legal 9/17/21 – gtg

Motorcycle Accidents Overview

Over 4 million motorcycles are registered in the United States, and motorcycles are especially popular for recreation and transportation in Texas. Motorcycles are fun to drive, they offer excellent fuel efficiency, and can be less expensive to buy than a car. Motorcycles are also significantly more dangerous than cars, and motorcyclists may become seriously injured or killed in collisions with cars and trucks. Motorcyclists comprise just two percent of all registered vehicles in the United States, yet approximately five percent of all highway fatalities each year involve motorcyclists and their passengers.

A collision between a vehicle and a motorcycle driver is a gravely unequal contest. In contrast to cars and trucks, a motorcycle itself provides virtually no protection in a crash. In a motorcycle accident, the motorcyclist’s injuries are likely to be far more serious than those of the vehicle’s occupants.

Even when motorcyclists and their passengers use safety equipment such as a helmet and protective clothing, they may become injured as a result of faulty highway design, or because of defective safety equipment, or a malfunction of the motorcycle.

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Spinal Cord Injury Attorneys

In serious accidents, the spine can be injured, anywhere from the cervical area (the neck) down through the lumbar area (the lower back). The spinal cord transmits both feeling and control between the brain and all of the body. If the injury damages the spinal cord, the impact on an individual can be catastrophic. A spinal column injury is life-changing for the person who has suffered it and for those close to the person. You and your loved ones face major adjustments in every aspect of your life, and in planning for your future. Experienced spinal cord injury attorneys understand the gravity of these injuries and their impact on a person’s life.

An injury in the lower spine can result in paraplegia, the loss of use of the legs, imposing severe restrictions in a person’s life. If the paraplegia is permanent, a person must plan their entire life around the restrictions that come with the loss of use of their legs, including permanent use of wheelchairs. Injuries higher up the spinal cord can result in quadriplegia, a loss of use of both arms and legs. An individual with quadriplegia may need mechanical assistance to breathe, and 24-hour around-the-clock assistive care to survive. Our spinal cord injury attorneys know what this diagnosis means to you and your family and can help you think through your needs. Our spinal cord injury attorneys understand the realities of wheelchair use, and the need to redesign and rebuild a home so that a person can use their kitchen, their bathroom and can navigate other spaces.

Our spinal cord injury lawyers work with people who have been injured. They understand that a person with paraplegia or quadriplegia will face enormous costs for the rest of their life. Our spinal cord injury attorneys consult with a qualified life care planner who can anticipate all the challenges and needs that the injured person will face. It is important to compute what the cost will be not only next year or the next five years but 20, 30, or 40 years out. When our spinal cord injury attorneys represent an injured person they make sure all potential costs and expenses have been addressed. Only then can a realistic evaluation be made of the economic costs that should be factored into the case’s resolution.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a spinal cord injury caused by the negligence or irresponsibility of someone else, you have the right to correct the wrong that was inflicted upon you. One way to exercise this right is to pursue financial compensation for your injuries, pain and suffering, medical bills, and all of the other mounting costs you must now cope with on a daily basis. The dedicated and experienced spinal cord injury attorneys at our Law Firm are the people that can help you pursue that right to fair and just compensation because they understand your worries, can answer your questions and can use every legal option available to relieve your burden and get you the justice you deserve for enduring such a traumatic, devastating, and life-changing injury. Fill out our free initial contact form, and let’s work together today to make a brighter future for you and your family tomorrow.

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Most people are well familiar with the dangers of driving while intoxicated but driving while distracted has potential consequences that are just as dangerous. And while you may be more likely to encounter a drunk driver during certain times of the day, a distracted driver can disrupt your life at any time.

Basically, distracted driving is inattentive driving, often as a result of talking on a cell phone, texting, engaging in conversations with passengers, “zoning out” while driving (a common problem with tired drivers or drivers who travel long distances without taking adequate breaks), or paying too much attention to onboard entertainment.

GHSA Report

The Governors Highway Safety Association (“GHSA”) released its report Distracted Driving: What Research Shows and What States Can Do. Among the findings:

Distractions affect driving performance.
Drivers frequently are distracted, perhaps as much as half the time.
Distractions are estimated to be associated with 15 to 25 percent of crashes at all levels.
Texting likely increases crash risk more than cell phone use.

Based on existing research, the report urges states to:
Use low-cost engineering solutions such as edge line and centerline rumble stripes to alert motorists who may drift.
Record distracted driving in crash reports.
Evaluate other distracted driving laws and programs.

The report further urges states to consider the following:
Enacting a texting ban for all drivers and a complete cell phone ban for new drivers; and/or
Enforcing all existing cell phone and texting laws.
Dangers of Texting While Driving

Generally, there are three broad categories of distracted driving:
Manual – taking your hands off the wheel;
Visual – taking your eyes off the road; and
Cognitive – taking your mind off driving.
TEXTING IS ALL THREE DISTRACTIONS TYPES IN ONE. The potential dangers cannot be overstated. A text message averages 4.6 seconds; at 55 miles per hour, that’s 100 yards (the length of a football field) of driving blind!

Survey of Current Cell Phone and Texting Laws

Texas currently has state laws in place that restrict cell phone use in certain circumstances. The following is a brief summary of the current laws:

You cannot send or receive electronic messages while driving in Texas.
Drivers with learner’s permits are prohibited from using cell phones in the first six months of driving.
Using any handheld device in your vehicle in a school zone is illegal.
Drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using handheld devices.
School bus drivers may not use cell phones at all while driving if children are present.
Cellphone laws can change from city to city.

Our Commitment

Our Law Office is dedicated to pursuing the rights of victims of distracted drivers. Towards that end, we bring a commitment to staying as current as possible on relevant authorities, including changes in the law and scientific studies on distracted driving. If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of the negligence of a distracted driver, call us today for a free consultation with a dedicated Texas auto accident lawyer.

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Do I Need A Personal Injury Attorney?

If you happen to live or work in Texas, then there is going to be a strong possibility that you will need a personal injury attorney at some point in your life. So I’d like to present some potential scenarios where an attorney like this will come in very handy for you. Let’s take some time now to take a much closer look at some of the potential possibilities that you could end up facing.

The first scenario where you might need a personal injury attorney is if you happen to trip and fall and really hurt yourself while you are walking down the sidewalk. If you can prove that the sidewalk was damaged and you fell due to negligence, then you should certainly be entitled to money for your pain and suffering. An attorney would obviously be a major asset in this particular case, so it would certainly make sense to have one fighting for you if this were ever to happen.

Another area where you might need an attorney for personal injuries would be if you, unfortunately, found yourself in a car accident. You don’t even have to be the driver in order for this to become a potential situation. Maybe you unintentionally get into an accident with one of your friends and you are the passenger. Or maybe you even accidentally get hit by a car because the driver was too busy texting instead of paying attention to the road. There are many different automobile situations where an attorney like this could very well come in handy.

The last scenario that I’d like to mention regarding an attorney like this would be if you were unfortunately harmed while doing your job. Maybe you are a carpenter and you accidentally slipped while using a saw. You can suffer major damage if your arm were to get caught in a table saw. You could obviously even lose your limb. So this is another possibility that you can potentially have to live with.

These are some of the major situations where you might need a personal injury attorney. If any of these issues ever happen to you, you need to make sure you contact an attorney right away.

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How To Find The Best Personal Injury Attorney

Finding the best personal injury attorney does not have to be impossible but there are some considerations that should be examined. The first consideration is the attorney-client relationship. During the initial consultation, the attorney should be friendly and easy to talk to. Make sure the attorney chosen will provide personal attention to the case. If a law firm is chosen specifically, ask which attorney will be spending the most time on the case and will appear for court hearings and other scheduled appointments for the case.

Cost is a factor that should be discussed very early on, and this should be settled before any contracts or retainer agreement is signed by the injured individual. Some personal injury lawyers may take a case on a contingency basis, and this means the lawyer receives a percentage of the award rather than a flat fee or hourly rate. Others may have a set fee charged or charge on an hourly basis.

Finding a good personal injury attorney means evaluating what is available. Ask friends, family members, and coworkers if anyone has an attorney that they recommend. Look in the phone book and run a search online. Make a list of all the possibilities and then start evaluating and comparing the choices. Find out how much experience each lawyer has and look at their history of wins and losses. An attorney who loses most of the cases handled is usually not the right choice for a personal injury case.

Ask each possible attorney for a list of previous clients who can be contacted. This will help the individual find out whether previous clients were happy with the legal representation provided. Eliminate any attorneys from the list who are not willing to provide previous client references. Make sure that any lawyer listed is licensed to practice in the state.

Choosing the right personal injury attorney means researching any possible complaints. Check with the Better Business Bureau and the local Bar Association to see if there are any complaints or actions against a specific lawyer. This will help ensure that the attorney chosen is the best choice for the individual and the type of case involved.

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How Can A Personal Injury Attorney Help?

Anyone who has been injured through no fault of their own should seek legal advice. A personal injury attorney understands the law concerning personal injuries, and these legal professionals will represent their clients aggressively. Anyone who is injured may not understand their rights or even know the full scope of their injuries right away. Many insurance companies take advantage of this fact and may try to get the individual to settle quickly for a very low amount.

Personal injury laws can vary from one state to another, and a lawyer who specializes in personal injury cases in Texas will be very familiar with the Texas laws regarding personal injury. This experience and legal expertise can help ensure that the injured individual is treated fairly by the insurance company and court. Without legal representation, the individual may not know where to turn or who to turn to for help.

Many injuries may not be immediately apparent after an accident. A personal injury attorney will have medical resources to help identify all of the injuries suffered and the specific extent of these injuries. The individual may be scheduled for certain medical tests or appointments to determine the entire amount and severity of the injuries that were inflicted. These lawyers work closely with medical professionals so they are aware of the latest medical technology and testing.

An experienced lawyer will take care of dealing with medical professionals, gather important medical documentation, and help build a legal case for compensation. This attorney will offer advice and answer questions that may arise. Trying to handle any personal injury case without a qualified attorney is a big mistake, and these cases usually fail for a number of reasons. Make sure that the lawyer chosen is the right lawyer for the case. It is important that the individual and attorney develop a positive relationship for the best outcome from the case.

A personal injury attorney can provide assistance in many ways. These professionals provide legal answers and help, medical referrals and document procurement, and deal with the other parties involved in a case. This assistance can be invaluable, and the best results are usually seen when an experienced and highly qualified attorney is retained.

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Looking For A Good Personal Injury Attorney?

If you’ve been in an accident or some kind of a slip and fall then you’re obviously going to need a really good personal injury attorney to help you maximize your claim as good as you possibly can. So it’s important that you know where to look for an attorney like this and I’m going to fill you in on a very simple way to do just that if you’ll allow me to. So let’s take a much closer look at the process that I go through and the same process that you should use when you’re looking for an attorney like this too.

One of the main things you want to know about a personal injury attorney is if they are actually good at their job or not. So the best way to figure that out would be to go to some of the various websites online that will fill you in on information about a personal injury attorney like this. All people like to post about their experiences on different blogs and other information-sharing sites so you want to look for websites like this and see if the attorney you’re looking at has gotten a good rating from other people.

Another way to find a good personal injury attorney would be to contact somebody you know that has used one before. If they have gotten good results with that attorney then it only makes sense that you’d want to give that personal injury attorney a try as well. So talk to somebody you trust and get the contact details from them.

If you really don’t need reviews or any type of personal testimonial then you could obviously just look in your local phone book to find a personal injury attorney. This really isn’t all that difficult and you should just pick one that seems good to you and give them a call and see what they’re all about.

These are some of the ways that I go about locating a personal injury attorney. If you think about it you could probably come up with some other methods to try as well, so do that if you feel it’s necessary.

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What To Look For In A Personal Injury Attorney?

If you happen to be looking for a personal injury attorney then you’re obviously going to want to look for one that meets certain characteristics that are important to you. This is a big deal for you because this could mean whether or not you actually get a very large sum of money for your injuries or if you only end up getting a small sum of money or nothing at all. So you definitely want an attorney that knows his or her job and knows it well.

There’s a lot more that goes into being a personal injury attorney than just understanding the law. You actually want to have an attorney that is very charismatic working for you. The reason why you want somebody with charisma is that they may need to convince people that your personal situation is a certain way and you don’t want somebody who is dull and drab making your arguments for you because they just won’t do a very good job.

Another very important characteristic that you need from a personal injury attorney is confidence. You don’t want to have an attorney that walks into a courtroom with absolutely zero confidence working on your behalf. This kind of person is only going to fail the majority of the time because they will not believe in you, they will not believe in your case and they won’t believe in themselves as well so that is a major recipe for disaster that you should avoid at all costs.

The final quality that you want to see portrayed in your personal injury attorney is the quality of leadership. I know they are working in what is more of a one-on-one environment but there is also a jury involved in some cases and you want this person to be able to be convincing and have leadership qualities so that they can make other people follow the advice that they give and do the things that they want them to do. Because that’s the kind of thing that a leader does, and that’s what you want working for you.

So please look for all of these characteristics when you are seeking out a personal injury attorney. They are really that important and you need to know about this before you make any decisions.

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Personal Injury Attorney

One of the most difficult tasks is choosing a personal injury attorney. This becomes even worse when you undertake this task after you have an injury or a loved one who is injured.

To the public, some personal injury lawyers are ambulance chasers, only running after wealth, while others are real saviors during this time of need, helping a person out with genuine care at heart.

Identifying the later kind of lawyer is very important to avoid being scammed.

A good personal lawyer can help you out with:

Auto accident
Motorcycle accident
Dog bite
Elder abuse
Medical malpractice
Slip and fall
Workplace accidents
Before deciding on the personal attorney to hire, there are a few questions you should ask yourself.

Start by asking yourself whether you have been injured as a result of someone else’s, or the company’s fault, either through negligence or accidentally.

Also ask yourself how severe the injury is and if it has led to you suffering the loss of wage, mental distress, physical distress, or steep medical bills.

Consider the evidence you have as well as whether common sense favors you in your case.

Finally, look at whether you have compromised your settlement chances either by talking with the defendant’s attorney extensively, or by giving your defendant’s insurance company statements.

With these questions answered, it’s now time to search for a personal injury lawyer.

A good starting point is the American Bar Association (ABA). Ask them for a referral list of personal attorneys.

You can use the ABA website for this, by using the “find legal help” icon on the site.

You can also ask for references from family, relatives, neighbors, and friends who have previously used personal injury lawyers.

These will give you better recommendations because they know how well such attorneys offer their service and whether they are trustworthy and reliable.

By taking these simple steps, you will end up with a very helpful personal injury attorney.

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How To Find A Good Personal Injury Attorney

If you’ve been in some form of an accident or you’ve been injured in any way at all, then it would probably be a good idea for you to find yourself an excellent personal injury attorney.

There are a lot of different attorneys available to you in this section of the law, so you want to make sure that you find one that is good at what they do and someone that you feel comfortable with so that you know that you trust them.

One major thing you need to pay attention to when looking for a personal injury attorney is their fee to represent you.

Most of them will provide you with a free consultation, but there are few that do charge a small fee as well.

If you feel like your settlement is going to pay you a lot of money, then it might be worth it for you to meet with one of the attorneys that charge a consultation fee since these are usually the individuals that have the best track records.

But I’ll leave that up to you since only you know your financial situation.

A good place to look for a personal injury attorney is right here on the Internet.

There are so many websites dedicated to reviewing all kinds of things, and you’ll definitely be able to find a site that has reviews for personal injury lawyers as well.

So look at all the different reviews about the attorney you are considering and pay close attention to the people that weren’t happy because their words will probably be a good indicator of whether or not this is the perfect attorney for you.

Another great way to find a personal injury attorney is to check with your friends and family members and see if they have a good recommendation for you.

More often than not, somebody you know has been in an accident or a slip and fall and they’ve gone through the experience that you are about to go through yourself.

So they’ll probably have some really good advice for you and I can almost guarantee that they’ll be able to recommend a good personal injury attorney right away.

I hope you found this article regarding how to find a personal injury attorney very useful.

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Personal Injury – 9/16/21 – gtg

A car accident insurance policy is a must-buy for every driver. It covers you and your passengers in the event that you get involved in a road crash. Getting into a car that does not have this type of insurance or even driving one yourself is a big risk.

Many times after an accident, there will be not just car repairs to sort but also medical expenses for bodily injuries. These can run into thousands of dollars which would be difficult to pay in cash. A car accident insurance policy takes care of such expenses, thus eliminating the financial burden an accident brings.

The rates and coverage given to a motorist differ from one insurance company to another. A number of factors influence this, from the car model to the motorist’s perceived risk.

Most of these factors are unique to each driver and insurance companies evaluate them differently, which explains the unique rates each driver gets from one company to another. For instance, drivers who have a tendency of getting into accidents generally get higher rates but the figure varies from company to company.

Should you get involved in an accident and the police are brought in, the effect on your rates will be more severe. If the accident is minor and both parties agree on a settlement, you can negotiate and pay the agreed amount. Such an incident may not require any police involvement, especially if the car suffers a few scratches or dents and no one is injured. In any case, it is very important that you inform the insurance company immediately, even before agreeing on any settlement.

Your insurer may increase your car accident rates if you are found to be at fault in an accident, the extent of the fault, how serious the accident is if you earn a ticket for a traffic violation, and the type of claim filed after the accident. If you have filed a claim following a car accident in the recent past, you will be given higher rates indefinitely. Many companies focus on the past 12 months. If your claim was made earlier than that, it may not affect your rates. However, if you have filed at least two or three claims in a span of five years or so, companies will be wary of dealing with you and when they do, they will give you much higher quotes.

To always be on the safe side, understand the company’s terms and conditions, and maintain all traffic rules.

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By far the most crucial concern that needs to be attended to, if you are involved in an auto accident is most often to see to any personal injuries that will have resulted. The next most important task is to speak to your insurance company representative. So let’s say you get hold of your agent to inform him you have been involved in a car accident, and he seems very helpful. He even suggests a body shop you could take your vehicle to and might refer to it as being a “preferred” repair shop.

“Terrific” you may think. That saves you the hassle of needing to find a body shop yourself. After all, you want to get your car repaired at the earliest opportunity. However, suppose you are already aware of a high-quality repair shop that does body repair and would prefer to take your vehicle there.

So you notify your insurance representative you wish to take your car to another body shop. But he responds with something similar to “We won’t warranty the repair in the event you go there” or “You’ll need to spend a lot more if you go to the shop that you picked” or some other statement intended to discourage you from going to your shop and encourage (or possibly attempt to coerce) you to go to the company’s “preferred” shop.

So what to make of all this? You might be wanting to know why he is wanting to discourage you from opting for your own shop?

To respond to this question, you need to know what the final goal of an insurer is: The answer has nothing to do with providing you the convenience of not having to find a good repair shop … the final target is to generate profits and as much money as possible! And that is accomplished by minimizing the amount they must pay back in insurance claims.

So the collision shop your agent suggests is “preferred” … preferred by the insurance carrier for THEIR advantage, not yours. Why is that? Because the recommended repairer is under contract to utilize components that are less costly than the original parts that were in the car when it was new. But regrettably, most of these parts are substandard in quality and could even result in a dangerous repair job! This can even mean that your car will be unsafe to drive after the fixes are concluded.

There are more reasons why choosing the wrong repair service can lead to dangerous fixes. There’s a method referred to as “Clipping”, and that means cutting off a complete half of your car (either the front or rear half) and affixing another (undamaged) half of a vehicle that has been wrecked.

This process actually entails cutting through the vehicle’s unibody or frame, and it affects its structural integrity. Does this sound risky to you? That’s because it IS unsafe! But sadly, it isn’t against the law! It’s a widespread incident.

So the bottom line is – if you were to be in a traffic accident – look out! Find out if the shop makes use of OEM (original equipment manufacturer) components or lesser quality “aftermarket” parts. And if the shop performs “clipping” … don’t even consider using them!

Next, learn the secrets the insurance industry doesn’t want you to know. An auto accident may be only the beginning of your troubles!

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Boat Accident Lawyer

Boat accidents are a leading cause of unnecessary deaths and therefore the number one source of personal injury. Many of the accidents occurred due to negligence on the part of one of the drivers involved. When a boat accident is caused by another party’s negligence, people who are harmed often reach settlements with the liable party which provides compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering as well as other damages. This requires the service of a boat accident attorney. Locating the best boat accident attorney is not that difficult a process under normal circumstances. However, finding one when you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a boat accident can be significantly more troublesome. There are qualified Personal Injury Attorneys that specialize in personal injury cases. They have the expertise and skills necessary to obtain a fair financial compensation for the damage to property caused by the accident, along with all physical injuries that the accident victims have had to endure.

Any driver that was not at fault for an accident should expect to be fully compensated, for all of his or her medical bills. In addition to that, the victimized driver should receive recompense for all the repairs necessary to bring their damaged boat back to the condition it was in before the accident.

However, the process of doing that can be extremely lengthy, with moments of frustration and anxiety, especially when an insurance company refuses to pay medical bills or send the funds to have the Boat repaired. This is why it is necessary to hire a competent Boat Accident Lawyer. He or she will represent their clients to achieve the compensation that every victim of the accident is entitled to

Settling the Case

A boat accident attorney will build the case strong enough to take it to trial in a court of law. However, long before the trial is scheduled, each represented party (the attorneys) usually will meet with the opposing side to discuss settling the case out of court. Both sides typically calculate the amount of pain and suffering that has been endured by the victim along with the seriousness of the damage inflicted on the vehicle or other property.

If a settlement can be reached, then both sides will avoid an expensive and lengthy process of trying the case in open court. However, if the plaintiff is dissatisfied with the amount offered during the settlement, he or she can always instruct the boat accident attorney to take the case to trial.

Before selecting the best boat Accident Attorney, it is important to consider the fee that will be extracted from the total amount awarded during the settlement phase, or after the case has been won in court. Typically, for a personal injury case, an attorney can charge anywhere between 25% and 40%, based on the specific circumstances of the case. While this number might appear to be high, research indicates that cases involving an attorney typically have much higher settlement amounts than those that are achieved without the skills of an attorney, or a law firm.

Any driver that has been in an accident where the other driver is at fault or he is at fault should seek out a competent and skilled boat accident attorney. They will handle all the details to represent him or her in the case.

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Plane Accident Lawyer

Do you need a plane accident lawyer? If your answer is yes, there is no doubt that you understand how an accident can affect you. Perhaps, what is more, daunting is your quest of finding the right plane accident attorney. That is where a plane accident lawyer comes to your aid.

At our Law Firm, we not only offer you that required legal representation but also stick with you until you achieve all that you desire from insurance adjusters. During this challenging moment in your life, our plane accident attorney will give you practical advice that will be of help in the future in case you plunge into such a nasty scenario. Why, though, choose our plane accident lawyers?

The Law Firm You Can Trust

Our Law Firm has been in operation for over 25 years of offering plane, bike, and train drivers legal representation. You can be assured of their vast experience in these areas.

With many years of practice, our attorneys have canvassed the entire state and beyond. What this translates to, it that our plane accident attorneys know virtually every area your plane may be involved in an accident. This will help you in the quest of explaining to them how it happened.

Our lawyers have had an exemplary legal representation record throughout the years of practice.

How Much Do We Charge?

Do not be worried about the amount it will cost you for our plane accident attorneys to represent you In fact, our mission is that you get what you deserve first! Our commission is solely based on the contingent fee.

What that simply means, is that until you settle on your award, our attorneys will be patiently waiting with you. Upon receiving your award, then our attorneys will deduct their commission for the services they have rendered to you

Why Should You Choose Us

There is no doubt that you will be impressed by our down-to-earth services that are aimed at helping you receive the award that you rightfully deserve. Our plane accident attorney will be willing to listen to you attentively when you explain what you recall about the accident before giving their opinion. Additionally, our promise under oath is to do whatever legal thing that can as long as it is within their reach.

Here are some of the notable reasons why many plane owners decide to contact us. You too will find that we emerge the top in service delivery:

We offer free consultations
We have experienced and dedicated plane accident attorneys
Apart from English, consultations are also done in Spanish (there is a full-time Spanish-speaking staff). We offer hassle-free and private parking to our clients
Our experience is well over 25 years
We work for long hours during weekdays to offer you the best services that you deserve (8:30 AM to 5:00 PM on most weekdays)

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legal 9/15/21 – gtg

The way we, as patients, view our medical providers has always been a source of amazement to me. If someone walks into a lawyer’s office with a serious tax problem and the lawyer says that he considers the problem serious enough to require several days of research by a team of attorneys in consultation with specialists in the field, the client walks out thinking “What a clever and careful attorney I have.” On the other hand, the same client when put in the situation of being a medical patient, who after being examined by his doctor, if told by the physician “Your problem is serious. I want to make sure that I come to the right diagnosis so I will spend some time researching the problem and consult with others” is apt to think “What a terrible doctor. Why doesn’t he know what is wrong with me?”

We have created a myth in our society that doctors are infallible, that they don’t make errors, don’t have to look things up, and have a compendium of knowledge that incorporates every disease, every treatment, and every consequence of treatment in their field and know it all by heart! Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth. Doctors do make mistakes, do forget, and don’t know everything. How did the myth of infallibility have its inception? I believe it has been fostered by doctors themselves. Doctors are taught from their first day in medical school that they are supposed to be infallible and when they do not live up to this impossible goal they are so embarrassed and are shamed that errors are rarely reported and, therefore, even more rarely corrected. I am not the first one to come to this conclusion. An excellent article was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association entitled Error in Medicine by Dr. Lucian L. Leape. Dr. Leape is a Harvard Medical Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management of the Harvard School of Public Health. The article is a reasoned approach to what causes errors in medicine and what can be done to reduce them. When the article was published in December of 1994 it gained little notice except for the notoriety which it produced by reporting about the 180,000 people who die each year as the result of doctor-induced injury and that that is the equivalent of three jumbo-jet crashes every two days. That statistic and characterization have been often quoted. The important part of the article is about what causes medical errors and what, if anything, is being done to prevent them. Dr. Leape’s hypothesis is that the infallibility myth fostered by medical training results in fear, guilt, anger, embarrassment, and humiliation when an error occurs. As a consequence, errors are rarely reported. When an error comes to light, usually because a serious injury has occurred, hospital and physician groups fail to correct the problem and instead punish or eliminate the perpetrator of the error rather than reviewing the underlying causes. When a resident cuts off the wrong appendage, the resident is disciplined, retrained, or drummed out of the program rather than analyzing why we have residents work for 36 hours in a row without sleep so they are prone to make those kinds of errors.

Most errors in medicine deal with medication errors. Yet the same safeguards exist with respect to the dispensing of medicine that has been in place since the time of Hippocrates. The ultimate end-user, in the form of a single nurse, is given the responsibility of making sure that the right medication in the right dosage goes to the right patient, hundreds if not thousands of times every day. There is no planned redundancy. A simple bar code mechanism could dispense the medications quicker and probably more economically with far fewer errors. Medicine is so steeped in tradition that it is as if it cannot get out of its own way to come up with imaginative solutions to problems such as these.

Comparing the error rate in medicine to that of almost any other industry where human life is at stake leaves medicine far back in the pack. If medical statistics are to be believed, somewhere between 1% and 20% of patients admitted to hospitals suffer a serious injury at the hands of a doctor or a nurse. If that statistic applied to the airline industry, no one would ever get on a flight. It isn’t that pilots are any smarter than doctors or that their job is any less complex, it is just that systems have been analyzed in the aviation industry on an institutional basis to prevent disasters. Every aviation accident is investigated by the National Transportation and Safety Board. Pilots are encouraged to report mistakes through a system of Aviation Safety Reporting which is both confidential and free of punishment. Pilots recognize that they are fallible and as a consequence have to follow routine checklists with the backup of a co-pilot. Airplanes are designed with multiple redundant systems. It is expected and anticipated that pilots will make errors. In fact, studies show that errors are made routinely on every flight. A system is in effect to absorb and respond to those errors instantaneously. Lights go off, horns sound, air traffic controllers correct the problem, co-pilots point out the mistake followed by a simple thank you on behalf of the pilot and a routine continuation of the flight without fear of punishment or social ostracism. Aviation recognizes that everyone makes mistakes and has built-in mechanisms necessary to anticipate them and correct them before harm is done. While pilots cannot start an aircraft or even shut it off without a complicated written checklist that has to be followed the same way every time, the most complex of brain or heart surgeries take place every day without a written protocol. Manufacturers of aircraft publish pilot operating handbooks which must be rigidly followed by every pilot who flies that make and model of aircraft regardless of whether it’s in Florida, Kentucky, or Timbuktu. Yet the same operation is performed dozens of different ways in different sequences even in the same hospital by different doctors and even by the same doctor at different times. It is as if we do not dare to question our physicians for fear of disrupting the myth of infallibility. Everyone thinks that their doctor is error-free. Only other people’s doctors make the kind of mistakes that end up in lawsuits. The reality is that all doctors make mistakes and by holding physicians to an impossible standard, which they themselves not only tolerate but insist upon, the system never changes and the same mistakes are made over and over again at different places at different times. Because they occur routinely at 5,000 hospitals across the country, they do not make the newspapers and there is no public outcry for reform as occurs when 300 people die at once when 747 crashes.

It is way past the time for all of us, including our medical providers, to realize that, the myth of infallibility is just that, a myth. People make mistakes, and doctors are people. If someone is injured or killed as a result, their family is entitled to be compensated. In addition, analysis ought to take place as to what caused the mistake in the first place. System errors ought to be corrected if they exist, and systems ought to be designed in advance to accept the inevitability of error, plan for it and, if possible, avoid its occurrence.

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