What Can You Do When Your Elderly Parent Gets Injured in a Nursing Home? Part 1

With the number of senior citizens growing by about 20,000 every day, the number of people who have a parent, close family member, or loved one in a nursing home environment is exploding. Unfortunately, the number of elderly people who suffer injuries as the result of abuse or neglect in these facilities is also on the rise. Not only that, but the number of cases actually reported every year may be just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to nursing home abuse and neglect injuries.

So what are people to do when they believe that their loved ones have been injured as the result of elder abuse or neglect? What options do you have? How can you help your elderly loved one?

Today we are going to start a two-part discussion on some essential issues surrounding eldercare abuse and neglect. As always, if you have specific questions or need legal advice, you should always speak to an experienced personal injury attorney in your area.

Elder Abuse

When seniors or other people are injured in a nursing home, assisted living, or similar type of facility, there are two basic types of situations that you must consider: abuse and neglect. Abuse occurs when someone intentionally tries to harm an elderly person, or that person’s interests.

There are many different kinds of elder abuse, including physical or psychological abuse, sexual abuse, and even financial abuse. In elder abuse situations, a nursing home or eldercare facility employee intentionally harms the elderly person or his or her interests. An elderly person who is harmed as a result of abuse can often sue both the people who caused the harm, as well as the nursing home employing that person. In many situations involving elder abuse, it’s possible that prosecutors could also file criminal charges against those who abused the elderly person.

Neglect

Neglect, though it is itself a type of abuse, is different than the intentional actions involved in many abuse cases. When an elderly person resides in a nursing home or eldercare facility, that facility has an obligation to provide the elderly person with care. This care can be anything from occasional assistance with transportation, to regular assistance with daily activities such as bathing or eating, or even round-the-clock assistance for those with significant disabilities or medical conditions. When an eldercare facility fails to provide the requisite care, that neglect can often lead to serious injuries.

Neglect can also come in different forms, often referred to as passive and active neglect. Passive neglect takes place when the caregiver forgets to provide the necessary assistance, while active neglect involves a caregiver that intentionally fails to provide help to the elderly person.

In either situation, an elderly person who suffers an injury as a result of neglect at the hands of a nursing home or eldercare facility employee can sue that facility for negligence and recover damages he or she might have suffered. If you believe your loved one has experienced elder abuse or neglect, it is best to speak with a personal injury attorney right away.

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Spinal Column Injuries FAQ – Part 2

Posted on June 19, 2015

Frequently Asked Questions About Spinal Column Injuries – Part 2

In our last blog post on spinal column injuries, we looked at some basic information people should know about the spine, the spinal cord, and the spinal column. Today we are going to look at some additional questions about spinal column injuries, their causes, and what legal options a person with a spinal cord injury might have.

As always, you should talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer if you need advice about spinal column injuries, or simply have questions about your options. Only a lawyer can tell you what you should or should not do in your situation, and you should never make any decisions about your case until you have received the legal advice you need.

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Spinal Column Injuries FAQ – Part 1

Posted on June 12, 2015

Spinal Column Injuries FAQ – Part 1

Spinal column injuries can be devastating. Not only can they last for the rest of the injured person’s life, but they can alter that life in any number of ways. Anyone who suffers a spinal column injury needs to speak with an attorney right away. Recovering your medical bills, receiving compensation for lost wages, as well as seeking payments for pain and suffering, are all issues that require legal advice.

It’s also a good idea to educate yourself about some common spinal column injury issues. Many of these issues surround medical or legal concepts that most people have little experience with. To help you get a better grasp of these concepts, let’s take a look at some frequently asked spinal column injury questions.

What is the spine?

Many people refer to the spine as the backbone. It’s the collection of bones that runs from your head down your back. The spinal column, or spine, includes both the collection of bones, as well as the bundle of nerves, tissues, and other body parts that are connected to them.

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What is an 'Assumption of Risk' and Why Does it Matter?

In some personal injury cases, the ‘assumption of risk’ defense becomes an issue. While assumptions of risk are not something that everyone who suffers a personal injury has to worry about, the issue can significantly impact your ability to recover money for the injuries you suffered. Today, we are going to take a close look at the assumption of risk, what it means, and why, if you have suffered a personal injury, you need to understand it.

Torts

When you talk about assumptions of risk and personal injury cases, you’re talking about torts. Torts are a type of lawsuit that can arise after someone suffers harm or injuries because of someone else’s negligent or intentional behavior. When someone suffers an injury in this situation, the law allows that person to sue the wrongdoer to recover damages (money) for his or her injuries. A tort lawsuit involves the injured person (the plaintiff), suing the wrongdoer, (the defendant).

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Personal Injury and Brain Death

Posted on May 29, 2015

Personal Injury and Brain Death

Questions about brain death, brain function, and similar issues often arise after a friend or loved one suffers a serious injury. What does it mean to be brain dead? Are there different types of brain death? What does it mean to be comatose, and is this different from brain death? Today, we are going to take a close look at brain death in personal injury cases so you can have a better understanding of some of these essential issues.

The Brain Has More Than One Part

To better understand brain injuries and brain death, we first have to understand the brain itself. The brain is a complicated organ comprised of many different parts. Each part can serve a specific function, multiple functions, coordinate with other parts, or any combination thereof.

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What is a Discovery of Harm?

Posted on May 19, 2015

What is a Discovery of Harm?

When it comes to personal injury lawsuits there are a lot of terms and ideas, such as the discovery of harm, with which most people are unfamiliar. These kinds of terms, though important, will usually require an attorney’s explanation in order for you to fully understand how they apply to your case. This is primarily because it is hard for most people to apply concepts such as the discovery of harm to their individual case because most people don’t have the requisite legal background.

Nevertheless, going into the personal injury process with a good base of knowledge will always be in your best interests. Understanding the legal terms you come across, and understanding what they might mean for your case, will allow you to be a much bigger part of the process, as well as allow you to make more knowledgeable decisions. To that end, let’s take a look at the discovery of harm.

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Commonly Asked Questions About the Federal Tort Claims Act

Sometimes people suffer an injury because of the negligent actions of an employee of the federal government. When this happens, the injured person often wants to know if they are legally allowed to sue that employee or even the federal government itself. When someone suffers an injury at the hands of a federal employee, the Federal Tort Claims Act, or FTCA, will determine whether you can sue. Here are several questions people often have about the Federal Tort Claims Act.

What is the Federal Tort Claims Act?

Enacted in 1948, the FTCA is a federal law that allows private citizens to sue the federal government in some situations. The FTCA allows private citizens to sue the United State government when an employee of the government acts negligently and causes that person harm.

Prior to the passage of the FTCA, private citizens couldn’t sue the government even if government employees acted negligently. This was because of a principle known as “sovereign immunity.” Sovereign immunity is a legal rule that says that state, federal, and tribal governments cannot be sued.
In other words, under the principle of sovereign immunity, people could not sue their government even if the government did something that harmed them. The FTCA is an exception to the general principle of sovereign immunity.

What is a tort?

A “tort” is any kind of wrongful action that leads someone else to suffer a harm for which the law provides a remedy. When a person commits a tort, that person can be sued by anyone who suffers harm or an injury that results from the wrongful action. In other words, a tort is the legal basis for a lawsuit that arises out of a personal injury case.

Under the Federal Tort Claims Act, people can sue the federal government for torts that arise when a federal employee negligently causes someone harm. Torts can arise out of several reasons, but negligence-based torts are the most common.

When can I sue the federal government?

If you suffer an injury at the hands of a federal employee, you can likely file a personal injury lawsuit against the government itself. In general, you can file an FTCA lawsuit if a federal employee negligently does something that leads to you suffering an injury or loss. However, there are some key limitations to this law.

First, the federal employee has to act within the scope of his or her duties when the harm arises.

Second, you can only sue the government if the federal employee acted negligently. Government workers who cause harm because of an intentional action are not covered under the FTCA, even though they might be covered under different federal laws.

Finally, the state in which the action occurred must have laws that allow you to sue the government. Because each state has different laws that apply to these types of situations, it’s vital that you speak to a personal injury attorney if you are considering any type of lawsuit against the federal government.

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What is an Affidavit of Merit?

Posted on May 1, 2015

What is an Affidavit of Merit?

Sometimes people who have been injured or suffered at the hands of a health care provider will come across legal terms such as “affidavit of merit.” Unfortunately, most people don’t have any personal experience with affidavits, much less affidavits of merit. To help explain what an affidavit of merit is, and why it plays a role in medical malpractice and personal injury cases, let’s take a look at some important concepts.

The Lawsuit Process and the Affidavit of Merit

Whenever someone wants to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, that person has to comply with specific laws and rules. Every state has its own laws that determine what a person has to do to file a lawsuit, though they all generally address the same basic issues. For example, the law states how long you have to file your lawsuit, what format the lawsuit must take, and the kind of information your lawsuit must contain.

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Demystifying the Personal Injury Insurance Claim Process

When people suffer an injury because of a car accident, slip and fall, or anything else, they commonly have to file an insurance claim before they can be compensated for their loss. The insurance claim process is relatively straightforward, but because so few people have experience with it, it can seem quite intimidating. This is doubly true if you are suffering financially or are facing debilitating injuries.

To better explain the insurance claim process, let’s take a look at one of the more common situations in which people might have to file an insurance claim; the automobile accident.

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Common Terminology in Personal Injury Cases – Part 2

Suffering a personal injury is not something any of us want to experience. If you find yourself in a situation where you’ve been harmed by someone else and need to file a personal injury lawsuit, you can help make the process a lot easier by doing some basic research. Previously we looked at some common terminology that many people encounter during the personal injury lawsuit process. In this follow-up post, we’re going to take a look at some more terms you might come across that you might otherwise not be very familiar with.

  • Affidavit. An affidavit is a document that contains a written statement of facts. The person making the affidavit and stating the facts it contains is known as an affiant. In order to make an affidavit, you have to make your written statement of facts under oath or affirmation that they are true. You typically do this in the presence of a licensed public notary. Affidavits can contain almost any facts relevant to your case, and can be made by almost anyone as long as that person is a mentally capable adult.
  • Discovery. Discovery is the legal process of investigating the facts surrounding a case. The discovery process typically begins after you file a personal injury lawsuit or demand letter. Discovery includes a variety of methods that each side can use to determine what happened, such as interrogatories and depositions.
  • Deposition. A deposition is when a witness gives testimony about the case outside of the courtroom and before a trial takes place. A deposition is simply a way to get someone to give testimony without the necessity of having to go before a court. Depositions are part of the discovery process, and can involve almost anyone related to a case.
  • Interrogatory. An interrogatory is a list of questions that either side involved in a case sends to the other side, or to witnesses or experts involved in it. The questions ask for specific information about the facts surrounding the case. Interrogatories are also a part of the discovery process.
  • Preponderance of the Evidence. In personal injury cases, the person who files the lawsuit (the plaintiff) has to provide evidence to show that the other party (the defendant) violated the plaintiff’s rights by a preponderance of the evidence. This simply means that the weight of the evidence presented by the plaintiff makes it more likely than not that the defendant violated is at fault. In other words, you have to have evidence that shows the defendant acted wrongfully, and that evidence has to be convincing.
  • Judgment. Most personal injury cases settle before going to trial. However, if the case goes to trial, a court will have to make a determination about the outcome. This decision is known as a judgment. If the court rules in the plaintiff’s favor, the judgment will include a determination of the type of damages to which the court believes the plaintiff is allowed. In other words, judgment says how much you win if you win your personal injury case.

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