Archive for April, 2010
Doug Landau attending a client's recent medical exam in a contested spinal injury workers compensation case, where his clieint's back surgeon has indicated a lumbar spine operation is needed and the insurance company has denied authorization for the operative procedure
“While the multi-million dollar lawsuits get all the headlines, whether or not they are ultimately successful, it is workers comp claim that touch the lives of so many injured workers and their families that are never reported,” according to Herndon Reston area claimants’ comp attorney Doug Landau. “Because these cases usually do not involve lawsuits, jury trials or millions of dollars, it seems as though the press is not interested and the plight of disabled workers and their families is largely unknown,” adds the ABRAMS LANDAU trial lawyer. As Landau actually represents clients and has tried cases in Florida, he is familiar with Judge Mills’ statement on this subject:
- “Workers’ compensation is a very important field of the law, if not the most important. It touches more lives than any other field of the law. It involves the payments of huge sums of money. The welfare of human beings, the success of business, and the pocketbooks of consumers are affected daily by it.” Judge E. R. Mills, Singletary v. Mangham Construction, 418 So.2d 1138 (Fla.1st DCA, 1982)
If you or someone you know has been injured in an on the job accident or become disabled as the result of an occupational disease or illness, Please e-mail or call ABRAMS LANDAU (703-796-9555) today.
With more driver operating their cars, trucks and other vehicles while testing, using the cellular phones of moble PDAs, there is sure to be an increase in crashes, injuries and fatalities on the roads around Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia
Distracted drivers in Capital Beltway Construction Zones are the focus of an extensive DC Metropolitan Campaign AAA Mid-Atlantic released a report on distracted Capital Beltway drivers and launched a regional campaign focused on reducing distracted driving in the Capital Beltway (I-495) HOT Lanes construction zone. According to the report, 56 percent of drivers on the Capital Beltway are distracted by some form of cell phone use, and these cell phone users are more than twice as likely to have had a near miss or traffic incident as a result of their behavior.
“Virginia has taken great strides in improving highway safety and reducing the number of traffic fatalities year-after-year, but distracted driving is reaching a critical level,” said Pierce Homer, Virginia Secretary of Transportation. “Driving while distracted is a recipe for disaster – especially (more…)
When insurance companies wrongfully deny claims because of additional injury after a car crash or later diagnosed harm, the remedy is to take them to court
A jury awarded $51,000 to a woman who claimed a motor vehicle accident ruptured her breast implants. In 2007, the plaintiff was rear-ended by an uninsured motorist while stopped at a traffic light. The plaintiff initially claimed soft-tissue back injuries. As sometimes happens in personal injury litigation, she was later diagnosed another medical condition. In this case, the injured plaintiff was diagnosed as having ruptured breast implants, which will require surgical replacement. Following the accident, the plaintiff filed a claim with her insurance carrier, seeking uninsured motorist coverage.
The plaintiff’s insurance company denied the claim. The injured woman’s insurance company asserted that the accident was not the proximate cause of the implant rupture. According to car crash chest and torso injury lawyer Doug Landau, “the insurance company probably did not want to pay for these additional special damages.” Furthermore, “at the Landau Law Shop, we have seen insurers fight claims for cosmetic surgery, dermabrasion and scar remediation despite their own insured’s fault and even aggravated liability.” Not giving up or taking the insurance company’s word for it, the resolute plaintiff then filed a lawsuit against the insurance company. The jury ultimately determined that the rear-ender caused her injuries. The case is Miller v. AAA Texas County Mutual Insurance Co. If you or someone you know has been harmed by a car crash, or learns of a new diagnosis after an accident, please e-mail us at ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd., or call us at (703)-796-9555, as pursing claims for damages and injuries after the insurance company has denied the claim and concluded its investigation can be difficult and expensive.
While the answer to this question used to be difficult, and Northern Virginia claimants’ counsel Doug Landau could only use his own law firm’s actual experiences and the data from other lawyers with whom we share information at the American Association for Justice (“AAJ”), National Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives (“NOSSCR“) and the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, (“VTLA”), you can now get several years of results of many Social Security Administrative Law Judges (“ALJs”). In response to a Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA“) request by The Oregonian newspaper, the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) released the production numbers and approval rates for all of its Administrative Law Judges. The agency released complete reports for 2005, 2006 and 2007. The table for 2008 covers most — but not all — of the year.
To search the database, click this link, enter a judge’s name or select a year. You can sort the table by any of the categories by clicking on the category header.
While we prefer to rely on our own experience in front of particular judges and SSA staff, utilizing this information can also be helpful. At the Herndon, Reston and Leesburg area disability law firm of ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd., we will often contact numbers other lawyers with whom we have worked in order to get a consensus as to how best to present the case and how the Federal Judge (and his or her staff) prefer to receive the evidence. Last week occupational disability and disease lawyer Doug Landau was contacted by a Pennsylvania firm in order to help the disabled claimant’s counsel prepare for a video Hearing before a Virginia ALJ. If you or someone you know has been injured in an on the job accident or become disabled as the result of an occupational disease or illness, please e-mail or call ABRAMS LANDAU (703-796-9555) today so that we can help them with their Federal Social Security claim.
Post-exam Virginia Tech "Beer Pong" game leads to fight, skull surgeries, head injury lawsuit and this month's Virginia Supreme Court decision
After finishing final exams at Virginia Tech, Adam Copp was celebrating and playing beer pong with one of his roommates at a Blacksburg apartment. Two strangers joined the game and one of them, Carson Dugger, said something to offend Copp. The young men then got into a shouting match that turned physical when Dugger’s friends came on the scene. Copp found himself with four or five people between him and Dugger. Copp swung his arm and struck one of Dugger’s friends, Gregory Jacobson. Copp said he was just trying to get free from the group. Jacobson accused Copp of throwing punches and hitting him intentionally. Jacobson, the plaintiff in this case, was badly injured. Two surgeries were required to repair his fractured skull. Jacobson brought a lawsuit as the result of his severe and permanent head injuries against Copp for assault and battery, alleging intentional injury.
The Supreme Court of Virginia has just handed down a decision ruling that an insurance company owes a defense for the Virginia Tech student who was sued over injuries he caused in this fight. Nationwide Insurance had a duty to defend (more…)
Sports injury lawyer Doug Landau before the start of today's National Duathlon Championships, and before he knew he'd have to run barefoot !
The National Duathlon Festival was held this weekend in Richmond. The United States Age Group Championship would not only determine who are the best Duathletes in the country, but who would make the World Championship team representing the USA in Scotland in this popular “RUN BIKE RUN” format event. Herndon, Reston and Oakton area trial lawyer Doug Landau has competed in these championships several times, and this year he came well-rested, trained and ready for almost anything. Landau even brought a second set of wheels and a spare bike helmet, in case anyone forgot theirs or had a product failure right before the race.
In order to be as ready as possible, the Virginia sports injury lawyer even rode the run course on Friday in order to familiarize himself with the venue. He then ran some of the course, marking it with chalk, the next day. However, even the most thorough preparations cannot eliminate an unlucky event. While the weather reports predicted thunderstorms, and it rained so heavily Saturday night that the Triathlon Trial Lawyer saw several bikers skid and crash on the wet pavement, he saw many more walking their bicycles back to the transition area because they had gotten flat tires on the bridge expansion joints. Because of the cooler weather, the Richmond bridge joints had opened up and presented a tripping hazard for race volunteers who were walking on the bridge and an obstacle for biker racers going 25 mph.
The race consisted of a 5k (3.1 mile) run, followed by a 38k (23.6 mile) bike ride, and then another 5k run. Landau was 75% through the bike course when he hit an bridge expansion joint and flatted out. However, rather than walking home or quitting the race, the ABRAMS LANDAU litigator left his bike shoes on his bicycle, and ran the bike back across the bridge to the transition area, a distance of about 3 miles ! And he did this barefoot ! Apparently a “DNF” (Did Not Finish) was not an option for Landau, who has finished every one of the nearly 1,000 races he has started !
Once he got back in the transition area, he put on his racing shoes and ran a 21 minute 5k and finished in just under 2 hours. How did he manage to run on the highway and bridge without shoes ? Landau strengthens and toughens his feet and ankles so as to avoid injury by training barefoot whenever he can on sand, grass and artificial turf. The former USAT Triathlon All American won last year’s “Playa Del Rey Beach Sprint” race barefoot. Noted Landau, “just as with our personal injury jury trials, Social Security hearings and workers comp disability cases, I want to be ready for anything !“
Sometimes the Federal Government interferes with an injured victim's ability to get fair compensation because of the Center for Medicare Services' delays responding to requests for lien ("IOU") information
The lawyers for injured victims have frequently reported that the Medicare Secondary Payer Act is riddled with inefficiency. HR 4796, the Medicare Secondary Payer Enhancement Act would correct this problem by requiring the Center for Medicare Services (CMS) to respond to requests for their lien amount within 60 days. A “lien” is like an “IOU,” it’s the legal term for how much some company or governmental agency claims you owe them because of a contract (like workers comp) or law (like Medicare).
What we have seen at ABRAMS LANDAU is the Federal Government notifying an injured person that they must pay back the government for medical care paid for under the medicare Program from the proceeds of their car crash, dog bite or defective product case. But then when we write to the government to find out how much they claim to be owed and for what services, it takes forever and a day. Sometimes the Federal Government inadvertently wants to be paid back for medical care that is not related to the car crash or slip and fall accident. Other times, there are court deadlines or trial looming, and the trial judge will not wait for the government’s numbers, which can ruin the chances for a fair compromise settlement.
This new bill would be self-funded by a $30 application fee. In other words, this bill costs the taxpayers nothing, and it has the broad support of coalitions including the National Retail Federation and Allstate Insurance. You can help move this important legislation towards passage by asking your Member of Congress to cosponsor HR 4796. If you have questions about this legislation, please contact Sarah.Rooney@justice.org directly or call her at 202.965.3500
In previous posts Florida and Virginia interstate highway accident lawyer Doug Landau had written about the importance of safety in and approaching roadway construction sites during this “National Work Zone Awareness Week.” At ABRAMS LANDAU, we have represented drivers who have been injured at road improvement and interstate construction sites in personal injury cases and we have also represented workers injured in on the job accidents before the Workers Compensation Commissions. Recently, made aware of the Florida wrongful death lawsuit Estate of Brashear v. Zep Construction, Landau notes that the jury apportioned nearly all of the liability between the Construction company and the Traffic Control Product company, despite the fact that the Defendant truck driver struck the plaintiff at a high rate of speed.
In this tragic case, the decedent was stopped in construction traffic on Interstate 75 when he was struck from behind by a 70-mph tractor-trailer. The plaintiff bled to death in his 11-year-old son’s lap. Plaintiffs’ counsel blamed general contractor Zep Construction and subcontractor Traffic Control Products, alleging that the usual warning lights and other hazard equipment were not present. Counsel argued that the lack of adequate warnings was a cost-saving measure. The jury found that the defendants knowingly operated dangerously and were motivated by financial gain. It found Zep Construction 65 percent liable, Traffic Control Products 30 percent liable and the truck driver, who was not a party, 5 percent liable. The family of the man killed in this tragic rear-ender contraction site crash, which was witnessed by his son who was a passenger, recovered $4.2 million. If you or someone you know has been injured in a construction zone accident, on the job accident or become disabled as the result of an occupational disease or illness, Please e-mail or call ABRAMS LANDAU (703-796-9555) today.
As he has volunteered at numerous events at the Madeira School in McLean, Virginia workplace injury lawyer Doug Landau was saddened to hear that Fairfax County authorities are investigating the death of a worker at a construction site at the private school. County fire department spokesman Dan Schmidt says a construction worker died this afternoon on the grounds of the Madeira School. According to television news reports, the worker was crushed by heavy equipment. The Fairfax County Fire Department reported that the construction worker died at the scene off Georgetown Pike in McLean. The school was closed at the time for spring break. Police and Occupational Safety and Health Administration officials are investigating how the man died. Our thoughts and prayers are with the construction workers family and friends at this sorrowful time.
Trying cases for injured workers in small towns against the major employer requires experience, staffing and resources
Having tried cases for injured mine workers and travelled to the mining areas of West Virginia, occupational injury lawyer Doug Landau has been following the news reports of the recent mine explosion that took over two dozen miner’s lives. A Washington Post article about the recent mining explosion in West Virginia that killed 25 people stated that the mining industry wields major political clout in Washington thanks to hefty campaign contributions to GOP lawmakers and expensive lobbying efforts aimed at blunting the impact of environment- and safety-related legislation. The industry is currently finding itself under massive scrutiny after the WV disaster.
As the major employer in some rural small towns, it is very difficult for the injured workers to find a competent, experienced workers comp lawyer, let alone bring a claim against the major (and best paying) employer in the region. Doug Landau has tried cases in Lebanon and Covington, Virginia as well as Bluefield, Princeton and Charleston, West Virginia for disabled and injured workers and their families. ABRAMS LANDAU has successfully won workers compensation claims, Social Security Disability cases and negligence lawsuits for Virginia and West Virginia clients. If you or someone you know has been injured or become disabled as the result of a mine collapse, explosion or other accident, please e-mail or call ABRAMS LANDAU (703-796-9555) today.