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Why You Need An Expert Witness for Your Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

Posted on June 26, 2012 by Fast Lawsuit Team

A medical malpractice lawsuit is not a simple matter – you’re actually combining legal jargon with medical ones! To shed light on the medical aspects of the lawsuit (and to show whether the defendant is liable or not), there is a need to present the testimony of an expert witness. The expert witness provides an opinion and “translates” the medical complexities of the case in a way that the jury will understand so that they can make a more informed decision.

What makes a Medical Expert?

Although the standards on who is an expert witness will vary from one state to another, these are generally the qualities that a medical expert should have:
-  Consultant or specialist status. The expert witness should be at least a consultant or specialist in the field being covered by the personal injury lawsuit. The specialty of the witness should also be the same as that of the medical practitioner being sued. For instance, in cases where a doctor failed to make the correct (and very obvious) diagnosis of cancer, it will be an oncologist consultant that will be called upon.
-  Medical qualifications. This may come be shown by the witness’ level of experience and training, as well as board certifications he already may have earned.
-  An active practice. There are guidelines that stipulate that the expert doctor should actually be practicing rather than just providing expert opinions on lawsuits.
-  Other aspects. There are also some jurisdictions that require that the expert witness’ testimony and opinion be subject to a peer review and that the theory underlying his opinion is generally accepted by the scientific and medical community.

What an Expert Medical Witness Should Show

A medical witness should simply state the facts and provide his honest opinion. But what his testimony should be able to show would be:
-  Whether the injury was caused by the doctor’s breach of duty.
-  Whether the doctor was able to meet the expected standard of care.

And proving these two can be quite tricky. For the first, the medical expert will testify regarding how the doctor’s act of negligence caused the injury to the patient. There may be other causes that may be pointed out by the defense so that medical expert should be able to definitely show that it was the doctor’s actions (or lack thereof) that is the actual cause of the injury.

For the second, the medical expert should be able to show the kind of treatment the patient should have received based on the accepted standard of care. This means that had a “normal” doctor treated the patient, the actions would have been different. The medical witness can use several resources such as guidelines given by the medical board and medical journals covering similar cases.

Res Ipsa Loquitur

There are instances when a medical expert becomes unnecessary. This is when it is very obvious, even for non-experts and non-medical personal (such as the jury) that the fault lies on the medical practitioner being sued, such as when a surgeon leaves out his scalpel inside the area being operated on. Or, when a surgeon removes the right kidney instead of the left.

In cases like this, your injury speaks for itself (or in legalese, res ipsa loquitur). You don’t need to get the services of an expert witness to show that there was a breach in the standard of care provided and that the fault can be solidly placed on the hands of the medical practitioner being sued (especially if he was the one who was in control of or in charge of the situation).

However, even if you feel that your injuries speak for itself, it may be taking a risk to leave it to the jury to understand the medical details of your case. There are also some instances where the lawsuit is dismissed (or worse, lost) because of failure to meet the criteria that defines medical malpractice. Also, the defense may also present their own witnesses. Even though it can be shown that the doctor failed to provide the standard level of care, the defense may still show that be that as it may, this incompetence is not the sole reason for your injury, or that the medical practitioner being sued was not the one who has control over the situation.

A Medical Expert Witness’ Role Prior to the Trial

Most states will require you to get the opinion of a medical expert with regards to an injury to show that the other party may be liable for the injury you have suffered. Once a medical expert declares that there is probable cause by way of a written affidavit, only then will most states allow you to file a lawsuit.

How Lawsuit Funding can Help

Indeed, it may be said that a lawsuit can be won or lost based on the quality of expert testimony you can provide with regards to your injury. However, a medical expert’s services do not come cheap. You will find that you have to dig into your already depleted pockets to produce the funds you need for the expert witness. This comes at a time when you are struggling financially and are trying to make ends meet. Hospital bills, household expenses, the mortgage and all other financial burdens may be piling up. The good news is that you can turn to lawsuit settlement loans as your lifeline.

Lawsuit funding can help by providing you with ready funds you can use to keep financially afloat – and help you get the medical expert witness you need. Reputable settlement funding providers such as FastLawsuitMoney.com can give you that cash to cover what you need.

You can apply for a lawsuit cash advance without needing to show your credit rating or your employment status. What you need to show is how strong your case is. The company will do the legwork for you. Once your application is approved, you can already get that much-needed settlement loan in as quickly as 24 hours.

 

 

The Smoking Gun: Establishing Liability

Posted on April 18, 2012 by Fast Lawsuit Team

For you to be able to file a personal injury case, you need to show the “smoking gun” – to put the fault and responsibility of the injuries and damages you sustained squarely on the court of the party you are suing.  Proving the other party’s liability is the very foundation of a personal injury lawsuit. If you and your lawyer can’t prove how the other person is responsible for the pain, suffering and damages, then you can’t expect to claim for personal injuries.

What is liability?

For someone to be considered liable, it must be proven that:
-   There was a duty of care that the party owes you, the complainant
-   That duty was violated/breached by the other party
-   There is a direct relationship to this breach of duty and injuries suffered by the complainant
-   You suffered from damages and loss because of the injuries

Legal Duty to Use Care.  The relationship between the complainant and the defendant must be that the defendant has the responsibility to ensure the safety of the complainant by virtue of their “relationship”. For instance, a doctor has an oath to do his patients no harm – the medical world has stringent standards of service and a doctor can lose his license for serious breaches of duty of care. A manufacturer has the obligation to ensure that products sold will not cause injure its buyers. A driver has the responsibility to ensure that passengers and pedestrians will not suffer harm from his driving. A property owner/mall manager has the duty to ensure shoppers are safe inside the mall. A homeowner who has a pool should make sure no one drowns in the pool.

Breach of Duty of Care.  Simply put, the breach would be something that the other party should do and did not do or something that the other party should not have done but did.  This is if it can be shown that another person who is reasonable could have foreseen the risk and done something to prevent it. Because of either an act or an omission of an act, this party put you at risk and subsequently injured you.

Causation. Of course, there can be no personal injury lawsuit based simply on the possibility or risk of injury. You can’t sue because conditions have been made risky by the other party. An actual injury must occur. And this injury must be caused by the other party’s acts or lack thereof.  For instance, you can’t sue because there is a puddle in the floor, causing it to be slippery. You can’t sue the mall owner because of the slippery floor. However, if you slipped on the floor while walking along the mall and you can prove that the owner should have done something about it, you can sue for personal injury. Finally, an injury must actually occur. If a duty is breached and no injury occurs, there is no negligence claim. Furthermore, the breach must be the actual and proximate cause of the injury. If, for example, the person operating the chainsaw is using it in an unsafe manner, but you are injured by something unrelated to his or her unsafe actions, the claim of negligence would not be valid.

Damages. You need to show actual damages. This includes monetary damages due to medical treatment, the necessity to hire housekeeping or child care, lost income and so on.

Other considerations:
-   Placement of warnings. This is especially true for product liability cases. If there is a reasonable risk or safety issue in a toy or product and the manufacturer did not provide the proper warning about the risk and a person is injured, that person can sue for personal injury claims.
-   Your own acts. Duty of care may not exist, depending on your own acts as well. For instance, if you were careless or were actually trespassing, duty of care will be seen in a different light.
-   Levels of liability:
Strict liability. The other party can be held strictly liable if it can be proven that he could have prevented the injury and damages but did not do so. This is regardless of whether you had some part in the accident. For instance, if a dog owner already knew that his dog has a history of attacking other people but did not restrain the dog properly, he is liable.
Comparative negligence.  It may be that both you and the other party have their share in causing the accident. Comparative negligence may result in a smaller amount of compensation, since you were partly to blame for your injuries.

Proving Liability

Proving that the other party is liable may be a complicated matter, depending on the type of case you have. Even when you hire a lawyer to help with the lawsuit, it may take time and considerable expense. It’s best to ensure that you have sufficient resources to battle it out. You may need lawsuit settlement funding so that you have funds to pay for medical expenses, your family’s everyday needs, as well as costs related to the lawsuit.

If you are in need of lawsuit funding, you can come to FastLawsuitMoney.com. Often called lawsuit loans, this kind of funding provides cash without requiring you to present employment records or credit ratings. Plus, it is the kind of funding that you only need to pay back when the lawsuit settles. In case, the lawsuit fails to settle, you are under no obligation to repay the funds.

False Imprisonment or False Arrest and Lawsuit Funding

Posted on February 26, 2012 by Fast Lawsuit Team

“I’m innocent.” This is what you can hear in prisons or inside holding cells. And the cynic in us will answer, “Yeah, right.” But there are actually times that this is the truth. The justice system we have is good but it is not perfect. The process that has protected the rights of others and meted out justice may sometimes also victimize others.

The justice system has checks and balances to ensure that someone is guilty before the verdict of imprisonment is handed out. There is the tenet that someone is innocent until proven guilty, that one cannot be arrested without due legal cause and that the prosecution has to show guilt beyond reasonable doubt. But, there are some unlucky ones that fall through the cracks in the justice system.

Take the case of Tim Masters, who was imprisoned for 10 years on a murder charge.  Or Barry Gibbs, who was sent to jail or 19 years on a murder charge which turned up to be a frame job by a shady detective. Or the number of men who languished in jail for how many years on rape charges. They suffered for some years but were later released from prison when it was proven that they were innocent, after all. Particularly useful are the modern technological advances such as DNA matching and computer forensics.

The effects of false imprisonment

Being imprisoned for a crime you did not commit is no simple matter. For one, you can never get back the years you lost – years that you could have spent with your family, years that are filled with various opportunities. There are also scars that, although visible, are there. Pain and suffering (mental anguish, physical abuse as well as the loss of reputation) during an imprisonment can be real.

That is why the Larimer County in Colorado awarded Tim Masters with a $4.1 million settlement for his wrongful imprisonment. And if you, too, have been a victim of false imprisonment, you can also file a claim for damages.

Even if a person has been exonerated from the crime and released from prison, it may take a huge amount of adjustment to put the broken pieces of his life together. For one, he or his family has suffered some financial setbacks. If the person imprisoned is the breadwinner, this may mean that the family has lost substantial income and may have seen the foreclosure of his house and may also have depleted the family’s savings.

Filing a lawsuit for False Imprisonment or False Arrest

The Constitution protects us from wrongful imprisonment, as well as false arrest. According to the Fourteenth Amendment of the constitution, “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” Thus, a victim of wrongful imprisonment or false arrest has the legal recourse to demand for compensation.

This will be quite a challenge – a lawsuit against the government or the state can take years to settle. And while they are waiting for that much-needed lawsuit settlement, lawsuit funding can come and fill in the gap.

Lawsuit Funding and How it Can Help

For someone who has been wrongfully imprisoned, a lawsuit loan is a precious lifeline, especially as you already know that your lawsuit will eventually be paid. The lawsuit loan is non-recourse funding – even when the lawsuit is lost or fail to settle, you don’t have to worry about paying the money back.

Settlement funding will help you get the compensation due you, rather than being forced to accept a smaller-than-expected settlement just because you can’t afford not to say “yes” to the offer because of financial constraints. It may not fully pay you back for the years and opportunities lost, but it can help make the journey towards healing and recovery easier.

 

Liability for Drunk Driving Accidents

Posted on February 23, 2012 by Fast Lawsuit Team

Driving under the influence. Even though people know the dangers of doing it, and have seen countless ads reminding them about it, it seems that alcohol still has the power to make people do something completely foolish and hazardous.

2010 statistics show that over 30% of fatal accidents involved drunk drivers, with a higher percentage happening starting midnight to 3 a.m. In the same year, the practice of drunk driving has claimed the lives of 459 people. Simply put, it simply is not a good idea to entrust a vehicle to a person impaired by alcohol – it turns the vehicle into a lethal weapon.

The question is, when filing a drunk driving lawsuit, who is considered liable? Well, the obvious answer would be the driver. Even with the influence of alcohol, a driver should know full well that he should ask a designated driver to take the wheels. Having possession a driver’s license is both a privilege and a responsibility and one of a driver’s legal responsibilities is not taking the wheel when under the influence of alcohol.

However, aside from the drunk driver, there are also other parties that can be considered liable. These include:

-          Parents of underage drivers (who drove under the influence). The rationale behind this is that parents are ideally the ones who can make sure that their children drive safely.  In some states, parents are required to sign the driver’s license application for applicants who are below 18.  Also, parents usually are the registered owner of the vehicle and thus present another level of liability. And, if the teen is having behavioral problems, parents are considered liable for the acts of their troubled teens. These troubled teens are those with a history of substance abuse and bad behavior. Some states tend to tack on punitive damages for a parent’s failure to get a misbehaving child some help and strict supervision, particularly with the use of a vehicle.

-          Other parents/adults under the social host liability. A parent or another adult who serves alcohol in his home to a minor.

-          Bartender or waitress who served alcohol. Restaurant and bar owners, as well as their employees, may also be held liable if the bartender or waiter continued pouring out the drinks for someone who is visibly drunk and allow that someone to drive away.

-          Liquor stores, under dram shop liability. Liquor stores may be held liable if they sold alcohol to a person that is already obviously intoxicated.

Being a Victim of Drunk Driving

If you are injured as a result of a drunk driving incident, you can file claims against the erring driver. You can claim compensation for:

-          Medical expenses (past, present and future costs of treating the injuries)

-          Loss of income or loss of job

-          Loss of consortium or wrongful death (for loved ones of a person disabled or killed by the drunk driving incident)

-          Disability and disfigurement

-          Pain and suffering

-          Punitive damages (under some states)

The injuries caused by a drunk driving incident could be catastrophic. It may require you to spend a considerable amount for medical treatment and therapy.  By the time you are able to see the settlement of your lawsuit, you may have medical bills piled up. Add to this the fact that your injuries have resulted in the loss of your job. At this difficult time, you will need someone to turn to to give you the cash you need.

Lawsuit funding can help by making it easier for drunk driving victims to have access to cash that they otherwise cannot get through other ways. With settlement funding, families of victims can have the peace of mind that comes from the assurance that they can still pay bills and meet their daily needs, aside from paying the hospital and other medical expenses.

A reputable provider of lawsuit loans would be FastLawsuitMoney.com. We are eager to provide you with quick and easy lawsuit funding to help you go through the drunk diving lawsuit. We understand that you don’t need the added worry of how to pay for the next bill or how to have money for your treatments. You can focus on working with your lawyer to strengthen your case so that you can obtain the compensation you justly deserve.

Back Injuries, Car Accidents and Lawsuit Funding

Posted on October 8, 2011 by Fast Lawsuit Team

Back injury claims are one of the most common lawsuit claims involving car accidents. And the back is particularly susceptible to injury during a car accident. By “back”, we refer to the middle and lower spine, as well as the tissues and muscles that surround it. Injuries in this area may range from mild to severe.  Back injuries usually result from trauma or from a degenerative process that is triggered by trauma – the trauma in this case would be the collision or car accident.

The back usually bears considerable impact in a collision, even if the passenger or driver is wearing his or her seatbelt. For instance, the body may be thrown to and fro as a result of a collision and this “shaking” may cause damage to the back area. There are also instances where the back is damaged due to a direct impact with a car.

Types of Back Injury Claims Resulting from Car Accidents

The following are the kinds of back injury claims in car accident lawsuits:

- Minor Back Injury. Muscle strain or injury, as well as damage to the spinal disc/s where the pain may last from two to five years. Surgery is usually not needed in this injury.

- Back injury that requires surgery. This moderate kind of back injury usually results from damage to the spinal cord and will require surgery. This may also include a condition where the spine aged prematurely as a result of damage sustained during a car accident.

- Serious or life-threatening back injury. This kind of injury may result in a permanent disability where organ function is impaired – there are problems with regards to the functions of the bladder, the bowel and even the sexual organs. This kind of injury may even lead to permanent paralysis.

Items included in the claim:

- Hospital and doctor’s expenses. This includes expenses for your hospital stay, doctors’ fees, diagnostic and lab fees, payments for x-rays and CT scans.

- Rehabilitation expenses. These involve expenses related to therapy, as well as of adapting your home environment to your injury.

- Other losses resulting from the injury. This includes days of work lost or job lost due to the accident, incidental expenses during a hospital stay (food expenses, transportation expenses, money to pay for housekeeper/child care while primary care giver is in the hospital).

- Compensation for pain and suffering. In some states, compensation for this may be included in the lawsuit filed. There is no set amount for compensation (and sometimes the judge or jury will determine the amount of compensation), although some states post a limit as to how much compensation should be awarded.

The insurance company of the party at fault will look at the evidence you hold and provide you with a settlement offer. Usually, if you don’t have legal representation or don’t know how to negotiate, the other party may try to settle the claim for a much lower amount.

However, it will be helpful to know that the amount of the claim will be based on the following factors:

- Who is at fault and what level of fault is attributed to each party

- The extent of the damage caused by the car crash

- The severity of the back injury and other injuries sustained

- The amount of physical damage suffered and whether these are temporary or permanent

-  The number of days of work missed, as well as the kind of job that may be lost because of the injuries

- How the quality of life will be affected by the injury

- What actions you have made after the accident to minimize the injury sustained (Did you immediately go to the doctor? Did you have tests taken? Did you ignore the symptoms of the injury until it resulted in further injury?)

When you suspect a back injury

It is important to seek medical advice and attention immediately after a car accident or collision. You may not readily notice the effects of a back injury (especially if you used painkillers right after the car accident).  The doctor will be able to assess any damage incurred during the collision by taking x-rays, or ordering a CAT scan or MRI.

Lawsuit Funding

Back injuries may be a challenge to prove during a car accident lawsuit claim. But there is quite a number of successful back injury claims. However, it is important to note that the legal process of negotiating with the party at fault, filing the lawsuit, presenting the case and awaiting the judgment and settlement  may be a long and drawn out process. In the meantime, you may have to spend for your back injury treatments, as well as for other court-related costs. Perhaps, during this time, your back injury may have resulted in your not being able to get back to work. You may not just be losing income but your job as well. During this time, you may be faced with mounting bills and debt, without any income in sight.

This is where lawsuit funding can help. Lawsuit funding will enable you to continue with your back injury lawsuit claim and fight for the compensation that is due you. The proceeds from the settlement funding will help tide you over until you are finally able to get the settlement for the lawsuit. You are able to pay off any debt, spend for your treatment and fund any court-related costs without having to reach deeply into your pockets (or taking off a second mortgage on your home).

Lawsuit funding, which is often referred to as lawsuit loans, helps you stick it out instead of being tempted to accept a lowball settlement offer from the other party just to get your claim over and done with.

For fast and easy lawsuit loans, you can go to a reputable provider, such as FastLawsuitMoney.com. We specialize in providing settlement loans after we are able to evaluate your case. Don’t worry – settlement loans are provided not based on your employment record or your credit history, but on the merits of your case.

Hidden Injuries Due to Car Accidents and Your Personal Injury Lawsuit

Posted on September 7, 2011 by Fast Lawsuit Team

So you were involved in a car accident where someone bumped into your rear fender while he was on the phone. You were jostled a bit but did not feel worse for the wear. He hands you his car insurance information where you claim for damages for your dented bumper. Your doctor prescribed some pain relievers and the pain was gone. And that ends your misadventures with that careless driver – or does it?

Later on, you may discover that your back is hurting something fierce. What you may be suffering from are hidden injuries caused by the car accident.

Soft Tissue Injuries

These are caused by soft tissue injuries in your back, neck and spinal area. Generally, there is some bruising and damage to the tendons, muscles and ligaments of your body. The pain may subside over time or it may continue to cause you suffering and be detrimental to your quality of life or your ability to do your work.

The most common of these injuries is whiplash. This usually results from rear-end collisions and is marked by pains in the neck, shoulder and head, dizziness, stiffness in the neck and burning sensations. Other kinds of soft tissue injuries include tendonitis, bursitis, deep muscle contusions or bruises, overstretched ligaments and joint dislocations.

Soft Tissue Injuries and Car Accident Lawsuits

The problem with soft tissue injuries is that they often go unnoticed and untreated, or, the doctor prescribes some pain killers and once the pain goes away you stop thinking about it.

When it comes to car accidents, it is much easier to detect “hard” injuries – wounds or broken bones. You are able to act accordingly and file a lawsuit to get you compensation for these more obvious injuries.  It is also harder to prove soft tissue injuries, as these don’t show in x-rays, CT scans, MRIs and other diagnostic tests usually done after a car accident.  These tests usually do not indicate abnormality but that does not necessarily mean that the injury does not exist.

It is important that you remain on the lookout for possible soft tissue injuries following a car accident. Please note that the symptoms may not show immediately – it may take a few days for you to see the symptoms, even for an injury that may prove significant. You will also need to see a medical specialist to ensure that no such injury has occurred.

When filing for a personal injury lawsuit for soft injuries due to a car accident, you can claim for medical costs, as well as financial losses and psychological trauma caused by the soft tissue injury. The claim may include loss of income due to your inability to perform tasks you previously were able to do, as well as how the injury has made a negative impact on your day-to-day living.

When filing for a personal injury lawsuit, you should keep records of the following:

-          Police reports and pictures of the car accident and your injuries

-          Doctors’ reports and hospital bills, this includes the diagnosis of the injury, as well as the length the treatment is expected to take

-          Documentation of how the injury has affected your daily life

-          Details of the treatment

Also, you should have gotten medical help immediately after the car accident. That way, the other party cannot assert that the injury was not caused by the car accident but by other incidents unrelated to the accident. It is important to be able to show that the other party is liable for your injuries and loss.

And as you are awaiting the results of the lawsuit and for it to settle, you can consider getting what is called a lawsuit funding or a lawsuit settlement advance.

Lawsuit Funding for Soft Tissue Injury Cases

Lawsuit funding may help in ensuring that you have the necessary funds while you await the settlement of the lawsuit. While you have filed your lawsuit, you may need deeper pockets to fund the lawsuit – the court costs, the cost to hire expert witnesses and other related costs. At the same time, you will have to cover the cost of your treatment and other non-medical expenses (costs of childcare or housekeeping while you are unable to work). This is why applying for litigation funding may be a good idea.

Depending on the state where you filed the claim, there may be considerable lawsuit settlements given, especially to those who suffer from acute pain and will need prolonged medical treatment.

However, due to the challenges posted by filing a car accident lawsuit claiming for soft tissue injury, you must have realistic expectations of getting a lawsuit settlement funding. Remember, lawsuit settlement funding will be based mostly on the merits of the case. It is also helpful to note that laws covering soft tissue injuries may vary from state to state. It is best to consult a lawyer for your best option.