New Hampshire’s Early Offer Program in Medical Malpractice Litigation

Jun 13, 2014 by

The New Hampshire Early Offer Option Alternative (RSA 519-C) enacted in mid-2012 has spurred a lot of debate in legal circles. Touted as the “first true medical malpractice reform program,” the option offered to patients who suffered injury from the negligence of a healthcare professional or facility has the potential to do away with the court system altogether and all its attendant disadvantages.

A typical medical malpractice suit takes a long time to come to a resolution. On average, it takes about 40 months to get to verdict, and after all that there are no guarantees of success for the plaintiff. While reputable New Hampshire medical malpractice lawyers take cases on a contingent fee basis, this will not take care of the other expenses that the plaintiff has incurred, both economic and non-economic.

The Early Offer program offers plaintiffs the option to consider a settlement proposal from the defendant without going through the court process, or even filing a case. Plaintiffs merely have to submit a notice of injury drafted by experienced New Hampshire medical malpractice lawyers to the insurer of the responsible party which includes details of the case, including:

  • Complete details of the causative event
  • Severity of the injury
  • Medical records and expenses related to the injury
  • Proof of lost income
  • Amount of desired compensation

Plaintiffs are not required to consider a settlement offer; they can request not to receive it and file a case straightaway. Plaintiffs are also not required to accept an offer if they agree to receive one from the defendant. An Early Offer settlement typically covers economic damages plus a little more and the legal fees of the plaintiff, but does not include non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.  A typical Early Offer case takes a few months to settle, considerable less than a typical medical malpractice lawsuit.

However, if a plaintiff does request an offer and rejects it, the “loser-pays” policy comes into effect. What this means is that if the court finds for the defendant, or awards the plaintiff an amount that is less than 125% of the settlement offer, the plaintiff will have to pay for reasonable legal costs of the defendant. In fact, in such a situation the court will require the plaintiff to post a bond for an amount determined by the court before it will proceed with a case.

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The True Cost of Divorce

Jun 10, 2014 by

The divorce rate in the U.S. is 50%, which means that for every ten married couples, five will eventually divorce. This is certainly tragic from an emotional and psychological point of view, but few consider how truly staggering the cost of divorce really is.

Unless you are very rich or very poor, ending your marriage is a good way to end up in bankruptcy. For the average middle-class American with children, the financial burden of splitting one household into two can literally break the bank. As pointed out in the website of law firm Ryan J. Ruehle, LLC in Cincinnati, it is all too easy to underestimate the costs of divorce and you only realize how bad it is when you get the bill.

Most people think of lawyers as being the only beneficiary of a divorce, but the fact of the matter is professional legal fees are among the most predictable of divorce costs. The real money drain is when a divorce is handled through the court system rather than mediation. The fees associated with litigation in divorce will depend on whether there are children, if there is a family business and other property to split up, retirement plans, debts, alimony, and so on, but typically costs upwards of $10,000 each in 2012. And then you have the actual monthly payments you have to make for child support, rent, utilities, and so on.

Mediation is a little better if the parting of ways is amicable and both parties are willing to work together to come up with a divorce agreement and parenting plan (if there are children) they can live with and a judge can approve.  To do this as effectively and economically as possible, you will need a divorce lawyer conversant with the family law in a particular state to help draft the agreement so that it protects your rights but deals fairly with your ex-spouse. It will minimize the time needed for mediation, which will cut costs considerably.

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Types of Luxury Fishing Yachts

Jun 7, 2014 by

If you are in the market for the luxury fishing yacht that will let you enjoy the great outdoors, you should know that there are a lot of options out there. While all fishing yachts are built for sports use, it is also designed with the adventurous in spirit but appreciative of comfort in mind. Take the time to look around and compare amenities before deciding on the yacht for you.

Typically, a fishing yacht is between 25 and 70 feet long and at least a sleeping cabin. If you’re in it for the fun, you will want one with more amenities such as high-end entertainment systems, bar, and a spacious cockpit for excellent visibility. These are called recreational sport fishing yachts, and usually come equipped with powerful engines designed for deep sea trips and multiple reels and nets for catching fish.

If you’re in it for the competition, you will want one that is built more for the fish than the passenger. The point in competitive fishing is to get as many fish and as large a specimen as you can snag, so these boats are typically designed for sturdiness, and have a box fit system to maintain balance. The engines for these yachts are not built for speed but for fuel efficiency and the most expensive equipment are not for entertainment but for tracking fish and communications. The fishing equipment is also stronger and of a better class than those typically found in recreational luxury fishing yachts.

If you prefer a hybrid of these two types of luxury fishing yachts, you will have to have it customized to your specifications. This can be a significant investment so you have to be careful. It is important that you find a custom builder that specializes in luxury fishing yachts to make sure that you get what you want at the best possible price, or you could find yourself on the wrong end of the hook.

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Practicing Medicine without a License

Jun 5, 2014 by

Medical professionals in the US are required by law to obtain and retain a state license to practice, and are obliged to obtain and retain a license in each state where they practice. For example, if a doctor has offices in both California and Oregon, he or she must have a license for each state. Practicing medicine without a license in any state carries both criminal and civil sanctions.

State laws regarding criminal sanctions for practicing medicine without a license vary, but generally carry a prison term of between one to five years plus fines. Civil liability, on the other hand, lies in the presumption that having no license is a form of medical malpractice, and that any harm that a patient suffers after receiving medical treatment constitutes negligence.

There are instances when the lack of a license is because the individual is not eligible to get a license i.e. does not have the necessary training but practices medicine anyway. There are also once-licensed medical professionals whose license had lapsed at the time a patient was being treated. In the former, there is a clear intent to commit a crime, and there is no defense for it. In the latter, however, there are possibly mitigating circumstances that can constitute a viable medical license defense.

It sounds like an excuse, but a surprising number of medical professionals simply forget to renew their state license, which is why in some states such as Massachusetts license renewal coincides with the licensee’s birthday. It is entirely possible for a doctor to continue practicing medicine in good faith without realizing that the license for that state is expired.

Of course it is not as simple as that. The laws governing licensure are highly complex, and mounting a defense for practicing medicine without a license can be very tricky. A medical professional facing a criminal charge for practicing without a state license risks forfeiting the opportunity to practice anywhere in the U.S. because anyone with a criminal record is disqualified from getting a professional license. It is extremely important to get a qualified professional license defense lawyer on board at once to avoid criminal sanctions.

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Motor Vehicle Accidents are Inevitable…but Not Always

Jun 3, 2014 by

There are a lot of cars in the US. Nobody really knows how many as there are quite a few that are not registered, but it is estimated that there are at least 250 million motor vehicles operating on US roads—not all at the same time, though. Nevertheless, that’s a lot of cars. Just going by sheer number, it is inevitable that auto accidents will happen.

According to the website of SC personal injury lawyer Goings Law Firm, LLC, The problem is that in too many cases, car accidents happen because someone was careless, reckless, distracted, or otherwise negligent. According to the latest fatality analysis report from the U.S National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for 2012, a majority of the 33,561 deaths from auto accidents were alcohol-related (31%), and the victims were pedestrians and motorcyclists—they weren’t even in car! Annually, about 2 million people are injured in car accidents, many severe enough to require extensive hospitalization, temporary or permanent disability, prolonged recovery and rehabilitation, and lifelong therapy that exceed most health and medical insurance coverage. It is enough to break the back of the average American.

According to the website of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. in Rhinelander, a serious car crash injury or death affects not only the victim but the family as well. Major adjustments must be made to manage the physical, emotional, and financial burden that result from the death or serious injury of one family member. It is just right if the responsible party had acted negligently that steps should be taken to require the reckless driver to share some of the burden.

If you or an immediate family member suffered serious injury or death because of a reckless, distracted, or impaired driver, find a reliable and experienced personal injury lawyer to address the issue. You need competent legal representation to make sure that your rights under the law are fully protected.

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