged when they are subjected to unnatural forced movements, and this damage can be either temporary or permanent. If you’ve been injured and suspect that a tendon or ligament has been damaged, it’s important to seek medical care as soon as possible. Delaying treatment can cause even more damage to the joint and could even lead to a permanent injury.

Many different types of accidents can result in joint injuries. Slip and fall accidents, car accidents, bicycling accidents, and workplace accidents can all result in joint injuries. Even a minor joint injury can cause a great deal of pain. Symptoms often include inflammation, redness, instability, limited motion, swelling, and stiffness.

Common types of joint injuries include:

●      Rotator cuff injury (shoulder injury)
●      Tennis elbow
●      Knee injuries
●      Dislocation
●      Sprains

Determine Liability

In any personal injury claim it is imperative to prove that another party was negligent or acted wrongly in some way, and that this action (or failure to act) directly led to your accident and injury.

Even though the accident was not your fault, you’ll have to prove that the at-fault individual or company was negligent in their actions. It can be helpful to collect as much evidence of your injury as possible. Photos and medical records are two examples of strong pieces of evidence in a personal injury claim.

Settlement or Trial?

An experienced personal injury lawyer may first try to negotiate a settlement after filing a claim. This is often preferable for all parties involved. For an injured victim, reaching an early settlement can be very beneficial. The process tends to be much faster than a trial case, and obtaining the settlement money quickly can help to cover medical bills. However, in cases where a settlement cannot be reached, it’s important to have a lawyer who is willing to go to court. Trials can be time-consuming and expensive, but in cases where the victim suffered severe injuries, it may be critical to obtain a fair settlement awarded by a judge or jury.

Joint injuries can be very painful and may make it difficult to accomplish daily tasks. If you’ve suffered joint injuries in an accident, don’t hesitate to reach out to a lawyer for legal counsel.

Pain & Arthritis Relief Center Thanks to our friends and contributors from Pain & Arthritis Relief Center for their insight into joint injuries!

Depositions in Personal Injury Lawsuits

If you are involved in a personal injury lawsuit, it is likely you will be participating in an oral deposition at some point. In advance of being called for a deposition, it may be helpful for you to have a basic understanding of the process as well as your rights, and what may or may not be expected of you upon arrival.

What is a Deposition?

A deposition is a standard pretrial procedure conducted outside of, but in conjunction with the court overseeing the case.

  • They are used to establish what a witness or party knows about the suit
  • They are used to preserve that information in a formal manner
  • Written notice of the time and place of the deposition is given ahead of time, generally through a subpoena process

What Happens at a Deposition?

At the deposition, the person who is being examined is put under oath, usually by a New York court reporter, and the attorneys for each side will then ask questions which will be recorded and transcribed into written versions of the conversation or line of questioning. Sometimes, an attorney may even request a video recording of the deposition.

What Kinds of Questions Are Asked During a Deposition?

Questions can range to any number of topics, and there are often fewer restrictions on attorneys in the way they phrase their lines of questioning. That said, the proceeding is not intended to waste time, so the questions are generally tailored to the witnesses involvement in the case.

Who Might be Asked to Attend a Deposition?

There are many different kinds of witnesses. Expert witnesses like doctors who have treated the plaintiff, or doctors hired by the insurance company to examine the plaintiff, can be questioned at a pretrial deposition. These doctors may be asked about any diagnosis or prognosis, about the type and cost of the treatment for the injury, and about any limitation or permanent injury suffered by the plaintiff.

The plaintiff in a personal injury case will almost certainly have to submit to questioning at a pretrial deposition.

Either side can also call lay witnesses who they suspect or know to have had some involvement in or been a bystander to the incident in question.

A witness in a deposition would be wise to enlist the help of an attorney no matter what capacity they come to testify in. A personal injury case can be won, lost or irreparably harmed on the strength of a single deposition. Choose an experienced and qualified personal injury attorney who can protect your rights during a deposition.

veritextThanks to our friends and contributors from Veritext for their insight into court reporting and depositions.