Legal

Healthcare Fraud and Whistleblowers in the U.S.

Medical fraud in all its forms is a big business—a big, crooked business. Because of that, the False Claims Act (FCA) is used to bring down those who would illegally benefit from the government health care programs Medicare, Medicaid, and TRICARE. Other health care wrongdoing that touches on these federal programs can also be subject to FCA prosecution.  Read more at http://www.thewhistleblowerlawyer.com/medical-fraud/

Infographic provided by Louthian Law Firm, P.C.

Car Accidents In Maryland

When it comes to split-second reflexes and the actions of other drivers, all the experience and training in the world cannot protect a driver from becoming involved in an vehicle accident. However, knowing what to do after a collision can help protect against even further damage or losses, particularly when dealing with insurance companies or a responsible party that is unwilling to take responsibility. If you have been injured or lost a loved one in an auto accident, contact Baltimore Car Accident Lawyer, Steve Heisler. For 25 years, Steve has focused on helping car crash victims and their families pursue fair and just compensation. You’ll find that he isn’t arrogant or stuffy and is easy to talk to. He genuinely cares about each and every one of his clients.  Infographic provided by http://www.theinjurylawyermd.com/vehicle-accidents/car-accidents/

Driving Safety in New York

There are around 300,000 auto crashes in New York every year, according to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. That is an average of 822 daily crashes in our state. About 40 percent of these crashes lead to serious injuries or death. Why do these crashes happen so often in New York? Below, you’ll learn:

  • The most common causes of auto accidents in New York
  • Leading causes of New York auto accidents: By the numbers
  • Fast facts on New York car crashes
  • How new research about causes of car accidents reveals fresh dangers
  • What you can expect after being involved in a serious vehicle crash
  • No-fault laws in New York – and what they mean for you
  • Top 5 mistakes made after an automobile accident
  • Is Society Evolving Into a More Dangerous World for Drivers?
  • New York City driving safety
  • Motorcycle Safety in New York

Read more at http://www.kaplanlawyers.com/vehicle-accident-attorneys/auto-accidents/

Truck Accidents

Because of their weight and size, big trucks can cause accidents that have devastating consequences for everyone involved. The serious injuries and vehicular damage that often result from truck accidents can lead to major medical bills, lost wages, expensive car repairs, and debilitating pain.

Every year, around 4,000 people are killed in crashes involving large trucks, and thousands more suffer serious injuries. In 2016, crashes involving commercial vehicles led to 584 deaths and over 1,400 incapacitating injuries in Texas. The motorists who suffer the most devastating consequences of a truck crash are the occupants of the smaller vehicle.  Infographic provided by https://www.terrybryant.com

Read more at https://www.terrybryant.com/truck-accident

Distracted Drivers in South Carolina

Infographic provided by Louthian Law Firm, P.A.

Not Enough Brain Cells…

There are more than 300 million cellphone subscribers in the United States, and it’s not uncommon to see drivers carrying on phone conversations while they navigate city streets or speed down the interstate. The amount of brain activity devoted to driving is reduced by 37 percent when someone talks on a cell phone. Using a hands-free device isn’t much safer than talking on a hand-held cell phone, since your brain is still focused on the call instead of the road.

And, as we all know, talking isn’t the only activity people engage in with a smartphone. One out of every four Americans say they have texted while driving, and nearly half of all American adults say they have been a passenger while the driver sent or read a text. Text messaging is just one type of distracted driving, but it is the most dangerous because it involves manual, visual, and cognitive processes. Your eyes will be off the road for 4.6 seconds on average when you send or receive a text while driving. If you’re going 55 mph, you could drive the length of a football field while you are looking at your phone instead of looking at other cars on the road.

The Centers for Disease Control says that 15 people are killed and 1,200 people injured each day in distracted driving crashes. If you or a member of your family has been the victim of a car accident caused by a distracted driver, the Louthian Law Firm of Columbia, South Carolina, can help you recover compensation from the negligent driver. Call us toll free at (803) 454-1200. You can also fill out our online contact form.

Driver Diversions Are Everywhere

Texting and talking on a cell phone often get the most attention when it comes to distracted driving, but there are also other behaviors that can lead to distracted driving car accidents:

  • Eating and drinking
  • Adjusting the radio or other audio or video devices
  • Referring to a map or GPS system
  • Talking to passengers
  • Tending to children or pets
  • Putting on makeup or doing other grooming tasks
  • Sightseeing
  • Rubbernecking at the scene of an accident
  • Reading a book or writing notes.

Isn’t there a law in South Carolina?

Even though South Carolina has no specific distracted driving law (and is one of only two such states in the nation), the state does require every driver to exercise a reasonable degree of care and refrain from driving recklessly. Several counties and towns throughout South Carolina have approved local bans on distracting behaviors such as texting, including Columbia, Beaufort, Mt. Pleasant, Camden, Clemson, Sumter, West Union, and Walhalla. As with laws prohibiting drinking while driving, many drivers choose to ignore the law and engage in risky behaviors that endanger themselves and others on the road. When a distracted driving crash occurs in South Carolina, the responsible party can be held accountable for his or her actions in a personal injury lawsuit.

By the Numbers… Accident Data Doesn’t Lie.

Some of the statistics that highlight the hazards of distracted driving include the following:

  • According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 3,300 people were killed in 2011 and 387,000 were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver.
  • Drivers who use a hand-held device while driving are four times more likely to get into a serious crash than a driver who isn’t distracted.
  • 11 percent of fatal crashes involving drivers ages 20 and under were distracted driving crashes.

Infographic provided by Louthian Law Firm, P.A.

When life goes wrong . . .

We urge you not to drive while distracted. If you have been the victim of a motor vehicle collision caused by a distracted driver, we will fight for what is right, working hard to obtain justice for you and your family.

The Louthian Law Firm has been serving Columbia and all of South Carolina for over half a century, and this experience is invaluable in successfully obtaining compensation for those who have been harmed by a distracted driver.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed by a distracted driver, South Carolina law entitles you to hold that person legally responsible for your medical expenses and vehicle repair bills, as well as any lost wages and other financial losses. You may also seek compensation for pain and suffering or loss of comfort, care and companionship of a loved one.

The deadline for filing a claim is already running, so contact the experienced South Carolina distracted driving lawyers at the Louthian Law Firm today for a free evaluation of your case. Call us toll free at (803) 454-1200. You can also fill out our online contact form.

The Ultimate Guide: Whistleblower 101

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South Carolina Whistleblower Protection & Rewards

Fraud against the government costs taxpayers millions of dollars every year. A lot of greedy and unscrupulous companies, institutions and individuals use fraud or false billing to get a cut of the cash that flows out of Washington. In an effort to cut down on the amount of taxpayer dollars lost to fraud, the government has enlisted regular citizens to uncover deceptive, money-grabbing schemes. To encourage informants to come forward and reveal what they know about fraud against the government, the laws not only provide protection for whistleblowers, but they also can get a cut of the sometimes substantial penalties that the perpetrators of fraud must pay.

The False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. § 3729 also known as the Whistleblower Act, Qui Tam Statute or Lincoln Law – gives ordinary citizens like you the power to sue companies or individuals over financial fraud committed against the government. Successful False Claims Act cases may include fraudulent payment schemes involving federal health care programs (including Medicare), government procurement contracts, grants for small businesses, federally insured mortgages and other federal programs.

South Carolina Whistleblower lawyerIf you suspect your employer is defrauding the federal government, contact a South Carolina Whistleblower lawyer at the Louthian Law Firm today Toll Free: (803) 454-1200 or online for a free evaluation of your case. We can confidentially review the facts in your case, advise you about whether your claim has merit and inform you about how the False Claims Act protects whistleblowers from retribution in the workplace – all for no charge.

About Qui Tam Whistleblower Protection Cases

The False Claims Act was first enacted during the Civil War in response to war profiteers who sold shoddy goods to the government or overbilled. The act allows whistleblowers who are unaffiliated with the government to bring an action on the government’s behalf against federal contractors who defrauded the government. This is what is known as a “qui tam” action, whose title has its origins in a Latin phrase that translates as “he who sues for the king as well as for himself.”

Whistleblowers, known as “relators” under the False Claims Act, often face considerable personal risk when reporting financial wrongdoing. To encourage whistleblowers to step forward with allegations of fraud, the government offers sizable rewards to those individuals. Whistleblowers under the False Claims Act may collect 15-30 percent of any money recovered in a successful lawsuit.

A lawsuit under the False Claims Act can result in the fraudster paying triple damages to the government, plus a penalty of $10,781 to $21,563 per claim. In some instances, a “claim” is interpreted as each individual bill or request for government payment, multiplying the size of the penalty according to the number of fraudulent bills submitted. An estimated $6 billion has been recovered for the government, resulting in nearly $1 billion in rewards for whistleblowers since the False Claims Act was revised in 1986 to make it easier for citizens to file qui tam actions.

Whistleblower Rewards

Many factors play into how much a whistleblower can recover in a qui tam suit. The False Claims Act leaves a lot of room for discretion in deciding what percentage of the recovery the whistleblower will receive. Relators who promptly report fraud and provide significant assistance to the government will generally receive a larger cut. An experienced attorney such as the ones at Louthian Law Firm can help you present your best case to the government in order to maximize your reward.

In addition to a significant reward, the False Claims Act also permits whistleblowers to recover their legal fees and costs from the party that perpetrated the fraud. The law also prevents employers from harassing or taking other adverse actions against a whistleblower.

Who Can Bring a Qui Tam Action?

Most qui tam actions are brought by current or former employees of companies or institutions that defrauded the government. They can also be brought by subcontractors, competitors, federal employees, customers, patients or virtually anyone who has information that a party has knowingly submitted fraudulent claims for payment to the government. You do not need to have suffered some sort of personal harm in order to bring a qui tam case.

In most cases, only the first relator to disclose the fraudulent activity to the government can recover under the False Claims Act. This means it is crucial that you seek legal counsel and get moving on your case as soon as possible to avoid being shut out.

You generally will not be able to recover in a qui tam action if you were responsible for the fraud. The False Claims Act also frowns on so-called “parasitic” claims, where a relator reports information about a fraud that was already generally known in the public realm.

What Can Be the Subject of a Whistleblower Lawsuit?

Under the False Claims Act, a qui tam action can be based on the actions of any party who:

  • Knowingly presents a false or fraudulent claim for payment to the government;
  • Knowingly makes a false statement or record in order to get a fraudulent claim paid;
  • Conspires to submit a fraudulent claim or make statements to get a fraudulent claim paid; or
  • Knowingly deprives the government of property or money that it is due.

False claims for health care services under Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security have been common subjects of qui tam actions in recent years. Federal military contractors have also been targets of whistleblower lawsuits, as have universities that received federal research grants and companies that deal with federal agencies such as the Department of Labor, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, NASA and the Department of Agriculture.

It is important to remember that the False Claims Act does NOT apply to claims, records or statements made under the Internal Revenue Code, meaning it does not apply to tax fraud. There are other exceptions, including actions against the states, members of Congress, judges and senior members of the executive branch.

Another key point: qui tam actions cannot be based on government waste or ineptitude. The subject must be fraud perpetrated against the government.

How Do I File a Claim under the False Claims Act?

An experienced qui tam attorney like the ones at the Louthian Law Firm can assess your case and help you file the necessary disclosure statement with the government if you have a valid case. In some instances, the government will “intervene” or take part in your lawsuit. A qualified South Carolina whistleblower lawyer can help you structure your claims in such a way that the government will be persuaded to intervene in your case, possibly increasing the likelihood that you will recover reward money. However, even if the government doesn’t decide to intervene, it might still be advisable to pursue your case without government involvement.

For a free, confidential evaluation of your case, call the Louthian Law Firm today at (803) 454-1200 or fill out the online consultation form.