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Nurses facing more medical malpractice lawsuits

When people in New York think of medical malpractice, their first thought may be of doctors, especially surgeons. While the media may emphasize the frequency of physicians, plastic surgeons and anesthesiologists who are accused of errors and oversights that cause injury to their patients, another group of medical professionals is also at risk of such claims. The number of nurses accused of medical malpractice is climbing.

More doctors than nurses face malpractice lawsuits. However, this does not mean nurses should not be concerned. In the past eight years, malpractice insurance payouts for nurses have increased 30 percent, and those patients receiving settlements of more than $500,000 increased from 8 percent to 18 percent. The highest payouts went to patients who claimed to be victims of malpractice at the hands of emergency room nurses and nurses working in neonatal units and women's health practices.

Video assists with truck accident defense

Most every New York truck driver understands the reputation truckers have among drivers of smaller vehicles. Often seen as the bullies of the highway, tractor-trailers are quick to catch blame for accidents, especially if there are injuries or fatalities involved. Trucks are an easy target, with their size and weight contributing to the damages that may result. However, fleet owners and managers are looking to technology to help them with truck accident defense.

Despite the bad press, an independent study shows that 80 percent of accidents involving big rigs may be caused by car drivers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration blames truckers for speeding, making unsafe lane changes and failing to yield, which contribute to many accidents. Fleet owners are now fighting this reputation by installing forward- and driver-facing video cameras on their trucks.

A New York accident may involve in uninsured motorist

Those who drive in New York know that it is no walk in the park. Local drivers do not need studies and statistics to know how dangerous and frustrating it can be to try to reach one's destination by car. However, this commute may be even more frightening when a motorist discovers that the driver responsible for his or her accident is an uninsured motorist.

All but one state require motorists to carry basic liability insurance, which covers any damage or injuries that occur when a driver is at fault in an accident. Additionally, most states levy severe fines for those who drive without insurance coverage, and the driver will likely have his or her license and registration suspended. Nevertheless, nearly 14 percent of drivers in New York have no insurance. This number often increases when economic times get difficult.

Insurance company may not cover work-related accidents

It is not uncommon for those who purchase insurance coverage in New York to be shocked when a claim on the policy is denied. Many think the insurance company is acting in bad faith or is somehow deceiving them, but often, the truth is simply that the customer did not read the policy or ask important questions when purchasing the coverage. Customers may think they can save money on a policy by keeping information from the insurer, or they may simply fail to understand the exclusions in their policies.

One example of this occurred in another state when a woman's 26-year-old son was in an accident while driving her car around 3 a.m. one Saturday morning. The accident was a hit-and-run, and no one witnessed when another vehicle allegedly made a wide turn and collided with the woman's car, severely damaging the car and inflicting a deep cut on the son's arm, which required stitches. The woman submitted her claim to her insurance company and was incensed when the company refused to pay.

How bankruptcy can help your tax or student loan debts

Many types of debts can be discharged or reduced in bankruptcies. For example, your credit card debts and medical debts can be cleared in many cases.

However, as you may be aware, there is little hope that your student loan debts, tax debts and certain other types of debts such as child support obligations will get discharged. Does that mean you should not bother to try for bankruptcy if some or most of your debt is of a kind that is nondischargeable? The answer depends on your particular situation, but in some circumstances, bankruptcy can still make a lot of sense.

Insurance company may deny claims when applicants lie

Telling a white lie every now and then is something most everyone does. After all, New York may not be a very pleasant place to live if everyone told the harsh truth. Nevertheless, there are certain circumstances under which one should always be entirely truthful. One of those is when dealing with an insurance company. Customers may not realize the importance of being entirely truthful if they expect their claims to be covered.

An insurance claim based on a policy purchased with false information will likely be denied. Customers place their coverage at risk by providing untrue answers to questions on their policy applications. For example, when purchasing homeowner's insurance, a customer will likely need to identify the people who will live in the home. If the home is not intended for a primary residence, it will require a different kind of coverage. Lying about who will occupy the home may leave a customer unprotected in certain circumstances.

Patients want doctors to speak honestly about medical errors

Medical errors are a great concern, and some studies show that the rate of such incidents may be on the rise. While many mistakes are caught and corrected quickly before harm is done, some patients suffer terrible injuries or even lose their lives from problems following a medical procedure. In some cases, the injury could have been prevented through proper protocol, but in many situations, New York doctors could not have foreseen the complications. However, a new study shows that injured patients have very simple demands following such mistakes.

A very small study focused on interviewing patients at three hospitals across the country and found that most patients only want doctors to be human in the event of a medical error. Whereas a doctor may be tempted to deny any wrongdoing or cover up the accident with silence, patients appreciate more open communication. In fact, the most important things an injured patient or surviving family members want to know are that the doctor understands their points of view and that the hospital is taking steps to prevent similar mistakes in the future.

Collision warning sensors may prevent truck accidents

There is no denying that tractor-trailers are involved in many accidents each year and that those accidents often result in catastrophic injuries. In fact, in 2015, over 4,000 people died in accidents with large trucks, and more than 116,000 people suffered injuries, according to a recent AAA report. However, the agency's Foundation for Traffic Safety also predicts that many future casualties can be averted if more trucks are equipped with collision warning sensors and other safety technologies.

Driving in New York is a challenge, and the presence of large trucks can complicate an already hairy drive. A survey of drivers nationwide confirms that 61 percent feel endangered when they must drive with tractor-trailers on the highway. Some of the factors that cause this anxiety include the enormous size and weight of some trucks and the fact that they have such large blind spots. Having advanced safety technology in those trucks may put a lot of drivers at ease.

How to handle credit card debt after you have lost your job

Credit card debt plagues numerous American households. In fact, a report from CNBC shows that the average family in America has over $8,000 worth of credit card debt. For some families, that number can be much higher. 

It is tough enough to pay off this debt when you have a job. It can seem almost impossible if you lose your job. Many people assume filing for bankruptcy is the only option at this point, but there are other steps to take first and other debt relief options to consider.

Bill seeks insurance company discount for dash cams

Law enforcement agencies have long known the benefits of dashboard cameras. Cameras record interaction between officers and citizens and provide evidence of violations on the part of the citizen as well as police. However, more than one car insurance company overseas recently began offering discounts to customers who install dash cams in their cars. Lawmakers in New York want to see this happen in the United States.

Some point out that, even if legislation requiring such discounts does not pass, the installation of a dash cam may benefit drivers anyway. Many dash cam models are relatively inexpensive, but they may save the customer -- and the insurance provider -- money by providing evidence of any wrongdoing that resulted in damage to one's vehicle. For example, a dash cam could capture footage of a deer running in front of one's car or limbs from a neighbor's tree falling on one's vehicle.

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