Articles Posted in Catastrophic injuries

Southlake man learns how astronomical air ambulance bill can be

A helicopter flying a critically injured patient to a hospital can save his life, but when he finds out what the air ambulance bill is, he might have a heart attack. The average cost for the ride is now over $40,000. A med evac invoice is the poster child of our skyrocketing health care costs.

On Monday an article in the Dallas Morning News showed how enormous a bill can be. A young doctor in Southlake was severely injured and was rushed by ground ambulance to a local hospital in Wichita Falls. He had to be immediately flown 100 miles to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, the closest level one trauma center.

Sadly, after eight operations, the doctor had to have his arm amputated. A few days later as he was recovering in the hospital, he received the first of many demanding calls from the company wanting him to pay a stunning $56,603. Yes, you read that correctly.

The doctor’s health insurance company only paid about $12,000 — and only after being forced to do so since the ambulance company was out-of-network with his Blue Cross Blue Shield plan. Right after his crash, he was obviously not in a condition to verify whether the ambulance company was in-network and demand a different helicopter.

Most of these companies choose not to be in-network. If they are, they refuse to bill health insurance plans, instead billing the patient for the full amount. Or sometimes they bill Aetna or Blue Cross, which pays what it considers to be the reasonable cost of the ride. The patient is stuck with the balance, like here. The helicopter company then hires aggressive bill collectors and attorneys to file lawsuits when the exorbitant expense is not paid in full. Medical bills are the leading cause for people to file bankruptcies that ruin their credit.

The man still owed a shocking balance of $44,631. This is in addition to other inflated hospital and doctor bills he has to pay. This is a serious problem for many people after they are in a car or truck collision.

Continue reading

It was a typical Thursday two weeks ago when a horrific crash on I-40 in New Mexico reminded drivers across the country the very real dangers from commercial truck accidents. In a disaster scene straight out of Hollywood, a tractor-trailer swerved over the median and crashed into a Greyhound bus head-on.

Eight people tragically died and more than two dozen, including three children, were rushed to area hospitals with serious injuries.

How could such a disaster happen? News reports reveal that the truck lost the tread on a tire. The truck driver’s and his California company’s inspection and maintenance of the truck are being scrutinized. The front tires have been sent to the National Transportation Safety Board in Washington, D.C. to be examined. Two lawsuits have been filed on behalf of the victims and their families to learn more about what caused this avoidable crash — and hopefully prevent future ones.

Why are there so many horrible truck collisions here?

Last week in Dallas there was another catastrophic collision between an 18-wheeler and a vehicle that took someone’s life. And last night near DFW Airport the tractor-trailer shown here crashed and caught on fire. We see these wrecks far too often in North Texas.

The federal government recently released a study that showed that 120,000 truck crashes happened in two years, and this was back in the early 2000’s. Since then, the population and number of vehicles have exploded, so the number is much higher. Seeing a speeding or reckless 18-wheeler driver or resulting crash is common. 

If you or someone you love have been involved in a tractor-trailer accident, you need the best legal assistance — and fast. There are three reasons:

  • A good lawyer will investigate liability, hire accident reconstruction experts, interview police officers and eyewitnesses, secure evidence, and prove that the trucking company driver and his company were at fault. On the other hand, the truck company will send out its attorneys and investigators to the scene immediately to do the exact opposite.
  • Survivors often suffer from permanent injuries. The attorney can arrange necessary medical care, help get expensive bills paid, and secure a good settlement or verdict to pay for damages.
  • Multiple vehicles and insurance policies are usually involved.

The key to winning  your case is to obtain as much evidence as possible. By doing so, a victim of a truck crash will greatly increase his or her chances of receiving the best financial results.

Continue reading

New Fort Worth Case: Supreme Court Caps Recovery for Death Caused By City Bus.

I filed a lawsuit last week against a school district whose loaded school bus driver crashed into my client’s vehicle.

The Texas Supreme Court just revisited the maximum damages that an injured person or the family of the deceased can receive in these cases.

The Texas Tort Claims Act places a $100,000 cap on the maximum damages if a local governmental vehicle (like a city or school bus) is involved.

The Supreme Court refused to raise that limit, even though different facts and statutes could have changed the results.

What happened in this case?

A Fort Worth woman was crossing the street downtown in 2010 when she was fatally struck by a Fort Worth Transportation Authority bus.

It was driven by a woman who worked for two independent contractors, not the local government agency.

Continue reading

Injured Car Accident victims often ask if they should get an MRI after a car accident.

A Magnetic Resonance Image (MRI) is an advanced diagnostic test that can be incredibly helpful. I am a big believer in them.

MRI After a Car Accident

In fact, this week I’ve had two to for my knee. I unfortunately twisted it running on the beach on the last day of my recent trip so I thought this would be a good time to blog about this important topic.

I went to my first physical therapy session early this morning hoping my partially torn medial meniscus doesn’t need surgery. I experienced what my clients go through on a daily basis – more about that later.

Why not just rely on an x-ray?

X Ray

Magnetic resonance imaging uses powerful magnets and radio frequencies to create a 3-D image that clearly shows bones, cartilage, blood vessels, muscle, tendons, and ligaments.

An x-ray only creates a flat image of the skeleton. An x-ray is useful to detect broken bones, but not to diagnose herniated disks and soft tissue injuries, which are common types of car crash injuries. The surgeon also had me x-rayed.

Furthermore an MRI does not release radiation. Although the small dose of a single x-ray is safe, your doctor will probably recommend an MRI if you are pregnant, have an underlying medical condition, or have had multiple recent x-rays or CT scans. Because your doctor can refer you to an MRI without concern about radiation exposure, he can do so in gray-area cases in which he only suspects an injury.

Is an MRI worth the cost?

There is of course one disadvantage to an MRI — the price. It can cost $2,000.00 or more, although your health insurance or my ability to secure my clients a much lower price should moot this concern. When deciding if it’s worth the cost to you, ask these questions:

  • Will an MRI more accurately diagnose my injury?
  • Does my doctor or do I suspect that I may need surgery?

If the answer to either is yes, you should have one. Continue reading

Doctors call traumatic brain injuries the silent epidemic. Victims often don’t realize they’ve suffered one until many hours or days later — if they ever find out. In the meantime, they don’t receive the medical treatment they need, not to mention the financial compensation they deserve.

Concussion From Car Accident

It’s a terrible scenario and one that a personal injury lawyer sees often. But this could all change with a new blood test approved by the FDA.

Currently the only reliable way to detect brain injury is through an expensive computerized tomography scan. But because of radiation exposure and costs, doctors won’t order a scan unless they believe that a brain injury has definitely occurred. If a person doesn’t exhibit strong symptoms and have good insurance coverage, he or she might never know they have a TBI.

Now doctors will now be able to use the Banyan Brain Trauma Indicator blood test to evaluate a potential head injury. This is exciting news for patients’ medical treatment and at the same time might boost their personal injury financial recovery. Continue reading

A rare Congressional victory for injured plaintiffs.

Buried within the 600 pages of the federal Bipartisan Budget Act enacted on Friday is an obscure provision that allows some auto accident victims to keep more of their settlement or verdicts.This resolves an ongoing reimbursement battle that has been an ongoing issue in personal issue cases since a catastrophic 1996 Arkansas vehicle collision crash.

All states have statutes requiring tort claimants to repay them for medical expenses paid by their Medicaid programs. But calculating exactly how much of the plaintiff’s verdict or settlement should be reimbursed has caused vexing problems for attorneys.

For example, was it fair that the state be repaid in full while the injured person received little — if any — money? How much of the recovery had been allocated to those medical bills as opposed to other damages? And what happened in those all too frequent cases with difficult liability and damage issues and small insurance policy limits and assets that had affected case valuations in the first place?

With the new law, Medicaid enrollees will no longer be forced to reimburse state agencies from money they recovered for their non-medical expenses. As a result, they will be able to keep more of the funds for their own use.

Hurray!

The 1996 case: Arkansas Dept. of Health and Human Services v. Ahlborn

A young woman named Heidi Ahlborn was severely injured and her medical bills were astronomical. A portion ($215,000.00) was paid by her state’s Medicaid program. The Arkansas Department of Human Services (ADHS) obtained an assignment of rights from Ms. Ahlborn to repay the state from her settlement or verdict.

Continue reading

What you need to know about recovering for serious cervical injuries

Being hit from behind is shocking. You might not have even seen it coming. Afterwards, you may feel just fine, relieved that the accident wasn’t worse, only to feel neck pain and stiffness hours later. Even then, your symptoms might initially be mild, but could lead to chronic pain and disability.

Because of its delayed onset, car crash victims often don’t seek medical care for whiplash right away. Even if you received emergency treatment for another auto accident injury, you may fail to mention the neck injury you didn’t know you had. Predictably, insurance companies seize onto your silence as proof that your neck injuries are unrelated to your car crash.

I often have to educate insurance agents about whiplash. During 37 years of helping accident victims, I have acquired substantial data about the most common rear-end collision injury. I have also built a network of experts who provide important medical analysis of how whiplash occurs, the manner in which symptoms manifest, and potential complications of the injury. Continue reading

Hurray, it’s finally football season! Tomorrow TCU takes on Arkansas and Sunday the Cowboys – Giants rivalry resumes.

After last week’s tragic weather in Houston and soon in the Florida area, we could all use a diversion from bad news. But many football players face their own crisis every time they play.

Each tackle can cause a concussion which can accumulate over the course of a football career. The level of brain damage they suffer came to light when former professional players sued the NFL to recover for their permanent brain injuries and scientific research showed permanent brain damage to many players.

Those medical studies could now be helpful in shaping auto accident treatment and lawsuits. Continue reading

Mayhem on Dallas Fort Worth highways continues

On Friday night a man was driving while intoxicated as he sped down Interstate 30 in Grand Prairie at speeds of over 100 MPH. The drunk driver lost control of his Honda Civic and crashed into a light pole. The impact killed his 29-year-old girlfriend and his two children, who were only four and three years old. Adding to the horror, the driver had recently been convicted of DWI and been arrested on other charges and his children were not restrained in their required child seats.

Then on Saturday night a driver lost control of the vehicle on the I-20 ramp to Loop 820 in Southeast Fort Worth. During the roll-over accident another 4 year-old girl died after being ejected. It is not clear how fast the driver was going or how the child was thrown out of the car. But you can guess that alcohol was probably involved here too.

My condolences go out to the families of these young victims.

Continue reading

Contact Information