Andrew P. Baratta

Top rated personal injury attorney in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania

Baratta Law LLC
Andrew P. Baratta
Baratta Law LLC

Practice Areas: Personal injury, Health care, General litigation view more

Licensed in Pennsylvania since: 1998

Education: Temple University Beasley School of Law

Selected to Rising Stars: 2006 - 2008, 2010 - 2011

Baratta Law LLC

3500 Reading Way
Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006 Phone: 215-914-8132 Email: Andrew P. Baratta Visit website

Details

Andy is regularly retained by medical providers around the country who treat injured accident victims and who find themselves targeted by insurance companies with false accusations of fraud.

Andy believes his mission as a lawyer is to fight for every resource needed by our injured clients to get their lives back. Ensuring full and unfettered access to quality medical care of their choosing is a critical component of this responsibility. Unfortunately, in the never-ending quest to devalue injury claims in order to earn obscene profits, insurers have devised sophisticated schemes to undermine the credibility of injured victims by attacking the doctors who treat them with phony allegations of “predetermined” or “non-individualized” treatment.

On behalf of doctors all over the country, including Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Kentucky, Nevada, California, Idaho, Washington, Texas, and Minnesota, Andy has aggressively fought these schemes in cases involving every major insurance carrier, securing tens of millions of dollars for doctors unfairly targeted by them.

 

Practice areas

Personal injury - general: plaintiff, Health care, General litigation, Business litigation

First Admitted: 1998, Pennsylvania

Professional Webpage: https://www.barattalawfirm.com/andrew-p-baratta/

Educational Background:
  • University of Pennsylvania
Bar/Professional Activity:
  • PA Association for Justice, 2021
Scholarly Lectures/Writings:
  • In State Farm v. Injury Care Chiropractic, Civ. No. 20-819 (Western District Kentucky), on September 28, 2021, the federal court dismissed State Farm’s claims for common law fraud, unjust enrichment, and declaratory judgment against a chiropractic practice in Louisville which specializes in treating auto accident patients.  The Court agreed with the argument raised in our Motion to Dismiss that Kentucky’s Motor Vehicle law precludes State Farm’s fraud, unjust enrichment and declaratory judgment claims in their entirety.             In the wake of the Court’s order dismissing State Farm’s intentionally overblown “fraud” claims, we have filed a Counterclaim against State Farm for Abuse of Process.  Our Counterclaim explains that it has become State Farm’s preferred manner of attack across the country to blindside doctors with a “Confidentiality, Tolling and Moratorium Agreement” and demand immediate “settlement” talks or be sued in federal court for fraud.  But the only “settlement” State Farm is ever interested in with doctors who treat auto accident patients is a “no-bill” agreement in which the doctor waives any right to payment on pending bills and promises never to bill State Farm again.              Faced with the crippling legal expense and reputational damage caused by the mere filing of a federal fraud lawsuit, countless doctors across the country have had little practical choice but to acquiesce to such extortionate demands, which are being made by all of the major carriers.  But because a future “no-bill” requirement is not a remedy actually available to an insurer even if their threatened lawsuit had any merit, the demand for a “no-bill” agreement under threat of litigation is a blatant abuse of the civil process.  Our Counterclaim in Kentucky seeks to hold State Farm accountable for exactly this conduct against our clients there., Author, Fraud Claims Against Doctors Exposed as Abuses of Civil Process, Medical Providers, 2021
  • Warren Buffett did not become one of the wealthiest men in world history just because he is a lovable old grandpa from Omaha.  He did it just the way every other mega-billionaire has – by being ruthlessly shrewd in how and where he invests his money.  The shrewdest investment of Buffett’s storied career has been in GEICO, from which he has extracted profits of $41.6 billion just since taking full control of the company in 1996.No one makes $41.6 billion in profits on shrewdness alone, not over a period of years which included the burst of the internet bubble, the 9/11 attacks, the worst recession since the Great Depression, and a global pandemic that has ravaged the world economy.  Such an accomplishment is possible only with a ruthless commitment to maximizing the bottom line.  For an insurance company like GEICO, this means selling as many policies as possible while doing whatever it takes to avoid actually paying out on claims. And this is where Buffet is revealed to be less Pop-Pop than Pol Pot.  Like State Farm (the competitor it is striving to overtake as the largest auto insurer in America), GEICO has adopted a strategy of denying and devaluing injury claims of minorities, immigrants, and lower income claimants with ginned-up accusations of fraud.  I have written previously about the fundamentals of this fraud-for-profit program originated by the global consulting firm McKinsey for Allstate and State Farm which is now, unfortunately, simply the modus operandi for the entire Property Casualty Industry. GEICO’s most transparently disingenuous deployment of fraud-for-profit strategy is against doctors providing treatment to patients injured in car crashes and submitting bills under various state PIP laws.  GEICO hates how PIP laws interfere with its scheme to automatically deny injury claims based on racial, ethnic, and socio-economic stereotypes.  This is because virtually every PIP law in the country requires automobile insurers to provide no-fault medical benefits coverage for treatment of injuries related to an auto crash and generally require insurers to make payment directly to medical providers within 30-60 days of getting the bill.  This tight time frame, combined with disproportionate penalties for untimely compliance, makes it impossible to deny payments without some actual justification for doing so.  But justifying denials would mean hiring more people to actually review medical records and meaningfully adjust claims, which would substantially increase costs and eat into profit.  As one would expect from a company owned by so successful an investor as Warren Buffett, GEICO is constantly inventing ways to reduce claims-related expenses, not increase them.  GEICO has therefore taken the opposite approach required by PIP laws and simply avoids using human beings altogether, instead automatically reducing and denying no-fault payments with computer programs such as its “Geographic Reduction Rule” and “Passive Modality Rule.”  Such automatic computerized curtailments, though, must necessarily be complemented by an additional program designed to offset the consequences of so blatantly ignoring PIP statute requirements (not to mention bad faith laws).  This is where headline-grabbing federal lawsuits alleging fraud against medical providers come into the picture.  GEICO has filed these suits in large cities all over the country, but most often in New York and Florida due to the more drastic penalties for noncompliance with those states’ respective PIP statutes. GEICO’s lawsuits against doctors are works of pure fiction, premised on nothing more than a mercenary calculation that doctors in urban areas serving minorities, immigrants and the economically disadvantaged can profitably be attacked by exploiting societal prejudices against their patients, which prejudices GEICO and its competitors have worked hard to foster., Author, GEICO SUES, DOCTORS LOSE - Billions Built On Bogus Fraud Caims, Medical Providers, 2020
  • It is impossible to stop someone from telling a lie about you.  But when you know what lie they want to tell, you can protect yourself from it by making the lie impossible to believe.  In Part 1 of this series, I explained why and how auto insurers use false accusations of fraud against chiropractors to generate profit in their claims operations.  Below I will offer some practical tips on steps you can take to make the lie insurers want to tell about you impossible to believe. The first most obvious advice is Do Not Commit Fraud.  This article is not intended to help doctors manufacture the appearance of innocence, but rather to ensure that actual innocence is protected.  It presupposes that doctors are providing what they sincerely believe to be entirely reasonable and necessary treatment to injured patients who are benefiting from it.      The records of your care are the key which will either lock or open the door to false accusations of fraud being made against you.  Most states minimally require that records accurately reflect the evaluation and treatment of the patient with sufficient information to document the clinical necessity for the care rendered.  You likely keep records which meet or exceed this minimum standard.  It should scare you to know, however, that insurers are not looking to individual charts to manufacture an accusation of fraud against you, but rather at all of your charts collectively.    They are looking for “patterns” throughout the records which they can characterize as “not credible.”  Remember that these are all auto accident victims suffering severe enough spinal pain to seek treatment with a chiropractor.  The universe of diagnoses and treatments in such patients is limited and will necessarily reveal patterns over time.  The accusation of fraud is that the pattern over time demonstrates the diagnoses and treatment were “predetermined” and “non-individualized.”    You obviously have no ability to compare the patterns exhibited by your auto patients to patterns of treatment of similarly injured auto patients which have somehow been deemed “credible.”  At best you can offer your own opinion and that of other experts you might hire that the pattern is entirely that which you would expect for this set of patients based on science and experience.  But the insurer accusing you will present their own hired experts to say that the patterns exhibited by your care would not be exhibited by an “authentic” clinical practice.  This conflict entitles the insurer to submit their accusations to a jury, which is generally composed in the federal courts where these cases are filed of conservatives conditioned by insurance propaganda to believe that all soft tissue auto claims are fraudulent. You might think you would easily defeat the insurer’s accusation by parading your patients before the jury to explain how they were injured and how your treatment helped them.  Such evidence is irrelevant to the insurer’s argument, however, which is that the patient does not know what kind of exams you did, what kind of codes you applied for diagnoses and billing, nor whether they would not have gotten better anyway with less or even no treatment at all.  The patients, according to the insurer, are just as much victims as the general public, who all must bear the exorbitant cost of insurance caused by your fraud. The only defense you have therefore is the thing they are using to accuse you: your records.  In order to protect yourself, your records must reflect the individual differences of each patient’s experience in your office.  This means adding more detail than any other medical professional is required to include in their records, and making sure all information within a chart is logically consistent.   Here are just some of the ways to do so: Intake Sheets: The information sought by your intake sheet must be limited to that which you actually need to treat the patient and bill for your services. It must be legible with sufficient space to fill in information Subjective Pain Reporting: The VAS, Oswestry, Vernon-Mior, and similar questionnaires which elicit the patient’s subjective pain level provide frequent ammunition to insurers who wish to characterize you as a fraud. If a patient has rated their pain at a severe level but your examination demonstrates less severe findings, it is critical that you indicate you have considered the patient’s pain rating and incorporated it into your diagnoses and treatment recommendations. Objective Findings: Given the nature of these cases, it is not unusual for there to be little to no change made in objective findings between multiple visits. If your exam identifies no change in findings between two visits, explain why in your note so that no one can later accuse you of merely cutting and pasting a finding from one note to the next without having conducted an exam. Diagnoses: It will not be unusual for diagnoses to carry over from visit to visit in these patients as well. If diagnoses are being carried over from one visit to the next, explain why in the note. Diagnostic Tests: If you recommend a test, explain why. If the test is done, you must continue to seek a copy of the results throughout the pendency of your treatment.  If the results are not obtained but you continue treatment, explain in the notes that you are still interested in seeing the test results and why you feel comfortable continuing treatment in their absence.  If the patient does not get the test, acknowledge this in your notes as well as why you feel comfortable continuing treatment anyway.  (All of this same advice applies to referrals to other specialists and records sought from previous providers). Canned Language: Avoid the repeated use of canned language such as that which describes the general purpose of a particular modality. Any language which appears over and over again in your records verbatim, regardless of its accuracy and applicability each time it is used, plays right into the accusation being made against you. Adding/Subtracting Treatment & Findings: When you add or subtract a treatment or finding, make specific note that you have done so and why. It is impossible in retrospect to identify small changes in treatment or findings which are not separately identified.  For example, if an initial finding of fixation at C1-5 is changed on visit number three to fixation at C3-5, note that you no longer find fixation at C1-2.   Individuality of Chiropractic Treatments Provided: Instead of merely noting that you performed traction on each visit, identify the individual type, setting, size, etc., and the reason you have selected it for the patient. Similarly, if your segmental adjusting technique varies from one visit to the next, specify the technique used and why you chose it that day.   Medico-Legal Language: Although it certainly can be used by your patient to support their personal injury claim in court, your treatment record need not and should not reflexively offer medico-legal language like “reasonable degree of medical certainty” or a causation opinion. If your patient is in need of such opinions, upon their request create a separate letter or report which does so. Patient Progress: Do not let your notes be silent with respect to how a patient’s progress from treatment is impacting your ongoing decision-making. If a patient is showing little or no progress, explain why you are recommending the treatment to continue as it has, or what changes you are making, or what future results might influence you.  The above are merely the top 10 ways chiropractors can add to their record-keeping in order to demonstrate the individuality of their care on a daily basis.  Although it will certainly require more effort and time to do so, eliminating your exposure to a false claim of “predetermined treatment” makes the effort well worth it., Author, Make the Lie Impossible to Believe, Washington State Chiropractic Association, Chiropractors, 2018
  • Do you bill insurance companies for the treatment of patients injured in auto accidents?Did you know you are a fraud?Inventing Fraud For Profit – In the 1990’s, global consulting giant McKinsey & Company revolutionized the way auto insurance companies handled bodily injury claims by showing them how they could use their Claims Operations as profit generators., Author, All Chiropractors Are Frauds According to Auto Insurers, Washington State Chiropractic Association, 2018
  • Various ways insurance companies attack treating doctors to devalue personal injury claims and the simple steps you can take to protect your injured clients., Speaker, CLE, 2016
  • A fraud action brought by State Farm Mutual Insurance Company against a pair of medical providers and their employees has been dismissed in federal court, with the plaintiffs given leave to amend their complaint., Federal court dismisses State Farm’s medical fraud action against chiropractic firms, 2016
Pro bono/Community Service:
  • Penn Basketball Alumni Board of Advisors, 2022
  • Founder & President,  Phuture Phantoms Youth Basketball 2017 - present, 2017
  • Advisory Board Member,  Philadelphia Freedom Valley YMCA, 2017
  • Board Member, New World Association, 2017
Verdicts/Settlements:
  • In Kentucky federal court, dismissal of fraud and unjust enrichment claims filed by State Farm against large chiropractic practice treating auto accident patients;  (2022), 2022
  • In North Carolina on behalf of chiropractic practice, negotiated pre-litigation resolution with major auto carrier which preserved doctor’s ability to bill and get paid by the carrier; (2022), 2022
  • $950,000 Global Settlement - Car Wreck Harming 3 Passengers in Bucks County, 2021
  • In California, consulted with law firm representing large orthopedic practice in defense of fraud suit brought by major auto carrier resulting in favorable pre-trial settlement on behalf of the doctors. (2021), 2021
  • In Florida state court, obtained default declaratory judgment against major auto carrier that allegations of “predetermined” treatment based on patterns are bogus; (2021)  , 2021
  • In Florida federal court, sued major auto carrier for Declaratory Judgment that insurer’s threatened lawsuit on the basis of “predetermined treatment” due to “patterns” in the doctor’s records was bogus; achieved settlement which eliminated the threatened lawsuit with no interruption of the auto carrier’s responsibility to pay all of the doctor’s bills; (2021), 2021
  • In Missouri, retained by large chiropractic practice operating under an agreement with a major auto carrier and prevented carrier from carrying through on threat to accuse doctor of breaching the agreement; (2019), 2019
  • In Connecticut, headed off threatened fraud litigation by major health insurance carrier against large chiropractic practice and obtained resumption of payments to doctor by insurer; (2019)  , 2019
  • In Florida federal court on behalf of Florida orthopedic surgeon sued for fraud by major auto insurance carrier, exposed and obtained major sanctions for discovery violations on the eve of trial leading to resolution in doctor’s favor;  (2019), 2019
  • In Rhode Island on behalf of multi-office chiropractic practice, negotiated pre-litigation resolution with major auto carrier which preserved doctor’s ability to bill and get paid by the carrier; (2019), 2019
  • In Nevada federal court, negotiated settlement of RICO fraud lawsuit brought by major auto insurance carrier for less than 5% of initial $1.2 million demand; (2019), 2019
  • In Delaware on behalf of medical doctor with large pain management practice, obtained malpractice defense coverage and negotiated favorable settlement with major auto carrier threatening federal fraud lawsuit; (2018), 2018
  • In Pennsylvania federal court, obtained major sanctions award against auto carrier for discovery violations in litigation of fraud lawsuit; (2018), 2018
  • In Maryland federal court, dismissal of fraud lawsuit filed by State Farm against large chiropractic practice treating auto accident patients in Maryland and Virginia; (2018), 2018
  • In Seattle, Washington federal court, on behalf of a Seattle area chiropractor falsely accused of fraud by major auto insurance carrier, obtained declaratory judgment requiring doctor’s malpractice carrier to tender defense coverage and, on the eve of trial against auto carrier, achieved resolution for doctor in which auto insurer dropped all fraud claims and resumed paying all of the doctor’s bills for treatment of insurance company’s insureds; ( 2018)  , 2018
  • In Pennsylvania federal court on behalf of large chiropractic practice with offices in Massachusetts, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Florida, obtained court order requiring auto carrier to turn over documentation of illicit program designed to manufacture fraud allegations against doctors; case resolved shortly thereafter preserving doctor’s ability to bill auto carrier; (2017), 2017
  • A Settlement was achieved for a teenage boy with significant cerebral palsy who had been caused a fractured humerus bone while staff members of the public school at which the boy was a student were changing his diaper., 2017
  • In Pennsylvania federal court, multi-million dollar settlement achieved on behalf of large chiropractic and MRI facility falsely accused of fraud by major auto insurer in the treatment of auto accident patients in Philadelphia and Delaware; (2015), 2015
  • Settlement - $4.8 million settlement on behalf of a 35 year old woman who suffered a brain injury as the result of a motor vehicle crash., 2010
  • VERDICT $551,000t; Delaware County; Plaintiff was a 27 year old mother of two injured in an automobile crash.  The trial occurred after Allstate Insurance Company appealed a $40,000.00 compulsory arbitration award in favor of the Plaintiff., 2007
Industry Groups:
  • Chiropractors
  • Insurance Bad Faith

Office location for Andrew P. Baratta

3500 Reading Way
Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006

Selections

5 Years Rising Stars
  • Rising Stars: 2006 - 2008, 2010 - 2011

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