Articles Posted in Personal Injury

Medicare is entitled to reimbursement for any payments that are related to an injury that is otherwise covered by insurance, including self-insurance, because it operates as a “secondary payer.”

This drives our clients crazy.  What do I have medical insurance for if I have to pay them back?   I get it.  Believe me. But under the Social Security Act, Medicare will not pay for a beneficiary’s medical expenses when payment “has been made or can reasonably be expected to be made under a worker’s compensation plan, an automobile or liability insurance policy or plan, or under no-fault insurance.”  So if you have a heart attack, no one is coming to look to you for payment.  But if you settle your case or get a verdict, Medicare wants its slice of the pie.

If a Medicare beneficiary receives a personal injury settlement they will be required to reimburse Medicare for any payments made on their behalf.  To enforce this requirement the law gives Medicare an automatic priority lien against any settlement proceeds in personal injury cases. Almost any party involved in the personal injury settlement or payment, including the attorneys, has responsibility for complying. Any settlement or payment must be reported to Medicare within 60 days and their valid lien amount must be paid.

Defendants Just For Men® hair care products and dyes are sold at hundreds of local and national retailers, including Wal-Mart, Target, Walgreens, and CVS. Just for Men pitchmen like Keith Hernandez argue “Go from Grey to Great” but some are finding an unpleasant catch to the inexpensive hair and beard dye. Specifically, customers are complaining of painful reactions after using the product to clean up their patches of grey.

Just for Men’s manufacturer, Combe Incorporated, hasn’t issued a recall of their hair dye products and most negative reactions to the products are usually temporary. But for many middle-aged men hoping to hold onto that youthful look a little longer, Just for Men’s potential for skin irritation and other issues may do more to harm than help.

Consumer Complaints Old and New

The saying is “accidents happen.” They do. But sometimes people are seriously hurt because of a fall that is someone else’s responsibility.  When this happens, the result is often a personal injury claim.

Despite safety innovations and a growing awareness of liability among property owners, “slip and fall” injuries are unlikely to disappear anytime soon. There are many misconceptions about these kinds of injuries and their value in Maryland courts.  While they can result in lucrative verdicts or settlements, it’s important to know the facts.

Say you’re walking through a parking lot and an uneven sewer grate sends you flying face first to the asphalt. Or you’re shopping for groceries and a puddle of water from a leaking freezer makes you lose balance and shatter your hip.  What do you do?  Do you have any options to bring a claim against the wrongdoer who caused you to fall?   The post is intended to better help you understand the answers to these questions.

If you have suffered a serious ear injury as the result of the negligence of someone else, you want to know the potential settlement value of our case.  The purpose of this page is to improve your understanding of the range of potential value of your claim.  We also have information elsewhere on the settlement value of hearing loss cases.

The ear is a complicated instrument, responsible for a variety of different functions in the body. Injuries that affect the outer, middle, or inner ear could result in vastly different symptoms, such as hearing loss, dizziness, or increased sensitivity to sound. In cases that involve an ear injury, it’s important to get specific.

There is no one-size-fits-all estimation for the value of an ear injury claim, so we have to take the symptoms, type of injury, severity, available treatments, recovery potential, and mechanism of injury into consideration for each and every individual case. With that in mind, this article will explore the different types of ear injuries that could arise from an auto accident or another traumatic event, and provide examples of trial verdicts and settlements for cases involving ear injuries. In addition to the type and severity of the ear damage, these sample cases will give you a sense of how claim value can also vary based on jurisdiction, the severity of any additional injuries, and a multitude of other factors.

I just reached a settlement in a case that was set for trial next week. Obviously that is great news for my client, who now has some closure on a difficult period in his life.

But memorializing the agreement and having the clerk remove the case from the docket doesn’t mean the end of my job when it comes to settlement.

I had subpoenaed three witnesses to appear for trial: an independent “bystander” witness, a traffic engineer from the State Highway Administration, and a police officer. I made sure to contact each of these witnesses as soon as the case resolved to let them know they would not need to appear. They really appreciated that I let them know. The traffic engineer in particular made it a point to let me know how often attorneys subpoena witnesses from his office and then do not let them know when the case settles. Then they travel to court for nothing.

For many lawyers, iPads have become indispensable for a wide variety of my litigation tasks. There are some things that I will never do the “old fashioned way” again. So I thought I would share a few of the ways this new technology has made my life easier.

Motions hearings/Pre-trial conferences: I rarely take a paper file to simple motions hearings or Pre-trial conferences. I will usually bring a courtesy copy of the Pre-trial statement or the motion at issue for the Court, just in case it hasn’t made it into the file. Otherwise, the only paper I bring is a legal pad. For a motions hearing, I use Dropbox to send .pdf copies of the motions, responses and replies, the cited case law, and my argument outline directly to my iPad. I have everything I could need available to me in an instant, without fumbling through a file jacket or flipping through a long opinion to find a particular passage. This makes my argument quicker and more organized, and gives me an advantage when the Court has a question about something that I may not know off the top of my head- I can generally find whatever it is and be able to respond more quickly than if I were using a traditional file.

Depositions: I do these in a very similar fashion to a motions hearing. When I do my deposition prep, I load any pleadings, deposition transcripts, medical records or produced documents onto the iPad (again, using Dropbox). My deposition outline goes on there too. It’s really a great way to carry 1500 pages of Bates-stamped medical records without lugging a long a 20 pound trial case. The only other thing I take is a leather presentation folder with a legal pad in it. Also in the folder are pre-printed copies of any photos or documents that I plan to use as exhibits.

Here is another great real-life trial preparation tip that I have forgotten myself in the past:

Check the weather the day before!

I am finalizing my preparations for a trial tomorrow in a car accident case in Baltimore County Cicuit Court. According to weather.com, there is a 60% chance of rain tomorrow morning. So my trial prep now includes making sure I remember my galoshes, raincoat and umbrella. It is hard to make a good first impression on the jury when you look like you wore your suit in the shower. From a performance perspective, it’s nearly impossible to be at your best when you have wet, cold feet. I know I look like a dork in my galoshes. A warm, dry dork. So I don’t care.

When a driver gets sued for injuring somebody in a car accident, they don’t have to go out and spend their own money hiring a lawyer to defend the case. They call up their car insurance company and tell it that they have been sued. They send in the papers and the insurance company provides them with a defense attorney.

Sometimes this is an “in-house” insurance defense lawyer, other times it is an outside lawyer selected and paid by the insurance company. Either way, the insurance company picks and pays for the driver’s defense attorney. So what you have is a three-sided (or “tripartite”) relationship- insurance company, defense attorney, and defendant driver.

Whether in-house or outside counsel, the defense lawyer has a paramount ethical duty to act in the best interest of his or her client- the defendant driver. This is true even though the insurance company selected the lawyer, is paying the lawyer’s fee, and controls most of the important decisions in the litigation, including whether to settle and on what terms.

This blog has been nominated for inclusion in the Lexis-Nexis Litigation Community’s Top 25 Tort Blogs for 2011!

It’s certainly gratifying to see that the blog’s reputation is continuing to grow nationwide. So if you like the blog, sign up and vote!

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It has been a very busy summer for me and there is no respite in sight. This is a good problem to have during a time when even large national law firms have been downsizing because of a lack of work.

I just finished a jury trial in Baltimore City against two defendants – the driver who struck my client and her uninsured motorist’s insurance carrier. This lady was hit by an uninsured driver. He was uninsured because he was an excluded driver on the insurance policy for the car he was using.

At first, it didn’t seem like a terrible accident. My client first noticed back and leg pain at the scene that got progressively worse. She was taken to the emergency room by ambulance, and during her follow-up treatment she was diagnosed with two herniated discs from the accident. She was evaluated by an orthopedist who said that the two herniated discs were caused by the accident, and that her problem would be permanent. Her medical bills weren’t extreme – approximately $8,000.