Archive for November, 2009

Is It Worth it to File a Malpractice Claim?

Saturday, November 28th, 2009

When you are injured, getting a legal claim filed is not always the first thing on your mind. But this is one area that it seems the lawyers descend like vultures on anyone who is injured in any way at all. This is one way that the legal profession gets such a bad reputation. Seeing all of those “ambulance chasers” and lawyers trying to talk us into filing malpractice claims on television is not a dignified way to portray any profession.

This whole area of malpractice can be pretty confusing to those of us outside of both the legal and the medical professions. But in a strict sense of the word, it may be something looking into if there is a clear case where a doctor either did not do their job or did it so poorly that it caused you additional pain and suffering or injury.

In that kind of situation, you may incur lots of additional medical expenses getting qualified help from an injury caused by a doctor who just didn’t do his or her job right. So it seems only right that the malpractice laws would be there to protect us from being victimized by doctors who were not doing their best to make you better.

The problem is, when it comes to using the malpractice laws to seek some satisfaction for a bad medical situation, it can get quite confusing. The first thing that might help get some definition of what constitutes malpractice is to understand the categories. There are five general types of medical error or “malfeasance” that can throw your case into the category of malpractice. It might be malpractice?

* If the doctor is not able to diagnose your illness or does so incorrectly.
* If the doctor or medical facility is too slow in providing medical care resulting in further medical problems for you.
* If the doctor fails to perform a medical procedure that is what you need to recover from injury or illness.
* If mistakes were made in prescribing the right medication or prescribing medication that is harmful to you.
* If the doctor fails to explain what needs to be done or is negligent in warning you of negative side effects of your treatment.

If you have suffered any kind of negative outcome that is directly related to your medical treatment on top of your original problem, it’s not too hard to fit what happened to you into this category. If you are a genuine victim of medical malpractice, identifying that is not always the most difficult part of the problem though. The most difficult part may be deciding what to do about it.

This is where that “ambulance chaser” aspect of the legal profession can be as much trouble as they can be of help. To make a decision about whether the potential outcome of a malpractice suit is worth the effort, you need a nonbiased viewpoint and advice based on the extent of your grievance and injury and how much you need the resolution to continue your recovery. When a lawyer or law firm pursues you so relentlessly to get a malpractice lawsuit going or they advertise to get that kind of business, you get the idea they are not looking after your best interest but their own.

Whatever they try to tell you, malpractice legal actions are not as easy to win as they might seem. There is a lot of burden or proof. So if you feel you have a case, the best thing is to work with legal advisors whom you trust and know they are not going to guide you to an action that is not in your best interest. Sometimes just using that lawyer to negotiate a resolution with the doctor is the best way to go.

The Controversial Punishment of the Death Penalty

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

In the day in day out creation and enforcement of laws by our government and law enforcement officials, it is a common occurrence for an issue to come up that is layered with emotional and moral questions. At the legislative level even today, our government is wrestling with issues involving cloning and stem cell research and trying to find a middle ground between the ethical, moral and religious issues versus the scientific benefit that might come from the practice.

One of the great debates has been ongoing in American society over it’s history has been over whether it is moral and right to use the death penalty as a punishment for heinous crimes. Whether one is for abolishing this form of punishment or on the side of using it as a just outcome for a criminal, there is no question that the issue itself is a difficult one to decide.

The arguments for or against the death penalty are often not offered from a legal point of view. The positions taken by those both for and against the law fall under a few general classifications?

. The argument from morality against the death penalty. That it is immoral for a just society to take a life, even if it is of a criminal who themselves have taken life.

. The argument from morality for the death penalty. That it is just for the life of one convicted of a heinous crime to lose their lives as a proper outcome of that crime. That certain crimes should always be defined as so grievous that the one committing this crime must not continue to live and that it is the responsibility of the legal system to remove such individuals from society via the death penalty.

. The argument that the death penalty does or does not constitute cruel or unusual punishment.

. The argument that God calls for the death of the murderer under the “and eye for an eye” statute from the Hebrew Old Testament.

. The argument that God calls for the forgiveness of even the murderer as part of the theology of the Christian New Testament.

. The argument from economy that it costs less to execute a criminal than to keep him or her in prison for life.

. The argument that the most heinous criminal could be rehabilitated to become a productive member of society.

. The argument from revenge, that the family of victims of heinous crimes deserve to see the killers of their loved ones executed.

. The argument from closure that for those same families and for society, seeing the death of a heinous criminal aids in the grief process by providing closure when we see the guilty properly punished.

It is easy to see why this issue is so emotionally charged and continues to be one of debate and dialog both at the governmental level and in political and religious circles.

It really isn’t rational to consider a law or the attempt by lawmakers to frame this issue into legislation as moral or immoral. In our representative form of government, those who would make laws have clear cut guidelines on how they will decide what will or will not become the law of the land.

The top level criteria for what becomes a law in this country is the will of the people. This can be difficult to determine especially in an issue that has fervent believers on both sides. The will of the people is not the sole criteria for a law as the electorate may not be aware of the legal grounds for a law or of the precedent in legal systems that were the background for our system of government. Again, reasons can be found in legal precedent that could be used to justify the legalization of the death penalty or the banning of it.

Finally law makers will turn to the consideration of the efficiency of a system of justice and in doing so try to determine if the death penalty is effective. There are almost as many studies to show that the death penalty does not reduce crime as show the opposite. It is similarly difficult to prove the executing criminals saves money compared to life in prison. But no matter what side of the issue we come down on, there is no question that this will be an ongoing debate in society for decades to come.

The Cornerstone of Government

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

Government in any society is a complicated thing. In the United States, with our system of checks of balances between three powerful wings of central government layered on top of fifty individual state governments, each of which handles their checks and balances in an individual ways, our government which is summarized as “of the people, by the people and for the people” has become a phenomenally complex thing.

After over two hundred years of history, it’s amazing to see that this government that rules the current America is still very much the product of those cornerstone documents that were written by the founding fathers, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and especially the Declaration of Independence. The national sense of self and that distinctively “American” personality is very much interwoven with the bold statements in these documents.

For one thing, Americans have an intrinsic sense of their own rights and their ability to function separate from government. As such, government is never outside of the critical scrutiny of the people that it rules. While this seems perfectly normal to the citizens of this country, it is uncommon historically where government ruled with virtual absolute authority and the people were subservient to their leaders. To an American, the ones they elect to serve work for the public. And if they ever forget that or appear to be attempting to gather more power than they are allowed, it isn’t long before the leadership of the country is replaced. This ability of the people to peaceably “throw the bums out” has kept government in check and constantly on edge for two centuries. And that is a good thing.

The Declaration of Independence would have to be considered a cornerstone of how our system of government works because along with independence from England, that document created a spirit of independence and pride in the American psyche that has influenced virtually every aspect of both public and private life. When America declared itself independent from England, it firmly entrenched into the soul of every American to never be dependent on any other country, government or ruler ever again.

To an outsider, the fierce dedication to freedom and self determination that is so deeply entrenched in American culture seems peculiar. But that fundamental conviction that we are a free people, not just of tyranny from without but free of oppression from within as well affects every aspect of American life. That sense of self will and self awareness is what makes American music, movies, cultural life and art to exciting and addictive around the world.

There was something buried in that bold declaration to the royalty of England that we would be an independent and free people that changed the personality of America forever. We did not just break away to be adrift from our point of origin, in this case The United Kingdom. Rather when we declared freedom, it was not just freedom FROM oppression and the dominance of government, it was freedom TO greatness that rose up out of the people, not from a government that was the keeper of the people.

The Declaration of Independence accomplished it’s short term goal of changing the culture of what was happening on the American mainland from a bold act of colonization into an even bolder building of a new nation. But accomplished so much more by putting a determination in the heart and soul of every American to never again be subjects of a government. Instead government in this new country would forever be the subject of the people, their servant and answerable to them. So Americans keep their government on a short leash, not the other way around. This is a revolutionary concept and one that has been working well for over 200 years becoming the envy of nations all around the world.