March 18, 2021
Hospitals Make Huge Profits By Rejecting Health Insurance in Car Accidents
Many patients are surprised to receive substantial emergency room bills after they are involved in auto accidents, despite the fact that they have health insurance that would have covered the hospital bill. According to a recent report in the New York Times, many hospitals are taking advantage of hospital lien laws that allow hospitals to place a lien on the patient’s personal injury settlement. By asserting a lien against the patient’s injury settlement, hospitals can avoid the contractual adjustments to their bills that are required when they accept health insurance. Instead, by placing a lien on the injury settlement, the hospital can collect amounts that can be five times higher, or more, than the amount that would have been allowed by the health insurance company.
The practice of hospitals foregoing their patients’ health insurance to seek higher payments from the patients’ injury settlement is especially common with low-income patients who have Medicaid. Medicaid’s reimbursement rates are typically significantly less than the reimbursement rates of private health insurance plans so hospitals have more to gain by pursuing a lien in Medicaid cases.
Consumer advocates decry the practice of asserting liens against the patient’s injury settlement in cases where the patient has health insurance, claiming that the hospital lien attaches to money that was intended to compensate the patient for their pain and suffering. While the patient’s injury lawsuit is pending, the hospital lien can adversely affect the patient’s credit. A lawsuit is currently pending against Tennova Healthcare Clarksville, a Tennessee hospital after the hospital pursued a lien against a veteran whose VA coverage would have paid the hospital’s emergency room bill. The lawsuit alleges that the hospital engaged in predatory lien practices. Some hospitals have emergency room patients sign a waiver, agreeing that the hospital can pursue a lien rather than billing the patient’s health insurance. Some patients have complained that they were asked to sign the waiver while waiting for treatment for serious injuries, even head injuries and that the waiver was not explained to them.
Hospital industry representatives argue that hospital liens properly shift the burden for the cost of accident-related treatment to the liability insurance for the wrongdoer. Industry representatives argue that this practice is particularly justified in cases where the patient is covered by Medicaid or Medicare because the negligent party, not the government, should be responsible for the cost of treatment.
June 10, 2020
In the days and weeks after a car accident, you may feel sore. Bruises can take time to appear. These symptoms will usually fade with time. However, other symptoms could be signs that you experienced more serious injuries.
Severe abdominal pain and large, persistent bruises that appear hours or days after an accident could be a sign of internal bleeding. Internal bleeding could be life-threatening, and these conditions often require emergency medical care.
Just as abdominal pain can be a symptom of internal bleeding, back pain—especially lower back pain—can be a sign of damage to the spinal column.
Numbness in your arms or hands can be a sign that you have spine or nerve damage from an injury like whiplash, an injury associated with about 20% of rear-end collisions.
Headaches can be caused by a wide variety of medical conditions, including some severe injuries after a car accident. These include whiplash, injuries to the head and traumatic brain injuries.
Changes in personality or impaired thinking
Car crashes impact most victims emotionally, but significant changes in personality and other cognitive challenges could be a sign of traumatic brain injury. You could also experience memory loss, difficulty sleeping, challenges with your speech and disorientation.
Because many severe injuries can have delayed symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible after an accident. Not only does this give you the chance to have your injuries treated immediately, it also provides documentation that links your medical needs to the crash. This can be important evidence that supports your injury claim and helps you get the medical and financial support you need.
June 10, 2020
Excessive speed is a contributing factor in approximately one-half of all traffic fatalities. Approximately 10,000 people are killed each year in speed-related car accidents in the United States. That number has been increasing, as speed limits have increased across the country in the past 25 years. Some argue that increasing speed limits simply acknowledges the reality that most drivers exceed the speed limit. However, studies show that, once the limit is raised, drivers just go faster. Most states have maximum speed limits of 70 miles per hour. Six states have 80 mph speed limits. Texans can drive up to 85 mph on some highways.
A study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) concluded that increased speed limits have cost 40,000 lives over the past 25 years, including approximately 2,000 in 2019 alone. The study also showed that each 5 mph increase in the speed limits results in an 8 percent increase in highway fatalities.
Charles Farmer, IIHS vice president for research and statistical services, noted that a 5 mph increase in speed saves only 6 ½ minutes on a 100-mile trip. “Before raising speed limits, state lawmakers should consider whether that potential time savings is worth the additional risk to lives,” Farmer says.
“There are huge benefits from reducing speed, said Veronique Feypell, manager of the Road Safety Program at the International Transport Forum. According to Feypell, a 10 increase in speed leads to a 40% increase in the likelihood of a fatal crash.
Researchers are investigating new approaches to addressing the issue of vehicle speed, including a geofencing approach that would automatically reduce vehicle speeds in certain areas. Urban planners are also experimenting with reduced speed areas that encourage more pedestrian and bicycle use.
Climate change is another factor that is making planners consider reducing vehicle speed in urban areas. Driving at lower speed means less fuel use, which lowers carbon emissions. “There are 1.3 million traffic deaths annually and another 4.2 million deaths attributed to pollution,” said Janette Sadik-Kah, former commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation and chair of the Global Designing Cities Initiative. “Streets that are safe for people also support the health of the planet.”
June 9, 2020
Since truck drivers spend a lot of time on the road, many of them try to combat drowsy driving by drinking energy drinks or coffee. It might seem like ingesting coffee is just what a trucker needs to stay alert and not cause an auto wreck. Recent research, however, suggests that truckers who drink coffee over a long period of time are more likely to experience an automobile accident.
According to American Trucker, a UK researcher conducted a study of 3,000 American drivers across eight states and discovered that truckers who consumed a lot of coffee or energy drinks were 6% more likely to get into a crash. However, drinking coffee might not be the cause of the crashes, but an indicator of other problems that could cause an accident.
Indications of poor health
According to the study, truckers who reported drinking more coffee generally had health issues or poor health habits. They tended not to get enough sleep. They drank greater amounts of alcohol. They smoked and did not eat a proper diet. Overall, these respondents were more likely to be in poorer health than other truck drivers.
These factors indicated that drinking a lot of coffee was not the sole or primary cause of getting into an accident. The study was more likely to indicate that extensive coffee consumption was just one factor contributing to a number of negative health issues that could result in a trucker getting into a road collision.
Improving driver health as a whole
The researcher behind the study did not suggest that truck drivers quit drinking coffee or energy drinks completely, but instead pointed out that small doses of caffeine can increase alertness and minimize drowsiness. Still, drinking a lot of coffee did not substitute for a good night’s sleep or a positive state of health.
The article went on to explain that further studies might help to better understand the effects of caffeine on truck drivers. The researcher suggested that drivers should undertake efforts to improve their overall health rather than focusing all their efforts on combating fatigue. Maintaining good health may help truckers avoid dangerous driving behaviors such as reckless driving or speeding that could result in a serious or deadly accident.
May 13, 2020
If you regularly encounter aggressive drivers during your commutes, you are not alone. In fact, according to a recent survey, more than 80% of drivers report engaging in aggressive driving. Road rage is not a harmless expression of emotion, though. On the contrary, it is a leading cause of car accidents across the country.
The best way to avoid a collision with an angry driver is to deescalate the situation as quickly as possible. After all, a car accident injury may change your life forever, even if you pursue and receive reasonable compensation from the angry driver who caused the collision. Before you can deescalate, though, you must know how to spot aggressive drivers. Road rage typically starts with one of the following four types of behaviors.
At one time or another, virtually every driver has exceeded the speed limit. Still, if someone is driving too quickly to be safe, he or she may be prone to road rage. This is particularly true if a driver is tailgating your vehicle or trying to pass in an unsafe place.
Driving in and around Vero Beach requires constantly merging and exiting. If a driver blocks you from these normal maneuvers, he or she may be engaged in road rage. Similarly, if someone prevents you from changing lanes, driving at normal speeds or making other ordinary movements, your personal safety may be in jeopardy.
- Brake checking
Brake checking occurs when the driver in front of your vehicle suddenly slams on his or her brakes. If you do not hit yours immediately, you are at risk of a collision. Brake checking is an extremely dangerous maneuver.
- Obscene gesturing
Obscene gestures are a clear sign of road rage. There is no upside to engaging with an angry driver. We urge you to resist the urge to engage with an angry and dangerous driver.
Drivers who succumb to road rage are a hazard to other motorists, pedestrians and themselves. The car accidents they cause in Vero Beach and all over Florida take a tremendous toll. Innocent people are injured or killed, altering their lives and the lives of countless people around them. If you are one of the many victims of aggressive, unsafe drivers, it is important to act quickly to assert your right to compensation. The at-fault driver should be held accountable for the harm you’ve suffered.
April 17, 2020
You have a right to receive your crash report after a traffic incident in Florida. State law dictates that officers must submit a report within ten days of a crash and that the report is available to select persons, including those involved.
Understanding Florida law and how it relates to crash reports can help you evaluate your options and plan a response after an accident.
What is in my crash report
Crash reports, at a minimum, must include the names and addresses of all parties involved — including passengers and witnesses, details about the vehicles, the time and location of the crash, the names of the insurance companies and the attending officer’s name and badge number. Crash reports may also include narratives from drivers or witnesses, information about items found in the cars, results of drug or alcohol tests and other details.
Who can see my report
Crash reports are confidential for 60 days after an accident; however, certain parties can access a report with valid identification. The parties involved, legal and insurance representatives and certain news agencies are among those with permission to receive a copy. It is a third-degree felony to obtain or attempt to obtain a crash report containing confidential personal information unlawfully.
How can I get a copy
In Florida, you can buy a crash report for a nominal fee online or via a mailed request. Using the online portal requires an additional convenience fee, but you can view it immediately. If you make a request by mail, you will need to provide a sworn statement of your right to receive a copy, and it will subsequently take up to 4-6 weeks to get the report.
If something in your report is not accurate, contact the attending officer to see if you can get it amended.
March 31, 2020
When you are riding your bike through the busy streets of Florida, your safety depends on your vigilance and adherence to the rules of the road. However, your safety is also heavily influenced by the judgment, vigilance and responsibility of motor vehicles around you.
If you end up in a predicament where you are hit by a car, the results could be life-altering. Understanding which hazards to watch for and raising your own awareness can help you to mitigate the risks of riding your bike and thus prevent avoidable accidents because you were able to recognize danger before it was too late.
Passing on the right
Regardless of the availability of a bike lane, if you are passing vehicles on the right, you should practice extra caution. While you may assume the right-of-way because you are on a bicycle and are in the appropriate area of the street, passing cars may be oblivious to your presence.
According to active.com, one risk of passing on the right is that a vehicle occupant will open his or her passenger door right into your path. There are also plenty of motorists who neglect to signal which direction they are turning and even though their blinker may not be on, they may make a right-hand turn right in front of you. Other hazards include distracted motorists drifting into your lane or appearing to stop for you when really, they are leaving a gap for a left-hand turner to come out from a parking lot or driveway.
In each of the aforementioned scenarios, your awareness of your surroundings may help you to notice hazards before you end up colliding with a vehicle. Staying as alert and vigilant as possible requires you to eliminate distractions including noisy music or podcasts or the consumption of medications or alcohol that may prevent you from staying focused.
February 21, 2020
Any accident can potentially turn your world upside down. The stakes are even higher in a collision with a commercial or long-haul truck. According to a 2017 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 72% of those killed in a crash involving a truck were the occupants of another vehicle. Compare that with the 18% who were occupants of the truck. It is obvious who is at greatest risk on the road.
Determining who is at fault in a trucking accident is critical if you are seeking damages after an injury. But it is sometimes difficult to know who to hold liable. Cases of driver intoxication or unsafe maneuvering may clearly indicate which party is at fault. However, in other circumstances, it is not always apparent where the responsibility lies. Having a legal team on your side can make all the difference after a trucking accident. The professional team at Tuttle Law, P.A. knows that crashes involving trucks are far different than an accident involving two passenger vehicles.
Driver error is usually a contributing factor. Distracted, impaired or drowsy drivers cannot fully concentrate on the road. Additionally, dangerous behaviors such as reckless driving and speeding may also play a significant role in a trucking accident. However, many parties could share liability. The trucking company or loaders may have filled the truck past the legal weight limit. Body shops or mechanics that worked on the vehicle might be liable if the accident was due to shoddy workmanship or defective parts.
Visit our webpage to find more information about seeking legal assistance after a trucking accident injury.
February 18, 2020
Those people seen driving the many semi-trucks that are so often seen on Vero Beach’s roads are highly trained professionals. The demands that come with operating such massive vehicles require that they be. Yet even the driving skills that truck drivers develop, truck accidents continue to be a problem. Indeed, information shared by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration shows that as recently as 2017, commercial vehicles were reported to be involved in 363,000 accidents that resulted in property damage, 107,000 collisions that produced injuries, and 4,657 accidents that resulted in fatalities.
Driver fatigue is often cited as one of the common causes of truck accidents. Long hours on the road can easily contribute to truck drivers becoming drowsy. To prevent the potential of having drowsy truck drivers on the country’s roads, federal lawmakers have established hours-of-service regulations that determine when and for how long truck drivers can work. According to the FMCSA, these are:
- A driver can only drive for up to 11 hours before being required to take 10 consecutive hours off
- A driver cannot drive past the fourteenth hour after having returned from a 10-hour off-duty period
- Truck drivers can only drive up to 60-70 hours in a 7-8 day workweek (taking 36 consecutive hours off duty re-starts a workweek)
- A driver cannot drive for more than eight consecutive hours without taking a break of at least 30 minutes
Some might wonder how adherence to these regulations is enforced. Truck drivers are required to maintain detailed logs of their hours worked. After having been involved in an accident, a review of these records may reveal that a driver’s failure to follow the regulations might have caused them to become fatigued behind the wheel.
January 22, 2020
Riding a bike is a healthy, sustainable way to get around Vero Beach, but it is not without its risks. Cyclists should go well out of their way to remain visible to motorists.
Bicycling magazine offers up several ways that cyclists can better their chances of remaining visible. Increased visibility decreases the risk of an accident with a motor vehicle.
Understand that drivers are not looking for cyclists
One thing that cyclists should bear in mind is that most motorists do not expect to see people on bikes, which means that they are not looking for people on bikes. Usually, whenever a motor vehicle hits a bicyclist, the driver comments that she or he did not see the bicyclist. Defensive riding becomes essential to help cyclists make drivers aware of their presence and avoid accidents. Just like drivers, cyclists should be sure to avoid riding distracted, which means biking without earbuds and not using a smartphone.
Always ride with lights or reflective materials
No matter if it is day or night, bicyclists should ride with a light. During daylight hours, fluorescent lights are a cyclist’s best bet, mainly because drivers often quickly and easily recognize fluorescent lights. At night, cyclists should switch to reflective materials. The reason for the shift is that fluorescent lights do not work as well without sunlight. Reflective materials, on the other hand, appear in artificial light. Wearing reflective materials on the lower body creates moving lights at night, making it easier to catch a driver’s attention.
It is impossible to avoid every biking accident. When bikers take more responsibility of their visibility and remain vigilant, they can better enjoy their ride.