Here in New Hampshire, it keeps snowing…and snowing…and snowing… While the snow is beautiful – and skiing and snowmobiling are great fun – it makes for hazardous driving conditions. The Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman, PLLC encourages you to take some time to review these very important “Winter Safe Driving Tips” produced by the New Hampshire Department of Transportation. Safe Driving!
The Law Office of Manning and Zimmerman PLLC has an enormous knowledge and experience handling New Hampshire personal injury claims. If you have been injured through no fault of your own, call the Law Office of Manning and Zimmerman PLLC at (603) 624-7200 for a free consultation. A well qualified personal injury attorney can provide representation and assistant you require with your personal injury claim.
According to the NH medical malpractice attorneys at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC, botched surgeries, preventable infections, improper medications and misdiagnosis are far more common occurrences in our nation’s 6,000 hospitals than most people think. The bombshell dropped in 1999 with To Err Is Human, a report from the Institute of Medicine that estimated between 44,000 to 98,000 people die each year as a result of medical errors. Subsequent studies validated the Institute’s report, including a 2010 review by the Office of Inspector General that pegged annual preventable deaths among Medicare patients at 15,000 per month or 180,000 per year. Another 1.5 million people are injured, according to estimates published the same year from the Society of Actuaries. In September the Journal of Patient Safetyreported that the death toll is probably much higher, between 210,000 to 440,000 per year. Aside from the staggering level of human suffering, medical mistakes are costing Americans between $735 billion and $980 billion annually, according to an analysis presented in the Journal of Health Care Finance.
NH Medical Malpractice Attorneys Urge Patients to SPEAK UP to Protect Themselves and Their Loved Ones from Medical Errors
So while providers and policymakers debate how to address the “epidemic of patient harm in hospitals” as reported in Patient Safety, what can you do to protect yourself and those you love from health care errors? Plenty, according to the Joint Commission, starting with awareness and a willingness to SPEAK UP:
Speak up, ask questions and ask again if you don’t understand. Know what to expect before and after a procedure, and if something changes, ask why.
Pay attention and get the right treatments and medications from the right people; don’t assume anything.
Educate yourself about your medical history: diagnosis, medical tests and treatment plan.
Ask an assertive, informed family member to be there as your advocate and ask tough questions if you can’t.
Know what medications you take and why. Bring a list that includes supplements and allergies.
Participate aggressively in your treatment. Ask doctors and nurses to wash their hands before touching you; check ID bracelets before treatments and medication; and label a procedure site with permanent marker.
For more details, download a copy of the Speak Up brochure. Or visit the Speak Up Web page for more information, brochures, posters and videos.
In this month’s Let America Know newsletter brought to you by the New Hampshire personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman, we present information about companies that provide ridesharing services.
With one tap of a smartphone app, the ridesharing company Uber is upending the taxi business and changing the way people around the world commute. The meteoric rise of Uber, and other ridesharing services like Lyft and Sidecar, offer convenience and savings for riders while creating new work opportunities for drivers. But concerns about oversight, safety, pricing and worker rights have made 2014 a bumpy ride for Uber. You should know the risks of ridesharing and your rights (or lack thereof) as a passenger.
While ridesharing certainly has positive attributes, it has proven to be controversial due to its lack of regulation, its failure to provide adequate insurance for drivers or their passengers, and not ensuring that its drivers are properly licensed and trained. Before using a ridesharing service, it is a good idea to research the companies that are operating in your city. Find out what insurance policies the companies have to protect their passengers, and how much liability coverage those policies offer. As always, it is best to be fully informed!
Uber created a better mousetrap in the world of for-hire transportation. Its technology seamlessly links riders and drivers through a smartphone app that is one-tap easy to use. Becoming an Uber driver is almost as effortless, allowing people from all walks of life to earn money with their personal vehicle. The results have been staggering: Raving fans have propelled Uber from a tiny San Francisco startup in 2009 to a major enterprise today now operating in more than 200 cities and 53 countries. The company will hit $10 billion in revenues in 2015 (it took Facebook 10 years to do the same) and is estimated to be worth more than $40 billion.
But, according to the NH personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC, controversy has grown around Uber almost as fast as the company itself:
Uber drivers typically don’t meet the same licensing and inspection requirements that apply to traditional taxi and limousine services. Many cities, states and countries have passed (or are considering) new laws restricting ridesharing services, while some have banned them altogether.
Safety and Liability
Uber has denied responsibility for injuries caused by its drivers, including the death of a 6-year-old girl killed at a San Francisco crosswalk. Reports have also surfaced accusing Uber drivers of assault, rape and kidnapping.
While Uber fares are normally lower than those for traditional taxi services, Uber reserves the right to implement surge pricing during periods of peak demand. One Uber passenger in Pennsylvania paid $117 for a 4-mile ride on New Year’s Eve, for example.
There is growing concern among Uber drivers over several company policies, including new fare reductions, a huge increase in the commissions paid to Uber, a “misleading tipping policy” and the company’s rating system.
Are You Protected When You Uber?
With one tap, riders easily hail nearby drivers with the Uber app.
Uber and other ridesharing companies make it clear that they aren’t in the transportation business but instead are technology services that simply connect riders and drivers. The drivers are independent third parties, therefore the rider accepts ALL risk, as clearly stated in the Uber terms and conditions:
“By using the services, you acknowledge that you may be exposed to situations involving third party providers that are potentially unsafe, offensive, harmful to minors, or otherwise objectionable,” Uber states, and “that using the services is at your own risk and judgment. Uber shall not have any liability …” The Uber contract also includes a forced arbitration clause, which greatly limits an individual’s right to take the company to court.
“People don’t know what they’re getting into when they get into one of these cars, they don’t know what they’re getting into when they download the app,” said the lawyer representing a 6-year-old girl struck and killed by an Uber driver earlier this year. “They’re giving Uber a free pass – up to death.”
According to the company’s safety page, Uber drivers are required to undergo rigorous background checks. The company also provides insurance for its drivers, although gray areas exist that raise serious concerns about whether or not Uber’s insurance would apply in certain situations. This company graphic shows that Uber provides $1 million in liability insurance and $1 million in uninsured/underinsured coverage per incident once a rider is in the car. When a driver is between trips, however, Uber switches to contingent insurance that pays only if a driver’s personal insurance company refuses coverage, which often happens when it is discovered that a driver is using his or her automobile for commercial activities. When a driver’s Uber app is off, he or she must rely on personal insurance alone.
Like many new and groundbreaking business models, Uber has clearly created great opportunities and challenges that previously didn’t exist. Like any company, however, Uber and its ridesharing competitors must play by the rules and take full responsibility for the safety and welfare of their customers. Time will tell if they live up to those obligations.
Areas Served: The attorneys of Manning & Zimmerman represent clients in courts and cities throughout New Hampshire, including: Manchester, Nashua, Concord, Derry, Dover, Rochester, Salem, Merrimack, Hudson, Londonderry, Keene, Portsmouth, Bedford, Goffstown, Laconia, Hooksett, and Hillsborough County, Rockingham County, Merrimack County, Strafford County, Grafton County, Cheshire County, Belknap County, Carroll County, Sullivan County, and Coös County.