Dolman Law Group is an award winning Clearwater car accident and personal injury law firm. Matthew Dolman has been selected as a Florida Super Lawyers in 2013, 2014 and 2015 by his colleagues. Mr. Dolman has been nominated as a top 100 trial attorney and top 40 under 40 by National Trial Lawyers. He is a lifetime member of both the Million Dollar and Multi-Million Dollar Advocacy Forum.
Proposed rule changes submitted to the Florida Supreme Court on August
15, would remove some restrictions for lawyer’s participation in for-profit
If approved the amended rule would apply to attorney matching websites
like Avvo and Legal Zoom as well as non-lawyer owned referral services. The
malpractice insurance requirement would be eliminated and rules requiring
certain disclaimers in the services ads would be removed.
In addition, a few requirements prohibiting lawyers from working with
services that coerce them into providing cross referrals or fail to document
their compliance with bar rules will be added.
“You want to make sure that any of the advertising from any of the
companies is honest, it’s truthful, it’s not misleading to the public,” said
Florida Bar President Bill Schiffino to the Daily Business Review. “You don’t
want any inappropriate fee-sharing. You want to make sure that there’s no conflicts
of interest. While we cannot regulate these entities – we have no jurisdiction
over an internet provider – we do have jurisdiction over the lawyers.”
The amendments were approved last month at a meeting of the Florida
board of governors in Miami.
Floridians have been bombarded with ads on TV, radio and billboards
targeting car accident victims and slip and fall cases. After receiving a large
number of complaints about referrals to affiliated legal and medical care that
was sub-standard the association began an investigation. The services such as
ASK-GARY and 411-PAIN maintain that they followed the rules. Note that both of
those services are owned by chiropractors.
At their meeting on July 29, the board of governors had to take into
consideration how the current rule might be a hindrance to consumers seeking
lawyers and young lawyers looking for referrals, as the national online
matching services had grown considerably.
John Stewart, a Vero Beach Attorney with the firm of Rossway Swan
Tierney Barry Lacey & Oliver, who heads the bar technology committee, put
it this way. “The overall intention was to ensure that the traditional core
values for the profession were protected while still allowing the companies
that operate within the regulatory framework to operate.”
The term ‘lawyer referral service” would be eliminated under the
amended rule and changed to the term “qualifying provider” due to the fact that
some states do not allow for-profit referral services or define them
differently. The revised term would include online matching services,
directories, group or pooled advertising programs, as well as tip or lead
programs. The services would no longer have to include in their advertisements
disclaimers that lawyers have to pay to participate or that they are lawyer
One prominent issue that arose when it came to creating the amendments
was a Florida Supreme Court Directive that the new rule should keep lawyers
from working with referral services not owned and operated by lawyers.
411-PAIN and ASK-GARY, two of the largest referral services in the
state are owned by chiropractors, not lawyers.
Gainesville lawyer Carl Schwait, head of the bars committee on
professional ethics said that the boards constitutional expert advised the
board of governors that such a restriction could interfere with rights to
commerce and free speech. The group could not find a rational basis for
changing the rule.
“We can just as easily regulate the lawyers involved by working with
qualified providers, whether or not the qualified providers are owned by a
member of the bar,” Schwait said.
Schwait continued by saying that he was pleased that the proposed
amendments draw a “bright line in the sand” about what lawyers need to know
about referral services.
One of the two local bar associations that issued resolutions against
the proposed changes was Broward County.
The association did not agree with requirement of malpractice
insurance from being removed. Charles Morehead, the president of the Broward
County Bar Association said lawyer referral services often advertise to less
sophisticated consumers and may be offering lawyers who are incompetent to
handle the cases at hand.
“All safeguards for the public are basically being deleted,” he said.
Beware of Lawyer
As stated in the above content, lawyer referral services have been
subject to a vast number of complaints. Many are owned by chiropractors and
medical clinics who are paid by attorneys for referrals. The attorney in return
refers the injured client to the chiropractor who uses up all of the clients'
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) when they, in fact, should have been seeing a
medical specialist for proper care. After that scenario, the unqualified lawyer
convinces the client to settle out of court for compensation that is far below
the cost of future medical bills, lost income over a lifetime and the value of
their pain and suffering. The lawyer receives his fee for doing little work and
moves on to the next case tossed to him by the referral service. Now add to
that -- the attorney has no malpractice insurance. There is little chance of
the victim recovering what he deserves.
At Dolman Law, we never pay a referral service for our clients and do
not refer our clients to substandard medical care. If you need an attorney for
a personal injury case, look on a legitimate lawyer rating site such as
Avvo.com where real clients refer attorneys based on actual experiences. Feel
free to check us out and then call for a free, no obligation, consultation with
a highly rated personal injury attorney. At Dolman Law, we put our clients
first. Call us today at 727-451-6900 for a free consultation.
Dolman Law Group 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, FL 33765 727-451-6900
In conjunction with the with the Consumer Product Safety
Division, John Deere has announced a recall of certain models of lawn and
garden tractors due to failures with the mowers reverse implementation option
(RIO). The RIO system is designed to automatically shut off power to the mower
when the tractor is shifted into reverse. Should that system fail during
operations, the driver and bystanders are at risk of severe lacerations.
The following Zero-Turn Mower models comprise the list of
those being recalled by John Deere. The model numbers being recalled are Z445,
Z645, Z655, and Z665 with serial numbers beginning with 1GXZ. For a complete
list of the serial numbers included in the recall, please visit the John
Deere website. The model number is located on either side of the engine and
the serial number is located next to the foot rest on the right side. The
recalled tractors were sold from December 2015 through July 2016 at independent
John Deere retailers across the U.S.
Consumers that own one of the recalled tractors are required
to contact their local John Deere dealer as soon as possible to receive free
repair of the defect. Registered owners should expect to be contacted regarding
the John Deere tractor recall.
Although there were no deaths or injuries resulting from the
recalled tractors, or riding mowers as they are often referred to, many
individuals are injured or killed each year in riding lawn mower accidents.
Many of these injuries and deaths are to small children involved in back over
accidents. These accidents are the type that the John Deere Rio system is
designed to prevent. Recognizing the imminent danger of an inoperable RIO
system, triggered the national recall.
Associated with Riding Mowers
Thousands of accidents from riding mowers could have been
prevented if all of the mowers involved were equipped with a “No Mow in
Reverse” (NMIR) system. A large percentage of those injured were children. Most
John Deere tractors were equipped with NMIR safety features by 1998 but many
waited years to follow suit. Murray, for example, chose not to equip their riding
mowers with NMIR systems until 2004. There are still countless riding mowers in
operation today that are lacking an NMIR system.
Rollover accidents are another common cause of injuries
related to lawn tractors and riding lawn mowers. Many injuries and deaths from
being crushed beneath a rollover could be prevented with the installation of a
roll bar and lap restraint. Even with the amount of rollover injuries and
deaths being well-known, rollover protection systems are not standard equipment
on many mowers today.
Preventing Lawn Mower
Injuries to Children
The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that
more than 17,000 children are treated for lawn mower accidents each year. By
following simple safety measures 100 percent of lawn mower related injuries to
children could be prevented. Here are four safety measures that should always
·Never allow kids to ride on mowers
·Be sure that all kids are inside and away from
the mowing area. If you see a kid nearby, stop mowing until the child is out of
·Remove all stones, twigs toys or any other
potential projectiles from the area prior to mowing.
·Never reverse the mower unless absolutely
Dolman Law Group –
Concerned for Children’s Safety
Dolman Law Group is committed to the safety of children at
all times. There is nothing more heartbreaking than to learn of a serious injury
or death to a child that could have been prevented. Anything that can be done
to help prevent injuries to children is a step in the right direction,
including the installation of properly working, safety equipment on lawn
tractors and riding lawn mowers.
If your child was injured by a lawnmower, call Dolman Law
Group today at 727-451-6900 to speak with a product liability attorney. There
may be compensation available.
Dolman Law Group 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, FL 33765 727-451-6900
Vehicle accidents are the
most common type of claim. An estimated 37,000 fatalities and an additional
2.35 million injuries occur every year in the US from auto accidents .
Although the term auto accident implies that no person is at fault—thus the term accident—which is often not the case. Vehicle crashes can be caused
by distracted drivers, poor weather conditions (like wet or icy roads, rain or
fog), improper road maintenance, or faulty traffic signals just to name some of
the possible causes.
The term auto accident—for personal
injury claim purposes—also extends to cover pedestrian and bicycle collisions.
Unfortunately, auto accidents are on the rise due in large part to distracted
driving as a result of technology as more people look at their cell phones to
text, navigate, or play games. Globally, auto accidents rank as the 9th
leading cause of death, but by 2030 that placement is expected to reach 5th.
If you or your loved one has
been injured in an auto accident, see a doctor right away. Even if you feel
fine. There may be injuries that you do not notice right away because of the
body being in shock. If you think you were not at fault, contact an attorney
rather than dealing with the insurance company directly.
2. Premise Liability
(Also termed: Negligence and
Premise liability injuries
are typically sustained in a public area—though they can occur at privately-owned
places—where someone’s negligence has caused harm or death. A common example of
premise liability is a “slip and fall,” but there are other types as well. Some examples may include a store
leaving something in the way, causing an injury; something unsecured falling
from above; failure to follow building codes or failure to designate an area as
dangerous, causing injury. Unsafe conditions cause at least 9 million accidents
each year .
This type of injury is so
common because it can happen anywhere to anyone; we all walk around the world—every
day. Proving fault or negligence from the property owner is not always
possible, but an experienced attorney should evaluate the situation for you.
You don’t want to live the rest of your life in pain without proper
Injuries that are caused
while at work are considered work-related personal injury. Roughly 3 million worked-related injuries occur
every year in the US. Your employer is responsible for keeping you safe and
healthy; it is their legal responsibility. Illness related to your working
conditions is also considered a work-related injury, like asbestos-related
illness or mesothelioma. If you are injured on the job, a worker’s compensation
claim should be filed.
Percent of work-related injuries
by category each year:
>Struck by Object: 8.1%
>Caught-in/between (like a construction worker being crushed by
Medical malpractice is also a very common personal injury and is also one of the most
controversial. In this case, the plaintiff must prove malpractice caused injuries and that the doctor or medical
care provider did not provide reasonably competent care (also called medical standard of care), which can be relatively hard to do.
While frivolous personal
injury lawsuits do occur, valid lawsuits are more common than you might think. An
expert medical witness is almost always required to testify that a reasonable
standard of care was not provided. Your attorney can help you find someone
qualified to testify. Dental accidents may be included in this also.
Defective or damaged products cause thousands of personal injury claims a year.
There are numerous laws that require products, sellers, and manufactures to
maintain a reasonable expectation of function and safety. These types of claims
are usually brought against the manufactures or sellers of defective products.
For this claim to be valid, the product must be used as intended. This category
yields the second highest settlements of all personal injury cases, perhaps
since large companies have lots of money and want to protect their reputation.
Common products that can be defective are:
At the Dolman Law Group, our skilled personal injury lawyers will protect
your rights under Florida law to make sure you receive all of the compensation
that you deserve. Please call our office at 727-451-6900 today.
As medical providers, it is
always important to have a great billing department to ensure that services are
being coded correctly, sent to the correct place and served timely to the
medical provider. One of the issues I speak to my clients about on a weekly
basis is timely filing of claims, especially when the patient initially gives
them the wrong information.
When a patient is in a car crash and the other person is to blame, what we find
happens is when asked for the insurance information they can tend to give the
insurance information of the “At-Fault” insurance provider. When dealing with
Personal Injury Protection “PIP”, otherwise known as “The Florida No-Fault Law”
the information you are seeking is for their own insurance. Meaning it is
important to have every person in the office know the difference between a BI
claim operating under a letter of protection and a claim that is being billed to
PIP. So what happens when, even though the staff is educated, the patient is
just not paying attention and gives you the wrong insurance company, or better
yet, does not own a car and was in a friends vehicle and doesn’t know their
Under The Florida No Fault
Statute(Fla. Stat. 627.736(5)(c)) is
where you find the 35 day rule. It states:
respect to any treatment or service, other
than medical services billed by a hospital or other provider for emergency
services and care as defined in s. 395.002 or inpatient services rendered at a hospital-owned
facility, the statement of charges must be
furnished to the insurer by the provider and may not include, and the insurer
is not required to pay, charges for treatment or services rendered more than 35 days before the postmark date or
electronic transmission date of the statement, except for past due amounts
previously billed on a timely basis under this paragraph, and except that, if the provider submits to the insurer a
notice of initiation of treatment within 21 days after its first examination or
treatment of the claimant, the statement may include charges for treatment or
services rendered up to, but not more than, 75 days before the postmark date of
the statement. The injured party is not liable for, and the provider may
not bill the injured party for, charges that are unpaid because of the
provider’s failure to comply with this paragraph. Any agreement requiring the
injured person or insured to pay for such charges is unenforceable.
1. If the insured fails to furnish the provider with the correct name and
address of the insured’s personal injury protection insurer, the provider has 35 days from the date the
provider obtains the correct information to furnish the insurer with a
statement of the charges. The insurer is
not required to pay for such charges unless the provider includes with
the statement documentary evidence that was provided by the insured
during the 35-day period demonstrating that the provider reasonably relied on
erroneous information from the insured and either:
a. A denial letter from the incorrect
b. Proof of mailing, which may
include an affidavit under penalty of perjury, reflecting timely mailing to the
incorrect address or insurer.
does the above mean to you, the medical provider? It means different things for
different scenario’s. Here are the most common that I see on a week to week
Scenario #1- Patient gives medical provider wrong information, medical provider
bills the wrong company, gets a denial letter, then sends the denial letter
with proof of timely mailing to the correct insurance company.
exactly what is supposed to happen. Once you found out that you reasonably
relied on the incorrect information you provided the new company proof of
timely submission to the wrong company with the explanation of the wrong
information. The correct insurance company should deem this timely and pay your
bill accordingly. If they do not contact Dolman Law Group at firstname.lastname@example.org or 727-222-6922.
Scenario #2- Patient
gives you wrong medical provider, you bill timely to the wrong company, get
denial letter and then send in bills to insurance company without evidence
provided by the insured or the denial letter or proof of mailing.
In this scenario, assuming that
the denial came after the 35 days from the denial letter arriving, because you
failed to properly follow the statute and submit the bills accompanied by documentary
evidence that was provided by the insured and one either the denial letter or
proof of mailing, your claim will be deemed untimely.
Scenario #3- The
patient does not know anything about the PIP insurance and gives you no
information so you don’t bill any PIP carrier. A few months go by and the
attorney tells you the correct insurance company. You then bill the correct
insurance company and explain to them what happened.
Your bill will be deemed untimely.
But why? While this may seem similar to a denial, and resubmission the critical
part of the statute that have not been followed is the timely submission to a
carrier. Because, no carrier was billed you cannot then comply with the portion
that makes you attach a timely submission or a letter of denial. Therefore,
your billing will be untimely. So what should you do in this scenario?
You must force the issue with the patient or with their attorney to find out
the insurance company or their best theory on who the insurance company is so
you can bill someone. If you get back a denial and now after some time has
passed you find the correct insurer then within the 35 days of the denial you
can submit to the correct insurance company and it should be deemed timely. If
it is not, then call Dolman Law Group at email@example.com or 727-222-6922.
Worst case scenario at the onset of treatment you might need to make
your patient guess who the insurance company is. At least then you can bill
someone. I would recommend waiting until closer to the 35th day
(taking into account mailing time) to submit it to give your patient a chance
to find the true insurer. Then if they are wrong it gives you more time to find
the true one. In the end, it will leave you in a much better position than not
billing during the first 35 days where you have zero chance of being reimbursed.
If you have a patient whose bill is being improperly denied
for untimely billing or have any questions regarding proper billing reach out
to Dolman Law Group at firstname.lastname@example.org
or call (727) 222-6922.
We have all heard about
sports-related traumatic brain injury in the news and on social media. It has gained a lot
of attention lately. But what is a sports-related traumatic brain injury? Is it
as serious as it sounds? Could you, or your child, be at risk?
A sports-related traumatic brain injury is any head
injury that affects the brain due to a sports-related incident. Traumatic Brain
Injuries, or TBI, are not necessarily those that only cause permanent, obvious
injuries and effects. They can also be not-so-obvious injuries, like
concussions. But these more “minor” injuries can have devastating consequences
as well. In fact, they are quite common, so they deserve our attention.
What is a traumatic
brain injury? What is a concussion?
A concussion is a type of
traumatic brain injury that occurs when someone takes a blow or hit to the
head, falls, or otherwise causes enough force on their body that the brain
moves within their skulls. Although the impact may leave behind visible signs,
the concussion itself has no obvious externals symptoms of concussion.
Every year, an estimated
300,000 sports-related TBIs classified as a concussion, of mild to moderate
severity, occur in the US .
One does not have to lose
consciousness—or be “knocked out”—nor show other common signs, like forgetting
what happened, in order to have a concussion .
Concussions are usually
categorized as a mild traumatic brain injury, and as TBIs go, they are. But if
careful measures are not taken, they can become serious, even fatal . In
fact, once someone has been concussed, they are at a higher risk of receiving a
second concussion. If they occur within a short period of time, something known
as second impact syndrome, can
Second Impact Syndrome
Repeated mild traumatic brain
injuries occurring over an extended period of time—months or years—can result
in cumulative neurologic and cognitive deficits, which is serious on its own.
But repeated mild TBIs, like concussions, that occur within a short period—hours,
days, or weeks—can be catastrophic or even fatal. This is called second impact syndrome .
In October 1991, a
17-year-old high school football player, playing the last game of his high
school career, struck his head on the ground during a tackle in the second
quarter. During halftime, he told a teammate he felt ill, but failed to report
his injury to a coach or adult. He stepped back onto the field once the whistle
blew. After several routine tackles, and the accompanying blows to the head, he
collapsed on the field. He was transported to a local hospital where he fell
into a coma. CT scans revealed that he had swelling of the brain and a hematoma.
He was transferred to a trauma center where they attempted to relieve the
pressure on his brain. They were unsuccessful. Four days after what was
supposed to be his last varsity game, he died.
He is not alone. In just the
last six months of 2015, fourteen teenagers and children have died playing
football . And that is just one game and only in a six month period. The
statistic doesn’t take into account a traumatic brain injury from baseball,
soccer, gymnastics, wrestling, or the multitude of other high-impact, risky
sports that our children play.
New Rules and Laws
With incidents as serious as
someone’s child dropping dead while playing a game, many people have been
pushing for new rules and new laws.
In May 2009, Washington
State passed the Zackery Lystedt Law, what some consider to be the nation’s
toughest “return-to-play” law. It requires medical clearance of youth athletes
under the age of 18 suspected of sustaining a concussion before they can
continue a game, practice, or training . Some people consider the law to be
too tough, but it is doubtful they are one of the many people who no longer
have their child because of a football game.
All these young deaths have
caught the attention of some of those in congress. Three representatives
introduced The High School Football Safety Study Act in November 2015
recommending the CDC investigate youth sports-related traumatic brain injury
and how to prevent it . For now, there are some things you can do as a
Your Child and Traumatic Brain Injury
>Know the signs-
and motor responses
inability to focus attention
oEmotions out of
proportion to circumstances
oAny period of
loss of consciousness
>Talk to you child- Under-reporting is one of the major reasons that traumatic brain
injuries are so out of control in youth. Either athletes do not know the signs,
or they do not want to disappoint anyone by not continuing. Talk to them about
the dangers, signs, and importance of reporting.
>Talk to the coach- Do not be afraid to ask the coach about what is being done in regards
to TBIs, and what training they or the staff have received.
>Do not let them play- If your child is hurt, or you fear they may be hurt,
intervene. Second impact syndrome is serious.
>Allow recovery- If your child does receive a TBI during a sports event, or for any
other reason, allow ample time for them to recover and follow doctor’s
What to do
Whether you, or your young
athlete, have suffered a traumatic brain injury, second impact syndrome,
or serious long-term conditions due to multiple brain injuries, you should
always contact an experienced attorney with a thorough understanding of brain injuries and brain injury cases. At the Dolman Law Group, we know how substantially a
brain injury can affect your life and we will fight to stand up for your rights
to recovery. We offer free consultations and do not collect a fee unless you
win your case. Please do not hesitate to call our office in Clearwater, Florida
today at 727-451-6900.
Imagine you are at your local supermarket shopping for
groceries. You are looking up and down the shelves for that perfect dinner item
when all of a sudden your feet slip out from underneath you. Next thing you
know you are on the ground. You feel pain, whether it’s in your knee, your
wrist, your foot, or anywhere really. As you lay there on the ground, panic
begins to set in. Did I break a bone? Will I have to go to the hospital? Is
this my fault? Believe it or not, thousands of people in Florida have been in
the same exact position. Their injury may not have occurred in a supermarket,
but the injuries are the same. It is important to understand that you are not
alone, and Florida has laws that protect those who have been the victim of a slip and fall accident.
common are slip and falls in Florida?
More common than you might think. Most slip and falls go
unreported, mainly because people do not know their rights and what remedies
they may have. That is why it is important to understand your rights, and to
know when you should go speak to an attorney. As far as those slip and falls
that are reported, the number is into the tens of thousands. Each case is
different and presents its own set of circumstances. The true value of a case,
or its chances of success vary greatly depending on the facts. There are many
dangerous conditions like torn carpeting, changes in flooring, poor lighting,
narrow stairs, or a wet floor that can cause someone to slip and be injured. Same goes if someone trips
on a broken or cracked public sidewalks, or falls down a flight of stairs. In addition, a slip and
fall case might arise when someone slips or falls outdoors because of rain,
ice, snow or a hidden hazard, such as a pothole in the ground. According to the National
Safety Council and the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
·In the United States alone, over one
million people suffer a significant injury due to a slip & fall
·An average of 17,000 American die each
year from slip and fall injuries.
·Falling accounts for over 8 million
hospital emergency room visits yearly
As you can see, the statistics speak for themselves. Slip
and falls can most certainly cause serious injuries.
there really laws to protect me?
Yes. In Florida, a statute exists to assist those who have
been injured as the result of a slip and fall. This statute, 768.0755,
explicitly states that a business can be liable if someone slips and falls
while visiting. It is important to understand however that the business is not
automatically liable just because you fell. The statute tells us that someone
who falls has to prove that that the business had actual or constructive
knowledge of the dangerous condition and should have taken action to remedy it.
Basically, this says that a person who falls has to prove that either the
business knew about the condition, or should have known about it due to the
length of time it existed. Let’s say there is a puddle of water on the floor.
The puddle of water is next to a freezer. The company knew that the unit was
broken and that it had been leaking, but they put no sign out to warn customers
of the potential danger. That would be an example of actual notice. They knew
about it, and did nothing to fix it. Constructive notice on the other hand is a
little different. Let’s say for example that an ice machine is sitting at the
front of the store. You realize after you have fallen that half of the ice has
already melted and turned to water. One could make the argument that the ice,
because it was partially melted, had been on the floor long enough to have been
noticed by an employee and cleaned up. That would be an example of constructive
notice. They may not have actually knew about it, but the condition existed
long enough that they should have.
should I do after I have fallen?
It is important to understand that after a fall, you may be
severely injured. Some of those injuries are going to be obvious. You will most
likely feel pain if you broke a bone or tore a tendon as a result of the fall.
But other injuries are less noticeable. If, for instance, you hit your head on
the ground during the fall, you may have a concussion, or worse, damage to the
brain itself. Always be cautious, and even if you think your injuries are not
severe, you should be examined by a licensed physician immediately. If you do
not have someone who can take you to the emergency room, take an ambulance. The
last thing you want to do is refuse medical treatment and find out down the
road that you have a serious injury that could have been addressed right after
I contact an attorney?
It’s always best to meet with an experienced attorney after
a slip and fall that way you understand your rights. Based on the circumstances
surrounding your fall, you may be entitled to compensation. Speaking with a
licensed attorney is the only way to know for sure. If you have been the victim
of a slip and fall, or know someone who has, please call the experienced
attorneys at the Dolman Law Group. They understand what you are going through,
and are here to give you professional advice about how to move forward. Don’t
suffer another day, call us at 727-451-6900.
Dolman Law Group 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, FL 33765 727-451-6900