Articles Posted in Medical Damages

aidan-bartos-313782-copy-300x200In most cases involving a doctor, patient, lawyer, and a lawsuit, it is the patient suing the doctor over medical malpractice, or a related claim. But in a recently filed lawsuit, the tables have turned, and reports indicate that a doctor is suing his former patient and his attorneys. The underlying claim is that the doctor was not paid in full after the work he put in to prove the patient’s personal injury case following a car accident. If you need assistance with a personal injury claim, contact an Atlanta personal injury lawyer today.

This case goes back to earlier this year when the accident victim (now the defendant) was awarded a large verdict for the damages he suffered in a car accident. According to the reports, the victim was able to drive away from the accident, but the minor accident severely exacerbated prior back injuries, and resulted in the need for major treatment and pain control.

Doctor Works With Victim

Last month the Georgia House panel approved a bill that raises the penalties for people who operate an unlicensed personal care home.  The bill is currently being considered by the Senate.  HB 899 would make the penalty for the first violation a felony rather than a misdemeanor, for a sentence of one to five years.  The second penalty would be punishable for one to ten years.

wheelchairThe bill was inspired by testimony from the Marietta Police Chief who described two cases in Cobb County where one woman was kept in a hot garage without food or medicine, and another  house where patients lived in squalid conditions.  In September of last year, a news station reported an unlicensed care home in Marietta that housed twelve residents in a basement with rooms made up of plywood walls, no doors, and no bathing facilities.  Officers also found in a refrigerator in the home with rotting food and overrun by insects.

When a loved one is hurt by terrible conditions, regardless of whether the facility is licensed or unlicensed, the owner or operator of the nursing home may be held responsible for elder abuse of any kind.  Elder abuse is considered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to be a public health problem and defines the group to consist of adults over the age of 60.  This population is at high risk of being subjected to physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, abandonment, and financial abuse due to the combination of physical and mental limitations that occur with age, causing increased vulnerability.  The CDC further describes each of these types of abuse and encourages consistent definition of elder abuse, noting that the inconsistency creates gaps in intervention and prevention.   Continue reading

The state Supreme Court affirmed a Court of Appeals decision to overturn a summary judgment in favor of the hospital.  (See Abdel-Samed et al v. Dailey et al.)  The injured patient came to the hospital after he shot paint thinner into his finger with a high pressure paint sprayer.  The injured was seen in the emergency room and referred to a hand surgeon for immediate surgery.  The patient was told that the on-call orthopedic surgeon did not like to be bothered throughout the evening, so surgery would have to wait until the morning.  The injured patient was then transferred to a different hand doctor, who analyzed him and agreed with the determination that immediate hand surgery was necessary.  However, the injured was still told that he would have to wait until the next morning, and was placed in a small storage room for the remainder of the evening.

blue hand artThe tip of the injured’s middle finger was amputated and he brought suit against the consulting doctors for failing to transfer him to a hand surgeon.  Conflicting evidence from both the injured and the doctors left a question of whether hospitals were called for available hand surgeons.  One record showed that a hospital with an accessible hand surgeon was not called, while the doctor believed the hospital was checked and no one was available.  The consulting doctors sought summary judgment, arguing that the higher burden placed by state statute OCGA § 51- 1-29.5.  This statute raises the burden of proof from preponderance, or more likely than not, to clear and convincing evidence that the doctors were grossly negligent and did not use the even a slight amount of diligence in their care of the injured.

The lower court granted summary judgment, agreeing with the doctors that there was no way the injured could meet the level of proof.  The state Court of Appeals, however, agreed with the injured’s argument that it was a question for the jury if the actions by the doctors were negligent or grossly negligent.  The State Supreme court affirmed the Court of Appeal decision to overturn the award of summary judgment and looked at facts that could be considered grossly negligent by a jury, particularly the available testimony that could show a jury that no efforts were made by one of the consulting doctors between 2:00 A.M. and 7:33 A.M.    Continue reading

Last month the state Court of Appeals reversed a lower court’s decision to dismiss the injured party’s case in AMBROSE v. SAINT JOSEPH’S HOSPITAL OF ATLANTA, INC. The injured party underwent spinal surgery for a ruptured lumbar disk. While performing the surgery, the doctor operated with an OPMI Pentero surgical microscope that was provided by the hospital. The microscope is a complex system that both lights and records in addition to magnify, and provides the hospital with much information. The lighting component shines an ultraviolet light on the operated portion of the patient’s body. During this surgery, the microscope emitted light that was too strong, which caused burns on the injured patient’s body. The injured party has a scar and on-going pain that affected his modeling career and the ability to fully perform his duties at his job at hospice.

disco lasersThe lower court hinged its decision to dismiss on the hospital’s argument that that the injured party failed to include an expert affidavit under Georgia statute, OCGA § 9–11–9.1, which requires the injured party to include with the complaint an expert’s affidavit that supports the allegation of malpractice. The injured party appealed, countering that his suit was based in ordinary negligence, not professional malpractice, and did not fall under the types of cases for which OCGA § 9–11–9.1 was intended. The Court of Appeals agreed with the injured that the allegations set forth were one of ordinary negligence, and did not necessarily fall as one of medical malpractice. The Court of Appeals looked at previous case law, and discussed in their opinion what constitutes ordinary negligence and professional negligence. In the opinion, the Court asserted that a civil action alleges professional negligence when the injury-causing act was one that required the exercise of professional judgment and skill.

The injured patient in this case alleged that the hospital provided the unsafe microscope, failed to update the applicable software used by the microscope’s system, and failed to warn the surgeon performing the surgery of the applicable risks. Previous cases that involved hospital equipment were considered by the Court of Appeals, and those cases ultimately determined that those allegations were one of simple negligence and not professional negligence. One example provided in the decision was Lamb v. Candler Gen. Hosp., where the alleged act of negligence was the failure to replace disposable parts in instruments used in eye surgery. Continue reading

One may be familiar with the term “assault and battery” after reading the term in criminal news articles or hearing it used in a television show.  People often don’t realize that assault and battery are also intentional torts under Georgia law.  Personal injury cases are usually associated with negligent conduct, like a store failing to clean up a spill and causing a slip-and-fall.  However, civil suit can also be pursued for when someone purposefully sought to threaten or make offensive or harmful contact with another.

aid boxAssault happens when someone intentionally acts in a way that causes the other person, or group of people, reasonable apprehension of imminent and harmful contact.  For example, if someone swings around a knife near someone else to cause fear, and the fear of being hurt is reasonable, the person with the knife could be liable for damages.  No contact is necessary for the tort of assault in a civil action.  Battery occurs when there is purposeful contact, and the contact was made with the intent to harm or offend.  Both intentional torts similar to their criminal counterparts, with the distinction between the statutes lying in the available remedy and the parties involved.

In Clayton County, Georgia, a trial began this week of a man accused of exposing women to the HIV virus after he knew he was infected with HIV.  Under Georgia law, a person who knows they have been infected with HIV is under a statutory duty to inform their partner that they are infected with HIV prior to sexual intercourse.  Failure to do so means one is guilty of a felony and can face up to ten years in prison.  HIV and Hepatitis are specifically covered under Georgia law, but other sexually transmitted diseases may be prosecuted under criminal assault or battery statutes.

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As an accident attorney here in Atlanta who deals with medical liens on a regular basis, there are some important points you need to know if you have outstanding medical liens.  First, if you have been injured in auto accident and do not have health insurance  there are health care providers that will treat you on what is called a medical lien.  This means the medical provider will have a lien against your settlement and will be legally entitled to proceeds from your settlement.  This is obviously a fair arrangement as the health care provider treated you without upfront payment for their services.atlanta accident attorney medical bills

In such cases your personal injury attorney will pay your health care providers after your case has been settled.  Upon receipt of the settlement check from the responsible insurance company, your attorney will hold the funds in trust account.  At this stage of the settlement process your attorney can attempt to negotiate your medical bills for less than the original billed amount.  Not all health care providers will negotiate their bills but an experienced accident attorney will know how to proceed and which health care providers will play ball.

Often negotiating a medical bill can take weeks or even months to finalize.  Some attorneys as a favor to their clients will go ahead and issue a settlement check to the client even before all medial billing negotiations have been finalized.  This can be helpful to those injured victims where money is tight and bills need to be paid.

Sometimes hair grows in spots that we do not want it to grow. A popular treatment to remove this hair is called laser hair removal. This procedure can be effective at removing hair but has caused a lot of people to suffer third degree burns. Our experienced attorneys will go after the medical facilities that have patients that have suffered these burns as a result of these treatments.

Laser hair removal is often a very risky procedure. The laser hair treatment uses high concentrations of light to remove hair but at the same time often burns skin, causes discoloration or even permanent scarring.

There are a large number of reasons that complications can occur from the laser hair removal treatment. Common causes of complications include the improper use the lasers, scarring caused from chemical peels, and improper training of the staff member. If that is not bad enough, skin cancer is being found to become more prominent in people using laser hair removal if the patient is burned.

What is Whiplash?

Whiplash is a common term used to describe a neck injury caused in many car accidents where the head is forced to move quickly forward and backwards or even  from side to side. This sudden impact damages the ligaments and tendons in the neck which is usually diagnosed as a ‘neck sprain’ since the ligaments are usually overstretched during the sudden jolting of your head and neck.

What are the Symptoms of whiplash?

Many Georgia auto accident victims who have never dealt with the government programs involving Medicare and Medicaid mistakenly believe liens asserted by these two entities can be easily resolved. If you have experience with these two government entities then you know that resolution of Medicare and Medicaid liens can be very frustrating and time consuming.

MEDICAIDmedicare-insurance-atlanta-lawyer

Medicaid is a state run program that provides hospital and medical coverage for people with low income and minimal financial resources. Each state has its own rules about who is eligible and what is covered by Medicaid.

MedPay or Health Insurance?

A client asked me today if they should use their medical payment coverage (MedPay) or their health insurance for their medical bills resulting from a car accident she was involve in here in Atlanta.

I advised her to use her MedPay for several reasons. One, health insurance often does not cover chiropractic treatment while MedPay almost always does. Second, you are not restricted to the doctors or type of care you select. You can choose the doctor that is most qualified for your type of injury. If you opt to choose a chiropractor then you may continue treatment as long as necessary to get well; up to the limits of your policy coverage.