Insurance Companies have an Obligation to Act in Good Faith and Operate in the Best Interests of Their Policyholders

By on 2-05-2014 in Employment Law

Carrying car liability insurance is just one of the ways drivers can show that they have the capability to compensate those who they may injure in accidents wherein they are at fault. In the states of New Hampshire and Virginia, drivers are allowed to choose any state-approved way of showing financial responsibility as an alternative to carrying auto insurance.

Carrying car liability insurance was first made compulsory in 1925, with Massachusetts and Connecticut as the first two states to impose it on drivers. Having auto insurance was made compulsory for three reasons:
First, because there were signs which said that cars will crash (probably due to mechanical defect or driver negligence);
Second, as cars crash, someone is more likely to get injured, besides properties getting damaged; and,
Third, which is also the most important reason, to enable at-fault drivers cover cost of damages to victims and never default on making compensatory payments.

Now called the Financial Responsibility law, this mandate is directed to anyone who wants to have driving privileges in the U.S.

Payment of compensation depends on the type of liability system recognized in the state where the accident occurred. In “tort” or “fault” states the victim is compensated by the at-fault driver’s insurance provider; in “no-fault” states, however, both drivers are compensated by their own insurance providers regardless of who was at fault in the accident.

It is but natural for a driver, who diligently pays his/her insurance premiums to expect financial protection from his/her insurance provider in the event of a car accident. According to an Ontario car accident lawyer, however, “most insurance companies operate like businesses, whose only concern is their profit. They will provide sub-par coverage, underpay your settlement, or unjustifiably deny a claim to protect their bottom line. These bad-faith insurance practices are infuriating, not to mention unethical, and deceive policyholders into false promises of coverage. When insurance companies abandon you at the moment you need them most, you are left to pay expensive out-of-pocket prices that cause substantial financial burden.

Insurance companies have an obligation to act in good faith and operate in the best interests of their policyholders. To help ensure that you can collect the total amount of benefit stipulated in you policy, insurance claims lawyers may be able to provide just the type of legal assistance that you need to confront companies that employ underhanded tactics to avoid paying out a claim. After an unanticipated accident or natural disaster, you deserve to obtain the coverage that will help you recover, including damages from medical bills, property damage, and ongoing rehabilitation.”

Traumatic Brain Injury: Signs and Effects

By on 2-05-2014 in Employment Law

Traumatic Brain Injury: Signs and Effects

A traumatic brain injury (TBI), also called an intracranial injury, is a very serious injury that affects the human brain, the body’s major control network for all functions and abilities. Anything that causes a forceful blow to the head can result to TBI and affect the brain’s functions which, in turn, would also affect the way the whole body works.

According to Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), TBI can cause temporary or total functional disability, psychosocial impairment or both, as well as damages in one or more areas of the brain, resulting to impairment in one’s mental abilities, including cognition, reasoning, information processing, memory, problem-solving, judgment, abstract thinking and language. TBI also makes a person more vulnerable to serious illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy and other health problems that can affect his/her respiratory, circulatory and digestive systems.

Some brain injuries can be mild, causing only a momentary dysfunction of the brain cells and short term headaches; most cases, however, are severe, resulting to bleeding, bruising, torn tissues, amnesia, coma, and/or other brain injuries that can lead to permanent disability or death. In its records, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows about 1.4 million cases of TBIs in the U.S. every year, putting it in the list of major causes of disabilities and death in the country.

The most common causes of TBI include: vehicular accidents; blasts or explosions, especially in war zones; sports accidents; falls; assault; child abuse; or, any other accident that causes a violent blow, or a sudden jolt, to the stories of wrongful death in emergency roomshead.

The symptoms of TBI are often not immediately obvious, usually becoming manifest only days or weeks after the accident or act of violence. This is why it is very important to always observe victims for possible signs of TBI, like persistent neck pain or headaches, sudden slowness in thinking, reading, speaking or acting, sudden loss of sense of taste and smell, unexplained changes in sleep pattern, moodiness, and dizziness. If repeated convulsions, vomiting, slur in speech, and numbness or weakness in the arms, hands, legs and feet, follow an accident or a blow to the head, however, then it is necessary to take the victim to a hospital for general evaluation.

Though most of the causes of TBI occur accidentally, the accidents are, nevertheless, consequences of other people’s negligence. Now, personal injury, which is based on the assumption of negligence, falls within the scope of tort law wherein victims have the legal right to seek justice, one way is by seeking compensation for whatever damages the injury would result to. When pursuing legal action, however, it is rather recommended that the victim is represented by a highly knowledgeable and experienced personal.

As pointed out by the Mokaram Law Firm in its website, “Unlike other physical injuries, TBIs are particularly worrisome because of the lingering possibility of cognitive damage that may affect memory, motor skills, and core personality traits. Furthermore, symptoms of traumatic brain injury commonly have a delayed onset, meaning a brain injury victim may not feel the extent of their injuries until weeks later. This can lead to additional medical complications, such as a misdiagnosis or shirked emergency room visit. While these injuries can arise out of unlucky circumstances, negligence from another party is the cause of brain injury all too often. Brain injuries caused by negligence are common in automobile collisions, motorcycle accidents, and instances of a defective product. Pursuing legal action against the liable party, with help form a seasoned personal injury lawyer may help the victim seek the compensation he /she may legally deserve.

The Most Common Types of Car Defects

By on 2-05-2014 in Employment Law

When people buy cars, they always have the assumption that the vehicle was tested safe and free from defects. When purchasing cars on any vehicle for that matter, people expect seat belts to keep them safe, airbags to deploy when there is an accident, and the chassis to remain intact during an accident. Unfortunately, the last few years has seen a rise in the number of vehicle recalls due to defective components.

When accidents happen as a result of defective car components, the driver and their passengers suffer most from the negligence of the manufacturer as well as the dealer of the car. When the built in safety features of the car fails in securing the driver and passengers, there is a risk of serious accidents which could lead to injuries and worse death. While most car accidents are attributed to human negligence and bad driving habits, this does not mean that all crashes resulted from a negligent driver.

According to research, the following are the most common car defects which contribute to serious accidents:

Defective Steering Wheel & Brakes. Defects in the steering wheel and brake can cause a driver to lose control of their vehicle which could lead to single or multi-car accidents.

Faulty Accelerators. Defects in the accelerator can cause the car to speed up. Applying the brakes or using the emergency brake will not work in these types of defects.

Defective Tires. This is the most common type of car manufacturing defects. Cracks or defects in the tires can lead to blowouts resulting to accidents and serious injuries.

Airbag Problems. Airbag defects fall into two types: airbags that do not deploy with no cause and airbags that fail to deploy

Defective Seatbelts. Seatbelts are designed to keep drivers safe. If they fail to function properly, the resulting injury could be serious.

Harmful Pharmaceutical Products: The Fault of Drug Manufacturers

By on 2-05-2014 in Employment Law

Over-the-counter medicines give us the immediate relief that we need from minor pains or illnesses, like headache, toothache or cough and colds; however, for heart ailment, or diabetes or other types of serious health complaints, we rely on whatever drug a doctor will prescribe.

A drug that is perfectly safe and effective can definitely work wonders. However, time and again, it has been proven that safe and effective, at least in relation to over-the-counter and prescription drugs, sometimes never go together. There have been many times when a drug has been proven effective, but not safe. Some prescription drugs have even linked to adverse effects, patient death or abuse, which likewise results to death. Thus, what may be safe for one, may serve as poison (or a cause of another type of illness) to another.

Pharmaceutical companies have the duty to make sure that their products are safe and effective. Even before applying for approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to have their drug made available in the market, this drug will have to be tested. All test results on the drug’s safety, effectiveness and, especially negative effects, will have to be reported to the FDA. Reporting of negative results, though, is usually not made by drug companies who, by the way, sponsor the tests conducted on their own drugs.

There are cases, on the other hand, when doctors commit the mistake of prescribing certain drugs for off-label use, that is for use not approved by the FDA. At other times, it could be a patient’s immune system not being strong enough to fight possible drug side-effects, or a patient having a medical health condition, or a patient taking another medication that counteracts with this new drug he or she is now taking.

Pharmaceutical companies also have the obligation to include in their drug’s prescription label the risk/s associated with using their medicine. Companies which negligently fail in their duty to inform consumers about the risks associated with using their medical product can be sought after by those harmed through the use of their drug to seek compensation from them for all the damages (present and future) resulting from use of such medicine.

The law firm Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck, P.A., explains in their website that when physicians prescribe a medication, their intention is to help their patients find relief from the symptoms of an illness or condition. While a physician may be spared from being liable in case a patient suffers injuries through use of a particular drug, this will definitely not spare the pharmaceutical firm that manufactured the harmful medicine.

What to Do in Case of Elder Abuse

By on 2-05-2014 in Employment Law

If you believe you or your senior family member is a victim of elder abuse, there are steps to take in order to file a complaint. In the state of Massachusetts, complaints are to be filed at the Division of Health Care Facility Licensure and Certification which is the agency tasked to regulate and investigate any allegation regarding neglect, mistreatment, abuse, and misappropriation. They are also the ones who review any allegations regarding to inadequate quality care and ensure that resident or patients’ rights are upheld.

Unfortunately, they are only able to examine any complaints and issues that were submitted the past year. Any complaint should be filed through the Consumer/Resident/Patient Complaint Form, or if a written complaint is not possible, then there is the consumer complaint hotline that is open 24 hours to provide assistance. Emails are not accepted in order to safeguard the privacy of the resident/patient. Crowe & Mulvey, LLP says on its website that when a nursing home abuse complaint has been filed, facilities should have their own process in responding to the matter. Although it is not necessarily important to file a complaint with the nursing facility directly, it is still encouraged so that the facility would have the chance to review the claim and facts presented against them and determine whether they or any of their staff has violated the state and federal regulations.

There are many things that will happen after the complaint has been submitted, among them being the gathering of information to determine any form of non-compliance or abuse that might have occurred, then there is the legal process called Disposition, and many others.