What’s the difference between a birth injury and a birth defect? (Getting Legal #144)

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As a Cleveland attorney for 33 years, I have taken many cases that involve birth injury, medical malpractice, and catastrophic injury. Oftentimes, I am asked about the difference between a birth injury and a birth defect.

A birth injury is an injury caused to the child as a result of a medical professional’s negligence.

A birth defect is an abnormality, usually caused by a genetic concern or our environment.

There are cases where a birth defect has been caused by a bad drug. There are many drugs out there that may cause a birth defect if the mother took a medication while she was pregnant, such as anti-depressants.  Frequently, birth defects are not abnormalities and they can be caused by something unsuspecting, such as a daily medication.

If a mother suspects that something is wrong, her intuition and instinct, which is the strongest in the world, is normally correct. If she suspects that something is amiss and something is wrong, she needs to call me right away.

If you or a loved one have suffered a birth injury from a birth defect, medical malpractice, or a catastrophic injury, please call me at 1-800-55-MISNY. I will give you my direct dial cell phone number and meet with you face to face. I’ll Make Them Pay!®.

“Getting Legal” airs on CBS 19 every Friday morning at 7:55 AM.

$50 Million Class Action Settlement

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A class action was successfully pursued against a pharmaceutical company for its failure to properly label its medication with a warning indicating an increased chance of developing cancer.

The importance of one on one meetings (Getting Legal #143)

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I experienced a cultural shock at a recent family gathering. Five of my nephews were seated at a table and they were all texting on their cell phones. In fact, two of them texted each other!

It seems that with rapidly evolving technology such as texting, Facebook, and Twitter we, as a society are becoming detached and impersonal.

I am old fashioned. I prefer to do business face to face. That is why if a potential client contacts me, I will personally meet with them at a time place that is most convent for them. At those meetings, I encourage my client to include relatives, friends, and neighbors.

This is very import because oftentimes, a parent, a brother or sister will offer a great insight that my client, for whatever reason, may fail to mention. In order for me to be an efficient advocate, I need to know how the injury has affected my client’s life. In other words, what can they not do today that they could do prior to the accident?

At those meetings, I encourage my client to start a notebook. This helps them organize and document the details. Knowledge is power. The more I am able to paint a clear picture as to how my client’s life has changed, the easier it is to prove damages.

I’m happy to meet a client and their family at a time and place that works best for them. In fact, last Sunday night, I met a most wonderful family of a gentleman who was killed by a drunk driver as he was attempting to change his wife’s flat tire on the freeway.

The meeting coursed over several hours and it helped us establish a feeling of trust and a comfort level that will pave the way for a mutual understanding.

In order for me to continue to cultivate and foster these direct lines of communication, I make sure my client’s receive my direct dial cell phone number. I do this because my client’s questions don’t necessarily fall between the nine to five confines.

Recently, a client called me on my direct dial cell phone number one evening and I was able to answer his question. The next day, he called to let me know that if his question had gone unanswered, he wouldn’t have been able to sleep that evening. Sometimes, a two minute conversation can make all the difference in the world.

If you or loved one have become a victim of medical malpractice, birth injury, or catastrophic injury, you need to call me ASAP at 1-800-55-MISNY.

“Getting Legal” airs on CBS 19 every Friday morning at 7:55 AM.

Medical Malpractice: What is it?

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Most of the time, we receive wonderful health care. But occasionally, the medical professional breaches the duty of care ode to their patient, and that breach causes a tragedy. This is commonly referred to as medical malpractice.

For 33 years, I have represented victims and families of medical malpractice.

Medical malpractice has two components. First and foremost, we must prove that the health care provider breached the duty of care ode to the patient. And secondly and of equal importance, we must prove that that breach was the sole and proximate cause of the patient’s injury.

Many times when we review a new case, we find that the health care provider breached the duty of care. But because the patient had one or several health problems that preexisted the act of medical negligence, it is difficult, if not impossible to show that the doctor or hospital’s negligence was the sole cause of the client’s problem.

Here’s what you need to keep in mind. If you suspect that you, a loved one, or a friend has become a victim of medical malpractice, you need to call me right away. Here’s why. There is a one year statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims. If you fail to take action within the one year period, you will be forever barred from making a claim.

There are a number of ways get around that one year statute of limitations. For example: the one year statute only begins to run when you reasonably know that medical malpractice has occurred and/or the patient/physician relationship has ended. Additionally, the statute may not run if the client did not have the mental capacity with which to bring a case forward.

In birth injury cases, the client has until one year after their 18th birthday in which to bring a claim.

Medical malpractice cases are very, very complicated. That is why you need to call me IMMEDIATELY if you suspect a problem.

Over the last three decades, clients have related to me that they were told by a health care professional that the tragedy that befell them could not have been avoided. And in many of those instances, that simply was not true.

As soon as I get involved, I immediately request all of the medical records. We then sit down with our medical experts and review the charts line by line. You would be shocked to learn that the amount of information contained within those charts was purposefully withheld from the patient.

The injuries resulting from the vast majority of medical malpractice claims are devastating. The financial damages can be astronomical.

My 33 years of experience and substantial financial resources oftentimes make all of the difference in the world in whether a client receives fair and just compensation or no compensation at all.

Getting my client fair compensation so that they may lead as normal of a life as possible is obviously a very important goal. But of equal import, we change policies and protocol so that the tragedy that befell my client will hopefully never happen to anyone ever again.

Medical malpractice is much more prevalent than you might think.  According to The Journal of the American Medical Association, an estimated 225,000 people died from medical errors. Let me tell you something, if a quarter million people died in the United States last year due to plane crashes, all of the airports would be closed. The ONLY way to effectuate positive change and reduce those obscene statistics is to hold the wrongdoers accountable.  I do that by making them pay.

What to say to an insurance claims agent after an accident? (Getting Legal #142)

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If, God forbid, you are involved in a car accident, you will, in a matter of hours, receive a phone call from an insurance claims agent. The most asked question is, “what should I say to this insurance representative?” The answer is simple and direct–less than nothing.

Please understand that the adjuster is not your friend. He or she has one goal, to minimize their insurance company’s exposure. These people literally attend seminars to learn how to trick and deceive the injured victim into making admissions against their own interest. In other words, they get you to shoot yourself in your foot.

If you or a loved one are involved in an accident, a number of things need to happen. First of all, become your own best investigator/detective. Gather as much information as you possibly can at the scene of the accident.

I can’t tell you how many times in my 33 year career of representing the injured victim in our home town, did I encounter a situation where in my client failed to get the name and phone number of an eye witness.

I realize that an automobile accident is a terrifying and traumatizing event, but you must be smart, think clearly, and become your own best advocate.

Realize that although the circumstances of the accident may clearly indicate that you were not at fault and the wrongdoer’s insurance company should pay for all of your damages: property damages, lost wages, medical bills; that may not be the case.

The insurance company has one singular goal, and that is to pay out either nothing or as little as possible, even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Use your cell phone to take photographs, ask for documentation of the driver’s license and insurance coverage, and always call the police. It will be in your distinct advantage to have an independent authority, such as a police officer, on the scene to help document the facts.

But a word to the wise, do not rely entirely on the work of the police. I’m sorry to say that oftentimes, police officers do not do a thorough investigation, unless the officer is a member of the Accident Investigation Unit. The report they file, nine times out of ten, is delinquent.

The second important factor to keep in mind if you are involved in an accident is if you are hurt, even in the slightest degree, it is important to seek out medical attention, especially if it is at the emergency room.

Many times if a person is involved in an accident, their adrenaline runs high and it masks symptoms of pain. It is quite common that it may take up to 24 hours for you to feel the full effects of the accident. It is critical for you to document your condition with a medical professional.

All too often, people who are in serious pain and discomfort will forgo going to an emergency room because they are too busy. Nothing is more important than your health.

The third thing to do if you are involved in an accident is to call me. I will meet with you at a time and place that is most convenient. I will make sure that your interests are protected and will assist you in every phase of your claim.

Please call me at 1-800-55-MISNY and “I’ll Make Them Pay!®”

Be sure to watch “Getting Legal” every Friday morning at 7:55 AM on CBS 19 Action News, Cleveland.