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News & Resources

How Deep Are Your Pockets?

Let me answer that question for you: They’re likely deeper than you think. To figure out just how deep, you need to put together a confidential inventory of your assets and liabilities (a.k.a. your balance sheet).

Assets generally are thought of as cash, stocks, bonds, real estate, cars, paintings, IRAs, and 401(k)’s. However, the definition is much broader for collection purposes. Any future income stream is also an asset and, thereby, subject to creditors. Even if you haven’t received these monies yet, a judgment holder may get to them through a continuing garnishment proceeding. Any and all partnership interests, even if there is no clear value, are assets. Intangible assets such as trademarks, copyrights, or patents are also subject to seizure. And of course, there are tangible assets like computers, furniture, and equipment.

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Captive Insurance Companies

Forming a captive insurance company (CIC) is at the highest level of financial planning and asset protection. Most simply, a CIC is an entity formed to insure the risks of its parent company. In the past, CICs were a last resort for businesses that could not purchase standard insurance policies. CICs also were a sensible option for companies large enough to justify the expense (e.g., Fortune 500 companies, international groups, etc.). Today, a CIC may well be your first resort. While at first glance it may seem like an enormous undertaking to form one, it is one of the most promising opportunities available for practice protection.

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Anatomy of Malpractice Claims

Florida Statute 766.102 sets forth, in part, the standard for a medical malpractice claim. Here’s the gist of it:

The burden of proof rests on a claimant’s (a.k.a. plaintiff’s) shoulders. He or she must prove that an alleged injury or death occurred due to the negligent actions (or lack thereof) of a physician (or health care institution). The claimant must prove that the physician’s care, skills, and treatment were inconsistent with reasonable expectations of risk as well as recognized, acceptable, and appropriate medical practices.

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Delayed diagnosis of Cancer leads to $1 million settlement

According to plaintiff’s attorneys in a recent press release, a 61-year-old female in Kankakee, IL, visited her primary care physician in April 2008 with pneumonia-like symptoms. However, her physician allegedly failed to inform her of the presence of a mass that appeared on her chest x-ray, nor did the physician call for any follow-up testing. Due to this alleged act of negligence, the patient’s lung cancer was not identified until it had progressed to Stage IV lung cancer, approximately 22 months after her initial visit, according to attorneys for Plaintiff.  Ultimately, the case was reported to have settled for $1 million dollars.

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