Why Your Medical Records Matter in Personal Injury Cases

The subject has come up too many times in the past couple weeks where clients are disputing what is documented in their medical records that were written by their own treating physicians. I will admit, prior to becoming an attorney in South Carolina, I would trust what the doctor told me in the private setting of the examination room. As Lee Corso says, "Not so fast my friend."

It does not matter if you are being assisted by Medshore EMS at the scene of a motor vehicle collision or talking to your long time AnMed Family Medicine physician, those medical providers are documenting everything you tell them. As a matter of fact, the Federal Government has mandated all records be made digitally so you can even read the physician's handwriting. Well that wasn't their main reason for doing it but it sure has helped in reading Dr. Wadee's records. 

You have the right to request your medical records and you should do that on a quarterly to annual basis depending upon your frequency in medical treatment. (No, the discharge or checkout paper you get does not count as a medical record that is important.) It will help you see what information is documented from your visit with medical providers and also help ensure that your medical concerns and complaints are actually being addressed. Let me provide a news flash when that may become relevant...IN A PERSONAL INJURYCASE! 

If you are involved in some kind of traumatic incident (workers' compensation claim, car wreck, dog bite, slip & fall, product liability claim, nursing home negligence, or medical malpractice case) and claim the injuries you sustained from that incident are all because of that traumatic incident, you have to prove it to be reimbursed by the evil insurance companies. Your back may be hurting but if just the week before you were complaining of back pains, the question becomes how much more, if any, is your back hurting from the traumatic incident. Don't come in telling me your life is changed forever for the worst because of this traumatic incident but have no medical documentation to prove that claim. 

As an attorney, I can not tell the evil insurance company that your doctor told you it was all because of the traumatic incident. Shockingly, the evil empire would not believe me or you. However, the evil tryanny sometimes believes what is in the medical records. Not all the time but let's not get caught up in the fact that the evil empire will have a 22 year old college, educated adjuster make medical diagnosis and decisions. We will save that subject for another article. 

Today, your take away is this:

  • You are legally entitled to a copy of your medical records, regardless if you owe a balance to the medical provider. Now there may be a copying charge or retrieval fee but you are still entitled to those printed and detailed records, along with your itemized bills. Click here to print off this page, if the gate keeper at your medical facility doesn't believe you.
  • Do you really know what your doctor has documented?   What do you think your doctor will depend on as the truth a year from their visit with you if asked by a lawyer? That exact conversation or their medical records?
  • What is documented in your medical records will help your recovery from a traumatic incident or help the evil empire against your recovery. So, if you are experience back pain, emotional trauma, sleepless nights, relationship troubles, and so forth, I better read it in the medical records or it is not happening!

 

 

***When I Googled "evil insurance companies" there was a link with a discussion of whether insurance companies were evil or stupid.  Although it was about health care, the liability insurance carriers are designed the same way, maximize return to their shareholders while minimizing the payout of claims (YOUR CLAIM). I thought this was a very interesting response:

Doug DingusEverybody pays, everybody covered
622 Views
Insurance companies have a basic conflict with us in that their goal is to maximize for the shareholders, and that happens best when they deliver the least health care access for the most dollars.

So, the answer is by design, but said design is an artifact of our health care policy, meaning they are neither stupid or evil.

We can remedy this with regulation, or public primary care insurance, or competition, depending on how said competition is structured

Tort Reform Results: Higher Insurance Profits, Lower Patient Safety Initiatives & Higher Med Mal Premiums for Doctors

A recent Forbes article written by Steve Cohen entitled, "On Tort Reform, It's Time to Declare Victory and Withdraw", debunks the myths set forth many years ago when the catchy phrased initiative first started. Given the many states that have passed those "reforms", aka insurance company dream goals to make more money, quantitative information is available to actually measure results. Since many of you went along hook line and sinker, let's see what you have done to yourselves. Drum roll please....

  • FALSE: ER doctors had a fear of malpractice lawsuits and thus ordered unnecessary care causing wasteful healthcare spending and costing us all. With tort reform in place, ER doctors have not stopped ordering unnecessary care and raising healthcare costs.  

This Forbes article sites an investigating in The New England Journal of Medicine entitled, "The Effect of Malpractice Reform on Emergency Department Care" which determined:

BACKGROUND

Many believe that fear of malpractice lawsuits drives physicians to order otherwise unnecessary care and that legal reforms could reduce such wasteful spending. Emergency physicians practice in an information-poor, resource-rich environment that may lend itself to costly defensive practice. Three states, Texas (in 2003), Georgia (in 2005), and South Carolina (in 2005), enacted legislation that changed the malpractice standard for emergency care to gross negligence. We investigated whether these substantial reforms changed practice

RESULTS

For eight of the nine state–outcome combinations tested, no policy-attributable reduction in the intensity of care was detected. We found no reduction in the rates of CT or MRI utilization or hospital admission in any of the three reform states and no reduction in charges in Texas or South Carolina.

Mr. Cohen goes on to write that:

This latest study follows numerous others that deflated other tort reform myths: that making it harder for victims to file medical malpractice lawsuits would reduce the number of “frivolous” suits that “clog the courts;” that imposing caps on the damages victims could receive would reign in “out of control” juries that were awarding lottery-size sums to plaintiffs; and that malpractice insurance premiums would fall, thereby reversing a doctor shortage caused by specialists “fleeing the profession.”
 
None of these promised benefits became reality. That’s because the alleged problems were themselves non-existent. 
 
  • FALSE: Medical malpractice premiums will be lower for doctors with reform in place as insurance companies will pass along the savings. HAH! As a lawyer working against insurance companies,we all knew this was a scam but it was still shocking how many people believed it. 

 

While insurance premiums haven’t gone down, their price increases in tort reform states have gone up a little slower than in non-reform states – the lag is between 6% and 13%.  That hasn’t constrained the insurance industry from showing record profits.   Average returns for malpractice carriers hover around 15.6%, far better than the 12.5% for the property/casualty segment. And the malpractice insurers’ loss ratio – the percentage of claims to premiums — is a remarkably low 61.1%.

In 1999 the Institute of Medicine at the U.S. National Academy of Sciences published its seminal study,"To Err is Human",  which concluded that between 44,000 and 98,000 patients are killed (and many more injured) in hospitals each year due to medical errors. That number – which is more than automobile and workplace accidents combined – doesn’t include deaths in doctors’ offices or clinics – such as the one where Joan Rivers recently died.  By 2011, a study in "HealthAffairs"  estimated the number of avoidable deaths was probably closer to one million.

It's unfortunate that so many Americans were duped by the evil insurance companies but there is still hope for change. Remind your legislative representatives that these myths have been debunked and tort reform is never a good idea.

The judicial system is in place for a reason and that is to allow a jury of your peers to hear the facts and evidence presented by our rules and make the most informed decision. 

Trammell & Mills Law Firm, LLC does not handle medical malpractice cases but we know several good law firms in the area that do, if you need assistance. However, we can not stand to see Americans constantly steam rolled by insurance propaganda. Start educating yourselves on the facts, not on the fluff and feel good. 

 

 

South Carolina's Golden Corner's Only Super Lawyers Rising Star for 2015

The triad of counties encompassing the Golden Corner of South Carolina, Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens, only have one (1) attorney recognized by Super Lawyers as a Rising Star in 2015- Congratulations Trey Mills

Floyd S. Mills III, aka "Trey", has been recognized again in 2015 as a Super Lawyers Rising Star in South Carolina . As a partner at Trammell & Mills Law Firm, LLC, Mr. Mills practices only personal injury law which encompasses anyone harmed by the negligence, ignorance, or omissions of others. Trey loves fighting against faceless insurance companies that only seem to know one word, "No." 

The motivating factor that caused Trey Mills to become a lawyer was when he was dying of leukemia, more specifically ALL, at the age of 17 and heard his mother constantly yelling on the phone with insurance providers pleading with them to process payment to the wonderful medical facilities, medical workers, and doctors that were trying to save his life. The only reason that evil insurance company didn't make payment, delayed payment, or tried to deny payment was because it was very expensive to cover the costs of a dying human and insurance companies are in business to make money not save lives. Well fortunately, Mr. Mills lived but more importantly others impacted by the evil insurance companies can now have someone that is truly:

  • on their side, not on the side of the negligent party (Nationwide);
  • providing a helping hand and pat on the shoulder versus the good hands around your neck (Allstate);
  • your neighbor in Anderson & Oconee Counties, not in some call center in Duluth, GA (State Farm);
  • not going to equate you to a dog and pat you on the head to recognize good behavior (Travelers);
  • not going to have some crazy eyed, all white dressed woman named "Ho" to berate you (Progressive); or
  • not consider you to be the scapegoat for someone else's actions or lick his eyes with his tongue (GEICO).  

 

 

 

 

The selection process for being selected into this group is as follows:

The selection process for the Rising Stars list is the same as the Super Lawyers selection process, with one exception: to be eligible for inclusion in Rising Stars, a candidate must be either 40 years old or younger or in practice for 10 years or less. All attorneys first go through the Super Lawyers selection process. Those who are not selected to the Super Lawyers list, but who meet either one of the Rising Stars eligibility requirements, go through the Rising Stars selection process. While up to five percent of the lawyers in the state are named to Super Lawyers, no more than 2.5 percent are named to the Rising Stars list

 

Workers' Compensation Reform Horrible for Workers in South Carolina

 A recent article by NPR illustrates what is wrong with any legislation put forth in the name of "reform". This article provides quantitative evidence and examples of why the workers' compensation system is broken. Our very own Ernie Trammell has provided articles about South Carolina Workers' Compensation issues writing, "Injured at Work in South Carolina? What you need to know. (Part 1)" & "Injured at Work in South Carolina? What you need to know. (Part 2)"  . 

For an in depth analysis, historic background on the intent, and current state of workers' compensation laws, you should educate yourself with this article. More importantly, you should arm yourself with an attorney if you have a workers' compensation claim:

Injured Workers Suffer As 'Reforms' Limit Workers' Compensation Benefits

 

 

And Now You Do What They Told Ya...

"Why Did You Take That Case? It's Not Worth Your Time!"

A question recently posed to me by an insurance defense attorney that thinks certain cases should be beneath legal assistance because there is no real margin for a positive financial return. It reminded me of the real reason I became a lawyer and constantly reminds me of the every day people that need lawyers not solely focused on the bottom line. I realize this is a hard task because we are still running a business that has to pay overhead expenses, support ourselves and our families, and pay those law school loans! On top of that in South Carolina you are "assigned" cases that you are going to be spending time and money on for free anyway, which could easily fill that small philanthropic,or charitable void, in your cynical, cold heart.

Rise up, my cynical counterparts and cohorts in the business of assisting those in need when the tyrannical insurance company rears its ugly head. We must unite and bring forth our swords swiftly to sever its head before it begins to breathe fire and destroy all that is pure and just in a world bombarded with:

  • low balling adjusters reading from a computer screen;
  • experienced insurance adjusters being pushed to retire for college graduates that can read;
  • denials based purely on money saving tactics;
  • Allstate Insurance Company practices focused on trying to squeeze out the desire for attorneys to help;
  • property damage claims (See: South Carolina Property Arbitration:Your Weapon Against Insurance Adjusters) ;
  • minor property damage claims; and
  • anything quasi legal that comes out of the mouth of an adjuster. 

How about grab that bravado that made you a plaintiff's attorney and start saying, "F&*^ You, I want do what you tell me!" You can make the time for half a dozen of those cases a year. I know you "Million Dollar Advocates" can spare some time to feel reinvigorated and you young associates that do research all day can feel like real trial lawyers by taking on a Magistrate Court case or Property Arbitration. By pushing back on what the dragon is trying to force feed us we can eventually slay the large reptile and save the townspeople. 

 

Lawyers Fight for America's Founding Principles

 GUEST POST by J. Calhoun Watson of Sowell Gray 

The Fourth of July is a good time to remember our nation’s dedication to the rule of law and to celebrate this principle that sets us apart from many other countries.

Two hundred thirty-eight years ago, the Declaration of Independence charged the king of England with depriving the colonists of their right to a trial by jury. Because America’s founders believed serving on a jury and testifying in court were essential responsibilities of being a citizen, they were willing to wage war to stand up for this right.

Throughout history, lawyers have fought to uphold the rule of law in our nation’s most defining moments: drafting the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, crafting the Emancipation Proclamation and ending the Civil War, creating the New Deal to pull America out of the Great Depression and supporting the Civil Rights movement.

Still today, the rule of law is essential to our freedoms. The rule of law describes a system based on fair, publicized, easily understood and stable laws enforced by knowledgeable judges. Although Americans often take these rights and privileges for granted, we must always remember that our liberties, rights and way of life would be in great jeopardy without the rule of law. In many parts of the world, these rights are just a dream.

There always will be people who do not agree with a judge’s ruling and who criticize the lawyers who defend the accused. The fact is that under the American judicial system, anyone charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty: It is the defense attorney’s job to ensure his or her client has a fair trial, the prosecutor’s responsibility to present evidence to the court on behalf of the state, and the judge’s responsibility to rule based on the facts presented. This system is the very cornerstone of our founders’ vision. As Americans, we should share the same passion and commitment today as our founders 238 years ago.

In some cases, the system our founders envisioned is not fully accessible. I am very proud that S.C. lawyers are dedicated to advancing justice and ensuring that the civil legal system is available to all our citizens. Many lawyers choose this profession because they believe in the American legal system and want to make a difference in the lives of those they represent. It is important that we stand up for everyone’s access to the privileges of our system.

Thanks to many lawyers serving as volunteers, the S.C. Bar offers programs to provide legal representation and advice to those who cannot easily access or afford it. We sponsor free legal clinics and Ask-A-Lawyer phone banks and web chats. We also help provide wills to first-response personnel and Habitat for Humanity homeowners; educate at-risk high school students on criminal law and the consequences of their choices; educate the public about adoption and foster care; and teach students about civic responsibility. For information, please visit scbar.org or call (803) 799-6653.

As we spend time this weekend with family and friends and give thanks for this beautiful nation, let us honor one of the defining principles of this nation’s founding — celebrating our legal rights, access to a fair and balanced justice system and the commitment of this state and nation to upholding the rule of law for all citizens.

Printed July 3, 2014 in "The State" as:

Watson: Lawyers fight for America’s founding principles

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Cal, a native of Bamberg, South Carolina, is a graduate of Wofford College and the University of South Carolina School of Law. He is also President of the South Carolina Bar and the former President of Historic Columbia.

E cwatson@sowellgray.com
P (803) 231-7839
F (803) 231-7889
 
Admissions
South Carolina Bar
U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
Education
Wofford College, B.A., summa cum laude, 1984
- Phi Beta Kappa
- President of the Student Body
University of South Carolina School of Law, J.D., cum laude, 1987
- Order of the Coif
- Order of Wig and Robe
- Student Works Editor of the South Carolina Law Review
- Legal Writing Instructor, 1986-1987
Associations
International Association of Defense Counsel (Technology Chair, 2010-2012), Business Litigation, Professional Liability, and Trial Tactics Committees and Social Media Task Force (Chair)
Richland County Bar Association
American Bar Association
John Belton O’Neall Inn of Court (President, 2010-2011)
South Carolina Defense Trial Attorneys’ Association
Defense Research Institute
Certified South Carolina Circuit Court Mediator
Judicial Clerkships
Honorable Robert F. Chapman, Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
Offices
Fellow, American Bar Foundation
Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
President, South Carolina Bar (2014-2015), President-Elect (2013-2014), Treasurer (2012-2013), Secretary (2011-2012)
President, John Belton O’Neall Inn of Court (2010-2011)
South Carolina Bar Board of Governors (1997-2000, 2009-present)
South Carolina Bar House of Delegates (1997-present)
Access to Justice Commission (2006-present)
President, South Carolina Bar Foundation (2006-2007)
Editorial Board of South Carolina Lawyer Magazine (2000-2007)
President, Young Lawyers Division of the South Carolina Bar (1997-1998)
Honors & Awards
Best Lawyers in America (Woodward/White, 2008-2014), Commercial Litigation
Best Lawyers in America (Woodward/White, 2008-2014), Professional Malpractice Law, Defendants
Best Lawyers in America (Woodward/White, 2010-2014),  Bet-the-Company Litigation
South Carolina “Super Lawyer” Business Litigation (2008-2014)
South Carolina “Super Lawyer” Professional Liability Defense (2010-2012)
Chambers U.S.A. America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (2009-2014)
Selected as a Top Rated Lawyer in Commercial Litigation by Litigation Special Report (2012)
Recipient, Innovative Leadership Award, Historic Columbia (2010)
Recipient, Compleat Lawyer Award Silver Medallion, USC Law School Alumni Association (2001)
Community Involvement
President, Historic Columbia Foundation (2007-2009)
President, Wofford College National Alumni Association (2000)
Wofford College Parents Advisory Council (2012-2013)
AC Flora PTSO (Co-President, 2011-2012)

 

 

 


Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/2014/07/03/3544531/watson-lawyers-fight-for-americas.html?sp=/99/168#storylink=cpy

 

Don't Listen to Insurance Adjusters or Friends When It Comes to Legal Advice

You have just been involved in a traumatic incident of some kind and now your world is turned upside down. You never planned on being:

  • injured;
  • unable to work;
  • permanently disfigured;
  • without an avenue for medical treatment;
  • no knowledge on how to get out of the hole someone, something, or some event has put you into; or 
  • what steps to take to get back before your world stopped. 

The next thing you do is communicate with family, friends, and/or co-workers. They know someone, read something, saw it on the Internet, watched "Judge Judy",  or have a "friend" themselves that has been through the exact same thing and this is what you .......STOP THE MADNESS!

It's great to have loved ones and I am sure they want nothing but the best for you but I don't claim to know everything about everything. I hire real estate agents to move property and tax advisers (Patterson Tax Service) to do my taxes even though I have had Real Estate and Tax classes in law school (which means I know enough to be dangerous to myself, or absolutely nothing). 

My common saying is, "You don't listen to the devil on how to get to Heaven, so why listen to an insurance adjuster on how to settle a claim against them?"  They are going to lie, or mislead you. You don't go to your opponent in the middle of the game and ask them how to beat them do you? NO! Stop listening to what an adjuster says about your claim. Talk to an attorney. You at least have recourse against an attorney if they give you incorrect legal advice. (You could have recourse against an adjuster but it is hard to prove). 

Likewise, stop listening to your friends give you "arm chair" legal direction on your case. Go talk to a lawyer. It is free to consult with a lawyer on most civil cases and no fee is received by the lawyer unless a settlement is negotiated or trial verdict rendered. Tell me who else you know works 100% on performance pay? Defense attorneys and insurance adjusters work hourly or salary and may get some kind of bonus based on performance but I would imagine 75% of their income will come to them regardless of how well they perform. 

I work 100% on performance and get close to 70% of my business from word of mouth based on clients, friends, family members, colleagues, and other professionals that are familiar with our firm's performance. Seek out the help you need from the right professionals rather than receiving the wrong information. You may not hear what you like but at least it will be an honest, experienced, and informed response looking out for YOUR BEST INTEREST

 

 

Trey Mills Retiring at 36

 It is with great excitement and a heavy heart that I share my plans to leave the Trammell & Mills Law Firm, LLC at the end of this month!  I appreciate the opportunity Ernie Trammell provided to this young law graduate eight (8) years ago with nothing but fire in his eyes and hatred in his heart for insurance companies.  I never thought I would live to the age of 30 so now as I turn 36 at the end of this month, I realize life is too short to continue to work every day doing work I feel God called me to do. No, I think now is the time to live off my wife's new profession of being a nurse anesthetist. The earning potential for my wife's new profession seems to be very high and I am sure she will be excited with my decision once I talk it over with her.

My wife and I don't have children yet, so I am looking forward to taking care of our two aging dogs every day, taking long walks both in downtown Greenville to oversee and provide free supervision to many of the on going construction projects and in our Lake Keowee subdivision where I know I will be welcomed with open arms by our neighbors. I may even be able to get  a Home Owners Association position or volunteer with other seniors like me. 

I am not sure I will be able to draw off of my 401K yet. I don't really fear the 10% penalty they may impose if I ask for it prior to their ridiculously mandated 65 year old rule. Who the hell wants to work that long! Plus, 10% of "not a lot" is a lot less than "not a lot".

For income, I guess I could apply for disability. My disability being that I can't fathom how the government did nothing to support my working so hard and being successful only to take my hard earned money from me. To add insult to injury, after the government takes my hard earned money they then turn around and spit on me by bailing out Wall Street ballers, fail to provide the home front with necessities before spending billions of dollars on other countries and wars, and constantly bicker with each other about what this country needs while sticking their heads in the sand after hearing themselves talk. There would be other reasons for my "disability". Those reasons would be dealing with insurance adjusters, defense attorneys, roster meetings, Roy Trammell, and how our law firm can spend so much money on overhead. 

Oh, no. My nerves are all tore up now and my body feels all "stove up". Too much stress just thinking about it all. Ahhhh but in only a few short weeks, I will be able to leave it all behind to live the life of leisure watching all those early morning lawyer commercials, "The Price is Right", one of those soap operas my grandmother use to make my grandfather and I watch when we came home for our hour break from his job as a mechanic ("As the World Turns" I think)-I was shop boy, and then I can try to grow sustainable crops on our 1/4 of an acre of asphalt. 

In the immortal words of "The Allman Brothers Band"...

Happy April Fool's Day!

 

 

 

Millions of Dollars Missing in Anderson, Oconee & Pickens Counties

People throughout Anderson, Oconee, & Pickens Counties are missing their money.  In fact, they’re missing millions.  For many, it’s a few thousand dollars…but for some, it’s a whole lot more.  And many of these victims don’t even realize their own money is gone.

How is this possible?  Money that is rightfully theirs—owed to them for any number of legitimate reasons—simply isn’t paid.  It happens every day, because no one stands up for the people who need it most.  In a lot of cases, it’s pure greed on the part of an employer or an insurance company

Every day, workers suffer injuries at on the job.  They are legally entitled to be paid because of those injuries, but insurance companies deny claims without even blinking.  Others have valid Social Security claims that are routinely dismissed.  And folks get hurt daily in car wrecks, slip and fall cases, and dog bite cases only to be told the insurance company won’t pay.

These people are legally entitled to collect money, but can’t do it on their own.  They don’t know how to fight the system, so they give up.  The Trammell & Mills Law Firm, LLC steps forward to help these victims, with great success.  Ernest Trammell, Trey Mills, Bradley Bledsoe and Roy Trammell have the compassion and experience to truly help.

In a lot of cases, insurance companies use complex legal language to deny claims.  The professionals at Trammell & Mills translate the legal talk into words anyone can understand.  They take the mystery out of legal documents, so people can make the right decisions.

The attorneys of Trammell & Mills are dedicated to helping the people who need it most.  And they believe in giving back to the Anderson community.  They actively support local groups like the Anderson Free Clinic,  Boy Scouts, Cancer Association of Anderson, Coaches 4 Character,  Miracle Hill Ministries, Tackling the Streets, The Leukemia & Lymphoma SocietyThe Red Cross, and YMCA.  They serve at church, on IPTAY and on bank boards.  They’re caring neighbors.

They believe in doing the right thing.  And that means standing up to the nameless, faceless insurance companies who make heartless decisions without thinking.  They help the people of Anderson County get the money they’re missing.  Learn how The Trammell & Mills Law Firm LLC can help you at www.trammellandmills.com or contact us at 864-231-7171. 

 

Do You Know What Your Doctor Said?: Medical Records & Treatment

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal entitled, "Access to Doctor's Notes Aids Patients' Treatment", highlights an interesting topic of patients actually reading, or requesting,  their medical records from visits with their primary care physician

The study was entitled "OpenNotes" and published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Ultimately the study concluded that an overwhelming 77% to 87% of patients felt more in control of their medical care and were more compliant with their prescription medication.  Initially, there were concerns from  physicians that their notes may offend or scare off patients but 105 primary care physicians participated in the study. Interestingly, the article points out that only about 34% of doctors nationwide have adopted electronic medical records.

From the perspective of this plaintiff's attorney, when you think about the other audiences reviewing your records:

  1. referring physicians to further your care; (Good)
  2. insurance companies and adjusters to deny your medical benefits to save them money; (Bad) and
  3. both plaintiff and defense attorneys for disputes in personal injuries, workers' compensation claims, and/or social security disability claims. (Good & Bad)

The only logical step is to ensure you as a patient are just as knowledgeable of your own records as the jack legged insurance adjuster combing through your file to find anything to deny you benefits you deserve, while falsely acting as if they have medical degrees.

In the end you know, it is your body and your life. Yes, you are legally entitled to those records, too.

 

 

Collateral Source Rule: Why Your Personal Injury Settlement is Not Valued on Co-Pays

Inevitably I will have clients that  make the poor decision to try and work things out with the at fault party's insurance adjuster, thinking the at fault insurance company would "do the right thing."

As I have written in the past on "How Do Insurance Companies Make Money?" & since copyrighted my favorite quote:

"Would you listen to the devil on how to get to Heaven? Then why do you listen to insurance companies on how to settle claims against them?" -Trey Mills

Having only practiced close to seven (7) years doing 100% personal injury,  it is hard not to be cynical and disbelieving of anything insurance companies do or say. As an attorney I am held to a higher standard legally and ethically but for some reason the insurance adjuster can dispense false "legal advice" with no consequences. Most times what you say, can not be proven. Always ask for what the insurance adjusters tell you in writing.

Therefore, when the insurance company offers to pay your medical bills at what you paid in co-pays or reduced costs because you are fortunate to have health or supplemental insurance THEY ARE TRYING TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOU.  

In South Carolina the law states: The collateral source rule provides "that compensation received by an injured party from a source wholly independent of the wrongdoer will not reduce the damages owed by the wrongdoer." Citizens and S. Natl. Bank of South Carolina v. Gregory, 320 S.C. 90, 92, 463 S.E.2d 317, 318 (1995).  A tortfeasor (at fault party) cannot "take advantage of a contract between an injured party and a third person, no matter whether the source of the funds received is `an insurance company, an employer, a family member, or other source.'" Pustaver v. Gooden, 350 S.C. 409, 413, 566 S.E.2d 199, 201 (Ct.App.2002) (citations omitted). 

Stop being scammed by the insurance companies and start seeking out legal advice from lawyers. It costs you nothing to sit down and talk with most personal injury lawyers about your issues. Yes, if they take the case it will most times be taken on a contingency fee basis whereby they receive a percentage of the settlement they achieve for you. It's a symbiotic relationship.

Do yourself a favor and ask these two questions before you settle your insurance claim:

  1. Would you rather have someone working for you, ie attorney, or someone working against you, ie insurance adjuster?
  2. Do you think the insurance adjuster gets paid a bonus and/or receives a raise at the end of the year for paying out more money on claims, or paying out less money in claims?

To ensure the value of your settlement is reasonable and commensurate with your losses and harms, or damages, please consult with a personal injury attorney. You can contact us or find out more about us on Facebook.

Is Your Personal Injury Attorney Ignoring You or Working on Your Case?

As an attorney that meets with my clients face to face before taking their case, I make sure that my communication with them is clear and uniform as to what they can expect from my end. One of the biggest complaints I hear from clients, potential clients, or current clients of other attorneys shopping around is that they can not get in touch with or get updates from their attorney. To this I say simply, "the wheels of justice are slow."

First and foremost, if they have another attorney, I tell them I can't help them or talk with them, they need to discuss that with their attorney. On a side note, if they are complaining about their current attorney, they are going to complain about me 9 times out of 10. It doesn't matter who has their case, they are "high maintenance".

Granted there are some bad apples in any profession and there are people that will complain about a beautiful day being too hot or too cold. Nothing is ever good enough for them. Keep in mind the time line of your personal injury case is largely dependent upon your injuries improving or your reaching maximum medical improvement (MMI).  There are several other factors to consider as well but most cases take time and have no definitive value or ending point until you are as good as you are going to get from the trauma, or injury, you incurred.

The South Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 1.4, states:

(a) A lawyer shall:
(1) promptly inform the client of any decision or circumstance with respect to which the client's informed consent, as defined in Rule 1.0(f), is required by these Rules;
(2) reasonably consult with the client about the means by which the client's objectives are to be accomplished;
(3) keep the client reasonably informed about the status of the matter;
(4) promptly comply with reasonable requests for information; and
(5) consult with the client about any relevant limitation on the lawyer's conduct when the lawyer knows that the client expects assistance not permitted by the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law.
(b) A lawyer shall explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the representation. (emphasis added).

Notice the word "reasonable" mentioned several times and highlighted above. As one of my friends in sales stated one time, "I spend 90% of my time on 10% of my clients." I want you to be educated and informed about your case and the process it takes from the beginning. However,  if you call every week, sometimes there is nothing new to tell you. At the same time, if you haven't heard from my office or had any contact with my office in 8 months-- we may need to talk.

 

Allstate Insurance Claims Process: My First Movie

After reading The Wall Street Journal's, "Animation Nation", article on Friday, February 11, 2011, I knew I had to give my Hollywood aspirations a shot. I put this video together using my experience over the past five years in dealing with insurance claims. No one insurance company sticks out more then Allstate because of the way they handle claims. Using Xtranormal, I felt I should put into pictures and words lessons to help those that may learn better through visual and auditory presentations.

Please watch and enjoy my very first movie, exclusively for use and copyrighted by Palmetto LDC, LLC:

 

Trey Mills is a Personal Injury Lawyer: Not a Singer/Realtor/Florida Attorney- Or Is He?

  1. If you or your loved one has been injured as a result of another person's ignorance, negligence, or omission, please feel free to call upon this Trey Mills. That would include accidents, slip and falls, dog bites, product liability issues, and other personal injuries that result in losses and harms to you or your loved ones. if you need a phone number: 864-231-7171.
  2. If you want someone that sings, you need to visit this Trey Mills. He actually took the web page I would like to have but I guess in all fairness, it was his first. This Trey Mills sings and has Trey Mills myspace pages, Trey Mills Facebook pages (totally different than this Trey Mills Facebook page), and other Trey Mills singing related links.
  3. If you want a Realtor to assist you with purchasing homes in the Lake Conroe area of Texas, you need this Trey Mills. This Trey Mills has a website called http://www.justasktrey.com. That is a pretty cool marketing twist for a Trey Mills. I guess I can mark that one off. If you need a phone number: 936-788-4712.

Those are the top three Google searches when you Google "Trey Mills". However, it is weird that I have met another Trey Mills that also graduated from Clemson and is a lawyer. Not quite the game of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon but interesting all the same. Then again, since I am officially Floyd S. Mills III and I go by "Trey", sign my name "Trey", and introduce myself as "Trey", does that make me THE TREY MILLS?

Well, I guess this should be lead article in any Google searches of "Trey Mills".......................... and your Google Juice is mine.