What Is Insurance Fraud?

Insurance fraud can happen in two ways, according to the criminal defense lawyers at nstexaslaw.com. First, it happens when a person deliberately lies to get an advantage or benefit to which they are not entitled to. Secondly, it’s when an insurance company denies a benefit that’s due to which another party is entitled to.

Fraud is everywhere, it is in the healthcare industry, auto industry, the workplace, construction industry and more. Costs from fraud with bogus claims amount to billions every year, according to the FBI, making it a huge problem in the society.

Common Types of Insurance Fraud

General Liability Insurance Fraud

This is a broad type of insurance. It covers liability that protects guests on your property from things such as slips and falls. It ideally covers completed operations as well as products liability.

You can protect yourself from general liability insurance fraud by having regular property inspections and having written records of the dates of the inspections. It is ideally wise to be vigilant regarding safety conditions as well as potential obstacles that could result in injury.

Medicare Fraud

In this type of insurance fraud, people try to get your Medicare number and personal information with an aim of impersonating you. It’s always advisable to keep your Medicare card safe as you do with the credit cards.

Only reveal your Medicare number to those you trust. Medical professionals who require your personal information should always ask for your permission if the Medicare number is needed. The permission is usually granted personally or in writing and not over the internet or phone.

Property and Casualty Insurance Fraud

This one can be committed by all kinds of parties including policyholders, insurance applicants, third-party claimants as well as those who offer services to the claimants.

The common frauds in this field included prearranged or planned auto theft, identity theft, arson, burglary, theft of marine vessels, workers compensation, slips and falls and even staged auto accidents.

How To Protect Yourself From Insurance Fraud

There are various ways to protect yourself from this form of fraud. Ensure that you check your bills for accuracy and avoid signing blank insurance claim forms.

Never follow the advice of strangers who contact to offer you legal or medical advice.

Be wary of door-to-door insurance sales as well as any insurance costs that seem too good to be true.

Ensure that companies and agents are licensed. You can verify with your states insurance department.

Be Viligant

Insurance Fraud is happening all over our country, especially in Florida:

What Is Consumer Class Action? Everything You Need To Know

Consumers have the right to sue companies for violating their rights. Consumer class action lawsuits are lawsuits where a consumer, or a group of consumers, sues a company on behalf of themselves and others affected by the same wrongful act. The consumer(s) apply to the court to be appointed a class representative. For such a lawsuit to exist, the company in question must have applied a uniform policy or conduct that affected all the consumers involved.

Consumer class actions are suited to cases where the damages suffered by individual consumers are relatively too small to warrant separate lawsuits. They are also suitable for situations where consumers want a change in the named company’s policy.

There are numerous situations in which consumer class lawsuits are the best way forward. These include situations where companies use unfair marketing or trade practices, violate consumer privacy and protection laws, use debt collection practices that are unfair, commit consumer fraud etc.

Practical examples of how companies usually violate consumer rights include through unwanted robo-calls, charging customers for services not provided, bait and switch marketing and unlawful charges on bills among others.

Things You Should Know About Consumer Class Actions

You are encouraged to register for consumer class action lawsuits you think apply to your situation. In most cases, potential members of a class lawsuit are usually notified through an advertisement or through in store posts.

However, if you think you are a member of a consumer class lawsuit and haven’t been notified, then you can visit the official consumer class lawsuit website, where notifications on all consumer class cases are posted. Alternatively, you can contact the consumer protection arm of your state’s Attorney General’s office.

It is worth mentioning that affected consumers are automatically included in class action lawsuits. However, you still have the right to exclude yourself from such proceedings. This has to be done officially. Once you become a party to a class action lawsuit, your right to file a separate lawsuit is eliminated.

If you think that you have suffered damages over and above what other consumers have, you have the right to lodge a separate lawsuit. It’s recommended that you speak with a qualified attorney to find out whether your case is actionable.

When you are a party to a consumer class action case, it’s worth noting that the damages paid per individual may be quite small. However, it’s recommended that you accept the amount paid out, or else it will be passed on to another consumer who was a party to the same lawsuit. You can donate the money to a charity or use it yourself.

Medical Malpractice: When Can I Bring A Case For Medical Malpractice?

The legal rule called the “statute of limitations” is often heard in various personal injury cases. It is also encountered when a person is bringing a medical malpractice lawsuit. However, it may also refer to any lawsuit that takes place from an injury or an accident, which must be filed within a certain period of time. Failure to file the case within the given period means that the legal claim of the injured person will be lost. He or she can no longer make a claim, as it will be barred along with his or her right to sue.

Each state has its own rule when to bring a case for medical malpractice. The specific time limit allowed by the state usually range from one to six years. Here is a short detail about the time limit when filing a medical malpractice case.

Legal Help

If you sustained an injury because of another person’s action or inaction, you should act promptly. Make sure that you did not exceed the time limit to qualify for the compensation. Then, you can recover damages successfully. In most circumstances, the statute of limitations of a state is not clear. For this reason, you need an expert injury attorney to review your claim for free.

The next step of this legal process is to call a qualified attorney that specializes in medical malpractice. This way, you can guarantee that your rights will be protected. Your attorney should be able to explain and discuss everything about your case. He must be able to state these insights in a clear and simple manner.

The Process of Filing A Medical Malpractice Case

If you wish to bring a claim in this issue, you will also think about how long it will take to be settled. In fact, it is a question that is not easy to answer. If you are the patient, expect to face the case for a couple of years. There are numerous studies about this type of legal case which produced various results. In recent studies, the average period it takes in between the health-related injury and the closing of medical malpractice cases is about five years.

Remember that there is no specific period in the process where settlement takes place. These settlement negotiations may occur at any point. But, these may also happen on multiple occasions as a case progresses. Such settlement agreement takes place under the “courthouse steps.”

What is Lemon Law?

If you experience breakdown after breakdown after a recent auto purchase, then you might be wondering if the lemon law applies to your vehicle. After all, a product is supposed to fulfill its implied function. The lemon law is regulated by a few common sense rules, but the one most people know about is the one that defines what a lemon actually is. If you experience three breakdowns shortly after purchase, then you probably have one.

Lemon law is the branch of law practiced by attorneys who will help you acquire the compensation you deserve after a lemon purchase.

Lemon laws bypass typical warranties by offering better alternatives. A defective vehicle under warranty can be turned in for repair, but most warranties don’t require the vehicle be returned in a set time period. Lemon laws provide that kind of comfort to the consumer.

Although state laws can vary, a lemon law will usually follow a few basic rules. For example, your vehicle is a lemon if it fails three times within a year or before it has been driven 12,000 miles. The law only applies to the scenario that occurs first. If the manufacturer does not repair the defect in a timely manner, then a certified lemon law attorney might be the best option for you.

The underlying point of the law is simple: your new vehicle has a particular defect that either cannot be fixed, or has not been fixed in a reasonable timeframe. Other stipulations might take into account the kind of defect your vehicle experiences. When a lemon law is activated, the dealership that sold you the vehicle is required to offer to buy back the defective vehicle. Normal warranties will never extend this important option to the consumer.

What Is Suing Municipalities?

Life isn’t easy when you’ve been injured, and finding out who is at fault can quickly become a mess when you’re tied up in the legal system. If a city, town, or municipality is to blame for your injury, the process can seem even more complicated. It doesn’t have to be. This is why we have such a system of laws in the first place. So you’ve been injured–but what does it mean to sue a municipality?

Part of the problem when suing municipalities is the legal limitations set forth to protect them from losing too much money–even if their negligence led to your injury. A municipality is defined as a regional division with corporate status or governed locally.

The first thing you’ll notice when trying to file a claim placing blame on a municipality is presence of time. In an ordinary personal injury case, a statute of limitations governs how long you have to file your claim. This period of time usually provides you with years to make your case. When suing a municipality, you might only have as few as thirty days to establish and file your case.

This distinction is important because injuries don’t always become apparent for months or years following an accident. If this scenario sounds like yours, then speak to your personal injury attorney about any options that may still be open to you. Even if your injury is obvious right away, it’s important to set up your case with as much speed as possible.

Before you can file a claim, you should file a “Notice of Claim”. This informs the municipality in question that a lawsuit is pending, and allows them to prepare an appropriate response. In Florida, notice must be filed with the Florida Department of Financial Services. If that seems confusing, you shouldn’t be surprised. Local governments have limited funding, and they protect their resources however they can. After the notice is filed, an additional period of time must elapse before you can take it into court.

One last thing to keep in mind: filing a claim for punitive damages–in order to prevent future negligence–usually isn’t possible when suing municipalities.

What Is RICO?

The legal system has found creative methods of combating criminal organizations in decades past, and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) was one of the best. It made it easier to charge and convict members of such organizations and levy extreme sentences, even if there was no direct involvement in the worst crimes committed. Of course, the burden of proof is on the prosecution, and the prosecution must meet high standards to achieve a conviction.

Racketeering occurs when criminals plan or organize their activities. The usual template for these activities falls under the umbrella of a larger business which may or may not have genuine business activity. In most cases, a criminal will create an imagined problem, and then offer his services to unwilling consumers in order to “fix” that problem. These days, a racket is any illegal organized operation.

The RICO Act was passed in 1970 in order to target members of racketeering operations. It is a federal law under which prosecutors are able to target the entirety of organizations accused of crimes like money laundering, counterfeiting, embezzlement, or more extreme crimes like kidnapping, murder, and drug and human trafficking.

Someone might be convicted under RICO if prosecutors can prove the individual was part of at least two instances of racketeering. In addition, the individual must have directly invested in the organization. The key to convicting someone under the RICO Act is the effect of those crimes on the interstate or foreign commerce. If the prosecution can prove that the criminal activities affected commerce, then the final nail is pounded into the coffin.

An individual charged under the RICO Act could be imprisoned for up to twenty years, unless one of the charges under the umbrella of Rico would have already demanded life. If one stands accused of murder, for example, then that individual can expect to spend his life behind bars. The charge could also lead to a $250,000 fine. Although these penalties are strict, those prosecuted under the RICO Act could easily land more time because they are usually charged on multiple counts.

Defining Who is at Fault in a Car Accident

Who’s at Fault?

Determining who is at fault for the occurrence of a car accident comes down to the car accident laws of each state. A general rule for determining fault after a car accident is to determine if one driver was performing an illegal act or not. If both drivers were abiding by the laws of traffic, a driver may be deemed at fault if they collide with another vehicle. For example, if you are at a red light and are hit in the rear of your vehicle, the driver who collided with you would be considered at fault.

In most states, auto insurance is fault-based. In other words, the driver who is determined at fault for the accident can be held liable. If you are found liable, you may be responsible to pay for repairs, medical bills, lost wages, and other losses.

In other states, auto insurance is considered “no-fault.” In no-fault states, drivers might be required to carry personal injury protection (PIP). Personal injury protection is put in place so a driver cannot be sued for their personal belongings. In these states, both insurance companies will pay for medical expenses until they reach a predetermined threshold.

Who’s liable?

Now that we know how fault is dealt, we must determine who is liable. Determining liability depends on the state that the accident occurs in. There are a few different theories to determining who is liable, they are:

  • Comparative Negligence

In states with comparative negligence, you are allowed to seek compensation even if you are determined to be at fault. Damage is determined in proportion to responsibility. In other words, if you are deemed to be at 70% at fault for the accident, you will be held liable for 70% of the damages, while the other driver to cover the remaining 30%.

  • Modified Comparative Negligence

In states with modified comparative negligence, your ability to file a claim against the other driver’s insurance is limited.

  • Contributory Negligence/Pure Contributory Negligence

Contributory negligence is the strictest of the three. In states with contributory negligence, a driver must be determined to have no-fault in an accident to receive compensation. A good example of this is if someone side swipes a legally parked car. Since the car was parked legally, the driver cannot be placed at blame for being hit.

Determining Fault

After a car accident, there are a few things you should do. First of all, make sure everyone involved is medically okay. If not, call an ambulance immediately. Then you should begin to gather evidence. Evidence can be anything from pictures of the accident, to witness reports, and even a copy of the police report. When you are discussing the accident with authorities, it is important that you do not admit fault. At the end of the day, the police report has the last word. It will be considered the most important document.

What is a brain injury?

What is a Brain Injury?

Brain injuries can be life altering events. They can lead have long-term effects like a loss of cognitive abilities or debilitating headaches. By definition, a brain injury is an injury to the brain that is not from illness or disease. In other words, a brain injury can be caused by a blow to the head or by non-traumatic experience, like a stroke. In order to sue for a brain injury, the injury must be caused by another person’s negligence. Proving negligence can be easier in the case of a traumatic brain injury, than a non traumatic brain injury.

Two Types of Brain Injuries

There are two types of brain injuries. Traumatic Brain injuries are a brain injury that is caused by a blow to the head. This can be the result of a car accident, fall, assault, or any other experience that causes you to hit your head.

A non traumatic brain injury is an injury to the brain that is suffered by something other than a blow to the head. This “something” can be lead poisoning, an electric shock, a stroke, a seizure, or anything of that matter. Both of these injuries can be caused by the negligence of another person or by the individual who suffered the injury.

Can I Sue for a Brain Injury

The simple answer is yes, you can sue for a traumatic brain injury or a non traumatic brain injury. The injury must be caused by the negligent or reckless behavior of an individual. For example, if you are driving and are hit by a drunk driver, causing your head to bang against the windshield, you may be entitled to compensation. The trauma of hitting your head caused the brain injury, which can lead to further issues down the road.

An example of a non traumatic brain injury is if you have a brain tumor that goes misdiagnosed or unnoticed by a medical professional. While you might have been able to regain full functionality if the tumor was removed, the medical professional was negligent causing the tumor to do further damage to your brain.    

Consider Contacting a Brain Injury Attorney

Both of these cases are considered personal injury lawsuits. If you have suffered a brain injury due to the negligence or reckless behavior of another individual, you should consult with an experienced brain injury attorney right away. You may be entitled to compensation for the medical expenses, lost wages, and other expenses you have suffered.

What Is Modus Operandi?

While watching your favorite crime drama on television such as CSI or Law & Order SVU, you might hear your favorite detectives tossing the phrase “M.O.” around. But what exactly does this mean?

Modus operandi is a Latin phrase which translated means “operation method”.  This phrase usually refers to a distinct pattern and/or a particular way of working for a criminal when they are committing a crime. Regardless of the crime, whether it be a burglary, sexual assault or even a white-collar crime like embezzling, the criminal performs the crime in a particular way.

This is not to be confused with a criminal’s “signature”. A signature is a personal mark or imprint after the crime is committed.  All crimes have a modus operandi, but not necessarily a signature because a signature is not required to commit a crime but rather serves as a psychological or emotional need for the criminal.

This is also different than the motive of the crime. The motive of a crime is the reason as to why the crime is being committed not the way in which it was perpetrated.

An M.O. can be something simple such as he preferred to shoot the victims with a gun to something very complex like Jeffrey Dahmer’s modus operandi:

  1. He would frequent gay bars waiting for the opportunity for a victim to appear
  2. He would get intoxicated
  3. He would invite an unsuspecting male back to his abode (for various reasons)
  4. Once at their apartment, he would mix a drink with sleeping pills which would make the victim unconscious in a half hour.
  5. He would begin having sex with the victim before and/or after they were unconscious
  6. Once drugged, he would strangle the victim causing their death
  7. Once dead, he would continue to have sex with the body in various ways
  8. He would take pictures of the dead body.
  9. He would dismember his victims (continuing to take pictures along the way)
  10. He would dissolve the body with acids and flush it down the toilet

Many police and detectives rely on the M.O. to help connect crimes that might at first glance appear to not related because their victims might be of different ages or in different geographical locations.

What Is Child Support?

By definition, child support is court-ordered payments, typically made by the non-custodial divorced parent, to support one’s minor child or children. In other words, child support is a payment made by the parent that has the minority custody of the child to the parent that has the majority custody of the child. The purpose of child support is to dampen the economic impact of a divorce. Child support is also used to improve the standard of living of the custodial household, which should improve the lives of the children. In order for child support to be ordered by a judge, the child must have a genetic relationship or be adopted by the parents receiving the divorce. Even if the child was financially dependent on a step-parent, the step-parent is not held responsible to pay child support in the event of a divorce, unless there is a legal adoption by that step-parent.

Who Pays Child Support?

Child support is a payment ordered by the court that is made from one parent of the child to the other parent. The parent that does not have sole or primary custody of the child will be ordered to make payments to the parent that is responsible for the child. Child support is put in place to maintain the upkeep and care of the child. It also takes a great deal of economic stress off of the parent that has sole or primary care of the child.

How is Child Support Determined?

There are a variety of factors that a judge will take into consideration when determining how much child support will be paid. Some factors are the number of children involved, the income of each parent, and the earning potential of each parent. If joint custody of the child is ordered, another factor will come into play. The amount of time the child spends with the non-custodial parent will play a role in determining how much child support will be ordered. This plays a role because, in theory, if the child is spending a lot of time with the non-custodial parent, they are already incurring expenses while they are spending time with the child.

What Does Child Support Cover?

Child support is intended to assist in the financial responsibility that comes along with having a child. It is not just for the child’s basic needs, but it is intended to be used for expenses like entertainment, medical, education, extracurricular activities and more. The guidelines for what child support should be used for vary greatly from state to state. Some of the general items ha child support is intended to cover are:

  • Basic Necessities: Food, clothing, shelter
  • Medical care
  • Uninsured medical expenses
  • Educational fees
  • Childcare
  • Transportation/Travel
  • Entertainment
  • Extracurricular activities
  • College expenses

When determining child support, the court will take into consideration the essential financial needs that are required to cover the child’s activities. In the event that a child’s needs change or there is a significant change in the parent’s situation, it may be necessary for a modification of the existing child support. Contact a child support lawyer in your area.