Medical Malpractice Practice

Medical errors kill more Americans annually than motor vehicle accidents, firearms and suicide combined, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.  Despite this, hospitals and medical providers are doing very little to determine how to prevent them from happening. Between 210,000 and 440,000 patients suffer from some type of preventable harm that contributes to their death each year after going to the hospital for care, according to 2014 Journal of Patient Safety. Medical errors are now the third-leading cause of death in America, behind heart disease and cancer.

This estimate is based on a review of medical files that identified preventable harm suffered by patients known as “adverse events,” using use a screening method called the Global Trigger Tool, which guides reviewers through medical records, searching for signs of infection, injury or error. Medical records flagged during the initial screening are reviewed by a doctor, who determines the extent of the harm. In the studies, which examined records of more than 4,200 patients hospitalized between 2002 and 2008, researchers found serious adverse events in as many as 21% of cases reviewed and rates of lethal adverse events as high as 1.4 percent of cases.  By combining the findings and extrapolating across 34 million hospitalizations in 2007, preventable errors contribute to the deaths of 210,000 hospital patients annually.  However, that is the baseline. The actual number more than doubles because the trigger tool does not catch errors in which treatment should have been provided but wasn’t because medical records are missing some evidence of harm and because diagnostic errors are not captured.

An estimate of 440,000 deaths from care in hospitals is roughly one-sixth of all deaths that occur in the United States each year. The study also cited other research that’s shown hospital reporting systems and peer-review capture only a fraction of patient harm or negligent care.

These studies demonstrate the importance of obtaining a second opinion before undergoing invasive tests and procedures, as a medical malpractice lawyer Baltimore MD trusts can attest.  Many patients do not seek another opinion from a second because it may be time-consuming or they do not want to offend their physician.  However, second opinions can be an invaluable tool to prevent unnecessary tests and procedures.  In cases of elective surgeries, for example, studies have found 30% of patients receive different opinions from a second physician.  Additionally, obtaining a second opinion helps ensure that the most qualified physician performs the recommended procedure.

Medical malpractice actions prevent hospitals and medical providers from sweeping medical errors under the rug.  When a patient files suit over a medical error, the information is made public.  Medical providers who would not normally have been informed of the medical mistake will know about the medical error and will have an opportunity to learn from it. The legal process plays an important role in holding hospitals and medical providers accountable for medical mistakes when they do occur and in preventing future medical mistakes from happening.

Greenberg Law OfficesThanks to our friends and contributors from Greenberg Law Offices for their insight into medical malpractice practice.

When a Divorce and a Personal Injury Lawsuit Overlap

As a couple going through a divorce trial, you may be wondering if the court will allocate the personal injury finances equitably between you and your spouse or apply the community-property law.

How does a couple pursuing a personal injury award and a divorce case at the same time divide the marital property and the personal injury settlement?

Your personal injury and divorce case might resemble one of the following scenarios:

  • A couple would like to end their 10-year old marriage. The wife was out of work for a long period of time while healing from a medical malpractice accident. During that time, the husband was solely responsible for all of their bills and paying for the children’s education. The malpractice suit against the doctor is still in process even as the divorce suit concludes. How will the medical malpractice money be shared?
  • The husband suffers serious injuries in a car crash. The family lawyer Arizona relies on files a motor vehicle accident compensation claim against the drunk driver who caused the accident.
  • The husband and wife decide to divorce before the conclusion of the personal injury case. Does the wife get a share of the personal injury proceeds?

Divorce and Sharing of Personal Injury Awards

Personal injury and family laws vary by state. If faced with a scenario of overlapping divorce and a personal injury lawsuit, it’s best to consult a lawyer who can consider the unique details of your situation. However, as a general rule, the personal injury award sharing formula depends on several factors:

  • If the divorcing couple live in an equitable distribution state or community state.
  • The date of the accident, workplace injury, medical malpractice, or unlawful dismissal.
  • The date of separation or divorce.
  • The fine particulars of the divorce case.

Community and Equitable Distribution Approaches

A knowledgeable family law or personal injury lawyer should understand how different states handle a combined divorce and personal injury case. The state in which you live can affect the division of your marital property in divorce. In Arizona, Idaho, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Louisiana, California, Washington, and Texas, the court may divide the marital property equally, so your personal injury could go to the husband and wife on a 50/50 basis. The other U.S states will often do a case analysis before a divorce settlement. Consult with an attorney in your state to find out how the laws will affect your case.

Equitable Distribution of Personal Injury Benefits

Most U.S states apply the equitable marital property distribution when it comes to dividing assets of divorcing spouses. However, laws vary from state to state when it comes to distributing personal injury awards. The courts may treat at least part of the personal injury settlement as marital property if the accident occurred during the marriage. It’s best to verify with a personal injury or divorce attorney who can review the unique details of your case, but generally speaking, the court will likely consider the following circumstances:

  • The assets that were acquired from the beginning of your marriage up to the time of divorce.
  • The prenuptial agreement on the way to divide property in case of divorce.
  • The nature of the injury to determine if the damage is individual or involving the two spouses.

The court will have to determine the percentage of the personal injury award each spouse will get. An experienced personal injury lawyer or divorce attorney can provide you with legal guidance as to how much you may be entitled to receive.

Hildebrand Law, PCThanks to our friends and contributors from Hildebrand Law for their insight into personal injury and divorce practice.

What Is Business Law?

Understanding legal aspects of business is the first step to success for any company. Business law refers to the regulations governing many aspects of running a company including these areas:

  • Sales
  • Taxes
  • Employment
  • Succession
  • Business operations
  • Bankruptcy


Hiring an attorney to help you with the transactional work is a good way to avoid possible litigation by complying with applicable business laws. While business regulations may differ from one state to another or from one country to another, here are some common universal business laws that will apply to your business:


  • Employment and Labor Law

Employees may be a critical component of your business. Labor laws require you to comply with minimum salaries and wages, overtime rules, child labor bans, and maintaining personnel records.

  • Workplace Safety and Health Law

Providing a safe work space free from hazards is not only a right for your employees, but it is essential for business success. We can help you access competent business attorneys who will help you develop company policies to meet compliance.

  • Finance Law

Finance is the heart of business. Financial laws are meant to protect your business, customers, and investors should your business be forced to file for bankruptcy.

  • Privacy Law

The law requires that any business that collects sensitive information about their customers should ensure confidentiality by putting in place a sound security plan. Privacy laws can also affect employee-employer relationships as well. If an issue about privacy or the legalities surrounding this area, seek the trusted guidance of an business law attorney.

  • Intellectual Property Law

Protecting the intellectual property of your business is essential. Left unprotected you leave your company vulnerable to competitors and unscrupulous parties. Do you have a great product or idea? File for a patent to protect it. You can also apply for a trademark to protect your company’s business name, symbols, and logos. A business law attorney can draw up and file the necessary paperwork on your behalf.

  • Advertising and Marketing Law

Effective advertising and marketing is key for any successful business. However, commercial companies are expected to provide “truth in advertising.” A business is legally required to be truthful in advertising and marketing claims.

  • Online Business Law

The internet provides enormous opportunities for your business to make sales and generate revenue. There are also laws which regulate this space, some of which are in flux. When meeting with a business lawyer Sacramento relies on, discuss which laws that focus on online Internet sales might affect your company.


Understanding business law is important for every company but not everyone has a mind for the complexities of law. However, even mistakenly breaking a law still leaves an individual or a company vulnerable to repercussions. This can include fines or even jail time. There many benefits that can be obtained by seeking the appropriate legal counsel. If you need help, feel free to reach out to our business law firm today.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Yee Law Group for their insight into business law.

Hit and Run Cases

Whenever cars are packed tightly together, human error is bound to lead to mistakes. Because of this, parking lot accidents happen every day, but it isn’t always clear what to do when you come back from shopping to find that someone hit your car and left. With the potential for expensive repairs for any damage to your car, this can be a nerve wracking and stressful discovery.

The most important thing to do is always to stay calm. Look around to make sure that the car who hit you is not still in the parking lot. It is possible that the driver will be looking for you in order to give you their insurance information. If you cannot find them, check your car to see if they left a note with contact information on it. Unfortunately, many people will simply drive away after striking a parked car, and there may be no immediate way to find them.

It is important to take detailed pictures of the damage to your car, which is easy to do now that we are in an age where everyone has a camera on the smartphone in their pocket. These pictures will be used later to show the damage to the insurance company.

It is usually a good idea to call the police. When the police arrive, they will also document the damage and will produce a police report which will also be useful when dealing with the insurance company. The police will also be able to review any security cameras in the parking lot to see if the culprit can be tracked down. Driving away after striking a parked car is, after all, a crime.

If the culprit cannot be found, then you will be forced to contact your own insurance company in order to repair the damage to your car. However, before accepting any settlement from an insurance company, you should always contact a skilled auto accident lawyer Dekalb County GA trusts to make sure that you are receiving a fair deal. Insurance companies are not in the business of giving you money, but rather of taking your money. For that reason, an insurance company will often try to settle for as little as they will get away with. If you don’t have an attorney making sure that you get every dime you deserve, the insurance company will often times abuse that. So take the headache out of insurance negotiations, and allow an experienced professional to protect you.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Andrew R. Lynch P.C. for their insight into hit and run cases.

Drunk Driving Accidents and Punitive Damages

Drunk driving, driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated – all terms used to describe the act of driving while over the legal blood alcohol level – can have life changing and potentially deadly consequences.  Not only does the intoxicated driver place their own life at risk, they also endanger passengers and fellow motorists on the road given their impaired state and slowed reaction times.  Society and the law recognize that this act is one of extreme disregard for life and safety.  As such, special penalties are available for drunk driving cases which seek to reflect the seriousness of the offense, and penalize perpetrators.

What are Punitive Damages?

When suing someone for a personal injury, such as that suffered in an auto accident related to drunk driving, a monetary award is typically determined according to the damages you suffered.  Medical expenses, damage to your car or personal property, even lost wages or the assessed value of your pain and suffering, all figure into the amount you will receive at trial.

Punitive damages go above your damages you have personally suffered and are awarded as a form of punishment to reflect the seriousness of the act – hence the name punitive.  While compensatory damages are typically awarded in any case that involves harm, punitive damages are authorized by statute (aka law) and are typically reserved for more egregious and reckless offenses.

Punitive Damages in Drunk Driving Cases

Punitive damages are typically awarded for cases that involve reckless behavior or an extreme disregard for the health and safety of others.  Drunk driving has been determined by many states to be just such an act.  In order to receive punitive damages in your personal injury case involving a drunk driver you will typically be required to prove that the driver had been drinking and was intoxicated above the legal limit.  This will mean that you will need to obtain a copy of the police report, DUI conviction (if any) and proof of any blood samples or breath sobriety tests.

Punitive Damages and Insurance Policies

Similarly to compensatory awards that make up for costs and damage that you have incurred as a result of someone else’s actions, punitive damages may be able to be recovered out of the drunk driver’s auto insurance policy.  Any damage award in excess of the policy may be able to be recovered from the drunk driver.

If you have been involved in an auto-accident as a result of someone driving under the influence you should consult with a qualified lawyer to discuss your options for recovery.  A lawyer with experience dealing with drunk driving cases will be able to advise you on methods for effective recovery, such as suing for the limits of the insurance policy, or seeking to settle the case before trial.  If you have questions about your case, speak to a personal injury lawyer Brookhaven GA trusts today to ensure justice is done for you and your family.

BTThanks to our friends and contributors from Butler Tobin for their insight into drunk driving accidents and punitive damages.

The Non-party Fault Strawman

One common defense theory that has come along in the age of tort reform is the apportionment of non-party fault.  Many state legislatures have now codified this into state law, and other states have had it introduced through the promulgation of a rule of civil procedure by the judicial branch.

Non-party fault has traditionally arisen in matters where the Plaintiff has settled with one Defendant but takes the remaining defendants to trial.  In this instance, of course, all fingers of the remaining defendants commonly point to the settling defendant.  Juries have historically been allowed to apportion fault by way of assigning a percentage of fault as to each party (if they get that far, of course).

Now, however, many states are allowing parties who were never a part of the suit to be named as possible joint tortfeasors pursuant to new non-party fault rules or statutes.  In these scenarios, a Defendant can put the Plaintiff on notice that it intends to have other non-parties placed on the verdict form along with the named Defendants.

Not only is this an attempt to dilute the possibility of a full verdict, it can be used as a smokescreen to completely divert the attention of the jury from the facts at issue in the case.  Careful research will show that in most jurisdictions, the defense will have to (a) provide prima facie evidence of the non-party fault, along with (b) that the non-party is a joint tortfeasor or they were otherwise acting in concert.

The law in many states will require the Defendant to name the non-party or otherwise provide sufficient identity in order to permit service of process in the event the non-party is added as a party following the notice. Further, the defendant should be required to state in concise language facts showing that the non-party is at fault.  Many states will limit the types of cases that allow for a notice of non-party fault to personal injury, medical negligence, property damage, or wrongful death alleged by the claimant.

In addition, the Plaintiff may have grounds to object to the notice if it is filed so close to the trial date so as to prevent the Plaintiff from (a) investigating the assertion or (b) name the non-party as a Defendant prior to trial.  Of course, the Defendant has the right to actually bring these non-parties into the suit by way of a Third Party Complaint, but this mechanism allows for a simpler process to try and muddy the water for the jury.

Defense tactics can cause worry and anxiety when filed at the last minute.  For these reasons, it is imperative to hire a veteran personal injury lawyer Little Rock AR relies on who has experience in these types of pleadings.

SHThanks to Steve Harrelson and our friends and co-contributors from Harrelson Law Firm, P.A. for their added insight into the non-party fault strawman.

5 Musts for a Successful 1031 Exchange

1031 Exchanges are becoming a very common facet of the commercial real estate industry.  Simply put, a 1031 exchange is the swap of one investment asset for another investment of similar kind.  The benefit is that you can upgrade your investment without the need to pay a capital gains tax at the time of exchange.  With no limit on the number of times you can do a 1031, you are able to continue growing your investment tax deferred until you eventually decide to sell your asset(s) for cash.

However, to be successful with a 1031 Exchange, you have to play by the rules.  Here are our suggestions for the 5 must-dos for a smooth and successful exchange.

1. Determine what is deferred capital gains and what is depreciation recapture.  Many capital assets use depreciation to spread the cost of an asset over a period of time.   This reduces the asset’s adjusted cost basis and as a result, creates a higher capital gain on the sale of the asset.  Before beginning the 1031 Exchange process, you will want to ensure your accountant has a firm grasp on these numbers and is able to guide you in the proper way to handle your depreciation and deferred capital gains.

2. Find a qualified Intermediary – reputable, credible and experienced.  For the exchange to work, cash from the original sale cannot make it into your own hands.  It goes to an intermediary, and hence it’s important that you find a reputable intermediary that can guide you through the process in a proactive manner.  The qualified intermediary will work closely with the attorneys, escrow companies, CPA, etc. At Calkain, we’ve developed a strong relationship with Bill Gessner, who we refer clients to on a regular basis.  If you have a 1031 Exchange soon to be in the works, you’d be in good hands using ES Group.

3. The property has to be held for investment or business purposes – on both ends of the transaction.  It’s a like-kind exchange of a business or investment asset.  It is not for personal use.  The 1031 cannot be used to swap out your primary residence for another home.  Like-kind refers to the nature of the investment. Any type of investment property can be exchanged for another type of investment property. A single-family residence purchased as an investment, can be exchanged for a multi-family building, raw land for a shopping center, or any other business investment.  You have the flexibility to change investment strategies to meet your needs as long as it’s business and the debt is equal or greater to the debt on the exchanged asset.

4. Know the timeline.  You have 45 days from the date of closing on the relinquished property to identify or nominate potential replacement properties.  You must Identify the potential properties (up to three without regard to value, and four or more with value restrictions) that you may acquire, in writing to your intermediary, and it is expected that you will purchase one or more of the Identified properties.

You have 180 days from date of sale to acquire and settle upon the new property.  That’s right.  You have 6 months to close the deal.  NO EXTENSIONS!  And don’t forget, this six months is from the date of sale of relinquishing the original property – not upon the completion of the 45 days provided for asset identification.  The clock starts running on both rules with the close of the original asset.

Start your search for exchange properties as quickly as possible.  It’s imperative to start your search as early as possible and ideally before you sell your original investment.  45 days, let alone six months, goes quickly.  If you need help searching out properties, contact a professional today.

CalkThanks to our friends and contributors from Calkain for their insight into 1031 Exchanges.

The Ripple Effect of a Car Accident: Neck Pain

Our bodies are subject to a ripple effect.  Just one injury can end up affecting our entire well being.  A car accident is a traumatic event that can cause residual effects on your body for weeks, months, and even years.  It can take time to assess how you feel, and a proper recovery rests on that ability.  Although each person and situation is different, there are many common injuries after any sort of auto accident.  Although each car accident has their own unique conditions — such as the angle of the collision and the position of where each person is located during the crash — many patients experience similar symptoms.  In this series, we are re going to discuss four common injuries that, without treatment, can turn into chronic problems.

By far, the most common auto accident injury is whiplash.  After the initial whiplash, the muscles tighten to protect the spine and decrease any more potential trauma to the area.  With that development, the muscles do not return to their normal length which can soreness or discomfort.  Bottom line:  After the initial trauma, the body tries to compensate for the affected areas.  This can often lead to feelings of tightness, loss of motion (hard to turn your neck), and tension headaches.

When our muscles are tightened and then shortened over time, this will cause us to lose proper posture.  What began as an injury has now turned into a bad habit, and this can be the hardest part of the pattern to break.  Not only does improper posture stagnate the recovery process, the tightened muscles in the neck can lead to chronic headaches and pain.

How do we resolve this potential cycle of pain before it begins?

Remember, the initial cause of this was the muscle group tightening around the neck and shoulders.  To keep this area flexible and relaxed, stretching is key.  Levator scapula stretches help to lengthen this muscle where it attaches to your shoulder-blade (scapula), offering better range of motion and a more relaxed position.  This, in turn, will help you to maintain proper posture by keeping your neck and shoulders neutral, relaxed, and the muscles elongated.

If you are already experiencing tension headaches, a simple stretch can be utilized by facing straight ahead, putting one hand on the back of your skull, and gently pulling your chin down to your chest.  This will lengthen the neck muscles and release any tension that has been causing headaches.

A car accident can inflict many systemic injuries, but with knowledge and consistent practice, you can stem the onset of pain.  Of course, the best way to ensure relief from chronic pain is by visiting a specialist that can cater to your exact needs.  Contact a neck pain doctor Rockville MD trusts today.

advanced spine and wellness centerThanks to our friends and contributors from Advanced Spine & Wellness Center for their insight into car accidents and neck injuries.

3 reasons having a concise medical summary helps your case

“One of the most important things to do when filing an insurance claim,” says Steve Harrelson, a personal injury lawyer Little Rock, ARtrusts,” is to make sure that you are able to collect all medical records and billing to provide a total and complete snapshot of how the collision has affected your life.”

This means that it’s important to write down the name of each and every single medical provider who provided treatment to you after the accident.  It begins with the ambulance service and first responders and continues with every physician who may have examined you only once.  Your lawyer will have you execute a HIPAA-authorized medical authorization or medical release in order to request a full set of all medical records.  How important is having a complete medical summary to your case?  Here are 3 reasons to show you how important it is:

3 reasons to compile an organized medical summary:

  1. Valuation of your case: Like it or not, the amount of medical bills you have acquired will have a direct impact on the value of your case.  You should be expected to have an immediate answer to the question “how much are your medicals?” or “what is the total amount of your specials?” at the ready, because you will be asked near the very beginning of your claim by the insurance claims adjuster assigned to your case.
  1. Responses to discovery:As soon as your case is filed, you can expect the defense to immediately request information in regard to your medicals.  If you have a concise, complete set of medical records that are organized and bates stamped, along with a medical summary and billing summary all loaded onto a CD, it shows the defense how organized your case is and how prepared they better be in order to defend the proof that will be
  1. Presentation to the jury as exhibits: You have only one shot to present your case to a jury.  They will be forced to digest your entire case – the case you’ve been working on for months or years – in just a short period of time.  It’s important to be able to provide the records to the jury in a way that helps them understand your injuries and how this car crash has affected your life.

Conducting a full investigation like this is the only way to maximize your compensation.  As a personal injury lawyer might attest, compiling a full report to submit to the insurance adjuster (or potentially a jury) is the best way to be compensated for the injuries you sustained.  This does not even take into consideration the portion of your claim regarding lost wages.

For these reasons, it is always best to contact a lawyer to help you through a situation like this to (1) help you through the process while you’re recovering and (2) to maximize your benefits to ensure all of your injuries are appropriately compensated.

SHThanks to Steve Harrelson and our friends and co-contributors from Harrelson Law Firm, P.A. for their added insight into the compilation of medical records and bills after a car accident.