How About Stopping Medical Malpractice?

Recent commentary in the local papers has contained several worthwhile suggestions to reduce health care costs. But some have also included the customary bash at medical malpractice victims and their lawyers, and claim the way to reduce health care costs is to put a cap on the damages injured victims can recover.

According to the Institute of Medicine, 98,000 people are killed annually by preventable medical errors. (1) In sheer numbers, if it were listed as its own category for causes of death, it would be the sixth largest cause of death in the United States. More people die in a given year as a result of medical errors than from motor vehicle accidents (43,458), breast cancer (42,297), or AIDS (16,516).…

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Traumatic Brain Injuries - More Common than You Might Think

Author: Attorney Jason W. Konvicka

I recently read an article that stated that a person sustains a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the United States every 21 seconds. In fact, the same article indicated that traumatic brain injuries occur more frequently and affect more people than breast cancer, AIDS, and Alzheimer's disease combined. At first, I found these statistics surprising. I even questioned their accuracy despite having personally represented numerous traumatic brain injury victims over the years. Then, after further thought, the statistics made sense. It also reminded me that many times traumatic brain injuries go undiagnosed for weeks, months, and even years after an accident. In fact, some…

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Torts: The Distinction Between Civil Actions and Crime and Punishment - A Primer


Author: Courtney Allen Van Winkle, Richmond, VA Personal Injury Attorney

Black's Law Dictionary (7th Edition) (1) defines a "tort" as: "A civil wrong for which a remedy may be obtained, usually in the form of damages; a breach of a duty that the law imposes on everyone in the same relation to one another as those involved in a given transaction." The word, "tort" is a French word which means a "fault" or a "wrong." (2) Torts are not claims for breach of contract, except in very special and limited contexts. Torts can, but do not have to, constitute crimes. Actions in tort are civil cases, as opposed to criminal cases. An example of a tort that is not necessarily a crime…

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Motor Vehicle Accidents in Virginia - Why hire an attorney? - Part Two

Author: R. Clayton Allen, Richmond, VA Personal Injury Attorney

In Part One of this series, I talked about some considerations of why you might hire a personal injury attorney, and some ways insurance companies may take advantage of you if you don't have an attorney. In Part Two, I'll discuss some additional considerations.

1. The more money that is involved, the more you have to lose if you handle it wrong. And the more incentive the insurance company has to take advantage of you.

If your injuries and losses are small, then if you make a mistake in handling your claim then you haven't lost much. However, if your losses are more substantial, then you have more at risk if…

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Motor Vehicle Accidents in Virginia - Why hire an attorney? - Part One

Author: R. Clayton Allen, Richmond, VA Personal Injury Attorney

As a personal injury attorney, one of the questions I am most frequently asked is why an injured person needs to hire an attorney to represent them. Here's an outline of how I usually answer that question.

Sometimes you don't. If your injuries are relatively minor, if your medical treatment is for only a short period of time, and if your medical expenses and other damages are small, and if you are pretty savvy about business matters and negotiating generally, then you may be able to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company that will net you about the same or maybe even a little more than if you had an attorney. But that's…

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What is a personal injury settlement?

Author: Christopher B. Cloude, Claims Consultant

Before we can talk about what a personal injury settlement involves, we must first look at what makes a successful personal injury case that leads to a settlement.

In order to have a personal injury case for which you can make a recovery, there are three basic elements that must be present:

1. Liability 2. Damages 3. A source of recovery

Liability is when a person or entity (corporation, association, etc.) is negligent (1) and has caused another person to suffer injuries and losses. The person that is negligent is often referred to as the defendant and the person that suffered the injury is referred to as the plaintiff. For example,…

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The Basics of an Auto Injury Claim in Virginia - A Primer

Author: Attorney R. Clayton Allen, Esquire

I am always surprised at the misunderstandings and misconceptions people have about their rights when they have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Virginia. This article is a summary of an explanation I give to each of my clients at the beginning of representing them. After I give this general explanation, of course I explain how and what parts of this summary apply to their particular case, what additional investigation we will do, how we can best prepare their case for submittal to the insurance company, and what they can do to help get the best outcome in their case. However, this summary will give general outline of what the legal rights are and how…

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You Can't Have Your Cake and Eat it Too


You have often heard the expression "you can't have your cake and eat it, too." (1) But that's exactly what the insurance companies try to do in handling claims. Whatever the situation, they try to argue that means the injured person wasn't hurt very much. Sometimes they create a problem, and then try to benefit from it. Just the other day I had a case with a claims adjuster where this expression applies.

To give you a little history, the claim involved a motor vehicle intersection accident where our client sustained soft tissue injuries. The collision was so hard his car was totaled. Even though there was an independent non-biased eyewitness who told the police officer at the scene that the…

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If the Insurance Company Presents You with a Scheduled Release, Consult Your Doctor and an Attorney

The insurance company wants to settle your case as soon as possible if you are injured and not represented by an attorney. Use of a "Scheduled Release" (1) is a tactic used by insurance companies to entice unrepresented claimants (people who are making a claim to the insurance company) to settle their claims quickly. When claimants are wary and unsure of the claim process and their future medical condition, the insurance representative appeases them with the "scheduled release" and insists that since future medical bills for the injury will be taken care, the claimant is protected against future unknown medical expenses.

Schedule release forms rarely contain a right to cancel the settlement (2)

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Medical Malpractice Reform Debate

Author: Attorney Malcolm P. McConnell, III

Sarah Moss (1) was a four year old girl who had one of her kidneys removed and her ureter (2) attached to that kidney was re-attached to the remaining kidney. Unfortunately, while still at the hospital, she began leaking urine into her abdomen from the ureter re-attachment. Her belly swelled with fluid, making it difficult for her to breathe. Electrolytes which should have been excreted with her urine were being reabsorbed into her blood through her abdominal wall, destroying the delicate chemical balances in her blood. Despite several calls to the surgical team from Sarah's nurse, Sarah was allowed to deteriorate for approximately…

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