Posts made in February 2013

Elder abuse caught in nursing home

Many Massachusetts residents prefer nursing home care for their elderly family members, expecting that a nursing home is better equipped to care for them. It is assumed that a nursing home staff is trained and can tackle challenging situations. The staff is required to administer diagnosed medications, feed the residents if necessary and see to their personal hygiene.

Sometimes nursing homes may be negligent in caring for their residents. In a recent incident, six employees of a nursing home were accused of elder abuse. Massachusetts residents should be aware that such incidents can take place in nursing homes.

The employees allegedly hit a man who had dementia and treated him roughly. In a videotape, it was seen that the employees aggressively rolled the man in his bed, causing his head to hit the bed rail. He was also struck when he refused to cooperate as the employees attempted to turn him over. Four employees at this Indiana facility were charged with felony battery, neglect and intimidation. Two other employees were charged with failure to report abuse of an endangered adult.
Of course such treatment of nursing home residents is completely uncalled for and is subject to prosecution. Nursing home staff is entrusted with providing care and attention to residents, some of whom are chronically ill and unable to care for themselves.

Nursing home negligence can come in many forms and can be the cause of injuries or even death. In addition to sexual, physical and emotional abuse, nursing home negligence may involve medication errors, resident falls and fractures, dehydration, malnutrition, bedsores, pressure ulcers and failure to diagnose and treat illnesses, among other incidents.

When an injury to a resident of a nursing home in Massachusetts has occurred and is the result of nursing home negligence, individuals and families may file a claim for damages against the institution. The person may identify and interview witnesses to prove the abuse occurred. Help from a legal professional experienced in nursing home abuse may help in receiving fair compensation.

Source: Fox 59, “Nursing home employees charged following reported abuse of resident,” Feb. 12, 2013

Nursing home negligence costs Medicare billions

Many elderly people in Massachusetts rely on nursing homes to provide them with safe and competent care in their declining years. But when nursing home abuse occurs, many families must look to the courts to find compensation for the harms they suffered.

Nationwide, Medicare had to pay out nearly $5.1 billion to persons staying in skilled nursing facilities. Skilled nursing facilities consist of nursing homes that provide residents with daily nursing care or therapy sessions. However, many of these facilities have not been in compliance with the federal rules for quality of care, and in some cases were a danger to or neglectful of their residents. In fact, it is estimated that in 2009 one out of three patients entering nursing home care found themselves in facilities that did not even meet the federal standards of basic care.

Skilled nursing facilities must develop a care plan for residents that will then be distributed to the resident’s doctors and other caregivers. However it is estimated that one out of five times, these plans did not comprehensively address all the resident’s healthcare needs. Unfortunately, when residents receive sub-standard care, it is the government that must cover the costs. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is addressing these concerns through a comprehensive review of its regulations and practices.

When a nursing home resident is injured or abused while receiving nursing home care, it may be possible to bring a lawsuit against the nursing home and its employees. Negligent supervision and care, negligent hiring and negligent maintenance of the facilities and equipment all may give rise to nursing home liability. To prevail, the victim must show that they were owed a duty of care by the nursing home, that the nursing home failed to meet the duty of care and that the nursing home’s breach caused the injury suffered.

When a loved one is injured in a nursing home, a negligence law suit may be one way to hold the nursing home and its employees accountable. Furthermore, it may provide nursing home residents and their families with the financial resources they need to recover from the incident.

Source: Boston Herald, “Medicare paid $5.1B for poor nursing home care,” Feb. 28, 2013

Over-the-counter medicines recalled for defective packaging

Massachusetts residents know that taking any medicine in excess of that prescribed by a physician or as prescribed by the drug’s manufacturer is dangerous. But when a pharmaceutical manufacturer puts a defective product on the market, consumers may be made ill through no fault of their own.

In coordination with the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission, Novartis Consumer Health Inc. of Parsippany recently issued a nationwide recall of some 2.3 million units of two basic cold and cough syrups — Triaminic Syrups and Theraflu Warming Relief Syrups — because of defective packaging. Approximately 24 formulations of these two syrups were recalled. A complete list of recalled syrups has been posted on the company’s website. The company has recommended that consumers immediately stop using the recalled syrups, although it claims the products themselves pose no hazard to consumers.

The drugs’ packaging was supposed to include child-resistant caps because the syrups contain acetaminophen and diphenhydramine, according to the Poison Prevention Packaging Act. Both drugs are federally regulated, according to the CPSC. The caps on the bottles of recalled syrups were found to be defective, allowing children to easily open the caps without damaging the tamper-evident seals. Children then risk ingestion and poisoning.

The company has thus far received 12 complaints of children removing the locked caps. Four children ingested one of the products, and one child required medical attention.

Consumers in Massachusetts who suffer injuries or damage as a result of using a defective product may file product liability lawsuits against the negligent manufacturers. Typically, the compensation awarded in such lawsuits covers medical expenses, lost wages and damages for pain and suffering. The cost of replacing the product or reimbursing the consumer for the purchase may also be ordered.

Source: CBS 6, “Triaminic, Theraflu lots recalled over defective child-resistant caps,” Alix Bryan, Jan.31, 2013

Pedestrian suffers serious injuries in Massachusetts accident

When a vehicle collides with a pedestrian, the victim may receive life-threatening injuries. The person may need immediate medical attention and may also need rehabilitation. The victim may suffer from head injuries, broken bones and may possibly be permanently disabled. The person may require constant medical attention, which can be very costly.

This appears to be the case in a recent accident in a suburb of Boston, where a 67-year-old pedestrian was struck by a car on Salem Road near the Wilmington town line. After hitting the 67-year-old man, the driver drove 50 yards and stopped. The accident victim allegedly suffered serious injuries, including an apparent head injury. A medflight was called to transfer the person to Boston Medical Center.

A state accident reconstruction team was called to investigate the accident and the cause is not known yet.

When a person is injured in a car accident – whether it is a passenger in a car, motorcyclist or a pedestrian – the person may be able to claim compensation from a negligent driver. A successful lawsuit may be able to obtain medical expenses, pain and suffering and lost wages.

Of course, an investigation – like the one noted in the story above – can help to determine liability and answer many questions regarding the cause of the incident. However, a police report may be only part of the equation; an experienced attorney may also complete an independent analysis of the situation to develop additional evidence, if necessary, to support a case.

The results of a car accident can be devastating, but one’s financial future need not suffer the same results as the victim’s physical health. A personal injury lawsuit can help ensure an accident victim has the financial resources available to recover and return to as normal a life as possible.

Source: Patch, “Man Seriously Injured When Struck By Car On Salem Road,” Bill Gilman, Feb. 6, 2013

Boston bus accident injures dozens, one in critical condition

As you go under overpasses or into buildings that specify height requirements, you are probably like most people and wondering if anyone has ever ignored or failed to heed those warnings and clipped their tops? Well, unfortunately for one bus company owner, one of his drivers did so in the Boston area recently with a 10-foot-high concrete overpass.

The commercial bus accident which resulted in dozens of injured passengers, and has left one in critical condition at Boston Medical Center, is supposedly the result of a failure on the part of the GPS system to warn the bus driver of the overpass height according to the company’s owner. The owner has great confidence in the driver and has suggested that the GPS device failed to warn of the height restrictions under the Western Avenue Bridge overpass.

According to the Department of Conservation and Recreation (“DCR”), this could be a plausible argument as there have been a number of incidents of vehicles hitting overpasses in that area each year. They plan on contacting the GPS system manufacturers to discuss updating their information.

Whether or not the GPS may have failed to warn the driver, there still may have been some sort of negligence on the driver’s behalf which resulted in the injuries sustained by the passengers in the accident. If so, each individual injured may have a legal claim to some sort of remedy for their injuries and any time off work that may have resulted.

When involved in these types of accidents, an injured party should talk to a personal injury attorney prior to making any statements to insurance agents as the attorney will have your interests and recovery in mind rather than their company’s bottom line. An attorney practiced in the area of personal injury will be able to deftly guide an individual through the complex legal options that may be available under the unique circumstances that present themselves.

Source: Boston Herald, “Bus owner sorry for accident,” Feb. 5, 2013

Dog bites pizza deliverer in Boston

Animals do not always behave well and pet owners are obligated to keep other people safe from violent pets. Boston, Massachusetts, residents may have noticed that some pet owners prefer to keep their dogs unleashed, which may lead to a passerby receiving dog bites.

Food delivery has become common across the country and food deliverers are often confronted with the danger of unleashed dogs. Recently, a pizza deliverer was attacked by a dog and received dog bites. The dog ran out of the house and bit the pizza deliverer on his upper right thigh and ran back inside after the attack.

According to the Boston police report, the delivery driver reported back to work after the attack and was then taken to hospital. The owner of the dog was questioned regarding the dog’s vaccinations, but he refused to surrender any information. The dog owner also tried to convince the victim that treatment was not required for the victim’s injuries.

Dog bites are dangerous and may prove fatal if the animal has not received proper vaccinations. According to Massachusetts state laws, the owner of the dog is liable if a dog attacks any person or property. The only exception to this rule is when the bite victim either trespasses or abuses the animal.

Victims of dog bites may need medical care. Lacerations, bleeding and scars are some of the most common injuries faced by dog bite victims. Additionally, victims of dog bites may suffer psychological damage in addition to their physical injuries. Victims may not be able to work and may need cosmetic or reconstructive surgery.

Residents of Boston, Massachusetts, may be aware that a person injured by dog bites may file a premises liability claim against a dog owner in order to receive due compensation for their injuries, under applicable laws of the state. Victims may often claim compensation for past and future medical bills, lost wages and expenses incurred for psychological counseling.

Source: Rosindale Patch, “Checkmate Cafe Deliverer Sent to Hospital After Dog Bite on Symmes Street in Roslindale,” David Ertischek, Jan. 29, 2013

Unsafe food products: Glass fragments found in ravioli

Cutting a hand or a foot on broken glass is a scary enough thought for many Massachusetts residents. But what about consuming food containing glass fragments? Recently, Nestle recalled one of its varieties of frozen Lean Cuisine ravioli as it was suspected to contain glass.

These products were produced in 2012 within two days and were distributed nationwide. The best before date mentioned on these products is December 2013. Also, it’s believed that most of these unsafe food products are not available in stores anymore as they have already been purchased by consumers.

Three consumers complained to Nestle about the presence of glass in the food products, which led to the company recalling the product. But now the main concern is that, since the products have already been purchased, there may be some people unaware of the recall. Many of these recalled products may be in freezers and consumption of these products may cause considerable harm.

This is not the first time that Nestle has recalled its products. Lean Cuisine Simple Favorites Spaghetti with Meatballs was recalled by the company in March 2011 as consumers found plastic in the meatballs. Also, it recalled one of its chocolate powder products in November 2012 due to the presence of salmonella.

Although stringent rules are to be followed by manufacturers and distributors of food products to ensure safety, negligence and corner cutting may prove dangerous to consumers. Defective products or distribution errors may cause injuries to people who use the products. An injured person may file for damages from the liable parties.

An injured person may conduct an investigation into the product in question and review all aspects of the accident. The person may also consider the opinion of a legal professional in the matter to prove that the product was unsafe and it caused injury. A product liability lawsuit may help the person to claim compensation for the injuries caused by the product.

Source: CBS News, “Lean Cuisine ravioli recalled after customers find glass fragments,” Michelle Castillo, Feb. 12, 2013

Nursing home negligence allegedly causes death of a woman

Like most people, many Massachusetts residents rely on nursing homes for the high-quality care of their loved ones. When choosing a nursing home, family members carefully check out the facilities and staff, find a home they can trust and place their loved ones in their care. Sometimes, however, nursing home negligence causes injuries to those the home should be caring for. In some shocking incidents, the staff fails to pay adequate attention to nursing home residents and cause injuries to them.

A nursing home resident allegedly had both legs broken and eventually died because a nurse’s aide did not lift her properly. The patient cried out in pain and showed other signs of distress, but the nursing home staff ignored her complaints for two weeks. She was then transferred to a hospital, where she died after four days.

The elderly are frail and can easily suffer injuries. They need care and attention, and therefore often live in nursing homes. Understaffing and inadequate training aggravate the everyday problems of running a nursing home, in turn affecting the quality of care. The staff may not pay attention to the needs of the elderly and ignore their health conditions. Negligence can lead to bedsores, medication errors and malnutrition. The result is that the loved one suffers unnecessarily.

Although a death cannot be reversed, negligent parties may be held liable for their actions, and the family may claim damages and compensation from the care provider. However, the claimants need to prove that the injury was caused by the negligence of the nursing home staff, and will need extensive evidence and testimony from experts in medicine and other relevant fields. Although age can lessen the value of the claim, strong evidence can help the family prove their case.

Source: The Herald Sun, “Daughter appeals nursing home jury verdict,” Beth Velliquette, Jan. 25, 2013