Posts made in January 2013

Nursing home negligence suspected in Massachusetts

Recently, an 87-year-old patient was injured in a Massachusetts nursing home. The police report states that the patient suffers from dementia. It was noted that the patient had a laceration on her lip. The cause for the injury is suspected to be nursing home negligence.

The nursing home staff stated that the patient is unable to communicate with the staff due to severe dementia. A certified nurse assistant was supervising the woman during her breakfast feeding. According to the staff at the nursing home, the patient has a history of clamping down her jaw during meals. They also stated that this laceration on her lip was caused by clamping down.

A surprising fact noted in this case was that the woman’s injury was only reported to police after more than 24 hours. The nurse assistant is on administrative leave pending an investigation. Also, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health will file an elder abuse report for the concerned authorities.

Although family members try to choose the best nursing home for their loved one, incidents like this cannot always be predicted. Sometimes, nursing homes may be negligent in performing their duties. This negligence may prove costly for the loved one. An injury to a loved one may also cause mental trauma to the family members. Hence, it is important that the people responsible for injuries be held accountable for negligence and carelessness.

The family of the loved one can file a claim for compensation. The family may put in a claim for medical expenses, pain and suffering and mental trauma. It is advisable for the family to seek advice from a legal professional to be able to obtain the correct guidance in the matter. The professional may explain the various processes involved in the claim and help the family understand the various possible outcomes. The professional may also help in negotiating the correct compensation from the liable parties.

Source: Gloucester Times, “Gloucester Police/Fire: Nursing assistant on leave after injury at home,” Marjorie Nesin, Jan. 23, 2013

Motor vehicle accident in Massachusetts, drivers injured

An accident on Massachusetts Route 151 caused injuries to drivers of both the involved vehicles. According to reports, a garbage truck collided with a pickup truck when the pickup truck slid into the wrong lane of traffic. Due to this motor vehicle accident, the pickup truck burst into flames. Fire department officials arrived at the scene to extinguish the fire.

The driver of the pickup truck received serious injuries and was sent to a Boston hospital by a Med-flight helicopter. The driver of the garbage truck suffered minor injuries and was sent to a hospital for treatment. Due to the severity of the accident, Route 151 was shut down for some time. According to officials, the pickup driver was responsible for the accident because she was driving too fast for the slushy road conditions.

Accidents usually leave people with injuries to take care of. The person may need continuous medical attention and in some cases, the person may be lucky enough to escape with minor injuries. Injuries caused by the accident may reduce the person’s quality of life.

The person may also have to deal with medical expenses due to the accident. Also, the person’s inability to work may lead to loss of wages. The carelessness of one driver may cause injuries to another. Hence, the at-fault driver can be held liable for the pain and suffering caused to the victims.

When a serious accident occurs, the driver’s insurance agency may immediately challenge the claim. It may send investigators to the accident scene and try to find any proof to limit or deny liability.

The person injured in the accident should seek the assistance of a legal professional in such cases. The attorney may help the person prove that the accident was caused by the negligence of the other driver. The attorney may also help the person recover medical expenses, pain and suffering and loss of wages from the liable parties.

Source: Cape News, “Two Injured, One Cited In Route 151 Crash,” Michael C. Bailey, Jan. 22, 2013

Jackets sold in Massachusetts recalled due to defects

Massachusetts residents may be aware that every year numerous products are recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission because of defects. However, sometimes the defective product may be detected after it has already caused harm.

Some of these products may be used by many people as they are branded or claim to be of superior quality and free from defects. One of the most widely used products is a jacket. Recently, an electrically heated jacket was recalled by the CPSC due to its defective battery.

According to sources, 220 jackets were recalled. These jackets included defective rechargeable batteries. In some cases, the batteries in the jacket caused overheating and a fire ensued. The jackets were also sold by stores located in Massachusetts. It was reported that 33 jackets were sold to people after the recall was announced.

A person may be injured due to a defective product and may suffer severe pain and mental anguish. A person may also need medical attention because of injuries caused by the defective product. Although allegedly no incidents have been reported in the U.S., sometimes people may not be aware of the recall and may use the product. Or the recall may have been issued after the person was injured.

If any person is injured because of a defective product, that person may file a claim for compensation against the manufacturer of the product. The person may claim for lost wages, medical expenses and mental trauma. It is advisable to get advice from a legal professional in this type of situation. The legal professional will educate the person on product liability laws applicable in these cases and will educate the person on the process involved. The professional may also help the person to calculate the losses and how to file a claim.

Source: Oregon Live, “Consumer Product Safety Commission issues recall for 33 Columbia Sportswear jackets,” Allan Brettman, Jan. 9, 2013

Man killed in Massachusetts in a car-bicycle accident

Although many accidents are reported each year in Massachusetts, no resident ever wants to be involved in one. Many accidents on the road cause serious injuries and accidents involving a car and a bicycle are not uncommon. Many precautions have been taken to avoid these accidents but, unfortunately, they do occur sometimes.

Recently, a 60-year-old bicyclist was killed while he was traveling near Westfield State University. A Ford Explorer traveling in the same direction hit the bicyclist, who was immediately taken to a hospital, where the doctors pronounced him dead.

The accident still remains under investigation by the local police department’s traffic bureau along with the State police. The driver of the Ford was not cited for the offense.

Sometimes, a driver’s neglect may cause accidents, which may lead to severe injuries or even death. The injured person may have to undergo several surgeries or long-term medical treatment. The person may also need rehabilitation. Additionally, due to the accident, the person may also be not able to work. All this amounts to more expenses and no source of income for the person. The victim may also face extreme mental trauma.

The person may claim, from the other driver, compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. The accident victim may have to show medical records to prove that the injuries were caused by the accident. The accident victim should seek the advice of a legal professional in this type of situation. The medical professional may help the person collect medical records and also negotiate the amount of compensation.

Source: Mass Live, “Westfield bicyclist killed after being hit by a car,” Jeanette DeForge, Jan. 13, 2013

Unsafe food products may harm consumers

Coffee is a popular drink for many residents of Massachusetts. To meet the needs of the public, coffee-serving chains and restaurants will brew and keep hot coffee ready and waiting for the next request. When serving coffee, the stores try to make sure it is served just right: hot enough to please but not so hot that it harms the customer. However, serving the coffee at too hot a temperature may place the coffee in the category of unsafe food products.

Sometimes the best known coffee chains may serve their products at too high a temperature, leading to a possibility of injury to customers. Recently, a Louisiana woman suffered burn injuries from the too-hot coffee served to her by an employee of a fast-food chain restaurant. The woman was burned when the employee of the burger chain did not properly close the lid of her coffee cup. The lid fell off, allowing the hot drink to spill on her, causing permanent scarring and mental anguish. She filed a lawsuit against the company.

Coffee burn injury cases are not uncommon. For instance, most people recall a 1994 case in which a woman sustained third-degree burn injuries due to the hot coffee served to her. In that case, the woman received $160,000 in damages. In another recent case, a Quincy, Massachusetts, toddler was allegedly burned and scarred on the neck from contact with hot hash browns.

When restaurants negligently fail to ensure the safety of their consumers, they may be held liable for the injuries caused by their unsafe food products. Victims may be eligible to claim damages for the injuries caused, the medical expenses incurred and pain and suffering.

Source: 3 News, “Burger King sued by woman who claims coffee was spilled onto her through drive through window,” Kim Choe, Jan. 10, 2013

Nursing home negligence may put elderly at risk

There are many nursing home facilities in Massachusetts, some of which are popular for the services that they provide. Families who are unable to take care of elderly family members due to a medical condition often choose to place them in a nursing home.

Although nursing homes are presumed to be the best care facilities for elders, nursing home negligence can occur, which can place the elderly at risk. A nursing home in Clermont, Florida, has come to the attention of officials after one of its residents had to be rushed to the hospital.

The daughter of a patient stated that she had been having problems with the nursing home and had noticed signs of neglect on her father. The man developed sores in his mouth from his dentures not being removed. The situation escalated when skin ulcers made his condition more severe and he was sent to a hospital.

When the nursing home officials were asked about the charges, they refused to comment. But records show that the health officials in this nursing home have been fined twice by the state for non-compliance in the past. This raises concerns for the families of other patients residing in the nursing home.

In nursing home neglect cases, some patients may be well cared for and others may be neglected. There may be cases when the patient was not looked after or not given medicines on time. This may lead to other complications. The person may need medical attention and this can cause trauma for both the patient and the family.

Any person injured in a nursing home due to the negligence of its workers or staff may be eligible file a claim for damages from the facility. In this situation, the person may be able to file for compensation for damages such as medical expenses and mental trauma.

Source: WFTV, “Clermont nursing facility investigated following resident’s hospitalization,” Jan. 8, 2013

Dog owner liable to pay compensation to dog bite victim

Dogs are known to be loyal pets, but sometimes they may see a threat in the innocent action of people they are unfamiliar with. They may consider a stranger to be a threat and may attack the person. An insurance company from Massachusetts has stated that more than one-third of all homeowner’s insurance claims in the U.S. relate to dog bites.

Recently, a woman agreed to take care of a dog while her neighbors were on a vacation. It was agreed that in return for her services, the pet owners would pay her $300. The dog was taken to her home. While she was trying to pick up a napkin, the dog bit her. The woman sued the owners of the dog, and a court held the owners liable for her injuries.

Dog bites may cause lacerations, scars, bleeding and even death. Dog injuries may be traumatic, and the injured may need immediate medical attention. The victim may also suffer emotionally after a dog attack.

The owner of a dog has a legal duty to supervise their pets and to prevent injuries to others from dog bite attacks. Massachusetts law provides that if a dog causes injury to a person, the owner of the dog shall be liable for damages unless the injured was committing a trespass or was teasing the dog.

With the help of a skilled personal injury attorney, a dog bite victim may seek compensation from a dog owner in case of injuries. The person may claim medical expenses, pain and suffering and mental trauma. The individual may also seek compensation for cosmetic or reconstructive surgery and psychological counseling.

Source: Insurance Journal, “New Jersey Court: Pet Sitter Can Sue Dog’s Owners Over Bite” Dec. 27, 2012

Fire may have been caused by defective equipment

When buying appliances for the workplace, Massachusetts small business owners should be careful to note that the product is safe, not subject to a recall and that it performs according to its purpose. This is because defective appliances sometimes cause serious damage, forcing companies to suffer huge losses. This was recently observed by a bakery and pie company that suffered serious damage to the nearly century-old building it was housed in during a recent fire.

According to sources, the company had installed fire suppression devices in their bakery. These devices were maintained by the same company that manufactured them. This past summer, a fire broke out in the fryer room, which was located in the center of the facility. This fire quickly spread to the entire building. Almost 100 fire fighters were called to subdue the fire, and luckily it did not cause serious injuries to any employees.

A product liability lawsuit was filed recently by the baking company against the manufacturer of the fire suppression device. Since it is not immediately clear why the fire suppression device did not function properly, the lawsuit will likely involve a lengthy investigation that will determine the relative fault of each party involved.

Property damage due to a defective product can give rise to a cause of action for damages against the manufacturer of the item if negligent maintenance or a faulty part of the device was the cause of the damage. Alternatively, some industrial equipment could be designed in a way that makes it ineffective, and in this case failing to prevent a fire is certainly a harmful defect.

Source: The Times-Picayune, “Hubig’s pie company sues fire suppression company” Paul Purpura, Dec. 26, 2012

Pedestrian killed in motor vehicle accident outside hospital

Large commercial trucks are perfect for transporting large volumes of goods and raw materials. Because of their size, however, they present serious hazards to other vehicles and pedestrians on the road.

In Boston recently, a motor vehicle accident claimed the life of a pedestrian right outside the rear entrance of St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in the Brighton neighborhood. According to police, an 18-wheel semitrailer hit and killed the man. Officials have not released his name and identity. It is not clear whether he worked at the hospital, was visiting someone, or if he was just passing by.

The truck involved belongs to a company that supplies linens to the hospital. Boston police have said no charges have been filed against the truck driver, and the accident is still under investigation.

In an accident involving a truck, a victim may suffer serious injuries or death as in this incident. Because of that, truck drivers should take their responsibilities extremely seriously when operating their vehicles. Concentrating on the road is critical for ensuring the safety of other motorists and pedestrians. Drivers should avoid distractions, driving while intoxicated and using cell phones when operating their vehicles.

In addition, truck drivers should always be aware of their surroundings and whether they are near crowded places such as hospitals, parks and schools. When in busy areas, truck operators should maintain vigilance and keep their eyes out for pedestrians crossing streets or walking along roads or streets.

In the event of a truck accident, a driver can be liable for a victim’s injuries if negligence is deemed a contributing factor. If so, then victims may be entitled to compensation. An injured party may be able to recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and emotional distress by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the truck driver. In addition, in cases in which a family has lost a member to a truck accident, a wrongful death claim may be filed to recover damages.

Source: MSNBC, “Pedestrian struck and killed outside local hospital” Dec. 25, 2012

Massachusetts regulators combat nursing home drug practices

Families who are struggling to meet the complex needs of elderly family members often look to nursing homes to help provide care. Usually, relatives are assured that the needs of their loved ones are met inside such establishments.

Nursing homes employ many staff members who are responsible for administering drugs to patients and assisting residents in such daily routines as taking a bath and going to the toilet. Unfortunately, nursing home negligence incidents are increasingly common across the country.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is the federal agency that regulates nursing homes. A representative of this center stated that 425 Massachusetts nursing homes were cited for unnecessary or incorrect drug administration from 2009 to 2011. Unfortunately, state regulators rarely took action against these facilities. Inspectors did not consider the incidents serious enough or believed that the regulations were ambiguous.

According to the federal agency, many of these facilities are administering strong antipsychotic medications to subdue some residents who struggled with behavior problems related to dementia. Based on federal guidelines, antipsychotic drugs should only be administered to patients with severe mental illness. Experts say that the drugs are actually dangerous for patients with dementia.

Because of the prevalent use of sedatives, some residents reportedly have trouble simply opening their mouths to eat, and some are unable to do physical activities or stay awake.

The federal agency warns the nursing homes that antipsychotic sedatives have potentially fatal side effects. The federal department would also like state agencies to more strictly enforce the applicable regulations.

The agency is in the final stages of setting guidelines for the proper use of antipsychotics, and fines will be imposed on nursing homes that do not follow the guidelines. This may improve treatment inside these nursing home facilities.

Families and relatives of residents in nursing homes should forward their concerns to authorities with regard to any mistreatment of their loved ones at a nursing home. If necessary, the family members can file a lawsuit against a nursing home facility to recover damages and hold the responsible parties accountable.

Source: The Boston Globe, “Report: Mass. Rarely nixes nursing home sedatives” Dec. 23, 2012