Following is a copy of “Message from the President” as it appears in the October 2013 issue of the Delaware Trial Lawyers Association’s DTLA Advocate publication.
The Delaware Trial Lawyers Association is stronger than ever, with 27 board members and 250 members throughout New Castle, Kent, and Sussex Counties.
DTLA members dedicated an enormous amount of time down at Legislative Hall last spring, educating Delaware’s Legislators about the underinsured motorist laws and how our law applied to Delaware’s injured victims. DTLA explained why an underinsured motorist law that is triggered by damages, rather than a law that is triggered by insurance coverage amounts, would better protect Delaware’s insured drivers. Senate Bill 61 passed the Senate and House, and was signed into law on July 3, 2013. This was an incredible success for DTLA, and showed how much can be accomplished if we work together to promote justice for our clients. For additional information about Delaware’s new underinsured motorist laws, please read my article that follows this President’s message.
While the passage of Senate Bill 61 was a tremendous success, our work at Legislative Hall is far from over. Delaware businesses are facing large workers’ compensation rate increases for the third year in a row. The Delaware Compensation Rating Bureau (DCRB) claimed that the data indicates that workers’ compensation premiums should be increased in excess of 40% this year, and if this recommended rate increase is implemented by the Insurance Commissioner, it could force many Delaware businesses to shut down or move out of our state. The Delaware Compensation Rating Bureau’s statistics show that 72% of workers’ compensation costs are a result of medical treatment, compared to only 28% of workers’ compensation costs as a result of indemnity benefits.
Despite these lopsided numbers, our client’s workers’ compensation rights are constantly under attack. DTLA’s workers’ compensation subcommittee continues to meet weekly to discuss these proposed rate increases, and how we will react to attacks on our client’s medical and indemnity rights. If you would like to learn more about this subcommittee and the issues we face regarding workers’ compensation, please contact Joseph Rhoades, Esq. (email@example.com), who is leading our fight in this vitally important issue.
DTLA is running an upcoming CLE seminar on November 1, 2013. This two hour luncheon seminar at the Hotel DuPont will feature speakers from The Lien Resolution Group who will explain how Medicare and ERISA claims need to be handled in Delaware for any personal injury or workers’ compensation case. The Lien Resolution Group and Dynamic Physical Therapy are sponsoring this seminar, for which DTLA is grateful. Additional upcoming seminars include the Ethics Update on Friday, December 13 (registration information coming soon) and the PIP/UIM seminar (this upcoming spring, date to be determined) and our annual summer convention at the Atlantic Sands in Rehoboth Beach, scheduled for June 6th-June 7th. Please mark your calendars now as the summer seminar will feature several prominent speakers that you will not want to miss!
DTLA’s partnership with the End Distracted Driving organization continues to be successful, as many DTLA members have already spoken to high schools throughout the state of Delaware about the dangers of texting and driving. If you have not spoken at a local high school yet (or are not scheduled to speak), please contact our past President Tim Lengkeek, Esq. (firstname.lastname@example.org). Tim will connect you with a school of your choice (assuming nobody else has claimed that school yet) and will explain the program to you in detail. Please donate some of your time to this meaningful project. What could be more important than educating our youths about the dangers of distracted driving?
Finally, I want to express the importance of getting involved in DTLA. As trial lawyers, we have an obligation to protect our clients’ rights and promote justice. Whether you are interested in giving back to the community, changing our current laws for the better of our clients, or advancing your practice, DTLA provides a great avenue to achieve these goals. You are already part of a great team, but in order for a team to succeed, it needs the help of all of its members. Please do not sit back and watch others do the work for you. Get involved! I promise that you will find the time you spend is more than worth it!