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.

 

5 Steps To Determining Your Social Security Disability Eligibility

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides income for millions of Americans who become disabled and are unable to work. SSD/SSDI is just one of several entitlement programs run by the Social Security Administration (SSA). This makes it important to understand the eligibility requirements for SSDI so you can make sure you’re applying for the correct benefits, reducing your chances of being denied benefits and delayed payments.

SSDI Eligibility Requirements

The first thing to understand about SSDI is that it is only eligible to

  • people 65 and under who,
  • have worked for a certain number of years, and
  • paid payroll taxes before they became disabled.
  • You must also meet citizenship or lawful residency requirements.

The Social Security Administration uses 5 points of criteria to determine SSDI eligibility.

  1. Work Situation. The SSA will first determine if you have enough “work credits” to be eligible for SSDI. Work credits are based on the number of years you have worked. How many you need to be eligible for benefits depends on your age at the time of disability. If you have enough work credits, the SSA will then want to know if you are still working. They will not consider applicants who make more than a certain amount of money every month.
  2. Severity of Medical Condition. Next, the SSA will examine the severity of the medical condition and whether it is severe enough to be considered “disabling”. To be considered “disabled”, the medical condition must prevent the applicant from performing the basic functions of their work for at least one year.
  3. Is the Medical Condition on the SSA’s List of Qualifying Conditions? The SSA has developed a list of medical conditions that automatically qualify for disability. If your condition isn’t on the list, they’ll examine it to decide if it is severe enough to qualify as disabling. The list includes a very wide variety of medical conditions that include mental and physical conditions, diseases, and disorders.
  4. Ability to Work Your Old Job. The agency also looks at whether or not an applicant can be expected to be able to perform his/her old job despite their medical condition/injury. If not, they move on to step 5.
  5. Can You Do Other Work? The SSA will look at your age, medical condition, education, work experience, and skills to determine if you could do a different job. If it is determined that you are unable to perform another type of work, the SSA will qualify you as “disabled”.

Work With The Beregovich Law Firm To Improve Your Chances of Approval

As you may expect, there are several points along the way in their determination that the SSA may rule against you and deny your application for SSDI  benefits. The Beregovich Law Firm works hard to make sure that doesn’t happen. We help applicants through the application process and can fight for your right to benefits via an appeal if you are denied.

Contact us at (800) 631-9009 or email us for help with your SSDI situation.

Injured By Medical Malpractice? There’s A Time Limit To File A Lawsuit

The realization that you’ve been injured as a result of the medical care you received can lead to many feelings: shock, anger, frustration, and sadness. One thing it should also compel you to feel is determination. If you suspect that you have a medical malpractice situation on your hands, the very last thing you want to do is sit and stew on it or wait and see if the injury resolves itself.

Statute of Limitations and Statute of Repose

All Florida medical malpractice cases are subject to a statute of limitations. This statute establishes a time limit under which a medical malpractice claim can be made. Each state has different laws, but in Florida the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims is just two years from the time the patient was injured, knew or should have known that an injury occurred and that medical malpractice was to blame.

Two years is not a long time. How many of us have lived with a lingering pain, telling ourselves it wasn’t that bad or we were just taking longer to recover than expected? Before you know it, a year has come and gone and you’re still suffering. If you wait too long, the statute of limitations will have passed and you will have missed your chance to recover damages from the healthcare provider to compensate you for your injuries. In addition, your delay in bringing a claim could mean that other patients suffer the same fate.

Even more limiting to patients is the Statute of Repose. The Statute of Repose states that unless there are extenuating circumstances, healthcare providers cannot be sued for medical malpractice more than four years after the incident occurs. That means that patients must realize within four years after the incident occurred that they have been injured due to medical malpractice and take action to file a lawsuit. If a patient misses this 4-year deadline, he or she won’t ever be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit for that specific incident.

The time limits on medical malpractice cases make it important for patients to meet with a medical malpractice attorney as soon as they realize they have been injured.

Contact The Beregovich Law Firm If You Suspect Medical Malpractice

Building a medical malpractice case takes time. Fortunately, you only have to file the claim within two years of the injury. Once the claim has been filed, you will have additional time to collect evidence and build your case with the help of a medical malpractice attorney.

If you live in Florida and think you may have a medical malpractice claim, contact The Beregovich Law Firm to arrange a consultation. Our Florida medical malpractice attorney will review the evidence and help you file a claim if there is a basis.

Contact The Beregovich Law Firm at (800) 631-9009 or email us to arrange a consultation.

Is It Medical Malpractice? How To Determine If You Have A Medical Malpractice Claim

It can come as a shock when you first realize that you may be in a medical malpractice situation. We are often so focused on our recovery that we seldom stop think that maybe the care we received has something to do with our lingering problems or complications. Once the thought enters the mind though, it’s tough to stop wondering, “What if?”

It’s not easy to figure out if you have a medical malpractice claim. It’s not like you can just go ask the doctor or healthcare provider if they failed to deliver an appropriate level of care. If you do, chances are you’ll receive an unsatisfactory (or incomprehensible) explanation and a lingering suspicion that something just isn’t right.

If this sounds familiar, it’s time to contact a medical malpractice attorney. A qualified medical malpractice attorney can examine your situation for evidence of substandard care and investigate what occurred to help determine if the care you received is to blame for your current situation.

Proving Medical Malpractice

Sometimes, patients just aren’t happy with the treatment or care they received or the provider made a mistake in providing care and the patient wants to file a lawsuit just to prove a point or get the provider’s attention. These types of situations do not constitute medical malpractice.

In order for medical malpractice to occur, the patient must have suffered a preventable injury as a result of the provider’s negligence. Negligence can take many forms such as poorly delivered care or treatments, foregoing appropriate diagnostic testing, or operating on the wrong part of the body.

All healthcare providers have a duty to provide a certain standard of care. In other words, did the provider deliver the same level of care that a reasonable medical provider in the same field would do in the same situation? When they fail to deliver such care, medical malpractice may come in to play. In order to recover damages in a medical malpractice case, plaintiffs must prove that:

  • The medical provider failed to uphold their duty to provide a certain standard of care;
  • The failure resulted in harm to the patient; and
  • The plaintiff sustained injuries as a result of the health care provider’s actions or inaction.

The key component of any medical malpractice case is whether or not the provider acted with reasonable skill and the care that was required of the situation. Because of this somewhat subjective requirement, most medical malpractice cases require the testimony of expert witnesses, an investigation into the facility’s rules as well as standard practices and procedures. Medical malpractice cases can be extremely complicated, but if a patient has truly suffered as a result of a preventable medical error, they can receive compensation for the injury, loss of income, and/or pain and suffering.

Meet With Our Florida Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you have any doubts or questions about the medical care you received and think medical malpractice may be to blame, contact The Beregovich Law Firm right away. It never hurts to have an attorney review the facts of the situation to set your mind at ease. It’s possible that you do have a medical malpractice case and will be able to secure compensation for your injuries and perhaps prevent the same thing from happening to another person.

Contact The Beregovich Law Firm at (800) 631-9009 or email us to schedule a consultation.

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Daycare Accidents and Liability Waivers

Many parents who sign their children up for daycare are presented with a liability waiver before the child is accepted. These waivers are designed to protect the daycare from spurious lawsuits that may result from normal childhood accidents. When children are involved in more serious accidents, parents sometimes think they cannot sue the daycare for negligence because they signed a liability waiver. This is false.

In general, if your child is injured due to negligence on the part of the daycare provider you can sue for compensation. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule, such as if you yourself may be partially at fault for the injury, but generally speaking, liability waivers do not preclude families from suing daycare providers IF the injury happened due to the provider’s negligent actions (or inactions).

Daycare Waivers Limit Liability, They Don’t Remove It

Daycare waivers are intended to limit a day care’s liability for injuries that occur on their watch – not remove their liability entirely. Legally, a daycare cannot waive their liability for daycare accidents or daycare injuries that result from their own negligence, rending the waiver unenforceable in these types of situations.

Keep in mind that simply sustaining an injury is not enough to bring forth a lawsuit, whether there is a waiver involved or not. If your child is injured while at daycare and you decide to sue, you will have to prove that negligence played a role in the injury. You’ll need to prove that the facility failed in its’ duty to provide care and that the failure played a role in causing the injury to occur. Finally, you will need to prove damages. Damages is another term for the compensation needed based on the injury. Damages are calculated in many ways but typically include current and future medical bills, wages that you or your spouse may have lost due to needing to take time off from work, or even pain and suffering.

Don’t Let a Liability Waiver Prevent You From Seeking Justice

There are good reasons to sign liability waivers. For example, most give the daycare the authority to call an ambulance, if needed. So, don’t let your fear of giving up your right to sue, stop you from signing it. If the daycare is truly responsible for your child’s injury, you can’t be stopped from filing a lawsuit against them, but you’ll want to make sure you have a case by contacting The Beregovich Law Firm for a case evaluation. Our Florida personal injury attorney will examine the evidence and advise you of your legal options so you can make an informed decision.

Contact The Beregovich Law Firm at (800) 631-9009 or email us to schedule your consultation.