Your Emergency Room Rights

Do you know the basic rights you are supposed to be given by most emergency rooms? Any hospital that accepts Medicare from the federal government is required to provide a base level of service to all patients who visit its emergency rooms. This basic level of service includes:

  • An initial examination to determine the nature of your medical emergency.
  • Stabilizing treatment to you if you are in medical distress regardless of your financial or insurance status.
  • You cannot be turned away based on things like age, ethnicity, religion, or past medical history.

There are several ways a hospital can violate these rules. Turning a patient away is a major violation, but a hospital can also be held liable for other things like failing to properly screen its staff for the necessary experience or failing to have enough staff on hand to guarantee a proper level of patient care. And, of course, emergency rooms are still held accountable to standard medical mistakes or negligence on behalf of its staff.
If you or someone you love was turned away from an emergency room or received a substandard level of care we can help. Contact us for a free consultation.

Why You Should Take A Break From Social Media After An Accident

When the modern smartphone debuted almost ten years ago it kicked off a major change in how we communicate. In the past ten years we’ve all gotten used to chronicling our activities, friendships, and may other areas of our lives on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and twitter. Most of the time, our social media posts are only seen by our friends and maybe a few others, but when legal issues such as personal injury liability come into play, it pays to be very careful about how you use your social media accounts.

The problem is, we’ve gotten so used to sharing our lives on social media that we don’t even consider that someone might use our posts and statements against us. In personal injury cases, it has now become standard practice for law firms and insurance agencies to check into the social media posts of those they are opposing in a lawsuit. There’s a number of things they might be able to use against you to limit or reject your personal injury claim:

Posts that seem to show you are not as injured as you claimed
From time to time you might see the humorous story of somebody who gets caught by posting a photo or video of themselves playing sports or running along a beach just after claiming they were badly injured. It’s great that these kinds of cheaters get caught, but it’s not just the cheaters who the insurance companies and others target. They can just as easily use what you consider a normal, everyday post against you to claim you aren’t as injured as you really are. Photos, videos, and even simple statements about how you are feeling can all too easily be taken out of context in attempt to prove that you too are trying to collect more than you are owed.

Posts that seem to show you were not as emotionally impacted by an accident as you claimed
Just as your photos or videos and statements on social media can be taken out of context to try and show you weren’t really injured, they can also be used against you to try and cast doubt on the emotional effects of an accident or injury. A simple photo showing you unwinding after a long day or smiling at something funny can be twisted into “proof” that your recent accident had little to no impact on you. There’s nothing wrong with finding some joy after a tragedy, but some lawyers or insurance companies will try their best to make a judge or jury think so.

It’s not just your accounts you need to worry about.
So often these days we don’t just show up on our own social media accounts, we also frequently appear in our friends’ feeds and streams. Just because you personally didn’t post something doesn’t mean a lawyer or insurance company won’t check your friends’ accounts. They can use a photo of you or a statement your friend makes about you just as easily as if you’d posted those things yourself.

What’s the solution?
Your first instinct might be to immediately set your social media accounts to private or to delete them altogether, but that might be going a bit overboard. It might even be used against you. A dishonest lawyer might ask if you were just trying to be cautious or if you were trying to hide or destroy evidence.

Instead, the best policy is to simply stay off of social media at least until your personal injury case has been resolved. You might also ask your friends and family to not post about you for that same period of time. True, this can feel a little limiting and like you are hiding out from the world, but playing it safe with your social media usage after an accident can save you a lot of time and energy.

National Law Review Looks At Cases Against Apple

Last month, the National Law Review took a good, easy to understand look at the distracted driving issues facing Apple. They note that Apple now faces at least two major lawsuits centered around its Facetime video chat functionality and how that functionality can lead to minor and major car accidents. The article looks at the growing problem of distracted driving and the difficulty law enforcement officers have when trying to uphold even the most reasonable laws about texting while driving. Usually it's enough for a driver to claim that they were not texting and because of search and seizure laws a police officer often has no choice but to believe them, the National Law Review says.
They also take a look at what legal challenges plaintiffs will have to overcome to win their lawsuits against Apple. They note that if one of these lawsuits is successful, not only will Apple need to start including ways limit cellphone based distracted driving, their competitors will almost certainly have to do so as well to avoid lawsuits of their own. The end result of even one win against Apple could be significantly safer roadways.
You can read the National Law Review's full article by clicking here.