The Harper Law Blog

The Harper Law Blog offers news, announcements, thoughts and articles on life, law and our practice areas of emphasis.

Proposed legislation will require drivers to provide proof of insurance upon licensing

Posted Tuesday, February 06, 2007 by Ed Harper

Proposed legislation will require drivers to provide proof of insurance when registering their vehicles. Washington is one of a few states that do not have this requirement. WA State legislators will likely enact bills in both houses which will mandate proof of insurance and carry with it the crime of a misdemeanor if one attempts to provide fraudulent documentation. Mandatory insurance is already the law in the State of Washington why should we threaten drivers with another crime and require the police and courts to be the state revenue collectors.

Here is a link to op-ed piece regarding this issue: http://www.columbian.com/opinion/news/02052007news100870.cfm

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Dept. of L and I starting new program on reporting claims

Posted Wednesday, August 02, 2006 by Ed Harper

Starting January 1, 2007, The Dept. of Labor and Industries (Washington’s workers compensation program) will allow some employers, 500 initially, to report injuries and occupational diseases of their workers. The present system requires physicians to initiate the claim. Dept. of L and I will track these 500 employers and compare the benefits of having employers report the injury. In the past physicians were unwilling to fill out the paperwork necessary to start the claim and employers would question the employees injury if the office visit to the physician occurred after work etc. Time will tell which process is more effective in having injured workers treated properly for their injuries.

Employers can sign up at this website. Employers without web access can get information from Shirley Morris, 360-902-6201.

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Washington Supreme Court upholds Defense of Marriage Act

Posted Thursday, July 27, 2006 by Ed Harper

On July 26, 2006 the Washington Supreme Court overturned King and Thurston County rulings upholding the Defense of Marriage Amendment. The decision was 5-4 in favor of the legislative enactment. In the case, Andersen v. King County, 5 justices agreed that the Act is constitutional. The lead opinion was authored by Justice Barbara Madsen.

Here is a link to the decisions: http://www.courts.wa.gov/newsinfo/?fa=newsinfo.internetdetail&newsid=707

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Studies show physicians malpractice insurance rates not tied to claims

Posted Wednesday, July 12, 2006 by Ed Harper

Folks,

I-330 was defeated recently in Washington State as the medical malpractice insurance industry tried to pull the wool over consumers eyes. A recent study of the largest 15 insurance carriers for the medical industry in the US have collected more than 3 times the amount of premiums over the last three years and payouts on claims has actually dropped! Another finding mentions that premium collection has increased by 120% and payouts on claims has only increased 5.7% during 2000-2004.

So what drives the “crisis” in the medical industry? Insurance Companies desire to make more money and they have deceived the medical industry.

Wisconsin Supreme Court has recently found that caps on malpractice verdicts bear no relation to lower insurance premiums. Now Wisconsin is one of 14 states to have ruled that caps on verdicts are unconstitutional as they caps merely deprive the injured person and their families from adequate compensation for their injuries. This was why it was so important to stand up to the insurance industry and vote no on I-330.

For more information, please read Falling Claims And Rising Premiums In The Medical Malpractice Insurance Industry. Let me know what you think after reading it.

Ed Harper

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Wisconsin Court overturns medical malpractice cap on damages

Posted Wednesday, July 12, 2006 by Ed Harper

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has held that caps on damages for a medical malpractice action is unconstitutional. In a wrongful death claim a husband brought an action for the death of his wife which was allegedly due to the mistakes of a physician. The jury found for the husband and rendered a verdict for $1,200,000. Wisconsin previously had enacted a cap on damages and the court was forced to reduce the verdict to the capped amounts. The Supreme Court disagreed and reinstated the full verdict.

Caps on damages have proven to be successful only for the insurance companies and insurance rates do not go down for physicians following a caps instatement. From an individual rights perspective as well, one should have the freedom and liberty to have their day in court and government should stay out. The jury system is not perfect but it is the best way to ensure fairness and equity for those that require justice.

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