FIU Bridge Collapse Marks One Year Anniversary But For Victims The Nightmare Continues

March 15, 2019, marked one year since the shocking FIU pedestrian bridge collapse; an incident that killed six people and injured eight more. Two of those victims are represented by Andres Beregovich, Esq. of The Beregovich Law Firm as they navigate multiple lawsuits related to the incident.

Our clients, a husband and wife, were in a car almost directly underneath the bridge when it collapsed. They escaped with their lives, but not the front end of their vehicle, and suffered traumatic physical and emotional injuries as a result of the collapse. A year later and they have both lost their jobs due to their inability to work and are still seeing physical therapists and psychologists for treatment related to the accident.

Click here to read a recent Miami New Times story about the situation.

“Alive, But Still Suffering”

To add insult to injury, the couple has had trouble getting insurers to pay out under their policies and are faced with mounting bills. That’s unacceptable to Andres Beregovich, their personal injury attorney.

“They’re alive, so they’re still suffering, and these companies, the only thing they care about is their bottom line,” explained personal injury attorney, Andres Beregovich. “The defendants have a great opportunity right now to stop my clients suffering right now. And the ball’s in their court right now as to whether they want to do it the hard way or the easy way.”

The easy way would be to pay the victims the insurance money they are due or to provide the insurance coverage that they’ve paid for. The hard way is to continue to litigate the issue, “I’d prefer to do things the easy way and so would my clients, but we’re not being given much of a choice, so the hard way it is,” said Beregovich.

Advocating For Victim’s Rights

Beregovich is helping his clients on multiple fronts, bringing a negligence lawsuit against the companies that designed and built the bridge and defending his clients from countersuits brought by insurance providers who don’t want to provide coverage for his clients.

“To me, it’s absolutely disgusting,” Beregovich says. “These are very complicated insurance issues where everyone is just pointing the finger at each other.”

This situation is a perfect example of how Andres Beregovich fights for victim’s rights even when the situation looks bleak. In fact, Beregovich argues that those bleak situations make it even more crucial that victims explore their legal rights.

“Victims can’t do this by themselves. They need help from someone who is familiar with all the tricks and intimidation tactics that businesses and insurers use to avoid responsibility. Helping people who are suffering and really need a win is what drives me. I fight for the little guys so they can hopefully move past their traumatic incident and get on with their lives.”

Have You Been Injured? Contact The Beregovich Law Firm

If you have been injured in an accident and want to explore your legal options, contact The Beregovich Law Firm. We’ll listen to your side of the story, examine the evidence, and provide you with honest advice about your situation.

Call (800) 631-9009 or email us to arrange a free consultation.

 

Photo:

https://www.miaminewtimes.com/

Don’t Let Spring Fever Lead To An Auto Accident

Spring break is in full swing here in Florida. That means plenty of winter-weary travelers are hitting the highways in search of some fun in the sun. More drivers on the road, distracted drivers, drunk drivers, and even inexperienced drivers all up the chances of a car accident occurring. While even the best drivers can get into a car accident, you can reduce your chances by remembering your defensive driving skills.

Defensive Driving Saves Lives

Defensive driving is sometimes confused with aggressive driving, but they are not the same thing. “Defensive” driving means defending or protecting yourself from threats on the road. Where an aggressive driver may try to get through that yellow light, a defensive driver will take stock of whether or not it would be safer to stop suddenly or to go through the yellow.

Being aware of your situation and thinking ahead are hallmark skills of a defensive driver. Defensive drivers:

  • Stay focused on driving. They don’t use their phones or multi-task while driving, nor do they try to pick things up off the floor or reach into the backseat.
  • Obey traffic laws and best practices. Sticking to the speed limit, obeying traffic signs and signals, yielding to pedestrians, and maintaining a safe distance between cars protect drivers and passengers.
  • Are aware of other drivers. They pay attention to what other drivers are doing and are prepared to respond appropriately.
  • Plan ahead. Know where you’re going and how long it takes to get there. Check your route ahead of time so you’re not surprised by construction or heavy traffic.

Involved in a Car Accident? Contact Us

Despite all of these precautions and your best intentions, car accidents can still happen. If you are involved in a car accident in Florida, contact The Beregovich Law Firm for help. We can help you navigate the insurance claims process, fight against denied claims, or file injury lawsuits. Contact us at (800) 631-9009 or email us to discuss your situation free of charge.

“Perfect Storm” Of Lax Liability Laws In Florida Allows Medical Negligence Reports To Build Up

Examining the alarming rise in illnesses and injuries associated with certain cosmetic procedures in Florida, USA Today has published an investigative piece that takes a hard look at how cosmetic surgery clinics sacrifice patient safety in favor of lining surgeon and clinic wallets – and they seem to do it without fear of legal repercussions.

The report examines how eight women have died as a result of botched cosmetic procedures performed by doctors at the same Miami clinic; the highest number of casualties of any clinic in the state. How the physicians involved have been able to keep operating is a study in the intricate licensing and health and safety loopholes the cosmetic surgery industry has been able to use to their advantage. Read the entire USA Today article here.

The Beregovich Law Firm is not willing to let that continue. We have represented patients who have been injured at the clinic in question and other clinics to advocate for patient safety and fight for injured patients’ right to compensation for their injuries.

Andres Beregovich Fights For Patients

Our personal injury attorney, Andres Beregovich, is a fierce advocate for injured patients, particularly because so few other attorneys are willing to take up the challenge:

“In Miami, Florida, there exists a perfect storm wherein doctors and lawyers have created a formula for doctors to avoid liability and the consequences of their medical negligence by taking advantage of Florida’s lax financial responsibility laws. A community of surgeons in South Florida that have demonstrated their ability to consistently maim, disfigure and often kill their patients with little to no scrutiny by the Florida Department of Health and in the face of any empathy for humanity.

To add insult to injury, neither the surgeons nor the surgical clinics from which they operate maintain malpractice insurance for the nefarious acts they’ve committed. Since when is demanding a professional’s compliance with financial responsibility laws not a private cause of action when the professional will be performing major surgery under anesthesia? The line I get most from defense counsel representing the surgeons against my medical malpractice claims is, ‘Are you really going to go forward with this lawsuit with the knowledge that my client and his practice are uninsured? Fortunately, my client retained a lawyer many years ago on how to protect himself and his business from judgments.’

In the face of this despicable yet honest truism, my answer has always been, ‘Yes’.

Uninsured doctors are not immune from liability because tort lawyers won’t prosecute claims if there is no prospect of recovery. I am championing this cause and in the process, providing my colleagues with a model in which to prosecute the egregious acts of medical malpractice against certain doctors and the surgical clinics from which they operate who have all elected to not maintain malpractice insurance in order to avoid liability.”

The Beregovich Law Firm Will Fight For You

Help is available for patients who have been injured during medical procedures! The Beregovich Law Firm is dedicated to challenging these loopholes and holding physicians and clinics accountable for the damage they cause.

If you think you have been injured due to medical negligence or medical malpractice, contact our firm at (800) 631-9009 or email us today to arrange a consultation with our Florida medical malpractice attorney.

 

Photo:

https://www.usatoday.com

Personal Injury Can Take The Form Of Financial Loss As Well As Physical Injury

There’s a common misconception that you must be physically injured by another party to file a personal injury or negligence lawsuit. That is not true. In legal terms, “injury” or “loss” can take many forms, including financial losses.

We recently represented a client who lost over $100,000 worth of valuables from what should have been the safest place to store them – a safety deposit box at the local branch of a national banking institution.

As reported in the Orlando Sentinel, a school teacher had been using a safety deposit box at a local bank to safeguard family heirlooms, jewelry, cash, and gold coins for 13 years. When she went to open the box in 2017, she discovered the box was missing and the bank had no idea where it was. Eventually, a box was found, which the bank assured her was hers. However, upon opening the box with the help of a locksmith, none of our clients belongings were inside (to date, our clients’ items are still missing).

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

Soon thereafter, the teacher approached us for help, wondering if she had any sort of legal recourse for the loss of her property. The way our personal injury attorney, Andres Beregovich, saw it, she did.

Negligence Plays a Key Role

At the heart of the matter are the bank’s actions. The bank should have protections in place to prevent the loss of safety deposit boxes and the property they contain, but somehow a loss or theft occurred anyway. This is negligence.

When a person or entity neglects to fulfill the duty entrusted to them or takes actions that lead to the failure of that duty and it results in a loss or injury to another party, it is possible for victims to pursue negligence claims.  

Even though our client did not suffer a physical injury, she has suffered a substantial loss, not just in terms of money, but she has also lost items that cannot be replaced. Although it is unlikely she will ever recover her property, we can help her recover financial compensation for her losses, which she can then use to pay the expenses she had planned to pay with the items in her safety deposit box.

Questions About Personal Injury? Contact Us!

There are many nuances in a personal injury situation. The best way to determine if your situation qualifies as a negligence case is to speak directly with Andres Beregovich, personal injury attorney.

Call The Beregovich Law Firm at (800) 631-9009 or email us to arrange a consultation and discuss your situation. There is no obligation and no charge for consultations. We only get paid if you win your case.

 

Photo:

https://www.orlandosentinel.com

Recent Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Highlights Loopholes In Florida Licensing

The Beregovich Law Firm recently represented a client who has suffered greatly after what was supposed to be a routine outpatient cosmetic procedure. Our client traveled all the way to Florida from California for liposuction and a Brazilian Butt Lift procedure, only to wake up in the emergency room, losing blood fast. The facts of the case are horrendous: a physician who misrepresented himself as being board-certified when he wasn’t and had actually had his license revoked in another state; a medical team that waited over two hours to call 911 when it was apparent that the patient was in distress; and a punctured lumbar artery.

Even more alarming: this wasn’t the first time an incident like this had happened at this clinic. The only difference was, our client was lucky enough to survive.

Click here to view the entire article in the Miami New Times.

Licensing Loopholes Put Patients At Risk

As alarming as our client’s experience is, it’s not unusual. Since physicians must be licensed in the state in which they practice, they can, like our client’s cosmetic surgeon did, simply set up shop in a different state if they happen to lose their license to practice in another state. Further complicating matters is the fact that in states like Florida, a doctor does not need to actually be trained or certified in plastic surgery to perform such operations or services!

Checking a physician or a clinic’s references isn’t always enough. The internet makes it possible to create false websites and reviews; if you’re not careful about which site you visit, it’s very easy to fall for misleading or outright false information.

Another issue that puts patients at risk is the fact that The State of Florida does not require doctors to carry medical malpractice insurance. This severely hampers an injured patient’s ability to bring a lawsuit against the doctor or clinic if there is an injury; as we explained in an earlier post, many personal injury attorneys are reluctant to bring lawsuits against uninsured doctors because the potential payout is usually less than what they could recover against an insured doctor.

Buyer Beware Applies To Medical Care Too

The old adages, “buyer beware” and “you get what you pay for”, sadly, also apply to medical care. Patients are faced with a dizzying amount of choices in regards to medical treatments and physicians, and they must weed through that information and make smart choices when it comes to their health.

Patients shouldn’t be afraid to be their own best advocates and that starts with researching treatments, procedures, and physicians. The best resources are not physicians’ own websites, but rather state licensing boards and health departments, professional licensing boards, like the American Board of Plastic Surgery or the American Board of Medical Specialties. Referrals from the patients’ own primary care provider are also a better resource than a Google search. In addition to a referral, patients would be well-served to undergo a physical and obtain clearance for the procedure from their primary care doctor as well.

Finally, patients should insist on meeting with the surgeon face-to-face, in advance of the procedure. All too often, cosmetic surgery clinics skip over this vital step in the process, handing patients off to what amounts to intake technicians for consultations.

If a cosmetic surgeon won’t meet with you in advance of the procedure, evades answering questions about his/her licensing and experience, or offers treatments that sound too good to be true, it should raise a red flag. Our best advice is to shop around, get referrals from medical providers you trust, and research, research, research to make sure the doctor and/or clinic is what it says it is.

Contact The Beregovich Law Firm If You Suspect Medical Negligence

If you think you have been injured due to medical negligence or medical malpractice, contact The Beregovich Law Firm at (800) 631-9009 or email us today to arrange a consultation with our Florida medical malpractice attorney.

Legal recourse is available against botched medical procedures – all you need is the right advocate on your side!

 

Photo:

https://www.miaminewtimes.com

Must-Do Steps To Take After A Car Accident

No one expects to be involved in a car accident. Once the immediate shock wears off, chances are you’ll be left wondering what to do. The actions you need to take after a car accident can be separated into two parts:

  1. The immediate aftermath of the accident and
  2. Post-accident

What To Do In The Immediate Aftermath Of A Car Accident

1. Stay at the Scene. Always remain at the scene of the accident until you have spoken to the police. Leaving the scene before doing so can be misconstrued as hit-and-run – particularly if there have been severe injuries and/or a death.

2. Check for Injuries. If you are able to do so, check yourself, your passengers, the occupants of the other vehicle and any bystanders for injuries. Call 911 to get medical attention if needed.

3. Call the Police. Even in non-serious accidents, it is best to call the police, but if there is serious property damage or significant injuries or a death, calling the police is a must. When the police arrive be sure to collect their names and badge numbers for future reference.

4. Collect and Share Information. While you wait for the police to arrive, exchange insurance and contact information from the other driver(s), passengers, and witnesses. Take pictures at the scene to document the situation and property damage.

5. Do Not Talk About the Accident. One thing you should never do is discuss fault for the accident. Don’t apologize if you think you were at fault and don’t accuse the other if you think he/she was at fault. By discussing the accident, you may be admitting legal liability, cloud witness judgement, or confuse your own memory of the event.

6. Remain Calm. Throughout this entire process, remain level headed, calm, and cooperative. Emotions are no doubt running high and the last thing you need is an emotionally charged situation on your hands.

Step To Take After The Accident

After the accident has been cleared and you are home, you’ll need to take a few more steps.

1. Call Your Insurance Company. Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible after the accident. Provide them with the facts and answer their questions honestly. If you lie or withhold information and the insurer finds out, it could jeopardize your coverage payout.

2. See a Doctor. Even if you feel fine or were cleared by paramedics at the scene, make an appointment to see your own physician to rule out any missed injuries. Some injuries don’t begin to show themselves for days or even weeks afterward. Keep track of all medical appointments, reports, treatments, and bills.

3. Record Changes to Your Life. If the accident or related injuries cause you to miss work or injuries prevent you from returning to your normal routine, document the changes. This kind of information can be helpful when proving pain and suffering.

4. Contact an Auto Accident Attorney. If there were injuries or severe property damage or if you are having trouble dealing with your insurance company, contact an experienced car accident attorney. An attorney can help you navigate the claims process, ensure you receive a fair settlement and defend you from lawsuits if it comes to that. Many personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis; that means you will only need to pay them if you are awarded damages or achieve a settlement.

If you have been involved in a car accident in Florida and need legal advice, contact The Beregovich Law Firm. We offer free consultations and a no-hassle process to help you recover after an auto accident.

Call (800) 631-9009 or email us to discuss your situation.

SSDI and SSI: Eligibility Differences

The Social Security Administration oversees two different programs that provide benefits based on disability: The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. While they both provide financial benefits to disabled citizens, their eligibility requirements are different.

Understanding the differences between SSDI and SSI is necessary to ensure applicants apply for benefits under the correct program, thus increasing their chances of approval.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

SSDI provides benefits to workers who become disabled. As a U.S. worker, you have contributed to the SSDI program through payroll taxes. Eligibility is based on:

  • Years worked. You must have a certain number of work credits (i.e. years of contributions) in order to be eligible for benefits.
  • Age. You must be over 18 but under 65 years of age in order to qualify for SSDI.

Other facts:

  • Under the SSDI program, a disabled person’s spouse and dependent children can receive partial benefits.
  • If you receive SSDI benefits for more than two years, you will become eligible for Medicare.
  • Benefits are based on the “worker’s lifetime average earnings”, similar to the Social Security retirement benefit, but may be reduced if you are also receiving worker’s compensation payments or other public disability benefits.
  • Outside income or resources do not affect the benefit amount.
  • There is a five-month waiting period for benefits; you won’t receive benefits for the first five months after you become disabled.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

In contrast to SSDI, the SSI program is needs-based, according to income and financial need. It is not funded through payroll taxes or the Social Security fund, but rather through general fund taxes. Benefits are available to low-income individuals who have either never worked or who haven’t earned enough work credits to qualify for SSDI. To qualify for SSDI you must:

  • Meet Social Security’s disability criteria.
  • Have limited income and resources.
  • Have less than $2,000 ($3,000 for a couple) in assets.

Other facts:

  • SSI is available to people of all ages, including children.
  • Qualified individuals receive Medicaid in their residence state.
  • Most qualified individuals will also qualify for food stamps.
  • Benefits begin on the first of the month when an application is submitted.

A Social Security Attorney Can Help You Secure Benefits

In general, it is more common for SSDI applications to be approved than SSI applications, but approval is never guaranteed and the application process is never easy. Our Social Security attorney can help you navigate the SSDI or SSI process, ensure your application is complete and accurate, and follow up on your application status so you can focus on other ways to make it through this challenging time in your life.

With many denials coming down to technicalities, it is extremely helpful to have a qualified set of eyes take a second look at your application or to have an attorney advocate on your behalf or appeal a decision. No matter where you are in the SSDI or SSI application process, The Beregovich Law Firm can help you secure the best possible outcome.

Contact us at (800) 631-9009 or email us to discuss your situation.

Appealing Denied SSDI Claims

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program exists to provide a safety net for workers who become unable to work. Workers pay into the program through their payroll taxes, but that doesn’t mean the funds will be automatically available to you when and if you ever need them. You’ll still have to apply for Social Security Disability benefits and, unfortunately, many more claims are denied by the Social Security Administration than are accepted.

Fortunately, applicants have recourse through the appeals process. Appealing denied SSDI claims is onerous, but the end result can be well worth it.

Steps In The SSDI Appeals Process

Applicants have 60 days from the time they receive their SSDI denial to file a written request for an appeal. Once the appeal has begun, it goes through four stages:

  1. Reconsideration. During this stage, denied applications are re-examined by a claims examiner who was not involved in the original decision. You are allowed to submit new or additional evidence to support your claim and your SSDI attorney can answer questions posed by the claims agent.  
  2. Hearing. If a claim is denied again or if you don’t agree with the results, you may request a Hearing in front of an administrative law judge. At this stage, you will appear in person before the judge to answer questions, witnesses may be called, experts may be brought in, and new evidence presented. Your attorney will play the important role in preparing you for questioning, securing witnesses, experts, and additional evidence, if available.
  3. Appeals Council. If you are dissatisfied with the judge’s ruling, the next step is to request a review by the Social Security Appeals Council for another examination or hearing. However, you are not guaranteed an examination or hearing. If you are granted a second hearing your attorney will repeat the actions taken at your first hearing.
  4. Federal Court. Your final option is to take the denial all the way to the federal district court. To do this, you’ll need to file a federal lawsuit.

Top Reasons Why SSDI Claims Are Denied

  • Lack of Medical Evidence. You must provide medical proof that you are unable to work due to your disability or injury. That means submitting records from your primary care physician and/or specialists that demonstrate your injury. Don’t expect the SSA to send you to a doctor to verify your disability, that’s not how it works. You must see a doctor first and he or she must document the injury and how it prevents you from working, then that documentation should be submitted with your initial application.
  • Previous Denials. Some people think they have a better chance of being approved if they simply apply again, but this is not the case. Appealing a denial is actually a better option than starting over from scratch.
  • Failure to Follow Treatment. If you fail to follow your doctor’s orders for treatment, you will be denied because the claims examiner won’t be able to determine if the actual injury/disability is preventing you from working or if it is your refusal to cooperate with treatment.
  • Failure to Cooperate. Speaking of a failure to cooperate with treatment, failing to cooperate with the SSA and its agents can lead to a denial too. If you don’t respond to requests for information or don’t show up for medical exams or meetings, you may be denied.
  • Fraud.  If you lied on your application or misrepresented yourself or your injury, the claim will likely be denied.

Appeal Denied SSDI Claims With Help From The Beregovich Law Firm

If your SSDI application has been denied, don’t despair! Initial denials are very common and can be successfully appealed with the right approach. Contact The Beregovich Law Firm for SSDI appeals assistance or even for help submitting your initial application.

Call (800) 631-9009 or email us to discuss your situation today.

Reduce Your Risk Of SSD Denial With Help From The Beregovich Law Firm

Many Social Security Disability (SSD) Insurance applicants only seek out an SSD attorney if their application has been denied, but a qualified SDD attorney can help you at all stages of the application process and may even reduce the chances of your application being denied. This is hugely important since almost 65% of first-time applicants are denied SSD benefits. Many denials come down to technicalities such as filling out a form incorrectly. With the process taking as long as a year from application to approval, holdups or denials based on a technicality can be financially devastating.

The high rate of denials underscores the fact that applying for benefits is complicated – and the appeals process is even worse. It’s not something you want to go through and it’s definitely not something you want to go through without legal representation.

How An SSD Attorney Helps In The SSD Process

Since denial rates are so high, it makes sense to have an experienced set of eyes double and triple checking the application. That’s the role of your SSD attorney during the application process. In addition to ensuring the application is complete and accurate, your attorney can make sure you have the medical evidence you need to prove your claim and compile all of your information, so it is ready for appeal if your application is denied.

The documentation requirements for SSD are extensive. In addition to medical proof, you’ll be asked to provide a multitude of personal information, banking information, work history, and more. A single mistake along the way can derail your application and result in a denial.

Your attorney can make sure you’ve met all of the SSA’s requirements, track the progress of your application once it’s been submitted, handle any subsequent requests for additional information, speak with SSA representatives on your behalf, and generally facilitate and manage the process.

And if you are denied, your attorney will be well-prepared to mount an appeal right away.

Contact The Beregovich Law Firm For SSD Help

Regardless of where you are in the SSD application process, The Beregovich Law Firm can help. Contact us for help determining your eligibility, completing your application, following up with the SSA, or appealing a denial. We are based in Florida, but work with clients all over the United States to help them obtain the benefits they need.  

Call (800) 631-9009 or email us to discuss your situation.

How to Apply for SSD Benefits

Social Security Disability (SSD or SSDI – Social Security Disability Insurance) is a federal benefit program that provides individuals and their families income when an unexpected injury or illness occurs and they become unable to work. This income can be vital to a family’s survival during recovery and may even be an individual’s primary source of income if the disability is chronic or life-altering.

SSDI benefits are only available to those who have earned enough work credits to qualify for the program. This is because SSDI is funded through payroll taxes. For those who do not have enough work credits, the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program is available, which is funded through general fund taxes. For the purposes of this post, we are only going to look at SSD/SSDI benefits.

In order to receive SSDI benefits, you’ll need to apply for them, which can be intimidating if you don’t know what to do. Here at The Beregovich Law Firm, we help families and individuals apply for SSD benefits to minimize their chances of denial. We want to share a few tips with our readers to help them maximize their chances of getting approved for benefits.

Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits

The two most important things to understand about Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are:

  1. You can only apply for SSDI benefits if you have a work history and have paid into payroll taxes, and
  2. You should apply immediately after you get injured.

As we mentioned above, if you don’t have that work experience, you will be denied SSDI benefits.

You also want to apply as soon as possible because there is a 5-month waiting period to receive SSDI benefits, which means you won’t actually receive a payment until the 6th month. The waiting period begins with the first full month after the date that the Social Security Administration decides your disability began, so you may as well get your paperwork in early and get into the review queue.

There are several ways to apply for SSDI benefits:

  1. In person. You can submit your application for benefits in person at any Social Security Office.
  2. Online. You may apply online through the Social Security Administration.
  3. By Phone. You can call 1-800-772-1213 to apply for benefits.
  4. Through your attorney. You can work with a Social Security Disability lawyer to complete your application and apply for benefits. If you are at all confused about the process or your eligibility for benefits, we recommend you get help from our SSDI attorney in Florida.

 

Speak With An SSDI Attorney At Beregovich Law

We can’t stress enough how important it is to follow instructions and include all pertinent documentation when applying for SSDI benefits. Denials are very common with many denials occurring due to simple application errors. Don’t put your family’s finances at risk! Contact The Beregovich Law Firm at (800) 631-9009 or email us today to receive help applying for SSDI benefits.