search
top
Currently Browsing: Personal Injury Law

Nursing Home Abuse Cases on the Rise

After noticing bruising on their grandmother, two North Texas women decided to hide a camera in her room at a nursing facility. Camera footage revealed that their grandmother’s primary caretaker was verbally and physically abusive. Instead of helping the resident out of her bed gently, the caretaker would yank the 98-year-old woman up by her arm. Daily dressing and undressing proved to be a constant battle between the resident and the caretaker. The caretaker didn’t display gentleness while changing the resident’s clothes and was seen slapping and taunting her multiple times.

Despite their compelling video evidence, the family couldn’t do much to take the nurse’s certification away. Apparently this is one of many instances where nursing home residents suffer at the hand of unpunished facility employees. A study of reported incidents shows that abuse occurs regularly in one third of all United States nursing homes. According to the website of the National Injury Law Center, bed sores, fractures, dehydration, malnutrition, theft, gangrene, septic shock, infection, are all common ailments that neglected nursing home residents suffer from. A reprehensible practice called “double diapering” has landed some nursing home facilities on probation. Attendants will put two diapers on a resident so that they don’t have to take the resident to that bathroom as often.

A report indicates that the amount of nursing homes that have been cited for violations has increased yearly since 1996. Some people credit stringent rules for citing as the reason for this rise in violations. Facilities are legally required to report incidents, sometimes trivial in nature, as abuse. However, many incidents of abuse in nursing facilities are much more serious in nature. Since elderly residents require heightened supervision and care, a mistake like switching medications or not meeting dietary needs can have grave consequences.

Emergency Room Errors: More Common than You Think

If you have ever watched an episode of the tv show ER, you will know that it is a scene of much drama and tension. But while the award winning show focused primarily on the lives and personalities of the medical personnel, the stars of the show in a real emergency room are the patients, with the medical personnel acting as supporting characters. In real life, however, the stars of the drama don’t always come out triumphant in the end, and in some cases it is due to preventable emergency room errors.

It is a fact that the medical personnel in an emergency room need to be on their toes and to make quick literally life-or-death decisions for their patients. In most cases this can save a person’s life, but when in some instances because of carelessness or negligence, errors are made that can adversely affect a patient’s life, sometimes permanently. For example, a patient dies of a ruptured appendix an hour after a busy ER doctor sends her home with a prescription for antacid for her belly ache. This is a case of emergency room error that may land the ER doctor in court for medical malpractice.

Some of the most common human errors that occur in a hospital emergency room include:

  • Anesthesia errors
  • Delayed treatment
  • Medication or dosage error
  • Failure to diagnose
  • Incorrect diagnosis
  • Incorrect treatment method

This happens more often than it should, notwithstanding the effects of stress and time-constraints often prevailing in an emergency room. Patients have a right to a standard of care from medical practitioners, and there is no excuse for sloppy work. If you or someone you know suffered injury or death due to emergency room errors, you have a right to pursue compensation from the person or entity responsible for the medical mistake in question.

What You Might Not Know about Premises Liability

If you slip and fall in front of your neighbor’s house because of some oil he spilled on the sidewalk, is he liable? Yes, he is. abellawfirm.com

Premises liability can be a complex issue, but not in the above situation. Under premise liability law, your neighbor is responsible for keeping the sidewalk in front of his house clear and safe for the public. Your neighbor must have known the oil was potentially dangerous to the public, failed to clean up the oil (easily done with a piece of newspaper) or provide some type of warning about it to you or any passersby. If you sustained serious injury in your slip and fall, you can claim for compensation from your neighbor (or his insurance company) based on premise liability laws.

Premise liability statutes differ from state to state, but there are some general definitions that you should be aware of. This will help you identify when a premise liability claim can be made, and to ensure that you are never on the wrong end of a personal injury claim.

First of all, premise liability accrues to the person who is in possession of a physical property such as a lot, building, house, apartment, or establishment. A person is said to possess the premises when that person occupies and/or controls it. For example, a homeowner occupies a house and has control over what happens within and around the house. If a person rents an apartment but does not live in it, he or she is still said to be in control of it while the lease holds. A person does not necessarily have to own the premises to be in possession.

The second consideration in premises liability law is the nature of the relationship between the plaintiff and the defendant in terms of the plaintiff’s presence on the premises at the time of the incident. There are three types of relationships under premises liability: invitee, licensee and trespasser. The first two categories of people may be considered to have a “legitimate” presence on the premises, and to whom the possessor owes a reasonable duty of care, which if absent and results in injury renders the possessor liable. For example, if Joe invites Linda to his house and a rotting tree branch in the backyard falls on her head, Joe may be liable for Linda’s injuries.

The third category of person may be considered an “illegitimate” presence on the premises, or one who has no right to be there in the first place. For example, if Nathan who lives behind Joe’s property decides to take a shortcut to his house by going through Joe’s backyard without Joe’s knowledge or invitation, and that same branch fell on his head, Joe might not be held liable for Nathan’s injuries.

Dangerous Practices Result in Devastating Incidents of Nursing Home Abuse

The home-like care which the elderly, physically or mentally disabled young adults, and victims of accidents who need rehabilitative therapy receive in a nursing home ought to be enough guarantee that they shall be kept safe and in good health. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.

Nursing or convalescent homes, also known as skilled nursing facilities (SNF), offer medical care to elderly residents; they also aim at helping out their residents in daily activities, which include toileting, showering, and dressing.  Residents, usually 70 years and older, can enjoy a safe, nurturing environment in these facilities, as well as continuous nursing care.

While many nursing homes live up to the standards expected of them, many others fail to provide the necessary standard of care to their residents. Worse, elder abuse is an all too common problem in these facilities, including mental, physical, and even financial abuse. Threatening, insulting, humiliating, and mistreating a patient emotionally or verbally, as well as refusal to help a patient eat or get out of bed, are some of the most common abuses residents suffer from.

Physical abuse of nursing home residents residents includes forceful medicine and food intake, sexual assault, beating, refusal or negligence of the staff to feed, clothe or assist an elder in personal hygiene concerns, as well as the staff’s failure to keep patients from safety and health risks.

Financial abuse, on the other hand, consists in the staff stealing from patients, forcing patients to make unnecessary payments, and coercing patients to include their caretakers in the patient’s will.

The common causes of staff abuse in many nursing facilities are insufficient training, stressful working conditions, and not having enough registered nurses and nurse’s aides, resulting in staff burnout and loss of compassion for patients. Additionally, poor screening procedures can expose residents to dangerous or abusive caretakers.

This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what can happen due to nursing home abuse. You can learn more here.

Car Accidents Caused by Drunk Driving

Statistical records on road tragedies in the US show that more than 5 million car accidents occur every year. More than half this number results in serious injuries either to the person who actually caused the accident or to the victim. There are various reasons as to why auto accidents occur and though some lie beyond the direct control of the driver, such as road defect or car part defect, which is the responsibility of the manufacturer, the main reason is still driver’s fault or error.

Drunk driving tops the list of reasons for driver-caused accidents, speeding and reckless driving register the second and third reasons, respectively. This is despite all the warnings, the educational programs and public awareness, the visibility of traffic enforcers and the penalties which have been made stiffer over the years.

People who choose to drive after drinking simply put innocents’ lives on the line; and the more a person drinks the likelihood of getting into an accident, even a fatal one, also increases. This is because any amount of alcohol will definitely affect or impair a person’s motor and mental skills. Impairment due to alcohol, by the way, is never based on the type of alcoholic beverage drank, but on the amount of alcohol consumed over a particular time period.

Thus, based on the usual way of measuring blood alcohol content (BAC) or blood ethanol concentration (the basis for measurement is a 160 lb. male whose liver is functioning normally) in a normal person, two to three bottles of beer consumed within the hour would register about 0.04% alcohol content in the blood. This means that, consuming four to five bottles, a person would give a BAC reading of about 0.08%, the allowed limit in all jurisdictions in the US.

Though people may have different levels of tolerance to alcohol, so that habitual drinkers may remain more sober than social drinkers after ingesting the same amount of alcohol, those who will be caught ought to bear in mind that BAC is based on the amount of alcohol in the blood; it does not measure sobriety and physical alertness. This means that even if a person is quite okay physically and mentally even after consuming a six-pack, the fact that he or she has more than 0.08% BAC, he will still be charged with driving under the influence (DUI), also known as driving while intoxicated (DWI), operating while impaired (OWI), or operating a vehicle under the influence (OUI) depending on the jurisdiction, since his/her being intoxicated is a potential reason for serious car accidents wherein the lives of many others are put in danger.

top