Friday, January 21, 2011

Commentary on the Right to Trial By Jury

The following is a post from a Michigan resident concerning the right to trial by jury and accountability. The post came after a local Michigan paper ran an article about an ongoing trial by a personal injury victim who was seriously injured in a motor vehicle collision. The article generated a lot of comments, many of them negative about injury victims and their attorneys prosecuting an injury claim through Court.

“…independent treating doctors saying this poor person is permanently disabled, and insurance company doctors who miraculously find nothing and blame everything on something completely unrelated. Surprise, surprise. The point is only the jury hearing the evidence knows what the true facts are. But one thing we all should defend as Americans is the right to trial by jury, and if indeed this woman has suffered serious injury through the fault of another, and her right to life and pursuit of happiness has been reduced as a result, then it is not only fair but essential that an American jury who hears all the evidence return a verdict that encompasses the full measure of her damages and losses. That is what the founding fathers envisioned in the Bill of Rights, that is what my Republican party always stood for - individual liberty and the right to trial by jury - before it was taken over by insurance companies and big business. This jury is performing an essential American function, and holding someone who has presumably caused great harm responsible and accountable. I fail to see how throwing out emotional charged and frankly insulting language about ambulance chasers or diminishing a person’s worth or liberty is responsible. A person who has wronged another should pay the full measure of the damages they have caused. That is what we teach our children, that is what the founding fathers to this country envisioned by protecting our freedom and liberty in the Bill of Rights. Throwing out stupid or insulting names diminishes us all.”

Commentary from MCW: If someone takes money from you, you have a right to seek redress through the Courts to recover what was taken from you. Personal injury victims who have been carelessly or recklessly injured by someone should have the same right to recover their damages in Court. The fact is most of the time when people have to resort to a lawsuit to recover their damages, it is because an insurance company has made a decision to offer less than is truly owed on the claim. Many times these offers are so low they do not even cover the incurred medical bills and lost wages. This leaves victims with two choices: Suffer a financial loss due to someone elses irresponsible behavior or seek full compensation through the Court system. For those that don't believe in lawsuits, lend me $100 and I'll promise to pay you back that amount but then when the money is due I'll only offer you $25 to pay you back. If you want the other $75 I "allegedly" owe you, you'll find yourself in the same boat as many injury victims in our State.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011



In November, 2010, Ken Feinberg and his administrators with the Gulf Coast Claim Facility (GCCF) established the following procedures for final and interim payment claims. If you need assistance regarding a clam with the GCCF, please contact Knox Boteler or email him at

Final Claim. A final claim seeks to resolve the entire claim with BP and other responsible parties. You will be required to sign a release of liability. Upon executing this release you will not be able to seek further compensation. The GCCF will fully evaluate and determine the final payment claim within 90 days receipt of the “substantiated” claim. Once receiving your final payment offer, it will be valid for 90 days. You may submit a full review final payment claim at anytime prior to the close of the GCCF program on August 22, 2013.

Voluntary Quick Payment Final Claim. The GCCF has establish a “quick payment” of $5,000.00 if you are an individual claimant, or $25,000.00 if you are a business claimant. This “quick payment” is only for those who received an emergency advance payment. This option does not require you to submit any additional supporting documentation. However, you will be required to execute a full and final release just as you would with the full review final payment claim.

Voluntary Interim Payment Claim. If you do not select the quick payment final claim or the full review final payment claim, the GCCF will still allow for submission of an interim payment claim for past losses and damages. You may only submit an interim payment claim once per quarter of each calendar year until August 22, 2013. Within 90 days of receipt of a “substantiated” claim for interim payment, the GCCF will evaluate and review the submitted documentation.

BP Oil Spill Workers Update

As reported in the Fall Newsletter, the firm is active in protecting the rights of those oil workers physically harmed by chemical exposure. Earlier this month, Knox Boteler requested Congressman Jo Bonner’s office assistance in communicating with the National Institute of Environmental Health Services. This federal agency has been appointed to conduct studies on the effects on the oil spill workers. Funding for such a study was provided by BP. While the practices and procedures for this study were implemented in a recent meeting in Tampa Florida, this information has yet to be shared with these affected workers. With the help of Congressman Bonner, the firm is hopeful the deficiencies in this area of support for spill victims can be corrected.