MONEY TALKS especially in politics. Every year the business representatives, trade organizations, lobbyists, and insurance companies whose money puts legislators in office, show up in Tallahassee to get their money's worth. They want new laws passed that help business not people.
Over my 35 years of practice as an injury lawyer I have handled a number of wrongful death cases here in Florida. These cases are different, not only because of the huge damage awards that are possible, but because they exist pursuant to a Florida Statute, the Wrongful Death Act, Florida Statute 768.16, and not solely based on the common law. Oddly, there was not claim for wrongful death under the common law we inherited from merry old England.
Serving injured Floridians requires an understanding of the most common injuries (such as whiplash, back injuries, neck pain, shoulder injuries, etc.) and medical treatment (chiropractic, injections, physical therapy, massage, surgery etc.) that a patient needs as a result. To make as complete a recovery as possible often takes many months and the help of several medical specialists to assist the patient. These physicians may review medical records, examine clients, assess any relevant pre-accident medical history, or act as expert witnesses during trial. Auto accidents have historically caused 42.1 % of all reported spinal cord injuries. More than 11,000 people suffer a spinal cord injury each year in the United States. Some of those spinal cord injury victims will recover. Other victims may be permanently paralyzed or disabled. Car accidents can cause other back injuries, such as a herniated vertebral disc. The accident victim may require surgery, years of treatment and physical therapy, and the injuries can completely change the life of the victim.
I am proud to be a lawyer and to have been licensed to serve the citizens of Florida for over 40 years. I make no apologies for those poor souls who use this gift solely for personal financial gain. Their client's are not well served and they miss the deeper satisfaction that comes with using ones skills to help those who need help. Unfortunately, most news and information that people receive about lawyers and the legal profession come from attorneys who chose in engage in mass advertising, "perp walk" covered by the news media when an occasional lawyer is charged with a crime, or when the insurance industry or big business likes to demonize the legal profession and limit the rights of anyone who would disagree with them to have access to the courts. We must never forget that big business, the advertising and the contribution by influence the public, the politicians who advance their for profit business. In contrast, what lobby does the average citizen have against these massive financial interests or the lawyers and the legal system? Big business can buy governments and the legislatures and law makers, they can't but judges. Certain governors attempt to beat the judge selection process so only persons they approve of are appointed or elected. Our judicial branch of government and the lawyers that work in it are the only truly independent branch of government. No wonder corporate interests are constantly attempting to limit votes of individuals legislation they sponsor. An example of course is medical malpractice "tort reform" which further cripples the likes of injured patients every year. When a financial interest group has money and influence to make itself sustainability invulnerable in the courts, it makes the temptation to use that power hard to resist. As our financial system is unbalanced, powers between the three primary branches, needs to be a balance of our and influence within each branch. But of course, lawyers, judges, and our legal system perfect and balances and disruptions may take time to realign themselves. I would ask the every citizen think about the following:
What is your case worth? When settling a case it is neccesary, of course, to get an offer from the insurance company. It used to be that insurance adjusters were highly trained experts who evaluated the likely jury verdict range of an injury claim and in generating a settlement offer. Nowadays however, insurance companies use computer programs. The insurance adjuster simply plugs key words or codes found in the medical records into a computer program which then spits out an evaluation. If the proper terms are not available or if the medical records are not in a format that is convenient, the full value of the case will not be recognized and settlement offers will be low or nonexistent. To be compensated in this day and age, it is critical that medical providers not only treat you with skill and compassion but that they properly document each and every problem you have on each and every visit, with the exact terminology and codes required by these computer programs.