25.10.17

New Missouri law Amendment to affect Car Crash Payouts

Consideration has been given for the editing and publishing of this post

As of Monday 28th August this year, a minor change to the way medical compensations are awarded has now become law. While any personal injury lawsuits filed before this date are expected to be ruled as per the law when they were actioned, any new cases will be set to the new rules.

Explaining the new changes

Compensation packages are split into two distinct sections when the amounts are awarded, compensatory and punitive awards. The compensation portion of an award is designed to reflect an accurate financial repayment to cover any costs incurred by the defendant through the accident.

Under new guidelines, all medical costs must be determined by either the total amount already paid to a hospital, the total amount outstanding to a hospital or where appropriate, a combination of the two.

Under previous laws, the sum awarded for medical costs was always the amount which was originally invoiced by the hospital. Because this figure could potentially move after the lawsuit was settled, the new changes are sought to align the awarded cost to that of the actual cost of injury to provide a more precise reflection within the settlement.

Perceived problems of this change

For many people who are injured in a MVA and require medical attention, medical bills are often something which needs to be settled before a lawsuit is resolved. This means that the bills must be paid prior to receiving your compensation.

For many people on low incomes or without adequate savings, this can be a major problem. This is also something which can be further exasperated by a loss of income due to the injuries received.

To aid people in this situation, submitting your medical bills through a group health insurance plan has the option to help. Part of this includes the insurance group and the hospital agreeing to a negotiated fee plan. This has the benefit of both reducing the overall size of the bill and the insurer covering any upfront costs.

Wider consequences

While this is being cited as an attempt to simplify the overall system which governs how compensation packages are calculated, many believe it will cause ripples throughout the current system for little actual benefit.

With any financial changes that hospitals and insurance companies are faced with, there is often a knock-on effect to the amount which customers are charged. As yet, it remains to be seen whether there will be an increase in medical costs or insurance premiums to absorb any financial losses they could face.

All other elements of a compensation package including the cost of repairs, loss or earning, emotional, pain and suffering payments, and punitive damages will remain untouched.

If you’ve recently suffered an injury from a car accident in the State of Missouri and are worried about how these changes will affect you, contact a competent law office immediately.  


Bio:

Brad Richardson enjoys writing about legal and law issues. He’s a regular contributor to numerous websites regarding important issues within the legal industry. The Bruning personal injury law firm who are based in St. Louis and specialize in both MVA and personal injury cases.

7.10.16

What Next For EU Migrants After May Confirms Britain Will Take A Hard Brexit

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Theresa May announced at the Conservative Conference 2016, Article 50 will be triggered by the end of March 2017. The Prime Minister still refused to confirm whether EU migrants currently living in Britain will be able to remain post Brexit.

Theresa May made it clear in her speech that ‘regaining control of immigration’ is her top priority for Britain rather than access to the EU single market, signalling that the country will be following a hard Brexit.

So What Can EU Migrants Living In The UK Do About Brexit?

With no information or facts regarding how Brexit will impact the lives of migrants living in the UK, the Prime Minister has created a society full of doubt and confusion. There is no answer as of yet, to what will happen to people in this situation. However the best action for EU nationals who want to remain in the UK post Brexit is to apply for British Citizenship.

If an EU migrant has a UK passport and British citizenship they will be permitted to remain in the country. However, some EU nations do not allow their citizens to hold dual nationalities so seeking British Citizenship could result in relinquishing their current citizenship. The countries which do not allow dual nationality are Austria, Estonia, Lithuania, Netherland, Norway, Poland and Slovakia. 

The triggering of Article 50 in March 2017 means Britain has 2 years from then to leave the 28 nation bloc and the UK will no longer be a member of the EU by the end of March 2019. So there is still time to apply for British Citizenship to ensure EU migrants are able to continue their life in Britain. 

2.3.16

Book recommendation: Forever Rumpole: The Best of the Rumpole Stories by John Mortimer


Forever Rumpole - a hilarious selection of the very best Rumpole stories by John Mortimer. Horace Rumpole lives alongside Mr Pickwick and Bertie Wooster as one of the immortal comic characters in English fiction. Forever Rumpole contains seven stories originally chosen by the author himself as his favourites, together with a further seven from the later period and the opening chapters of a Rumpole novel that Sir John was working on when he died in 2009. The book also includes a fascinating introduction by Ann Mallalieu, fellow lawyer and for many years Sir John's colleague in practice. Available from Amazon.

19.2.16

Whiplash Claims in the UK – Legal Updates Affecting RTA Claims

Brought to you by our friends at Accident Claims Web

Contribution from our friends at Accident Claims Web, providing legal advice and assistance on UK road traffic claims in the UK.

In November of last year, Chancellor George Osborne announced major changes affecting whiplash personal injury claims. The changes are part of a move to tackle ‘compensation culture’ in the UK that may be having a negative effect on insurance companies.

However, the announcement of the proposed changes to the law is causing problems for not only whiplash victims but also law firms and prominent personal injury bodies. 

Proposed Changes Affecting Whiplash Claims
In the Autumn statement, the Chancellor announced a number of changes that will affect personal injury law and in particular, whiplash claims. Firstly, the small claims limit for personal injury claims will be raised from £1000 to £5000. Also, courts are to be prohibited from issuing general damages for minor soft tissue injuries – such as whiplash. This means that sufferers of whiplash will not be compensated things such as pain, suffering and loss of amenity. Whiplash victims will still be permitted to make claims for special damages so cover things such as loss of earnings of costs of any medical treatment required, so long as they can provide sufficient evidence to make their claim. 

However, the practical application of the proposed changes in the law will mean that as general damages are no longer to be awarded for such claims, in order to make a claim for whiplash the special damages claim of the victim must be worth £10,000. This is a great restriction on making a whiplash claim and will eliminate a great number of cases.

The effect of the proposed changes has already affected personal injury firms. Personal injury firm, Slater & Gordon, has lost half its value after the announcement. The Australian company’s shares dropped 51pc to A$0.94 The company said: 

“While the Government’s announcement was unexpected, the company believes that the scale and diversity of the Slater Gordon Solutions business in the UK positions it well to deal with the potential impact of any future legislative change," 

The problems with the new whiplash proposals have provoked backlash from prominent legal organizations. The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, the Motor Accident Solicitors Society and the Law Society have come together to fight the proposals, largely backed by the insurance industry, which they deem to be "a red line issue". They will respond to the consultation expected to be pushed in March 2016. Each of the organizations will submit a separate response, each conveying a unified and uniform message about the proposals. 

It will be interesting to see the effect of the changes in the personal injury claims industry when, and if, the new law comes into force as proposed. The government has indicated that it plans to introduce the general damages reform in April 2017, however at present; there is no indication of when and if the small claims limit will be at the same time or earlier.

17.2.16

Book recommendation: Tomorrow's Lawyers: An Introduction To Your Future by Richard Susskind

In his newest provocative and forward-looking volume on the legal profession, Richard Susskind-the best-selling author of The End of Lawyers? and The Future of Law-predicts fundamental and irreversible changes in the world of law. What Susskind sees is eye-opening-a legal world of virtual courts, Internet-based global legal businesses, online document production, commoditised service, legal process outsourcing, and web-based simulated practice. Legal markets will be liberalised, with new jobs for lawyers and new employers too. Tomorrow's Lawyers is a definitive guide to this future--for young and aspiring lawyers, and for all who want to modernise our legal and justice systems. It introduces the new legal landscape and offers practical guidance for those who intend to build careers and businesses in law. Susskind identifies the key drivers of change, such as the economic downturn, and considers how these will shape the legal marketplace. He then sketches out the new legal landscape as he envisions it, highlighting the changing role of law firms-and in-house lawyers-and the coming of virtual hearings and online dispute resolution. He also suggests solutions to major concerns within the legal profession, such as diminishing public funding, and explores alternative roles for future lawyers in a world increasingly dominated by It. And what are the prospects for aspiring lawyers? Susskind predicts what new jobs and new employers there will be, equipping prospective lawyers with penetrating questions to put to their current and future bosses. Available from Amazon.

11.2.16

Book recommendation: 21st Century Solicitor by Steve Weiner

This might be news: success as a twenty-first century solicitor is not dependent on your technical aptitude alone. Sorry. As well as the basic requirements of understanding and applying the law superbly, you are also now expected to master a whole suite of so-called 'soft skills' -- communicating empathetically, acting commercially, writing carefully, presenting brilliantly, networking sensibly and building relationships enthusiastically. These skills might be called 'soft' by our industry, but the reality is that they are both incredibly hard and vitally important -- especially as a junior commercial lawyer keen to make a likeable, professional, commercial and lasting positive impression on those in control of your embryonic career. Written by a lawyer with unique experience as a commercial practitioner, trainer and law-firm voyeur, this no-nonsense 'how to' guide is an honest, punchy and modern look at all the skills you don't get taught at law school, yet are absolutely critical to achieving success from day one of your life as a twenty-first century solicitor. Available from Amazon.