Juris Doctor

Nursing Home Abuse: A Case-Based Examination

Posted by on Oct 17, 2013 in Injury Law, Juris Doctor, Nursing Home Abuse, Pre Law Overview

With the advancement in age of the American population, nursing homes and other forms of elderly assistance are coming to play an increasingly central role in the lives of many. As vital as these types of places can be in helping to ensure that elderly Americans have the care they need in their twilight years, they also pose distinct risks if not properly observed, both by the relatives of their residents and the state and federal agencies responsible for ensuring the quality of their care.

Nursing home abuse remains a regrettably serious problem in the United States. Because reporting of these types of incidents is almost always less frequent than their actual occurrence, it is next to impossible to obtain precise estimates of the extent of the problem. However, the most reputable statistics currently available suggest that, at a minimum, hundreds of thousands of nursing home residents have been the victims of some form of neglect or abuse.

Nursing home abuse can vary significantly in its presentation. The most benign (though by no Nursing Home Abusemeans harmless) form of abuse is often simple neglect. Poorly trained, overworked, or simply uncaring nursing home staff or managers may fail to adequately care for the needs of their residents, either in isolated incidents or as a systemic pattern. In some cases, though, the outcomes can be quite horrific: in Illinois, for instance, a nursing home was sued after maggots were found in the ear of one resident. More frequently, neglect can lead to problems such as bedsores which, if left untended, can be life-threatening to elderly patients.

Physical abuse is also a serious problem at nursing home facilities. Nursing home residents are often extremely vulnerable, and because of the intensive amount of care that some in this position require, nursing home staff who become angry or upset can easily do serious damage to nursing home residents in a short amount of time. In a story that received national attention, Helen Love, a resident of Valley Skilled Nursing Home in California, died after sustaining violent injuries from a frustrated caregiver. Her family, with the assistance of a nursing home abuse attorney, is still pursuing a suit against the home after it came to light that the caretaker responsible for the incident had been cited for abusive behavior multiple times in the past. These types of cases are sadly far too common.

Finally, sexual abuse in nursing homes is a far more common problem than most people realize. Both caretakers and other residents have been implicated in nursing home sexual abuse cases, typically as a result of negligence on the part of nursing home administrators or staff.

The horrible realities of nursing home abuse can make the last years of a resident’s life miserable. If you suspect your loved one is a victim, contact a nursing home abuse attorney to learn more about what you can do to put an end to it.

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Truck Accident Liability

Posted by on Jan 24, 2013 in Injury Law, Juris Doctor, Pre Law Overview, Truck Accidents

Large commercial trucks, such as semi-trailers and 18-wheelers, garbage and dump trucks, and flatbeds, are a critical part of America’s transportation economy. Without the availability of these Truck Accidentforms of transport, commerce across the country would be severely limited, reducing the ability of the American economy to grow and prosper. Unfortunately, because of their considerable size, these vehicles also pose substantial health and safety concerns to other motorists on the road.

In recognition of this fact, large commercial trucks are far more heavily regulated than other types of vehicles. For instance, federal hours of service regulations strictly limit the amount of time that truck drivers may spend consecutively, or within a given timeframe, operating their vehicles. These regulations are meant to ensure that overworked, tired drivers aren’t allowed on the road, reducing the potential damage to others on the road.

In reality, of course, these regulations are often overlooked, both by drivers themselves and by companies which seek to improve their performance by keeping their drivers on the road as long as possible. In fact, some studies have suggested that as many as 50% of truck drivers are often in violation of these regulations, in spite of strict enforcement mechanisms. This can lead to serious accidents occurring when tired, inattentive drivers lose their focus and strike other vehicles.

In these circumstances, liability for the accident may be assessed to either the driver or the company, or it may be assessed to both of them. In 2012, for instance, the FMSCA, which oversees trucking companies’ operations, shut down a Kansas trucking company that was shown to have allowed its drivers to willfully misreport their hours on service logs. Any accidents occurring as a result of this type of reckless behavior could leave both drivers and the company liable for damages.

Trucking accidents can also occur when companies choose to implement deficient hiring or training procedures. Because trucking companies are liable for the actions of their employees, and least to an extent, they must ensure that their drivers are adequately prepared for the job. Yet many companies fail to institute these types of policies, allowing dangerously unprepared drivers on the road. In these circumstances, the company will almost always be liable for any accidents which may occur.

Drivers themselves may also be liable when accidents occur, particularly if they engage in risky behaviors such as driving while intoxicated or speeding. Finally, the manufacturers of commercial trucks may sometimes be held liable for accidents if vehicular failure is to blame. Depending on the circumstances, a smart truck accident lawyer can often determine exactly which party or parties should be held liable and pursue legal action accordingly.

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Brain Injury Liability

Posted by on Jan 16, 2013 in Brain Injury, Injury Law, Juris Doctor, Legal Doctrine, Pre Law Overview

The brain is the control center of virtually every essential process conducted by the human body, so even minor damage to this crucial organ can prove catastrophic. For the same reason, injuries to the brain can have dramatically divergent consequences, depending on the precise nature of Brain Injurythe injury and where in the brain it occurred. Some common consequences of brain injuries include loss of motor skills, loss of memory, stroke, emotional changes, suicidal ideation, cognitive deficits, and permanent disability.

Because of the considerable seriousness of these types of injuries, they are usually treated with the utmost concern from a legal perspective. In civil law, for instance, brain injury victims are often entitled to pursue compensation far beyond what the victims of other types of injuries might receive, because of the significantly greater range of negative effects which they may experience.

Liability for an individual’s brain injury is determined largely on the basis of how the injury occurred. Many of these types of injuries result from traumatic accidents, such as vehicular crashes. In Georgia, for instance, a man who was severely injured in an accident with a large tractor-trailer sustained life-altering brain injuries. He pursued legal action against both the driver of the vehicle and Georgia-Pacific, the trucking company which owned the vehicle, eventually settling for an undisclosed sum to help pay for the damage he had endured.

Brain injuries also may occur in medical settings, either as a result of poorly performed surgery, improper administration of anesthesia, incorrect pharmaceutical prescriptions, or for a multitude of other reasons.

The recent class-action lawsuit filed against the NFL by as many as 2,000 former players is another clarifying example of the ways in which liability for brain injuries may be assessed. Though the case has yet to even reach the trial stage, the allegations made by the players make clear the basis for which they believe the NFL should be held liable for injuries to their brains: because the NFL was aware of scientific evidence demonstrating the serious harm that concussions can cause, but failed to make this danger clear to the players, they allege, the league should therefore be held accountable for medical bills and other damages they may have suffered. Many retired players have suffered mental illness after some time out of the league, with depression and suicide not being uncommon among them.

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Medical Malpractice and Wrongful Death: A Case Study

Posted by on Jan 7, 2013 in Injury Law, Juris Doctor, Medical Malpractice, Pre Law Overview, Wrongful Death

Often, people think of civil suits as existing in separate, discrete categories. While there is some basis to this way of thinking, the reality is much more complicated. Many injuries occur in ways which would seemingly render them fit for several different types of legal action, depending on the specific circumstances in which they occurred. While this may seem to be merely a matter of semantics, it can be critical for injury victims and their families in helping to determine which type of attorney should represent their case, how long they may have to file their claim, and other considerations.

A case study from Raleigh, West Virginia, can help to demonstrate the importance of this issue. Sherman Sizemore, an elderly Baptist minister and resident of the area, underwent a surgical procedure at Raleigh General Hospital in 2006 to help determine the cause of abdominal pain Malpractice In Medicinewhich he had been experiencing. He was administered medication to induce paralysis during the surgery, in order to ensure that no muscular movement would occur as the procedure took place. However, he was not given anesthesia as a result of an oversight on the part of his surgeons.

Mr. Sizemore experienced excruciating physical pain for a prolonged period of 16 minutes, before the surgeons noticed the problem and gave him the necessary medication. After he was realized, he suffered intense psychological trauma, refusing to be left alone and rarely sleeping in the two weeks that followed. Eventually, he committed suicide as a result of his trauma.

His family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the physicians and Raleigh Anesthesia Associates, the company for which they worked. However, because of the nature of the trauma which took his life, they pursued the assistance of a Raleigh medical malpractice lawyer to ensure that not only would they be able to recover compensation for the death of their loved one, but also that the medical aspect of the case would not prove to be an issue for which their representative did not have the requisite training or experience to handle appropriately.

These types of blended civil cases are fairly common in the American legal landscape, and for those who have suffered injury or the loss of a relative as a result of the negligent or reckless actions of a third party, it is critical to understand the importance of qualified legal representation in these settings in order to ensure that a fair outcome may be reached.

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Corporate Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Posted by on Jan 7, 2013 in Injury Law, Juris Doctor, Pre Law Overview, Wrongful Death

Wrongful death claims are a type of civil suit which can be brought against those who, directly or indirectly, contributed to the death of another individual, through actions or behaviors which fit the Funeral At Argosylegal standard of recklessness or negligence. These types of claims are often divided into two separate categories: claims filed against individuals, and claims filed against groups. Individual claims are often extremely varied in nature, but the vast majority of wrongful death cases brought against groups are directed against companies.

Wrongful death claims brought against corporate actors are, in fact, the only way in which the family of an individual who is killed as a result of a company’s actions can find the justice they deserve. From a legal standpoint, a company or corporation cannot be held criminally liable for any damages it may cause (though, in rare instances, corporate leaders may personally be subject to criminal charges), and therefore financial liability is the only form of punishment available for this type of wrongdoing.

Notable Instances of Corporate Wrongful Death Claims

Wrongful death claims against corporate groups have a long history in the United States’ legal tradition. An early example of this type of claim involved the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, which occurred in New York City in the early 20th century. The factory, which was located in the upper floors of a cramped industrial building in downtown New York, caught fire in the late hours of the workday, and because one of the two exit doors was locked, hundreds of workers were trapped inside and burned to death. The victims’ families filed twenty-three separate civil suits against the factory’s owners, most of which were successful.

Another prominent wrongful death claim filed as a result of corporate negligence involved the Ford Motor Company’s Pinto model. The design of the fuel tank for this vehicle increased the likelihood that the tank would rupture and explode if involved in an accident, even a relatively minor fender-bender. More damningly, a memo obtained by several news agencies in the late 1970s revealed that not only was Ford’s management aware of the problem, but that they had decided that it would be more profitable to settle any legal suits which might later arise rather than fix the problem for each of the vehicles already in circulation. As a result, many of the suits eventually filed against Ford Motor Company resulted in substantially higher jury awards than might have otherwise been expected.

Corporate wrongful death lawsuits can also involved actions committed by individuals acting as agents of a corporation. For instance, a trucking accident lawyer representing the family of a truck accident victim may be able to successfully pursue compensation from the trucking company, rather than the truck driver responsible for the accident, if outside circumstances demonstrate that the company was in some way responsible for the accident’s occurrence.

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Wrongful Death: A Case-Based Examination

Posted by on Jan 7, 2013 in Injury Law, Juris Doctor, Pre Law Overview, Wrongful Death

Civil law, which establishes a system of justice for individuals who have been the victims of the reckless or negligent actions of others, rather than the victims of criminal acts, has existed as part of the American legal tradition since our country’s establishment. However, for many years, a prominent gap in the coverage afforded to injury victims existed in civil law statutes: only those who had actually suffered the damages could sue for compensation. In practice, this meant that those who caused the death of another individual, through negligence or recklessness, could not be held accountable for their actions.

Fortunately, this problem was eventually corrected with the passage of what are now known as wrongful death statutes. Under wrongful death civil law, the immediate family of an individual who has lost their life because of someone else has the right to hold that person (or persons) accountable for the loss that they have suffered, which in this instance would be the companionship and (potentially) financial support formerly provided by their loved one.

Case-Based Examination

Wrongful death claims can be brought against individuals or groups of individuals (usually companies). This discussion will be limited to purely individual-based cases. These types of wrongful death claims are brought against individuals who, either directly or indirectly, can be Wrongful Death Metaphorshown to have played a prominent role in the events which ultimately led to the death of someone else.

A recent, high-profile example of an individual wrongful death case involved talk show host Nancy Grace, who was implicated in the suicide death of a young mother whose infant son had recently disappeared. Grace had invited the mother onto her show in order to question her about the whereabouts of her child, and though the woman had never been formally suspected of wrongdoing, the questions were overwhelmingly pointed towards that conclusion. Ultimately, her family alleged that the emotional pain caused by Grace’s allegations led their daughter to commit suicide, resulting in a substantial settlement between the two parties.

A more common form of individual wrongful death suits might involve the victim of a drunk driving accident. While the individual guilty of driving while intoxicated might also face criminal charges for their conduct, in many instances civil remedies, pursued with the help of a wrongful death lawyer, are the best way for families in this terrible position to get the compensation and closure they need.

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