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multitasking

Myth #1:  Drivers can multitask.

Reality:  Contrary to popular belief, the human brain cannot multitask. Driving and talking on a cell phone are two thinking tasks that involve many areas of the brain. Instead of processing both simultaneously, the brain rapidly switches between two cognitive activities.

Take the classic example of the act of walking and chewing gum. There is a common misconception that because people appear to simultaneously do both that they can just as easily talk on their cell phones and drive safely at the same time. The truth is that walking and chewing gum involve a thinking task and a non-thinking task. Conversation and driving are both thinking tasks.

Myth #2 Talking to someone on a cell phone is no different than talking to someone in the car.

Reality: A 2008 study cited by the University of Utah found that drivers distracted by cell phones are more oblivious to changing traffic conditions because they are the only ones in the conversation who are aware of the road. In contrast, drivers with adult passengers in their cars have an extra set of eyes and ears to help keep the drivers alert of oncoming traffic problems. Adult passengers also tend to adjust their talking when traffic is challenging. People on the other end of a driver’s cell phone cannot do that.

Myth #3 Hands-free devices eliminate the danger of cell phone use during driving.

Reality: Whether handheld or hands-free, cell phone conversations while driving are risky because the distraction to the brain remains. Activity in the parietal lobe, the area of the brain that processes movement of visual images and is important for safe driving, decreases by as much as 37% when listening to language, according to a study by Carnegie Mellon University. Drivers talking on cell phones can miss seeing up to 50% of their driving environments, including pedestrians and red lights. They look but they don’t see. This phenomenon is also known as “inattention blindness.”

Myth #4 Drivers talking on cell phones still have a quicker reaction time than those who are driving under the influence.

Reality: A controlled driving simulator study conducted by the University of Utah found that drivers using cell phones had slower reaction times than drivers with a .08 blood alcohol content, the legal intoxication limit.

There is a simple solution – drivers talking on cell phones can immediately eliminate their risk by hanging up the phone, while drunk drivers remain at risk until they sober up.

Sources: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration | University Of Utah | The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety | National Safety Council

 

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RonshayDugansFSAPic0902

Our sincere condolences goes out to the family and friends of Joseph Grzeca. The day before yesterday Joseph was killed when a semi driver ran a red light on U.S. 301 near Summerfield, Florida and T-boned a pickup.  And then yesterday a Peterbuilt semi jack-knifed on I-75 closing it down for hours.  FHP stated that the driver “failed to drive in a safe and prudent manner”.  As an accident and injury attorney and a board member of the Association of Plaintiff Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America (APITLA), a national association of committed lawyers who have joined together to help eliminate unsafe and illegal interstate trucking practices, I am especially saddened and upset when this happens in my own community.

While large trucks make up less than 4% of all vehicles on US roadways, they account for over 12% of all traffic fatalities and this number has risen steadily since 2009.  Why is that?  It can be a number of reasons; negligent maintenance of trucks, unqualified truck drivers, unsafe management practices of trucking companies, but the truth is the number one safety problem in the interstate trucking industry for the last 30 years has remained the same:  fatigued truck drivers.

Even little Ronshay Dugans (pictured above), and her family’s best efforts, could not save Joseph Grzeca.  On Sept. 5, 2008, a school bus that belonged to a Boys and Girls Club was stopped in broad daylight when a cement truck plowed into the back of it in Tallahassee, Florida. Eight-year-old Ronshay Dugans was killed. The truck driver was reportedly drowsy when he got behind the wheel. Ronshay’s family worked tirelessly to get Florida’s legislation to pass a law that officially recognized that driving while fatigued is as dangerous as driving while under the influence and declaring the first week in September “Drowsy Driving Prevention Week”.  During this week, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and the Department of Transportation are encouraged to educate the law enforcement community and the public about the relationship between fatigue and performance and the research showing fatigue to be as much of an impairment as alcohol and as dangerous while operating a motor vehicle.

If you think driving drowsy is no big deal, listen to Leroy Smith’s view on the issue. Smith is a former official with the Florida Highway Patrol. “It is just as dangerous as drunk driving; just as alcohol and drugs could impair one’s normal faculties, so could sleeplessness and drowsiness. It could also slow one’s reaction time,” Smith reported to 10 News in 2010.

What is even more upsetting to me is that since the enactment of the Ronshay Duggans Act  in 2011, I have deposed many law enforcement officers who were in charge of investigating large truck related fatal accidents and they never heard of the Ronshay-Dugans Act!  Additionally, they failed to investigate the medical conditions, dispatch patterns, or any other risk factors related to fatigue driving of the truck driver.  If the log books looked in order and the toxicology screen came back negative there was no further investigation into the issue of whether trucker fatigue played a role in the fatal crash.  While drowsy driving may initially be difficult to detect, you can look at the facts of a case and, in retrospect, fatigue is the only explanation for the actions or inactions of the truck driver the moments before and after a fatal crash.

If a friend or relative is involved in a fatal or catastrophic truck accident, act quickly to get the advice and protection of an accident attorney with experience in investigating and litigating claims against trucking companies. Time is of the essence as critical evidence, such as event data recorders, dispatch records and on-board video tapes can be lost or destroyed if not preserved through prompt legal action.  These are businesses that don’t make money unless they “keep the wheels rolling” and don’t want to be slowed down or saddled with what the media would describe as “frivolous claims”.

To all the safe trucking companies and truckers out there, I thank you for doing your part in keeping our roads safe for all of us.  To those unsafe trucking companies and truckers, please change your ways and follow the rules and regulations that are already in place.  They may save your life as well as others.  But if you injure or kill someone because of your unsafe practices and I’m hired on the case, you better believe that I’m coming after you with everything I’ve got.  Be safe out there!

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geico

Happy National Car Insurance Day!!! Well, let’s face it, it’s not a romantic holiday like Valentine’s Day, and it had a little industry help in getting started, but it is reminding us of something important.  We spend billions on car insurance every year and very few of us understand exactly how it works, especially when we need it.  Take time to get out your policy and read all the fine print.  You’ll be surprised to see what might be covered.  And very surprised to see what isn’t covered.

There’s a saying among insurance defense attorneys (I used to be one!) that “the Policy giveth, and the exclusions taketh away”.  What that means is that what you see in the first few pages of your policy “ain’t exactly true”! It’s the fine print at the end of the policy in the “exclusions” that will ultimately apply/bite you in the butt.

Recently I wrote an article on checking your policy for Bodily Injury and Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage and many of you thanked me for the information.  I hope that a little more information on this subject will help you all be better consumers and protect your rights and property.

 

 

 

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Traveling with a pet by car involves more than just loading the animal in the back seat and motoring off, especially if you will be driving long distances or plan to be away for a long time. Here are a few car travel safety tips from the ASPCA website to help you prepare for a smooth and safe trip.

  • Prep your pet for a long trip. Get your pet geared up by taking him on a series of short drives first, gradually lengthening time spent in the car. If you’re traveling across state lines, bring along your pet’s rabies vaccination record. While this generally isn’t a problem, some states require this proof at certain interstate crossings.
  • Keep your pets safe and secure in a well-ventilated crate or carrier. The crate should be large enough for your pet to stand, sit, lie down and turn around in. Secure your pet’s crate so it will not slide or shift in the event of an abrupt stop. If you decide to forgo the crate, don’t allow your pet to ride with his head outside the window, and always keep him in the back seat in a harness attached to a seat buckle.
  • Prep a pet-friendly travel kit. Bring food, a bowl, leash, a waste scoop, plastic bags, grooming supplies, medication and first-aid, and any travel documents. Pack a favorite toy or pillow to give your pet a sense of familiarity. Be sure to pack plenty of water, and avoid feeding your pet in a moving vehicle. Your pet’s travel-feeding schedule should start with a light meal three to four hours prior to departure, and always opt for bottled water. Drinking water from an area he or she isn’t used to could result in stomach discomfort.
  • Never leave your animal alone in a parked vehicle. On a hot day, even with the windows open, a parked automobile can become a furnace in no time, and heatstroke can develop. In cold weather, a car can act as a refrigerator, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.

If you or your passengers are injured in an auto accident, auto insurance coverage will cover your medical bills and expenses. But what if you’re in a car accident and your pet is injured?

Car insurance and pet coverage

Whether your pet is covered depends on your policy and auto insurance company. Most insurance companies provide no coverage for pet passengers, but some offer special coverage for pets, regardless of fault. Progressive, for example, has special injury coverage of up to $1,000 for pets. It’s built into collision coverage, so you must purchase that to ensure your pets are covered.

However, if your pet is seriously injured, $1,000 will cover some, but not all, of your veterinary bills. Vet bills for injured pets can reach into the thousands, depending on the extent of the injuries and the treatment required.

Check with your insurance agent to obtain coverage or see if your pets are already covered in your policy.  Pets are members of the family, and I want your whole family to be safe out there!

 

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We’ve all heard the stories and seen the horrific results of what can happen when a large truck collides with a passenger vehicle. Large trucks account for only about 3% of auto accidents, yet because of their sheer size and weight, a semi-truck or 18-wheeler can cause incredible damage to the other vehicles involved and their passengers.

Each year big trucks are involved in accidents that cause approximately 5,000 fatalities and 130,000 injuries. According to the US Department of Transportation, 333,000 large trucks were involved in traffic crashes during 2012 alone. Often these accidents are the result of trucking safety or driving law violations. State and federal regulations often come into play in a truck collision. Truck accident cases can be complicated because the truck, trailer and contents can be owned by different companies and operated by yet other independent companies. For this reason, it’s imperative that you work with a Florida truck accident attorney who is skilled in this area of litigation.

I am on the National Advisory Board of the Association of Plaintiff’s Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America (APITLA) and I often speak to other attorneys around the nation on this very complex area of the law.

Have you or someone you love been injured in a truck accident as a result of someone else’s negligence? It is important that you contact an experienced trucking lawyer as soon as possible. The preservation of evidence needed to prove your claim is of utmost importance and may be lost or destroyed if not preserved immediately.

 

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Working the night shift is a known health hazard. Scientists theorize that staying awake at night goes against our natural circadian rhythm, the body’s internal clock, which is why people who work after hours are more prone to heart attacks, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, stroke and depression.

According to Anna Almendrala, who is a Healthy Living editor for the Huffington Post, the drive home after a night shift can be hazardous too, which confirms a small but compelling new study involving a global team of researchers from Boston and Australia. They conducted daytime driving tests on a closed driving track among 16 night shift workers who had just come off the job. The study found that the volunteers’ driving was dangerously worse after work than if they’d had a full night’s sleep.

Six of the participants (37.5 percent) had 11 near-crashes during the driving test, which required the safety supervisors to use their emergency brakes to prevent a collision. The researchers terminated the two-hour driving test early for seven participants (43.8 percent) over concerns for the safety of everyone in the car. Based on the numbers, the researchers suggest that the night shift workers and their employers find a way for workers to get home that doesn’t involve getting into the driver’s seat of a car, or come up with strategies to reduce drowsiness after a shift.

“These findings help to explain why night shift workers have so many more motor vehicle crashes than day workers, particularly during the commute home,” said study co-author Dr. Charles A. Czeisler, chief of the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, in a statement.

The study is the first time researchers have assessed the impact of night shift work on driving in real vehicles, as opposed to using a simulated method.

After sleeping almost eight hours the night before with no shift work, the 16 participants had zero near-crashes — and all finished the agreed-upon two-hour driving test. But when participants went through the same test after a night shift (at this point, it had been an average of 13 hours since their last sleep), there was a statistically significant increase in lane drifting, slow eye movements and “microsleep episodes” — temporary shut-eye that last more than three seconds.

All of the near-crashes occurred after at least 45 minutes into the driving test. About 15 percent of workers in the U.S. drive more than 45 minutes each way of their commute, the study notes. The researchers wrote that the safety supervisors who accompanied participants on these driving tests could tell that the workers were drowsy and impaired within the first 15 minutes of the drive.

The experiment, published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was conducted on a driving track that belongs to vehicle insurer Liberty Mutual Insurance. In an emailed statement to The Huffington Post, the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety said that they hope “a deeper understanding of the mechanisms involved in drowsy driving can lead to effective prevention strategies that would help alleviate this major public health concern.”

There are several limitations of the study. One in particular is that the driving tests took place on a closed driving track with a simple design relative to real streets. Even though this means the participants were driving real cars, they were not encountering real-life commuting challenges like the behavior of other cars, pedestrian traffic and complex road navigation. The additional challenges of a real commute may actually serve to enhance wakefulness in drivers, as the higher stakes might force them to be more alert, the researchers note.

The study’s observation methods — like having to stop the driving test every 15 minutes to survey the driving participants, asking the drivers to attach EEG electrodes to their heads to measure the microsleep episodes and making them wear special glasses to measure the speed of their eye movements and how long they blinked — may have artificially made the participants more alert than they’d normally be on a real drive home. Yet, Czeisler points out, all these conditions, the monitoring measures and added social pressure, couldn’t keep about 44 percent of participants alert enough to complete the driving test.

“This was real driving in an actual car, putting everyone involved in the experiment at considerable risk,” he said. “And yet the impairment still came through, which shows just how strong the biological drive for sleep is.”

 

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download
 

It’s almost the New Year, which means it’s time to reflect on the past and make New Year’s resolutions to make your next year all the better; this includes a review of your current auto insurance policy. That’s right – the holidays are the perfect moment to make sure you aren’t overlooking anything in the upcoming year that would protect your ass–sets from liability.

The first thing you should do is check out your policy to make sure that you have:

 

Do I have enough Bodily Injury coverage (BI)?

Bodily injury liability provides coverage in case you cause an auto accident in which another person (or people) is hurt. It covers the damages that you’re legally responsible for, and provides a legal defense if someone sues you for damages.  There is no legal requirement in Florida that a person have bodily injury liability coverage.

Bodily Injury liability limits are typically shown like this: $50,000/$100,000.
The first number represents the highest amount any one person could be paid arising out of one accident.  The second number represents the total amount of money it would pay out for that one accident, regardless of the number of claimants.

How much coverage do I need?  When choosing your Bodily Injury liability limits, you should consider all of your assets, including your home and future earnings. Why? Because if you don’t have enough coverage to protect all of your assets, those assets could be at risk if you’re liable for damages that exceed your coverage limit.

 Do I have Under-insured/Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM)?

 As the name suggests, an uninsured driver is someone without an auto insurance policy. But, what does it mean to be under-insured? Let’s say you’re involved in a crash in which the other driver is at fault. You find out the other driver only has $10,000 in bodily injury liability limits and it’s not nearly enough to cover your medical bills for your injuries. In this case, the other driver would be considered under-insured—meaning that they have an auto insurance policy, but it’s just not enough to cover all of your damages.

UM/UIM coverage is designed to help you pay for bills and damages associated with a crash that was caused by another person who either doesn’t have an auto insurance policy or has a policy with liability limits that are too low to cover the costs and all damages associated with a covered loss.

This is something you’ll need to think about, as the limits for uninsured and under-insured motorist coverage can range from $10,000 to over $1 million. Some people choose a limit equal to their bodily injury liability limit, but that’s not always a requirement. For help deciding, you may want to consider a number of factors, including what kind of health insurance you have and whether you have access to short- and long-term disability through your employer to ensure you don’t lose out on wages if you’re too injured to work.

What does UM/UIM Insurance typically cover? With this policy, your insurance company basically steps into the shoes of the at-fault driver, therefore, it covers the same damages as bodily injury liability insurance: past and future medical expenses, past and future lost wages and, if you are permanently injured, past and future non-economic damages like pain, suffering, scarring, disfigurement and loss of the ability to enjoy life.

In addition to injuries to the driver or car owner who has UM/UIM, the bodily injury portion of uninsured and under-insured motorist coverage may also cover injuries to your passengers or family members who are driving the vehicle at the time of such a crash. UM/UIM coverage also follows the insured.  For example, if you are a passenger in your friends car and an under-insured motorist injures you when he crashes into your friends car, your policy will cover your damages not covered by the at-fault driver to the limits of your UM/UIM policy.

The Insurance Research Council estimated in 2011 that chances are about one in seven that a driver in the U.S. is uninsured. With that in mind, you should talk to an auto insurance agent today about your options to protect yourself.

Let’s start off the New Year with the great feeling that at least one of your resolutions was actually done!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! The holidays are right around the corner and for those of us who will be buying toys for the children in our families; it can be tough to find the perfect toys we know they will enjoy. Maybe we should also be concerned about the safety of those toys.

Each year, more than 120,001098482_630x3540 children under the age of 14 are treated in hospital emergency rooms for toy-related injuries, with choking being the number one cause, according to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign. Even innocent-looking toys — such as marbles and balloons — can present a choking hazard to small children. The Child Safety Protection Act, a federal toy-labeling law, requires manufacturers to place warning labels on toys that pose a choking hazard to young children.  Check out the Ten Worst Toys on the W.A.T.C.H.’s website here: http://toysafety.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/2015-10-Worst-WITH-
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When selecting a toy for your child, the National SAFE KIDS Campaign recommends you avoid the following:

  1. Toys with small, removable parts: Small parts can pose a choking hazard to children under age 3. Use a small parts tester (a plastic tube you can buy at a toy or baby specialty store) to measure the size of the toy or part. If the piece fits entirely inside the tube, then it’s considered a choking hazard.
  2. Toys with sharp points or edges: Children may unintentionally cut themselves or another person.
  3. Toys that make loud noises: Noisemaking toys, such as toy guns and high-volume portable cassette recorders, can permanently impair a child’s hearing.
  4. Propelled toy darts and other projectiles: Propelled toys can cause cuts or serious eye injuries.
  5. Toys with strings, straps, or cords longer than seven inches: Long strings and cords could wrap around a child’s neck and strangle him.
  6. Toys painted with lead-based paint: Exposure to lead can result in lead poisoning, causing serious damage to a child’s brain, kidneys, and nervous system.
  7. Toy cap guns: Paper roll, strip, or ring caps can be ignited by the slightest friction, and can cause serious burns.

There are millions of toys out there, and hundreds of new ones come along every year. The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) is responsible for monitoring and regulating toys that are made in our country, and those that enter our country, mainly from China. However, even still today, they somehow fail to detect quality or safety issues prior to the sale of some toys, and they are placed on the market regardless of their dangers.

When CPSC begins receiving reports of children becoming injured or even killed by a toy, only then do they consider taking it off the market, when it’s too late for the victims. But, how would we feel if one of our own children became seriously injured as a result of playing with a dangerous toy before it was banned from shelves? Because so many toys are recalled (especially those that are imported from other countries), you would think there would be no way children in America could be harmed by a dangerous toy. Yet, it still happens.

I sincerely wish you all a safe and happy holiday this year, Marianne

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For many, the winter holidays are a time of joy, celebration and tradition. Decorating your home, yard or office is a fun, festive way to celebrate the season. A little planning can help you enjoy your display all season long. Following are some tips to help keep your family and friends safe around your decorative displays.

Planning your Holiday Display

  • Plan your display according to the number and location of available outlets, and avoid overloading electrical outlets.
  • Use lights that have been tested for safety – look for a certification mark from UL, CSA, ETL or other nationally-recognized laboratories. Consider using LED lights when possible – they run cooler, use less energy and last longer than incandescent lights.
  • Never exceed the maximum number of strings or devices that may be linked together, as indicated on decoration packaging.
  • Carefully inspect all lights and decorations for cracks, damaged sockets and loose or bare wires prior to use – these defects can cause a serious fire or shock.


Decorating Safely

  • When decorating the outside of your home, keep yourself, your decorations and equipment at least 10 feet from power lines. Make sure decorations are well-ventilated, protected from weather and a safe distance away from flammable items.
  • Use wooden or fiberglass ladders when putting up electrical décor and lights outside as metal ladders conduct electricity.
  • Unplug electric lights, devices and decorations before installing or replacing bulbs, changing parts or attempting other repairs.
  • Plug all outdoor lights and decorations into ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) to reduce the risk of electric shock. Portable GFCIs for outdoor use can be purchased where electrical supplies are sold.
  • Secure lights, decorations and cords to prevent wind damage. Never staple, nail through or fasten electrical wires or extensions cords in any way that might damage the wire or insulation. This could cause electrical shock or fire.


During the Holidays 

  • Turn off all lights and electrical decorations before leaving your home or office, or going to bed.
  • If possible, use battery-operated candles in place of traditional candles to avoid the hazards of an open flame. If you choose to light candles, place them away from flammable or combustible materials, including other decorations, fabrics, plastic or paper products.
  • Do not put candles in places where they might be easily knocked over, and never leave a lit candle unattended.
  • Extinguish all candles before leaving a room or going to bed.


Packing and Storage

  • Inspect and discard damaged decorations prior to packing and storing them.
  • Store decorations in a dry location that is out of the reach of children and pets, as well as heat sources and open flames.
  • Stack boxes in a corner or other stable location, and never higher than eye level to avoid injury or damage from toppling.

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oic
“All men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong, and repairs the evil. The only crime is pride.”— Sophocles, Antigone”

In an article written by Shefali Luthra on November 9, 2015 in the Washington Post, she tells the story of Charles Thompson of Greenville, S.C.

Mr. Thompson checked into the hospital one July morning in 2011, expecting a standard colonoscopy. He never anticipated how wrong things would go.

Partway through, a doctor emerged from the operating room to tell Thompson’s wife, Ann, that there had been complications: His colon may have been punctured. He needed emergency surgery.

Thompson, now 61, almost died on the operating table after experiencing cardiac distress. His right coronary artery required multiple stents. He also relies on a pacemaker.

“He’s not the same as before,” said Ann Thompson, 62. “Our whole lifestyle changed — now all we do is sit at home and go to church. And that’s because he’s scared of dying.”

When things like this happen, questions arise: Who’s responsible? If treatment makes things worse — meaning that a patient needs more care than expected — who pays?

It depends.

Despite provisions in the 2010 health law that put added emphasis on quality of care, entering the hospital still carries risk. Whether because of mistakes, infections or plain bad luck, those who go in don’t always come out better.

More than 400,000 Americans die annually in part because of avoidable medical errors, according to a 2013 estimate published in the Journal of Patient Safety. In 2008, the most recent year studied, medical errors cost the country $19.5 billion, most of which was spent on extra care and medication, according to another report.

If a problem such as Thompson’s stemmed from negligence, a malpractice lawsuit may be an option. But lawyers who collect only when there’s a settlement or a victory may not take on a case unless it’s exceptionally clear that the doctor or hospital was at fault.

That creates a Catch-22, said John Goldberg, a Professor at Harvard Law School and an expert in tort law. “We’ll never know if something has happened because of malpractice,” he said, “because it’s not financially viable to bring a lawsuit.” That leaves the patient responsible for extra costs.

Ann and Charles Thompson maintain that he experienced an avoidable error. The hospital denied wrongdoing, she said, but the physician’s notes indicated they had been advised of the risks of the procedure, including injury to the colon. The Thompsons tried pursuing a lawsuit but couldn’t find a lawyer who would take the case. The hospital and the doctor declined to comment, with the hospital citing patient privacy laws.

Because of his heart problem, which led to the loss of his specialized driver’s license, Thompson lost his truck-driving job. He lost the health insurance he had through his job, depriving him of help in paying for follow-up care. The couple paid close to $600,000 out of pocket, depleting their life savings. They struggled to pay other bills until Thompson was awarded disability benefits, his wife said.

“You would expect if [health-care providers] make the mistake, they would make you whole,” said Leah Binder, President of the Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit organization that grades hospitals on their record of preventing errors, injuries, accidents and infections. “But that is not what happens. In health care, you pay and you pay and you pay.”

There’s no single rule for how hospitals handle the cost of care when patients have bad outcomes and fault is disputed, said Nancy Foster, Vice President of Quality and Patient Safety at the American Hospital Association.

Some hospitals have rules requiring that a patient be told right away if something happened that shouldn’t have and, to the best of the institution’s knowledge, why. Typically, those rules stipulate that if the hospital finds that it erred, the necessary follow-up care is free. Hospitals may not have an obvious financial interest in admitting guilt, though research suggests that patients are less likely to sue when hospitals are transparent about medical mishaps.

“If the [need for further] care was preventable, we’re waiving bills,” said David Mayer, Vice President of Quality and Safety for MedStar Health, which operates 10 hospitals in the Baltimore/Washington area.

Virginia’s Inova Health System has a similar policy, said spokeswoman Tracy Connell.

Most hospitals don’t have such rules, said Julia Hallisy, a Patient Safety Advocate from California. That may change: A number of professional and safety groups are urging more hospitals to adopt them. Supporters include the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Medical Association, Leapfrog, the National Quality Forum and the Joint Commission, which accredits many health-care organizations. The federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is also on board.

As an accident and injury attorney, I know that the negligent acts of others can devastate victim’s lives and the lives of their families.  I see this on a daily basis.  Can you imagine a world where people took responsibility for the harm they caused another?  I, and all other personal injury attorney’s, would be out of a job, and frankly, that would be fine with me.

It is encouraging to see some medical facilities “owning up” to their mistakes and trying to do all they can to heal their patients/victims.  Unfortunately, it is often the liability insurance companies that make the decisions of whether they will take responsibility for the actions of their insureds and “do the right thing” by paying a claim.  I like to think that I give every opportunity to the insurance companies to do the right thing, often with the encouragement of their own insureds.  However, the ultimate decision to resolve a claim or not lies with the insurance companies and their defense attorneys, who make more money the longer a case is drawn out.  What’s the solution?  While I am encouraged at the “do the right thing” movement, unfortunately for a lot of my clients, they have to go through the time and expense of litigation to achieve justice.

Stay safe out there!

YOUR accident and injury attorney,

Marianne Howanitz

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