July 2011 Archives

July 22, 2011

Has an Accident Adjuster Told You That Your Medical Bills are Unreasonable?

Normally an argument over medical bills with an insurance adjuster is something that your car accident attorney will handle, but if you are trying to resolve the case on your own, you may have recently been told that your medical bills are unnecessary or unreasonable. Of course, you are simply following doctor's orders and obtaining the treatment he or she recommends for you to get better. You may ask, how on Earth are my bills unnecessary or unreasonable?

The first thing you should understand about insurance adjusters is that they believe everyone should be healed within 6 weeks of the accident. Whether you broke a leg or suffered a whiplash injury, it is expected that you stop treating quickly. When doctor ordered treatment goes on for a lengthy period of time (because you are still in pain and the doctor is advising you to seek additional treatment) the adjuster may begin to argue that the bills are unnecessary or unreasonable.

In a Rhode Island personal injury lawsuit, you are entitled to medically necessary and reasonable medical bills. This is why, in an effort to cut costs and the value of your case, the insurance company will attempt to argue that your bills are too high. In order to obtain all of your medical bills for any given case, we must prove that your treatment was medically necessary (i.e. doctor's orders) and that the treatment is causally related to the auto accident, slip and fall, or other accident. Causal relation is extremely important and it is often the subject matter of a personal injury lawsuit. Defense attorneys love to argue that your back pain stems not from the auto accident but from some pre-existing injury such as your days playing college football or a different auto accident ten years ago. It is on your Rhode Island car accident attorney to show that the treatment was medically necessary and causally related to the accident at hand.

If the insurance company is beginning to give you a difficult time or pressure you into settling quickly, contact my office right away. We can discuss your case for free and if I take on your representation there is no fee until I obtain money for you.

July 11, 2011

Distracted Driver Statistics = Very Scary!

A somewhat humorous Farmers Insurance commercial with spokesperson J.K. Simmons (who will always be Dr. Emil Skoda in my mind) demonstrates the dangers and hazards of distracted driving. The commercial warns against not only drunk driving, but driving while texting, talking on a cell, talking with passengers, putting on make-up, reading directions or a magazine, or listening to loud music. The list of stupid things we have all done while driving a vehicle would be longer than this blog post.

The fact, however, is that distracted driving, in particular distraction from a cell phone, plays a massive part in the number and severity of auto accidents on the road today. According to a study reported by the Hartford Courant:

  • Smart-phone users are four times more likely to be involved in a serious auto accident;
  • 5474 people were killed on the roads in accidents linked to distracted driving;
  • 20 percent of all injury related accidents involved distracted driving;
  • Using a cell phone while driving can have a similar or worse impact than driving while intoxicated.

If you are involved in an auto accident and you believe that the other driver was distracted by a cell phone or other reason, it is important to report this to the police, your insurance company, and your personal injury attorney. If liability (fault) is disputed or in question, proving that the other side was distracted while driving may swing the liability decision your way. In the meantime, recognize and appreciate the danger that cell phones can present in the car because they can be as dangerous as drunk driving.

Continue reading "Distracted Driver Statistics = Very Scary!" »

July 7, 2011

What is a Criminal Filing in Rhode Island and How Does it Work?

In speaking with a potential client this morning, I suggested that her case might be eligible for a criminal filing. Most people, including my new client, are unfamiliar with the criminal filing and need an explanation. Here it is....

First time offenders who commit minor crimes might be eligible for a criminal filing in Rhode Island. A criminal filing is one of the lightest punishments available to a defendant. A filing is held for one year and if the defendant can stay out of trouble during that time, the case is eligible to be expunged at the end of the year. Therefore, if your criminal defense attorney negotiates a filing for your penalty, you are only required to stay out of trouble for one year and the case will be thrown out and expunged as if it never happened. It is a great alternative to probation or more serious penalties.

Furthermore, a filing entered with a plea of nolo contendre (further discussed in my blog post about no contest pleas) is not a conviction in the State of Rhode Island. If you are arrested again during the period of a filing, that disposition will be revoked and you will be back in court. Furthermore, you will now be facing penalties for the new charges.

If you have been arrested and would like to know more about criminal filings in Rhode Island or would like to know if you may be eligible for this sentence, contact our office right away for a free consultation.

Continue reading "What is a Criminal Filing in Rhode Island and How Does it Work?" »

July 2, 2011

Firework Accidents and Injuries in Rhode Island

With the 4th of July approaching, a number of doctors have expressed their concern over the potential for injury this Holiday. Dangers exist not only from the illegally obtained fireworks from neighboring States, or the complex and large-scale displays put on across Rhode Island, but additional dangers exist now that the State of Rhode Island has legalized certain fireworks. So called "sparkler" fireworks, or non-explosive fireworks have been legalized in Rhode Island and are readily available. These fireworks, while they do not contain explosive elements and are not projectile, still raise the risk of burn injuries, eye injuries, and other serious injuries. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission cautioned that children should never be allowed to play with sparklers because these fireworks can reach tempatures of nearly 2000!!! degrees fahrenheit. Children are at the highest risk of firework related injury. Last Year nearly four thousand children under the age of 15 were injured by fireworks. The injuries ranged from minor to fatal.

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Fireworks obtained from New Hampshire which will be shot at thousands of houses across Rhode Island this weekend, continue to possess the greatest danger. These devices contain explosive elements which can fail and explode too lose to ground level near onlookers, instead of in the sky as intended. Also, an inexperienced user of fireworks may "set off" the firework improperly causing it to project towards people instead of in to the sky, or explode early.

Injuries resulting from fireworks can be extremely serious and do not need to be outlined in this article. If you or someone you know was injured while viewing a firework display, properly licensed or not, it is imperative that you speak to an experienced personal injury attorney right away.