Navigating the Pre-suit Texas Medical Malpractice Minefield

Steps Toward Navigating Your Medical Malpractice Case

In the event your case is a death case, ensure that you’ve taken the appropriate steps to have someone named as the personal representative of the estate, that you have obtained Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration, and although not mandatory, it’s also prudent to obtain an order in probate court authorizing the personal representative to file suit against the tortfesor that caused the decedent’s death.


Before you can file a medical malpractice petition in many states, including Texas for example, you are required to provide formal notice to the Defendant.  Failure to do this is fatal to your case.  Check the statute for the required inclusions to this letter, or email the author of this article for an example of a notice letter.

Second, some state codes require that any healthcare provider who is put on notice of a potential claim provide complete and unaltered copies of the patient’s medical records. This language should be included in the notice letter, along with a HIPAA-compliant Medical Authorization.  Recall that by this point, if your case is a death case, you should already have a personal representative appointed with authority by the probate court who can execute a Medical Authorization.

In addition, some state codes require the patient providing the is notice to give the Defendant an authorization to obtain his or her relevant medical records.  As you will see by statute, you will also be preparing (1) a list of all of the patient’s medical providers who evaluated or treated the patient in connection with the claim (with address), and (2) a list of medical providers (with address) who evaluated or treated the patient within five years preceding the incident giving rise to the claim.

While not necessary, it is also prudent to load up a set of the patient’s medical records onto a CD and include these with the notice.  Send the notice before the expiration of the two-year statute of limitations by certified mail, return receipt requested, restricted delivery to all Defendants.

Statute of Limitations

If you’re up against the two-year statute of limitations period, remember that you only have to send the notice out before the statute of limitations runs.  This act tolls the statute of limitations for up to 75 days.  After 60 days have expired you may file the medical malpractice petition in a court of competent jurisdiction.  If the statute of limitations has been tolled due to the mailing of the notice, file the petition immediately after the 60 days have expired.

For these reasons, it is imperative to hire a veteran litigator and experienced trial lawyer who has experience in medical malpractice case.


Misinformation about malpractice litigation in Tennessee

personal injury lawyer memphis tnMisinformation about malpractice litigation in Tennessee

Our friend John Day posted an informative blog post about Misinformation About Malpractice Litigation in Tennessee. John points out:

[an article] purports to list the number of filings per state per 100,000 residents and ranks Tennesseans as the 5th highest filers of malpractice lawsuits – at the rate of 33 per 100,000 people.  That would mean that Tennesseans file about 2145 such lawsuits per year (we have a little over 6,500,000 people living here).

But that number is wrong.  Information compiled by Tennessee’s Administrative Office of the Courts demonstrates that there were 374 medical malpractice suits filed in 2013-2014 and 356 suits filed in 2014-2015. (Data is kept on a July 1 – June 30 fiscal year; 2015-2016 data is not yet publicly available). My guess is that the number of suits filed in all of 2015 was down from what it was in fiscal year 2014-2015, but even assuming that it was the same (356), the rate of filed suits was less than 5.5 per 100,000.  That simply didn’t happen.

Lesson: Don’t believe everything that you read.  Some people would like for you to believe that Tennessee residents are “lawsuit happy” and that there are tons of frivolous lawsuits filed against our physicians. And it’s not true.

Need a lawyer in Memphis? We’ve got the perfect one for you.

Patterson Bray PLLC

8001 Centerview Parkway, Suite 103

Memphis, Tennessee 38018

(901) 372-5003 Office

(901) 383-6599 Fax

Can I get sued for a DUI?

Can I get Sued for a DUI?

This is an important question with a simple answer. Yes. For purposes of this article the term dui, or driving under the influence, includes driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or both.  All states have both civil and criminal laws addressing the consequences of being caught driving a motor vehicle under the influence.


There are as a rule in these types of cases two possible lawsuits.  The first is a criminal prosecution brought by the government for violating state driving laws; the second is a civil lawsuit brought by a private party who may have been injured as a result of the dui.  The consequences of each are significant, and if the dui also involves an accident with injuries the dui driver will in all likelihood face both a criminal lawsuit brought by the prosecutor, and a civil lawsuit for damages brought by the injured party.


The dui laws nationwide are becoming increasingly more complicated, and, if a criminal prosecution is brought, the punishment increasingly more severe. Colorado, for example, requires the court to impose mandatory jail time on a 2nd lifetime conviction for dui, or any lesser alcohol or drug conviction, even if the time lapse between a first and second conviction is 25 years!  A 3rd such conviction requires a mandatory 60-day jail sentence, and a 4th lifetime conviction is a felony with the possibility of up to 4 years in prison. Also, it does not matter in Colorado if the prior dui was in Colorado, Virginia or California.  All prior convictions count.


Similarly, if someone has caused an accident because of a dui in which other people have been injured, there will most certainly be a civil lawsuit for damages filed. These suits are also complicated and can be expensive to defend.  Most states require that as a condition of the right to have a driver’s license you also have some form of minimum liability insurance. The insurance policy usually requires the insurance company to defend you if there is a lawsuit.  However, the obligation only goes as far as the limits of the policy.


Again, in Colorado, to comply with the insurance provisions of the law you only need to have minimum liability coverage of $25,000.00.   After that amount has been exhausted you are on your own.  It is possible that a judgment could be entered against you for many times the amount of your policy.  The injured parties to collect on the amount owed could expose you to a variety of unpleasant legal efforts, including having your wages garnished and other assets (including your home) seized.


To return to the question, “can I get sued for a DUI?” the answer from a Denver DUI lawyer is a resounding yes.  If you find yourself involved in a dui situation you should immediately seek advice from a competent and skilled attorney who is knowledgeable about dui law in your state.


richard banta law logo
Thanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Office of Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into DUI related suits.

3 Myths About Personal Injury Cases

3 Myths About Personal Injury Cases

There’s a lot of misinformation being spread these days about personal injury cases. This is because the insurance companies and their powerful friends like to try to poison America’s jury panels against personal injury plaintiffs. This post debunks three of the most glaring untruths about personal injury cases.

  1. Personal injury lawsuits are frivolous

When talking about lawsuits, the word “frivolous” has a specific legal meaning. It means a case without a legal basis. For example, suing congress because you don’t like a law would be frivolous as there is no legal right to sue over that issue. But personal injury cases are just the opposite. When someone has failed to take reasonable care and injured another person, the injured party has a legitimate legal theory justifying their case. If another driver has failed to pay attention and rear-ended you, a lawsuit based on those facts is in no way frivolous. It is entirely justified under the law. So next time you hear a politician or TV talking head refer to frivolous lawsuits, you’ll know they don’t know what they’re talking about.

  1. Injured people win the “lawsuit lottery” when they recover money.

Personal injury damages are supposed to put an injured person in the same position they would have been in had they not been injured. In other words, the injured person is supposed to receive the exact amount it would take to make up for their pain and suffering. But no one in their right mind would accept an injury in exchange for money. Just think, is there any amount of money that you would accept to lose a leg? How about to be paralyzed? No, injured parties are never made whole. They lose time playing with their children and time doing the things they love. They’ll never get that time back. In no way did they win a lottery.

  1. Insurance companies “are on your side.”

We’ve all seen the ads, Peyton Manning humming Nationwide’s jingle. In fact, it seems you can’t watch a football game these days without seeing an ads for half the national insurance companies. All of them pretend to be looking out for you and your family. But make no mistake, there’s only one side these companies are on: their own. They are out there to make money and nothing else. To do that, they will try to deny, delay, or reduce claims whenever they can. Insurance companies are pros at paying less than full value on claims. If you want a pro to fight back, contact a local personal injury lawyer trust as soon as you can.

How to prevent and defend against staged car accidents

How to Prevent and Defend Against Staged Car Accidents

Staged accidents are a big criminal enterprise, as a personal injury lawyer trusts can explain. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, they cost insurance companies about $20 billion per year. They impact you with the headaches of being on the receiving end of personal injury and property damage claims, while significantly increasing insurance premiums. Victims of staged accidents might even suffer legitimate injuries.

Many People Can Be Involved

The participants in staged accidents maneuver their way into crashes that are intended to make the real victim appear to be at fault. Often, the person staging the accident has passengers in the car. Everyone in the vehicle will fake injuries to receive money from the victim’s auto insurer, or even the insurer of the vehicle that they were occupying. It’s not unusual for associates to pose as “independent witnesses” to the accident either. So many staged accidents occur that the FBI has categorized the most common scenarios:

  • Swoop and squat: When the car in front of you gets cut off, and you rear-end it
  • Drive down: When a driver waves you to merge, and then hits you
  • The sideswipe: When a driver intentionally sideswipes you if you drift over slightly
  • The t-bone: When a driver broadsides you, claiming that you ran a red light or stop sign

The Common Factors

A sophisticated staged accident ring may operate in several different states. The conspirators of the ring might consist of drivers, passengers, witnesses, medical professionals, body shop owners, and even lawyers. There are two common threads to these types of accident cases. First, there might be three or four people claiming injury. Next, they happen in no-fault insurance states more often than fault-based states. That’s because the participants are more likely to collect on a claim against his or her own insurance company than an adverse insurer in a fault-based state.

Defend Yourself From Stagers

The most effective measures that you can take to defend against accident stagers is to drive defensively, and stay away from cellular devices when you’re driving. If stagers see you using a cellular device, they may consider you to be an easier target. They may accuse you of distracted driving, and may be able to prove it, too. From that point, it’s just a matter of the nature and extent of the injuries and property damage that the stagers claim.

At The Scene

Always insist that the police come to the scene, no matter how much the other driver protests. Call 911 on your own phone, tell the 911 operator that you believe that you were the victim of a staged accident, and reiterate that information to the investigating officer who arrives on the scene. He or she might investigate the crash more closely with an eye toward that. If you receive a ticket anyway, it is not advisable to plead guilty to the traffic offense. That guilty plea can be used against you in a personal injury case. However, a judicial finding of guilt in traffic court can’t be used against you.

As in any accident, you may want to notify your insurer of the occurrence right away. If you suspect that you were set up in a staged accident, advise your insurance company accordingly. They may have their own fraud unit, and access to law enforcement agencies specifically established for investigating possible fraudulent accident claims.

Three Key Factors in Truck Accidents

Three Key Factors in Truck Accidents

There are several key factors to keep in mind after being involved in a crash with an 18-Wheeler:

First, safety is often lacking in the trucking industry due to profit motive. The trucking industry finds itself hiring less qualified drivers than a decade ago because aspects of the job such as long periods away from family are undesirable. This often results in less qualified drivers being behind the wheel of trucks. It is common for drivers to become drowsy behind the wheel, jeopardizing public safety. Also, at times the training of drivers does not properly prepare them to avoid rollovers and other hazards. Secondly, the industry has a lot of resources at stake with each claim so they use various tactics to try to reach a speedy settlement. Our law firm has both the resources and experience to fully investigate all three aspects of a trucking accident claim:

  • Collision evidence
  • Trucking Industry evidence
  • Injury information

If you or a loved one has been injured by an 18-wheeler, don’t let the trucking company or insurance company take the lead in your crash investigation. They will focus on reducing liability and cutting your post-crash compensation. Our attorneys will protect your rights and negotiate a settlement that covers all damages, including medical bills, lost wages, and emotional distress.

Investigating A Truck Accident Claim – Collision Evidence

Collision evidence is the first type of information that needs to be collected. Collision evidence is all the information that can be gathered at the scene of the accident. This includes:

  • Police accident report
  • Accident reconstruction evidence
  • Eye witness accounts
  • Photos of vehicle damage
  • Video of vehicle damage
  • Roadway damage and debris
  • Weather information

Trucking Industry Evidence

Truck drivers and trucking companies are governed by strict state and Federal regulations. Evidence that applies to the trucking industry is vital to learning more about the driver , the company, and if they have complied with trucking laws. There are time-limits to making claims, so do not delay. Our attorneys will fight to obtain all the evidence to make a truck accident claim including:

  • Dispatch records
  • Data recorders
  • Service and Maintenance Logs
  • Inspection reports
  • Driver employment information
  • Records of traffic violations
  • Trucking company safety records
  • Driver criminal record

Trucking companies are notorious for attempting to “lose” some of this data after a trucking crash. Evidence that might show negligence on the part of the driver or trucking company is often hidden and difficult to access. The insurance companies are savvy to these tactics, and have strategies of their own for gathering complete evidence after a truck crash.

Injury Information

It is important to gather information on the type of severity of injuries sustained in a trucking accident. Knowing the extent of your injuries can help determine the cost of medical damages that should be recovered in a settlement. If you have been involved in a trucking accident, common injuries fall into four categories:

  • Back, Neck and Spine Injuries
  • Broken Bones and Fractures
  • Head Trauma
  • Burns and Cuts

Protect your rights! Don’t answer questions from the truck-driver’s or trucking companies insurance without calling an experienced personal injury lawyer Naperville IL trusts first. We will guide you in how to work with the insurance while being mindful of your rights.

Sherinian LawThanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Offices of Konrad Sherinian for their insight into truck accidents.

Providing a statement to the insurance adjuster assigned to your claim

Providing a statement to the insurance adjuster assigned to your claim

Once a claim for bodily injury and property damage is submitted to an insurance company, they will assign a claims representative or claims adjuster and open a claim file.

Once the adjuster opens his file, he or she is likely to contact their insured for a review of the facts after reviewing the policy.  Once that happens, you can expect that the adjuster will reach out to you, the victim, for a statement.  While many lawyers will advise clients to remain tight-lipped about the incident to the insurance company while the firm investigates the claim, there is a different approach. The more information provided to the insurance company, the better the chance of showing more compensable pieces of your claim. This will make the claim of higher value. 

The initial statement taken by the insurance adjuster is simply to get a grasp of the overall claim and to determine how different, if any, the perspectives are from the insured and the victim.  The adjuster, at this stage, won’t go into minute detail, as he or she doesn’t have enough information about the claim yet.  In addition to asking facts, he or she very well might ask about glaring differences between statements of any witnesses.   

It’s very important to review your memory in your mind and discuss it with your attorney to make sure you don’t leave out any details.  This is likely your first statement, and this will be a benchmark statement that could be referred to throughout the claim or in trial.  If your story changes even in the slightest from this initial statement, you can be sure that it will be used against you often.

Discussion medical treatment 

In addition to the statement about the facts of the crash or incident that caused you to file a claim, the insurance adjuster will likely want to find out information about your injuries and your medical treatment.  It will be important to maintain a list of every single medical provider who has examined or treated you since the accident, along with a list of each pharmacy where you have purchased your prescriptions.

For these reasons, it is always smart to hire a veteran litigator and experienced trial lawyer who has been involved in these particular issues when filing an insurance claim and even presenting cases to a jury.  If you or a loved one has been injured or killed due to someone else’s negligence, contact a lawyer today.  


DUI/DWI Consequences

DUI/DWI Consequences

No one intends to be involved in a DUI. However, when we make an error in judgment concerning alcohol consumption and wind up being apprehended by law enforcement, the consequences are often a surprise to us in terms of severity, especially for those of us never in trouble with the law before. If you wind up in a position where you are caught driving drunk or impaired, it is generally a good idea to be aware of the consequences. Some states have some extremely stringent laws regarding impaired driving.
First Offense
In many states even the penalties for a first DUI are relatively stringent.  These laws were passed because of the huge amount of injury and death caused by drunk drivers. In many cases, a first offense can result in imprisonment, as well as fines, depending on Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) and the presence of any minors in the vehicle at the time of the stop. Many other states may initially require only probation instead of these stiff penalties. While some first-time DUIs are spared imprisonment, many are not.
First offenders can also have their driver’s license suspended, usually for around 3 months (but possibly for up to 1 year), although some states a allow a limited license to be used only to get to and from work.  In addition to a temporary license suspension, some states follow this with a period of requiring an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) fitted to their vehicle. This device requires the driver to blow a breath sample showing no alcohol before starting the engine.  The increased use of IIDs is thought to increase deterrence, as well as providing the fringe benefit of more information to be studied by lawmakers.
Later Offenses
As one might imagine, the penalties for second and third DUIs only become more severe because these later offenses cannot simply be ascribed to a mere act of poor judgment. For example, while a first offense can carry an imprisonment sentence of few days, a second offense under the law might be punishable by a longer stint in jail. License suspensions also increase in length with each conviction, often going from 180 days to as much as 10 years . This license suspension may be followed by a period of requiring and IID remaining on your car.
Many states also have an implied consent law. This law makes is a crime or grounds for license suspension for an apprehended driver to refuse to give a breath sample to the law enforcement officer.
These tougher drunk driving laws have been imposed by the efforts of groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) who have marshaled the statistics that showed an increase in drunk driving fatalities. These zero tolerance policies can be a headache to contend with on a personal level, but they save lives, including the lives of potential drunk drivers.
Injured by DUI/DWI
If you or a loved one has been injured by a drunk or intoxicated driver, you should contact a Coeur d’Alene ID personal injury lawyer to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Driving under the influence is considered negligent, and if you’ve been involved in an accident with someone acting negligently, you may be entitled to financial relief.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Bendell Law Firm for their insight into DUI/DWI and negligence.

5 Key Factors in a Slip and Fall Case

5 Key Factors in a Slip and Fall Case

Slip and fall accidents are one of the most common accidents during the holiday season. Most slip and fall accidents are caused by wet, dirty or defective floors. Most of these holiday accidents happen in grocery stores, parking lots and malls. If you find yourself toting a purse, packages or children through a crowded store this holiday season, make sure to keep a proper lookout for obstacles in your path. If during the busy holiday shopping season you find yourself a victim in an unfortunate slip and fall accident, here are a few important factors to consider before it’s too late.

  • Just because you got hurt does not mean you will recover.

Many people believe that if they are injured in a store, they automatically can recover for their injuries. That is not the case. If you have sustained injuries from a fall, you must be able to prove what caused you to fall before you get compensated. Merely owning or occupying land does not make that person or business liable for your injuries. There must be some form of negligence on the part of the owner or occupier of property before they are liable for your injuries.

  • The employees who are assisting you after your fall are not there to help you.

You should report your fall immediately to store personnel, and make an accident report. Even though you might be hurt or embarrassed, failing to do a report can ruin your case. Employees who arrive at the accident scene are there to gather evidence to help the store avoid paying you, not to protect you.

  • Pay attention to your surroundings, the accident scene can change quickly.

Store personnel often arrive with cameras, mops and wet floor signs after a slip and fall accident. They are not there to help you. They are building a case against you. Make sure to take pictures of what caused you to fall. Keep any wet clothes, shoes or pictures from your fall. Get names, addresses and phone numbers of any non-employee witnesses. All of this evidence will be gone once you leave the store.

  • Get and document all medical treatment.

If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, you must get medical treatment for your injuries. The longer you wait to get treatment, the more difficult it is to prove a connection between your fall and your injuries. A good starting point is the local emergency room or family doctor. The stores insurance adjusters will question all treatment you receive, especially if you have pre-existing injuries.

  • Talk to a personal injury attorney before you talk to the insurance company.

Insurance adjusters who call to tape record and interview you are trying to help their client. Everything you say can be used against you in your case. Make sure to talk to an attorney before you talk to the adjusters.

Tips for Driving Through Storms

Tips for Driving Through Storms

When you are behind the wheel, you always have to be alert to everything around you. This means that you not only have to be aware of pedestrians and other drivers on the road, but you will also have to be prepared for the onset of inclement weather. Weather can change at the blink of an eye, without warning. When you are driving and a storm suddenly hits, there are certain things you can do to stay safe. Here are a few tips for driving through storms from an experienced Personal injury lawyer Washington DC.

Be Prepared

First and foremost, you should be prepared when you go for a drive. Check the weather forecast in your area, as well as any area to which you may be driving. You will be better able to handle whatever comes your way as a result. You may even be able to plan alternate routes to take where the weather isn’t quite as severe.

Tell someone close to you about your route, destination and the time you plan on arriving. That way, you can always get help if your car stalls or breaks down during a storm. You should also have emergency equipment on hand, such as a flashlight, first aid kit, water, snacks and prescription medication.

Slow Down

During a bad storm that involves rain, snow, hail or wind, you should always slow down while driving. The roads can be very slick when they’re wet, which means your car can skid out of control and cause an accident. Strong winds can also make it challenging to drive, and can even give your car a push if they are very severe. Hail is dangerous and can divert your attention from the road. In addition, it’s important to leave more room between your vehicle and the ones around you during a storm.

Turn on Your Headlights

Turn your headlights on any time you drive in a storm, even if it is daytime and fairly light outside. Be sure to use your regular beams, and avoid using your high beams unless you are in an area where there are no drivers nearby. It is important to use your headlights at all times during a storm because visibility is decreased considerably when there is heavy rain or snow as it collects on your windshield and rear window. With no headlights on, it may be more difficult for other drivers to see you as well.

Wait it Out, if Possible

If it is at all possible, depending on the severity of the storm, you should wait it out before continuing driving. If you feel that you cannot comfortably drive when you get caught in a particularly bad storm, pull over. However, it is essential to avoid stopping near trees or power lines, as severe storms can result in them being knocked down. You want to avoid a potential disaster, not experience one that’s even worse.

If the storm you are caught in while driving is a tornado, park your car, get out and immediately seek shelter. Remember that you can always replace a car, but not your life or the lives of your passengers.

A special thanks to our authors at Brynn Law for their insight into personal injury cases.