This is our legal blog. If you were seriously injured in an accident, you need to read here and learn about your Clearwater Florida Legal Rights!
Jessica Huse was 18 years old back in August, 2009 when she was driving to church in San Jose, California when she was ‘T-Boned’ by another vehicle. She suffered serious brain injuries rendering her almost completely unable to do anything by herself. Though she survived an accident that should have killed her, doctors still struggled to tell Huse’s family the bad news when they stated she would have to live forever after in a persistent vegetative state, living in the most basic form. With the news so solidified by trusted doctors, you can imagine how surprised everyone was when Huse slowly gained consciousness again. 5 years later, at 23 years old, Huse has made unimaginable progress when she gained the ability to answer yes and no questions using large buttons. While it seems like simple motor skills to the average human, this is a very impressive recovery for someone whose family was told would have a heartbeat and nothing else. Doctors, Family and others who are closely tied to the situation have been attributing the progress to the efforts made by the crew. Lisa Huse , Jessica’s mother, stated that “if you do nothing to help brain injury patients, you will get nothing.” With the combined valiant efforts of everyone involved coupled with Jessica’s fighting personality (which has clearly been inherited from her mother) is what has kept allowing them to see progress. According to Dr. Philip DeFina, “Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is on the rise in the U.S.; there are literally thousands of people in this state (vegetative) who are in home care or nursing facilities, and they just don’t get better because no one is working with them. The sad part is that when the medical system is unable to treat a patient, the tendency is to give up.” Don and Lisa Huse were told soon after the accident to say their goodbyes to their daughter. The family was divorced at the time and had not spoken actively for some time, but when the news struck home, they came to an agreement and became the primary caregiver’s for Jessica once again, in which they traded days of the week to spend time with Jessica in her rehabilitation room in San Jose. It goes to show that with even just a little more effort than you would usually put in, even miracles can happen. Even when someone with such knowledge and an authoritative presence states something cannot happen, there might still be a chance. It’s up to the people in charge to do just that; take charge. Jessica was never expected to live through the hospital visit after the accident, and when she did, she was never expected to be anything more than alive. She’s been defying what has been thought to be the concrete outcome of her life for the past 5 years now and she will continue to do that as long as she has support. Everyone deserves a chance in life, and no one should suffer because other’s refuse to put in that extra effort to keep the ball rolling. If you or a loved one is living with a brain injury and not getting proper attention, you may be entitled to compensation. The experienced brain injury attorneys at Dolman Law Group are here to fight for your case and get you the treatment you deserve. Call Dolman Law Group today at 727-451-6900 or notify us via our Online Contact Form for a free consultation and case evaluation. Dolman Law Group 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, FL 33756 727-451-6900 http://www.dolmanlaw.com/practice-area/brain-injury/
Jennifer Lopez was enjoying a casual cruise in her new car with friend Leah Remini (King of Queens) on Saturday, September 27th in Malibu, California. At a stop light on the Pacific Coast Highway, J-Lo (who was in the passenger seat) whipped out her phone and snapped a quick Instagram picture just moments before a pickup truck rear ended them. Remini’s daughter Sofia, 10, was in the back accompanying Lopez’s twins Emme and Max, 6. Luckily, no one was hurt in the accident, but it all turned for the worst soon after. The man driving the pickup truck quickly peeled off, leaving a car full of shaken and confused victims behind. According to witnesses, Jennifer and Leah hopped out and the man seemed fine with exchanging information, that is until he thought about what was about to happen. It’s unclear whether or not the fact that it was a celebrity that he hit is what caused him to dip, but combined with the situation in general and his physical condition, he jumped back into his truck and drove away. One of the girls hastily called authorities to report the accident and give details to any nearby units. At some point during the accident, J-Lo found time to post the Instagram photo she had taken just minutes ago and captioned it with some entertaining text, stating “Sitting at a light, riding high right before some drunk fool rear ended us in my new whip!!!” There was a cop close to the area of the crash and he was able to zoom down the road and catch up with the truck not too far from the crash, where he was questioned, examined and declared drunk. He was charged with a DUI and Hit and Run. According to Seth J. Bloom of Bloom Legal, the standard sentence for a Hit and Run with little to no “serious bodily injury” is “10 days – 6 months and fines of up to $500.” (Hit and Run Penalties) Couple it with the DUI he was charged for and he could be looking at some harsh penalties. If this was at least his second DUI offensive within the last 10 years, he could be sentenced with “Three to Five years of summary probation; 96 Hours – 1 Year in County Jail; Fines of up to $1,000; and 18 – 30 months of court-approved California DUI school.” (California DUI Penalties) These are steep sentences for an accident that could have been easily avoided, and considering who Jennifer Lopez is, I’m sure her attorneys are going to have this man serving the maximum amount of everything he can be held accountable for. What if he had stayed? Could something have been worked out? Maybe he could even have a case and a chance to defend himself if desperate measures called. Sadly for him, he’s most likely ruined any chances he had of a generous judge turning the other cheek for a few charges. Drunk driving is never legal and I don’t see a reason for that to EVER be changed. There are companies and organizations out there that specialize in intoxicated passenger transport to and from locations for a fun yet still safe night out with your buddies, so any excuse this guy brings to court is probably going to be ignored, and rightfully so. If you or a loved one is a victim of a DUI or Hit and Run accident and you’re looking for the proper coverage and support for your case, look no further. Dolman Law Group is the proud home of experienced automobile accident and personal injury attorneys who are there to get you the compensation you deserve. Never should a drunk driver be cut any slack, and none of them should be let off clean, so call Dolman Law Group today at 727-451-6900 or notify us via our Online Contact Form for a free consultation and case evaluation. Dolman Law Group 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, FL 33756 727-451-6900 http://www.dolmanlaw.com/practice-area/automobile-accidents/
It was a sunny Saturday, September 27th, 2014 on a winding road in Butler County, Ohio. The Southern Ohio biker club was hosting their sixth charity event --known as the Ayden and Faith Benefit Run—in an effort to benefit children suffering from Leigh’s Disease. (Ayden and Faith) There was an estimated 200 bikers participating in the show being watched by an impressively sized audience. On the road, which has a clearly stated speed limit of 30 miles per hour, a group of around 12 bikers were traveling dangerously fast and close, and when speed was suddenly halted due to a steep and random incline, bikers in the back of the pack had nowhere to go, painfully crashing into the rest of the bikers. According to witnesses and a few involved in the crash, everything was perfectly fine one moment, and a mess the next, leaving little time for bikers to react and avoid the accident. Medical personnel responded very quickly with helicopters and ambulances, but not even the fastest ones got there in time. It’s estimated that at least half of the bikers involved in the crash had fled the scene, leading authorities to believe that alcohol and intoxication may have been involved. The names and other personal information of those who were involved in the crash have not been released to the public yet, but of the few victims that stayed on the accident scene, a total of seven people were hurt; Four of those seven being left in a critical condition. Due to the fact that such a large number of bikers had left before being questioned about the crash, it’s hard to know if authorities will ever conclude the precise cause. If any drunk driving was involved, those who fled are no longer victims, but suspects, and proper justice may never be found for the families of those who were simply part of an honest accident. It is also unknown whether or not all of the bikers in the crash were riding as part of the charity event, or if they were uninvited. There is a proper method of registering as a participant for the event that they may have skipped. It’s easy to forget how dangerous drunk driving can be. After all, good judgment is the first thing you lose while intoxicated. All of the victims could have been sober riders who were simply scared of repercussion and fled due to nerves, however, they could have also been drunken bikers who were there to crash a party and caused more damage than intended. No matter the cause, people were seriously hurt, an investigation must be done, and a case must be formed. As of now, no one in particular is being held responsible for the damages caused and insurance companies want answers. In legal cases in which a definite cause is unknown, who is to blame for the accident? Are the insurance companies going to cover the cost of all those motorcycles that were damaged in the accident? Unfortunately, it’s very hard to legally hold someone accountable in a Hit and Run like we have here. In this case, unless you have some sort of evidence that can help lead to the driver(s) that took part in the Hit and Run, no one can be held accountable. However; in a few states, Florida included, a no-fault claim can be filed which will legally hold your insurance company responsible for medical bills and a portion of your lost earnings. (No Fault Insurance Claims) If you or someone you know has been involved in a motorcycle accident and didn’t receive the treatment they were entitled to as a victim, or you’re unsure of how to start your case, don’t settle; fight for the positive resolution you want and deserve. For information, tips, and a free consultation and case evaluation, contact the experienced motorcycle attorneys at Dolman Law Group and shine some light on your case by calling us at 727-451-6900 or via our Online Contact Form. Dolman Law Group 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, FL 33765 727-451-6900 http://www.dolmanlaw.com/practice-area/motorcycle-accidents/
Personal Injury Protection, or PIP, is a supplemental form of insurance that strictly applies to injuries sustained in an automobile accident. Under Florida law, the PIP statute can be found in Fla. Stat. 627.736. Florida’s PIP insurance is a mandatory insurance policy that all registered vehicles must have. If you have a registered automobile in Florida, you must carry a minimum of $10,000 in PIP benefits. The beauty of Florida’s PIP statute is that the insurance company cannot take “fault” into account when reviewing your submitted claims. Thus, Florida’s PIP law was designed to provide swift and virtually automatic payment so that an injured driver can remedy his injuries, without having to fight with the insurance companies over who caused the accident. WHAT MEDICAL BENEFITS DOES PIP COVER? Medical Benefits Under a basic Florida PIP policy, insurance companies are required to reimburse 80 percent of all reasonable expenses for medically necessary medical, surgical, X-ray, dental and rehabilitative services. However, Florida’s PIP statute includes several limitations on what services and care will be reimbursed. An insured can only be reimbursed for initial services and care that are lawfully provided by a physician licensed under chapter 458 or chapter 459, a dentist licensed under chapter 466, or a chiropractic physician licensed under chapter 460 or that are provided in a hospital or in a facility that owns, or is wholly owned by a hospital. Disability benefits PIP covers reimbursement of up to 60 percent of any loss of gross income and loss of earning capacity per individual from inability work proximately caused by the injury sustained by the injured person. In other words, if you have been injured in an auto accident and your injuries are preventing you from working, then you have an eligible claim for lost wages. Death Benefits In the horrific event that a person dies from injuries sustained in an auto accident, PIP covers up to $5,000 of death benefits per individual. AM I AUTOMATICALLY QUALIFIED FOR $10,000 IN BENEFITS? Prior to 2012, injured drivers were automatically eligible for $10,000 in benefits under their PIP policy. However, following a monumental reform to the PIP statute in 2012, Florida’s no-fault law now requires documentation that the injured driver suffers from an ‘Emergency Medical Condition’ in order to be eligible for $10,000 in benefits. Without such documentation, you may be limited to only $2,500 in policy benefits. This is a sweeping change and has yielded a challenge for injured drivers. Insurance companies are taking full advantage of this new provision and are cutting benefits off unless they have proof there is an EMC. Further, we have seen insurers attack established EMC determinations via Independent Medical Examinations or peer reviews. This recent change has provided insurers with an extra tool to deny or delay claims. Another very important provision that was amended in 2012 requires that injured drivers obtain medical treatment within 14 days of the accident. Similar to the EMC change, this requirement has allowed insurance companies to deny reimbursement of services merely because an injured person hadn’t been treated by a doctor within 2 weeks. Policyholders should be well aware of this provision and seek treatment immediately. Unfortunately, this law fails to recognize that injured persons possess all different levels of pain tolerance, some being able to withstand pain longer than others. Nonetheless, Florida drivers should understand if they neglect to be treated for their injuries within 14 days of the accident, they will not be reimbursed for any of their medical benefits. CONTACT FLORIDA PIP SUIT ATTORNEYS DOLMAN LAW GROUP At DLG, we have an experienced team of PIP attorneys who battle insurance companies on a daily basis. If an insurance company has denied your PIP claim, contact our PIP attorneys at Dolman Law Group today at 727-451-6900 for a free consultation. We will not collect payment until we have earned our client the compensation they deserve. Dolman Law Group 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, FL 33765 727-451-6900 http://www.dolmanlaw.com/pip-personal-injury-protection-attorney/
Insurance companies, such as Progressive, have recently been denying otherwise legitimate claims. Progressive, and others, have been consistently denying claims for (1) Manuel Therapy and (2) lack of an Emergency Medical Condition. MANUAL THERAPY DENIALS In 2012, the Florida Legislature reformed the PIP statute and made several sweeping changes. One of the most significant changes was excluding Massage Therapy from the list of reimbursable services. Under the revised statute, massage therapy (CPT 97124) cannot be paid for by your PIP policy. Progressive and other insurance companies, however, are denying Manuel Therapy services (CPT 97140) since this is a procedure that is routinely performed by massage therapists. Chiropractors, Physical therapists and some Physicians also perform Manual Therapy. This is just another example of insurance companies circumventing the law. They are denying these claims, alleging that they are not reimbursable under the PIP statute. Manuel Therapy and Massage Therapy are two separate, distinct services and charges, with the latter not being reimbursable. If your Manuel Therapy code has been denied, please contact the Dolman Law Group. We have been very successful in getting these services properly paid. EMERGENCY MEDICAL CONDITION DENIALS Progressive has been denying payment of claims in excess of $2,500 in PIP benefits by way of challenging an already determined Emergency Medical Condition. Under Florida’s no-fault law, a qualified physician under the statute must determine that the patient has an Emergency Medical Condition. Without such determination, the insured is limited to $2,500 in benefits. What is an Emergency Medical Condition (EMC)? In accordance with the applicable Florida PIP statutes (F.S. 627.730 – 627.7405), an EMC is a medical condition manifesting itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity, which may include severe pain, such that the absence of immediate attention would be reasonably expected to result in any of the following: • Serious jeopardy to the patient’s health • Serious impairment to bodily function • Serious dysfunction of any bodily organ or part. If a patient has had an EMC determination, they are eligible up to $10,000 in PIP benefits. If they do not have one, they are limited to $2,500 in benefits. Who makes an Emergency Medical Condition Determination? Only certain physicians can determine whether a patient has an Emergency Medical Condition. Pursuant to 627.726, only a (1) M.D. – Medical Doctor (2) D.O. – Doctor of Osteopathic (3) D.C. – Doctor of Chiropractic (4) a Dentist (5) a Hospital or (6) persons providing emergency transportation. When do I have to obtain an EMC? The most important timing issue that one must be aware of when it comes to PIP benefits is that an injured person must seek treatment within 14 days of the accident. Without documentation of being treated within those 14 days, the insured cannot be reimbursed for medical costs under their PIP policy. Further, although an EMC doesn’t necessarily have a timing requirement, the insured must understand that they need to get an EMC determination before the insurance company will reimburse in excess of $2,500. Have you been limited to $2,500 in benefits, despite having a valid EMC determination? As noted above, insurance companies like Progressive have been limiting benefits to $2,500, even if there has been an EMC determination. This is wrongful practice because the PIP statute does not expressly allow an EMC determination to be challenged. It is quite clear from the text of the statute that if you have had an EMC determined, then you are eligible for $10,000 in benefits, period. Insurance companies are attempting to circumvent the law by challenging EMC determinations, instead of merely paying out a legitimately valid claim submission. Furthermore, Progressive is challenging an EMC determination by peer review of another qualified physician under the statute. In other words, if there has been an EMC determination, Progressive will hire their own doctor to review the records of the patient and say there is no EMC. Thus, without ever physically examining the patient themselves, the insurance company’s own doctor is contradicting another doctor’s opinion purely based on records alone. CONTACT FLORIDA PIP SUIT ATTORNEYS DOLMAN LAW GROUP We have been successful in challenging these types of denials. If an insurance company has denied your claim by attempting to challenge your EMC, contact our PIP attorneys at Dolman Law Group today at 727-451-6900 for a free consultation. We will not collect payment until we have earned our client the compensation they deserve. Dolman Law Group 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, FL 33765 727-451-6900 http://www.dolmanlaw.com/pip-personal-injury-protection-attorney/