Insurance You Should Consider in Your Georgia Auto Policy

Many individuals and familes affected by a serious injury in an automobile or tractor-trailer wreck in Georgia do not have insurance coverages to help them through the tough financial times following their injury.   There are coverages that many folks don’t know about that can help with this problem.

Medical Payments Coverage One of these coverages is called "Medical Payments" coverage. This is very valuable coverage to seriously injured people because it pays medical bills if you are injured in an automobile wreck.  Unlike your health insurance, Med Pay coverage often includes no deductible or co-pay, so it will pay more of your bills after a wreck than your health insurance would pay.  So it can save injured people in Georgia a good bit of money after a wreck, helping them get through the tough times after a wreck when the injured person may not be able to work.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage.  Another valuable coverage is called Uninsured Motorist Coverage.  This provides insurance coverage for you if another driver causes a wreck in which you are injured.  Unfortuantely, too many folks do not have adequate liability insurance to provide coverage for those they may injure in a wreck, so we should all consider purchasing uninsured motorist coverage to protect ourselves against those who do not carry enough liabilty insurance. 

Books For Trial Lawyers – Part I

Many of the most talented trial lawyers I know have a passion for books, including books in areas outside the traditional area of trial advocacy.   I’ve met trial lawyers who loved southern fiction, and one who enjoyed Russian novels, and others who read biographies and history.  In an upcoming blog post, I hope to initiate a dialogue on great books that others have enjoyed and can recommend.

But today’s post is more practical.  Many good trial advocacy books have come out in the last few years. 

The following are some of my favorites:

  • The book: David Ball’s Reptile
    • Why I recommend it:  It’s based on current research and offers a comprehensive method of approaching cases and combatting tort reform.
  • The book: Judge Ralph Adam Fine’s How to Win Trial Manual
    • Why I recommend it:  Practical advice on trial tactics.  Takes issue with some of the conventional trial advocacy advice.  Good examples.
  • The book:  Friedman and Malone’s Rules of the Road
    • Why I recommend it:  It’s focus on establishing clear rules that defendants must agree with, and using those rules in discovery and trial.
  • The book:  Jim Perdue’s Winning With Stories. 
    • Why I recommend it:  Helps lawyers use stories to tap into universal experience and bring their cases to life. Good examples from trials.

There are a lot of good trial advocacy books out there, and I’d like to hear recommendations from any readers.

House of Representatives passes health care bill

In November, we took a step in the right direction. The House of Representatives passed the health care bill, "The Affordable Health Care for America Act" or  HR 3962.  This is the most significant piece of health care legislation to pass the House in the last 40 years, according to CNN’s coverage.

In our work representing persons who have suffered serious injuries as a result of another party’s negligence or carelessness, one of the problems we often encounter is that the injured person lacks insurance coverage to pay their medical bills.  This is especially hard on families who have lost the person who provided the main source of income due to their injuries.

Insurance companies sometimes refuse to pay promptly for injuries arising from medical malpractice, trucking wrecks, car wrecks or other incidents.  This delay causes injured persons to have to live on little or no income while their medical bills continue to accumulate.  This can make it difficult for injured people to obtain full compensation for the injuries because they may be forced to accept lower settlement amounts simply due to their need for money to pay their mounting medical bills. 

Hopefully some version of the health care bill will become law so injuried folks avoid this problem.

Limiting Medical Malpractice Suits Does Not Make Healthcare Cheaper or Patients Safer

Juries are the heart of our civil justice system. And contrary to what you hear from insurance companies and those affiliated with them, juries usually reach the right result. Jurors have an uncanny ability to see the truth and get to the heart of a case. Lawyers who think they can fool a group of 12 jurors need to re-think their strategies.  

So it has always amazed me that insurance companies would manage to convince a significant portion of the public that juries can’t be trusted to reach the right result in medical malpractice cases.  We hear claims of "frivolous lawsuits" often by the medical industry and insurance companies.  It’s as if the medical industry thinks it is exempt from justice and that they are above the law, immune from the scrutiny of juries and our courts.  

Close-up of Rahul K. ParikhAn excellent and balanced look at these reform proposals has come from an unlikely source – a physician.  In a very well documented Salon article, I’m a Doctor. So Sue Me. No, Really, written by Dr. Rahul K. Parikh examines the claims by the insurance industry and other medical groups that medical malpractice suits are the cause of high medical costs.  In Parikh’s article, he reveals the truth behind the inflated claims of some lobbying groups and insurance companies that medical malpractice suits cause high insurance premiums.  He cites numerous government studies in reaching his conclusion that high insurance premiums are not caused by medical malpractice lawsuits

For example,

According to the Congressional Budget Office, nationally, between the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s, the frequency of malpractice suits per capita remained stable at about 15 claims per 100 physicians per year. Another report (PDF), from the National Center for State Courts, actually shows that the number of cases between 1996 and 2006 dropped 8 percent.

He also makes the point that patient safety seems to get lost in all this discussion of closing the doors of the courthouse to people injured by medical malpractice.   Instead of pushing baseless reforms, he concludes that we should focus on how to make our nation’s medical system safer for all patients.

A wonderful article.  

Image: Parikh’s website