Here’s What to Do If You’re a Victim of Medical Malpractice

Here’s What to Do If You’re a Victim of Medical Malpractice

When an employee messes up your order at a fast food restaurant, it’s frustrating, but understandable. When a medical professional makes a mistake, it’s unacceptable. Research from Johns Hopkins University found that “10 percent of all U.S. deaths are now due to medical error.” Their research also found that it’s the third highest cause of death, and many cases are not recognized as such.

Medical professionals need to be held accountable for their mistakes, so if you suspect that you or someone you love has been the victim of medical malpractice, it’s important to take the right steps to rectify the situation.

Here’s what you can and should do.

Call an Attorney

The very first step before you approach the hospital about the problem should be to call your attorney. You don’t want to contact the hospital so that they build up their defenses before you have a case. Let your attorney do the heavy lifting and contact the hospital for you.

An attorney is absolutely essential in a medical malpractice case. “Unlike many other forms of negligence, a medical malpractice case involves a highly complex set of standards,” explain the attorneys at Serious Injury Law Group in Montgomery, AL. “In general, you must prove the applicable standard of care. You also must show that the health care professional failed to meet that standard of care. This can be challenging. The standard of care is somewhat subjective and requires other similarly licensed and trained health care providers to testify about what went wrong.”

Speaking with an attorney enables you to build up your case and perform the associated steps for pressing charges in the correct order.

Seek a Second Opinion

Whether a mistake is obvious or it’s simply suspicious, you’ll want a second opinion from a qualified medical professional to present as evidence in court. They’ll need to assess the mistake to determine whether or not it could have been prevented.

Seek a top-rated specialist to corroborate your claims. They’ll want to review your medical records, perform tests, and conduct background research before giving you a diagnosis and identifying any medical errors. The second doctor will also do the best they can to help you heal.

Write Everything Down

Keep a detailed record of everything you’ve gone through, the pain you’re experiencing, and what’s happening day to day. This may come in handy during the proceedings.

According to FindLaw.com, a “personal diary could arguably contain relevant evidence. Legally, under the rules of evidence and discovery, a party is entitled to inspect and copy any and all documents that could potentially lead to the discovery of useful evidence to support their case or position. While a diary is going to be considered hearsay, there are numerous exceptions to hearsay rules that would allow a diary’s use in court.”

The journal could be used to identify both physical and emotional symptoms related to an injury. It could also show the difference between life before and after the injury to demonstrate that a medical malpractice mistake was life-altering.

Don’t Blab About the Issue

Other than confiding in close confidants, legal professionals, or a new healthcare provider, it’s important to keep your suspicions to yourself. It can feel good to vent about it to everyone who will listen, but this could cause problems with your case down the road.

Most importantly, don’t talk about it online! The things you say on social media can be used against you in a court of law. If you really need to vent, find a trustworthy friend or family member who won’t blab.

Taking the proper steps during a medical malpractice claim is essential to helping you win your case. Most importantly, contact a medical malpractice attorney in your state who can facilitate your case and help you through this trying time.

Practical Tips for Avoiding the 3 Most Common Types of Distracted Driving

Practical Tips for Avoiding the 3 Most Common Types of Distracted Driving

While drunk driving, speeding, and road rage often nab the headlines, the data reveals that distracted driving is really the most dangerous threat to the safety of our roads.

Data gathered by the NHTSA shows that distracted driving was responsible for at least 3,155 deaths in 2017 (and hundreds of thousands of additional injuries). And, at least for now, the numbers are trending in the wrong direction.

Though drivers can be distracted by any number of causes, behaviors, or stimuli, there are ultimately three common types that stand out more than the rest.

Let’s take a look at how you can identify and avoid them when you’re behind the wheel:

1. Visual Distractions

As the name indicates, these are distractions that take your eyes off the road and require you to perform visual “double-duty” when driving. Mobile devices and electronics are among the most common visual diversions.

“While drivers can face many different distractions in the car, cell phones are the most common – and deadliest – distraction,” Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C. explains. “Texting while driving, for instance, can drastically increase your risk of being involved in an accident and needing medical care. People who text while driving are 23 times more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle collision, according to a study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.”

According to the NHTSA, sending or reading a text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of five seconds at a time. When traveling 55 miles per hour, that’s like driving the entire length of a football field with your eyes closed.

Other visual distractions include fidgeting with the radio dial and looking at GPS directions. It doesn’t have to involve electronics, though. You can just as easily become distracted by a passing billboard or blue lights on the side of the road.

The best way to avoid smartphone-related distractions is to turn your phone on “Do Not Disturb” mode while driving. And if you must use your phone, be sure to use a hands-free solution.

2. Manual Distractions

Manual distractions aren’t discussed as much as visual culprits, but they’re just as dangerous. They consist of anything that requires a driver to take one or both hands off the wheel in order to perform an action or task. Examples include:

  • Eating fast food
  • Attempting to locate an item in your purse
  • Reaching into a briefcase in the backseat
  • Trying to break up a fight between quarreling kids
  • Handing snacks to a toddler in the backseat

Manual distractions are dangerous because they compromise both your focus and your physical ability to drive. While you might be capable of driving with one hand under most circumstances, all it takes is a sudden lane change or an unexpected red light to put you in a compromising situation.

The best way to defeat manual distractions is to prevent the temptation. This means keeping your purse/briefcase in the trunk; never getting fast food to go; and setting clear expectations with passengers (particularly little ones).

3. Cognitive Distractions

This third category gets ignored a lot of times, but it’s one of the major causes of distraction-related car accidents.

A cognitive distraction is anything that takes your mind off of your primary obligation: driving. It may include a podcast or audio book, conversation with someone in the passenger’s seat, or a preoccupation with a work project or relationship issue.

While most people are able to drive while thinking about other things, it can become an issue in scenarios where you need to make split-second decisions. Cognitive distractions slow reaction time and can pose a threat under these circumstances.

Cognitive distractions are arguably the most difficult kind to prevent. If you find that you’re easily distracted by podcasts and audiobooks, try the radio instead. If in-cabin conversations hold your mind hostage, try driving alone. The more proactive you are about these culprits, the safer you’ll be.

Say Goodbye to Distracted Driving

Distracted driving might be rampant, but you don’t have to be a willing participant. Now that you’re aware of the major causes of distracted driving, you can implement proactive strategies and techniques to ensure you no longer succumb to these dangerous and deadly diversions. Do your part to make our roads safer!

How to Find a Good House in a Competitive Area

How to Find a Good House in a Competitive Area

Buying a new house can be exciting, but it can also be stressful if you’re competing with other buyers. In competitive markets, the prices are high, the buyers are ravenous, and good homes seem to fly off the market without so much as an opportunity to make an offer.

There are some obvious ways around this. For example, you could start looking in neighborhoods that are less competitive, sacrificing your personal taste or distance from work to secure a less-contested home for a lower price. But if you’re interested in getting a great house for a decent deal in the hottest part of the city, you’ll need to step up your strategy.

Work With an Aggressive Buying Agent

For starters, make sure you’re working with an agent. A buying agent will work on your behalf to sniff out the best deals, and help you initiate and negotiate an offer that secures you a good home faster. If they understand the local market, they’ll be able to jump on good houses faster, and they’ll work quickly to get in touch with you and schedule tours. They may also be able to provide you with location-specific advice; for example, you may learn that in this neighborhood, home sellers tend to lean toward offers with no contingencies.

Become an Agent in Your Own Right

It’s a time-intensive step, to be sure, but if you truly want a competitive advantage over the other buyers in the area, one of the best assets you can have is a real estate license. Depending on where you live, you can likely get your real estate license entirely online in a matter of weeks. Once you’re fully qualified, you’ll have early access to deals before they ever get to market—and you’ll have a deeper knowledge of how real estate transactions work, so you can make more intelligent, competitive offers. Plus, as an added bonus, you’ll be able to do full-time or part-time work as a practicing real estate agent in the future, which can be an excellent source of personal revenue.

Be Ready to Jump

If you’re the type of person who likes to take their time with big decisions and think through every variable, there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but it’s going to work against you in a competitive housing market. If houses are being bought almost instantly when they become available for sale, you’re never going to make an impact with this strategy. Instead, you need to be ready to review new houses and put together an offer fast. Talk with your partner, if applicable, and make sure you understand your wants and needs thoroughly; when you see a house that meets most of your wants and needs, get an offer together quickly. You might not have much time.

Skip the Contingencies

Contingencies are a good way to protect yourself when buying a home, and to get a bit more value out of your transaction. If your home inspection reveals small things wrong with the home, like a cracked wall, or a minor plumbing issue, in a cool market, you might demand that the homeowner fix these things before you move in. But contingencies will make your offer stand out in a competitive market—and not in a good way. If a home seller has multiple offers on the table, and some of them are contingency-free, they’re going to take immediate priority. If there’s something that needs to be fixed, consider fixing it yourself when you move in instead of putting the additional pressure on the home seller.

Make a Serious Offer

The give-and-take negotiation process of a typical home sale is disrupted slightly in a competitive market. Listen to your agent and pay attention to trending sale prices in the area, and be ready to make a serious offer. If homes are frequently selling above list price, your offers need to be similarly above list price. If a seller makes a higher-than-expected counteroffer, consider it seriously.

If you’re making high offers and are still struggling to get attention, consider making an all-cash offer. This may or may not be feasible, depending on the price of the home and your current financial resources, but it can make a big difference if it’s an available option to you.

Knowing When to Quit

Sometimes, the high prices and stressful transactions of a popular area simply aren’t worth it. Make sure you understand your home buying priorities inside and out, and be prepared to call it quits if it isn’t worth the extra stress. There are lots of neighborhoods out there, and chances are, you can find something similar to what you want in a cheaper, more reasonable alternative area.