NY Gives Nurse Practitioners More Autonomy In Patient Decisions, Says NY and PA Medical Malpractice Attorney

nptoolpictStarting next year, nurse practitioners in New York State will be able to operate more independently of doctors now that the Nurse Practitioners Modernization Act, approved as part of the state budget agreement, has removed the requirement of a written practice agreement between a nurse practitioner and a doctor as a condition of practice.

Seventeen other states and Washington, D.C., have already done this, according to a news report.

The New York State Medical Society and doctors groups oppose more independence for nurse practitioners. Patient safety and quality of care have been key concerns because nurse practitioners are not trained as much as doctors, the groups said.

But the news report says research suggests there’s little difference in the quality of care provided by nurse practitioners and doctors — and that is very troubling.  I don’t know who that says more about.  Should we, as consumers of medical care, be concerned about more primary care being assumed by nurse practitioners?  Or should we be concerned that better trained, more highly educated medical doctors don’t provide any better care than the nurses who are supposed to work under them?

nurse_practitioner_t_shirt-p2356221985832876413o5k_400Nurse practitioners want to work more independently so they do more with fewer doctors available.

Nurse practitioners can diagnose and treat illnesses, prescribe drugs and do many of the same things as doctors. A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse with a master’s degree and training in a specialty area such as primary care.

In a prepared statement, Denis Tarrant, president of Nurse Practitioner Association of New York State, said the law “will ensure that New Yorkers will have access to high quality health care.”

To learn more about nurse practitioners, go to the association website.

Read more about the Nurse Practitioners Modernization Act here.

Thanks for reading,

Adam
__________________________________________

Adam M. Gee, Esq.
NY and PA Injury and Malpractice Attorney
The Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William Street
Elmira, NY  14901
Phone: (607)733-8866
Fax: (607)732-6062
Email: [email protected]


DO NOT TEXT AND DRIVE. EVER.

I am no fan of forwarded emails.  I delete most forwards without even opening them first.  So does my husband, a local Chemung County prosecutor.  This morning, however, I was very surprised to find he had sent me a forward.  “This better be good,” I thought, “or else I am going to given him a ration of teasing tonight when we get home!”

He is clearly off the hook.  The message he sent left me feeling sick and a bit shaken.  I consider myself a fairly safe driver, and feel very comfortable transporting my lovely one-year old daughter around Elmira.  However, I am not immune to the lure of 21st century technology, and admit I have — on occasion — been tempted to break the law by talking on my cell phone or even texting while driving.  I know it is unsafe and very irresponsible, but, like many people, I have been torn between the desire to answer the phone and keep driving rather than pull over to take a call.

I will never, ever be tempted to do it again.

Again, I am not someone easily swayed — or even moderately interested — in mass emails, but the message I pasted below will keep my phone off and hidden from this day forward any time I am behind the wheel.

I could not include the last three photos attached to the email.  They are simply too graphic.  At risk of offending you, I will tell you they show a young man in his 20s who has been literally cut in half.  The force of the crash ripped his torso apart near his belly button, and spewed his guts across the road like disgraced roadkill.  He clearly had no chance whatsoever of surviving.  I have seen a lot of graphic photos through my line of work, but still feel sick as I write this blog post.

_________________________

THIS IS NOT PRETTY—WEAK stomach DO NOT LOOK PAST “WERE NOT DONE YET”

The below photo’s truly tell why “no one” should ever talk on the cell phone while driving.

Take a moment and scroll through all the photo’s and they last 2 or 3 should remain in your memory for a long, long time.

PLEASE SHOW THIS TO YOUR CHILDREN AND YOUR GRANDCHILDREN…CELL PHONE USE HAS JUST ABOUT PASSED DRUNK DRIVERS AS THE LEADING CAUSE OF AUTOMOBILE DEATHS!!!

Look at this, you’ll never want to text or cell phone while driving again!!!

THIS IS WHY YOU SHOULD NOT BE TEXTING OR USING YOUR CELL PHONE WHILE DRIVING.

This guy was texting a friend when he crossed the center line!!!!

THIS IS WHY…

AND THIS ….

AND THIS …

AND THIS …

AND ESPECIALLY THIS …

WE’RE NOT DONE YET… if you have a weak stomach do not scroll any further.

Again, for the integrity of this blog and the crash victim I could not include the final three photos.  Trust me when I tell you they were graphic.  Don’t use your phone while driving.  It is just not worth it.

Thanks for reading!!

Christina
_________________________________
Christina Bruner Sonsire, Esq.
NY & PA Injury & Malpractice Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William Street
Elmira, New York 14902-1338
[email protected]
Office: 607.733.8866
Toll-Free: 800.ZIFFLAW (943.3529)
Web: zifflaw.com
Blog: NYInjuryLawBlog.com


NY and PA Motorcycle Accident Attorney Reminds Bikers to Wear All the Gear, All the Time

This article was previously published on Adam Gee’s newest blog, NY Biker Law Blog.  The original article can be found here.

Every biker should know the acronym ATGATT.

It stands for All The Gear All The Time. But maybe knowing what it means isn’t enough. It could be that some people need to see the disfiguring, agonizing, even life-threatening effects of Road Rash – the awful result of hitting the pavement when not wearing all your motorcycle gear.

I came across a blog post , “Road Rash Girl Speaks Out” where one young girl was brave enough to show some of her scars and willing to describe her long recovery  from a motorcycle accident. Road Rash girl lost skin on her stomach, back, legs, hands, arms – one breast was almost ground off – almost everywhere on her body except her thighs, she says.

The accident was out of the blue – she hopped on the back of a friend’s bike in a casual summer outfit and a helmet. I see girls dressed just like her on the backs of bikes almost every day.  What she and her friend never expected was that she would be pulled from the back of the bike by a gust of wind, and strike the asphalt at high speed – tumbling, rolling, and scraping.

She didn’t die in the crash, but at times she wished she had.  She suffered severe, third-degree road rash – which led to painful skin grafts and skin debridement (the removal of dead tissue).  My clients tell me the skin debridement is more painful than the actual crash, as the doctors scrape and brush at the the road rash, trying to pick dirt and rocks out of the skin to prevent infection.

Road Rash Girl is a survivor. She talks about how the pain helped remind her that she was alive, and she felt so lucky to be alive after the accident.

I can’t help thinking what a shame she wasn’t wearing protective gear, riding wear that could have taken some of the damage and abuse that happened instead to her skin.  It is amazing the abuse that a proper riding jacket can absorb.  A recent client of mine hit the pavement at 65 miles an hour and walked away with not so much as a scratch on the parts of his body the jacket covered.  He had some rash on his knees through a pair of jeans, and a little on his wrists between his gloves and the jacket.  His full face shield helmet protected his head.  All his equipment did its job.

The American Motorcyclist Association has an Interactive Motorcycle Gear Page. It’s the outline of a biker, and as you click on each part of the body, recommendations about helmets, jackets, pants, and boots pop up. You can learn just what you need to get, why, and how to pick it out.

Remember ATGATT.   ALL THE GEAR, ALL THE TIME!  I know if you read Road Rash Girl’s story and see her photos, it’s unlikely you can forget.

Please ride safely out there,

Adam
_______________________________
Adam M. Gee, Esq.
NY and PA Motorcycle Accident Attorney
The Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William Street
Elmira, NY  14901
Phone: (607)733-8866
Fax: (607)732-6062
Email: [email protected]
www.zifflaw.com

My book, “Would You Ride Your Motorcycle Naked?” It is available FREE to New York and Pennsylvania bikers; follow the link to order your copy today.

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NY Accident Lawyer Offers Do’s & Don’ts for Insurance Medical Exams (IME)

MME035In a previous post here on the NY Injury Law Blog, I explained the truth about “Independent” Medical Examination (IME) with the insurance company’s doctor. In the original post: “IME Doctors Change Diagnoses for Insurance Company Exams”, I explained how some doctors deliver the diagnoses that the insurance companies want – because the insurance companies pay fees to the doctors.

If you bring an injury lawsuit or file a no-fault claim in New York or Pennsylvania, the insurance carrier has a right to have you examined by a doctor of their own choosing. This is usually referred to as an “IME” which is an acronym for “Independent Medical Examination.” Don’t let this phrase fool you. There is absolutely nothing that is “independent” about this examination.

An IME is an examination paid for by the insurance company with the hope that they will be able to get ammunition from their doctor that will permit them to terminate or minimize their obligation to fully compensate you for your injuries.

Because these exams are NOT “independent,” I refer to an IME as an “INSURANCE Medical Exam.”

Let’s face it, the insurance company is sending you to THEIR doctor with the hope that they may show you are not as disabled as your doctor says. This is a Dr. who is paid a lot of money by the insurance company to tell them exactly what they want to hear: namely, that you are not injured.

Therefore, the “independent” medical doctor who you are going to see will try to show that you are exaggerating, malingering, magnifying your symptoms, or just pretending.

I wouldn’t represent you if I thought that you were guilty of any of these situations. Nevertheless, sometimes doctors make a “mountain out of a molehill” because they are conditioned to believe that most claimants are malingering, pretending, or exaggerating. Some doctors automatically find, and will testify that the results of their examination indicate that you are malingering, pretending, etc.

The defendant’s doctor is listening to EVERYTHING you say and watching everything you do. He will dictate a report of what he sees and hears immediately when you leave his office.

HERE ARE SOME OF THE THINGS THAT YOU SHOULD NOT DO OR SAY AT INSURANCE MEDICAL EXAMINATIONS:

Don’t lie. Ever. A single lie can undermine your whole case.

Don’t try to outsmart the doctor. You can’t do it.

Don’t drive yourself to the visit. Try to have your spouse, friend or neighbor drive you.

Don’t talk about your accident, injuries, insurance company or case in elevators, common areas or doctor’s waiting room.

Don’t wear dangling jewelry or earrings.

Don’t jump on and off of the examination table at the doctor’s office.

Don’t come in tight jeans or cowboy boots.

Men, don’t come unshaven.

Ladies, don’t come with make-up on or wearing high heels.

Don’t leave the doctor’s office in a running trot or quick walk and jump into your car, because the doctor is probably watching you from his or her window.

Don’t use medical jargon or fancy terminology when discussing your case or describing your symptoms.

If you are complaining of a neck injury, don’t twist your head back and forth when the doctor is moving about the room in an effort to follow his movements.

Don’t discuss money or any plans of retirement with the doctor.

• Don’t discuss your marital situation with the doctor unless the exam is for a psychological injury. Your marital situation is not relevant to the present examination. This is a physical examination.

Don’t exaggerate your problems. Be truthful, but conservative. On the other hand, don’t minimize your problems. Just tell it like it is.

Don’t moan, groan and wince or grimace in pain every time the doctor touches you. No matter how lightly or heavily the doctor may touch you, be natural, be yourself, tough it out as best you can. However, if what he is doing hurts you, honestly tell him that he is hurting you.

Don’t ask the doctor for medication or pain pills.

Don’t talk about your labor union to the doctor.

Don’t talk to the doctor about the insurance carrier, attorneys or the adjusters.

If you have a bad back, don’t bend down and untie your shoes. Wear loafers and kick them off/slide them on.

Don’t allow the insurance company’s representative to be in the examining room with you when the doctor examines you. Simply explain to the doctor that you deem physical examinations to be private and would like to have the representative leave the room. Be polite and sincere when you say this.

Do not discuss with the doctor the amount of your claim or the amount of wages you used to make. Politely decline to do so by saying that the insurance company has that information.

Do not discuss with the doctor whether you have any hearings coming up on your case.

Do not discuss what you deserve for a settlement or your plans for spending the money you may get.

HERE ARE SOME OF THE THINGS THAT YOU SHOULD DO OR SAY AT THE INDEPENDENT MEDICAL EXAMINATIONS:

Be honest and cooperative with the doctor.

Be pleasant. At the same time, you should not behave in such a fashion that the doctor can say you were laughing during the examination.

Be concerned. Be serious. Be polite. Give the doctor accurate, but brief, history on how your accident or injury occurred.

Give the doctor an accurate history of your job details and what you do in terms of lifting, bending, stooping, carrying, and walking.

• If the doctor asks you about any previous injuries or illnesses you had before the present one, be honest and tell him the nature of any injuries you had, and whether you had surgery in connection with those previous injuries. On the other hand, do not volunteer information.

• If the doctor asks if you have had any previous workers’ compensation claims, you should say to him, “I’ve had previous workers injuries” (if that is true). However, you should always disclose any injury whether it is work related or not if the doctor asks you for a previous history of injuries.

Be aware that the doctor is sometimes performing the same test on you in more than one fashion and in more than one way. For example, the doctor may test your legs when you are sitting up and when you are lying down. This is the same test. Therefore, if you complain of pain inconsistently, the doctor is going to make note of it. Don’t try in any way to magnify or exaggerate your pain. Let the truth come out and we will obtain a more favorable report from the doctor. If you exaggerate your pain, or if you are inconsistent, or if you try to impress the doctor with the significance of your pain, this will only give the doctor ammunition with which to hurt your case.

If you are totally disabled, explain to the doctor that if there was any way you could be back at work, you would be there.

If you have a long work history (a long history is 5 years or more) emphasize to the doctor that you have worked for this employer for a significant number of years and you would like to get back to work.

If you have a short history of work with the employer and you enjoyed your job, explain to the doctor that although your employment with this employer was brief, you enjoyed working there and would like to return to work.

• When you are giving a history to the doctor as to how the accident occurred, please mention all injuries that you suffered as a result of this accident. For example, if you mainly injured your back when you fell, but you also hurt your knee, mention that you hurt your left or right knee (as the case may be). If, when you tried to stop your fall you pushed out your hands, mention that your primary pain is in your back, but you tried to break your fall with your hands and you also bruised them.

Remember, the person who tells the doctor that he/she does absolutely nothing all day is less likely to be believed than a person who says, “I try to be active or I try to do some chores, but I suffer for it the next couple of days.”

Finally, ask the doctor to send a copy of his or her evaluation to your treating doctor.

IMPORTANT: IME doctors will often exaggerate the time they spent questioning and examining you. To combat this, it is imperative that you keep track of the time you spent with the doctor. Do not be obvious about doing so but glance at your watch so you can accurately advise us of the times.

ALSO IMPORTANT: As soon as you are home, sit down and write down every detail you can recall of your exam (i.e. time spent with a nurse or doctor, questions asked by the doctor and your answers, tests performed by the doctor, etc.). We understand that you can’t remember everything but just do the best you can.

If you have any questions your IME, contact us. The Ziff Law Firm even has a videotape to help clients prepare for an IME. Please contact our office for a consultation, and check the post “IME Doctors Change Diagnoses for Insurance Company Exams” to be forewarned about this important part of your injury case.

Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions,
Jim
_________________________________________
James B. Reed, Esq.
Personal Injury & Malpractice Attorney
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William St., Elmira, NY 14902
Tel. (607) 733-8866  Fax. (607) 732-6062
Toll Free 1-800-943-3529
mailto:[email protected] http://www.zifflaw.com

E-mail me at [email protected] for two free books:
NY Car Accidents and NY Car Insurance Secrets YOU Need to Know.

Your “Independent” Medical Examination (IME) with the

Insurance Company’s Doctor

If you bring an injury lawsuit or file a no-fault claim in NY or Pennsylvania, the insurance carrier has a right to have you examined by a doctor of their own choosing. This is usually referred to as an “IME” which is an abbreviation for “Independent Medical Examination”. But don’t let this phrase fool you. There is absolutely nothing that is “independent” about this examination. This is an examination paid for by the insurance company with the hope that they will be able to get ammunition from their doctor that will permit them to terminate or minimize their obligation to fully compensate you for your injuries.

Because these exams are NOT “independent”, I refer to an IME as an “INSURANCE Medical Exam”.

Let’s face it, the insurance company is sending you to THEIR doctor with the hope that they may show you are not as disabled as your doctor says. This is a Dr. who is paid a lot of money by the insurance company to tell them exactly what they want to hear: namely, that you are not injured.

Therefore, the “independent” medical doctor who you are going to see will try to show that you are exaggerating, malingering, magnifying your symptoms, or just pretending.

I wouldn’t represent you if I thought that you were guilty of any of these situations. Nevertheless, sometimes doctors make a “mountain out of a molehill” because they are conditioned to believe that most claimants are malingering, pretending, or exaggerating. Some doctors automatically find, and will testify that the results of their examination indicate that you are malingering, pretending, etc.

The defendant’s doctor is listening to EVERYTHING you say and watching everything you do. He will dictate a report of what he sees and hears immediately when you leave his office.

HERE ARE SOME OF THE THINGS THAT YOU SHOULD NOT DO OR SAY AT INSURANCE MEDICAL EXAMINATIONS:

· Don’t lie. Ever. A single lie can undermine your whole case.

· Don’t try to outsmart the doctor. You can’t do it.

· Don’t drive yourself to the visit. Try to have your spouse, friend or neighbor drive you.

· Don’t talk about your accident, injuries, insurance company or case in elevators, common areas or doctor’s waiting room.

· Don’t wear dangling jewelry or earrings.

· Don’t jump on and off of the examination table at the doctor’s office.

· Don’t come in tight jeans or cowboy boots.

· Men, don’t come unshaven.

· Ladies, don’t come with make-up on or wearing high heels.

· Don’t leave the doctor’s office in a running trot or quick walk and jump into your car, because the doctor is probably watching you from his or her window.

· Don’t use medical jargon or fancy terminology when discussing your case or describing your symptoms.

· If you are complaining of a neck injury, don’t twist your head back and forth when the doctor is moving about the room in an effort to follow his movements.

· Don’t discuss money or any plans of retirement with the doctor.

· Don’t discuss your marital situation with the doctor unless the exam is for a psychological injury. Your marital situation is not relevant to the present examination. This is a physical examination.

· Don’t exaggerate your problems. Be truthful, but conservative. On the other hand, don’t minimize your problems. Just tell it like it is.

· Don’t moan, groan and wince or grimace in pain every time the doctor touches you. No matter how lightly or heavily the doctor may touch you, be natural, be yourself, tough it out as best you can. However, if what he is doing hurts you, honestly tell him that he is hurting you.

· Don’t ask the doctor for medication or pain pills.

· Don’t talk about your labor union to the doctor.

· Don’t talk to the doctor about the insurance carrier, attorneys or the adjusters.

· If you have a bad back, don’t bend down and untie your shoes. Wear loafers and kick them off/slide them on.

· Don’t allow the insurance company’s representative to be in the examining room with you when the doctor examines you. Simply explain to the doctor that you deem physical examinations to be private and would like to have the representative leave the room. Be polite and sincere when you say this.

· Do not discuss with the doctor the amount of your claim or the amount of wages you used to make. Politely decline to do so by saying that the insurance company has that information.

· Do not discuss with the doctor whether you have any hearings coming up on your case.

· Do not discuss what you deserve for a settlement or your plans for spending the money you may get.

HERE ARE SOME OF THE THINGS THAT YOU SHOULD DO OR SAY AT THE INDEPENDENT MEDICAL EXAMINATIONS:

· Be honest and cooperative with the doctor.

· Be pleasant. At the same time, you should not behave in such a fashion that the doctor can say you were laughing during the examination.

· Be concerned. Be serious. Be polite. Give the doctor accurate, but brief, history on how your accident or injury occurred.

· Give the doctor an accurate history of your job details and what you do in terms of lifting, bending, stooping, carrying, and walking.

· If the doctor asks you about any previous injuries or illnesses you had before the present one, be honest and tell him the nature of any injuries you had, and whether you had surgery in connection with those previous injuries. On the other hand, do not volunteer information.

· If the doctor asks if you have had any previous workers’ compensation claims, you should say to him, “I’ve had previous workers injuries” (if that is true). However, you should always disclose any injury whether it is work related or not if the doctor asks you for a previous history of injuries.

· Be aware that the doctor is sometimes performing the same test on you in more than one fashion and in more than one way. For example, the doctor may test your legs when you are sitting up and when you are lying down. This is the same test. Therefore, if you complain of pain inconsistently, the doctor is going to make note of it. Don’t try in any way to magnify or exaggerate your pain. Let the truth come out and we will obtain a more favorable report from the doctor. If you exaggerate your pain, or if you are inconsistent, or if you try to impress the doctor with the significance of your pain, this will only give the doctor ammunition with which to hurt your case.

· If you are totally disabled, explain to the doctor that if there was any way you could be back at work, you would be there.

· If you have a long work history (a long history is 5 years or more) emphasize to the doctor that you have worked for this employer for a significant number of years and you would like to get back to work.

· If you have a short history of work with the employer and you enjoyed your job, explain to the doctor that although your employment with this employer was brief, you enjoyed working there and would like to return to work.

· When you are giving a history to the doctor as to how the accident occurred, please mention all injuries that you suffered as a result of this accident. For example, if you mainly injured your back when you fell, but you also hurt your knee, mention that you hurt your left or right knee (as the case may be). If, when you tried to stop your fall you pushed out your hands, mention that your primary pain is in your back, but you tried to break your fall with your hands and you also bruised them.

· Remember, the person who tells the doctor that he/she does absolutely nothing all day is less likely to be believed than a person who says, “I try to be active or I try to do some chores, but I suffer for it the next couple of days”.

· Finally, ask the doctor to send a copy of his or her evaluation to your treating doctor.

IMPORTANT: IME doctors will often exaggerate the time they spent questioning and examining you. To combat this, it is imperative that you keep track of the time you spent with the doctor. Do not be obvious about doing so but glance at your watch so you can accurately advise us of the times.

ALSO IMPORTANT: As soon as you are home, sit down and write down every detail you can recall of your exam (i.e. time spent with a nurse or doctor, questions asked by the doctor and your answers, tests performed by the doctor, etc.). We understand that you can’t remember everything but just do the best you can.

If you have any questions about the above, please let us know now, before your IME. If you have not already viewed the videotape regarding preparing for your IME, please contact our office to set up an appointment to see the videotape before your IME.

Ziff Law Firm, LLP

303 William St., Elmira, NY 14902

Tel. (607) 733-8866 Fax. (607) 732-6062

Toll Free 1-800-943-3529

www.zifflaw.com

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NY Workers’ Comp Lawyer Explains Why He Probably Will Take Your Work Related Athletic Injury Comp Case

Attorney Jim Reed recently posted a very informative blog about school-sports injuries at “NY Accident Lawyer Explains Why He Probably Won’t Take Your School Sports Injury Case.”  However, if you’re injured while participating in work-related athletic activity you may very well have a Workers’ Compensation case.

IllinoisStateBreakout2008CollegeFinals.jpg

You might have a Workers’ Comp case if you’re injured when the employer required you to participate in the athletic activity, the employer compensated you for participating in the activity or the employer otherwise sponsors the activity.

I’m certainly not interested in discouraging employers from sponsoring athletic activity.  I am encouraging employers to keep safety in mind.  For example, some time ago the folks at the Ziff Law Firm got together for some firm sponsored paintball.  Anyone who knows anything about paintball will tell you that you can, and often will, get injured playing paintball.  Beyond that, given the competitive nature of folks at this firm, permanent disabilities were likely.  I encouraged Jim Reed, the firm’s managing partner, to make sure good safety equipment was available and used.  I’m happy to report that no employees of the Ziff Law Firm were seriously physically injured :  )

If you’re injured while participating in work-related athletic activity, protect yourself and talk to an attorney.

Thanks for reading,
Eric

____________________________________________
Eric L. Johnson, Esq.
Workers’ Compensation and Disability Attorney
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William St., Elmira, NY 14901
Tel: (607) 733-8866
Fax: (607) 732-6062
Toll Free: 1-800-943-3529
Email: [email protected]
Web: http://www.zifflaw.com
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/AttorneyEric
Admitted to practice in New York and North Carolina

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NY Workers Comp Attorney Makes the Carrier Pay for Filing Frivolous Appeal

Got a terrific Board Panel decision today that will make my client happy and an insurance company and its lawyers unhappy.  A unanimous Board Panel penalized the insurance company $500 for filing a frivolous appeal.  That $500 is paid to my client.

There are a couple of things about this Board Panel decision that make it particularly sweet.  First, the decision that the insurance company frivolously appealed was a decision that awarded my client a penalty of nearly $4,400.  I sought this first penalty for late payment of his lost wage benefit.   So the $500  penalty for frivilous appeal was on top of the nearly $4,400  penalty for late payment of lost wages.

The other thing that makes this Board Panel decision special  is that this is the first time I’ve gotten a penalty against a carrier for filing a frivolous appeal.  Insurance companies delay and deny and they endlessly appeal.  I routinely seek and obtain penalties when the insurance company delays in paying my clients’ lost wage benefits and I routinely seek penalties for frivolous appeal.  I’ve been trying to get insurance companies penalized for frivolous appeals since I started practicing Workers’ Compensation and I was beginning to wonder if the Board would find anything frivolous.  Well . . . I’m happy to say that the Board will assess a penalty for filing a frivolous appeal.  Insurance companies beware.
Thanks for reading,
Eric

____________________________________________
Eric L. Johnson, Esq.
Workers’ Compensation and Disability Attorney
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William St., Elmira, NY 14901
Tel: (607) 733-8866
Fax: (607) 732-6062
Toll Free: 1-800-943-3529
Email: [email protected]
Web: http://www.zifflaw.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/AttorneyEric
Admitted to practice in New York and North Carolina

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Itching to Sue After a NY Car Accident? 7 Reasons A Lawsuit May Not Suit You

In the aftermath of a NY auto accident you may think a lawsuit is the best means of achieving justice and receiving just compensation. Don’t be shocked to hear this from a lawyer, but there may be some compelling reasons NOT to bring a lawsuit.

gerald-oginskiI’ve been receiving the New York Injury Times online newsletter by Gerald M. Oginski, an experienced accident attorney practicing in the New York City area. Gerald has some great advice and he’s given his permission for me to repost a recent article from Gerald Oginski’s Blog. Be sure to visit www.oginski-law.com to read more of Gerald’s excellent advice on the topic or to request a copy of his book, “Secrets of a New York Medical Malpractice Lawyer.”

‘7 Reasons You May Not Want to Sue’

– by Gerald M. Oginski (originally posted at www.oginski-law.com)

If you were involved in a car accident, there’s an excellent chance that you would bring a lawsuit against the driver of the car that hit you. In this article, I explain 7 reasons why you may not want to bring a lawsuit if you were involved in a car accident:

1. You were not injured. You’d think this was self-explanatory, but it’s not. There are two types of claims you can bring in an auto accident. The first is a property damage claim for the damage to your car. The second is a personal injury claim which would be for the physical injuries you suffered, the medical expenses, your past and future pain and suffering, as well as lost wages and potential lost future wages.

2. Your friends will think you are greedy. Some people feel that the only reason to bring a lawsuit is because you are looking to “make money” off the system, and why not? It’s only the insurance company’s money. Other people don’t look at their injuries as a way to make money. They’d rather go to work and earn money the old-fashioned way by working for their income.

During a trial, a good trial lawyer can make the following argument when asking a jury to understand what his client went through and why he’s entitled to compensation:

Let’s suppose that this morning Mr. Jones put an ad in the newspaper and said he’d give away one million dollars, for free! Just show up at his door, and the first one there will get it. No questions asked. How many people do you think would sprint out their door and race to be the first one in line? Thousands of people would try. But …what if you placed certain conditions on getting that $1,000,000 dollars?

Let’s say now that the ad said that in order to get that one million dollars you had to be involved in a horrific head-on collision that ejected you from the car and you landed 30 feet from the car. How many people do you think would still be waiting on that line? A lot less than started. But what if the ad went further, and said that before you could get that money, you not only had to be involved in this terrible car accident, but you had to have suffered a fractured pelvis, shattered both of your femurs (the largest bone in your body – they’re the thigh bones) had to be placed on a respirator for 20 days, intentionally put into a medically-induced coma for 10 days, and had major reconstructive surgery to fix the broken bones. How many people do you think would still be standing on that line? Not very many, but maybe one or two very desperate souls.

What if we added a few more conditions on to that advertisement, so that in order to get that “free” million dollars, you had to learn how to walk all over again, you had to spend three months in a rehabilitation center, and had to have two more surgeries to fix complications and infections that happened from the original surgery. Then on top of that, explain that their daily activities would have to be forever changed and they could not play sports, run, jog, ski, play basketball, football and everything they liked to do before the accident. How many people do you think would still be standing at the door seeking that “free” million dollars? Nobody.

That’s what a good trial attorney tries to explain to a jury in a significant accident case. The money will help pay for medical bills and modifications to their home to ambulate. It will provide a safety net for the injured victim and their family. Anyone who thinks a seriously injured car accident victim is suing because they’re greedy should read this article. In addition, they should spend at least one day in a victim’s home watching them struggle with daily activities such as tying their shoes or buttoning their shirt. Only by showing someone the tremendous hardships you face will they realize how important it is to obtain full compensation for your injuries.

3. What good will the money do you? This is a famous defense attorney line. This is used during negotiations, and also used during summations. “Plaintiff’s attorney is asking for millions for his client. Think about this … what good will the money do him? He can’t use it. His medical expenses … sure, give it to him, he deserves it. But the millions he’s asking for? No way. His injuries prevent him from going out and spending such huge exorbitant amounts of money.

The reply to this argument is not what you think. As much as you’d like to shake some sense into the defense lawyer, this is a better approach. “Look, your client created the problems that my client suffered. He didn’t do anything to create this accident or his injuries that stem from this accident. My client has incurred medical expenses in the thousands of dollars. Who is going to pay for those expenses? Should he, or his insurance company, have to foot the bill for your client’s wrongdoing? I don’t think so. That only covers his medical expenses in the past. What about future medical expenses that he’s sure to have? You’ve got to cover that as well.

This doesn’t even begin to address the compensation that he’s entitled to for the suffering he’s endured from the time of the accident until today. Don’t forget about the future suffering he’ll have from his injuries and medical care he’s going to need to treat his ongoing problems. This is known as past and future pain and suffering. Thankfully for injured victims in New York, there is no cap on pain and suffering awards.

To answer the question above … it will do a lot for the injured victim and their family.

4. You don’t know a good New York lawyer anyway. If you don’t know a good lawyer, you should keep looking. There are many ways to find a good attorney. Importantly, you want an attorney who has handled many cases just like yours. You want someone with experience. The question of whether you want a big New York City firm, a small firm, or even a solo practitioner is simply a matter of personal preference. Keep in mind that whomever you choose, you must feel comfortable with him or her. Always ask, “Who is going to be handling your case day to day?” “Who will be appearing on your conferences with the Court?” “Who will appear at your deposition, and the depositions of the people you have sued?” “Who will be trying my case if it goes to trial?”

If you don’t mind many different attorneys handling different parts of your case, then you should have no problem going to a large firm.  If you want the same attorney to handle your case from beginning to end, you may want a small firm or experienced solo practitioner.

5. The chances of you recovering money are not good unless you have a significant injury. That may be true. If you have a minor injury, then your compensation will likely be minimal. If your injuries are significant, the compensation you may be entitled to may also be significant. Each case will differ. The answer also depends on where your case is venued – that is, which court it’s in. Is it in the Bronx or Brooklyn? Or is it in Westchester or upstate Albany?

If you don’t have any injury, or the injury was minimal, your case may be dismissed without ever getting to trial. Your injuries may not meet the “threshold” that is needed to continue your case. There are specific guidelines relating to the type of injury you must have to bring a case in the Supreme Court of the State of New York – which by the way, is the trial-level court.

6. The driver of the car that hit you will not like you if you sue him. My response is “So what?” Why would you care about what the other driver thought? You shouldn’t. The other driver was careless and his carelessness caused you permanent injury. If you want to live your life worried about what other people think, then you should re-think what you do on a daily basis.

A decision to sue someone isn’t about whether you’re popular or whether someone will or will not like you. It’s about your fundamental right to be repaid something that is owed to you. When a wrongdoer causes harm, he becomes obligated to pay you for your harm and the disability that he has caused. That’s an obligation we as a society recognize, not just in New York, but throughout the United States.

7. Your picture might appear in the newspaper. In most accident cases in New York your picture will not appear in the newspaper. Most cases are not deemed “newsworthy” by the local newspapers. They’re a common occurrence and unless it’s an extremely slow news day, or there’s something unusual about your particular case, it is unlikely your picture or your case will get any mention in the newspapers.

Conclusion

After reading this article you should have a better understanding of whether you should or should not bring a lawsuit if you’ve been injured in a car accident in the State of New York.

Thanks for reading, and thanks to Gerald for allowing the NY Injury Law Blog to post his advice!

– Jim
_________________________________________
James B. Reed, Esq.
Personal Injury & Malpractice Attorney
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William St., Elmira, NY 14902
Tel. (607) 733-8866 Fax. (607) 732-6062
Toll Free 1-800-943-3529
mailto:[email protected] http://www.zifflaw.com

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Elmira Motorcycle Crash Demonstrates Danger Turning Vehicles Pose to Bikers

Fairing on a Honda Gold Wing

As a personal injury attorney who handles a LOT of motorcycle crashes, I feel confident in saying that one of the greatest dangers to bikers is turning vehicles. As every biker well knows, people in cars just don’t see bikers; they turn in front of them and cut them off not because they are malicious, but bikers just don’t register on their radar. The majority of the motorcycle collisions I handle in New York and Pennsylvania involve cars turning in front of motorcycles, and unfortunately, these types of accidents often involve VERY significant injuries. When a car turns in front of a motorcycle, there is often nothing the biker can do to avoid a collision. The biker sometimes tries to get around the car, lays the bike down, or drives off the road entirely to try to avoid the collision, but the end result is usually the same: a seriously injured biker.

A recent incident in the city of Elmira illustrates my point. On November 17, 2009, a biker proceeding north on Clemens Center Parkway ended up in a collision with a pickup truck owned and operated by Judson Route of Roaring Branch, PA. The Judson vehicle was heading South on Clemens Center Parkway, and turned left onto East Water Street when the biker was so close to the intersection that he could not avoid a collision. The Elmira Star Gazette covered the incident here.

I’m sure Mr. Route didn’t mean to pull in front of the biker. I’m sure Mr. Route is a pleasant enough fellow who would never dream of intentionally causing a collision. But that is the risk bikers face every time they get on their motorcycle; some wonderful person could have a moment of inattention which fundamentally alters the life of the biker and his or her loved one.

To our biker friends, ride like you are invisible, because too many times you are!

To make sure bikers buy the right kind of insurance coverage to protect themselves and their famlies in the event of a crash, I wrote a book entitled “Would You Ride Your Motorcycle Naked?” My book is available FREE to New York and Pennsylvania bikers, and to those whose loved ones are bikers. Click the link above to get your free copy now, before it is too late!

Thanks for reading,
_______________________________
Adam M. Gee, Esq.
NY and PA Motorcycle Attorney
The Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William Street
Elmira, NY 14901
Phone: (607)733-8866
Fax: (607)732-6062
Email: [email protected]
www.zifflaw.com

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NY Accident Lawyer Recommends Free Online Resource to “Sketch” an Accident Scene

AccidentSketch-demo-shotFree is ALWAYS good in my book!

There is a great new FREE resource available to all New York and Pennsylvania car accident victims. AccidentSketch is a online utility that anyone can use to graphically document a car accident. The service is free and doesn’t even require registration!

Why Drawing an Accurate Accident Sketch is Important

Insurance companies, courts and lawyers all require detailed depictions of an accident to successfully resolve claims for compensation. Often there will be disputes about where each car involved in an accident was prior to, during or after the car crash. Ther may be disputes about the direction of travel for each car. There may be disputes about what car had the right of way at the time of the accident.

Experienced accident lawyers know that working with an accident sketch is a great way for your clients to discuss with you the details of EXACTLY how an accident occurred.

I discovered the existence of the AccidentSketch service through the Lifehacker weblog. I think it is a fantastic tool to ease the process of making an accurate accident report – and it puts the means in the hands of the people who were involved in the crash. AccidentSketch is one of those tools that is essential, once you know it’s out there.

One Warning!

Because it is critically important that an accident sketch be as accurate as possible, I would strongly urge anyone who was injured in a car accident to consult with an experienced accident lawyer BEFORE submitting an accident scene sketch to any insurance company. Why? Because anything you submit to an insurance company, even your own insurance company, may be used against you by the insurance company for the other driver involved in your accident. Accordingly, you want to make certain that the sketch is 100% accurate and there is nothing in the sketch that might shoot you in the foot…..

How AccidentSketch works

The software is amazingly simple to use. All of the standard road elements are already created – just put them together like a puzzle to recreate the circumstances of an accident.

First, you select road “pieces” to map an accurate depiction of the road, be it a curve, a urn, an intersection or other type of street. The pieces drag and snap into a grid at a scale of 1:100.

Then select your vehicle type (trucks, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians are also options) and place it in the road map you created. You can choose vehicle colors and input license plate numbers.

Continue to add vehicles and other details, such as traffic signs, lights, arrows, braking marks and more, until you have an accurate drawing of your accident.

You may even create a time-lapse version of the accident, by placing multiple images of vehicles on the map and using arrows to show their courses of action.

To complete your account of the accident, AccidentSketch allows you to type in a text report, where you can explain the accident in depth.

At this point, without paying a fee and with minimum effort, you will have a detailed, accurate and easy-to-follow accident report that will be invaluable information in settling insurance claims or a court case. Check out this sample: AccidentSketch-example.

Thanks for reading,
Jim
_________________________________________
James B. Reed, Esq.
New York Accident Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William St., Elmira, NY 14902
Tel. (607) 733-8866 Fax. (607) 732-6062
Toll Free 1-800-943-3529
mailto:[email protected] http://www.zifflaw.com

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The Big Risk: Lack of Health Insurance Can Cause Financial Ruin FAST

medical-billI recently received a question from a NY Injury Law Blog reader about a vital concern for many Americans: What are the consequences of ENORMOUS medical bills for families or individuals unable to afford health insurance?

I believe the question, and my reply, will resonate with many readers – especially during this time of high unemployment in New York and Pennsylvania. With the e-mail writer’s permission, I have put together this post in the hope that it will inform readers with the same worries.

Hi Jim,

I was reading your article online and was wondering if you might be able to point me in the right direction here, or advise on what kind of lawyer I need to find (there are so many different kinds!) …

If a couple has no health insurance and they get into a catastrophic health issue, like a major disease or accident, what happens financially? Would they be forced to liquidate their house and/or retirement accounts, and other savings?

Could someone’s entire wealth be wiped out? Or would there be reasonable payment plans or other recourse?

Who could “force” them to liquidate anyway? If they owed the doctors and hospitals six figures, could they just pay what they can each month? Can the hospital/doctors “force” them to liquidate their life savings? Does that happen often?

Thanks,

Rick

Dear Rick:

You ask a truly great question. To answer your question bluntly: Yes, uninsured folks can be financially devastated by the staggering costs of medical treatments.

The bottom line is that my law partner, who is a bankruptcy lawyer, tells me that approximately 75% of all the bankruptcy cases he handles are because of HUGE uninsured medical expenses.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, these folks filing for bankruptcy are good, hard-working folks who merely had the misfortune of getting sick.

Medical providers, just like any other creditor, can pursue a judgment against you for their unpaid bills and once they get that judgment they can collect by all the typical collection methods – wage garnishment, liens against your home, etc.

I am sorry to be the bearer of such bad news, but your question brings in to sharp focus just how important it is for people to have health insurance.

Thanks,

Jim

Even though our exchange may not have offered the answer my reader hoped for, I was glad to share the response, and I hope it gives him something to work with.

I feel that it is important to share what I have gleaned from 20-plus years as a personal injury and medical malpractice attorney in New York and Pennsylvania, so I encourage readers of this blog to e-mail me with questions. I may not always be able offer good news, but forewarned is forearmed.

Thanks for reading,

Jim
_________________________________________
James B. Reed, Esq.
Personal Injury & Malpractice Attorney
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William St., Elmira, NY 14902
Tel. (607) 733-8866 Fax. (607) 732-6062
Toll Free 1-800-943-3529
mailto:[email protected] http://www.zifflaw.com

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