When are Pharmacy Errors Considered Malpractice?

Alexander Pope, an 18th century English poet, said “To err is human; to forgive, divine.” That may be true, but it’s difficult to forgive someone when their error causes serious damage.

pharmacy errorsIn the healthcare industry, human error has become one of the leading causes of death, and people in hospitals now refer to serious mistakes as “nevers” which means they are never supposed to happen. There are lots of checks and balances, and yet people are still harmed and killed by “nevers.”

With prescription medications, these mistakes can happen in the hospital, in your doctor’s office, and in your local pharmacy. When does a “never” mistake become malpractice? Malpractice is defined as improper, illegal, or negligent professional activity or treatment, especially by a medical practitioner, lawyer, or public official. These are people who are held to a higher standard by the legal system due to their level of education, training, and the vital nature of their work. If you order a steak medium-rare but they cook it until it’s black, that’s not malpractice. Just a mistake.

Read more “When are Pharmacy Errors Considered Malpractice?”

Fort Lauderdale Accident Lawyer

What Does Florida PIP Insurance Cover? What Isn’t Covered?

Many People are Unaware What “Basic Coverage” Means

Fort Lauderdale Accident LawyerI recently had a conversation with young woman who was working at Starbuck’s. She was forlorn because of an auto accident she had on the way to work and said that her car would be in the shop for several days. She wondered aloud about getting a rental car while she was without her car, and I told her it would depend on her insurance. She said “I have PIP.”

I didn’t want to tell her that she would likely be getting a ride to work for a while because she was having a bad day already, but PIP coverage does not provide rental cars for drivers while their cars are being repaired. In fact PIP does not cover repairs. PIP stands for “personal injury protection” and covers medical expenses.

So many drivers are unaware of the facts as they pertain to auto insurance, we would like to help with some basic facts.

The 2016 Florida Statutes, Chapter 627, Section 736 is titled: Required personal injury protection benefits; exclusions; priority; claims – and you may read the section by clicking here.

Some basic information about PIP:

·         If you are a resident of Florida and you own a motor vehicle, you are required to purchase PIP. If you are a resident of Florida and own a motor vehicle, you are required to purchase PIP.  You are covered by PIP if you are the named insured.  You, the insured, are covered by PIP while driving your vehicle or when a passenger in another’s vehicle.  You are also covered while outside a motor vehicle if struck and injured by a motor vehicle.

·         Resident relatives who live with you, the insured, may be covered by your PIP benefits while they are driving your car, as passengers in your or another’s car, and while pedestrians if struck and injured by a motor vehicle.

·         Others who are injured while driving your insured motor vehicle or who are injured while a passenger in your insured motor vehicle or who are injured as a pedestrian when struck by your insured motor vehicle may be covered by your PIP.

·         If you or your insured relatives living with you are injured while outside Florida, and are in your insured motor vehicle, you and your insured relatives are covered under PIP as long as the injury occurs within the United States, its territories or possessions, or in Canada.

It is prudent to visit with an insurance agent and take the time to discuss exactly what you expect from your automobile insurance before you buy it. Benefits like towing, repair, and rental cars are certainly worthwhile but they cost more.

PIP usually covers $10,000 of medical expenses and many injuries sustained in accidents exceed that amount.

The Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus has been helping Floridians injured in automobile, truck, and motorcycle accidents for more than 20 years as qualified accident attorneys. We are committed to provide everyone with the information you need to stay as safe as possible, and to have the information you need to make informed decisions.

We are available to meet with you if you’ve been involved in an accident, and you may contact us by calling 954-356-0006 to arrange a free consultation.
Click here to view our contact page where you may request that we contact you online.

Why Cars and Trucks Collide

If We Understand Why Crashes Happen, We Can Take Steps to Avoid Them

Americans love to drive. Perhaps no invention affected American everyday life in the 20th century more than the automobile.

Although the technology for the automobile existed in the 19th century, it took Henry Ford to make the useful gadget accessible to the American public. Ford used the idea of the assembly line for automobile manufacturing. He paid his workers an unprecedented $5 a day when most laborers were bringing home two, hoping that it would increase their productivity. Furthermore, they might use their higher earnings to purchase a new car.

highway-trucksAnd so the love affair between Americans and their cars began. Even when new mass-transit systems are designed and constructed for travelers and commuters, large numbers of people prefer to drive on their own.

The creation of the interstate highway system not only allowed people to travel long distances in their cars, it permitted the cross-country delivery of goods by large commercial trucks. The blend of cars and trucks on the same roads has created the inevitable problem of collisions between the two, and these collisions often have deadly consequences.

Sharing the Road

The reason car vs. truck collisions are so devastating is simple physics. Passenger cars gained about 414 pounds in 26 years. In 1980, the average weight for passenger cars was 3,041 pounds, but it rose to 3,455 pounds by 2006.

The average weight of an 18-wheel tractor trailer on the road in the U.S. is 80,000 pounds.

When crash investigators examine what causes accidents, they look at the “critical reason” and the “associated factors” – two different things. For example, if a deer ran out in front of your car and you hit it, that would be the critical reason for the crash. However, an associated factor may be that it was raining and that caused you to not see the poor animal.

Some Statistics

For cars and trucks these are the critical reasons for crashes:

Trucks Cars
Non-Performance (sleep, sick) 3% 16%
Recognition (inattention) 35% 30%
Decision (speed, aggressive) 42% 24%
Performance (overcompensate) 7% 19%
Vehicle (brakes, tires, lights) 8% 4%
Environment (roadway, weather) 4% 3%
Unknown 1% 1%
Total 100% 100%

These are some of the associated factors – note that there can be more than one, so the totals exceed 100%:

Factors Trucks Cars
Brake problems 27% 2%
Traffic flow interrupted 25% 25%
Stop required before crash 21% 6%
Unfamiliarity with roadway 19% 10%
Inadequate surveillance 16% 14%
Traveling too fast for conditions 15% 11%
Illegal maneuver 12% 18%
Felt under work pressure 10% 3%
Distraction (Internal or External) 10% 10%
Inattention 9% 9%
Fatigue 7% 15%
False Assumption 6% 3%
Cargo Shift 1% NA
Illegal drugs 0.40%  3%
Alcohol use 0.30% 9%

You don’t have to be a government expert on traffic safety to notice a few interesting things. First of all, it seems that brakes on trucks are a big problem, and/or trucks need to reduce their speed. Also, it seems that alcohol and drug use is not a common cause for crashes among truckers. Passenger vehicle drivers still have some work to do on that issue.

If you drive a passenger vehicle, please pay attention to the fact that lack of rest is a big issue in crashes, as is lack of attention (which includes texting). Make a conscientious decision to eliminate those from being possible while you are driving, and you have significantly increased your chances of having a longer life.

Truckers, maintain your trucks. Try to avoid stress from the pressures of deadlines and competition. It’s understandable that you want to rush, but is it worth your life, or the lives of others?

Accidents involving truck have many special issues associated with them, and the Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus has reserved a major part of their practice to this complex arena. If you or someone you know has been involved in a crash involving a truck, we would be happy to sit down and discuss your situation. You may reach Gary or Arleen Lazarus by calling 954-356-0006.

Florida Accident Attorney

Social Media and Accident Cases

Be Very Careful After an Accident – LOL may become an OMG

You’ve been in a car accident. You’re shaken up, but fortunately you’re not hurt badly. You think the same about the people in the other car.

The next day you share the details with everyone on social media. You post pictures from the scene, your thoughts about what happened, and you even comment about the nice-looking police officer who came to the accident. It all seems harmless and kind of funny.

Florida Accident AttorneyTwo days later you get word that someone in the other car is actually injured far more seriously than you thought, and you realize it might be better if some of the things you posted on the internet remained private. Quickly you delete everything you posted and you’re all in the clear. Right?

That’s not entirely accurate.

In today’s high-tech world not only are the images and text messages you deleted still somewhere on your computer or smart-phone, they’re on your friend’s devices as well. They’re also in a place known as “the cloud” which means they are now part of a virtual world where they can be accessed by almost anyone. Forever.

Electronically stored information, or ESI, is a very significant part of almost every legal case today. Nothing is ever really deleted, and through a process known as legal discovery your pictures, emails, and text messages can be recovered and used as evidence in a court of law. There are companies that specialize in extracting ESI and they are very proficient.

Everyone has a duty and a legal responsibility to be forthcoming and to tell the truth when speaking with a police officer or when giving statements under oath. However, no one has to publish potentially damaging evidence across the internet for the whole world to see.

There are real-life examples of people who doomed their court cases and settlements because of things they posted online. Insurance companies will do everything and anything they can to avoid paying damages and they will scour the internet trying to find something incriminating related to a victim who is completely innocent of any negligence in a personal injury case.

In the time gap between an accident and your first phone call to an attorney, it’s in your best interest to remain silent.

Securing the counsel of a qualified attorney after any accident is a very prudent decision. Your attorney can advise you on your rights as well as your responsibilities pertaining not only to your injuries and/or damages, but your right to not self-incriminate.

Personal Injury Experts

These are complex areas of law, and the Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus is very experienced with social media as it relates to personal injury cases. Calling 954-356-0006 immediately after you are involved in any accident or personal injury incident will put you in touch with Gary and Arleen Lazarus, who have been advising victims for over 23 years.

Florida’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Database Opens to More Online Users

Program is Intended to Reduce Abuse of Controlled Substances

When Florida’s famous “pill mills” were pushing out dangerous medications to patients with addictions, advocates for better medical records pushed for a central database to track prescriptions for controlled substances. The result was the 2009 Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) and most health-care professionals believe it has been a success.

Close-up of the Rx prescription symbol on a computer keyboard.

One of the drawbacks of the program has been the restrictions placed on who can actually access the system to input records, and view existing information. These restrictions specified that only physicians, pharmacists, and certain other practitioner s were able to actually access the system, not pharmacy techs or office personnel in doctor’s offices. The limits were put in place for good reason, as confidentiality is crucial to patient rights, but often the doctors and pharmacists are so busy that they lack the time to properly run the system as intended.

Often this blog has covered the high-volume of work placed on pharmacists as a contributing factor in the increasing number of prescription errors, and so this change may turn out to be a good one, time will tell.

Last month, the Florida Legislature passed Senate Bill 964, which changes who may access the database.  Currently only pharmacists and prescribers, such as physicians, dentists, and nurse practitioners, are authorized to access and submit reports to the database. Beginning July 1, 2016 the new law will specifically allow designees working on behalf of pharmacists and prescribers to check the database and submit reports.  This change is intended to improve compliance by making it easier for busy pharmacists and prescribers to delegate reporting activities to their staff.

While the PDMP is a good idea in principal, it applies only to controlled substances such as powerful painkillers and will not prevent patients from having drug interactions with their normal medications. It is very important for all patients to take time to discuss all their medications with their doctors and pharmacists. If you don’t understand something, ask.

The Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus has been representing victims of prescription medication errors and negligence for over 20 years. In that time the number of drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has increased by over 3000, which makes this area of law extremely complex. Gary and Arleen Lazarus remain highly proficient and are eminently qualified to represent victims of prescription errors, and their office is dedicated to protecting the rights of victims. Calling 954-356-0006 will put you in touch with their caring staff.

Are You Safe Riding with Uber in Florida?

Issues Regarding Insurance and Licensing Have Politicians Busy Deciding Their Future

It seems everyone these days is doing the Uber. Using Uber saves money over traditional taxi cabs and the service offers an opportunity to people with a car to make extra money. A win-win for everyone, right?

That’s not entirely accurate. Several issues have arisen over the past few years as Uber has grown from an idea to a multi-billion dollar enterprise in just 7 years.

Uber Technologies Inc. is an American multinational online transportation network company headquartered in San Francisco, California. It develops, markets and operates the Uber mobile app, which allows consumers with smartphones to submit a trip request which is then routed to Uber drivers who use their own cars. As of April 12, 2016, the service was available in over 60 countries and 404 cities worldwide. Since Uber’s launch, several other companies have copied its business model, a trend that has come to be referred to as “Uberification.”

In Florida, state, county, and municipal governments are challenging Uber’s right to operate due to unfair competition with traditional taxi companies, who must be licensed. Another big issue is insurance, and that is the main topic for this article.

Florida Auto Liability Insurance

The minimum requirement for auto insurance in Florida for a personal vehicle is $10,000 personal injury protection (PIP) and $10,000 property damage liability (PDL). If you have been in a crash or convicted of certain offenses, the Florida DMV can request you purchase additional auto insurance coverage such as bodily injury liability coverage (BIL).

A taxi must carry Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) coverage of $125,000 per person, $250,000 per occurrence and $50,000 for property damage liability (PDL) coverage.

An Uber driver must do what? This is where it gets murky.

Government Regulation

Broward County commissioners have been up, down, and all around when trying to get a permanent solution to ride-share services regulation. The Sun-Sentinel reported that the last time commissioners tried to regulate Uber, they got “Ubered” — the new word for politically clobbered — for going after laws that Uber called too onerous. The result is that in Broward, Uber is now largely free to police itself concerning drivers’ backgrounds, insurance coverage and condition of vehicles. Palm Beach County is still working on an ordinance. Miami-Dade, too.

However, as a result of Florida’s regulation of taxi cabs, many companies now regard their drivers as independent contractors. This means that cab drivers may own or lease their vehicles and are responsible for providing their own liability insurance. If a cab driver is accused of negligence, a cab company can distance themselves in an attempt to circumvent any liability.

Uber_Car_Murano
Miami Herald

There is this recent headline from the Miami Herald: “Uber Faces Lawsuit After Nurse Suffers Brain Damage in Miami Beach Crash,” and certainly this kind of tragedy needs to be carefully examined to make sure the victims are cared for physically, emotionally, and financially.

So, the question “are you safe in an Uber car?” has no definitive answer. Everyone must make a decision based on their own situation, but we would recommend everyone ask questions and be aware.

Trust the Legal Experts

The Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus has been assisting victims of serious auto accidents for over 20 years in south Florida. We have the experience, compassion, and commitment to represent you if you are ever involved in any accident and to sort out who is liable for your injuries and damages. Please reach out to us at 954-360-0006 and ask for a consultation with Gary or Arleen Lazarus. We will listen to you, and all communications are completely confidential.

The Principles of Physics Make Truck Accidents More Devastating

Can a Fly Really Fly 500 Miles Per Hour?

I recall having a conversation with a friend once about a fly on an airplane. The man said that he was bothered by a fly that had somehow made its way onto an airplane he was traveling on and he expressed that it annoyed him the whole trip. Then he pondered “if the fly was on his shoulder, and flew forward six rows to bother someone else, was that fly actually flying as fast as he plane?”

This conversation took place at a party where perhaps my friend had consumed an adult beverage or two so he wasn’t necessarily all there. A fly cannot travel 500 miles per hour under its own power, nor can my friend. Both were actually experiencing Newton’s First Law of Motion: An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

You feel acceleration when the plane takes off and then when it reaches a constant speed, you feel no sense of speed at all.

This applies to a motor vehicle as well, when you’re traveling 75 miles per hour in a 3000 pound car on the highway, talking to others in the car, sipping a Starbucks and listening to music. All seems peaceful and at rest, when in reality you are part of a very powerful force with tremendous potential energy.

Force is defined by another of Newton’s Laws – he made laws, but he wasn’t a lawyer, imagine that – and this is the law that relates directly to the damage that is done in a vehicle accident.

The Law is stated F=ma or the Force of an object is equal to mass X acceleration. We don’t want to get very technical here, but it is important to understand the very real potential for tremendous damage when a vehicle you drive impacts another vehicle or object. And the larger the vehicle, the more damage.

When you’re driving a fully loaded SUV, you’re driving a truck. The average weight of a Cadillac Escalade is 5,552 to 5,815 lbs. The weight of an average Toyota Corolla is 2,800 to 2,875 lbs. When you plug those numbers into the Force equation there is a big difference in the effects on vehicles, property, and human bodies. All vehicles can be dangerous but trucks require even more caution.

We are only a little over 3 months into the year, and already in Florida (all vehicles) the numbers are very disturbing:

 

Total Crashes:                                    91,700

Injury Crashes:                                  38,617

Total Injuries:                                    59,310

Crashes with Traffic Fatalities:    580

Total Traffic Fatalities                     626

Commercial Vehicle Crashes:      9,475

Commercial Vehicles:                     10,262

Property Damage Crashes:          52,503

Pedestrian Crashes:                        2,203

Pedestrian Fatalities:                      128

Bicycle Crashes:                                                1,536

Bicycle Fatalities:                              31

 

 

It’s very important to be ever-vigilant of the incredible power that rests in your hands when operating any vehicle. Buckle up, be cautious, and never drink and drive.

If you are involved in an accident, it’s prudent to contact an attorney who has experience dealing with the aftermath and injuries involved. The Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus has been helping the victims of vehicle crash injuries for over 20 years. They are eminently qualified to guide you through the legal and medical issues you may be facing. Call Gary and Arleen Lazarus at 954-356-0006.