Monthly Archives May 2013

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Wrestling Camp Sued Over Alleged Injury

Summer Camp Injuries

According to the Times Free Press, a wrestling camp in Tennessee has been sued over alleged injuries sustained by a participant. According to the story, the camp has been suedKids at camp by the father of a buy who attended the camp. The boy’s father is also an attorney and filed the lawsuit himself.

The lawsuit alleges that the lawyer’s sun sustained injuries to his head and to his brain during a match. According to the lawsuit, the boy was not properly supervised and was dropped on his head during the course of the match. The suit further alleges that the incident resulted in substantial medical expenses.

The defendant’s counsel was getting more information regarding the lawsuit at the time the story was published, but said that he doesn’t believe that the lawsuit has any merit. He further claimed that approximately 75% of the lawsuits filed nationwide are without merit and said that he was in the early stages of investigating the lawsuit.

Activities, Children and Injuries

Lawsuits alleging that children were injured due to inadequate supervision at camps, daycares, schools and other venues are not uncommon. In fact, there are many of these lawsuits filed every year. There are some commonalities between what these lawsuits allege and, in some cases, they do end up winning compensation for the families that file them.

The claim that 75% of them are meritless, even though it cites a specific number, is not backed up with any evidence. There are some individuals, however, who do believe that the majority of personal injury claims filed every year are baseless and this has made it easier for those who want to change the law to make it harder to sue to do so. Several states, including Michigan, Florida and Texas, have passed legislation in recent years that have made it harder to file injury claims based on medical malpractice, for instance.

Determining Negligence

These lawsuits generally allege that some sort of negligence – oftentimes inadequate supervision, led to the injuries suffered by the parties who file the lawsuit and seek compensation for whatever medical and other expenses they had to handle because of the injuries. Establishing negligence is sometimes difficult, though there are cases where it is so clear cut that a jury award or settlement is almost a given. In other cases, the lawsuit may well allege negligence when it did not in fact, play any part in an injury.

Call us at 713-771-5453 for a FREE consultation if you or your loved one have been injured in a similar situation.

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Florida May Toughen Malpractice Requirements

Tough New Malpractice Requirements

Florida Governor Rick Scott will have the last say on a malpractice bill that has passed in the Florida state senate and house. The bill, Senate Bill 1792, would make considerable changes to the way that patients are able to file for malpractice in that state. The changes the bills bring about have riled opponents. Supporters claim that the bill will make Florida more amicable to physicians and increase patient options.

The Changes in Senate Bill 1792

The changes that the bill entails have some patient advocates alarmed. One provision of the bill allows a physician’s defense team to inquire with other healthcare providers for the patient filing the lawsuit. The bill changes the law so that this is not considered to be a breach of the patient’s privacy, something that advocates are very concerned about. The supporters of the bill say that filing a medical malpractice suit makes inquiring about matters that would have formerly been protected by patient/provider privacy appropriate.

The other provision of the bill creates stricter requirements for experts who testify in malpractice claims. The new legislation would require that experts be practitioners of the exact type of medicine involved in the lawsuit, according to Clinical Advisor. This means that it could be much harder for patients and their attorneys to get experts to testify on their behalf.

The bill is similar to other efforts that have been taken up by other state legislatures. The idea behind the bill is that malpractice claims drive up the cost of healthcare and make states unattractive places for doctors to practice. In Texas, where a similar set of changes has been put into effect, has shown that the effects – attracting more doctors, lowering the cost of healthcare, etc. – have not manifested in the wake of that state’s legislation.

What This Means For Attorneys

Malpractice claims oftentimes hinge on expert testimony. Changes to the law brought about by this bill may make it very hard for attorneys to find experts who qualify to testify in their cases, making it harder for plaintiffs to pursue their claims. The bill is backed by the Florida Medical Association. Support for the bill was largely along party lines, with Republicans backing the bill and Democratic representatives opposing it. Some Republicans, however, did express concern over the bill, particularly with those parts that allow the defense counsel to access formerly private medical information to support their defense of their clients.

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Contingency Agreements Need to Be Taken Seriously

Understanding Contingency Agreements

Many of the attorney advertisements you’ll see will make a significant effort to let you know that the attorney works on a contingency basis. This is the common arrangement for attorneys who work in the personal injury field. The very basic elements of this type of agreement are easily understood. The attorney takes a percentage of any winnings that they make on your case and, if you don’t win, you don’t have to pay them anything.

If you’re not careful about it, this can make it seem all too easy to seek out the compensation that you need for an injury that was done to you. Consider the following before you engage the services of any attorney, whether they are offering you a contingency agreement or not.

Check the Rates for Additional Services

Just about every attorney out there will charge you an hourly rate for their services. You will want to get an estimate as to how long they believe it will take them to prepare your case. You will also want to know how much they intend to take in courtroom fees, in fees related to administrative tasks and so forth. One of the things you want to avoid is thinking that, because an attorney works on contingency, their prices aren’t going to be high. Attorneys are very specialized and very educated individuals who charge appropriately for their time. Just make sure you understand what all the charges and fees are before you sign on.

Adding in Fees

Some attorneys will go ahead and recommend that you add their fees into the amount you are seeking in your jury award. Remember that the jury will determine how much money you receive, if any, and they may choose not to put this amount into the award. In such a case, you’ll end up paying it out of your award.

Simply because you have found a good attorney who is willing to work with you on a contingency agreement doesn’t mean that you are getting their services for free. You will have to pay for them, so it’s a good idea to shop around a little bit and see which attorney can offer you good services for the most competitive rates, as you would for any other service provider.

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Is It Worth The Effort To Sue?

If you are certain you are entitled to damages because somebody’s negligence brought you to harm, you may find yourself very disappointed if none of the attorneys you talk to are willing to take your case. It’s important that you understand that filing a lawsuit isn’t always going to do you any good, even if you are entitled to compensation from the individual you want to sue by any rational measure.

In order to collect on a judgment, you have to be suing somebody with the financial capability to pay that judgment. Here are some situations where you may find an attorney telling you what you don’t want to hear and some information to help you understand why.

The Person Is Broke

In some cases, a person may not have any substantial amount of money in the bank or any assets that can be used to pay off the judgment, but they will have a decent job. In such cases, the court may order that their wages are garnished to pay the judgment that they owe you.

If the person happens to have a very low income job, however, there is a chance that they will be exempt from wage garnishment. Combine this with the fact that such an individual is unlikely to have any money in the bank, is most likely a renter and not a homeowner and probably doesn’t have any assets to speak of and you have a situation where, even if you do win, the person simply has no way to pay you. Because most personal injury attorneys work on contingency, meaning they don’t get paid unless you actually get a jury award, they’re not likely to take a case against somebody in this sort of a financial situation.

Counterintuitive Elements

You will need to talk to an attorney about such a matter, however, because some parts of this are rather counterintuitive. For example, if you’re suing someone and it turns out that they recently declared bankruptcy, which may lead you to believe that they can’t possibly pay you back. What that actually means, however, is that they can’t use another bankruptcy to get out of the money that they owe you for the judgment. They’ll have to wait until they are eligible to file bankruptcy to do so again and, in all likelihood, you should be able to collect your judgment from them by that time.

Remember that, when an attorney tells you that it might not be worth your while to file a lawsuit, it may simply be because the person you want to sue doesn’t have a way to pay you, and not because you don’t have a valid case.

That is why it is important to talk to a lwayer before making any decisions or coming to any conclusions. Competent lawyers have the expperience behind them to make this type of recommendation.

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What Are Class Action Lawsuits?

What You Need To Know About Class Action Lawsuits

You’ve probably heard of class action lawsuits and, in fact, you may have even received a check from one when you had no idea that you were eligible to receive money at all before you were notified that you were added to the lawsuit in the mail. Class-action lawsuits are specific types of lawsuits that are oftentimes utilized when there are so many people who have a similar complaint against a company or another entity that it would be difficult to have all of their cases heard separately. There are specific types of cases that tend to result in these actions.

Many Different Claims

The hallmark of a class-action lawsuit is that there are a huge number of plaintiffs involved. In order to have a class action lawsuit, each one of these plaintiffs must have a relatively similar complaint against the entity being sued.

A good example of this can be found in just about every claim involving a pharmaceutical product that has proven to be dangerous to users and, further, that was not disclosed as presenting those dangers when it was put on the market. Because there are specific side effects and symptoms that arise from the use of the drug, the plaintiffs naturally have similar complaints against the manufacturer. This allows these plaintiffs to be grouped together into what is called a class.

That class of plaintiffs will have their cases heard via representative actions. There may be more than one representative claim involved in the class-action or there may only be one. The idea is that this representative claim mirrors the other claims filed against the same entity closely enough that it is reasonable to hear that one claim and to rule based on that claim while still providing a fair trial for the plaintiffs.

Do You Have a Claim?

If you have the sort of claim that lends itself to a class action or if there is a class action that you believe you should be a party to, you can contact an attorney and inquire with them about it. You may also simply get a note in the mail at some point informing you that you are eligible to be part of a class action claim and that your name has been added to the list of people who will receive a payout in the event that it goes your way. These types of claims are very common these days, and they allow people all over the country to participate in a lawsuit that would otherwise require them to travel long distances or to hire their own representation.

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What’s the Difference Between Negligence and Incompetence?

Knowing The Difference Between Negligence and Incompetence is Critical

There is a difference between the words negligence and incompetence. The word negligence is generally heard in legal proceedings when an attorney is trying to establish that their client somehow came to harm because of the negligent actions of a defendant. A defendant who is negligent may or may not be incompetent. A negligent action, however, does not need to be incompetent, nor does it need to be a sign of general incompetence.

Incompetence

The word incompetent simply means that a person does not posess the requisite skills to perform a given task. It doesn’t mean that the person is lacking in intelligence, is habitually careless or anything other than their lack of specific skills.

For example, a person may be a fully competent driver, but put them on a professional racetrack and they will instantly be exposed as being completely incompetent when it comes to driving a racecar. Incompetence is situational and related to the job being performed. A negligent doctor can actually be an incredibly accomplished physician and not incompetent in any regard. It’s important to understand this where lawsuits are concerned.

Negligence

Negligence implies that somebody either failed to do something in a competent manner or a careful manner. A physician who was incompetent in delivering care, for instance, may be found to have been negligent by a jury. A physician who very competently delivered the wrong care, however, would also be likely to be found to have been negligent, if their patient were to have come to harm.

Negligence always takes into account the person being accused of it. For instance, using the above example with drivers, being able to perform the types of maneuvers that police officers, racecar drivers, EMTs and other professional drivers can perform is not expected of your average everyday driver. In such cases, you’ll commonly hear terms such as “a reasonable person” or “a normal person”. These might seem like rather subjective descriptions, but they refer to what can reasonably be expected of the average person in a given situation.

A perfectly competent driver may be outrageously negligent in a given situation. For example, a driver who gets behind the wheel drunk is being negligent. He may be an excellent driver, but driving intoxicated constitutes a negligent act. When you’re looking at lawsuits, remember that words are everything. Keep in mind that, simply because somebody was fully competent at their job, it doesn’t mean that they weren’t negligent in regards to how they made you come to harm.

It is always prudent to consult an attorney in serious legal matters. Most attorneys practicing injury law offer free consultation and in many cases, have contigency based fees.

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Suing Over Bullying Becomes Big News

The sometimes heartbreaking consequences of bullying have gotten more publicity in recent years. With that publicity has come an increasing public awareness of this problem and, in some cases, there have been lawsuits filed over bullying.

Examples of Bullying Lawsuits

The Houston Chronicle reported on March 29 of 2013 that a lawsuit filed by the parents of a student who committed suicide had been dropped. While the lawsuit had been dropped, it does give some insight into the dynamics of what may go into these types of lawsuits.

This lawsuit had alleged that the school district had ignored persistent bullying that the young victim had suffered. According to the reporting, the lawsuit alleged that the child had been bullied to death. The reporting also revealed that there were other factors involved in the death that may have not been related to bullying at all, eventually causing the lawsuit to be dropped.

In another case, an Iowa teenager’s family is in the process of pursuing a lawsuit against the administrators at the student’s high school and the school district, alleging negligence. In this particular case, bullying is said to have eventually led to the teenager suffering significant brain injuries, leaving him permanently disabled. The incident that led to the brain damage is alleged to have occurred when teammates on the teenagers’ football team repeatedly threw footballs directly at the victim’s head. According to the lawsuit, this led to injuries that have significantly diminished the teenager’s quality of life, according to reporting in Yahoo Sports.

Negligence

From a legal perspective, an individual is negligent when they have the opportunity to take an action that any normal person could take that would keep someone from coming to harm and when they fail to do so. It can also apply when somebody takes an action that to any reasonable person would put someone else in danger. To some degree, these losses all allege that whether it is the school administrators, coaches, classmates or anyone else, there was some form of negligence that directly led to an individual being harmed.

With bullying getting more attention in the press and with suicides and homicides both being implicated as potential outcomes of bullying, it’s likely that more of these lawsuits are going to be filed in the future. How courts find in regards to these lawsuits may set precedents that could have significant impacts for the next generation of children who have to deal with this particular threat.

If you are dealing with a similar situation and are unsure of the next steps, call the Law Offices of Blaine A Tucker for a FREE consultation at 713-771-5453

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Can You Really Sue?

Can You Really Sue?

Do You Really Have A Basis For Suing Someone?

Threatening to sue is practically a pastime with some people, but there are specific conditions that have to exist before it actually becomes an option. Unfortunately, for some people who have been seriously intimidated by such threats, the conditions under which one can actually file a lawsuit are not quite as widely understood, as is the fact that suing is sometimes an option.

Damage

The entire point of filing a lawsuit is to get compensation for a real form of damage that has been done to the person suing. These damages have to be quantified in terms of dollars. If you are considering filing a lawsuit, you should consider whether the following conditions are actually true:

You Suffered a Loss

While some of the reasons that people sue a rather difficult to put into financial terms – pain and suffering, for instance – this can be done. However, merely the threat of having been injured does not constitute a valid reason to sue. There are plenty of occasions when business owners, property owners and others may find themselves having a very angry client, tenant or other individual threatening to file a lawsuit and when the person being threatened really has no valid reason to worry about getting legal representation.

Without damages, there is no point in filing a lawsuit. Being offended, threatened, feeling that one has been sold a worthless product or service absent any means of actually proving that is the case and myriad other situations under which people threaten to file lawsuits are really, in fact, nothing to worry about, in the vast majority of cases.

If you did not suffer a loss or, conversely, if you suffered some sort of a loss that cannot be converted into a dollar amount, then you probably do lack any legal grounds to file a lawsuit.

When to Get a Lawyer

Generally speaking, practicing law as a hobby is every bit as useful as practicing psychology as a hobby. While many people may feel they are experts in both fields, very few are. The best way to determine whether filing a lawsuit is actually a valid option is simply to talk to an attorney and to get their opinion on it. Because the vast majority of attorneys who help clients file lawsuits work on a contingency basis, it typically doesn’t cost any money to consult with an attorney to determine whether suing is actually an option.

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Q & A

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Liability

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  • Product Liability Tips

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