The 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act; Protecting the Rights of All Nursing Home Residents

By on 1-22-2017 in Elder Issues

In 1986, the U.S. Congress requested the Institute of Medicine to conduct a study that would evaluate the quality of care in Medicare – and/or Medicaid-certified nursing homes. The study revealed that the quality of care was nothing short of appalling as many residents, which included elders, children and young adults with severe disabilities, were often neglected, abused and received inadequate care. The results of these were the many cases of bedsores or pressure ulcers, injuries due to slip and fall, sudden weight loss, dehydration and malnutrition that further worsened residents’ already deteriorating health; some even led to new serious injuries or worse, to wrongful deaths.

Negligence in nursing homes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is “failure by a caregiver or other responsible person to protect an elder from harm, or the failure to meet needs for essential medical care, nutrition, hydration, hygiene, clothing, basic activities of daily living or shelter, which results in a serious risk to health and safety.”

Those who commit acts of abuse and negligence in nursing homes can be charged with a federal crime because these acts are against the stipulations of the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, which mandates nursing home facilities certified by, or receiving payment from, Medicare and Medicaid, to:

  • Provide services and activities that will help attain or maintain the highest possible physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of every resident in accordance with a written plan of care; and,
  • Ensure that residents are free from corporal punishment, involuntary seclusion and all forms of abuses, including, but not limited to, verbal, physical, mental abuse, and sexual abuse.

The Act also addresses issues, such individual patient assessment, assurance of hygiene and nutrition and sufficiency of staffing (as lack of staff is a major contributory factor to acts of abuse and neglect); furthermore, it establishes the “Residents’ Bill of Rights, which is a list of rights that will empower residents in the face of neglect and/or abuse. Some of these rights include (taken from

  • The right to live in a caring environment free from abuse, mistreatment and neglect
  • The right to live without the fear of enduring physical restraint
  • The right to privacy
  • The right to receive personal care that accommodates physical, medical, emotional and social needs
  • The right to a social contact/interaction with fellow residents and family members
  • The right to be treated with dignity
  • The right to exercise self-determination

In 2014, there were little above 15,000 certified nursing home facilities in the U.S. and about 1.5 million residents and patients. Records from the American Association for Justice, however, show that about 90% of all nursing homes lack the required number of staff – this is quite alarming since it is in understaffed nursing home facilities where instances of abuse and neglect are widespread.

Though many nursing home facilities do offer clean and comfortable environments and professional care, the law firms, like the Bruner Law Firm, for example, know too well that numerous cases of nursing home neglect or abuse continue to occur every year. Families with loved ones in nursing homes should know that acts of abuse or neglect can be a federal offense. Thus, any sign that their loved one is experiencing acts of cruelty while under the care of a nursing facility, they should never hesitate in contacting a nursing home abuse lawyer, who can explain to them know their rights and advise them on the best legal action they can pursue against the liable party.

What Makes Motorcycles more Dangerous than Cars

By on 8-05-2016 in Motorcycle Accidents

The dangers associated with riding a motorcycle include, first, a motorcycle’s lack of the standard safety features that other motor vehicles are equipped with and, second, its greater sensitivity to road conditions.

Compared to a car, a motorcycle does not have an air bag, a seat belt and a protective outer frame. The DOT-approved helmet, which so many riders continue to fail to wear, is actually the only real protection that riders have. This helmet can be the only thing that may save them from a head injury, the most common cause of death and disability in motorcycle accidents. Moreover, compared to cars, a motorcycle is more easily affected by uneven road surfaces, areas of low traction and obstacles in the street. The slightest road problem can cause a motorcycle rider to lose control and crash.

In 2013, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recorded 88,000 motorcycle crashes which resulted to injuries and another 4,986 accidents, all of which were fatal. While many motorcycle accidents are due to the rider crashing into a fixed object, such as a concrete barrier or a lamp post, many more involve another vehicle, like a car, especially one that is making a turn with the driver failing to check first for a possible approaching motorcycle.

An accident wherein a motorcycle crashes into a solid fixture is categorized as a single vehicle accident. An accident wherein another vehicle is involved, however, is categorized as a multiple-vehicle accident and the most deadly of this type of motorcycle accident is head-on collision.

Head-on collision actually accounts for more than 70% of fatal motorcycle accidents. Non-fatal head-on collisions, on the other hand, usually result to severe injuries, many of which lead to amputated limbs, spinal cord injury, head and neck injury, or disfigurement. These injuries, as mentioned in the website of the Hankey Law Office, means higher medical bills, a longer recovery period, which makes it important for riders to seek legal assistance immediately after an accident to decide on the possible legal action he or she should take.

Ways for workers to protect themselves from asbestos exposure

By on 3-28-2016 in Asbestos Exposure

People who used to work in an environment where hazardous asbestos mineral is present should follow certain standards for them to prevent inhaling its cancer-causing dust. In the U.S., the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) also requires companies that used to work with asbestos to follow safety standards to prevent their employees from developing mesothelioma cancer.

Generally, the asbestos used in maritime, construction, and automotive industries become hazardous when its dust went airborne and accidentally inhaled by workers. In a construction workplace for example, asbestos dust may get into the air during demolition is conducted. Asbestos is still used in the U.S. to strengthen construction materials like roofs, gypsum boards, floor tiles, and cement. The U.S. Department of Labor created safety standards as they estimated that 1.3 million employees might have contacted asbestos in the workplace. People who have been part of construction projects in years earlier than 1979 might have mesothelioma and should see a doctor, a lawyer of the Williams Kherkher said.

In the revised OSHA safety rules, workers are only allowed to be exposed to “0.2 fibers per cubic centimeter” of air if they work in a place with asbestos. Permissible Exposure Limit or PEL is highly enforced in construction sites and other industries that uses products that contain asbestos. Employers should accurately monitor workers shift in compliance to PEL. Employers should also provide facilities where workers can clean themselves after their shift and proper ventilation system in the workplace. Workers are required to use respiratory protection if their work environment has high asbestos concentration. Regulated workplace areas or places with high asbestos concentration should have warning signs. Construction workers are required to undergo regular medical checkup.

Though the OSHA have created safety standards to protect workers from asbestos exposure, there are some instances when employers or other parties become negligent. Such negligence often result to workers developing asbestos-related illnesses like mesothelioma.

Why your customers should choose rubber roof shingles

By on 10-30-2015 in Roofing

Roof contractors are faced with the everyday challenge of increasing profit margin. And you can do so by ensuring that no opportunities are falling through the cracks. One way to do this, according to the website of FollowUp Power, is through cloud innovations. Cloud-based CRM (customer relationship management) platforms are just among the many tools that can help roof contractors streamline sales experience while effectively tracking their bids and leads.

But apart from creating a sales pipeline that’s solid and smooth, innovations such as this allow you to know more about your company’s strongest selling points. And throughout the years, more and more American households are switching to rubber as the material of their choice. In fact, some roof contractors saw an increase of sales in rubber roof shingles. Here’s how U.S. households can benefit from rubber roofs:

Easy to install

Unlike other conventional materials, such as wood and asphalt, rubber roof shingles are lighter and thus easier to haul. Also, rubber materials are so durable that they won’t break even when stepped on during installation.


Rubber roof shingles are made from recycled rubbers, usually from used tires. By choosing such type of shingle for your roofing needs, you are allowing the environment to benefit as well.

Long service life

If there is one thing that many homeowners love about rubber roofs, it is their durability. In fact, a typical rubber roof can last up to five decades with proper maintenance.

Keeps indoor temperature at a stable level

Rubber is known to be a good insulator. During hot summer days, you can expect rubber roofs to keep the heat away by reflecting as many UV rays as possible. During winter, rubber roofs also help in insulating your indoors, cutting energy costs.

Visually appealing

Finally, rubber roof shingles are available in a myriad of different forms, sizes, and textures, capping off the overall look and feel of your home.

Depakote and Impaired Cognitive Development

By on 6-11-2015 in Defective Product Lawsuits

If you have even gotten on a commercial airplane, one of the first things they will tell you that in the event of a cabin decompression, you should put on your oxygen mask first before helping your child. This is because if you are incapacitated, you will be unable to help anyone effectively. The same is true in life. You need to take care of your mental and physical health before you can start taking care of your children.

If you suffer from epilepsy, bipolar disorder, or migraine headaches, it can be very hard to function normally. Fortunately, there are anti-seizure and mood-stabilizing medications that can help control the symptoms of these medical conditions. One of these is such as Depakote (valproate), which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of bipolar disorder in 1983, and for epileptic seizures and migraine later on.

Unfortunately, women that take with Depakote during their pregnancy risk impaired cognitive development in their children.

A link between certain birth defects such as cleft palate and extra digits (polydactyl) and Depakote had already been established, but it was only in 2011 that the FDA had enough information to issue a notice that it could adversely affect a child’s cognitive development. Depakote is currently a Pregnancy category D, but there are indications that it will be re-categorized as X, which means that the risk of harm to the fetus outweigh the possible benefits of the medication.

This warning is all well and good for women who are pregnant or planning to get pregnant, but According to the Williams Kherkher website, many women on the drug are not even aware they are pregnant until it is too late. It is definitely much too late for people, mothers and children alike, who are already living with the consequences of these side effects.

If you are one of the unfortunate ones, you may still salvage something from the wreckage. You may be eligible for financial compensation from the manufacturer.

Xarelto Overdose

By on 3-26-2015 in Defective Product Lawsuits, Personal Injury

Blood thinners are a common medication prescribed for individuals that are prone to clotting or suffer from cardiovascular medical conditions. Xarelto, a popular anticoagulant released in 2011 by drug manufacturers Bayer and Johnson & Johnson was originally intended for use after knee or hip replacement surgery. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration then approved the drug to help treat blood clots and atrial fibrillation. According to the website of the lawyers at Williams Kherkher, over 7 million people are currently prescribed Xarelto.

Previously, Warfarin was the leading blood thinner on the market. The older drug had been used for more than 50 years at the time of the release of Xarelto. Xarelto presented a simpler option for users as it did not require the constant physicians’ visits and blood work that Warfarin required. While Xarelto did not have the negative attributes of Warfarin, it also did not have some of the positive features of the older drug.

Unlike Warfarin, Xarelto does not have an antidote or reversal agent. Blood thinners, while aiding many Americans in treating their health conditions, also increases the risk of excessive bleeding. The purpose of Xarelto and other anticoagulants is to prevent blood from clotting. If a patient on a blood thinner were to fall and obtain a flesh wound, that injury would be at risk of severe blood loss. Some of these incidents are fatal.

The lack of antidote was not advertised information to the public being prescribed Xarelto. Patients experiencing bleeding events do not have many treatment options. Other blood thinners can use vitamin K or specific reversal agent injections to keep blood loss under control. Xarelto does not have these options and, furthermore, cannot be flushed from the system with dialysis. Patients must wait until the drug is removed from the blood stream naturally.

Manufacturers of faulty products should be held accountable for the pain and suffering of their clients. If you experienced adverse side effects while taking Xarelto, consult a lawyer that specializes in Xarelto cases to discuss your legal options.

Making a Will: The First Step in Estate Planning

By on 2-18-2015 in Probate

While departing from this life is one future event that everyone will experience, not all who face death are able to make sure that the financial future of those they will leave behind is secure. It is a fact that only a small percentage of American families can claim having an enormous wealth, but every family, definitely, has something of value which it holds dear and important. It can be an ancestral house or one recently acquired, a piece of antique furniture, a vehicle, jewelry, bank account, life insurance, a pension plan, a small piece of land, a small business, a painting, or anything to which value may be assigned. However, unless a person, before death, was able to clearly express through a will his or her intent of leaving a greater part or all of his/her properties or estate to someone, then it shall be the court which shall decide who will inherit the properties left behind. This authority of the court springs from the Law of Intestacy and this law follows a predefined plan of distribution which is based on the laws of the state where the owner of the estate resides (despite some variations in the Law of Intestacy in a number of states, there are some patterns that are akin to all).

Thus, failure to draft a will shall move the court to make the following decisions (with consideration to the status of the property or estate owner):

  • Single without child – the court shall grant all properties and assets to the parents. However, if the parents die before the owner does, then the heirs that the court will name are the property owner’s siblings.
  • Single, but with child – properties and assets go to the child (if there is more than one child, then everything will be distributed evenly to the all children).
  • Married without child – while some states would name the spouse as the sole inheritor, other states would give only a third or half of the properties to the spouse, while the remainder shall be awarded to the owner’s parents or siblings (but only if the parents predecease the owner).
  • Married with child – a third or half of the properties will be given by the court to the spouse, while the remainder shall be placed under the child’s name (or equally distributed among the children if there is more than one child).

In instances where the estate owner has more than one child and intends to leave a bigger share of the estate to his/her child, who is married and also has children, this can be made possible only if such intent had been stipulated in his/her will.

According to the website of Peck Ritchey, besides being able to pass on to a loved one a testator’s (the person making the will and, therefore, the owner of the estate or properties that will be distributed to all heirs) properties, the testator, through his/her will can also specify the amount of inheritance each heir will receive. And, if ever any heir challenges the validity of the will through litigation, then all legal documents and proofs that would show that the will is authentic and that the testator was clear in mind when he/she made the will, as well as the defense on the will’s validity to be attested to by the estate planning lawyer (whose services the testator hired to make the will legal), are all in place to subdue any challenge.

There are many other steps and documents that a testator will need to go through and prepare, respectively, as the will is only the first step in the estate planning process.

Wrong-Way Driving and Auto Accidents in Tennessee

By on 1-15-2015 in Car Accidents

It’s a no-brainer. Drive down an interstate highway going the wrong way and you are sure to get into an accident, and a serious one at that. But why drive the wrong way in the first place? Emergency? Alien abduction? It could be anything, but unfortunately in most cases it is because the driver was impaired.

This was the case of a woman who chose to drive her Escalade the wrong way on Interstate 65 in Nashville, Tennessee. The inevitable happened, leaving one man in a Corvette dead and a woman passenger seriously injured. According to Tennessee car accident attorneys on the Pohl & Berk, LLP website these types of accidents typically have long-reaching consequences. Aside from the physical, emotional and psychological trauma, serious car accidents can result in huge financial problems that few people can handle without assistance.

In the case above, the woman driver admitted she was intoxicated, and this opens her up not only to criminal charges but also civil liabilities. The demise of the Corvette driver could be considered a wrongful death because the woman acted in a negligent and reckless fashion which was the proximate cause of the death as well as the serious injury.

Survivors of the deceased may rightfully retain the services of a wrongful death lawyer to file a suit against the woman driver. The injured passenger may also feel the need to sue the then-inebriated driver to get compensation for medical and other expenses resulting from the accident.

If you are now in a similar situation as a victim, you know how bad it can get. Consult with a competent personal injury lawyer in Tennessee to get compensation for the harm a negligent car accident has caused you.

Legal Actions that Military Personnel Can Face Due to a Criminal Offense

By on 12-03-2014 in Criminal Law

As opposed to desertion or abandonment of duty and other military-related crimes, a DUI offense is not an exclusive concern of Military courts even if the offense involves military personnel. And whenever members of the US armed forces get involved in criminal offenses, like DUI or domestic violence, the punishment is always more severe compared to their civilian counterparts.

Despite the fact that there is a zero tolerance policy for alcohol and drug-related offenses (this includes DUI offenses) in the US military, thousands of soldiers get charged with the anti drunk-driving law each year, especially while the soldier is on leave or between deployments. But, rather than due to any intent of violating the law, military personnel are often chanced upon by traffic enforcers while trying to drive safely back home after a few bottles of beer, alone or with friends, in an attempt to get over the stress and emotional pain caused by the war they fought in. This explains why, statistically, soldiers are found to be drinking more often than civilians.

Regardless of their reason for drinking, however, once caught, they will have to face the law like anybody else and, if convicted, will have to suffer punishment – a punishment that is actually considered more severe compared to a civilian charged and convicted because, besides the punishments pronounced in a civil court, they can also be discharged from service, ending their career in an instant.

Punishments for a military DUI actually depend on the authorities who will try and decide on the case; this depends, in turn, on the jurisdiction where the drunken driving incident occurred. If off a military installation, then the soldier is sure not to face a court martial as the civilian authorities or the state is the one that will surely file the DUI charge (a court martial may be imminent, though, if the civilian court acquits the soldier). The charged soldier’s commanding officer, however, can still take administrative actions, like corrective training, cancellation of pass privileges, or mandatory substance abuse treatment; it is also possible that the personnel would be charged by the military with a related crime, such as disorderly conduct.

If the arrest occurred inside the base, then the soldier will be charged under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and subject to both administrative actions and a court martial (though trial and decision is to be made by the military, the state has the authority to suspend the soldier’s license, require the installation of an interlock device inside his/her vehicle, or limit or revoke his/her driving privileges). The commanding officer can also decide to take either a punitive action or an administrative action (mentioned above) against the arrested soldier.

In a punitive action it is either is a:

  • Court martial, which can end in dismissal from service, imprisonment, grade reduction or forfeiture of pay
  • Non-judicial punishments (NJP), which are certain limited punishments for minor disciplinary offenses. An NJP proceeding is called “office hours” in the Marine Corps, “captain’s mast” or “mast” in the Coast Guard or Navy, and “Article 15” in the air Force and Army.

With the possibility of an ended military career, a service member cannot, but make sure that he/she gets an exceptional lawyer who will be able to make a very strong defense in his/her behalf. It is in this very area and concern that the military arrest attorneys of Flaherty Defense Firm have developed skills that can save military personnel from losing the life they have loved to live; thus, it will be highly advisable that, if charged with an offense whether on or off the base, the charged soldier contact one of them immediately.