Issue: July 2017
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Asthma Risks and Liabilities: Taking a Deep Breath

Introduction

Liability Risks for Asthma

Asthma currently affects more than 18 million adults and 6 million children in the U.S. It accounts for about 6.5 percent of all physician office visits, leads to about 1.6 million visits to emergency rooms, and results in 3,500 deaths each year.

 

Asthma-associated medical expenses increased to $50.1 billion in 2007. Indirect economic costs of asthma, which include lost work and school days, add to the economic burden of asthma.

 

An injury related to asthma can lead to litigation. Claims may include allegations of medical malpractice or negligence, workers’ compensation claims, and others.

 

Attorneys, physicians, insurers, employers, and other potential parties to litigation need to understand the types of lawsuits and other liability issues that may arise in connection with asthma-related injuries.


The Perspectives: Improve Your Strategy

Attorneys:

What proof is needed to establish liability for an asthma-related injury? And, what is a potential strategy for the attorney to employ?

Physicians:

How can liability for medical malpractice be avoided for an injury related to the diagnosis or treatment of asthma? And, what is a potential strategy for the physician to employ?

Insurers:

Can a payout under a medical malpractice liability policy for an injury related to the diagnosis or treatment of asthma be avoided by proof that the health provider was not negligent or there was no coverage for the provider’s actions? And, what is a potential strategy for the insurer to employ?

Employers:

Can an employer be subject to liability for an employee’s asthma or asthma-related injury? And, what is a potential strategy for the employer to use?


Practice the Technique: Checklists

Attorneys:

Check this list of facts and circumstances tending to show a provider’s liability for malpractice or negligence for an injury involving asthma.

Physicians:

Presented is a checklist of items a physician must consider when defending against claims of malpractice or negligence for an injury involving asthma.

Insurers:

The insurer should check these “red flags” and inconsistencies when investigating a claim of a medical malpractice or negligence injury involving asthma.

Employers:

Use this checklist to determine if the employee’s asthma is “work related” and occurred “in the course of the employment.” 

Expert Analysis

What Air Quality Methods Should Employers Consider to Improve Work Life for Employees with Asthma?

Melanie Carver

How Are Asthma and Sleep Apnea Related?

Albert A. Rizzo, MD, FACP, FCCP, D'ABSM

Litigation

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Arbitration or mediation may be required by contract or statute, may be mandated by the court or, in some circumstances, may be the appropriate method for a negotiated resolution.


Reasons to Reach Settlement

The following are reasons why the attorney, physician, insurer, or employer would want to reach settlement, and not take the action to trial.


Reasons to Go to Trial

The following are reasons why the attorney, physician, insurer, or employer would want to take the action to trial.


Jury Awards and Settlements

How much have juries awarded and what settlements have been reached recently in cases involving asthma?



Medical Examples

Asthma

This section provides detailed medical information on asthma, including the mechanics of breathing, environments affecting asthma, special patient groups, risk factors, triggers, signs and symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and anesthesia complications. Also discussed is the asthmatic person’s prognosis and ability to work. 



Law and Medicine Resources

Law and Medicine Resources

Provided is a listing of law and medical resources for further information on asthma.


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Asthma Risks and Liabilities: Taking a Deep Breath

Table of Contents
Introduction

Expert Analysis
   Melanie Carver
   Albert A. Rizzo, MD, FACP, FCCP, D'ABSM

The Perspectives: Improve Your Strategy
   Attorneys
   Physicians and Health Providers
   Insurers
   Employers and Risk Managers

Practice the Technique: Checklists
   Attorney Checklist
   Physician Checklist
   Insurer Checklist
   Employer Checklist

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Reasons to Reach Settlement

Reasons to Go to Trial

Jury Awards and Settlements

Asthma

Law and Medicine Resources