The Different Steps that Need To Be Taken In Lawsuits

What Is Subrogation?

If an insurance company pays some of your medical or other expenses arising from your injury, the law provides “subrogation” which means that the insurance company stands “in your shoes” and can recover from the liable party some or all of the amounts paid on your behalf. If this is the case, they usually are required to pay their proportionate share of the attorney’s fee and costs in connection with the recovery. This is handled on a case-by-case basis.

What Should I Do About Medical Liens?

Some of our clients are involved in an accident where there is no medical payments insurance, worker’s compensation or private health insurance. In such cases, your doctor will expect to be paid by you at the conclusion of this case. Often they will require you to agree, in writing, to have us pay them directly from the proceeds you receive. State laws sometimes permit health care providers to file a “lien” which must be paid out of the proceeds of your case. If your doctor asks you to sign what is often called a “lien letter”, be sure to contact our office. In some cases, it may not be appropriate for you to sign such an agreement.

What If I Choose To File Bankruptcy?

If you are considering filing bankruptcy, you should know that you may lose all rights to your personal injury case. The Bankruptcy Court can take over your case, settle your case and give your settlement money to your creditors, and you will receive nothing. Be sure to talk to your lawyer before filing bankruptcy.

What About Claims That Are Filed Against The Government?

Any injury claim, whether it stems from a car collision or other event that involves the government, is subject to special rules. The governmental entity involved may be the state, a city, a county, local government, or the United States. Generally, a Notice of Claim must be filed with the appropriate governmental agency very soon following your injury. If you believe that the government may be involved in your case, please notify us immediately.

First Steps In Representing You

Your initial interview with our Law Firm will help us gather general information about your case. We will guide you on what you should and should not do, and give you the necessary materials to help you. Then, you will be asked to sign certain authorization forms to allow us to obtain your medical records and other pertinent information.

Our Law Firm will contact the person who was responsible for your injury and/or the insurance company and notify the parties that you have retained us as your attorneys. We will also contact all of the doctors and hospitals involved in your care to obtain your medical chart and billing information.

Filing A Lawsuit

Before filing a lawsuit, our Law Firm will obtain your permission and explain to you why we believe a lawsuit should be filed. The decision to file a lawsuit should be made by your attorney with your input. Filing a lawsuit may be necessary to obtain adequate monetary compensation for your injury.

A settlement is always possible and is a common alternative to filing a lawsuit. In fact, only a small percentage of cases make it to trial.

Medical Malpractice – Personal Injury Law

Serious Injury from Cancer Radiation Treatment:

Not every radiation injury from radiation treatment for cancer is the result of malpractice. However, there has been a recent trend to deliver radiation with very sophisticated machines that are supposed to deliver very intense radiation to a precise, small target (the tumor) in the body. Sometimes the complex machines are not calibrated correctly with horrible results that do constitute medical malpractice.

Failure to Timely Diagnose Cancer:

My first step in this sort of claim is to go on the internet and see what the 5-year survival rate of the cancer is. If the five-year survival rate is very low I know the defense is going to be that the patient had a horrible diagnosis no matter what. If the five-year survival rate is fairly favorable as cancers go, then there are questions calling for an expert medical opinion as to how much chance of surviving the patient has lost because of the delay, and whether the delay was due to medical malpractice. If the medical records are available a non-doctor with some medical education can get rough answers off the internet and from peer-reviewed medical journals either in medical libraries or on the internet by paying for access to each article. Usually, there is a free summary of the article on the internet so the attorney can get a rough idea of whether the case is probably worth putting some serious money into to get an expert medical opinion.

Several standards of care in medical practice are simple to set out. If there is a lump in the breast it should be biopsied. Failure to conduct or recommend a biopsy of a breast lump is a violation of the standard of care. This can lead to a successful malpractice case for failure to timely diagnose breast cancer. Blood in the urine is suspicious of bladder cancer. Failure to examine the bladder after a finding of blood in the urine with an endoscope (or to recommend that it be done) is a violation of the standard of care and can lead to malpractice for failure to diagnose bladder cancer. Failure to follow up a laboratory finding of occult (hidden) blood in feces is a violation of the standard of care and it can lead a malpractice claim for delayed diagnose of the colon or rectal cancer.

It sometimes happens that biopsy is read as benign when it is in fact cancer. This would seem to be malpractice but in fact, for some biopsies, the borderline between what is cancer and what is not cancer is not so clear. The Armed Forces Institute of Pathology is one of the more respected expert labs on examining biopsies for cancer.

Very Bad Reactions to Drugs:

Occasionally a prescription drug causes the entire body to react violently requiring an extensive and painful hospitalization if the patient can be saved. Whether there is a case for medical malpractice will depend on what the prescribing doctor knows or should have known about the drug, the other drugs the patient was taking, and the patient’s condition and history of allergies.

Failure to Timely Order a C-Section to Avoid Fetal Distress and Brain Damage to the Child:

These are not easy cases to evaluate but potentially huge cases. If a child is born with brain damage it is worthwhile to look into whether there was a problem with the delivery. There may not have been, but it is worthwhile checking it out.