How Settlement Negotiations Work in Medical Malpractice Cases

Medical malpractice is more common than people realize. Medical malpractice happens anywhere around the globe. In the U.S. alone, 10% of deaths are caused by medical errors or mistakes. It is one of the most challenging trial cases to win, and it often ends up in settlement negotiations. Less than 1% is favored to the victim or the patient.

For this case, an experienced lawyer needs to have the resources to properly investigate the incident and collect evidence that can support a claim for medical malpractice. The lawyers need to fight hard to ensure that clients are fairly compensated for their losses. They have to negotiate effectively and litigate aggressively when they need to.

 

Starting Settlement Negotiations—Proving Negligence and Causation

In medical malpractice cases, the value of losses is what clients want to know. But before this, two crucial things need proof:

  • The doctor or medical professional was negligent
  • The medical professional’s negligence directly resulted in your injuries and losses.

These requirements are pretty straightforward, but proving them is complicated. You know that something has happened, but proving that it happened is what makes it more difficult.

 

Proving Medical Malpractice Negligence

In proving the doctor’s negligence, it requires evidence that will show that the doctor or a medical professional has indeed failed to act with “due care.” It needs to be proven that the medical specialist has not provided the standard of care that a responsible doctor with the same training, experience, and education could have done. 

The proof needs to indicate the specific and generally accepted medical practices done to the locations and the time that the malpractice has happened. For example, a doctor is not liable and cannot be found negligent for conducting a procedure that is not generally accepted medical practice until after the injury was made.

 

Proving Causation in Medical Malpractice

Proving causation is a more complicated subject.

For instance, a patient may have an existing medical condition that the negligent medical practitioner did not diagnose. The doctor can be found liable for medical malpractice because of prolonging the situation.  

Contributing factors may arise and give the victim more problems. For example, a medical practitioner has failed to diagnose a condition that would have required an operation. Still, that practitioner cannot be held liable if the patient had a bad reaction to the anesthesia provided. For it to have a valid claim, the injury must be related to a misdiagnosis.

 

Superseding Causation in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

Superseding causation happens when the contributing factors have caused the injuries. The doctor’s conduct is so far removed that the injuries would have occurred regardless of the doctor’s negligence.

For example, if a doctor failed to diagnose and caused the delay in surgery by an hour, there was no change in the patient’s prognosis than what they would have an hour earlier. The patient’s only injuries were the underlying condition and surgical anesthesia – which the doctor has not failed to diagnose. The doctor will not face any legal responsibility for the injuries and will have no legal obligation to compensate the patient.

 

Negotiating the Value of a Medical Malpractice Claim

If it is determined that the doctor or medical professional is liable for the injury, the value of the medical malpractice claim can be negotiated. The value may include compensation for the losses sustained by the patient due to inadequate medical care, such as:

  • Prolonged pain and suffering, both mental and physical, more than what was caused by the original condition.
  • Loss of wages for the patient for its inability to work because of negligence and not because of the existing medical condition.
  • Loss of futures earning capacity as a result of the permanent injury.

 

Value for Wrongful Deaths Caused by Medical Malpractice

If a wrongful death has happened, the patient’s estate can be compensated for all the wages that can be expected the patient would have earned if it was alive.

The surviving spouse or children can file a claim for loss of consortium after a wrongful death. This will compensate the family for the loss of companionship and protection that they could have if the patient were alive.

 

Dollar Amount for a Medical Malpractice Case

Medical malpractice losses have no defined dollar value, the reason determining its value can be tricky and hard to predict.

Because the values are indefinite, the bulk settlement negotiations would often focus on the hypothetical values of the patient’s all-too-real losses. This undefined value becomes a target for political opposition. 

Without a bill supporting the “non-economic” losses for every medical malpractice, a plaintiff will not be awarded more than $250.00 for non-economic damages incurred by the malpractice. 

 

Medical Malpractice Settlement Amounts

An approximately $242,000 is the national average payout for a medical malpractice case. This can vary significantly depending on the facts of the case. This brings up the question of who determines the settlement amount: the jury or the negotiating parties?

 

The formula to determine how much a medical negligence case is worth is:

Economic Damages (past & future) + Noneconomic Damages (past & future) = Value of Case

 

Settlement Payments Issuance

Once the settlement is determined, the issued payment for the patient’s losses can be collected in two ways:

Structured payment – The payment is awarded in cases that involve minor or birth-related injuries. The court makes sure that the victim will have money for long-term medical treatment.

Lump-sum payment – This is the payment preferred by victims as it is less complicated and allows more options to set up funds to cover the past, future, and current medical expenses of the victim.

Settlement payments are sent to the victim’s lawyer, who will deposit them into an escrow account. After any outstanding balances are paid off, including legal fees and costs, the victim is paid.

 

Reach Out for Legal Help

If you have been a victim of medical malpractice or know someone who was a victim of an injury that was caused by negligent treatment, some lawyers are willing to help you and get what you deserve. Medical malpractice will have a lifelong effect on its victims. Thus, acting now and reaching out for help can change the life of the injured patient.

Labor Induction and Birth Injuries

Birth injuries to mothers and babies can be avoided by up to 50% with proper planning and better care, based on the National Partnership for Women & Families (NPWF) research. If injuries happen, the medical team, including the doctor, may be held responsible for labor and delivery complications that affect the mother and the baby’s health. At times like these, some physicians may schedule a delivery to induce labor and avoid further complications.

The NPWF identified three situations that can occur at the end of pregnancy when women or newborns are likely to benefit from induction:

  • Prelabor rupture of membranes (broken water) after 37 weeks.
  • A pregnancy that has lasted more than 41 weeks.
  • High blood pressure at full term.

Labor induction carries added risks to both the mother and the baby, especially when not medically necessary, and can lead to an irreversible birth injury. These risks may include:

  • Failed induction: Around 25% of pregnant moms will start the induction with an unripened cervix and may need an emergency C-section when labor stalls.
  • Low Heart rate: The medications used to induce labor such as oxytocin or other prostaglandins can cause abnormal or excessive contractions that can diminish a baby’s oxygen supply and lower the heart rate.
  • Infection: Labor induction methods can increase infection risk for both the mother and baby. It happens when there is rupturing in the mother’s membranes.
  • Uterine Rupture: A rare but severe complication in which the mother’s uterus tears open along the scar line from a prior C-section or major uterine surgery. Emergency C-sections might be needed to prevent life-threatening complications and possible removal of the uterus.
  • Postpartum Hemorrhage: Labor induction can increase the risk for a mother’s uterine muscle not to contract correctly after giving birth (uterine atony). It can lead to severe bleeding after delivery.

In addition, newborn intensive care unit admission rates are higher when induction is present than mothers who experience spontaneous labor.

 

Birth Inducing Drug and Its Side Effects

When a mother finally gives birth, her body starts to release a unique hormone called oxytocin. The oxytocin triggers contraction of the uterine muscle that fuels the process of labor and delivery.

The most common synthetic drug made by reproducing oxytocin hormone is called Pitocin (and Syntocinon). Doctors use Pitocin to induce pregnant mothers to start labor as it stimulates uterus contractions to accelerate labor and delivery. Pitocin is widely used in labor and delivery rooms and is highly effective when used responsibly. However, it can also result in overstimulation and fetal distress that increases the risk of birth injury.

Pitocin is not a harmful drug but can be dangerous if not used properly as it can have a damaging side effect. Attentive obstetricians and delivery nurses can manage the side effects.

 

What is Pitocin?

Pitocin is an artificial form of oxytocin that helps women during childbirth. Oxytocin is a hormone released by the pituitary gland and serves a critical function in the childbirth process. The oxytocin stimulates the muscles of the uterus to contract and start the process of child labor. It continues to fuel the labor and delivery process prompting the body to release prostaglandins that further increase uterine contractions’ frequency and intensity. Pitocin is administered intravenously to stimulate the contractions.

The Pitocin is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream and triggers the biological reaction in the mother’s womb as how oxytocin would do. The Pitocin binds to the receptors on the uterus and activates the woman’s uterine muscles to facilitate contractions. 

An OB-GYN would use Pitocin for one of two reasons:

  1. To induce the start of labor when the baby is overdue.
  2. To stimulate contractions and jump-start labor that is not progressing fast enough.

 

Side Effects of Pitocin

Pitocin is quite helpful in inducing childbirth. Like all other medications, it also has underlying side effects that increase the risk of birth injuries and other adverse effects during delivery.

The two underlying issues with Pitocin are:

  1. Dosage Response.
  2. Hyperstimulation.

To administer the proper amount of Pitocin is problematic because the drug’s effect on women can vary. There are women who tend to over-respond to the medication when receiving Pitocin. Then they will start to have overly strong and frequent contractions. Other women may experience little to no effect with the same dose of Pitocin. 

This problem also affects doctors because they have no natural way of measuring the effects of Pitocin. Another complication is the delayed reaction time to Pitocin as the medication takes effect after 30 to 45 minutes after being administered. As a result, the second dose of Pitocin is given before the effects of the initial amount can be fully assessed.

Another issue with Pitocin is the potentially dangerous side effect known as hyperstimulation. When there is an overdose of oxytocin or the woman over-responds, there is a possibility of hyperstimulation of the uterus muscles. This type of overstimulation can trigger contractions that can be too powerful, too frequent, or too long to overstress the placenta and threaten the health of the baby.

The induction can happen eventually and put the patient into labor, and labor can cause contractions. The contraction can affect the blood flow and the oxygen delivered to the placenta. The placenta is the organ that develops inside the womb and attaches to the wall of the uterus. It is responsible for providing oxygen and nutrients from the mother to the baby until it is born and starts breathing independently. 

Each time the uterine contractions occur during labor, the placenta gets compressed, and blood flow to the baby is restricted until the contraction subsides. This gives enough time to rest between contractions as it allows the baby to get oxygen before the next contraction.

If there is any compromise in the blood flow of oxygen to the fetus, the contraction will worsen the problem and leave the baby in need of critical oxygen.

The hyperstimulation from Pitocin can lead to intense contractions with short rest time in between. It can critically impair the functionality of the placenta during labor and limit the oxygen delivered to the baby. Oxygen deprivation during childbirth can be extremely dangerous and often the cause of neurologic birth injuries that can result in permanent disabilities such as cerebral palsy.

 

Guidelines in Using Pitocin

Pitocin’s inherent danger has led to the development of strict medical guidelines for the appropriate use of the drug. The guidelines give instructions on how the Pitocin should be administered conservatively, starting at a low dose with careful fetal stress monitoring. Once the contraction starts reaching a regular pattern, doctors should stop the administration of Pitocin. If labor is not progressing even after the Pitocin has triggered regular contractions, doctors should resort to C-section delivery and no more Pitocin.

 

Labor induction does not entirely lead to birth injuries. Birth injuries using labor induction will happen only if there is improper administration of the medicine. But with the constant monitoring of the obstetrician and delivery nurses, along with correct medicine administration, birth injuries can be prevented along with other side effects of induced labor.

Common Mistakes Made After Personal Injuries

When we encounter accidents, we often find ourselves confused and angry. Many of the people involved in accidents have not anticipated personal injuries, so it’s understandable if some injured victims are not aware of what to do after a personal injury incident. It’s not unusual for injury victims to make mistakes after having an accident. Some mistakes can be considered not a big deal, but some mistakes need to be corrected immediately. These mistakes can cause the victim difficulty to claim compensation.

 

To avoid sabotaging your financial recovery, make sure that you are aware of the mistakes that people make after personal injury accidents. Here are the common mistakes people make after personal injuries.

 

Mistake # 1: Not Calling the Police

When you have an accident it’s difficult to remember the correct steps on what you have to do after you have had an accident but the most important thing you need to do and should always remember is to call the police. Calling the police or any person in authority will help in the investigation of the incident. The presence of the police is important to identify important witnesses and evidence that can help you win the recovery compensation. Sometimes, the police can help identify the suspected cause of the accident. This makes the police report an invaluable resource for personal injury victims.

 

Mistake #2: Not Speaking with Witnesses

Another mistake that personal injury victims forget to do is not talking to a witness. Information from a witness is crucial in the process of personal injuries. Witnesses may be involved or present at the scene when the accident happened. The witness’s testimony can either make or break a claim. As with every accident, the more evidence you can provide, it is more likely the justice system will be on your side. If you neglect collecting evidence and statements from witnesses, you might experience massive insurance issues or be found at fault for the incident even if it was not you.

 

Mistake #3: Not Seeking Medical Attention

Many people when caught up in a personal injury accident would neglect medical help for some reasons. But if you were a victim of a personal injury accident, you must find help from a doctor or any medical personnel. Some injuries are not visible or internal and some can be readily attended to, but medical attention is also crucial if you want to receive the full amount of compensation you can get.

 

Mistake #4: Not Immediately Filing a Claim

In an incident that involves yourself in a personal injury incident, you must not forget to file claims. For every state, there is a different statute of limitation in filing claims. If you don’t file within the time limit, you will not be able to take your claim to court or proceed with any legal action involving the incident.

 

Mistake #5: Not Hiring an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

When you are a victim of a personal injury accident, you need someone to assist you with your claims and possible court appearances. A reliable and experienced lawyer can help you to carry out your claim and win it.

 

Personal injury accidents are inevitable. In case you get caught up in an unfortunate situation, always have information readily available such as ID, name, and contact person somewhere in your car or your phone. Most of the time, after the accident you will be confused, thus, these details can help save you and win your claims.

Different Kinds of Car Accidents and How to Avoid Them

 

If you own a car, it will be inevitable to encounter car accidents. All you can do is avoid them from happening by preparing your car and yourself, making it safer for your vehicle to drive, and conduct a pre-check whenever you want to use it. 

According to the WHO, approximately, 1.35 million people die each year in car crashes. In some countries, it can cost 3% of a country’s gross domestic product. Not all casualties in car accidents only involve drivers and passengers. Half of the global traffic deaths are among vulnerable road users. They are pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists. 

Here are different kinds of car accidents and how to avoid them.

Head-On Collisions

The most common of car accidents and also one of the most dangerous. Accidents from head-on collisions result in the greatest number of injuries and fatalities. For those who are not familiar with this type of accident, it happens when two cars running in the opposite direction collide bumper to bumper.

There are different causes for a head-on collision to happen, and these are:

  • A sudden change of lane.
  • Road obstacles.
  • Intoxicated driver (drugs or alcohol).
  • Poor judgment.
  • Poor visibility.
  • Vehicle malfunctions such as tire blowouts.
  • Construction.
  • Not following road signs.
  • Distracted driving.

The best thing to do when driving and avoid head-on collision accidents is to drive within the speed limit and avoid drunk driving as much as possible. Check the road if constructions are going on or some obstacles may cause a fatal accident—checking your car condition before driving is also necessary.

 

Merging Accidents

Merging accidents or sideswipe accidents happen when two vehicles merge in one lane and the other car is sideswiped. If you happen to be caught in a merging lane, drivers need to communicate to give way for one to pass. Some drivers are not generous in giving you the road. Thus, sideswipes can happen.

Some reasons why merge accidents happen:

  • A merging motorist is running too fast or too slow.
  • Changing lanes without turning on the signal.
  • Crossing multiple lanes when merging.
  • Cutting off other vehicles to merge a lane or change lanes.

To avoid a merging accident, the driver should always use a signal indicator. If you are changing lanes, change with caution and avoid cutting off other vehicles. Communicate with the other motorists, so they would know your plans in a merge lane.

 

Rear-End Collision

Another kind of car accident that can be surprising and dangerous is the rear-end collision. This kind of accident is caused when one vehicle crashes to the back of another car or the rear end, which usually is in front of the crashing vehicle. Accidents like this happen when the vehicle behind is tailgating the one in front. If a sudden brake is applied by the car in front, and the car behind is running fast and is not able to apply the brake, a collision happens.

The main reason for rear-end collision is distracted driving that is caused by:

  • Texting.
  • Talking on the phone or the passengers.
  • Self-grooming.
  • Eating and drinking.

All of these can cause a distraction for the driver and, in return, cause accidents. To avoid such an accident, the driver must focus on driving and avoid tailgating another vehicle. You must also check on whether someone is behind you before hitting the break if you are the lead vehicle.

 

Hydroplaning Collisions

Hydroplaning collisions happen when the road is wet. During hydroplaning, the tire is barely in contact with the road, this could happen if you accidentally run through a deep puddle, and when you try to keep your car on the road, it starts slipping because it is wet.

When this happens, it is hard for the motorist to control the vehicle and the direction it’s going. Because the car is uncontrollable, there is a possibility that the car can crash into a pole, collide with another vehicle, or fall on a cliff. Hydroplaning is one of the most dangerous accidents that can happen on the road.

Like all other accidents, you can avoid hydroplaning by:

  • Avoiding driving on wet roads.
  • Checking tire treads regularly.
  • Never apply sudden breaks or accelerate further. Let the car coast at a lower speed while using steady pressure.

 

Parked — Car Collision

Parked car collisions or sometimes referred to as low-speed crashes. They can be accidents in parking areas, driveways, or residential areas involving another car or a pedestrian. Even though this is a low-speed crash, the accident can still damage the car or cause injury to the passenger, driver, or pedestrian. 

Cars may not be damaged, but dents, scratches, and cracks/breaks can still ruin a car’s beautiful image. There is a small percentage for the accident to be fatal, but it can cause severe damage for a pedestrian because of external causes.

Parked car collisions can be avoided by:

  • Making sure no cars or pedestrians are coming out of a driveway or parking area.
  • Do not rely on a rearview mirror or back camera. Also, turn around to check if the perimeter is clear.

 

Wildlife Collisions

This accident can be dangerous, especially if you are running fast and cannot apply the brake the moment you see an animal crossing the road. In the US, most wildlife collisions are caused by deer. It was estimated to reach 1.23 million accidents in a year because of deer crossing or galloping on the road.

If you are trying to avoid accidents involving animals, these are the things you should do:

  • Use high beam lights. It will help you to see animals crossing in the dark.
  • Avoid forest areas.
  • Do not neglect the road signs.
  • Keep the speed limit.

 

Road accidents involving cars can be fatal to the driver, the passenger, and the pedestrian. There are road signs that we should not ignore. They were posted there for safety reasons and following them can save lives. If you are driving a car, make sure to check your vehicle before going on a road trip. Ensure that your vehicle has enough fuel, the tires have enough air and check your car’s engine if there are signs of wear and tear that need immediate fixing. As a responsible vehicle owner, you must know what you must do and secure before going out of your driveway. Accidents cannot be predicted, but they can always be avoided. Check out the different kinds of car accidents and how to avoid them.

Getting Traffic Tickets, How Bad Is It?

It’s 8 AM, you woke up, and then you realized that you are already late for work. You start to panic. You jumped off from bed, changed your clothes, and rushed off to your car. Furthermore, you began to drive as quickly as possible to work. You picked up your pace along the highway, and suddenly you realized flashing lights in your mirror. You wish it wasn’t for you, but unfortunately, it is. The police were tailing you because you were driving aggressively. You pulled over to the side, an officer walked to your car, and you heard one of the most famous lines, “Do you know how fast you were driving, sir?” and these are several ways you can answer:

  1. Apologize and say, “Sorry, officer, it won’t happen again.”
  2. Make excuses.
  3. Joke about the situation and hope he laughs and forgets about the ticket.

 

Regardless of what your choices could be, the officer will ask for your:

  1. Driver’s license.
  2. Insurance policy.
  3. Proof of vehicle ownership.
  4. Possibly ask you to step outside your vehicle.

 

And more likely, this can end in these possible ways:

  1. The officer lets you off with a warning.
  2. Get a traffic ticket.
  3. Get arrested (worst-case scenario because you were not cooperating).

 

Getting a Traffic Ticket

In most instances, these are issued for violation of traffic laws. Here are the types of Traffic tickets.

 

  • Parking Tickets

A parking ticket shows how much you should pay to the city where the violation took place. The longer you wait to pay for your ticket, the more you may have to pay. You should read your ticket carefully to see when your fine will increase. Failure to pay the parking ticket can cause you to get arrested, prison time, hefty fines, difficulties to renew your car’s registration, and even get a suspended or revoked driver’s license. 

 

If you think you don’t deserve the ticket, contact the parking agency listed and ask them what to do. 

 

  • Infraction Traffic Tickets

Infraction traffic tickets are usually non-dangerous moving violations or mechanical violations. The most usual infraction traffic tickets are “running a red light” and “speeding”. Speeding tickets are given when you go over the speed limit and usually on or near school zones, construction zones, freeways, or highways. Running red light tickets are given when you should have stopped at a red traffic light.

 

And usually, the officers will ask for:

  • Proof of your car’s insurance or insurance policy.
  • Proof of vehicle ownership. 
  • Driver’s license.

 

Failure to have the proof of your car’s insurance will have another infraction ticket for “driving without proof of insurance.” 

 

Also, when the owner of the car is not present, expected from a borrowed car. The owner will be charged with an infraction, and an “owner responsibility” ticket is mailed to the owner’s address.

 

Mechanical Violations can happen when the car has broken equipment, like a broken headlight. The officer will give you a “fix-it” ticket for a “correctable violation”. 

 

Some comment “fix-it” ticket or a “correctable violations” are:

  • Equipment violations — driving with a broken headlight or taillight.
  • Driver’s license violations — driver’s license has expired or was not present when requested by the officer.
  • Car registration violations — Car registration has expired or was not present when requested by the officer.
  • Insurance violations — Proof of insurance was not present when requested by the officer.

 

  • Misdemeanor Traffic Tickets

Misdemeanor traffic tickets are for more serious crimes. The usual is reckless driving, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and hit and runs.

 

Also, it will be up to the judgment of the court whether it will be considered a traffic misdemeanor or just a simple violation. Some can even be considered a traffic misdemeanor even though it does not involve a moving vehicle’s operation like obstructing traffic with one’s vehicle or playing one’s car radio too loudly.  

 

Signing of ticket

The best-case scenario is when the officer will let you off with a warning, but the officer will more likely write you a ticket. For such violations, he will also ask you to sign the ticket. Signing the ticket does not mean an admission of guilt but a promise to appear in court in person. Refusing to sign the ticket will force the officer to take you into custody and present you in court.

 

What to do after Getting the Traffic Ticket?

After getting a traffic ticket, you should act on it before the due date. Some traffic tickets do not require a court appearance unless you want to fight the ticket. But for other serious violations like speeding or reckless driving, you are required to appear in court.

 

Failure to appear in court may result in the suspension of your license or other fines. The court may even charge you with another misdemeanor or infraction and even issue a warrant for your arrest. 

 

You can appear at court on the date on the ticket or contact the court before the appearance date. You can request any of the following:

 

  • Plead guilty and pay the fine. 

Inform the court that you want to plead guilty, get informed about the fine amount, and discuss how you can pay the fine or ask the court to consider your ability to pay.

 

Pleading guilty and paying the fine can save you time but can also be expensive. When the court receives your payment, and if the offense does not require an appearance in court, your case will be closed. You can also contact the court to know the amount of your fine.

 

After you have paid your fine, the violation will show up as a conviction on your Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) record. This can result to:

  1. Getting points on your driving record.
  2. Your car insurance company may ask you to pay more.
  3. Your car insurance company may cancel your policy.

 

Supposedly you are having financial difficulties and unable to pay the total amount. You may ask for consideration for your inability to pay when you appear in court. You can ask for a reduction in the amount for the conviction, request community service, or a payment plan. 

 

  • Request to go to traffic school.

Usually, when you get your first ticket, the court will allow you to go to traffic school. For other cases, the court will tell you if you are eligible to go to traffic school or what you need to do to go to traffic school. 

 

An unofficial conviction will be added to your driving record after completing the course, but no points will not be added to your driving record. 

 

Supposedly you are having financial difficulties and unable to pay the total amount. You may ask for consideration for your inability to pay when you appear in court. You can ask for a reduction in the fee for traffic school.

 

  • Provide proof of correction.

Providing proof of corrections is for traffic tickets that are “correctable violations” or a “fix-it” ticket.

 

After getting the problem fixed, get an authorized person to sign the “Certificate of Correction” section of your traffic ticket. Show the proof of correction to the court and pay the dismissal fee before the deadline. The court will dismiss your case, and it will not be added to your driving record.

 

Check your ticket or ask the court if they will accept proof of corrections via mail. If they do, mail the signed ticket with proof of correction along with your dismissal fee to the court.

 

  • Plead not guilty and ask for a trial.

You can plead “not guilty” or “no contest” and ask for a trial date. If you have evidence like pictures of unreadable signs or faded yellow lines in the road, you can contest the ticket in court. These are usually for minor cases, unlike some serious misdemeanor cases.

 

Depending on the circumstances of your ticket, in most cases, you should expect a court appearance if you decide to fight the ticket. It would be better to hire a lawyer to help you with serious misdemeanor cases. If you succeed and no points are added to your license, the ticket should not affect your insurance.

 

  • Trial by written declaration

You can also ask the court to have your situation decided by trial by written declaration. This will require you to post the full bail amount. Trial by written declaration means that instead of appearing in court, you and the officer give the judge a statement and any evidence in writing.

 

Trial by written declaration is only eligible for:

  • Infraction traffic violations only.
  • Tickets that have not passed the due date.
  • Tickets that do not require you to appear in court.

What to Do if You Get In an Uber Or Lyft Accident in Baltimore?

man holding phone after uber car accident in baltimore maryland

Here is what to do if you are in an Uber or Lyft accident:

  • Call 911 or the police- This establishes proof the accident occurred and creates a police report of the event.
  • Take photos of the accident
  • Take names and contact information from witnesses
  • Take names and information from the Uber or Lyft driver and everyone involved in the accident
  • Take screenshots of your ride receipt and ride reservation in the App
  • Go to a doctor if you need medical care
  • Call your insurance company- If you are uninsured reach out to an experienced attorney for help
  • Do not speak with other insurance companies without a lawyer- The other insurance company does not have your best interest in mind
  • Contact an experienced car accident lawyer to make sure you are protected and rightfully compensated

Taking Action After an Accident involving Uber or Lyft

As time progresses, it seems that there is something new being created every day. That being said, the ride-sharing industry has been one that has had massive growth with new companies like Uber and Lyft. Both Uber and Lyft have caused a massive disruption in the ride-sharing industry which in turn has caused taxi services to be used less every day. One of the great things that both Uber and Lyft offer, is how nearly anyone with their own car and driver’s license can become a driver for them and make a steady income from doing just that. With so many Uber and Lyft drivers now, the is an arising issue that continues to get worse as both companies grow. The issue is car accidents.  What happens if you are injured as a passenger in an Uber or Lyft vehicle? If you use Uber or Lyft services, we recommended you keep reading so you know what to do if you are ever injured while in an Uber or Lyft vehicle.

 

First thing, why is this different than any other car accident?

This is a confusing aspect of being in a car wreck involved with Uber or Lyft vehicles. They will do anything in their power to ensure they aren’t responsible for the wreck or anything that goes wrong once you step foot into one of their driver’s vehicles. The reason that both of these companies are able to get away with this, is because the drivers’ aren’t considered employees but instead are “contractors” for the companies. To clarify, in the business world, companies are responsible for their employees but are not responsible for any of their contractors. Lawmakers across the United States are trying to make Uber and Lyft more responsible for their driver’s actions, claiming that their drivers are being treated more like “employees” with strict guidelines and schedules rather than “contractors”. Unfortunately, they are playing a dirty game in order to get the best of both worlds.

 

Which Parties Insurance Is Responsible In This Situation?

If you find yourself in an accident as a passenger in an Uber or Lyft vehicle, you might be wondering whose insurance is going to pay for your injuries. This depends on the driver status of the rideshare, and the driver at fault for the accident.

 

If the Rideshare Driver is Offline

A rideshare driver is considered “offline” when they are not working at the time of the accident. In this situation, you cannot sue Uber or Lyft for injuries from an accident caused by an off-duty driver in Baltimore. This would be handled like a regular car accident and you would need to pursue a case against the at-fault driver.

 

If the Rideshare Driver is Active

Uber and Lyft insurance policies cover accidents caused by their rideshare drivers while the drivers are waiting to get a ride, on their way to pick up a passenger, or transporting a passenger. Third-party drivers are covered in an Uber or Lyft accident too.


If the Uber or Lyft Driver is at Fault

If the rideshare driver is at fault, their insurance will cover your injuries- if the insurance allows doing so. In the case that their insurance won’t cover your injuries or won’t cover all of your injuries, Uber and Lyft will. Both companies have insurance policies that can cover you for up to $1 million in damages for the following:

  • Medical Expenses
  • Pain & Suffering
  • Loss of Wages

If the Uber or Lyft Driver is Not at Fault

If you are in an Uber or Lyft but your rideshare driver is not at fault, it will be up to the opposing driver’s insurance, if they have any, to cover your injury expenses. If for some reason the opposing driver doesn’t have insurance or is unknown because they drove off, Uber and Lyft have an insurance policy that covers up to $1 million in damages as well.

 

What Action can I Take?

 If you have been in an accident involving Uber or Lyft in Baltimore please call us at (410) 978-4000 or visit our website at Nick Parr Law and we will provide you with a free consultation to help ensure you get the help and coverage you need as soon as possible.

Adapt and Conquer the COVID-19 Threat

COVID-19

At times I was self-critical of the way I set up and ran my law firm. What was I thinking letting the majority of my staff work from home? I was absolutely insane for giving all my clients my cell phone number. What kind of nut is constantly accessible and exchanges text with clients? Well maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. The natural evolution of my firm created a lean system that resembles the Native American Tribes of the Great Plains. If and when the buffalo move, we can pick up teepees and follow at a moments notice. With cloud-based case management software, Zoom, OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, etc. we have the tools to manage Covid-19’s impact on our clients and our firm.

All Hands-on Deck, Batten Down the Hatches

Law firms are designated as essential in Maryland. Even though courts are closed the work doesn’t stop and the firm remains open. New clients need help and advice and many current clients need proceeds from settlements now more than ever. Being able to provide many of my clients with a much-needed influx of money during such a trying time has been rewarding. I am particularly thankful for my team’s dedication. Their focus and resolve have not waivered. We are here to help.

Turn a Negative into a Positive

The COVID-19 threat and the resulting quarantine has put a tremendous stress on the entire community. However, I can’t help but think that the challenges have made us stronger. In addition, for me at least, life has slowed down just a bit and I get to spend more time with my wife, my newborn son, and my two-year-old twins. Family and their safety are first and foremost during these trying times so take the medical community’s recommendations seriously and take every precaution possible. Stay safe and calm…and #washyourhands #covid19 #corona

Personal Injury Lawyers

nurse holding a patients broken leg in a cast

What Do Personal Injury Lawyers Do and When Do I Need One?

Dealing with a personal injury after an accident can be a traumatizing experience, especially in a city like Baltimore where the rate of road collisions is high. In fact, a recent study showed Baltimore is the no. 1 city in the United States with the worst drivers and with the shortest average period between collisions.) While some cases get resolved without much complication, there are times when a lawyer is needed to help.

What Do Personal Injury Lawyers Do?

Not everyone is fully aware of the role a personal injury lawyer plays. Questions like “What do they do?” and “When do I need one?” are common. There are many ways in which an experienced attorney can help after an accident, and here are some of the ways they can assist their clients.

Explain Rights and Provide Advice

The first and perhaps the most significant role a personal injury lawyer plays is that he/she explains the rights of the client and the application of the law in the case.

For instance, there is a specific time limit within which a lawsuit can be filed that is commonly referred to as the Statute of Limitations. In Maryland, the claimant BP23 — Nick Parr, Personal Injury Lawyers — 072019 2 has three years to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party; they must settle their claim within this period or lose their legal right to pursue their claim for any compensation.

Maryland is also among the few states in the country that uphold the Contributory Negligence Rule. The law states that the claimant will not receive any compensation if it is proven that they had even the slightest contribution to an accident.

Connecting with the Right Medical Professionals

A personal injury lawyer who has seen multiple cases over the years will have developed strong connections with medical practitioners. This experience and business connections will be useful in determining if the client needs to see a specialist for better treatment. It is also important to make sure that the doctors document how the injury is related to the accident, which should come in handy later during a settlement negotiation or the trial. The attorney may know medical practitioners who may be ready to provide some services without upfront payment and wait for the settlement amount, which will be extremely helpful for a cash-strapped client.

Assessing the Damage

Assessing the total damage of an injury calls for another kind of a professional. An attorney may know an economist or an actuary to help determine the right amount that needs to be claimed. Apart from the medical bills, vehicle repair costs and the loss of wages, the claimant should also consider the long-term impact of the accident, such as a diminished capacity to earn. Insurance companies may deny the claim or offer a very low payout that is not commensurate with the injury. It is times such as these that an experienced lawyer can help the client make sense of the numbers.

Settlement Negotiation and Representation in Court

Armed with the complete knowledge of the level of damage caused by the injury, a lawyer is in a good position to negotiate a settlement. In most cases, the injured party doesn’t have to go to court to get the money owed. But, if the claim or settlement is refused, then the personal injury attorney can take the case to alternative dispute resolution forums or fight the case in court.

Professional Investigation of the Accident

If the accident case reaches the court, an experienced personal injury lawyer and his team will be able to build a case by conducting an investigation of the scene of the accident and interviewing witnesses. There may be a need to recreate the accident in the court, and an attorney will know what kind of professional experts need to be called to make a compelling case.

Personal Injury Lawyer in Baltimore

The streets of Baltimore can be dangerous for drivers and pedestrians alike. In the event of an accident, it is better to save the number of a good personal injury lawyer than scramble to find the right information in a very stressful time. Nicholas Parr has experience in dealing with accidents related to car, motorcycle, truck, bus and pedestrians. Call today for a free consultation!

 

 

 

 

How to Choose an Accident Attorney: 3 Factors to Consider

gavel on a document at nick parr law office

Accidents come in many forms and can result in different kinds of cases, such as vehicular damages, personal injuries and even wrongful death. In a few states like Maryland, the “contributory negligence” rule—which says that a person who is even slightly responsible for an accident will be ineligible for compensation for damages—further complicates these legal issues. It can be difficult for victims of accidents to get the just compensation they deserve without help from an accident attorney.

Factors to Consider in Choosing an Accident Attorney

An accident attorney can assist you every step of the way in your legal battle until you receive just payment for damages. This compensation will be very helpful in fulfilling medical obligations, vehicle repair, and getting back to a normal life, in general.

Because these legal professionals can play a big role in the success of your case, deciding which accident attorney to enlist to handle your case can significantly affect whether you win or lose the case.

But, deciding which lawyer to entrust your case is tough. What should be your criteria in choosing an accident attorney? Here are some factors to consider.

License

First of all, the accident attorney you pick to represent you should have a license to practice in the jurisdiction where you want to file a case. (Your lawyer should be able to determine which jurisdiction to file your case to maximize your chances of recovery.) In other words, commission a lawyer from the local area who will be familiar with the local laws.

Expertise and Experience

In addition to familiarity with local laws, the lawyer you pick should also be knowledgeable and have sufficient experience handling similar cases. In this way, they can represent your case competently, drawing from both their expertise and experience.

An experienced lawyer would also be proficient in gathering evidence, finding the witness and filing paperwork within the deadline set by the law. Working within the local court’s deadline is critical in whether or not you have a chance at getting compensated or your case dismissed. An accident attorney’s experience plays a major role in the outcome of your case, so choose wisely.

Trustworthiness

Finally, choose an accident attorney whom you trust can advocate for you. Conduct research and speak to different lawyers. Look at their track records and learn about the experience of their former clients. How well did the lawyer handle former cases? How did they treat former clients?

Select an Accident Attorney Carefully

When dealing with accidents, it’s never a good idea to go through the legal battle alone. The assistance of an accident attorney is vital to saving time and lessen the hassles a legal case brings into your life while maximizing your chances of recovery. More importantly, having a professional on the case can reduce your stress levels.

By carefully deciding which accident attorney to commission with your case, you’re taking the first step toward receiving your just compensation.

If you’re looking for an accident attorney to help with your case, contact us at the Law Office of Nicholas A. Parr today.

What Happens If Your Uber Gets Into An Accident?

Uber accident attorney
Injured in an Uber accident?

What happens if you are injured in an Uber accident?

Who will pay for your medical bills and damages?

There are a couple possible scenarios.

If your Uber driver caused the accident, you are covered by Uber’s auto insurance through James River Insurance. Assuming your driver was “on platform”, James River Insurance is liable for your bodily injury claim. Uber has $1 million in liability coverage. Uber also has personal injury protection benefits or PIP. If your Uber driver causes an accident and you are injured, a bodily injury claim should be presented to James River Insurance.

As an innocent passenger, you are entitled to both the bodily injury claim and the personal injury protection benefits. James River Insurance is required to reimburse medical expenses and/or lost wages up to $2,500.00 through PIP benefits in addition to any bodily injury settlement. Uber passengers have the benefit of a $1 million policy limit and personal injury protection benefits. However, if you waived PIP or live with a family member who waived PIP, you are not entitled to PIP benefits through Uber’s insurance.

If another driver caused the accident, an injured Uber passenger simply makes a bodily injury claim with the at fault vehicle’s insurance company. Uber has $1 million in uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. If you are a passenger in an Uber that is involved in an accident caused by an underinsured or uninsured driver, there is bodily injury coverage up to $1 million. The uninsured motorist coverage also applies if your Uber driver is involved in a hit and run accident. In these scenarios the Uber passenger is eligible for personal injury protection benefits.

As with any auto insurance company, James River Insurance will do everything it can to pay the minimum to Uber passengers who are injured in car accidents. The injured Uber passenger should contact an attorney familiar with Uber and James River Insurance. Nicholas A. Parr settled and litigated dozens of lawsuits with Uber and James River insurance. Contact the Law Offices of Nicholas a. Parr if your Uber driver was in an accident.