February 2010 Archives

February 25, 2010

La oficina legal de Joseph Lamy está aquí para ayudar a las víctimas hispanohablantes de accidentes automovilísticos y otras lesiones corporales

El abogado Joseph Lamy está aquí para ayudar a las víctimas de accidentes u otro daño corporal dentro de nuestras comunidades Latinas en Providence, Pawtucket, Fall River, Woonsocket, Central Falls y otras áreas a sus alrededores. En mi oficina se habla Español y podemos asistirle con todo el proceso, de principio a fin.

Soy un abogado licenciado para ejercer en Rhode Island y Massachussets. Mi especialidad son los casos de daño corporal, incluyendo: accidentes de auto, accidentes de camión, accidentes de motocicleta, lesiones causadas por resbalón y caída, muerte por negligencia, negligencia médica y la responsabilidad civil del fabricante. Soy un abogado muy atento y agresivo y manejo todos los casos personalmente, de principio a fin. Antes de graduarme de la escuela de Leyes de Boston College, trabajé para una compañía de seguros nacional como mediador de reclamos por lesión. Sé exactamente como las aseguradoras evalúan esos reclamos y sé como obtener la mayor cantidad de dinero disponible para su reclamo de lesión corporal.

Me enorgullezco en ofrecer un excelente servicio al cliente. Contesto todas las llamadas telefónicas y correos electrónicos que recibo dentro de veinticuatro horas. Me aseguraré que usted entienda todos sus derechos y opciones antes de decidir si llegar a un acuerdo en el caso. Aunque mi oficina se encuentra en el centro de Providence, siempre estoy dispuesto para una consulta a domicilio o para visitar a una víctima en el hospital.

Aunque mi portal en Internet esté escrito en Inglés, tengo una página que resume mis servicios legales en Español.

Si usted, un amigo o un familiar ha sido herido en un accidente de auto, de camión o de motocicleta, o debido a un resbalón y una caída, y está buscando un abogado para daños corporales que trabaje con talento y efectividad, llame de inmediato a mi oficina para recibir una consulta gratis.

February 22, 2010

Obtaining Damages Beyond Worker's Compensation

Anyone who has been seriously injured at work may have a love/hate relationship with the Worker's Compensation system. The benefit to the system is that anyone injured at work can be compensated for lost wages and medical bills regardless of who was at fault for the accident. Even if you caused your own injuries, you are covered under worker's compensation. The drawback... victims injured at work can not sue their employer and can not collect damages for pain and suffering. Even if your employer did something negligent or put you in a dangerous situation, you can not sue for pain and suffering.

That said, I think it is important that people realize the many instances in which damages can be obtained for pain and suffering even if you were injured while at work.

As you can see, you are not limited to the constructs of the worker's compensation system just because you are entitled to worker's comp or were injured at work. If you were injured in a car accident, pedestrian accident, slip and fall, construction accident, or other similar accident while working, it may still be possible to collect damages from the at-fault third party. The above list contains only common examples and is not a complete list. It is important to speak with an attorney right away to understand your rights regarding worker's compensation and damages against at-fault third parties.

Continue reading "Obtaining Damages Beyond Worker's Compensation" »

February 18, 2010

Attorney Joseph Lamy Begins Practice in Social Security Disability

I am very excited to say that my office can now assist mentally and physically incapacitated persons looking to secure social security disability (SSDI) benefits. This area of practice is closely related to personal injury law, however, I have waited to begin working in the field of social security disability until now.

The reason for the delay is because I wanted to be certain that I could give to my social security disability clients the same level of expertise and service that I provide to my personal injury clients. To that end, I have spent a great deal of time talking to other attorneys and professionals involved in social security, some of whom used to work in the local social security office, to learn the ins and outs of this practice. I understand the process intimately and know exactly why cases are either rejected or approved. I also understand how to obtain the highest amount of benefits that are available to you.

The Social Security office is overwhelmed by requests and often reject your initial application. In order to be eligible for social security disability benefits (the short version), you must have a doctor's diagnosis of disability that will leave you unable to perform any work for a period of at least twelve consecutive months. There is much more detailed information about social security disability benefits and qualification on my website.

If you have been denied social security disability benefits, contact my office right away and we can begin working on the appeal process to obtain the benefits that you deserve.

February 15, 2010

Mesothelioma and Asbestosis Litigation

Mesothelioma and Asbestosis are both very serious conditions which can only be caused by direct contact with asbestos. Thousands of people are diagnosed every year with mesothelioma or asbestosis due to exposure to asbestos sometimes decades earlier.

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that develops in the mesothelium, a protective lining over most of our organs. The most common site for this cancer to develop is in the lungs or abdominal cavity. Unlike other lung cancers, mesothelioma does not have any relation to smoking, but smoking does increase the risk of asbestos related cancers. A doctor may suspect mesothelioma and then confirm with a tissue biopsy.

Asbestosis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the lungs. Victims exposed to asbestos were unaware that they were breathing in very small fibers of asbestos. These fibers become trapped in the lungs and can not be expelled. The body will attack these foreign fibers in the body, but in so doing cause substantial damage to the lungs. Over time this condition leads to asbestosis.

Both of these serious and rare diseases are caused by direct contact with asbestos. Asbestos is an insulation material widely used throughout the early to mid 20th century. Rhode Island has suffered a sizable number of such cases because of the heavy use of asbestos at the shipyards of Electric Boat.

In early asbestos litigation it became clear that manufacturers of the material were aware of the dangers and chose to ignore safety over profits, not unlike cigarette companies. When it became clear that their negligence was going to cost thousands and thousands of lives, asbestos companies set up trusts with billions of dollars to help compensate the victims of mesothelioma and asbestosis.

My office in conjunction with other asbestos litigators can help you obtain the compensation you deserve if you have been diagnosed with one of these terrible diseases. It is critical to act quickly following this diagnosis. We need to conduct a thorough investigation of where and when you were exposed to asbestos so that we can identify the proper companies that may be liable for damages.

If you or a family member has been diagnosed with either mesothelioma or asbestosis, contact our office right away for a free consultation.

February 13, 2010

Hiring an Attorney for Your Auto, Truck, or Motorcycle Accident

Deciding which attorney or law firm will represent you for your personal injuries sustained in an auto, truck, or motorcycle accident is a huge decision. You should conduct research (the internet has made this incredibly easy) and even talk to a few attorneys before deciding who is best to handle your case. Regardless of which attorney or law firm you decide to hire for your personal injury, it is in your best interest to hire someone to represent you.

Years ago, before law school, I worked as an injury adjuster for a national insurance company. I can say with experience that insurance companies do not want you to hire an attorney because they know the settlement for a car or truck accident without an attorney will be much lower than if you hire an attorney. That is not to say that ALL insurance companies are evil corporations looking to rob and ignore injury victims (but I do believe that may be the mission statement for at least a few insurance companies!)

There is a series of television commercials in this state for a well-known law firm (I refrain from stating their name since their advertising budget is high enough and they do not need my help) which depicts an adjuster trying to coerce an unrepresented car accident victim into singing a release only to find out that they are represented by _______ law firm. Cut to the adjuster choking on some form of food.

While these commercial spots clearly take artistic license, it is true that insurance companies would prefer that you not hire an attorney for your car or truck accident. That is because insurance companies are in the business of making money, and they do this best by withholding money from injured victims. But if you really want the insurance company and adjuster to choke on their sandwich, you need to hire the right attorney.

Attorneys across the country attend seminars and buy books regarding the inner workings of insurance companies and how they evaluate auto or truck accident cases. I, on the other hand, was on the other side and know exactly what an insurance company will do to try an find flaws in your case and how they will ultimately evaluate your injury. This knowledge is essential to helping you obtain the best possible settlement for your car or truck accident injury.

A few things to consider and take away from this post:

  • It is in your best interest to hire an attorney to represent you for injuries sutained in a car or truck accident

  • insurance companies know who the best attorneys are, so it is imperative that you perform some research and hire an attorney with a great reputation

  • if your injury is a minor one that required only minimal or no treatment, you might be able to work directly with the insurance company

Once you have chosen to hire an attorney for your car or truck accidednt, I have written an additional post which should help you understand the settlement process.

Continue reading "Hiring an Attorney for Your Auto, Truck, or Motorcycle Accident" »

February 10, 2010

American Idol's "Pants on the Ground" Singer Hires Attorney

General Larry Platt could never have imagined that when he auditioned for American Idol in Atlanta to sing a funny song of his own writing that he would create a phenomenon. Platt is the next in the long line of viral videos and entertainers to emerge from American Idol auditions...William Hung, anyone? The video of his performance, shown here, has already received several million views on youtube, spawned several re-mixes and found it's way into politics and the pop mainstream.

I'll admit that I laughed the first time that I heard the song. Today, it takes a step further into the world of entertainment law and that is where I become really interested. The song is being played everywhere and other artists are re-mixing it to their taste, yet General Platt has not received any money.

The song is not registered with the Copyright office. In fact, since the performance several people have attempted to copyright the song, but General Platt was not one of them. General Platt is keen to make sure that if anyone profits off of his song that it is him. He has hired an attorney to help protect his legal rights. General Platt will have to show that the work was an original and that he was the first to enter it into commerce. Luckily, given the popularity of American Idol, 50 million people can attest to the fact that General Platt was the first to introduce the song to the world.

The biggest challenge facing Platt will be to prove that the song was original. A pair of brothers from Detroit have already come forward stating that in 1996 they wrote a strikingly similar song called "Back pockets on the floor". The similarities between the two songs are obvious particularly concerning the lyrics, although, in my opinion, General Platt is the superior rapper. Unfortunately, for General Platt any royalties he might be able to secure might be lost to a copyright infringement suit from these two brothers.

General Platt has been asked to record a version of the song. Hopefully, he can receive royalties from this recording and make some money off of his effort before the song becomes a pop culture afterthought.

If anyone is considering singing original material on future seasons of American Idol, be absolutely sure to copyright the material first.

Finally, you have to give it to Simon - love him or hate he really can spot a hit maker. After the audition he says I have a terrible feeling that song is going to be a hit!

February 9, 2010

Illinois Supreme Court Uncaps Medical Malpractice Awards... Again

The battle over tort reform is being fought on every front, namely, media and public opinion, federal and state legislatures, and the judicial system. In Illinois, at least, the Supreme Court has stood up for its citizens civil rights and rejected a state law capping damages in medical malpractice lawsuits, finding that such a statute violates the separation of powers between the judicial and legislative branches. More specifically, it was determined that legislative caps on pain and suffering interferes with the Courts rights and discretion to reduce jury verdicts.

The Illinois law in question sought to cap damages against Hospitals at $1 million dollars and $500,000 against doctors and other health professionals. The case, Lebron v. Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, is one of many similar cases being fought across the Country right now.

Medical malpractice caps do not work, result in substandard medical care, and is not the magic fix-all for the healthcare crisis that certain interest groups deem it to be. Furthermore, several studies show that doctors actually pay less in malpractice premiums, when adjusted for inflation, than they did decades ago. The latter study stemming from our own Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

I have indicated in previous posts, here, and here, that tort reform is not the answer to this Country's health care problems. For one, the Congressional Budget Office has declared that malpractice costs are minimal in the large scheme of things. Second, medical malpractice attorneys, despite large potential reward, will only accept a very small percentage of cases. This is because it costs tens of thousands of dollars to bring a medical malpractice lawsuit, and many medical malpractice cases are unsuccessful. Therefore, if only the most obvious of medical errors are being challenged in the court systems, a great many errors go unpunished. This seems to combat the impression that doctors face countless "frivolous" lawsuits at the hands of greedy plaintiff attorneys.

Let's hear it for the Illinois Supreme Court. They have recognized that the judicial system is the best vehicle for protecting innocent doctors while awarding victims truly harmed by medical error. Let's hope that all States will follow their lead.

February 4, 2010

Some Thoughts on Settling Your Personal Injury Claim

The most important decision you will make following a personal injury is which Attorney or law firm you will hire to take your case. The second most important decision you will make is whether to settle the case for the amount offered.

I feel that a lot of injured victims might not understand their rights and options regarding settlement, so I have decided to write this post. This is basic information that you should consider when deciding whether you should settle your personal injury claim, and if so, for how much. Be prepared to have this conversation with your attorney when the time comes.

If the other person is clearly at fault for causing your personal injury, you can expect to receive an offer for settlement from the insurance company. This will likely occur in many types of personal injury cases especially, auto accidents, motorcycle accidents, dog bites, ATV accidents, pedestrian accidents, and slip and fall accidents. Settlements might be offered in medical malpractice or product liability cases, but typically only after a lawsuit has been filed.

It is important to remember that you, the victim, decide whether to settle a case or not. An Attorney can advise you whether the offer is fair or too low, but he or she should not decide whether to settle the case. If you feel that the offer does not fairly compensate you for the injury sustained, you should ask your attorney to carefully explain your options.

If you choose to refuse a settlement offer, then your only option is to file a lawsuit. Not all cases are good candidates for litigation and you should discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your case with your attorney. Remember that by filing a lawsuit you are running the risk of losing the case and receiving no compensation. Furthermore, minor injuries can often be settled for fair amounts without the additional expense and time required from a trial.

Settlement, however, is not always the best option. Settlement means that you are accepting an amount in lieu of exercising your right to go to trial and have a jury decide what is reasonable compensation. If the offer from the insurance company is fair, then it makes sense to settle the case and receive your money right away rather than waiting years for litigation. If the offer is unfair, or less than you initially wanted, than it might not be in your best interest to settle the case.

The most important thing to remember is that you are in control of your case. It is your injury and compensation. Do not be afraid to discuss your options and rights with your attorney so that you fully understand the decision you are making.

Continue reading "Some Thoughts on Settling Your Personal Injury Claim" »

February 3, 2010

One in Five US Nursing Homes Receives Poor Ratings

A new study shows that approximately one in five nursing homes across the country rates poorly for the quality of care. That means that hundreds of thousands of senior citizens are residing in nursing homes that received the absolute lowest quality score and are subject to nursing home abuse and neglect.

Several years ago the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services began attributing a score to nursing homes ranging from one star to five stars based on overall quality, staffing, complaint investigations, and the results of health inspections. The most horrifying statistic is that nearly all homes that consistently receive one or two stars (for overall poor quality) are owned by for-profit corporations. Cost cutting and profit seeking behavior may be putting helpless senior citizens at risk.

The following is a database of the 15,000 plus nursing homes that were assigned a grade. Click on this link to look at how nursing homes in Rhode Island and Massachusetts stack up from the best to the worst. The lowest scoring nursing homes averaged 14 deficiencies per facility which may be attributed to quality of life or overall safety.

Family members must be proactive if a loved one is in a nursing home because they often can not speak up for themselves. This is particularly true if the nursing home in which your family member resides scored very low in this study.

Continue reading "One in Five US Nursing Homes Receives Poor Ratings" »

February 1, 2010

Cellphone Bans While Driving May not Prevent Auto Accidents

We've discussed the effects of cell phones (talking, texting, etc) in automobiles in past posts. Rhode Island is one of the many States to ban texting while driving but a recent report suggests that such laws may be ineffective in preventing auto accidents. The study compared auto accident statistics between States that have enacted cellphone bans and those States that have not enacted such bans and found little evidence that the laws were effective.

The growing concern comes amidst a University of Utah study which indicated that using a cell phone while driving was as dangerous, if not more dangerous, than driving drunk. Earlier this week Transportation Secretary,Ray LaHood, recently announced laws to prevent cell phone use by commercial truck drivers and bus drivers. However, effective efforts to curb cell phone use by the majority of drivers continues to be slow.

There is now substantial evidence that cell phones adversely affect drivers and can lead to auto accidents. If you have been involved in an auto accident and believe that the other driver was distracted by cell phone use, tell the police of your suspicion or attempt to secure eyewitnesses who can confirm the other driver was on the phone. This may help your case if liability (fault) for the auto accident is not already clear.

Continue reading "Cellphone Bans While Driving May not Prevent Auto Accidents" »