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Ensign Amendment Fails — Good News for Malpractice Victims

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A vote in the US Senate this past week showed that a bi-partisan majority did not agree with John Ensign’s proposal to limit plaintiff’s attorney’s fees for handling medical malpractice claims. The bill to limit plaintiff’s attorney fees in medical malpractice cases failed because the overwhelming majority of lawmakers realize that victims of medical malpractice face some of the fiercest litigation battles from negligent doctors. And those battles result in ever-increasing costs to injury victims. This on top of numerous hurdles that burden medial malpractice injury victims (at least in North Carolina) from ever getting to see the inside of a courtroom. The message from Ensign’s proposal –doctors can vigorously defend the harm they cause, but we will continue to limit the victims ability to pursue cases. Interestingly, Ensign’s proposal did not limit attorney’s fees for defending negligent doctors. Instead it was another veiled attempt to stick it to trial lawyers, at the expense of people who suffer or die from medical mistakes. If real “tort reform” is ever to have a chance, it must be based on a genuine and sincere effort to level the playing field for all.

North Carolina’s Senators Kay Hagan (D) and Richard Burr (R) voted in favor of the failed Ensign amendment.

Our first workers compensation, personal injury and social security office on the coast

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We’re excited to have just opened our first office on the North Carolina coast in the Landfall Business Center in Wilmington.

Countless numbers of clients and attorneys have made the drive back and forth between Raleigh and Wilmington, but those days are over. We’ll be meeting you in the Landfall Executive Suites at 1213 Culbreth Dr. That’s just off Military Cutoff Road on the right, two blocks north of I74/Eastwood Road.

Oxner + Permar Moves into the NASCAR Plaza

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We’re excited to move into the 18th floor of the NASCAR Plaza in Charlotte! NASCAR has the 19th and 20th floors, and the NASCAR Hall of Fame will be opening downstairs in just a few short months… so you never know who you’ll bump into in the elevators!!! If you’re not familiar with Uptown Charlotte don’t worry — this is just about the easiest building to find. Take the South Boulevard exit off of Interstate 277/John Belk Freeway and you can’t miss this beautiful 20-story office tower. Take a quick left on Stonewall and a right on S. Brevard to park in our garage. Be sure to bring the parking pass upstairs for us to validate for you.The view from up here is unbelievable — come check it out for yourself!While Lou Waple and Kristin Packard are anchoring this new office, several of the rest of us have offices there as well. So whether you have a personal injury claim needing Eric Richardson and Laurie Stegall or a Social Security Disability claim for Justin Wraight, we’re happy to meet with you here.

Kid’s Chance Golf Tournament

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Many of you know that Oxner + Permar has been a long-time champion of Kid’s Chance of North Carolina. Kid’s Chance is our local chapter of a national organization dedicated to providing scholarships to the children of injured workers. This April we’re again the lead sponsor of a fundraising golf tournament to be held at the Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro — home of the PGA’s Wyndham Championship.

Kid’s Chance is an incredible organization, and we’re proud to have donated thousands of dollars to it while helping them raise even more money from other law firms as well. If you have a student in your family, or know of a family of an injured worker who could benefit from a scholarship, please go to www.kidschancenc.org for more information.

What Do You Really Want From Your Workers’ Comp Claim?

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What do you really want out of Workers’ Compensation? I’ve spoken to thousands of injured people and their families and I’ve asked most of them that question. “To get better, to be able to return to work, and to enjoy my family again.” Those are the most common answers. In over fifteen years, I’ve never had anyone tell me he wanted to beat the system or make a bunch of money.

So it is disappointing that so many insurance adjusters, human resource directors, safety managers, and politicians think that many injured workers are just doing it for the money. It’s so bad that a well-known orthopedic surgeon in Raleigh recently spoke to a group of defense attorneys and insurance adjusters and said that he believed that many injured workers would have unnecessary surgery just to avoid working and to get more money.

What scares the daylights out of me is knowing that injured workers – who know a lot more than I do about real life: driving trucks, running a knitting machine, building a house, and more – are going to see this doctor, and others like him, every day because they don’t know their rights under the workers’ compensation laws.It’s not that we’re smarter than they are. It’s simply that we study workers’ compensation all day long — and we’ve been doing this for many years now.

Protect yourself, your family, and your home. You may not need to hire an attorney but you certainly need information and someone to help you think through your case with you.

This article was written by Todd P. Oxner