Fighting With Ghosts: Can A Jury Referee That Fight?

By David Kennedy | June 20, 2017 | 0 Comments

I see that the Texas Legislature has passed a law permitting driverless cars to operate on Texas roadways. As one who represents those involved in auto accidents, I am wondering how an accident with a driverless car would play out in a courtroom?

Let’s say you have an intersection accident with a driverless car where you will swear you had the right-of-way. Unless the corporation that has invested untold billions into their baby is willing to admit flaws, you may be locked in battle with one well-financed defendant that will unleash engineers to swear it was you – and not their invention – that was at fault. I am laying odds that cases involving these driverless vehicles just got a whole lot more expensive. You can also bet they just got a lot more difficult to win for the average Joe.

In most cases – whether minor injuries or death – the one of a very few advantages the injured party’s lawyer has is the ability to have the defendant testify in front of a jury. Juries can see the demeanor of the witness, evaluate his/her veracity, and decide the case accordingly. When the case is a swearing match without witnesses, this is a very important benefit to justice. So, if that right is taken away because the other vehicle has no driver – and worse if the driver is replaced with a scientist sporting impressive credentials to lend credence to his opinions that there is no scientific basis for finding his vehicle at fault – can we really expect justice?

The ‘devil in the details’ that most don’t appreciate until they have to go to court to be compensated for their loss, is that the cards are already stacked against them by a legislature and Supreme Court that are in the pockets of corporations. The end result is that justice is often elusive as legal pre-trial and trial barriers have been put in place – and thus the jury never sees very relevant evidence – resulting in the field of attorneys willing to take these cases being more limited. Attorneys fees and expert fees charged by witnesses are not recoverable from a jury and must be paid by the injured client, and if you now add in an entirely new set of experts talking science as a basis for avoiding liability, that case just got even more expensive and may end up never seeing the inside of a courtroom. And that is not justice.

 

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Healthcare Cheaters Pay, But Most Get Away With It

By David Kennedy | June 14, 2017 | 0 Comments

The owner of Apple of Your Eye Healthcare Services, Inc., Wilbert James Veasey, Jr. of Dallas, Texas, was sentenced in federal court on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, to 210 months in prison. Not insignificantly, he was also ordered to pay $23,123,897.18 in restitution to Medicare. I emphasize that figure so that it might soak in just how easy it is to become a millionaire at the expense of taxpayers. I must emphasize equally, however, that you shouldn’t fall for the tired arguments that social safety nets for the poor and vulnerable – Medicare and Medicaid primarily – are to fault.

The scheme by which Veasey and several others became enriched – you can read about it here – was more grossly outward and brazen than what I am used to seeing. Right out of an episode of American Greed, these folks were all in on going door-to-door in neighborhoods, and literally enticed the homeless with Big Macs to become ‘patients’ with phantom illnesses. It never ceases to amaze me just how engrossed these con-artists can be in their illegal conspiracy, oblivious to the the obvious bad ending that looms just around the corner in all these cases.

What is not so apparent but I contend is much more costly to Medicare, Medicaid, and you and me, is what takes place in the healthcare industry in general. Medical ‘specialists’ have taken over our healthcare and seek reimbursement for so very, very many tests that turn up nothing; zilch; nada. On the other hand – and perhaps the biggest culprit – is the hospitals who have found a way to ‘code’ billing so as to ensure higher reimbursements so that a 45-minute visit to the E.R. for sprained ankle turns into a $2200 bill, and a routine 2-day surgery will top $100,000. If Medicare is involved, they will settle quickly that $100,000 bill for $12,000. Why? Because that is really what it was worth and they know it.

I have represented the elderly and their families in nursing home abuse cases for over 20 years. Not once – and I am not exaggerating – not once have I reviewed a file that did not contain charting fraud. Most every resident is either Medicare and/or Medicaid, and these facilities routinely cheat. I’ve seen them bill for physical therapy on someone who is bedridden. I have reviewed files where they bathed dead people, i.e. they billed for bathing when in fact they were dead. There is no end to what I can list in the way they cheat. And, that means they are cheating me and you!

So, be vigilant to review billing and question the need for tests, especially when your deductible has not been met – if you are fortunate enough to have healthcare coverage.

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Texting While Driving May Become Impossible

By David Kennedy | June 7, 2017 | 0 Comments

We all remember the recent accident that took the lives of thirteen church members returning home from a retreat in the Texas Hill Country. Reports were that the 20-year old driver of the pickup that crossed into their lane of traffic had been swerving for miles, and he apparently admitted to texting as being the cause of his drifting into oncoming traffic. Death by texting. It has now reached the stage of being an epidemic. But, help is on the way.

Texas has now joined some of its major cities – grudgingly as past Gov. Rick Perry vetoed previous efforts – and signed into law on June 5, 2017, a Statewide ban on texting while driving. The law includes a provision to pre-empt local ordinances that govern a driver’s ability to “read, write, or send an electronic message.” It is unclear whether this law will hinder the efforts of cities such as San Antonio and El Paso that already have such ordinances. Hopefully it will expand those efforts and add texting to the Code of Criminal Procedure subject to prosecution.

Bigger news, however, comes from the mother ship – Apple. It has announced a new iPhone feature will do away with the urge – and perhaps the ability – to even read a text while the auto is moving. The report says the Apple iOS 11 will have a “Do Not Disturb While Driving” feature to lock out notifications and texts, and will lock the screen to prevent certain apps from being used while driving. This sort of technology, and corporate america acting responsibly, is a game-changer.

For over thirty years I have represented those injured – and all too often the family members of those whose deaths were caused – by negligent act of others. On some occasions, liability would attach to the manufacturer of a product ‘similar’ to those of other manufacturers, but whose features were clearly negligently designed by failing to keep up with recognized safety technology. When Apple brings this to the market, others had better make similar changes or they could and most likely will be found by juries to be negligent in failing to take safety measures that can be easily adopted for new devices, or as modifications via apps on older models.

So, lets keep our fingers crossed – and away from our phones while driving – and hope Apple moves quickly. Lives depend on it.

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U.S. Regulations of Truck Industry Protect Us All

By David Kennedy | June 2, 2017 | 0 Comments

 

I read recently of a bus accident in the northern Philippines. Those passengers who were fortunate enough to survive the crash that sent the bus plunging out of control to the bottom of an 80-foot ravine, told rescuers of how the driver frantically and repeatedly stomped on the malfunctioning brakes to no avail. Twenty-nine people died and many more were seriously injured.

Many people in the U.S. love to complain about ‘big government’ and its regulatory power causing so many problems in their lives. Although one can almost certainly find a regulation that seems rather ridiculous and needs to be modified or eliminated, real-life stories of unnecessary death and destruction in other countries serves to embolden those of us who find most regulations of the auto industry to be not only necessary, but directly responsible for the prevention of these types of accidents.

It cannot be denied that the U.S. government regulations forced the auto industry to meet rigorous manufacturing standards, and forces daily those bus owners and operators of large vehicles to ensure that inspections and maintenance are compliant with identifiable standards designed to prevent accidents and the injuries and death that follow if not met. You won’t find these regulations in other countries. I obviously cannot conclude that our governmental regulations would have prevented this accident. But, I can most assuredly say that our governmental efforts go a long way to holding accountable those whose vehicles can bring a swift end to human life if involved in an accident.

According to the estimates released by the National Safety Council, 40,200 U.S. citizens died in accidents involving motor vehicles in 2016—a 6 percent increase from the prior year, and a stunning 14 percent increase over the last two years. Safety advocates are alarmed. Big rigs are without a doubt the greatest threat to turn an otherwise non-serious accident into one that results in death. Only the force of governmental regulations and the juries who are empowered to enforce them separate us from other countries when it comes to caring enough.

If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident – especially those involving trucks and large vehicles subject to specific regulations – the Law Office of David M. Kennedy may be able to help you. Please feel free to contact us.

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Fighting With Ghosts: Can A Jury Referee That Fight?

By David Kennedy | June 20, 2017 | 0 Comments

I see that the Texas Legislature has passed a law permitting driverless cars to operate on Texas roadways. As one who represents those involved in auto accidents, I am wondering how an accident with a driverless car would play out in a courtroom?

Let’s say you have an intersection accident with a driverless car where you will swear you had the right-of-way. Unless the corporation that has invested untold billions into their baby is willing to admit flaws, you may be locked in battle with one well-financed defendant that will unleash engineers to swear it was you – and not their invention – that was at fault. I am laying odds that cases involving these driverless vehicles just got a whole lot more expensive. You can also bet they just got a lot more difficult to win for the average Joe.

In most cases – whether minor injuries or death – the one of a very few advantages the injured party’s lawyer has is the ability to have the defendant testify in front of a jury. Juries can see the demeanor of the witness, evaluate his/her veracity, and decide the case accordingly. When the case is a swearing match without witnesses, this is a very important benefit to justice. So, if that right is taken away because the other vehicle has no driver – and worse if the driver is replaced with a scientist sporting impressive credentials to lend credence to his opinions that there is no scientific basis for finding his vehicle at fault – can we really expect justice?

The ‘devil in the details’ that most don’t appreciate until they have to go to court to be compensated for their loss, is that the cards are already stacked against them by a legislature and Supreme Court that are in the pockets of corporations. The end result is that justice is often elusive as legal pre-trial and trial barriers have been put in place – and thus the jury never sees very relevant evidence – resulting in the field of attorneys willing to take these cases being more limited. Attorneys fees and expert fees charged by witnesses are not recoverable from a jury and must be paid by the injured client, and if you now add in an entirely new set of experts talking science as a basis for avoiding liability, that case just got even more expensive and may end up never seeing the inside of a courtroom. And that is not justice.

 

Click To Add Comment

Healthcare Cheaters Pay, But Most Get Away With It

By David Kennedy | June 14, 2017 | 0 Comments

The owner of Apple of Your Eye Healthcare Services, Inc., Wilbert James Veasey, Jr. of Dallas, Texas, was sentenced in federal court on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, to 210 months in prison. Not insignificantly, he was also ordered to pay $23,123,897.18 in restitution to Medicare. I emphasize that figure so that it might soak in just how easy it is to become a millionaire at the expense of taxpayers. I must emphasize equally, however, that you shouldn’t fall for the tired arguments that social safety nets for the poor and vulnerable – Medicare and Medicaid primarily – are to fault.

The scheme by which Veasey and several others became enriched – you can read about it here – was more grossly outward and brazen than what I am used to seeing. Right out of an episode of American Greed, these folks were all in on going door-to-door in neighborhoods, and literally enticed the homeless with Big Macs to become ‘patients’ with phantom illnesses. It never ceases to amaze me just how engrossed these con-artists can be in their illegal conspiracy, oblivious to the the obvious bad ending that looms just around the corner in all these cases.

What is not so apparent but I contend is much more costly to Medicare, Medicaid, and you and me, is what takes place in the healthcare industry in general. Medical ‘specialists’ have taken over our healthcare and seek reimbursement for so very, very many tests that turn up nothing; zilch; nada. On the other hand – and perhaps the biggest culprit – is the hospitals who have found a way to ‘code’ billing so as to ensure higher reimbursements so that a 45-minute visit to the E.R. for sprained ankle turns into a $2200 bill, and a routine 2-day surgery will top $100,000. If Medicare is involved, they will settle quickly that $100,000 bill for $12,000. Why? Because that is really what it was worth and they know it.

I have represented the elderly and their families in nursing home abuse cases for over 20 years. Not once – and I am not exaggerating – not once have I reviewed a file that did not contain charting fraud. Most every resident is either Medicare and/or Medicaid, and these facilities routinely cheat. I’ve seen them bill for physical therapy on someone who is bedridden. I have reviewed files where they bathed dead people, i.e. they billed for bathing when in fact they were dead. There is no end to what I can list in the way they cheat. And, that means they are cheating me and you!

So, be vigilant to review billing and question the need for tests, especially when your deductible has not been met – if you are fortunate enough to have healthcare coverage.

Click To Add Comment

Texting While Driving May Become Impossible

By David Kennedy | June 7, 2017 | 0 Comments

We all remember the recent accident that took the lives of thirteen church members returning home from a retreat in the Texas Hill Country. Reports were that the 20-year old driver of the pickup that crossed into their lane of traffic had been swerving for miles, and he apparently admitted to texting as being the cause of his drifting into oncoming traffic. Death by texting. It has now reached the stage of being an epidemic. But, help is on the way.

Texas has now joined some of its major cities – grudgingly as past Gov. Rick Perry vetoed previous efforts – and signed into law on June 5, 2017, a Statewide ban on texting while driving. The law includes a provision to pre-empt local ordinances that govern a driver’s ability to “read, write, or send an electronic message.” It is unclear whether this law will hinder the efforts of cities such as San Antonio and El Paso that already have such ordinances. Hopefully it will expand those efforts and add texting to the Code of Criminal Procedure subject to prosecution.

Bigger news, however, comes from the mother ship – Apple. It has announced a new iPhone feature will do away with the urge – and perhaps the ability – to even read a text while the auto is moving. The report says the Apple iOS 11 will have a “Do Not Disturb While Driving” feature to lock out notifications and texts, and will lock the screen to prevent certain apps from being used while driving. This sort of technology, and corporate america acting responsibly, is a game-changer.

For over thirty years I have represented those injured – and all too often the family members of those whose deaths were caused – by negligent act of others. On some occasions, liability would attach to the manufacturer of a product ‘similar’ to those of other manufacturers, but whose features were clearly negligently designed by failing to keep up with recognized safety technology. When Apple brings this to the market, others had better make similar changes or they could and most likely will be found by juries to be negligent in failing to take safety measures that can be easily adopted for new devices, or as modifications via apps on older models.

So, lets keep our fingers crossed – and away from our phones while driving – and hope Apple moves quickly. Lives depend on it.

Click To Add Comment

U.S. Regulations of Truck Industry Protect Us All

By David Kennedy | June 2, 2017 | 0 Comments

 

I read recently of a bus accident in the northern Philippines. Those passengers who were fortunate enough to survive the crash that sent the bus plunging out of control to the bottom of an 80-foot ravine, told rescuers of how the driver frantically and repeatedly stomped on the malfunctioning brakes to no avail. Twenty-nine people died and many more were seriously injured.

Many people in the U.S. love to complain about ‘big government’ and its regulatory power causing so many problems in their lives. Although one can almost certainly find a regulation that seems rather ridiculous and needs to be modified or eliminated, real-life stories of unnecessary death and destruction in other countries serves to embolden those of us who find most regulations of the auto industry to be not only necessary, but directly responsible for the prevention of these types of accidents.

It cannot be denied that the U.S. government regulations forced the auto industry to meet rigorous manufacturing standards, and forces daily those bus owners and operators of large vehicles to ensure that inspections and maintenance are compliant with identifiable standards designed to prevent accidents and the injuries and death that follow if not met. You won’t find these regulations in other countries. I obviously cannot conclude that our governmental regulations would have prevented this accident. But, I can most assuredly say that our governmental efforts go a long way to holding accountable those whose vehicles can bring a swift end to human life if involved in an accident.

According to the estimates released by the National Safety Council, 40,200 U.S. citizens died in accidents involving motor vehicles in 2016—a 6 percent increase from the prior year, and a stunning 14 percent increase over the last two years. Safety advocates are alarmed. Big rigs are without a doubt the greatest threat to turn an otherwise non-serious accident into one that results in death. Only the force of governmental regulations and the juries who are empowered to enforce them separate us from other countries when it comes to caring enough.

If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident – especially those involving trucks and large vehicles subject to specific regulations – the Law Office of David M. Kennedy may be able to help you. Please feel free to contact us.

Click To Add Comment

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