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Equifax Security Breach – Are You Affected?

Worried about your credit score? Hope all the information on your credit report is correct? Are you worried Equifax may give your personal information to criminals?

It seems a little unnerving that the company who you didn’t ask to keep a VERY detailed file of your personal information, such as social security number, address, bank account numbers, and tons of other information, allowed that information to slip into the hands of cyber criminals. That’s right. Hackers gonna hack, and they got into Equifax, stealing more than 130 MILLION U.S. consumers’ private information.

Identity theft can be a HUGE problem. Here’s a real life example. While in law school, my house was broken into. These guys were smart. They stole check books and some student loan papers that had my social security number on them.

We filed a police report listing everything stolen. For the next 6 years we constantly received collection letters for bad checks. Apparently, Pizza Hut and Dillard’s were big favorites of these particular criminals! Each and every time we received a collection letter, we had to forward a copy of the police report and forgery affidavit to the debt collectors. Some of the agencies didn’t believe us and reported it to the credit bureaus. This required us to dispute the negative information with the credit bureaus. This really was a nightmare!

Now, the same information some crook stole from inside my home buried in a sock drawer was stolen from the mega-million-dollar company by some hack in his mom’s basement.

This really can cause problems. Equifax is working to help. To see if your info has been compromised, go to www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. I find it ironic you have to enter your name and last 6 of your social to check it out. Just didn’t really feel like giving that info to the people who already lost it once. Oh well, I did. I found out my info was compromised. Next step? Sign up for Equifax’s “TrustedID Premier” program. It provides credit and social security number monitoring, freezes your account (this is a good thing), and provides $1 million in identity theft insurance.
Here’s the rub. You have to agree to their terms and conditions, which, of course, are written very favorably to them. The biggest concern is losing the ability to join in a class action lawsuit against them for their failure. Still, it’s probably a good idea to sign up.

Here’s another helpful hint: Go to www.annualcreditreport.com to get a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus. If you find any incorrect information, let us know. We can help get it fixed.

Ewbank, Hennigh & McVay, PLLC
Enid, OK

Chairman of the Board for Greater Enid Chamber, Dalen McVay

Dalen D. McVay of Ewbank, Hennigh & McVay, PLLC has recently been designated as Chairman of the Board for the Greater Enid Chamber of Commerce. After two years as the Education Chair for the executive committee of the Chamber, Dalen is excited to step up and serve in a greater capacity. “Our firm is committed to being active in the community and serving on boards and committees.  With offices in Fairview and Laverne, Enid is the place we’ve all chosen to make our home. We’ll continue to do all we can to make Enid an even greater place to reside.”

Below is a copy of Dalen’s letter which was published in the Greater Enid Chamber of Commerce’s July newsletter.

Coming from a small town in the Panhandle, I thought Enid would be “too big.” My wife is from Edmond, and she feared Enid would be “too small.” Instead, we love it here and Enid is the place we’ll retire. It’s a good sized town with a small-town feel. We are truly blessed to be able to raise our three kids in such a wonderful community. I’m honored to serve as the Chairman for the Greater Enid Chamber of Commerce for the 2017-2018 year. After serving two years on the Chamber Executive Committee, I’ve seen many benefits the Chamber is able to provide to its members and the local community. I look forward to not only furthering my commitment to the board, but to Enid as well. Each year the Chamber publishes a three year “strategic plan.” Some of the main focuses this year are on: Supporting education and workforce development throughout the local community; Supporting Vance Air force Base; Promoting state and federal legislative initiatives that benefit Enid and Northwest Oklahoma; And support Enid’s retail market share through programs and expansion. With the help of the community and especially the Chamber members, the Greater Enid Chamber of Commerce will continue to enhance the quality of life in Enid and keep Enid thriving.

-Dalen McVay, Chairman of the Board

 

 

Small Claims Is Where It’s At!

Can I file this in Small Claims Court? People ask that question a lot when considering filing a lawsuit.  

Recently, Governor Mary Fallin signed Senate Bill 661. This bill increases the limit of Small Claims cases from $7,500 to $10,000. The bill is effective November 1, 2017.

Still have questions about the right way to file a lawsuit, give us a call. Our lawyers handle cases of all sizes.

Ewbank, Hennigh & McVay, PLLC covers all of Oklahoma and travels extensively through Northwest Oklahoma representing our clients.

The Greatest Law Firm on Earth is Hiring

If you haven’t guessed it – yes, we’re referring to EHM. We’ve spent years perfecting our craft, developing our team. And now, it’s time to expand our northwest Oklahoma law firm even more.

We’re currently hiring for an associate attorney with zero to five years of experience. So if you just finished law school and passed your bar exam, you’re in luck. Even if you’ve been practicing law for a bit – we can promise you’ll enjoy the culture around here.

Applicants must be motivated and be willing to work in a variety of capacities. It comes with the territory of working in a law firm. Additionally, we ask that you’re detailed, task-oriented and of course – able to play nice with others.

If your goal is living and working in God’s country (legally defined as the territory north of HWY 51 and west of HWY 81), we’d love to visit with you. Our ideal candidate is seeking gainful employment and experience working in oil and gas title work, family law, legal research, writing and litigation.

Sound like something you’d enjoy? Good. In addition to our awesome work atmosphere, we also provide benefits. Yeah – now we’ve definitely got your attention. To learn more about the position or to apply right away (come on, we know you want to), contact us at ewbank@northwestoklaw.com.

EHM Offers Former FBI Director, James Comey, Associate Position

Director Comey,

Ewbank, Hennigh & McVay, PLLC would like to formally extend an invitation to join our firm.  While we have not conducted a formal background check, we rest assured your background will prove acceptable.  As you may have heard, Ewbank, Hennigh & McVay, PLLC is a law firm headquartered in Enid, OK with an office in Laverne.  These may not be the large metropolitan areas in which you are most familiar practicing law, but we believe we can offer a much more intellectually “upright” experience.

A little about us.  The founding partners, Andrew “Drew” Ewbank, Kaleb Hennigh and Dalen McVay, each grew up in small towns in Northwest Oklahoma.  After law school we each decided this part of the world is the best place on the planet to raise our kids.  We formed this firm 6 years ago, officially opening on this day, May 11, in 2011.  Since that time we have maintained absolutely NO contact with Russia.  That should be a relief.  North Korea is certainly turned on to our influence, and tried to hack our server, offering many millions of dollars through the use of a spoof email.  However, our IT security is top-notch.  North Korea’s attempts were thwarted quickly and effectively.  Our server is located on premises.  Neither Drew, Dalen, nor Kaleb have a server at home.  We each use our @northwestoklaw.com email domain for all firm business.  As far as we are aware, none of our employees have ever met on the tarmac of an airport with any clients.  In the interest of full disclosure, we have bumped into clients at the airport in Vegas, but we are not allowed to speak of the encounter.

From a philosophical point of view, you will not have to navigate wildly different political views.  We each identify simply as Americans.  We want what is best for our clients regardless of the “R” or “D” or “L” or “I” or “G” appearing after their names on their birth certificates and found in blood type geno-mapping.  This certainly allows us to practice with a focus on the issues, not on making ideologues comfortable in their own choices.

Coming from the US Attorney’s Office and the FBI, we think you will find our criminal practice area most rewarding.  Many of our criminal clients are hard-working, good people who have either made a mistake, and take responsibility for that mistake, or are people who are subject to honest, but unintentionally over-reaching, prosecution of local prosecutors.  This will be different from working with and investigating narcissistic politicians.  The scale of our clients’ cases is such that you will not have to worry about the many and well-connected “friends” coming after you for each and every decision you make.

However, we have a hard and fast rule: We do not, ever, speak of our clients cases in the middle of an investigation.  “Media narrative” is rarely an element in our cases, so this should be a non-issue.

EHM offers competitive salary package, including paid vacation, IRA matches, health insurance, and a fun working environment.  We understand our salary offer may not match that of your prior positions.  However, we structure our associates pay in such a way to highlight and encourage production of quality work for our clients.  Unlike government jobs where your pay is held down by artificial tiers focusing on time of service, the sky is the limit here.  Imagine the excitement of your earnings being determined on your great work product, not how long you have used the same government issued stapler!

We look forward to working with you, please contact us directly to arrange your plans for arrival here in the office.

An In-Depth Guide to Medical Liens

An In-Depth Guide to Medical Liens

You’d be surprised to learn that medical liens are fairly common. A lien is a demand for repayment that may be placed against your personal injury case. If you’re the victim and have filed a lawsuit to recover the cost of medical bills, your medical providers may be able to file a lien against your settlement proceeds.

So, what exactly is a lien?
There are several types; hospital liens, physicians liens, ambulance companies can even file liens… To put it simply, liens ensure doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers get paid for their services. These liens are similar to other types of liens in that they secure payment of a debt or obligation. An injury caused by a third party that requires treatment is subject to a medical lien if the provider doesn’t get paid for their services at the time of treatment. This happens any time a third party causes injury and medical bills and does not pay right away.
Here are several major types of liens you need to watch for:

Medical Provider and Hospital Liens
In some cases, hospitals are entitled to file a lien for repayment. Most often, this is conducted through a letter that you sign — stating you submit to a lien against your settlement, or because a statute in Oklahoma law allows a lien to be filed for their services.

From there, the hospital must follow several steps:

The lien must be filed in the county clerk’s office in the county where the hospital is located, and must be filed prior to payment of any money to the injured person. The lien requires the amount claimed, name and address of the hospital, name and address of the injured person, the date of the wreck of injury, and name of the liable party.

The hospital then must mail, by registered or certified mail, a copy of the notice to you and the person liable for causing your injuries. If the hospital doesn’t follow these two steps, their lien may not be enforceable.

Worker’s Compensation Liens
If you’ve been injured in a work-related accident, a lien may be issued if your medical bills and lost wages have been paid through your state’s fund. This lien includes the amount that worker’s compensation paid for your case.

Health Insurer Liens
A health insurer lien, which is contractual, comes from your health insurance policy. So, if your lawyer settles your cause, they can’t disburse any money to you until the health insurer has been reimbursed first.

Government Liens
If the government paid for any portion of your treatment, they have a right to get reimbursed if you recover money from the other party. Some programs like Medicare and Medicaid have different rights when it comes to liens, so it’s best to consult your lawyer.

Here’s a quick overview:
Medicare: This lien derives from federal law and is automatic. If your lawyer settles the case, money can’t be dispersed until Medicare is reimbursed out of the settlement fund.
Medicaid: If you receive health insurance through a state agency
If you are receiving health insurance benefits through a state agency, that is most likely a Medicaid claim. Federal and state law gives the state agency the same automatic lien on your case as Medicare has.

These government liens can have super priority, meaning they have much better protection, for the government, to get paid back.  Mishandling these liens can have serious implications.

What Happens If You Ignore the Lien?
If there’s one thing you don’t want to do — it’s ignore a lien. You and your lawyer could get sued and consider your rights to future health insurance or benefits jeopardized. In some cases, ignoring a lien may even result in a criminal offense.

So, conclusion? Don’t do it. Trust us, calling a lawyer and navigating the process correctly is the wisest way to receive the best return.

Don’t Panic, Here’s What You Need to Remember.
Clients will call, upset because a hospital or doctor has filed a lien. Most often, this fear stems from the belief that the lien attaches to their property (like a home mortgage) and ruins their credit. Something to keep in mind is the lien only attaches to the proceeds of the settlement. It doesn’t attach to homes, cars, or other property. These liens don’t affect your credit. It simply is the amount owed that will come out of funds paid by the liable party.

This is a complicated nuisance to personal injury law. This is why it’s important to hire a knowledgeable and experienced attorney to walk you through the process. Most often, attorneys can even find ways to reduce or eliminate the lien.
So before you ignore it, give EHM a call. We’re always here for you when you (or someone else) wants to get out of line.

Guide to Wind Turbine Leases

A Guide to Wind Turbine Leases

Wind turbines are quickly assembling all over the state of Oklahoma. If you have been approached by a wind energy company regarding land usage and leases, you should have your lease reviewed to ensure that it contains provisions to protect you as a landowner and is in line within the quickly developing and changing standards set forth by Oklahoma lawmakers. Wind energy leases cover a broad range of topics; leasing land, creating easements, restriction land use, future demolition of turbines, and the list goes on. To ensure you are making the right decision, we have created a list of three things to consider when negotiating wind turbine leases.
1. Land Usage 
Generally, while the wind turbines for a commercial wind project only use about three acres of land, 60 acres of land for megawatt is required. This buffer is to preserve wind flow, but you’ll need to make sure the lease clearly and fairly states your rights to use the land for farming, grazing; hunting or other purposes – and that you agree with them.
Most likely, the lease will prohibit the addition of structures that would affect wind flow over your property including barns, houses, and even trees. Make sure that you understand these obligations as well.
2. Time Frame 
The expected life of a wind turbine is 25 years, but leases can range anywhere from 20-50 years and typically include a renewal provision, extending the lease further. Make sure that you are aware of this period and consider your estate plans when you are discussing the lease.
3. Compensation  
Since you are giving up control of your land, you will want to make sure you are fairly and justly compensated. Usually, land lease payments are fixed payments based on acreage, towers or megawatt capacity, or are royalty payments based on a percentage of gross revenue, and acreage included within the project. Additionally, they can be a combination of the two. Make sure you’re clear with your desires while understanding theirs.
Even though this industry is relatively new, we have lawyers that are experienced in this area. They can provide competent information regarding leases, land use, and landowner’s rights. With the wind industry expanding, we can help you navigate your options and remedy your issues, just give us a call at 580-234-4334 or contact us here (http://northwestoklaw.com/contact-us/).

5 Tips for to Successfully Co-Parent

5 Tips to Successfully Co-Parent

Custody disputes often occur during children’s breaks from school– spring break, summer break and holiday breaks. Issues arise because when parents aim to spend more with their children and struggle to follow the custody layout.

Change is difficult, especially for children. Here are five tips to help avoid arguments and successfully co-parent.

1. Communication is Key
Plan drop-offs and pick-ups ahead of time. Review every detail and make it a goal to overcommunicate in these situations. They’ll help eliminate any misunderstandings moving forward. Set a time and place where you’ll meet and follow through on those plans. The more things are communicated beforehand, the fewer arguments there will be when exchanging the children. Additionally, make sure to go over any medications the children need to take, any schedules they need to follow, or any activities you need to take them to. This will shift the exchange to the child’s benefit.

2. Be Realistic
Custody agreements can be difficult for every person involved, parents and children alike. It is important to be realistic with your time, finances and your situation. Make sure there is always a plan set in place for visitations that fit your lifestyle — and that you can accommodate long visits from the children.

3. Involve Your Children
Although the last call will always be with the parents, making sure your children understand what’s happening and are involved in the communication process is important. Make sure they know when they’re going to be with the other parent and when they’re going to come back. Talk to them about any questions or concerns they may have and eliminate any stress that your children may be having regarding the custody agreement.

4. Make it About Your Children
Many times, custody agreements many times stem from resentment in the marriage but have nothing to do with actual parenting. Divorce can be very hard on children. The more you make decisions about them rather than the emotions, it makes the decision-making process a little easier. If your children are going to a safe and happy home environment with their other parent, you have to allow them to enjoy their time together as well.

5. Smile
Smiling during the exchange of your children reassures them that you are okay with them being with the other parent. The more your children feel you’re okay with the arrangement, the more they will be okay with it as well. Divorce is extremely difficult and it can play a toll on the kids, but making sure you are doing your best to make it easy for them will go a long way.

What other tips do you have to co-parent? Share your ideas and stories with us below in the comments and give us a call with any questions.

580-234-4334

3rd Annual YMCA Back-a-Youth Fundraiser { Enid Oklahoma Law Firm

Ewbank, Hennigh & McVay Law Firm sponsored the 3rd annual Back-a-Youth Basketball game fundraiser along side Edward Jones and several other local businesses in town. Community and youth involvement is important to the firm. Each year the money raised from the event goes towards allowing children less fortunate memberships to the YMCA, located downtown Enid, OK.

This year they raised $4935.00, compared to last year of $4645.00. A special thanks to everyone who helped make this possible. Farmers Insurance – Todd Hamilton, Pheasant Run Golf Course, Bogies Bar and Grill, Holly Gannett Photography and Farm Credit of Enid.

medical billing inaccurate claim

Medical Billing: How to avoid an inaccurate claim.

When you suffer an injury — whether from a car wreck or a defective product, you’ll likely encounter medical billing. It’s the worst, right? If you’ve encountered medical billing and there hordes of debt collectors, more than likely you’ll agree the legalities are maddening.

Similar to a business, healthcare facilities are required to comply with state and federal regulations. Unlike businesses, though, they have to follow additional rules because they’re providing medical service. In other words, they have to balance the ethical standards of business as well as the medical standards.

Many times, hospitals inadvertently send clients to collections over medical bills incurred from a wreck. In this situation, it’s important for you to closely communicate with the medical provider and let them know their payment should be forthcoming from an eventual settlement. Additionally, it’s crucial to know basic HIPAA and other state and federal regulations that will protect you from incorrect and growing medical debt.

One of the most prominent laws you’ll run into when dealing with medical billing is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). It safeguards confidentiality and requires each patient be informed of their rights under HIPAA. In other words, it’s important to review all that paperwork they make you fill out.

Another law you’ll want to pay attention to concerns the relationship between medical offices and insurance companies. The included regulations range from claim filing deadlines to how billing claims are distributed. Each healthcare provider has to sign a contract regulating practices while negotiating the payment for each code the provider bills.

When a provider signs with an insurance company, they agree to a certain percentage or payment for services. And, if the amount the provider bills is over the agreed, it must be written off. What this means for you is that your provider usually can’t bill you for any amount over the negotiated rate. If they do, it’s called balance billing.

Sometimes inaccuracies occur in the healthcare industry, especially when it comes to medical billing. Mistakes, sometimes even intentional errors, take place when you’re billed for something that wasn’t performed or when reports contain inaccurate information. When this happens, the insurance company pays more.

To protect your pocketbook, and your insurance while keeping your provider in check, it’s best to check these six things before paying your medical bill:

1. Itemized details

Usually, your bill will include everything in a lump sum. To ensure you weren’t mischarged, contact your provider’s billing department and request an itemized listing of services.

2. Identifiers

Things as small as misspellings can cause your insurance claim to be rejected. Check your policy number, group number and ensure your health insurance and doctor’s information is up-to-date.

3. Each service

Line by line, check each service. Sometimes tests can be ordered and canceled after the bill was already distributed. Other times, it could simply be an administrative mistake. Whatever the case, watch for duplicates and report any false items.

4. Any irregularities

When the service item code is a bit vague, research it.  The American Medical Association provides a complete listing of all the billing codes. Other errors to look for include billing for a private room when you were in a shared room, charging for a higher level of service than received, operating room overcharges, and unbundling errors.

5. Explanation of benefits

Your EOB will be sent to you soon after the medical claim is processed by the insurance company. It shares what was covered and the amount that goes towards your deductible, copay and the remaining balance. Checking your EOB will save you from spending money you don’t need to.

6. Adjustments

If there’s nothing wrong with your bill, go ahead and pay or set up a plan with your medical provider. If you do spot an inaccuracy, though, always remember that the law is on your side and EHM is always here to help.

What are some of the experiences you’ve had with billing during a car wreck? Share your stories with us below in the comments and give us a call with any questions you may have. (580) 234-4334

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Ewbank, Hennigh & McVay Law Firm | 580-234-4334
110 N. Independence | Enid, OK 73701