| January 16, 2006
An ER physician is sued for not giving written discharge instructions.
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If you didn’t write it down, it didn’t happen.
Or conversely, if you didn’t write it down, you can pretend it didn’t happen. This cuts both ways, ya know.
Having said that… this is a dumb reason to sue, unless there is more to the story that we haven’t heard.
Unless the other guy can prove it did. Then you’ll be caught out for lying, too. In the case of courts, judges tend to frown on that kind of thing.
Hi Guys…here’s a little free legal advice from a lawyer. I worry all he time about being sued..I have business interests and rental property in addition to my law practice. How do I sleep a little better at night? Easy. I don’t own anything. I have numerous LLCs and realty trusts, and I maintain control of my business affairs, but I separate all my assets, one from the other. I have everything mortaged to the hilt, even if the debt is granted from one asset to another. I have all cash in retirement vehicles and my primary residence is owned by my wife and is the subject of a homestead. My car is leased. I own nothing but control everything, and have a 5 mill umbrella protecting me and my wife from excess liability. I do all this because I learned that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure..sorry for the medical pun. Call a trusted lawyer and inquire about asset protection. You guys worked way too hard to have to worry about guys like me suing you. Do it now, do it today and you’ll sleep better at night.
I print out instructions in English and in Spanish. All of them say soething to the effect “Watch for worsening or worrisome symptoms and return the the ER for a reevaluation if you have any concern.” I am waiting for a lawsuit because I did not print them out in vietnamese, farsi, or swahili. It will happen.
You had better trust your wife, eh? Seriously though, thanks for the good reminders and suggestions. Are all retirement vehicles, IRA, annuity, 401k defined benefits protected assets?
” and have a 5 mill umbrella protecting me and my wife from excess liability. “
How do I get that? Can I buy an umbrella like this to cover me in excess of my malpractice liability? If I get sued will the lawyers know about this “umbrella” and pursue me even more vigorously?
thank you lawyer friend,
what a nice surprise to hear some thoughtful advice from our legal friends. I know there is some animosity between doctors and lawyers, but most of the lawyers I have personally met are intelligent reasonable people, and I’m sure CJD would say the same about the physicians he has personally met.b
Hi Again Docs: Sorry but the unbrella is usually restricted to personal negligence claims..I should have been more specific. As I understand it, nearly all retirement assets are protected by federal law from all creditors. OJ Simpson is a good example of IRA protection..he gets, I believe, 25k per mo from an old NFL pension, much to the dismay of the victim’s families who cannot reach it. Trust my wife? Well, I guess so..she’d get it in a divorce anyway. If I were you guys, I would invest in a great disability policy..your incomes are truly your prized possession. I would venture to guess that all of us are far more likely, in an actuarial sense, to become disabled than to get hit with some huge verdict. Yes, lawyers are a much disliked and distrusted group, often for good reason. However, I will tell you that the real evil in our society are the insurance comapnies all of which use blood instead of mortar between the bricks on their buildings. Real real bad institution, hence the pages and pages and pages of lawyers in your phone book. To get back to my original point, you guys are professionals and should not have to have sleepless nights over lawsuits. Take action and explore (and exploit) your rights to avoid calamity.
Pardon my embarassing level of ignorance, but what are “personal negligence” claims?
How would you recommend someone further their level of education about these types of issues? I don’t even know what questions I would need to ask an atty about protecting myself this way.
Since the attorney filing the suit (Scott Montross) is apparently the father of eight year NBA veteran center and former UNC Tarheel Eric Montross, I guess this suit may be a slam dunk.
Although the climate I work in is not as litigious as yours…I have printed “head injury precautions” sheets that I give to every single HI patient…even a simple suturing…which include a stipulation that they have someone with them for the next 24hrs.
I actually think this is quite reasonable, as a general principle, given that conscious state can be affected by a decent knock on the head, even in a non-octogenarian.
The particular case obviously has more to it, though, and we don’t know what really happened.
Hi Dork..personal negligence claims are those issues of negligence not related to a commercial endeavor..driving, skiing, playing sports,etc. I’m not sure if you can buy an umbrella that covers commcial/medical claims. It would be expensive, I’d imagine. In terms of asset protection, the best way to look at the issue is like this: If you have a property worth, say, 500k, that’s in your name and is not your primary residence and is mortgage-free, you have a distinct, at-risk target that could be attached at the very least in the evemt of a lawsuit. Lawyers love unencumbered assets: your job is to legally encumber and protect your assets so nobody takes them from you. It’s that simple. Ask somone you respect for the name of a good corporate lawyer…not necessarily an estate lawer, but a corporate/business lawyer who is experienced in asset protection. Don’t use a phone book to find him or her…ask a colleague. Now, I have a medical issue and I need free advice: I am hopelessly addicted to ice cream. I’m 40 and have been eating ice cream my whole life and I can’t stop. Please help me.
This is going to make me really unpopular, but … it’s about dang time 🙂 An essential part of good patient care is communication ,and that means not giving patients instructions before the drugs have worn off and figuring that is good enough. I’ve been on the other end of trying to get information about post-surgery instructions and it’s a challenging and precarious place to be.
That addiction can’t be controlled. I have tried. My prescription, I started running marathons. Now I have two great addictions
I hope my wife doesn’t hear about the mortgage thing. I always considered it a wise and prudent thing to live within my means and pay off the mortgage. Refinanced to a 30, then a 15, then a 10, pay extra as well, and now only 5-6 years to go. If she hears about this she will really want the big house on the hill
The smartest thing anyone with a salary of over $100K a year can do is buy an umbrella policy of at least $2 million. It’s too cheap not to.
But CJD, again the same question: Can I buy an umbrella policy to protect me against a medical malpractice claim? I seriously doubt with my boring lifestyle I’m going to injure a stranger in my free time and he’s going to sue me.
No, you can not buy an umbrella for your malpractice. For that you just have to pay for malpractice insurance that covers a higher amount. The umbrella is just ofr things like hitting a kid with your car that ran out in the street in front of you. Or the 3 year old that drowned in your pool at your kids birthday party, etc. As I understand. For once I agree with CJD. It is not that expensive and worth that extra piece of mind.
Hmm..ice cream addiction.
There are various approaches.
1. If you exercise enough, it doesn’t really matter that much.
2. Try tapering off and substitution
3. Go “cold turkey”…with much support. It takes 3-4 weeks to break a food habit, in my experience. Plan yourself some other reward at the end of a month with all the money you’ve saved from icecream.
4. Get a medico friend to show you some pathology specimens of atheromatous vascular disease!
“I seriously doubt with my boring lifestyle I’m going to injure a stranger in my free time and he’s going to sue me.”
You don’t drive?
To Lawyer friend who likes ice cream – try Smoothies – you can make them out of a blender (mix in frozen strawberries, blueberries, and bananas, or any other fruit mix and add vanilla or plain yogurt). Tastes great, more filling and less calories!
Would a 529 plan (for my minor child) generally be protected in a bankruptcy??
Not sure about 529 but I would lean towards exemption because it’s your child’s asset, not yours.
Advice to all MDs out there. This is an excellent discussion, but do not rely on anything you read here or elsewhere. Asset protection is very state-specific (e.g., in my state, the cash value of a life ins policy is protected from attachment by creditors, but only if the beneficiary is spouse or child. For me, under these circumstances, it’s a great place to stash extra cash). In some states the homestead exemption is better than others, and in some it’s not limited to the primary residence. TALK TO A LAWYER. This is not a do it yourself project. It will cost a couple of thousand dollars to get a basic plan. And, yes, get that $2 mil umbrella. That’s a few hundred per year but will cover you for whiplash MVAs and people who slip and fall into your pool.
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