Medical Malpractice in Georgia

Medical Malpractice in Georgia MaconWhen you’re sick or injured badly enough, it’s natural to want to seek qualified medical care. Like most people, you probably assume the doctors and other medical professionals who care for you are competent and competent enough to diagnose the issue and help you get healthy again. Although the vast majority of medical professionals are talented and go to great lengths to provide meticulous care, they’re still only human. Mistakes happen. When they do, malpractice could be involved. If you live in Georgia and feel you may be the victim of malpractice, it’s crucial to seek legal help immediately.

How common is malpractice in Georgia?

You’re hardly alone if you are the victim of malpractice by a medical professional. Every year in the United States, between 15,000 and 19,000 suits are filed against physicians by people who were injured or killed due to alleged malpractice. Every year, as many as 98,000 people in the U.S. die in hospitals due to medical errors. Incredibly, 1.3 million people per year are inured due to medication errors alone. These sobering statistics highlight the very real fact that doctors are not perfect.
The state of Georgia sees its own fair share of malpractice suits every year. When a doctor is investigated for suspected malpractice, the state board pulls a licensure report for him or her as a part of its investigation. According to a 2006 report that was created from information collected by the National Practitioner Data Bank, 1,242 licensure reports were pulled in Georgia in 2006. 1,110 of them were pulled in conjunction with malpractice investigations. Nearly 90 percent of all licensure actions in the state of Georgia, then, are related to malpractice. There’s no doubt about it: Malpractice is a serious issue.

Statute of Limitations

Every state in the country has its own statute of limitations regarding medical malpractice. At just two years, Georgia’s is very prohibitive. The two-year countdown begins on the date on which a person is injured or killed due to suspected malpractice. All too often, people are unsure about how to proceed and wait so long that there’s nothing more to be done. Ideally, malpractice suits should start being developed at least six months to a year before the two-year mark arrives. This allows attorneys plenty of time to build a strong case. Moreover, you must get a signed affidavit from the same medical specialty who believes that the conduct was below the standard of care. This affidavit must be filed simultaneously with the lawsuit or it will be dismissed by the Court.

Filing Malpractice Suits in Georgia

Proving malpractice against a medical professional is very difficult. The process tends to take huge amounts of time and requires exorbitant amounts of money to prosecute. Indeed, it’s not unusual litigation costs related to such suits to meet or exceed the $100,000 mark. When combined with the fact that the evidence that is presented must be extremely clear, convincing and unambiguous, it’s little wonder that many people are reluctant to move forward in the first place. That’s too bad, though, because anyone who is injured or killed due to the negligence of a medical
professional deserves to have his or her rights protected to the fullest possible extent. Further, medical professionals routinely have the right to object to settlement of a case even if the insurance company decides to do so.

Medical Malpractice Trials

Some malpractice suits are settled out of court. The majority, however, end up being tried in court. Hospitals and other medical facilities tend to be quite confident about allowing such cases to go to trial because the evidence must be incredibly compelling. Still, that’s not to say that such cases aren’t won on a regular basis. The average Georgia malpractice verdict or settlement is approximately $306,000, which is the seventh highest average settlement in the country. Medical professionals need to be held accountable when they violate the standard of care and cause injuries and death, so be sure to seek legal help right away if you believe you are a victim of such negligence.

Distracted Driver in Macon GA

Personal Injury Attorneys in Macon GA Represent Distracted Driver Victims

Distracted Driver in Macon GAThere has been a recent trend for people to stay connected through a growing number of great innovations that include everything from mobile phones to online social networks. Unfortunately, this has also led to several tragedies. Motorists distracted when texting and driving are becoming increasingly more responsible for highway accidents. With this in mind, several years ago the state of Georgia passed legislation banning the practice to help reduce roadway deaths and injury.

Car Accident Lawyer in Macon GALatest statistics for Georgia indicate there were approximately 4000 motor vehicle crashes last year directly attributed to distracted drivers. Driving a vehicle and texting is an enormous distraction. The motorist must take their eyes off the road and at least one hand off the wheel. This significantly increases the odds of an accident occurring and puts fellow motorists and innocent bystanders at risk. If you are a victim of a distracted driver it’s imperative to seek out the services of an attorney that specializes in personal injury. A qualified law firm can handle everything from personal liability cases to workplace injuries in Macon GA.

Workers compensation in Macon GA legal representatives have extensive experience dealing with distracted driving accidents and negligent injury claims. When you have a competent and aggressive personal injury and workers compensation lawyer on your side, you can rest assured they will take any legal action necessary to obtain compensation that covers economic and other damages. Many studies have shown that texting while driving can cause as much impairment as a legally intoxicated motorist.

No Texting While DrivingTexting drivers that cause accidents leading to injuries and other losses should be held legally responsible for pain and suffering. A personal injury and workers compensation lawyer stands up for those who become injured in Georgia because of reckless and negligent behavior. The legal definition of texting while driving is anyone that is sending, writing, reading or receiving text messages on a mobile device during the operation of a motor vehicle. It is unquestionably one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving that people engage in.

Whether you are seriously hurt due to the actions of a distracted driver or suffer workplace injuries in Macon GA, your first step should be contacting a skilled personal injury lawyer. You might be entitled to receive compensation for lost income, medical expenses and property damage. There are specific laws that allow workplace and roadway injury victims to receive accident and workers compensation in Macon GA. Therefore, make certain your legal rights are well protected in these situations.

Macon Georgia Lawyer for DUI Victims

Get the Money You Deserve: Punitive Damages From Drunk Driver Injuries

We have all heard the saying “Don’t drink and drive”. Yet, despite how often this phrase is repeated and how much evidence there is to prove drunk driving is not just serious but possibly deadly, thousands of drivers get behind the wheel each day after consuming alcohol. Drunk drivers are a very real threat on the road, contributing to one out of every three car crash related deaths. On average, once every 53 minutes, somebody in the United States is killed in an alcohol related crash. There were 299 drunk driving deaths in the state of Georgia in 2011 alone. These are staggering statistics for a culture who is educated about the dangers of drinking and driving beginning at a very young age.

Macon Georgia Lawyer for DUI Victims
If you or somebody you love has been injured or killed as a result of an alcohol related crash, that person should be forced to take responsibility for the harm they caused. Contacting a drunk driver collision attorney can be the first step in making the at-fault driver accountable for the crash they caused. Financial restitution in the form of medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional distress are typically awarded to the victim of a drunk-driving related crash. Punitive damages may also be awarded, and a drunk driver collision attorney can help obtain punitive damages to the victims of these accidents.

Drunk Driving Victim Attorney in Macon Georgia

What Are Punitive Damages? They are additional monetary compensation awarded as a means of making an example of an at-fault person. They are to punish the defendant and are additional funds above and beyond compensatory damages. Unfortunately, it is often difficult to prove punitive damages are due to the victim and are seldom awarded. However, in the event of drunk driving related crashes, punitive damages are necessary to punish and deter the defendant driver.

dui-lawyer-macon-gaA qualified drunk driver collision attorney can help victims of drunk driving crashes to be awarded the additional punitive damages. Specializing in recovering as much monetary compensation as possible through their knowledge of precedent and statute, and will do whatever they can to help get victims of drunk drivers the compensation they deserve.

Drunk drivers are a threat to themselves and everybody on the road. Attorneys who specialize in drunk driving related crashes are dedicated to keeping people who drink and drive off the roads. Recovering punitive damages on behalf of victims of alcohol related crashes is one of the ways drunk driver collision attorneys punish drunk drivers. Not only does the awarding of punitive damages set an example for those who may consider drinking and driving, it gives the victims and the families of the victims a full measure of justice.

Car Accident Lawyer Macon

Do You Need a Car Accident Lawyer?

When you have been in a serious car accident that involved injuries and damages to your vehicle, the last thing that you need is to fight with the insurance company. The stakes may be high with large medical expenses and even permanent injury. In such cases it’s usually a foregone conclusion that a car accident lawyer can help you. A skilled legal expert can help you deal with the laws, medical expenses and safeguard your rights.

Car Accident Lawyer Macon

But sometimes it may make sense to hire a lawyer even for accidents involving minor injuries. For instance, if the out of pocket claims that your insurance will not cover exceeds an amount that you’re comfortable handling on your own, you should call a lawyer. You may be able to handle claims of $2000 or $3000 yourself, but any claim as large as $10,000 or more may need the skill of a lawyer experienced in dealing with such cases.

If you’re settling out of court or in a small claims court, then you may be able to handle the proceedings yourself. But if your case goes to court, then you may need a lawyer who knows how to try a case.

Whether the fault is yours or that of the other party involved in the accident, if you cannot prove it, you recover nothing. If the fight goes to court, then a lawyer can help you deal with the rules of evidence and procedure.

Another reason many people hire a car accident lawyer after a wreck is because they want to save time. Learning about routine cases and then presenting your claim can take dozens of hours. That is the kind of time many people do not have, and they choose to hire a lawyer as quickly as possible. A lawyer’s experience gets the job done quicker and without hassle.

work injury lawyer macon

Q&A: Lost Job Due to Injury in Georgia

DANGER: Watch Your Hands and FingersQuestion:

Injured my hand on a machine. I was send to the doctor and was told I had fractured my knuckle. Almost four weeks later I did a follow up and was told there was no fracture to begin with. I was released to go back to work. Then I was called from work and told not to return because they had filled my position.

Answer:

You can request to see another doctor on the employer’s panel of physicians even if you are fired from that job.  If the employer has less than 6 different doctors on the list, you can select any doctor you want to treat with.  Unfortunately in Georgia, the employer can terminate you for any reason or for no reason since we are an “at will” state. ~ Atty. Jeff Powers

Read original discussion at Lawyers.com: Workers Compensation

Accident Lawyer Macon

10 Tips for Driving in Really Wet Conditions in Macon GA

Accident Lawyer MaconThe current rainy weather in Macon, Georgia causes a lot of automobile accidents. In fact, 1.5 millions highway accidents in Georgia take place during this rainy weather every year. The rain causes the road to get wet, forming a layer of water and grease, which makes the tire lose traction,  making the vehicle prone to roll of control. It is also difficult to drive in the rain as rain decreases visibility and efficacy of headlights as well as reflectors. For this reason, we need to be extra cautious when driving in rainy weather. Below are 10 tips for driving in rainy weather in Macon:

1. Slow down
It’s critical to reduce your speed when driving in the rainy weather. You need to be especially cautious when approaching puddles. You can lose control of your vehicle by hitting puddles when speeding. Driving at a low speed during rainy weather may help you avoid debris that may be carried by the rain to the roadway.

2. Keep a good distance between your own vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you.
The proper distance between your own automobile and the automobile ahead of you should be a three-second distance under normal conditions. However, during rainy weather this distance should be at least six seconds or more.

3. Do not over-use brakes.
If possible, lower your speed by lifting your foot off the gas pedal instead of using the brakes. When braking, aim to brake as soon as possible to warn drivers behind you that you are reducing your speed, and then slowly apply firm pressure.

4. Make use of the middle lanes
Rainwater is more prone to accumulate on the edges of the roads creating dangerous conditions. So try as much as possible to drive in the middle of the road. Avoid driving or straddling the yellow lines becoming a danger to automobiles around you.
5. Hit your brakes after crossing over a puddle
Using your brakes after crossing over a puddle will help get rid of some of the excess water on the rotors.
6. Be cautious of water gathered on the road
Don’t drive over moving water which you cannot make out the ground below as your vehicle can get swept off the road. Moreover, keep off big puddles in general since driving through deep water or submerging your automobile can lead to substantial damage to your vehicle.
7. Use your headlights every time it rains, but not your high beams
Make sure you turn on your headlights every time it rains as this will assist you to see other drivers and enhance your own visibility. However, never switch on your high beams as doing so can cause the light to spring back particles of water in the space, creating a blinding impact to other drivers.
8. Never engage cruise control
Hydroplaning at the same time as the cruise control is engaged can really make your car to speed up. This can be very dangerous.
9. Be conscious of hazardous driving conditions
Any rainstorm which follows a lengthy dry period leads to the roads being more dangerous. The residual grease and rubber-dust which has collected on the roads will combine with the water to create a very smooth, skid-fabricating mixture. This slick residue mostly forms in junctions as well as other places where automobiles have to rest for duration of time. For this reason, avoid driving at the onset of rainstorms which follow dry spells. However, if you have to drive you need to be extra cautious.

10. Regularly maintain your automobile
Be sure to replace old, weak windshield wipers, as they worsen the poor rainy weather visibility. Test out your brakes and make sure your tires are properly inflated on a regular basis. Keep a clean windshield and utilize the windshield defroster to keep your interior windows free from moisture.

Regardless of your driving skills, driving in wet conditions can be very challenging and dangerous. May these tips help you drive safely during the rainy season.

Work Injury Lawyer, hurt at work, workers compensation lawyer macon

What to Do After a Workplace Injury

Getting injured in the workplace is more of an issue than many people think. If you get injured at work, it can lead to embarrassment, difficulties with management, and a legal hassle with the workers compensation insurance company. Although you may think that you will never have to deal with a workplace injury, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are 3.4 cases per 100 Georgia workers every year. Although the aftermath of a workplace injury can be troubling, there are solutions to your problems. If you have recently been injured at work, the most important tip is to remain calm and seek legal counsel.

Work Injury Lawyer, hurt at work, workers compensation lawyer macon

Immediately after a workplace injury, seek the medical attention. Leave no stone unturned as this is your highest priority. If your injury is not an emergency, file a report with your employer first because your employer may have a preferred doctor that you should see. In Georgia, you must inform your employer within 30 days of the injury.  Even if your injury happened at the end of a work shift, tell a supervisor where on your body you have pain.  If your injury is an emergency, do not hesitate to call for an ambulance or to have a coworker do the same.If you see a doctor before reporting your injury, make sure to report your injury as soon as possible thereafter. Workers compensation insurance companies will give you more problems when handling your claim if you took too long to report your injury to your employer. Make this your second highest priority in the process of responding to any workplace injuries in Georgia.  It is a good idea to give the Employer written notice of the injury and always keep a copy of anything you give to another person.After reporting your injury, you should talk to a lawyer who handles work accident cases. You may even choose to hire a lawyer before reporting your injury if you have reason to believe that you will need legal representation from the start. In most cases, however, you do not need legal help until you begin preparing for a claim. Remember that a claim is different than a report. You report your injury to your employer, but you file a claim with the workers compensation insurance company as soon as you need help paying your medical bills.

Workplace injuries in Georgia are difficult to navigate, but the good news is that your employer is required to have workers compensation insurance if they employ three (3) or more employees. Of course, you need a good workers compensation lawyer to help you exercise all of your rights. This area of law is  complex, and so it is quite helpful to have someone on your side who can counsel you about your legal options and who can represent you when communicating with the insurance company.

The most important thing to remember about hiring a workers compensation lawyer is the principle of promptness. If you do not file your claim in a timely manner, any insurance company providing workers compensation in Georgia will question the relation between your injury and your visit to the doctor. They may accuse you of being hurt outside of work to pay for a non-work related medical bill. By hiring a lawyer as soon as possible, you can know that your claim will be handled in the ideal manner.

The legal matters associated with workers compensation in Georgia are complicated, but with the help of a lawyer, you can receive the benefits to which you are legally entitled. Our workers compensation lawyers deal with these issues every day and at Powers Law Group we are here to help you.  There is no reason for you to go through a workplace injury alone.

Car Accident Lawyer Macon

The Importance of Underinsured Motorist Insurance Coverage

Clients frequently ask me how much automobile insurance they should  have?  Having full coverage means different things to different people.  Whether you chose to buy towing and rental car reimbursement should not be as important as having sufficient UM (underinsured motorist or med pay coverage). Having adequate UM coverage indicates that you are concerned about protecting the people in your car as well as yourself.  Unfortunately, the time to look over your insurance policy usually happens after the accident when its too late to increase the coverage one should really carry.  Each person should regularly look at their own policy and make sure that they are adequately insured in case of an accident.  By the time they call Powers Law Group, the client is probably not at fault for causing the accident, but in need of a trial lawyer.  This is when we can help you make the right decisions about handling your case.

[box type=”info”] Car Insurance Laws in Georgia[/box]

  1. First, the State of Georgia only requires one who gets a car-tag to have the minimum liability insurance coverage of $25,000.  This coverage pays when a vehicle owner is at fault and that driver is responsible for the harm they caused to the another motorist, pedestrian, passenger in a car or bicyclist.  Remember this insurance coverage does not pay for medical treatment for the at-fault driver.  A driver in Georgia must carry this insurance on their car or they cannot get a license plate or renew that tag at their local DMV office.
  2. Second, if you only buy the bare minimum insurance you can also get a Underinsured or Uninsured insurance policy for the same limits of $25,000 which protects “you or the people in your car” when your car is in an accident.  If you want to have more UM insurance, you need to increase your liability insurance coverage.  This is what we recommend you do right now. 

    Car Accident Lawyer Macon

  3. Third, you should also have medical payment insurance coverage on your OWN insurance policy.  This is because if you and your passengers are injured in an accident, your “med pay” insurance pays those persons medical bills directly to the providers.  Many people wrongly assume that if they are in a car wreck, the other person’s insurance will pay their medical bills.  This is not the law nor is it the duty of the at-fault party’s insurance company.  Questions of how the accident happened, who is at fault and is there anyone else to blame (i.e. an unknown motorist may have contributed to the accident) may have to be answered.  The bottom line is that if you get medical treatment, you owe that provider or hospital for services rendered.  It’s like eating in a restaurant, “if you ordered it, you bought it,” and must therefore pay for what you ordered.
  4. Fourth, everyone should buy as much UM insurance as they can afford.  For example, a recent case we handled at Powers Law Group, was when our client was hit from the rear in his car by a driver who had $25,000 in liability insurance.  Our client had $100,000 in UM insurance but it was the traditional UM coverage and not added – on which would have given him a total possible recovery of $25,000 from the liability insurer and only $75,000 in coverage from his own policy.  Our client was taken to a hospital where he was examined and then treated for several weeks at a chiropractor and then, eventually, a neurosurgeon operated on his back.  His medical bills were in excess of $100,000 and, thankfully, were paid by his wife’s own group health insurance.  The health insurer had a subrogation right (they could get their $$$ back) in our recovery because that is what the contract between the policy holder required our client do if he was ever in an accident.We were successful in obtaining the full policy limits from the liability insurer ($25,000) and our client’s own UM ($75,000 coverage).  We then had to help the client negotiate his health insurance lien to put as much of the recovery in the client’s hands.  Had the client had more in UM insurance, he most certainly would have recovered more from the settlement of his case.  The difference in the client having more UM insurance was less than $100 for another $150,000 in coverage.  That’s why, at Powers Law Group, we encourage our clients to periodically review their auto insurance policies and make sure they are fully insured.  If you can afford it, ask your insurance agent to give you a quote on an Umbrella Insurance policy.  This policy can be tied to your homeowners insurance and your cars or trucks.
  5. Fifth, let’s examine another scenario: You are rear-ended in a car accident on I-75 southbound.  Your airbags deployed and you have a brief loss of consciousness and perhaps short-term memory loss.  Paramedics, law enforcement and emergency personnel arrive on the scene.  You are bleeding from a part of your face and you cannot feel your feet and cannot walk.  A decision is made to have you put on a board and transported to the closest hospital.  At the hospital, you are seen by several nurses, physician assistants, an emergency room doctor, a neurologist and perhaps an orthopaedic or vascular surgeon.  Medical personnel order CT scans, x-rays, maybe an MRI and a decision to operate is made as your closest relative gives consent for the invasive procedure.  At this point, there is a good chance $30,000 in medical bills have already occurred.  If you do not have medical insurance or medical pay insurance, who will pay your medical bills?  Do you have enough UM insurance coverage to compensate you for your losses?

You need a personal injury trial lawyer and someone who can provide advice on what to do with having to pay these medical providers and seek follow up medical treatment.  In summary, if you get the treatment, you have to pay the providers for the services rendered.  Our firm represents people from all over Georgia in cases such as this.

Medical Malpractice Georgia

Damages Cap Case Pending in the Georgia Supreme Court

There is a case pending in the Georgia Supreme Court that will address the constitutionality of the cap on damages in medical malpractice cases. Please share this link with others. Please consider encouraging everyone to watch the video and to pass on positive comments to your legislators.

Update:

Obtaining Justice Jeff Powers

How I Obtained Justice for My Client

Obtaining Justice Jeff PowersJeff Powers writes in the VERDICT magazine about his exemplary premises liability case for U.S. Air Force serviceman Sean Shockley, who suffered a serious injury while staying at the Days Inn in Warner Robins.

On January 7, 2007, Sean Shockley’s life was forever changed. He lives by the United States Air Force Code, which is integrity, service before self and excellence in all we do. Tim Hall and I were given the opportunity to represent Mr. Shockley in this case.

Mr. Shockley joined the United States Air Force in 1987. He was born into living the Air Force life as his father was a serviceman in the USAF and moved Sean’s family around the country. The Air Force was in his blood. Mr. Shockley married Michelle the same year he joined the USAF and they had three children. On January 6, 2007, Sean drove from Virginia to Warner Robins, Georgia to attend a conference at Robins Air Force base. Upon arriving for the conference, he checked in to the Day’s Inn a few miles from the Base.

On Sunday morning, January 7, 2007, Mr. Shockley’s son, Chad, went to go eat breakfast at a local I-Hop with his father. They then parted ways so Mr. Shockley could work on his conference program. While working in his motel room, Mr. Shockley’s pen ran out of ink, so naturally he thought to go to the lobby to get another one. He walked out of the room, down the center staircase and when he was almost at the bottom, his feet shot out from under him without warning. He landed on concrete shattering his left elbow into tiny little pieces.

 

Read full article

 

Coliseum Family Day Macon

Coliseum Family Health Day

Coliseum Health System’s Community Benefit Report

Annually, the system provides a free health screening day at the campus of Coliseum Northside Hospital. This year, over 1200 people participated in the event, which included more than 25 booths of free screenings, health information, food and children’s activities.Local Macon attorney Jeff Powers has run in marathons. He’s competed in triathlons. He even swam across the Alcatraz Bay in San Francisco during one competition.

Needless to say, he’s not someone who expected to find that he had high cholesterol – an early warning sign for heart attack or stroke.

“I decided to go to one of the Coliseum Health Fairs and they were doing a variety of free health screenings, so I took advantage,” Powers said. “When they sent me the results I was very surprised about my cholesterol level.”

Powers, who is married and has a nine-year-old and seven-year-old, worked on changing his diet and getting more exercise. “I am eating better and trying to make sure that I exercise regularly.” Powers said. “My cholesterol is where it needs to be now.”

Powers credits the Coliseum with doing its part to keep the community healthy.

“Coliseum is fantastic,” he said. “They are very beneficial to the community in what they are doing inside and outside the hospital. The screenings and lab work that I had would have cost hundreds of dollars if I would had it done in the physician’s office. Coliseum did all that for free and helped to make sure that I stay healthy for my family.”