Professional Liability


Three Examples Of Cognitive Biases That May Lead To Diagnostic Errors

Posted by on 6:40 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Three Examples Of Cognitive Biases That May Lead To Diagnostic Errors

Diagnostic errors are some of the leading causes of medical malpractice. Some of the top causes of diagnostic errors can be classified under cognitive traps. A cognitive trap is an erroneous conclusion an individual makes when they analyze a situation in an illogical manner. Cognitive traps have multiple causes, such as these three: Filtering Filtering occurs when the doctor over focuses on one serious symptom at the expense of other less serious ones. When a doctor filters out the symptoms, it is as if the one they are focusing on and magnifying is the only (relevant) one. This can easily make the doctor exclude other possible diagnoses. For example, symptoms of appendicitis and urinary tract infections (UTIs) sometimes overlap. This is why there are tests designed to lead doctors to correct diagnoses. However, when a doctor focuses on one symptom at the expense of others, they may diagnose a UTI when the patient has appendicitis or vice versa. Confirmation Bias Confirmation bias occurs when the doctor already has a preconception before coming up with a diagnosis. When such a physician examines a patient, they are only looking for information (read symptoms) to support their preconception. In the end, other possible diseases that the patient may be suffering from aren’t considered. For example, the medical community knows that smoking, lack of regular exercise, and being overweight are some of the risk factors for a heart attack.  Therefore, when a patient whose history checks all those boxes comes in complaining of chest pains, it’s easy to assume that the patient has a heart attack. The doctor may then look for signs of a heart attack, which may be there even though the patient is actually suffering from ailments with similar symptoms, such as pneumonia or a panic attack. The Ambiguity Effect The ambiguity effect is likely to lead to wrong diagnoses in patients suffering from rare diseases. The ambiguity effect occurs when the physician is dealing with symptoms common to two diseases, one of which the doctor is experienced in and another in which the doctor has limited knowledge and experience. In such a case, the doctor is likely to go with the condition that they are fully conversant with. For example, a patient complaining of coughs and chest pains may be diagnosed with a respiratory infection even if the doctor has heard that thymoma can also cause the same symptoms. This is possible if the doctor has more experience with respiratory infections than thymoma, which is a rare type of cancer. Do you feel that your medical condition was misdiagnosed? Talk to a medical malpractice attorney, like one from Littman & Babiarz Law Office, whether or not you suspect the wrong diagnosis was caused by the doctor’s cognitive bias. The attorney will analyze your case and help you decide whether you have a valid...

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What Happens If Your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Gets Dismissed Instead of Discharged?

Posted by on 11:59 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What Happens If Your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Gets Dismissed Instead of Discharged?

The majority of Chapter 7 bankruptcies, which individuals use to ask for total debt relief, go off without a hitch. After the paperwork is filed, it’s usually just a matter of some routine meetings and a short waiting period while the trustee goes over everything. Then you’re granted a discharge and a clean start. What happens, however, if the bankruptcy is dismissed instead? This is what you need to know. What’s the difference between a bankruptcy discharge and a dismissal? A discharge finalizes your bankruptcy. You are no longer legally liable for any of the debts that were forgiven in the bankruptcy. A dismissal means that the court found a problem with your case and decided not to discharge your debts—which means that you still owe all your creditors, and they are free to pursue you for those debts. In addition, any automatic stays that you were under that stopped garnishments out of your wages or shut-offs on your utilities are gone. This can immediately put you in a very bad financial situation. Why would the bankruptcy trustee do that? Bankruptcy trustees have to protect the integrity of the court—which means that they can be strict about anything that makes it seem like you were trying to get around some of the bankruptcy rules. In some cases, the problem may be poor paperwork skills on your part. If you guessed at some numbers or forgot a personal debt that you owed your aunt, that could make it look like you’re trying to play games with the law. It’s also possible you simply forgot to file one of the required forms or missed a small fee that had to be paid. On major cause for dismissals is failing to go through the credit counseling requirements that are now part of bankruptcy law. Even if your bankruptcy came about through an unavoidable disaster—like an extended medical condition, hospital stay, and job loss—you’re still required to go through the credit counseling. In addition, the counseling has to be done by an agency that’s been approved by the United States Trustee’s Ofice. What do you do if your bankruptcy has been dismissed? First, you need to determine whether your bankruptcy was dismissed with or without prejudice. If it is dismissed without prejudice, you can file again right away—however, you want to make sure that you understand exactly why the bankruptcy was dismissed and take corrective action promptly because you’ll only be granted an automatic stay of your debts (and any collection efforts or shut-offs) for 30 days. If your bankruptcy was dismissed with prejudice, you have a much more serious problem. You’re essentially accused of trying to abuse the system, and that means that you are barred from filing again for a minimum of 180 days. However, the trustee can actually impose an even longer mandatory waiting period if he or she so desires. He or she can also prohibit you from discharging certain debts at all, even in a subsequent bankruptcy. If this happens, you need to consider filing an appeal right away—consult with your bankruptcy attorney immediately because you usually only have 14 days to file a Notice of Appeal.  While most bankruptcies do go through smoothly, you can help ensure that yours does as well by making sure that you follow your bankruptcy...

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Four Tips To Avoid Getting A DUI

Posted by on 11:35 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Four Tips To Avoid Getting A DUI

A DUI is one of those traffic violations that you definitely do not want to receive. The fines are high, as well as the additional punishments, such as jail time and having your license taken away. On top of this, you are likely going to have to attend driving school in order to get your license back. Of course, the only way to completely avoid a DUI is to not drink and drive. However, here are four other tips to ensure that you are able to avoid a DUI: Don’t Have a Reason to be Pulled Over: If you are drinking and driving (which you should never be), but you are driving with enough control that a cop won’t suspect you are driving under the influence, they will likely not stop you. However, a cop will stop you if you have a taillight out or your registration is expired. Once they pull you over for this, if they smell alcohol, they are sure to investigate and will give you a DUI if you are over the legal limit.  Don’t Drive Late at Night or Early in the Morning: If you have been drinking, you are likely going to be driving home late at night or early in the morning. However, you shouldn’t do this. Cops are much more likely to be seeking out drunk drivers during these times of the day. On top of this, there are usually checkpoints set up, which you can get caught in.  Get Rid of the Smell of Alcohol: If a cop has pulled you over for a traffic violation after you have been drinking, you are much more likely to get away without a DUI if the cop doesn’t suspect you have been drinking. This means you need to get rid of the smell of alcohol. The best way to do this is to chew gum or brush your teeth. You should also be drinking lots of water and never drive with an open bottle of alcohol in the car.  Be Wary When Answering Questions: If the cop who has pulled you over says they smell alcohol or asks if you have been drinking, do not admit to it. This can only lead to the DUI case not coming out in your favor. It’s best to simply state that you do not want to answer any questions until your attorney is present. Most likely, the officer will bring you into the station if they feel you are drunk and not able to drive safely. At this point, you should wait for your DUI attorney to show up before talking to an officer.  When you follow these four tips, you can avoid getting a DUI, or at least make it less likely that you will suffer high charges for it. Contact a firm such as Hart Law Offices, PC for assistance if you are ever wrongly charged with a...

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Common Questions About Car Accidents And Statute Of Limitations

Posted by on 10:15 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Common Questions About Car Accidents And Statute Of Limitations

The statute of limitations sets a time limit that a person can file a claim for a car accident. This time is set by the state, and you will need to seek damages within this timeframe or you lose your ability to claim compensation. Here are the four most common questions about car accidents and statute of limitations. How Long Do You Have to File a Claim for a Car Accident? As mentioned, the time depends on the state. In most cases, the time will be between one and six years, but it can also depend on the type of accident and injury that occurred. While North Dakota has a statute of limitations of six years for personal injuries in a car accident, the wrongful death timeframe is just two years. Also, the general time in Texas for personal injury claims is two years. Property damage and wrongful death have the same timeframes to make a claim. Can You Extend This Time? There are certain cases where you can extend this timeframe. For example, if you can prove that the injury was definitely from the car accident, a court may allow you to file a claim. It could be an unexpected development from an injury you gained during the crash, which has now led to extra expenses you reasonably wouldn’t have considered. The problem is that courts will find it difficult to believe that the injury came from the car accident if it is decades down the line. You’ll need to have a doctor’s diagnosis. Is the Statute of Limitations from the Date of the Accident? The statute of limitations doesn’t necessarily start from the date of the accident. It starts from when the injury was “reasonably discovered.” For example, if the accident left you unable to act on your own for the time period, such as due to a coma, you would have only reasonably discovered the injuries after the time the timeframe ran out. You can’t be penalized for something like this out of your control. Is There a Different Time for Minors? Some states will also set different timeframes for minors. For example, in Alabama, the time begins on the minor’s 19th birthday and lasts no longer than three years. In Wyoming, a minor will have three years from his/her 18th birthday. Make sure you are aware of the statute of limitations in your state. Do not allow time to run out if you plan on seeking compensation for your injuries and/or damages to your vehicle. For more information or assistance, contact a local accident attorney, like one from Kaston &...

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A Guide To Preparing For A Criminal Defense Case

Posted by on 4:27 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on A Guide To Preparing For A Criminal Defense Case

When you are up against something as serious as a criminal charge, you will need to truly have your ducks in a row in order to come out of this situation with the best end result in mind. To make this a reality and to navigate the legal system to the best of your ability, you will need to get a clear idea of what to expect, get some guidelines to prepare for trial and shop around for the best criminal defense attorney for the job. Keep reading in order to get the most out of these points and to make your criminal defense case as successful as possible.  Learn What To Expect From Your Situation If you are charged with a criminal offense, you have a number of options available to defend yourself. Working with a credible attorney is the most important part of this process, so be sure to work closely with them to have a clear picture of what you are facing. Your attorney might opt for a defense revolving around the flat truth, providing evidence and testimony to convince the jury. They will help you determine the weaknesses of the prosecution’s case, and will help guide you through arraignment, pre-trial motions and an actual bench or jury trial. Further, if a plea bargain is the best case scenario, your lawyer can also help you receive a less serious charge through one of these deals.  Prepare For Court Without question, you need to be aware of the impression you are creating for the judge and jury each and every time you appear in court. It is very easy for your body language to be misinterpreted, so make sure that you avoid making any kind of eye contact, keep your emotions in check and try your best to keep a calm, normal disposition. You should also be sure that you dress to impress, but avoid overdressing for the occasion. Get plenty of sleep the night before court and make sure to never discuss the case with anyone except for your attorney.  Hire A Great Criminal Defense Lawyer When facing criminal charges, the hire of a criminal defense lawyer is the most important decision of your life. Take your time and interview law firms thoroughly, in order to know they have strategies and experience to win for you. You should also consider the fees that you’ll have to pay. You will generally be expected to pay a flat legal fee or an hourly rate, depending on your situation.  Factor in these points to make the most out of your criminal defense. For more information, contact a firm such as Jeffrey D. Larson, Attorney at...

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Don’t Like Your Public Defender? What You Need to Know

Posted by on 10:49 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Don’t Like Your Public Defender? What You Need to Know

If you’ve been arrested, you’ve probably heard the line in the Miranda warning about having the right to a lawyer, and that a lawyer will be appointed for you if you can’t afford one. Those appointed lawyers are called public defenders, and it’s their job to represent anyone who can’t afford a lawyer. But what happens if you don’t like the public defender that your case is assigned to? More to the point, what happens if you believe that lawyer is not doing a good job for you? Take a look at what you need to do if you’re unhappy with a public defender. Talk to the Lawyer First Before you take any official action, arrange a meeting with your public defender to discuss your concerns. Public defenders are typically hard workers who are committed to their jobs, but they’re also often overloaded with work. In 2007, the Department of Justice found that 73% of county public defender offices had more than the maximum recommended number of cases. That means that public defenders are busy and may not take the time to talk to you the way that a private attorney would. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they aren’t doing a good job for you; it may simply mean that they haven’t effectively communicated what they’re doing for your case. So before you act, give your attorney a chance to explain what actions they’ve taken or plan to take and what the status of your case is at the moment. You may find that things are better than you think. Write to the Judge If you’re not satisfied after speaking with your public defender, you still can’t just fire them. The judge for your case appointed your public defender, and only the judge can make a replacement. In most cases, you’ll need more than personal dislike. You’ll have to show that your current public defender violated your right to adequate representation. Evidence that your attorney has violated your right to adequate representation can include things like missing appointments or filing dates or failing to notify you of hearing dates. If your attorney insists that you take a plea when you prefer not to or fails to keep you properly informed about your case, those are also violations. Ignoring evidence that’s important to your case could also be a violation of your right to adequate representation. What Happens If You’re Still Not Happy After the Change? One of the reasons that you want to be sure that you need a new attorney before you request one is that you’ll probably only get one chance at a new attorney. In at least one case, a defendant was denied a second request to change his attorney, and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that decision. So there is precedent for denying a change in attorneys. If you find yourself in a situation where you’re on your second public defender and still don’t feel that you’re being adequately represented, it may be time to look into private attorneys. You may be able to come up with some creative strategy to afford a local private attorney’s fees. Consider borrowing money, organizing a fundraiser, or seek out a private criminal justice attorney who performs pro bono cases.  Make decisions about hiring a lawyer...

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The Basics Of Estate Planning For Someone Who Doesn’t Have An Estate

Posted by on 6:22 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Basics Of Estate Planning For Someone Who Doesn’t Have An Estate

Estate planning isn’t just for those who have physical estates to leave behind. Anyone will benefit from planning ahead. Here’s a basic guide on planning ahead when you don’t have an “estate” in the physical sense. Think About Your Business You may not have a home to leave behind, but you may have your own business. This could be something to keep the roof over your head or a widely successful local business. Either way, you want to make sure bills are dealt with quickly and it isn’t run into the ground afterwards. Who will get your business after your death? Will the person in control of it be instructed to deal with the closing of it? Dealing With Your Final Bills Your financial commitments don’t end just because you’ve died. You’ll need to set up steps to ensure your final bills are paid. Who will be in control of this and where will the money come from? This part will also involve the closing of accounts. Make sure you have all your accounts easy to access. Make a list of all the institutions you deal with, including any dormant accounts. Phone, internet and television companies need to be added onto the list along with any third-party loans you have. Set Up Your Life Insurance Part of estate planning is setting up life insurance and choosing your beneficiary. This is especially important if you’re the main earning party and will need to ensure your family is supported in the event of your death. The beneficiary will usually be a spouse, but you can also set up multiple beneficiaries to get the payout split to those who need it. Protect Minor Children Your children aren’t technically “estates,” but they need to be included in your estate planning. Who will look after them in the event of your death? This needs to be someone whom you can trust and wants to raise your children for you. You’ll always want to think about finances involved in this, making sure the people you’ve chosen have enough money to support your minor children. Splitting Up Your Belongings Just because you don’t have a property doesn’t mean you don’t have belongings. You’ll have your furniture and personal items around the home. You may have a car, and you may have items in storage. Your estate planning needs to set up the splitting up of these belongings. Not having an “estate” doesn’t mean you don’t need estate planning. Go through the steps above to make sure everything is ready whenever death comes calling. ...

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When You Have Disability Insurance: Applying For Benefits When You Have Private Insurance

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While each private disability insurance policy is a bit different, the reason you have disability insurance is to cover lost wages if you find yourself suddenly disabled. You will have to take a careful look at your policy to see what constitutes a disability, and see if your current condition applies to your policy. If you believe you are disabled, you will need your primary care physician to share detailed information regarding the aspects of your disability, so that your insurance provider can determine whether to approve benefits or not. The Elimination Period The elimination period is the length of time you have to be disabled before you can begin collecting benefits. Social security disability benefits come with a five month waiting period, meaning that you don’t begin to collect benefits until the sixth month after your disability began. Your private disability insurance may have a different elimination period. In general, the more expensive your policy is, the shorter the elimination period is. It is important to apply for benefits as soon as you become disabled so that you can establish the start of your elimination period. Read Over Your Medical Records for Inconsistencies Your insurance company will be able to review any medical records that they deem necessary, and it’s important that these records are an accurate representation of your health and the treatment you have been receiving. Take the time to look over your records and your initial application for benefits to make sure that there are no inconsistencies. While you may have answered to the best of your ability at the time of your application, these answers may not be reflected in your medical record.  Follow All Treatment Recommendations If you are trying to get benefits for a disability, you will need to show proof that you are struggling with a disability. This means that despite regular medical care and following all treatment recommendations, you are still struggling with aspects of your disability. The more you can get treatment providers to back up your claim, the more likely you are to get benefits approved without having to file an appeal. From the moment you are disabled, you should be working with your insurance company to obtain disability benefits. If you are not having success, it is probably time to work with an attorney who can help you navigate this often complicated system. Click this link for more information....

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Determining Liability In A Single Bike Accident

Posted by on 11:49 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Determining Liability In A Single Bike Accident

A single bike accident – which is a motorcycle accident that involves no other cars, motorcycles, or pedestrians directly – may at first appear to be the motorcycle rider’s fault. The fact is, there are other factors that can lead to the accident, and some of them could leave someone besides you responsible. The following information can help you determine the cause so you can determine where liability may lie. Was there construction in the area? Uneven pavement and loose gravel often accompany construction sites. Even if the road work isn’t occurring directly in the lane you were in, construction on the shoulder or on a road that merges into the road where you were at could bring dangerous debris. There is supposed to be signage warning motorcyclists to use caution when gravel and pavement issues are present. If there wasn’t, you may be able to hold the construction company liable. It’s best to get photographic evidence as soon as possible, along with witnesses if you can, since signage may be placed after the accident. This can make it difficult to prove that the signs weren’t there previously. Did you hit a pothole or road damage? Potholes, sudden washboarding, and cracks in the road surface can also be a cause of a single bike accident. If you suspect that this is the case, get photographic evidence of the road damage as soon as possible. This will have to be taken up with the municipality or government department that is responsible for that particular road. Generally, you will have to show that the municipality should have been reasonably aware that there was a safety issue. For example, a pothole that has been present for weeks means the municipality may be liable, while one that likely opened that day due to a heavy rain storm may simply be deemed an accident. Could someone else have added to your damages? This most often comes into play with additional obstructions. For example, if you lose control of your bike and crash into an illegally parked car, then the owner of the car could be at least partially responsible for your injuries. Another example is if another driver fails to signal, so you lay down the bike and get major road burn while avoiding a collision. Although only your bike is involved in the accident, someone else was the cause or added to the severity of your injuries or damages. Contact a motorcycle accident attorney in your area to learn more about what recourse you may have following your...

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What To Do When Someone Steals Your Blog Content

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An estimated 31 million people throughout the United States today consider themselves to be bloggers. For the bloggers who use their online site as a source of serious income, protecting their intellectual property rights can be essential to the success of their blog. If you discover that someone has stolen one of your blog posts, here are three things that you can do to take action. 1. Contact the owner of the site where your stolen content has been published. If you find your photographs or text from your blog posts being published on another blog, contact the site’s owner and let them know. Making the owner aware of the fact that you recognize your intellectual property has been compromised can often be enough to get them to take down the content in question. Provide a time frame in which you would like the offending information removed, and suggest that you are willing to take legal action to protect your intellectual property from improper use. 2. Report the user to social media network administrators. When your intellectual property is being used on a social media network, you should take the time to report this use to the network administrators. If a user is willing to overlook your intellectual property rights, they may have posted content that wasn’t their own in the past. Social media networks do not tolerate stolen content, and they may ban the user from interacting with others on their network in the future. 3. File a DMCA takedown notice. Lawmakers recognize the importance of helping bloggers protect their intellectual property rights, and have instituted a regulation known as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to provide protection against stolen content. One of the provisions of the DMCA is that blog hosting platforms could be considered as a contributing party if they allow stolen content to remain on any of the blogs that they are hosting. By filing a DMCA takedown notice, you notify the hosting company that your content is being used without authorization. The hosting company will then demand that your intellectual property be removed from the offending site, and can even shut down the offending site for failure to comply. Protecting your intellectual property rights from infringement is essential when it comes to keeping your blog unique and profitable, so if you are concerned about your legal rights when your intellectual property is being used without your permission, contact Joseph E Mueth Law Office or a similar...

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