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What Doctor Do I See After An Accident In Florida?

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What Doctor Do I See After An Accident In FloridaI recommend you see a medical doctor after an accident in Florida.  You’ll want to see a doctor who graduated from medical school. This can be an ER doctor, orthopedist, neurologist, or primary care physician. Receiving immediate emergency is critical.

Some people like going to chiropractors. Not that there is anything wrong with chiropractors, but there are some drawbacks. First, insurance companies do not value the claims the same as they do when a medical doctor is on the file. There is a presumption that chiropractors inflate their bills and prolong treatment.

I think chiropractors have tremendous value when they work together with medical doctors.  Medical doctor evaluates the patient then prescribes physical therapy with a chiropractor. I recommend the medical doctor overseeing the treatment plan.

When building a personal injury case you must prepare for the possibility of a jury trial. Jurors tend to believe medical doctors more than they do chiropractors. They add credibility to the case.  Having a medical doctor on board usually means a higher settlement or jury award.

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How To Find A Doctor

The easiest way to find a doctor is call a personal injury attorney. Personal injury attorneys work with medical doctors on a regular basis.  Most have a working directory of medical doctors they can recommend.

You can find a doctor after an accident in Florida online. Google can be an excellent resource for finding medical doctors. There are also specific medical directories that may be helpful in your search. Also, if you have health insurance you can search for an approved provider.

If you look for a doctor on your own you’ll want to make sure they have experience in treating accident injuries. Not all doctors do. Some are better at writing medical records that will help your case. Also, some doctors don’t want be bothered with accident cases. They may not want to disrupt their practice to give depositions or testify at trial.

How Doctors Bills Are Paid

In Florida, car accident bills are covered by your personal injury protection (“PIP”) benefits.  Depending upon your deductible, PIP will pay up to $10,000 of your doctors bills. Any medical bills not paid by PIP are paid by the person who caused the accident. For example, if you have $25,000 in bills and PIP paid $10,000, the at-fault party would pay the remaining $15,000.

In slip and fall cases all of your medical bills are paid by the responsible party at the end of the case.  Doctors who treat slip and fall patients usually require a “letter of protection” signed by a personal injury attorney.  This means the doctor treats the patient without advanced payment and the attorney agrees to protect the doctors bill. In other words, the doctor will get paid at the end of the case from the settlement.

Your health insurance may cover some of your medical bills after an accident. Usually, an emergency room bill or ambulance bill is paid by health insurance. Because the at-fault party is primarily responsible for your medical bills and your health insurance is secondary, if your health insurance paid benefits they may be entitled to a reimbursement if you recover money from the at-fault party. This is called a “right of subrogation.” The Florida law requiring reimbursement was designed to prevent plaintiffs from double recovering.  If you believe your health insurance company or other collateral source may have paid some of your medical bills after an accident, you should immediately contact a personal injury attorney because there may be a lien.

In conclusion, I recommend you treat with a medical doctor first, then receive physical therapy from a chiropractor.  The best way to find a doctor after an accident in Florida is to call a personal injury attorney for a referral.  Your medical bills will likely be paid by your PIP in a car accident or by the at-fault party at the end of the case.

For more information about accident cases, finding the right doctor after an accident, or paying medical bills please visit our website.  Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube Channel!

The Longo Firm
Micah J. Longo
12555 Orange Drive, Ste. 233
Davie, FL 33330
Tel: (954) 862-3608
Fax: (954) 944-1916
mlongo@longofirm.com

ITT Tech Closed: Employees May Have A Class Action Lawsuit

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itt-tech-class-actionITT Tech closed all campuses this week.  Employees may have a class action lawsuit. The sudden closure is because of a recent decision by the Education Department to ban ITT from accepting new students who use federal student loans.

WARN – Advanced Notice Required

ITT Tech is subject to the “Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.”  This federal law is commonly referred to as WARN and requires employers to give at least 60 days advanced notice of closings or mass layoffs. Employers are covered under WARN if they employ more than 100 employees.

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Damages

Employers who violate WARN by failing to provide advanced notice are liable to each employee for back pay and benefits for a period up to 60 days.  ITT Tech may have to pay each of its 8,000 employees back pay and benefits for a 2 month period.  ITT Tech employees can sue for violations of WARN in Federal Court.

Class Action Lawsuit For Employees

ITT Tech will likely face a class action lawsuit for employees because the most a single employee could recover is only 60 days of back pay and benefits.  Collectively, a class action lawsuit could be worth millions.  A class action lawsuit is a single lawsuit brought on behalf off all similarly situated employees.  In other words, a single case  on behalf of the 8,000 or so employees who weren’t given advance notice of the shut-down in violation of WARN.

If a class action is certified and a final judgment is awarded, collectability still must be considered. If ITT Tech is broke are they going to be able to pay their creditors and satisfy a final judgment at the same time?  Usually, judgment creditors are paid in order of priority.  It is entirely possible that a class action final judgment be entered for millions of dollars and ITT Tech never have the ability to pay.  Also, judgment liens may be dischargeable in bankruptcy.

Then again, ITT Tech may have sufficient assets or liability insurance in place that would cover their exposure.  It’s certainly worth examining ITT Tech’s financial health to see if they can satisfy a judgment. Nothing is worse then going the distance to get a final judgment only to find out the defendant can pay their debts.

For More Information

For more information about a class action lawsuits, WARN, or other employment related issues check out our website at LongoFirm.com.  Please don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube Channel!

The Longo Firm, P.A.
Micah J. Longo
12555 Orange Drive, Ste. 233
Davie, FL 33330
Tel: (954) 862-3608
mlongo@longofirm.com

What Should I Tell My Doctor About My Accident In Florida?

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What Should I Tell My Doctor About My Accident In FloridaYou should tell your doctor everything about your accident in Florida.  This sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people under-report injuries and pain because of fear of being labeled a “complainer.”  If you do not make ALL your complaints known to your doctor, they will not be documented  in your medical records.  If it’s not in your medical records, it didn’t happen. This mistake could hurt your case and cost you money. Be 100% candid and tell you doctor everything after an accident in Florida.

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Speak In Broad Terms

When speaking to your doctor be sure to give a broad overview of how you feel. After a few weeks you should start to get better.  This doesn’t mean you’ll be pain free.  You may have a good day, followed by a bad day.  If this is the case, let your doctor know that you feel good today, but yesterday was a killer.  By giving a broad overview of how you feel your doctor will be in a better position to document your true condition.  Remember, your medical records is how accident attorneys prove injuries. You’ll want ALL of your injuries to be included in your medical records.

In Florida, in order to collect money damages from a car accident claim you’ll need to prove you’ve suffered a “permanent injury.”  If you are 100% better, you don’t have a permanent injury. By under-reporting your injuries and not making your complaints known you run the risk of your doctor finding you haven’t suffered a permanent injury.  This mistake could cost you money when it comes time to negotiate a settlement. Now, this isn’t to say that you should “make up” injuries, or say something hurts worse than it does. You don’t want to come across as a “malinger.”

Report Accident Injuries To All Doctors

If you treat with other doctors for things other than your accident injuries be sure to let them know you were involved in an accident.  For example, if you hurt your back and neck in a car accident and you’re treating with an orthopedist, let your primary care physician know you were hurt in an accident, even if your primary care physician is treating you for something else. This is important because the defense will request medical records from ALL your doctors, not just the ones treating you for the accident.  If you don’t inform ALL your doctors of the accident, they will not document it in your history.  When the defense reviews those records, if there is no mention of your accident, they will argue your accident couldn’t have been that bad because you didn’t mention it to your primary care physician. Again, be 100% candid with all your doctors and tell them everything after an accident.

Credibility Is Everything

You can bet the defense will spend hours accumulating your past medical history searching for evidence to use against you.  It could be a pre-existing condition, drug usage, or any personal information to undermine your credibility.  In ALL accident cases, your credibility is the MOST important part of the case.  If your medical records are inconsistent because you didn’t make your complaints known to ALL doctors you will be viewed as not being truthful.  If you are not viewed as truthful, it doesn’t matter what the evidence shows, a jury will not find for you!  A jury has to believe that they are helping a worthy plaintiff.

Bad facts against a plaintiff who is not credible gives the jury an excuse to find against the plaintiff.  Bad facts against a credible plaintiff can expose the defendant’s bad conduct and drive the jury’s decision when rendering a verdict.  Again, not to beat a dead horse (but it’s important), be 100% candid and tell your doctors everything after an accident in Florida.

For More Information

For more information on accident injuries please visit our website at The Longo Firm and please don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube Chanel.

 

The Longo Firm, P.A.
Micah J. Longo
12555 Orange Drive, Ste. 233
Davie, FL 33330
Tel: (954) 862-3608
mlongo@longofirm.com

Subpoena For Accident Not My Fault Do I Have To Go To Court?

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Subpoena Traffic CourtAfter an accident that was not your fault you may receive a subpoena.  The reason is because the other driver is fighting the ticket. If the police officer shows up, you may be called as a witness to testify against the other driver. In other words, unless the police officer actually saw the crash, you are likely the best witness. So, if you receive a subpoena in Florida for an accident that was not your fault you must go to court.

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Likelihood of Testifying

In most Florida traffic cases the ticketed driver pleads “nolo contendere.”  This means no contest and no trial. The ticketed driver usually walks away with no points or traffic school, and you don’t have to testify in court. This does not mean you should ignore the subpoena and not show up.

Sometimes ticketed drivers plead “not guilty,” and request a trial.  Usually this is cost prohibitive, which is why it’s rarely done in Florida. If there is a trial, the traffic court judge will determine whether the ticketed driver violated the Florida traffic code. Again, because police officers can only testify to what they saw or heard, you are likely the best witness.

Contempt Of Court

If you ignore a subpoena to appear in court you could be found in contempt of court. This could mean fines, fees, and in extreme cases, jail time. I ALWAYS instruct my client to show up to court, and be prepared to testify, even if the case likely won’t go to trial.  Also, be prepared to wait. It can take several hours before you’re called to testify or sent home. I recommend you bring a good book!

Workplace Retaliation Protection

It’s unlawful for an employer in Florida to retaliate against an employee for being subpoenaed to court.  In other words, you cannot be fired for being called to testify.  It’s best practices to notify your employer as soon as possible. This means as soon are you receive the subpoena, inform your employer.  While you are protected from retaliation there are notification requirements.  Do not wait to the last minute to tell your employer you need time off to testify in court.

For more information on trial subpoenas, traffic tickets, or car accidents in Florida visit our website at longofirm.com and please don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel!

The Longo Firm, P.A.
Micah J. Longo
12555 Orange Drive, Ste. 233
Davie, FL 33330
Tel: (954) 862-3608
mlongo@longofirm.com

Should I Tell My Lawyer About Past Accidents?

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At the initial consultation I always ask about past accidents. Sometimes I get hesitation from the client. This can be a red flag because one of the most important parts of any Florida accident case is credibility. If a client cannot generate trust with his or her lawyer, how can they expect to do so with the jury? If there is ever a time to be blatantly honest, it’s with your lawyer.

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Tell Your Lawyer Everything

Your Florida accident lawyer needs to know everything about your case. This includes your past accidents, medical treatment, and pre-existing conditions. You may think, “if I keep this information to myself, no one will ever know.” Trust me, the defense will find out. It always pays to be 100% candid with your lawyer! Generally everything you say is protected by attorney-client privilege.

I represented a gentleman severely injured in a head-on car crash.  During his deposition the defense attorney asked him if he ever used drugs. My client said, “if it’s around, I will smoke it.” The fact that my client smoked weed in the past had nothing to do with his current case, but because he was 100% honest in his response, he came across as extremely credible. Within a few weeks his case settled for the policy limits.

In another case, my opponent was extremely deceptive.  Basic discovery requests were met with extreme opposition.  This signaled he was hiding something. Low and behold I found information that severely damaged my opponent’s case. Had my opponent been candid from the beginning, I likely wouldn’t have discovered the harmful evidence. The moral of the story is tell your lawyer everything.  He or she is trained in determining what is important and what is not.  What should be disclosed and what should not. If you cannot trust your own accident lawyer, then who can you trust?

Pre-Existing Medical Conditions

Besides asking about prior accidents I also ask about prior or “pre-existing” medical conditions and injuries. You see insurance companies love to argue that the injuries were not “caused” by the accident, but a  result of a pre-existing medical condition. Florida follows the “egg-shell plaintiff rule.”  This means you take the plaintiff as you find them with all their defects (i.e. pre-existing conditions).

For example, if a 21 year old trips and falls in a parking lot they’ll usually get right up, a little embarrassed, but with no significant injuries.  That same fall to a 75 year old nets a completely different result. The 75 year old may have a broken hip and need surgery. The egg shell plaintiff rule allows the 75 year old to collect the full amount of her damages, even if the accident would not net the same result for everyone.  The point is that even if you have a prior medical condition, you still may have a case.  Because of this you should not hide your medical history from your attorney.

The reason your lawyer needs to know about your medical history is because it allows your lawyer to neutralize the potential damage. Look, it’s going to come up.  You don’t want your lawyer to find out for the first time at a deposition (or trial) that you had a prior accident with the same injuries.  If your lawyer knows in advance, he or she will have an opportunity to explain the situation. Accident lawyers hate surprises!

Full Disclosure Helps Your Case

Telling your lawyer about your past accidents and medical history often helps your case. For example, if you had an accident a few years ago for which you saw a chiropractor and had an MRI, your lawyer could obtain those records and see if your current injuries are new.  This is especially true with MRI scans. For example, if the MRI from a past accident shows a normal L5-S1 disc, but your latest MRI shows a disc herniation, then it’s more likely than not that your herniated disc was caused by the accident.  In other words, “but for” the accident you would have a healthy disc.

As a matter of practice I demand my clients provide me with their complete medical history, including the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of their primary care physician. This allows me to obtain past medical records and see if they have complained in the past about their current injuries. Again, just because they had a past accident or injury does not mean they don’t have a case.  It just means that we’ll need to argue that it’s an “exacerbation of pre-existing condition.” More often then not a prior injury will have resolved. This is especially true when the client confirms that they became symptomatic only after the accident. Again, this helps your lawyer prove “causation.”  Remember, the essential elements of a Florida accident case are:  (1) duty; (2) breach; (3) causation; and (4) damages.  By far, causation is the most difficult element to prove.  Help your lawyer by telling him or her about your past accidents and medical history.

For More Information

If you have additional questions about accident cases in Florida and whether or not you should tell your lawyer about your past accidents visit our website at longofirm.com and please don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel!
Micah J. Longo, Esq.
12555 Orange Drive, Ste. 233
Davie, FL 33330
Tel: (954) 862-3608
Fax: (954) 944-1916
mlongo@longofirm.com

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