Negotiating with the Insurance Company: “Can I be my own lawyer?”

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You’ve suffered a basic accident, and you ask yourself, “Can I be my own lawyer?” After a minor accident, many people advocate for themselves against insurance companies. Thousands of people do this annually. Insurance companies want you to be your own lawyer because they can negotiate with you and not an attorney. If a person has the time and organization to follow-through, they may be successful on their own.

As much as I want to tell you that you must have a lawyer to get compensated for your injuries, I can’t. Sometimes you don’t need an injury lawyer. In fact, I get calls at my office every day from people involved in accidents, who I encourage to pursue claims on their own.

Depending on the severity of your injuries and the complexity of your case, you matt try to handle the following claim types personally:

  • Home accidents
  • Slip and fall cases
  • Auto accidents

In some situations, the financial value of the case is so low that it would not make sense for someone to hire a lawyer who will take their fee out of the recovery. I evaluate cases every day, and if I know that a person will not be able to receive the compensation they are looking for, I will encourage them to negotiate with the insurance company directly. That way, they will increase the amount of money that goes in their pocket, by cutting out my contingency fee.

Regardless of this reasoning, you might be wondering why I would ever encourage anyone to handle a case on their own. The truth is that the insurance claims process has become so streamlined that the general public can figure it out alone. Insurance companies are heavily involved in the types of cases listed above, and they would rather negotiate with the consumer than an attorney. As such, the insurance companies have made the process less complex so the general public can better understand it and be effective.

You may be able to settle your own personal injury claim because:

1. Insurance companies have made the claims’ process user-friendly and efficient.

2. You understand your claim better than anyone.

3. The insurance company already determined a general range of the value of your claim.

4. You can save yourself from legal fees.

While there are many compelling reasons to try to settle your claim alone, there is nothing more valuable than experience.

You need to know your rights and have the knowledge necessary to protect your legal interests. Every action you take after your accident can have an effect on your case. Even claims involving minor injuries can become complex under certain circumstances.

It is important to at least talk to a lawyer about your case. An attorney with experience in personal injury will help you evaluate your case and give you the best chance to recover the compensation you need and deserve after an accident. Without a doubt, insurance companies will always offer more money when they’re negotiating with an attorney.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, call me at 1 (877) 944-4373 before you start negotiating your claim.

I will help you understand what you are entitled to and make sure the insurance company doesn’t take advantage of you. As your Car Accident Lawyer, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

Author: Tim Misny | For over 33 years, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in birth injurymedical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving “Cleveland, Akron/Canton, Columbus & Cincinnati, Ohio.” You can reach Tim by email at tmisny@misnylaw.com or call at 1 (877) 944-4373.

NCAA Concussion Lawsuit: Will This Change in Policy?

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Collegiate athletes, no matter what sport they play, play at a level higher than most people can imagine. Playing at that level increases the risk of injury tremendously. In recent years, the general public and media have shined a bright light on one specific type of sports-related injury: concussions.

NCAA records show that between 2004 and 2009, over 30,000 athletes suffered concussions, also known as traumatic brain injuries, while playing a college sport. Many collegiate athletes suffered multiple concussions, and most were sent right back onto the playing field following their injury.

A survey conducted by the Washington Times demonstrated that as many as half of colleges did not require athletes to see a doctor after suffering a concussion, with the other half even going as far as allowing the athlete to return to the field the same day.

Prior to recent scrutiny, general practice required concussed players to see the school athletic trainer, who would perform basic tests, i.e. asking the player to count backwards from ten, and then trainers would promptly send the player back to the game.

This type of callous “examination” caused many athletes to suffer permanent brain trauma due to repetitive hear injury. Dealing with the lasting effects of these injuries, a number of NCAA athletes filed lawsuits claiming the NCAA negligently failed to protect them following recurrent concussions.

Health risks associated with traumatic head injuries include:

  • Frequent headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Poor memory
  • Lack of concentration
  • Inability to sleep
  • Memory problems
  • Seizures
  • Alzheimer’s and Dementia

In a recent settlement, the NCAA agreed to set aside a $70 million-dollar fund to help current and former athletes who have suffered traumatic brain injuries while playing NCAA sports. This settlement also included an array of policy changes regarding the medical care provided to collegiate athletes.

This class action lawsuit did not include any compensation for players who have suffered head injuries; however, athletes still have standing to file lawsuits individually against the NCAA and their university, if they feel their safety has been compromised.

If you or someone you love suffered a traumatic brain injury or concussion while playing sports in college, you have to call me immediately at 1 (877) 944-4373. The injury may not seem serious, but the effects could last a lifetime.

As your Catastrophic Injury lawyer, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

Author: Tim Misny | For over 33 years, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in birth injurymedical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving “Cleveland, Akron/Canton, Columbus & Cincinnati, Ohio.” You can reach Tim by email at tmisny@misnylaw.com or call at 1 (877) 944-4373.

 

 

 

 

Medical Malpractice Death Rates Continue to Rise

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Healthcare affects everyone at one point or another in their lives. When we seek medical care, we realize there are certain risks associated with every procedure and/or form of treatment. We place our trust in doctors and other healthcare providers that they will treat us competently with the standard of care we deserve and have come to expect.

Unfortunately, medical errors are becoming a serious problem, threatening the lives of patients in record numbers. Medical errors have become the number three cause of death in the United States and these statistics continue to increase every year. To put it in perspective, medical errors are responsible for more deaths than car accidents, diabetes, chronic lung diseases, and pneumonia.

According to recent numbers, the most common medical errors include:

  • Adverse effects of medications (106,000 deaths per year)
  • Hospital-acquired infections (80,000 deaths per year)
  • Unnecessary surgeries (12,000 deaths per year)
  • Medication errors (7,000 deaths per year)
  • Other various errors in hospitals (20,000 deaths per year)

These alarming statistics are not meant to condemn physicians and other healthcare personnel. The majority of those who provide us with medical care are incredible at what they do.

However, that doesn’t change the fact that the healthcare system in the United States is deficient, and these deficiencies prevent doctors from providing the standard of care required to keep people safe. Large patient loads, HMO’s, and an overall focus on profit over proficiency are putting patients in danger everyday.

If you or someone you love was injured as the result of a preventable medical error in an Ohio hospital, you need to call me immediately at 1 (877) 944-4373.

I can help you get the answers you deserve and the compensation you need. As your Medical Malpractice lawyer, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

Author: Tim Misny | For over 33 years, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in birth injurymedical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving “Cleveland, Akron/Canton, Columbus & Cincinnati, Ohio.” You can reach Tim by email at tmisny@misnylaw.com or call at 1 (877) 944-4373.

Belt Magazine Features VASJ High School

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Colorblind and Rising: What’s Behind The Surprising success of Cleveland’s Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School?

COLORBLIND AND RISING: WHAT’S BEHIND THE SURPRISING SUCCESS OF CLEVELAND’S VILLA ANGELA-ST. JOSEPH HIGH SCHOOL?

  • September 23, 2014
    By Daniel J. McGraw

Rich Osborne is slowly walking through the gym of Villa Angela-St. Joseph’s High School(VASJ), a Catholic school on the east side of Cleveland. Villa Angela-St. Joseph has been around for about 25 years now, since the separately operated all-boys and all-girls schools pretty much had to combine as a coed school to save their existence. When Osborne went to school – he graduated from St. Joe’s in 1969 – the gym was the center of much of his life.

VASJ President Richard J. Osborne (class of ’69) and wife, Della, leaving for the St. Joseph High School junior prom, 1968. They also went to senior prom together in 1969 and were married in 1970.

VASJ President Richard J. Osborne (class of ’69) and wife, Della, leaving for the St. Joseph High School junior prom, 1968. They also went to senior prom together in 1969 and were married in 1970. [Photo: Richard J. Osborne]

For instance, he asked a Villa Angela girl named Della to dance with him at a mixer here in this gym. Rich and Della had known each other in grade school, but, since she was a year older, he was shy about asking her out. That night in the gym, he saw her standing with some of her girlfriends and got up the nerve. “A lot of stuff happened in here,” Osborne says with a laugh and a bit of a twinkle in his eye.

They slow-danced on the tile floor and later married, had four children and, now, nine grandchildren, together. Osborne doesn’t remember which band was playing that night, but it was the late 60s and it was probably the Mods or the Choir or the Raspberries or one of those famous Cleveland bands from back then that made the St. Joe’s dances the place to be when the baby boomers were coming of age.

I remember being in this gym a lot too. We played CYO basketball every Saturday morning when I was in grade school, and I remember distinctly watching Pat Lyons (he has since passed away), the all-state St. Joe’s basketball player who scored an amazing 24 points per game in 1970. We all chanted “P Ly’s Come in” before those high school games started, and he would always then drain his first shot, a warm-up jumper from 20 feet. It all happened in a daze of purple — this gym used to be called the “Purple Palace,” after the low-resolution fluorescent lights that bounced photons off the blue and red tile floor, creating a purple veil of eeriness that confused opponents and helped the home team win some games.

Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School President Rich Osborne

Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School President Rich Osborne – Photo Bob Perkoski

The two schools used to have a combined 2,000-3,000 students back in the 1970s, but five years ago enrollment was down to about 265. The conventional opinion among alums of both schools was not if the school was going to close, but when. “Each fall, the school would open, and it was almost as if we were saying, ‘We’re not dead this year,’” Osborne says.

Most thought VASJ story was going to play out along the lines of the typical decline of an inner-city Midwest Catholic school script: there has been job and population loss in the city, increasing poverty in the neighborhood. Many white Catholics left for the suburbs a few generations ago, and many graduates no longer felt ties to their alma mater. Older St. Joe’s grads, most of them white, saw black kids hanging out on the corner of the school at East 185thStreet and Lakeshore Boulevard after school. As a guy who graduated in the mid-80s told me, “You’d drive by, and you’d think that isnt my school.

When the enrollment dropped to those dangerous lows about five years ago, the alumni weren’t thrilled with ponying up money, because who wants to throw money at a school whose shelf life is getting shorter by the day? And while Cleveland cheerleaders like to point to all the quaint urban neighborhood rebirth, this part of Northeast Ohio has never really been in that trendy category. VASJ sits at the border of Cleveland’s Collinwood neighborhood and the City of Euclid, and on both sides of that border much of the working middle class left a long time ago. Crime and Section 8 housing moved into the void.

Thomas Gallucci's ('03 alumnus) English class at Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School

Thomas Gallucci’s (’03 alumnus) English class at Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School – Photo Bob Perkoski

But in the past few months, an odd thing has happened. Last spring, VASJ graduated 38 seniors. This fall, about 130 freshmen are enrolled. VASJ is suddenly the fastest-growing private school in Ohio, with a total of 420 students. This is happening in a city that has lost about 20 percent of its population in the past few decades, and on a side of town that has one of the highest poverty rates in the country.

What caused the turnaround? While we walk outside the gym – over by the football practice field that abuts Lake Erie – Osborne explains the unusual marketing strategy that upped enrollment so dramatically: turning down applicants. That’s not a misprint. The school started getting more students when it started turning away more.

“We decided that if we are going to serve our students, those students and their families had to buy into what we were doing,” Osborne says. “If you do not accept what we expect, and do not appreciate what it is we are doing in terms of education, well, it is not going to be a good marriage.” About one-third of their applicants don’t make the cut.

“The idea that this school or any school is place where you drop off your problems, forget it,” he continues. “That doesn’t mean we are selective to such an extreme that a kid who may have struggled academically is not going to be able to thrive here. But we have to see the potential.”

VASJ realized they had to improve their product to keep it alive, and one way to do that was to restrict who can purchase it. Marketing geniuses often tell you that approach is dicey; marketing exclusivity is great when a business is growing (because a business can limit the product and raise the price), but real risky when a business is spiraling downward. In this case, VASJ was taking a huge risk, because if their enrollment dropped by even 50 or so more they would probably have had to close.

Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School

Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School – Photo Bob Perkoski

But the enrollment chart line is now spiking upward. Plus, the 20,000 or so alumni from both schools have noticed. Donations are up too, including a $250,000 gift to refurbish the Purple Palace, which will soon have new stands and lighting and, eventually, better restrooms and concession stands.

“This school is much better than it was when I went here,” Osborne says. “Having boys and girls together makes them learn about each other and respect each other. The school is half men and women, and half black and white. And we are proud of those numbers, because we are trying to be more like the real world than some isolated institution that doesn’t prepare its kids for how things are in the world out there.”

It is even better than “the world” when it comes to race and gender: VASJ is one of the most integrated schools in the country, and it focuses on gender equality, not just male sports prowess.

xxx

Tim Misny, St. Joseph High School graduate, class of 1973, is mostly known as that lawyer who pops up on the TV all over the country and tells viewers that if you hire him, I’ll Make Them Pay!®.” He lives in a mansion he calls “Misnyland, ” on 55-acres in tony Waite Hill.

Misny was one of those alumni who wasn’t too involved in the school prior to Osborne’s appointment as president about three years ago (Osborne served as board president prior to that). “I can’t speak for the other alumni, but I get approached all the time to work on political campaigns and fundraisers, and you’re always just too busy, with work and family and kids,” Misny said. “But Osborne was infectious in how he told me that the school was going to emphasize what we have always been. That is, a school with middle-class kids who don’t come from rich families and who have to work hard to make it.”

Tim Misny, alumnus, and President Richard Osborne at Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School

Tim Misny, alumnus, and President Richard Osborne at Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School – Photo Bob Perkoski

“The kids there now are just like I was, and race doesn’t matter,” Misny says. He tells of his middle-class upbringing in Euclid, sharing the attic bedroom with his brother, and working cleaning toilets and emptying trash barrels at a local golf courses in order to pay his way through St. Joe’s. “When I go in there and walk those halls,” he says, “I see kids who were just like me. These boys and girls know that this is their ticket to a better life, and they work hard at it. It’s really great to see.”

The two schools have always had a mix of rich and middle-class though their history. Villa Angela Academy was founded in the mid-1870s, as a boarding school for girls on the eastern edge of the city (about ten miles from downtown) on property they had purchased on Lake Erie at the mouth of Euclid Creek. St. Joseph High School was opened in 1950 a few miles east (and also on the lake) of Villa Angela as the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland saw the Catholic population moving to suburbs like Euclid and into Lake County.

Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School

Tim Misny, alumnus, Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School – Photo Bob Perkoski

Click here to read the full article.

Medical Malpractice: Delayed Diagnosis

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When you think about medical malpractice, you think of a doctor doing something wrong; however, sometimes medical malpractice happens, not because a doctor did something wrong, but because a doctor failed to take action at all.

Delayed diagnosis is an extremely common and dangerous form of medical malpractice. If you have ever gone to the emergency room, you know how long it takes to even see a doctor.

Medical treatment and diagnosis can be delayed for a number of reasons, including:

  • Understaffing
  • Miscommunication of hospital staff
  • Too many patients
  • Misinterpreted test results
  • Failure to perform the correct tests
  • Procedures performed incorrectly
  • Technology malfunction
  • Lost or switched lab results
  • Delay by other hospital employees
  • Failure to refer patients to the correct specialists

Not every delay in medical treatment and diagnosis rises to the level of medical malpractice. Delayed diagnosis becomes medical malpractice when it results in injury or stage of disease that is beyond what would have occurred with a timely diagnosis.

To determine if a delay in diagnosis is medical malpractice you have to ask yourself this question, “Would proper and timely diagnosis have prevented the patient’s injury and/or death?”

Delayed diagnosis cases are different than ordinary medical malpractice because the patient was already injured or sick when he or she came to the hospital. The doctor could not have prevented an injury or illness the patient was already suffering from, but if the doctor’s diagnosis could have stopped it from getting worse then he or she may be liable.

Delayed diagnosis cases are harder to prove than ordinary medical malpractice claims. To prove medical malpractice, you must prove the following:

1. The existence of a doctor/patient relationship.

2. The doctor breached the standard of care.

3. The doctor’s breach in the standard of care resulted in harm to the patient.

For delayed diagnosis cases, you must also prove that the harm suffered by the patient was worsened as the result of the delay in diagnosis.

I can help you prove that your doctor’s delay in treatment and diagnosis caused harm. I will investigate your doctor’s behavior, and whether he or she should have diagnosed you sooner based on the circumstances.

I will also help you prove that the damage you suffered would have been prevented if he or she acted in accordance with the standard of care of a reasonable, competent doctor. Medical malpractice can be extremely difficult to prove, and that is why you shouldn’t try to do it alone. As your Ohio Medical Malpractice Lawyer, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

If you or a family member feel like you might have been harmed by a doctor’s delayed diagnosis, you have to call me right away at 1 (877) 944-4373.

Author: Tim Misny | For more than 33 years, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in birth injurymedical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving “Cleveland, Akron/Canton, Columbus & Cincinnati, Ohio.” You can reach Tim by email at tmisny@misnylaw.com or call at 1 (877) 944-4373.

 

 

What are the Most Common Medical Mistakes Made by OB/GYNs?

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Preparing for the birth of a baby is an exciting time. During pregnancy, after the birth of a child, and through post natal care, a mother will put all of her faith in her OB/GYN.

Unfortunately, the pregnancy process is not always free from mistakes, and those mistakes can cause serious medical problems for mother and child; sometimes even death. Complications during pregnancy, and/or birth, are devastating to parents and families. What is even more upsetting is that many of these complications can be avoided with proper testing, care, and a timely diagnosis.

4 common types of OB/GYN medical malpractice:

1. Misdiagnosis regarding pregnancy. In order to correctly diagnosis certain pregnancy complications, OB/GYNs need to recognize important pregnancy markers and perform all recommended pregnancy tests. Failing to take these steps may result in an incorrect diagnosis, which can be dangerous to the mother and her child.

2. Misdiagnosis not having to do with pregnancy. A patient doesn’t have to be pregnant to become the victim of OB/GYN medical malpractice. OB/GYNs need to be vigilant during patient check-ups and perform all necessary tests, including pap smears. Failing to recognize abnormal test results can lead to a failure to diagnosis disease such as cancer.

3. Pregnancy Surgical Errors. Surgical errors having to do with pregnancy usually involve two specific procedures: (1) Tubal Ligation (getting tubes tied); and (2) Caesarean Birth (c-section). While both of these procedures are known as routine, complications can lead to serious injury and even death for mother and child.

4. Birth Injury. During labor, mother and baby require close and constant monitoring. The OB/GYN must be diligent while monitoring the heart beat and oxygen levels of the unborn child. Any birth error can lead to severe brain and physical damage that may require specialized care for the child’s entire life.

Over the course of a pregnancy, a future mother learns to trust her OB/GYN with the most important thing – the life of her unborn child. Sometimes too much trust causes a patient to let their guard down and leaves them vulnerable to negligence. You always have to remember that doctors are human, too, and it is up to you to look out for yourself and your baby.

If you or a loved one was the victim of OB/GYN medical malpractice, you have to call me now at 1 (877) 944-4373. I will help you get the compensation you need to make sure you and your child are able to live as normal of a life as possible following your injuries. As your Ohio Birth Injury and Medical Malpractice lawyer, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

Author: Tim Misny | For more than 33 years, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in birth injurymedical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving “Cleveland, Akron/Canton, Columbus & Cincinnati, Ohio.” You can reach Tim by email at tmisny@misnylaw.com or call at 1 (877) 944-4373.

Medical Malpractice Resulting from Early Discharge from the Hospital

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If you or a loved one has ever been in the hospital, you know that finally being able to go home is one of the greatest feelings, but do you know that early discharge is one of the most common causes of medical malpractice? Early hospital discharges are increasing at an alarming rate. Hundreds of thousands of patients are being sent home before they are ready.

You might be thinking, “Why would doctors rush their patients’ treatment?” The answer is because of money. The hospital gets paid more when they bring in new patients. Therefore, every day a patient remains in the hospital they are taking the bed of a new patient and costing the hospital money.

According to a recent study, 20% of patients experience preventable adverse medical events within three weeks of being prematurely discharged from the hospital.

When a patient is sent home too early after a serious illness or injury, doctors are not available to respond to the patient if problems occur. The patient is no longer being monitored as closely as they should be, and they become vulnerable to dangerous side effects.

The most common complications associated with early discharge are:
1. Adverse Drug Events
2. Hospital-Acquired Infections
3. Discharge Prior to Receiving Negative Test Results

There are things you can do to prevent post-discharge complications.

  • Pay attention to your prescriptions. If you were put on new medication while you were in the hospital, make sure you understand what you’re taking and how to take it. Monitor your reactions to new medications. If you notice a problem, talk to your doctor immediately.
  • Be clear on all of your follow-up care plans. Double check any pending tests and ask your primary care physician to explain your diagnosis, treatment plan, and what any test results mean for your continued care.
  • Be aware of possible complications and pay close attention to any and all symptoms.

If you or a family member believe you may have been harmed by an early hospital discharge, you have to call me right away at 1 (877) 944-4373.

I will help you prove that your doctor was negligent in sending you home. I will investigate whether the doctor performed all necessary tests, monitored your vital signs, scheduled follow-ups, and correctly diagnosed your condition.

I will also help you prove that the damage you suffered would have been prevented if you stayed in the hospital. Medical malpractice can be extremely difficult to prove, and that is why you shouldn’t try to do it alone. As your Ohio Medical Malpractice Lawyer, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

Author: Tim Misny | For more than 33 years, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in birth injurymedical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving “Cleveland, Akron/Canton, Columbus & Cincinnati, Ohio.” You can reach Tim by email at tmisny@misnylaw.com or call at 1 (877) 944-4373.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

critical issue is whether the negligence actually caused harm. It is insufficient to show that a patient suffered harm after a mistake was made.

For example, imagine a doctor discharged a cancer patient after a round of chemotherapy. The patient died shortly after being discharged. Even though the death occurred shortly after the patient was released from the hospital, it may have been perfectly reasonable for the release to take place, and the patient’s family would not necessarily have a medical malpractice case against the doctor. The family would have to show that the discharge was inappropriate, AND that it contributed to the patient’s death. If the death would have occurred even if the patient had still been in the hospital, the doctor would not be liable for medical malpractice. Learn more about Proving Damages in Medical Malpractice Cases.

 

Adverse drug events are the most common postdischarge complication, with hospital-acquired infections and procedural complications also causing considerable morbidity. More subtle discharge hazards arise from the fact that nearly 40% of patients are discharged with test results pending, and a comparable proportion are discharged with a plan to complete the diagnostic workup as an outpatient, placing patients at risk unless timely and complete follow-up is ensured. As nearly 20% of Medicare patients arerehospitalized within 30 days of discharge, minimizing post-discharge adverse events has become a priority for the US health care system.The two most common types of early discharge are:

Infant early discharge.  The common hospital stay for an infant is 48 hours after birth.  The american academy of pediatrics recommends a 16 point list of indicators for a healthy discharge.

Elderly Early discharge.  Older patients occupy a majority of hospital beds and this could cause the hospital to discharge the patient too quickly . When an elderly person is admitted to the hospital the doctors should immediately plan for discharge. Nurses and doctors should evaluate  the patient and take notice that they are actively improving.  Family members should make sure they are involved in the discharge decision.  Elderly patients may not be able to convey exactly how they feel. If the family member feels that the patient is being pressured then be sure to speak up.

 

Preventing Adverse Events after Discharge 
Ensuring safe care transitions requires a systematic approach. Three key areas must be addressed prior to discharge:

  • Medication reconciliation: The patient’s medications must be cross-checked to ensure that no chronic medications were stopped and to ensure the safety of new prescriptions.
  • Structured discharge communication: Information on medication changes, pending tests and studies, and follow-up needs must be accurately and promptly communicated to outpatient physicians.
  • Patient education: Patients (and their families) must understand their diagnosis, their follow-up needs, and whom to contact with questions or problems after discharge.

No consensus exists on how to ensure patient safety after hospital discharge, but some evidence indicates that comprehensive, multi-modal interventions may be more effective at preventing rehospitalization than targeting individual components of the discharge process. Two notable interventions used specially trained staff to meet with patients before (and sometimes after) discharge to reconcile medications, instruct patients and caregivers in self-care methods, prepare patient-centered discharge instructions, and facilitate communication with outpatient physicians. These studies, the Care Transitions trial and the Project RED study, both successfully reduced readmissions and emergency department visits after discharge. By contrast, medication reconciliation alone does not appear to reduce rehospitalization risk (but likely prevents medication errors), and other strategies such as structured postdischarge phone calls to patients and ensuring early follow-up appointmentsalso lack supporting evidence. There is considerable interest in harnessing the power of checklists to standardize the discharge process, and electronic health records offer great potential for improving information transfer between inpatient and outpatient physicians and developing standardized discharge instructions for patients.

Evaluating the magnitude of care transition problems and the effect of interventions is hampered by the lack of a standard outcome measurement. Hospital readmission rates are often used, but most adverse events after discharge cause patient harm without requiring readmission. A three-item patient survey measure has been developed to measure patient satisfaction with the transition process; hospitals are being encouraged to add these items to standard patient satisfaction questionnaires.

Common Types of Early Discharge Cases

Infant early discharge cases are the most common type of early discharge case. Because of the long list of problems that can occur early in life and the serious consequences that can be linked to those problems, infants should remain in a hospital for the first 48 hours after birth. This is according to a list of recommendations published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

The 48 hour mark is a minimum guideline for healthy infants, but longer stays are recommended for infants experiencing complications. In addition to the 48 hour rule, the AAP list of recommendations includes 16 points, primarily related to health indicators that should guide the discharge of a healthy infant from a hospital. The list includes:

  • normal and stable vital signs for at least the past 12 hours
  • at least two successful feedings
  • urination and the spontaneous passage of at least one stool
  • hearing screening, and
  • assessment of family, environmental, and social risk factors.

Of course, early discharge does not merely affect infants. Adults can be the harmed by early discharge too. For example, a patient might be discharged before adequate testing for post-surgery infection is completed. Or, a heart surgery patient might be discharged before adequate testing of a pacemaker is completed.

Emergency Readmissions

In most early discharge cases, patients are readmitted to a hospital under emergency conditions. It is important to note that the hospital need not act negligently during the emergency readmission for the patient to have a valid medical malpractice case. In many early discharge situations, significant damage will have occurred before the patient is readmitted. The patient may be able to sue for any preventable harm, i.e. damages that would not have occurred if the patient had not been discharged from the hospital in the first place.

Also, doctors are more prone to make mistakes in emergency situations, so medical malpractice law tends to grant a certain amount of leeway for emergency room errors. But if the emergency situation only came about because of the inappropriate early discharge, the hospital will not be given leeway if a mistake is made during the ensuing emergency treatment.

Proving Medical Malpractice

The different factual possibilities for cases involving wrongful early discharge are infinite. But when patients sue for medical malpractice, courts analyze almost all cases using the same formula. Most medical malpractice plaintiffs must prove:

  • medical negligence on the part of a health care provider, and
  • harm caused by that negligence.

The question of whether a doctor committed medical negligence in these cases boils down to whether the patient was discharged too early. But the real question is, “How early is too early?” That question is answered by 1) determining the appropriate medical standard of care under the circumstances — what would a similarly-skilled doctor have done under the same treatment scenario, and 2) pointing out exactly how the doctor fell short of meeting that standard.

In early discharge cases, the medical standard of care might require a doctor to:

  • perform specific tests to ensure the patient is healthy
  • monitor a patient’s vital signs for a specific amount of time to ensure stability
  • schedule a follow-up visit, or
  • diagnose and treat an underlying condition.

In the vast majority of cases, proving the standard of care requires medical expert witness testimony. The same expert will usually be used to prove deviation from the standard of care. For example, if the standard of care required the doctor to wait until an infant was showing no sign of jaundice before discharging the infant, and the doctor failed to keep the infant for observation even while the symptoms were still obvious, the expert would document this treatment — showing what the doctor did in the context of what he or she should have done.

Proving Harm Caused by Medical Negligence

In order to win a medical malpractice lawsuit, the patient must prove that the doctor’s negligence caused foreseeable harm. This harm can take many forms, including:

  • pain and suffering
  • cost of medical bills
  • loss of earning capacity, and
  • loss of the ability to enjoy life’s pleasures.

The critical issue is whether the negligence actually caused harm. It is insufficient to show that a patient suffered harm after a mistake was made.

For example, imagine a doctor discharged a cancer patient after a round of chemotherapy. The patient died shortly after being discharged. Even though the death occurred shortly after the patient was released from the hospital, it may have been perfectly reasonable for the release to take place, and the patient’s family would not necessarily have a medical malpractice case against the doctor. The family would have to show that the discharge was inappropriate, AND that it contributed to the patient’s death. If the death would have occurred even if the patient had still been in the hospital, the doctor would not be liable for medical malpractice. Learn more about Proving Damages in Medical Malpractice Cases.

Hurt at Work? What Ohio Workers’ Compensation Benefits are You Entitled To?

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Most of us get up and go to work everyday for one reason, to provide for our families. What happens, however, when you get hurt at work and the very job that allowed you to provide for your family prevents you from doing so?

Getting hurt at work can be financially devastating to you and your family. The workers’ compensation system was designed to help people who were injured in the line of work, so they can stay financially stable while they are recovering from their injuries.

The Ohio worker’s compensation system provides injured workers with the following benefits:

1. Permanent Disability Benefits. If someone is injured so severely at work that he or she will never be able to work again, that person may be eligible for permanent disability benefits. If the workers’ compensation system determines that rehabilitation and/or other employment will not allow the injured worker to live the life he or she was living before the injury, the system may provide them and their family with permanent financial support.

2. Survivor Benefits. If someone died as a the result of an injury at work, the workers’ compensation system will provide the person’s surviving spouse and children with financial support, in accordance with the following:

  • The spouse of the deceased will get 66 and 2/3 percent of the worker’s average wage and will continue to get that amount for life or for two years after the spouse remarries.
  • Children of the deceased will receive financial compensation until turn turn 18 or 25 if the child remains in school.

3. Safety Violation Benefits. If a person is injured as the result of a violation of Ohio safety requirements, that person will receive compensation because of the violation and that compensation will continue through the life of the claim. The amount of compensation is calculated differently in this situation, and is not based on average wages, but instead is based on a statutory maximum set for the year the injury occurred. Furthermore, the employer may be penalized for the violation.

4. Cost of Living. Workers’ compensation benefits are not based on the cost of living, but are instead set by statute.

5. Lump Sum Settlements. Someone injured at work is eligible to settle their workers’ compensation claim for a lump sum, as opposed to receiving monthly installments. However, once an amount is agreed upon, the compensation claim is permanently closed regardless of any changes in the degree of your injury. Therefore, before you settle your claim, you must be sure about your prognosis.

6.  Hiring an Attorney. The workers’ compensation system can become extremely complicated. That is why you need to call an experienced Ohio workers’ compensation lawyer to help protect your rights, and get you the compensation you deserve. A lawyer who knows what he or she is doing can help you sort through the confusion. The system isn’t always on the employee’s side, so you can have to do everything you can to protect yourself.

If you were injured while working in Ohio, you may be entitled to the benefits discussed above. Call me right away at 1 (877) 944-4373. As your Ohio workers’ compensation lawyer, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

Author: Tim Misny | For 33 years, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in birth injurymedical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving “Cleveland, Akron/Canton, Columbus & Cincinnati, Ohio.” You can reach Tim by email at tmisny@misnylaw.com or call at 1 (877) 944-4373.

 

 

 

Are Ohio Schools Responsible for your Child’s Sports Injuries?

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It’s September, the kids are back to school, and your child has made his high school football team. As a parent, it is so rewarding to watch your child participate and succeed in the extra-curricular activities he or she chooses. Nevertheless, you can’t help but worry about all of the hard work that will be required of him/her and the chance for serious injury.

Football, specifically, but all sports in general, bring an inherent risk of injury. Many school sports are contact sports, and athletic directors and coaches often push children to their physical limits and beyond.

What happens if your child gets hurt while playing a sport at school?  Are Ohio schools legally responsible for your child’s sports injuries?

If you or your child has ever been seriously injured, you understand how devastating that can be. The road to recovery is long and difficult, and you are often dealing with endless medical bills.

If your child was injured at school while playing a sport, you may feel helpless and look for someone to blame. You might even wonder if the school and/or your child’s coaches could have done something to prevent the injury – was your child’s injury the result of negligence?

It is very difficult to prove that a school or coach is liable for your child’s sports injuries.

Ohio law has made individuals and school systems immune from legal action having to do with general sports injuries. Courts have concluded that students who choose to play sports at school have assumed the inherent risk in the activity.

Public schools typically require students to complete a physical before joining a sports team. Furthermore, participants must also sign a a consent waiver, releasing the school from liability for injuries.

However, schools are not off the hook for ALL injuries. If your child suffers an injury while playing sports at school that wasn’t a known/expected risk of playing that sport, the school could be liable. For example, if your child is injured as the result of a dangerous object on the field or court, something the school should have removed or fixed, the school may be liable.

If your child was seriously injured while playing a sport for his or her school, you need to call me at 1 (877) 944-4373, so I can help you evaluate the circumstances of the accident.

If your child’s school or coach put him or her in a dangerous situation, you and your family deserve compensation, so that you can help care for your child. As your personal injury lawyer, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

Author: Tim Misny | For more than 33 years, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in birth injurymedical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving “Cleveland, Akron/Canton, Columbus & Cincinnati, Ohio.” You can reach Tim by email at tmisny@misnylaw.com or call at 1 (877) 944-4373.

 

 

Car Accident in Ohio: What Should I Do First?

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Every morning we leave our houses to start our busy days. We schedule around work, children, appointments, and leisure, but never once for the unexpected. We don’t think over 18,000 people, every day, never make it to their jobs or their appointments because they are involved in car accidents.

If you are one of the thousands of people involved in a car accident every day in the United States, and more specifically in the state of Ohio, here is what you need to know to protect yourself and your rights:

1. Safety First. If you are involved in a minor accident and do not sustain any serious injuries, you should move your car to the side of the road. Leaving your car on the road can be dangerous and can result in other accidents.  In the event of a more serious collision, where cars cannot be be moved, you should remain in your car, with your seat belt fastened, and your hazard lights on, until help arrives.

2. Call the Police. It is very important to call the police immediately after a collision. First and foremost, a police officer will get you the help and medical attention you need. You should never assume you aren’t injured, because injuries may become apparent hours, days, and even months after a car accident. Furthermore, you will need a police report to file an insurance claim. When you speak to the police, try to be as accurate as possible about what happened because the police report is the most reliable form of evidence for your personal injury claim. Finally, if possible, make sure the other driver is providing accurate statements for the police report, as well.

3. Exchange and Record Contact Information. Getting contact information for the other driver involved in the accident will save a lot of time and headache later on in the legal process. If possible, try to obtain the following information from the other driver: name, phone number, address, insurance company, policy number, license plate number, and driver’s license number. While talking to the other party, remain as calm as possible, be respectful of the other driver, and don’t volunteer anymore information than you have to about yourself or the accident. 

4. Take Photos. As soon as you walk away from a car accident, you will start to forget important details about what happened. Do your best to document as much about the accident as possible. The best way to do this is through pictures. Take pictures of the scene of the collision, the car/property damage, personal injuries, and anything else you think might be important.

5. See a Doctor. Always seek medical attention following a car accident. As I mentioned above, injuries sometimes don’t appear for hours, days, or even months after an accident. Also, some injuries are internal and impossible to recognize. Only a trained medical professional should treat you after an accident. Go to the emergency room immediately and make sure you act in accordance with all follow-up instructions/treatment.

6. Notify your Insurance Company. After an accident, notify your insurance company immediately. Ask about any benefits you might have, especially for your medical bills.

7. Keep a File. Keep all documents regarding your accident organized and in a file. This may include:

  • Accident reports
  • Claim numbers
  • Contact information for the other party
  • Contact information for your claims adjuster
  • Receipts for any expenses you may have incurred from the accident
  • Any and all medical documentation about your injuries
  • A daily log
  • Pictures you took at the scene of the accident
  • Property damage documentation
  • Any other important details

8. Protect your Rights. Consult with an attorney. One of the most important things you should do after an automobile accident is to consult with an attorney. Insurance companies commonly want information from you immediately, so it is important to know your legal rights in the state of Ohio. Furthermore, everything you do after an accident can be considered evidence in your personal injury case. An attorney will advise you as to what should be done in order to be properly compensated for your injuries.

If you or a family member are ever involved in an accident, keep these points in mind. The legal process can be overwhelming, but with some understanding of the process and help from an experienced accident lawyer, you will get the compensation you need for a true recovery.

Call me right now for a FREE consultation at 1 (877) 944-4373, so I can help you understand your rights. As your Ohio car accident lawyer, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

Author: Tim Misny | For more than 33 years, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in birth injurymedical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving “Cleveland, Akron/Canton, Columbus & Cincinnati, Ohio.” You can reach Tim by email at tmisny@misnylaw.com or call at 1 (877) 944-4373.