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Articles Tagged with medical bills

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I’ve written on several occasions about Alabama’s unique wrongful death law. Wrongful death claims in Alabama are very different. Chief among the issues that make Alabama wrongful death law different — only punitive damages are recoverable. You cannot recover compensatory damages for actual losses like medical costs.

Many lawyers advertise for wrongful death claims. Yet, they fail to understand fully the impact of Alabama’s unique law. And, this lack of understanding can have a tremendously negative impact on the overall recovery for clients.

An attorney’s entire preparation and trial strategy should be designed for the unique damages recoverable in Alabama. Yet, many attorneys prepare these cases as all other cases. That’s a mistake. It is short-sighted and costly for clients.

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I recently published a post discussing the scene of a Las Vegas convention for industry insiders managing workers’ compensation medical benefits. My post is titled — An Industry Built Upon Suffering. It is a true statement — an entire industry of managers has been built upon the misery and suffering of injured workers simply seeking medical care. That’s wrong.

Workers’ compensation benefits in Alabama were created to provide injured workers with medical care. Most injured workers need and desire this care quickly so they can heal and return to work. Instead, we now have an entire industry of benefit managers who work to complicate, delay and deny the needed relationship between an injured employee and his/her doctor trying to help.

Contrast the lavish Las Vegas party of insurance insiders against the typical injured employee. The insiders enjoy excess. Yet, injured employees are often left untreated and unable to provide for their families. While away in Las Vegas, those insiders are receiving messages at their offices from injured workers begging for medical treatment. I hear from injured workers daily who call and call the adjusters asking for care without response.

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We’ve all seen the advertisements. We’ve all heard the catchy jingles. The ads promise lots of money, quick settlements, huge recoveries or fast checks. Yet, the results often leave clients without justice and without full recovery. While promises are made to get the cases, most of these lawyers fail to help their clients to the fullest.

I’ve written about personal injury and workers’ compensation settlement mills previously. Good attorneys rarely make promises of huge settlements or quick recoveries. That’s because good attorneys know the best results come with hard work, preparation and a constant study of trial practices. And, unlike most television attorneys, good lawyers have actually seen the inside of a courtroom. If you are seeking legal counsel after suffering an injury, you should always ask potential attorneys whether they have actually tried (and will try) a case. The insurance companies know which lawyers will go to trial. It can make a big difference for your recovery.

Settlement mills are interested in case volumes. They are not interested in individual justice. They are certainly not interested in fighting to get you maximum compensation. Over the years, I’ve received many phone calls from individuals who hired a settlement mill attorney and were left without justice. What are some of the ways volume settlement mill attorneys fail their injured clients?

  • They do not advise their clients concerning proper medical treatment.
  • They do not warn their clients against signing insurance company releases or giving interviews to insurance adjusters. Sometimes, these settlement mill attorneys even agree to insurance company requests just to get a quick (even if too low) settlement.
  • They do not defend clients against false denials of claims by insurance companies.
  • They do not research or investigate difficult injuries suffered by clients.
  • They do not aggressively represent clients.
  • They do not file cases or take cases to trial when settlement offers are unfair.
  • They do not advise or help clients with often complex issues of health insurance subrogation or reimbursement after case settlement. Good attorneys can often save clients tremendous amounts of money by helping with these issues. Yet, settlement mill attorneys often pay the full claims from the settlement proceeds without advocating for their clients.

Justice is always personal. Settlement mills that treat people as parts on an assembly line leave us all short of justice. If you have suffered a significant injury, you and your family deserve better. Continue reading →