I wonder how many of the hearings were also involved with medical malpractice lawsuits.
According to board meeting records since November 2007, nearly 30 percent of the disciplinary hearings this year were related to drug or alcohol abuse. Almost 20 percent were a result of alleged sexual misconduct, and 11 percent involved improper prescription practices for medication.
November 2008 Archives
This seems to be following an overall trend for the year. The Insurance Journal posted an AP article back in March fewer people are dying in traffic accidents on Oklahoma roadways this year compared to 2007.
The Tulsa World cites a telephone survey by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority that found that
about 16.7 percent of Oklahomans don't have health insurance. That amounts to 579,036 Oklahomans. The cost is not only the risk of affording unforeseen medical care but the cost of uncompensated care. The article also mentions that that uncompensated medical coverage in Oklahoma totals nearly $1 billion. That, in turn, raises the costs for all Oklahomans.
The Oklahoman article centers around the recent comments made by State Insurance Commissioner Kim Holland. Evidently, the calls for loss of football ticket privileges was not to be taken seriously:
Holland said the idea of a football ticket takeaway is impractical, unenforceable, and wasn't meant to be taken seriously.
"It was one small part of a larger discussion, and it was generally in jest," Holland said of the ticket takeaway concept.
1) Comparative Negligence - This is where the defendant places part, or all, of the blame for the injury on the injured. Basically, the rule in Oklahoma is that a plaintiff may not recover if his/her negligence is greater than the negligence of the defendant(s).
The exact language in the Oklahoma Statutes is:
In all actions hereafter brought, whether arising before or after the effective date of this act, for negligence resulting in personal injuries or wrongful death, or injury to property, contributory negligence shall not bar a recovery, unless any negligence of the person so injured, damaged or killed, is of greater degree than any negligence of the person, firm or corporation causing such damage, or unless any negligence of the person so injured, damaged or killed, is of greater degree than the combined negligence of any persons, firms or corporations causing such damage. [Emphasis added]. See: 12 O.S. § 132) Assumption of Risk - This can bar recovery for the plaintiff. This occurs when the plaintiff has expressly or impliedly assumed the risk. Risky activities are generally associated with this.
The article states that approximately 43.4 million Americans currently smoke cigarettes. That's about 1 in 5!
Evidently, the third Thursday of November is the Great American Smokeout. Participation consists not smoking for the 24 hours of the Smokeout. The goal, of course, is to completely quit smoking, but the Smokeout helps show that it can be done for one day.
I can't remember if I saw this recently on a news show or a commercial, but it's quite telling concerning the mindset cigarette companies: 7 cigarette execs say nicotine is not addictive.
The video is from the Hearing on the Regulation of Tobacco Products, House Committee on Energy and Commerce, on April 14, 1994. The people testifying in the video are: the President of Philip Morris U.S.A, Chairman and CEO of RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company, President of U.S. Tobacco, Chairman and CEO of Lorillard Tobacco Company, Chairman and CEO of Liggett Group, and Chairman and CEO of Brown and Williamson Tobacco Company.
Oklahoma Supreme Court finds that a special statute imposed only on medical negligence suits is unconsitutional
The court found the law meets the definition of an unconstitutional special law because it "targets for different treatment less than an entire class of similarly situated persons or things," creating preference and establishing inequity between similarly classes of litigants, according to precedential court rulings.The High court strikes down portion of tort law article also states that the ruling in Frank Artist Woods v. Unity Health Center Inc. was unanimous.
Mr. Thompson lists:
2. Lack of Information--Any evaluation system should be designed to supply the best information possible under the circumstances. Counsel's failure to supply the necessary information to make judgments regarding settlement, or the client's failure to recognize the importance of that information results in no settlement being reached.
3. Lack of Attorney Support--Settlement requires the finest of attorney skills. For a settlement to have any chance for success, a lawyer must take the lead, and support the settlement effort. Once the choice is made to explore negotiating serious accidents, the lawyer has a duty to carry out the negotiations with all the skill and competence that can be mustered.
4. Lack of Communication--A lawyer's failure to convey the evaluation has the same effect as if there had been on evaluation at all. This evaluation must not only be communicated to the client but it must be explained so that the client understands the reasons for the lawyer's recommendation. All serious accident cases require a thorough examination.
5. Lack of Appreciation of the "Economics" of Settlement--Recently I was involved in a lively trial in which the opposing counsel rejected a sizable settlement offer. Only his stubborn attitude obstructed settlement. It made little sense, since even under the best of circumstances, the opposing party could not have done as well by going to court and facing a lengthy trial, court costs, the prospects of a time-consuming appeal, and the loss of use of the settlement proceeds in the interim.
These are all valid reasons for why a case may not settle. As a personal injury lawyer, I'll add a few to the list:
1) Combative Nature - Oftentimes, the process of trying to settle a case leaves one, or both parties, feeling that the other side is being unreasonable. The suit has become personal not only because one party feels that they have been wronged, but the litigation process itself is tolling.
2) Failed Settlement - If the settlement process has failed, the parties often feel that they should "take 'em for all their worth." A plaintiff will often feel that they are now being cheated out of a reasonable recovery.
3) Available Insurance Coverage - The parties may be more likely to go to trial If the injured party suffers damages that exceed the insurance coverage of the defendant.
4) Possibly a "Boston Legal" effect - Cases on TV happen in one day. The shows skip over all the fact finding, depositions, discovery costs, negotiations, and the time involved before a case actually goes to a trial. This makes the litigation process itself look a lot more appealing.
The article has an interesting statistic:
A 2006 report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institution found that 78 percent of accidents occurred when a driver had been distracted in the previous three seconds.
It's no surprise that doing something distracting while driving is dangerous, but it's disheartening that texting while driving has caused auto accidents. A school teacher and her daughter were seriously injured by a driver distracted on a cell phone. The driver was cited for driving left of center in a marked zone.
Claremore High School has started a pledge drive with bracelets that have "TWD is NO LOL matter to ME" to help pay for the medical bills.
So should texting while driving be banned in Oklahoma?
Newswest 9 in Texas states the possiblity of banning TWD in Austin. Roma Vivas leads with:
You can't drink and drive, you probably shouldn't eat and drive, But what about texting? The City of Austin is looking at ban on texting while on the road.The article goes on to state that seven states have similar laws banning it. California is one of those. Back in September the Governator banned sending, writing or reading messages on electronic devises starting Jan. 1, 2009. Schwarzenegger's legislation carries a $20 fine for the first offense and $50 fines thereafter. The L.A. Times article has a comical video about what drivers can still do even though it's improper to talk on a cell phone without a hands-free device. The driver in the video reads the newspaper, crochets, read's a magazine, takes notes, eats some food, brushes his teeth, shaves, trims his nose hair (!), and changes into a dress shirt and tie.
Sommer Woodward at the Prior Daily Times reported earlier today that a blue pit bull managed to drive its owner's car. The 70 pound dog managed to jump on the car's dash and shift the car into reverse while the owner was washing the car. The article goes on to state:
The car backed out of the a car wash bay on the south side of the car wash and continued onto Highway 69. It traveled north in reverse, then looped around and backed into the automated car wash lane.The title of the article is "Driving dog has accident at car wash," but luckily I don't believe anyone was hurt.
Crittenden said the vehicle almost hit another car while backing up on the highway.
"This is the first time in 26 years where I get to work a wreck and leave all my driver info blank," said [Officer] Crittenden.
Alicia Mundy and Shirly S. Wang put the case in context:
For nearly a century, Americans have been able to sue drug companies for deaths or injuries caused by medicines. Now the pharmaceutical industry and other big businesses are hoping the Supreme Court will sharply curb that right.Not only would drug manufacturers and big businesses like to put caps on recoveries through "tort reform," but a ruling in favor of the drug company would severely limit American's right to sue.
Oklahoma employers are obligated to allow employees time off to vote during the 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. polling. Employees must notify their employers the day before Election Day though. The article states that:
Employers can select the times allowed for voting and are required to notify employees when they can head to the polls, he said. Employers can even alter workplace hours for the day, giving all employees time to vote.Employers that don't follow the election statute face a misdemeanor charge and fines between $50 and $100.