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Author: Lauren Davis

Lauren E. Davis litigates complex medical malpractice and personal injury cases. She has handled cases from inception to trial in federal and state courts throughout Virginia. To speak with Lauren about your case, contact her at (540)985-0098.

Will I Have to Go to Trial?

April 30, 2020

Some people are excited about the possibility of a jury trial for their case. Many, if not most, are concerned and worried about having to go to trial.

If you are in the latter category, it may help to know the vast majority of civil cases do not go all the way to trial. Most of them settle before they reach that point. To place a case in the best position to settle for the highest value, however, the case must be ready to be tried.

Talking About Your Loss, Again and Again

April 30, 2020

In wrongful death cases that involve medical malpractice or negligence by nursing homes, there is one thing that stands out as the most difficult for family members – having to relive their loss over and over during the case.

Unfortunately, it’s unavoidable. But it is also manageable, and here are some ideas to make it more manageable.

How We Review All Medical Malpractice Cases that Come In.

April 17, 2020

Virginia attorney Lauren Davis explains how Frith Ellerman & Davis Law Firm reviews all medical malpractice cases that come in and proceeds to select which cases to represent.

What is a Medical Malpractice Lawyer?

April 17, 2020

Virginia attorney Lauren Davis explains what a medical malpractice attorney is and how they spend a majority of their time handling cases against negligent doctors, nurses, hospitals or any other health care provider.

Types of Questions We Ask on Intake of Your Medical Malpractice Case.

April 17, 2020

When the attorneys at Frith Ellerman & Davis Law Firm first receive calls from potential clients, an intake questionnaire is given. Questions range from what was done wrong, when did it happened, and who did it, to more tougher questions. These questions are asked to get the information up front in order to give the most thorough evaluation.

Proven Virginia Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Attorney Lauren Davis.

April 17, 2020

Get to know Lauren Davis of Frith Ellerman & Davis Law Firm, who is a proven medical malpractice and personal injury attorney in Virginia.

I was hurt in a car wreck. How do I get the treatment I need?

March 24, 2020

Coronavirus is changing our world every day, every hour.  As we try to keep up with it all, there are still practical questions that need answers.  Here’s one we expect to hear more of, “I have been hurt because of someone else’s negligence (like in a car wreck), how do I get the treatment I need?”

As a starting point, know that in more ordinary times, we want anyone who is injured to follow doctors’ orders and follow through with receiving treatment that is recommended to help them heal.  As a practical matter and on a human level, we want our clients’ quality of life to be better.  When you feel better, life is better.  But also as a legal matter, you have a responsibility to “mitigate your damages,” meaning you have a responsibility to act reasonably to get better.

On top of that we now have to layer on the issues presented by the global pandemic.  All of the advice listed above is still true. But it may mean something different than usual.  For instance, your doctors may not order the same things or delay ordering them because there is more risk to you from potential exposure than the benefits of treatment.  Or maybe there is a lack of resources (like hospital beds, MRI scanners, etc.).

Here are three practical tips to consider:

  1. Call ahead.  If you have appointments already scheduled, call those health care providers to see what they recommend and what protocols they are following.  Things really are changing all the time right now, so that will provide you with the most up-to-date information for those offices.
  2. Follow recommendations.  Once you have checked in with your providers and know how they want you to proceed, continue to follow your doctors’ recommendations and orders.  It will be best for you, both from a human and legal perspective.  It should give you the best chance of staying well.  And no reasonable judge or jury who hears your case later is going to fault you for doing what your doctors tell you during this pandemic.
  3. Ask what you can do.  Even if some of your treatment is delayed, ask if there are things you can do on your own.  For instance, maybe your physical therapist will send you a home exercise program.  Your doctors may make suggestions about over the counter medications or other simple measures you can take from home.  It is helpful for us to be able to show in a legal case when a patient takes initiative to get better.  It is also a great and productive way to occupy time if you are stuck at home.

This is definitely not business as usual for anyone right now.  Luckily, you do not have to figure it all out on your own.  Lean on your resources, check in with the professionals who are helping you, and find that extra bit of patience and understanding as we navigate this together.

Headlines highlight continuing problem of neglect

October 18, 2017

Some of my friends think I am on some kind of crusade, that I have taken on medical malpractice and nursing home neglect cases as a cause.  Maybe I have, but it’s with good reason.  If you doubt that, take a look at these two recent reports:

 

From The Roanoke Times: “Former medication aide at Covington facility convicted in overdose death of resident.”  A resident at an assisted living facility died of a medication overdose because of a medication that was given to him in error.  The facility employee who made the error was charged with and convicted of manslaughter, perhaps largely because after learning of her error, the prosecutor said she waited about 45 minutes before calling 911 and did not take other appropriate steps to help.

 

Or this, from the Boston Globe: “A nurse’s aide plays video games while a veteran dies at Bedford VA hospital.”  The headline speaks for itself.

 

Every case of negligence may not be so headline worthy, but every case does involve unnecessary and preventable harm to our society.  Call it a crusade or call it by whatever other name you’d like – I am grateful for the opportunity to address this real and substantial problem.

What do you mean I don’t have a case?

August 11, 2017

When people call us, they are generally emotional and hurt about what has happened to them.  That makes saying “no” one of the hardest things about my job, even when it is the right answer.   A “no” in this case generally comes in the form of recommending against pursuing a case.  

The truth is there is a lot more to pursuing a case than being able to prove each legal element.  There are many circumstances that affect our evaluation of a potential case.  We either recommend further investigation – or not – after weighing many things.  Unfortunately and understandably, despite our efforts to explain our thoughts, “no” is simply not easy to hear.

Some recent conversations have put the spotlight on this problem for me.  I am sharing some things here about our process in hopes that it might shed more light on how we analyze potential claims.

  • We care.  

We take our work seriously and we consider ourselves to be in the profession of helping people.  If we cannot help you, we believe the right thing to do is to let you know from the outset.  To better assess whether we can help you, we gather more initial information than you may expect.

  • We are not judging you for the work you do – or do not do.  

One piece of information we ask is whether you work and, if so, where you work and what you do.  There are several reasons this information is important.  If you have lost wages, that may increase the value of your claim.  In other words, from a monetary perspective, we may be able to show more financial loss which may make the case a better one for you to pursue.  The fact that you are employed, regardless of what you do, can be seen as a good thing if the consequences of someone’s negligence led or will lead you to miss work.

Also, certain companies who offer health insurance are entitled to be repaid for medical expenses they have paid.  That lien would then take away from what you would otherwise receive from a case.  If you do not work and are on disability (and likely receiving Medicare), Medicare also has a lien.  Medicaid and other insurers have liens.  If the liens are big enough, they can leave you with little or no recovery at the end of the day, even if the case is successful.

When we ask about your work, we are asking because it helps us get to important information.  

We are not judging you.

  • We do not expect you to be able to pay us our hourly rates.

When we ask about your work, we are also not assessing whether you can afford to pay our legal fees.

Almost without exception, our personal injury clients are not in a position to pay our legal fees because of the very circumstances that bring them to us.  For that reason, we handle personal injury claims on a contingency fee basis.  That means that our clients do not pay us at all for our time (and do not owe any legal fees to us) unless their cases are successful. 

  • We are not perfect.

We do the best we can to understand the facts of your situation.  We cannot guarantee perfection in understanding everything.  After all, you are the one living through this.  We do, though, try incredibly hard.  And, in situations where we have missed something important, we are okay with you telling us that.

  • We use logic and reason.

When you call us, you are likely experiencing many emotions and trying to figure out what your future will look like.

Part of our job in evaluating a potential claim for you is to set aside emotion and, instead, to logically analyze the advantages and disadvantages of a potential claim.  If, in our opinion, the disadvantages outweigh the advantages, we will not recommend you pursue a claim.

  • You can get a second opinion.

When we give you our recommendation, it is just that.  You are entirely free to seek other opinions.  If you have concerns about how we have analyzed things, contacting another attorney is a great option.

  • We really do care.

To finish where we began, we take this work seriously.  We try to present our recommendations in an accurate and caring way because we really do care.

If you have questions about our intake and investigation process for personal injury, wrongful death, or medical malpractice cases in Virginia, please feel free to call.

Do I have a case? How much will it cost to get my records?

February 23, 2017

 

Potential medical malpractice clients ask us many important questions.  Here are two of them: Do I have a case?  How much will it cost to get my medical records?  

 

The first is not as easy to answer and the latter is thankfully getting much easier to answer.  Let us start with the not so easy one.

 

Do I have a case? 

 

We hear this question so often and, yet, it is such a hard question to answer – at least at first.

 

By the time of trial, we have worked to make cases clear, simple, and – hopefully – obviously meritorious.  But when we first hear from potential clients, that is rarely true.

 

To answer the question of whether someone has a case, we do several things.  One of the first and most important things we do is request and review the patient’s medical records.  We usually learn many facts that patients may not even know, things like:

 

  • how many different medications they received and how much of them,
  • the identities of people involved in their care, which usually numbers much higher than patients knew or expected,
  • what patients supposedly said to their doctors and nurses, and
  • vice versa, that is, what doctors and nurses supposedly said to their patients.

 

In addition to what the records say in black and white, we may also get a sense about what is going on between the lines.  For instance, a doctor may use language that suggests that he really likes a patient (or not so much).  Records can show whether a particular problem was within the range of something expected (or that it was very unexpected).  It may be clear that a nurse was overburdened with too many patients.  It may appear that doctors or nurses are frustrated with one another.

 

As important as the records are to reviewing a potential case, we almost always will find mistakes in the records or things entirely left out, for instance, a non-smoker documented as a smoker, a woman with a lump on her left breast documented as being on her right, or an important medication allergy that is missing.

 

These things make a big difference when we assess whether someone has a case.

 

Once we explain the importance of the medical records, we usually hear a second, related question.

 

How much will it cost to get my records? 

 

This is a very common question and a very good one.  Most people who call on us are in difficult financial situations because of the medical care that has led them to us in the first place.  Until the last few years, the cost of getting medical records was quite high, sometimes even cost prohibitive.  With long hospitalizations, we would often see bills in the thousands of dollars.  That was when we received the records on paper.

 

Now, in large part thanks to some new federal law, patients can request and receive their records electronically.  Using this federal law, patients can receive their records on CDs or jump/USB drives, by email, and by other electronic means.  The cost for receiving records this way is substantially less.  Instead of 25 to 50 cents a page, a CD of records commonly costs $6.50, no matter how many pages of records are on the CD.  This welcome change helps us do our job better and gives better access to justice for more people.

 

This just scratches the surface of the many questions people can have for us.  If you have questions about a potential Virginia medical malpractice case, feel free to reach out.