Attorney Ben Schwartz explains why if a primary care physician refers a patient to a specialist and the specialist then commits malpractice, is the referring PCP liable? This is a question about a Delaware medical malpractice case.
Is the referring PCP responsible if the specialist commits medical malpractice?
Today we have a question from an attorney to an attorney. This is from Robert in Pennsylvania. Robert sent in an email and he said, “If a primary care physician refers a patient to a specialist and the specialist then commits malpractice, is the referring PCP liable?” This is a question about a Delaware medical malpractice case. The answer is, probably not. There was a Delaware Supreme Court decision that came out, the number of the case was 102, 2011. The case was captioned Deborah L Spicer versus Abimbola Osunkoya, M.D. and it came out November 15, 2011.
Essentially what the Delaware Supreme Court said was that in this case, a primary care physician was not responsible for catastrophic injuries sustained by a patient that resulted from the negligence of a surgeon. Basically, the patient went to a primary care physician, was having some medical problems and got referred to a specialist. The surgeons actions resulted in severe and catastrophic results for that patient. The patient’s family brought a lawsuit and the Delaware Supreme Court said that the family doctor who made the referral to the surgeon was not responsible; was not liable for causing the injuries. The reason was because he did not have any reason to think that the surgeon was going to commit malpractice. The law in Delaware, generally speaking, is that the referring PCP is not responsible for the negligence of the specialist, absent some extraordinary circumstances.
So I hope that answers the question. If you are an out of state attorney and you have questions about Delaware law, send me an email below. If I can help you, I will be more than happy to. Thanks for watching.
Is the referring PCP responsible if the specialist commits medical malpractice?
Although New York City can be easily reached and navigated using public transportation, the historic city is an easy three-hour drive from Delaware. Folks from Delmarva who choose to take their own car to tour the Big Apple should be mindful of violating local traffic laws. Despite what some may think, a ticket issued in New York City can and will follow a driver back home. That’s because both states participate in what is called the Driver’s License Compact. Member states share information about each other’s drivers. Each state will also inform another member state of any traffic convictions that occur within its borders.
How does all this affect Delaware drivers? Here are five things every Delaware driver should know about traffic tickets in New York City.
If I am a resident of Delaware and I get a traffic ticket in New York City, do I need a lawyer where I live or do I need a lawyer in New York City?
Delaware residents issued a ticket in New York City must hire an attorney licensed to practice in the state of New York. Regardless of where a driver is licensed, a ticket issued in New York City represents a violation of local or state laws. Thus it is critical that the driver hire an attorney familiar with those laws, the associated penalties, and the potential impact it can have on a driver’s record.
If there are points in the New York City traffic ticket case, will they appear on my Delaware driver’s license?
New York City (and the rest of the state) assigns a point value to most traffic violations. If convicted of an offense in NYC, the points will not appear on a Delaware driving record—but the conviction itself certainly will.
However, it would be incorrect to assume that the points associated with a NYC traffic ticket don’t matter. Drivers from any state who are convicted of one or more violations worth six points or more in NYC will be subject to an additional fee called a Driver Responsibility Assessment (DRA). A DRA costs $300 plus an additional $75 for each point over six, in addition to the fine and a mandatory state surcharge of $88.
In addition, a Delaware driver who commits one or more offenses in NYC totaling 11 points or more can have their driving privileges in New York State suspended. As part of the Compact, once informed of the suspension, Delaware can choose to suspend the driver’s Delaware license in kind.
If I hire a lawyer to fight my traffic ticket, can I do it without having to appear in court in New York City?
Most likely! For the majority of traffic cases in New York, an attorney is permitted to appear in court in lieu of the driver. In fact, an experienced NYC traffic attorney can handle the consultation with the driver over the phone, meaning there is no reason for him/her to have to return at all.
I heard that the courts in New York City are so clogged up that nothing will happen if I ignore the ticket case. True?
False. While New York City’s Traffic Violations Bureau (TVB) is very busy, there is no chance a driver can ignore a ticket without consequences—and those consequences are serious. Firstly, failing to respond to a NYC traffic ticket means the driver will ultimately be found guilty by default. Secondly, failing to respond to or pay a traffic ticket can result in a suspension of the right to drive in New York. As mentioned, that means Delaware could choose to suspend the license.
I’m not sure what the officer charged me with or why. How can I find out? Is there discovery, like in Delaware?
Drivers who are not sure what they are being charged with can call the TVB. By providing information from the ticket, TVB operators can look up the charges associated with it. Since the NYC Traffic Violations Bureau is not part of the court system but rather an administrative hearing office that is part of the Department of Motor Vehicles, traditional discovery rules (as well as many others) do not apply.
Note that while this article pertains to violations issued in New York City, there are different rules and procedures that apply to tickets issued elsewhere in the state. As such, a driver is well advised to contact a New York attorney for further information.
Adam Rosenblum, Esq. is the founder of TrafficTickets.com, a traffic ticket law firm that practices traffic ticket and criminal law in both New York and New Jersey.
Attorney Ben Schwartz answers a viewers question: “Medicaid paid my hospital bills and medical expenses after my slip-and-fall accident. I am getting a getting a settlement, but my lawyer is fixing to pay back Medicaid from my settlement money, is that legit?”
Do I Have To Pay Back Medicaid For Medical Expenses From My Personal Injury Settlement?
Today we are going to answer a viewers question from Charles in North Wilmington. Charles wrote-in and he said, “Medicaid paid my hospital bills and medical expenses after my slip-and-fall accident. I am getting a getting a settlement, but my lawyer is fixing to pay back Medicaid from my settlement money, is that legit?” The answer is yes, that is absolutely legit.
If you had a slip-and-fall, or a personal injury accident, in the state of Delaware and your Delaware Medicaid health insurance has paid for medical treatment as a result of the injuries from that accident, when you get a settlement from the at-fault party, at-fault land owners insurance company, or the at-fault driver’s insurance company, you have to pay back Medicaid. That is statutory, and if you don’t pay it back, you could lose your health insurance. You could end up on the wrong end of a lawsuit, or criminal action, potentially brought by the state of Delaware. So you absolutely want your lawyer to pay back Medicaid out of your settlement.
What you have to know is, that a number of years ago my father, Steven Schwartz, had a personal injury case that he handled for a client named Mr. Jeffries. We had Medicaid claiming a right to be reimbursed from Mr. Jeffries slip-and-fall case. We litigated the case and we got the court to issue an opinion. In this case, it was called Jeffries versus Kent Vo-Tech. Essentially it said that when you pay back Medicaid for what they paid for your medical treatment out of a settlement, you are entitled to take a deduction that equals what you paid the lawyer. So if your lawyer is working on a contingent fee and let’s say you are paying the lawyer ⅓, you take ⅓ out of what you are paying back to Medicaid. You are paying them at a reduced rate. That is the case that we litigated.
If you are an attorney watching this video and you would like to get the case citation, shoot me an email below. I can email it to you and you will have it. That is something that you can do, and it will save money. Make sure your attorney knows about it Charles, it is something that is very helpful. It is something we fought for several decades ago so it would be a benefit to all people who are injured in these types of cases in Delaware. I’m Attorney Ben Schwartz, very good question. If you have questions for me, keep them coming. You give me questions and I’ll give you answers. Send me an email below. Thanks for watching.
Do I Have To Pay Back Medicaid For Medical Expenses From My Personal Injury Settlement?
Delaware Attorneys Ben Schwartz and Steven Schwartz answer some questions that people ask regarding Wills and Estate Planning. One question they frequently get is: “Who should be going to a attorney for drafting Wills, for preparing Estate Planning documents and do you need to be a millionaire or is this something that everyone should go to an attorney to talk about?”
Today we have attorney Steven Schwartz. Steven is the founding partner of our Law Firm. He is my partner, he is also my father. Today we are going to ask him a couple questions about his Wills and Estate Planning practice. Dad one question we have frequently is, people ask who should be going to an attorney for drafting Wills, for preparing Estate Planning documents and do you need to be a millionaire or is this something that everyone should go to an attorney to talk about?
I believe everyone should go to an attorney to talk about Wills and Estate Planning documents. You don’t have to be a millionaire. In fact you don’t know what assets you will have when you pass away. People die and they may not have much in the way of assets or they may be quite wealthy and not know it.
For example, I had in the early days of my practice, I had a nice elderly couple as clients. They came to me for Wills. I prepared them, they signed them, and about a year later the wife returned to me and told me that her husband had just passed away. As the facts were relayed to me, I came to realize that this gentleman had died a wealthy man but didn’t know it. He didn’t know he was wealthy. His father, who had quite a bit of money, had died a few days before he had. His father had been in the hospital in California, but they didn’t want to tell my client, the gentleman who I represented and who was also sick and in the hospital in Delaware, that his father was deathly ill. They were afraid it would upset him and so he didn’t know. His father died first and because he survived his father, under his father’s Will he inherited and he died a wealthy man. If he had not had a Will, then his Estate would not have been distributed in the way that he wanted. So it is important, even if you don’t have assets now, it is important to provide for what will happen if and when you do. There are other important things that can be decided by a Will that are not controlled by how much money you may have or assets that you may have. For example people with minor children, if they want to designate a guardian or a custodian to take care of the children upon their death, then the Will is an appropriate document to name a guardian of the person and of the property of your minor children. Even people without assets, without hardly any money at all may want to have a Will so that the future of their children can be decided as to who the children are going to live, with who’s going to have responsibility for caring for them. That can be decided in a Will.
Here is another question for you. When someone comes in and they have a consultation and they establish that relationship, what types of goals do you have or what types of goals do they have for that relationship? Any attorney, everywhere, is going to have as a goal, helping the client to determine how his assets should be distributed on death and how his Estate should be administered after he passes away. Here at Schwartz & Schwartz, we have some additional goals that aren’t always pursued by other attorneys or other law firms. We also make it a point to plan for managing a person’s Estate during his lifetime. For example when we do Wills, we typically do along with the Will, an Advance Healthcare Directive and a Durable Power of Attorney. When we do those documents along with a Will, we do not charge a client additional for the Advanced Healthcare Directive and the Durable Power of Attorney. We cover that with the cost of the Will itself. I think that is important because those are very important documents. It has always been our policy that when we do a Will for someone, they ought to also have these other documents to provide for the necessary Estate Planning during their lifetimes. These are important enough documents, I should say, so that in strongly recommending them to clients, I have never wanted clients to feel like we were marketing documents to them or like we were trying to sell them something. So it was always our policy not to charge extra for those documents when we were doing a Will.
The Advanced Healthcare Directive is terribly important because it contains a Medical Power of Attorney so that if the client is unable to make his own health care decisions, because he’s disabled and incapacitated, then the person he names as agent will have the authority to do that for him. The Advanced Healthcare Directive also contains Living Will provisions which will govern the circumstances under which a person will be maintained or removed from artificial life supports. For example, if a person is in a terminal condition, meaning is about to die anyway, the person can specify whether or not he would want to be put on artificial life supports. Similarly, if the person is permanently unconscious, which typically means he’s been unconscious continuously for 4 weeks, and two doctors certified is not coming out of it. That is typically the flat brainwave situation. Under those circumstances, the client can specify whether or not he would want to be maintained on artificial life supports. The person can also can specify under both of those conditions, terminal or permanent unconsciousness, whether or not he would want to receive nutrition or hydration through conduits. Meaning he can specify whether he want to receive food and water through tubes. These are terribly important decisions and often family members have to try to deal with these situations. Frequently, family members are not in agreement with one another as to what the patient or the client would have wanted. So it’s important for the client to be able to decide these things while he’s able to do it and the way he does it is with an Advanced Healthcare Directive.
We are talking about goals of representation or goals for our client. This is something that is typically a goal for the client, but really the goal is to make the decisions so that the client is not a burden on their family members. Is that what I hear you saying? Well not just a burden, but also so that we don’t end up with conflict among the family members. That is a real goal of ours in doing Wills. Just to take it back to the initial question, what are goals in in preparing Wills? One of the important goals that I have always pursued and this office pursues, is helping people plan their Estates – to try to avoid circumstances that are going to cause conflict among family members. It is often possible to draft a will that will predictably cause problems among the family members, create conflict, and it’s often possible to draft a will to avoid this conflict. I think an attorney has an obligation to do what he reasonably can to avoid creating problems, to avoid creating conflicts among family members. That is a major focus of our Estate Planning too.
Last question, how come you look so good and I look like I am working hard? Well, somebody has to do the heavy lifting Ben… and Ben, that’s you! I’m attorney Ben Schwartz and today I’m interviewing my father and my law partner Steven Schwartz. Thanks for watching the video & please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.
Today we are going to answer a question from Joe in New Castle County, Delaware. Joe wrote in and he says, “I just got lawsuit papers served on me for causing a car accident just over 2 years ago. What am I supposed to do now?” The answer, Joe, is it depends. It depends on whether you had insurance on the day of the accident or no insurance on the day of the accident.
If you had insurance, here is what you need to know:
Your insurance company is responsible for settling the case that is brought by the injured motorist or defending the case that is brought by the injured motorist. Meaning that you paid your insurance company a premium, you paid them money and in return they are supposed to either settle that case or litigate it for you. They are supposed to be paying for a defense attorney for you.
All of the insurance companies that write insurance policies on automobiles in Delaware have defense attorneys that they use all the time in car accident personal injury cases. If you had insurance, what you need to do is call your insurance company you had on the day of the accident. Call them up and get their fax number. Find out who is the claim adjuster assigned to the case and fax the claims adjuster the lawsuit papers so that they can deal with it. They can then assign a defense attorney and that defense attorney can jump in and defend you.
If you did not have automobile insurance on the day of the accident, then you need to meet with an attorney:
You can contact our office, there are plenty of attorneys throughout the state, throughout New Castle County, who could assist you with this matter. But what you need to do is, you need to get with an attorney and have an attorney of your own handle this matter. It may be that your attorney can get it quickly resolved if you had no insurance, or it may be that you need to hire a defense attorney on your own to defend against the case.
If you do not defend the case, what is going to happen is, that injured plaintiff and their attorney might take judgement against you. Once they take judgment against you, they can attach your wages, they can seize your household belongings and sell them in order to raise money to satisfy the judgement. You don’t want any of that to happen. So get with an attorney, either your insurance company will provide you with a free attorney, or if you did not have insurance on the day of the car accident, you are going to need to go hire an attorney on your own to defend the case.
If it is a Delaware accident, you are served with lawsuit papers in a Delaware Court and you are in New Castle County, Delaware, what you need to know is, you have a very short time frame. You have a 20 day window after the date you were served with lawsuit papers to notify the court that you are defending against the case. You have 20 days to file an answer to the complaint. That is what it is called. You receive lawsuit papers, if you look on it and says complaint, you get to file an answer to the complaint or a motion to dismiss, but you only have 20 days to do it.
If you are watching this video and this has happened to you, what you need to do is act now, don’t put it off until tomorrow. If you procrastinate on this, bad things are going to happen. Hopefully this video reaches you in a timely manner and hopefully it helps you with your defense of your case. If you have questions for me that you would like answered in a video format please send me an email below.
Twenty Days To Answer Lawsuit Papers For A Car Accident