FAQ: Medical Malpractice

Q: Do most medical malpractice cases result in a verdict in favor of the patient?

A: No.  Statistics indicate that only about 30% of medical malpractice trials result in a verdict for the patient.  Medical malpractice cases are difficult because patients are required to prove that the doctor or provider was negligent, violated a recognized standard of care and caused damage.

FAQ: If the Other Party Does Not Receive a Ticket, Can I Still Receive Compensation For My Injuries?

IF I’M INJURED IN A CAR ACCIDENT BUT THE POLICE OFFICER DOESN’T ISSUE A TICKET TO THE OTHER DIVER, CAN I STILL BE COMPENSATED FOR MY INJURIES?

                   Yes, you can.  A police officer does not have to issue a ticket in order for you to be able to pursue a personal injury claim against the other driver.  The key to recovering compensation is showing that the other driver was at fault for the accident, and most police officers assign fault for a collision even if they don’t write a ticket.

FAQ: Am I Safer in an SUV or Car?

The debate has endured for years with no clear cut winner.

While SUVs are larger and seemingly better able to protect passengers, they can have a tendency to roll over, greatly increasing the likelihood of death.  Cars, on the other hand, typically roll over less than SUVs, but their smaller size may leave passengers less protected in an accident.

So, which vehicle is safer?

A 2007 report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which focused on crash statistics from 2002 to 2005 and car model years ranging from 2001 to 2004, found that SUVs generally were safer than cars.  In a comparison of driver death rates by vehicle type, 12 of the 16 worst rated vehicles were cars.

Of the 15 best rated vehicles, SUVs accounted for 7 spots, while only 5 cars made the list.  It should be noted that there is some disparity among SUV types as the same study showed that SUVs classified as mid-sized or large were safer than SUVs categorized as small or very large.

Crash statistics from 2005 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) corroborate the IIHS’s findings.  According to the NHTSA, driver fatalities from any type of crash were less in SUVs than in cars, and the gap steadily widens each year.

While safety should always be your number one concern, you should also consider that West Virginians pay more to operate and to insure SUVs than typical passenger vehicle.

FAQ: How Do Personal Injury Lawyers Charge For Their Services?

Most personal injury law firms work on a contingent fee basis, which means that they charge a percentage of the recovery, typically between 25 and 40 percent, but only if you win your case or get your case settled.  If there is no recovery, you owe the law firm nothing, which makes it possible for anyone, regardless of their financial status, to hire a skilled attorney to represent them in an injury claim.  This helps to level the playing field in places like West Virginia where it is difficult for the average person to pursue an insurance company or other corporation.

         

Why You Should Plan Your Estate

We all go through life with the knowledge that death is inevitable, but it can be uncomfortable for us to think about what happens after we die, as a result, many of us delay putting a plan in place for the distribution of our assets.

If proper planning isn’t done before you pass away, what you may leave behind is a distribution that is carried our far differently than what you may have intended or expected.  Problems such as extra administration costs, taxes or fighting amongst your heirs all can result from postponing estate planning until it is too late.

Regardless of how small your estate is, planning is very important.  By planning, you ensure that your legacy goes to exactly who you intend and in any way you decide upon.  Also, planning allows you to save on the costs of attorneys, going to court, and taxes.

The most important estate planning instruments are durable power of attorney and your will.  All estate planning should include at least those two things.  A durable power of attorney is an instrument set up to manage your property while you’re still living, should you ever become incapacitated.  Your will is designed to cover the management and distribution of your property in the event of your death.  Many West Virginians die without wills, creating months of paperwork and stress for their loved ones.

Planning can be a challenging process without the right tools.  It can be especially challenging if certain factors are in play, such as having children from different marriages.  If you have questions about estate planning or are ready to set up your plan, contact an experienced estate planning attorney.

                   

FAQ: If My Child’s Case Goes To Trial Will She Have To Appear?

Yes, there is a good chance that your child will need to appear in Court, but we would only ask that she appear for one day and it would only be for a short time.  In some cases, your child would only need to be there for a few minutes; in others, even if we had to ask her some questions, it would still be for just a short period of time.  Either way, don’t let this deter you from asking about a potential case for your child.

The Facebook Problem

Currently, there are over 500 million active Facebook accounts across the globe.  Of the 206 million people in the United States who use the internet, it is estimated that over 71 percent of them are using Facebook.  What you may not know, though, is that if you are an active Facebook user and have recently filed a personal injury lawsuit, you could end up jeopardizing your claim.

You can be sure that the opposing attorneys will do everything they can to minimize your claim or refute it entirely, and they sometimes find a treasure trove of information on social media sites like Facebook to make their job easier.  For example, if you are claiming an injury in your lawsuit that hinders your ability to move around or perform daily tasks, it’s probably not a good idea to post photos on your page of you playing football or dancing at a club after the date your accident occurred.

Your Facebook friend list presents another golden opportunity for investigators as it can help them stumble upon damaging information about you that was posted by your buddies on your page.

Many people mistakenly believe that privacy settings on Facebook will prohibit opposing attorneys from accessing their pages, but the defense can ask the judge to require written authorization from you for access to your Facebook account.  Even if that request is denied and your privacy settings only allow your Facebook friends to see your page, you still may run into problems.  A creative investigator for the opposing counsel could trick you into being “friends,” leaving your Facebook account open to scrutiny.

For plaintiffs in the midst of a personal injury lawsuit, it is highly recommended that using Facebook be strictly avoided until after the case is over.