Category: Medical Legal

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Increasing Pedestrian Injuries & Deaths in the United States

For the second straight year, U.S. pedestrian deaths are setting alarming new records. The number of pedestrians killed on U.S. roads rose a projected 11 percent between 2015 and 2016, the largest year-to-year increase on record, according to a new Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) report.

During the first six months of 2016, preliminary data show 2,660 pedestrian deaths nationwide, compared to 2,486 for the same period during 2015. The year-long projection is based on those numbers. The report also projects a 22 percent rise in pedestrian deaths from 2014. Both estimates are sharply higher than the 9 percent increase in pedestrian deaths between 2014 and 2015.

“This is the second year in a row that we have seen unprecedented increases in pedestrian fatalities, which is both sad and alarming,” said report author Richard Retting, who’s with Sam Schwartz Transportation Consultants.

“It is critical that the highway safety community understand these disturbing statistics

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Health Clinic Owner Pleads Guilty to Workers’ Comp Fraud

The owner of a Houston health clinic pled guilty to insurance fraud after billing for medical services – often provided to injured employees – despite having no licensed medical staff at the clinic. Instead, investigators found that the clinic was using foreign medical students to provide care.

Rosemary Phelan, the owner of Rose’s Houston Healthcare Clinic, entered a guilty plea in Harris County Court and was sentenced to seven years deferred adjudication and ordered to pay $88,000 in restitution.

A joint investigation by the Texas Department of Insurance Division of Workers’ Compensation and Texas Mutual Insurance Company revealed that Phelan’s clinic had no licensed medical providers on staff yet continued to accept patients. She would then file fraudulent workers’ compensation claims to collect from insurers.

According to investigators, the clinic had a licensed doctor on staff at one time. When that doctor left in 2012, Phelan began hiring foreign medical stude

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Texas Has the Lowest Workers’ Comp Rates

Texas has some of the nation’s most affordable workers’ compensation coverage, according to a 2016 study, which found that the Lone Star State had the 10th lowest rates among all states.

The study by the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services ranks all 50 states and Washington, D.C., based on premium rates that were in effect January 1, 2016. Texas, with premiums at $1.45 per $100 of payroll, ranked No. 10, four spots higher than the previous study in 2014.

“It’s great to see evidence of the progress we’ve made in affordability,” said Texas Commissioner of Workers’ Compensation Ryan Brannan. “Lower injury rates, better return-to-work outcomes for injured employees, and reduced medical costs per claim are a big factor, but the results of the Oregon study are also proof that we’re becoming more efficient, proactive, and transparent.”

Texas Workers’ Compensation Rates

Texas’ workers’ compensation premium rates are about 21 percent lowe

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Workers’ Compensation: Hosting an Annual Texas Safety Summit

Texas employers are invited to join the Division of Workers’ Compensation in Austin for the Texas Safety Summit on May 9-11. The 21st annual workplace safety and health conference offers important information for everyone who plays a role in safeguarding employees, from the beginner to the seasoned safety professional.

Employers will hear from top safety experts about some of the most critical safety and health issues facing Texas businesses. Attendees will learn practical tools and techniques to use in their workplaces to better protect their employees.

“The Safety Summit is a proactive way for us to help Texas businesses,” says Commissioner of Workers’ Compensation, Ryan Brannan. “Not only does it help foster a positive safety culture for your company and its employees, it ultimately helps reduce costs associated with on-the-job injuries and illnesses.”

What to Expect

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Doctors speak out on personal injury lawsuit ads in Texas

A group of Texas doctors are speaking out against personal injury lawsuit ads after a statewide study found an alarming number of physicians are increasingly concerned about legal advertisements targeting their patients for medical lawsuits.

Conducted on behalf of the Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse (TALA) organization, researchers found that more than eight in ten doctors across the state now believe some of the ads can lead patients to stop taking their medications as prescribed to them by their doctors.

Physicians also expressed concern that at least some of the advertisements can be misperceived as factual, medical information, even ultimately steering patients away from their doctors to lawyers for medical advice.  

One of those taking the strongest stand is Dr. Christine L. Canterbury, an Obstetrics & Gynecology specialist at the Corpus Christi Women’s Clinic and president of the Bay City Area Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse organizatio