Abused in an Assisted Living Home: Do I have a Claim?

Assisted living facilities are a wonderful option for family members who want their independence but still need the everyday care provided by those who work in an assisted living facility. In addition, not everyone who ages has family able to take them in and care for them throughout the day, and not everyone who is aging wants to live with their kids and grandkids.

Assisted living facilities can provide residents with:

  • The ability to care for themselves throughout the day
  • Interact with others also living in the same location
  • Enjoy activities provided by the facility.

These facilities allow for independence while also helping residents get to and from appointments and care for themselves when needed. Unfortunately, there is still a presence of abuse in these facilities.

The Risks of Assisted Living Facilities

Assisted living abuse is not a victimless crime, and it’s not one you want to learn your loved one is experiencing. No one wants to think that their elderly relatives and loved ones are being abused in their homes, but it happens.

Assisted Living Abuse

It’s difficult to think about this, but it happens. Assisted living residents might experience physical abuse from those who work in the facility, and they’re afraid to report it. This could be the typical type of abuse people hear about, but it can also occur when someone is restrained using excessive force. Anyone who experiences emotional or verbal abuse from those who work for the assisted living facility are being psychologically abused. Here are the most common forms of abuse:

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Psychological abuse
  • Neglect
  • Financial abuse

Neglect Cases

Neglect often occurs when there’s not enough people on staff to care for the residents. This can result in residents to:

  • Lack proper medication or doses.
  • Not be fed a healthy and balanced diet.
  • Suffer from dehydration.
  • Suffer from bed sores, rashes, and other issues due to a lack of clean facilities and staff.
  • Some facilities financially abuse their residents by forcing them to pay too much for their care, or by taking their money from them and limiting what they’re able to purchase. They may also outright steal from the resident.

What Are Your Legal Options?

A qualified attorney can help you stop the abuse of your loved one at an assisted living facility. If you recognize the signs of possible abuse, a Las Vegas personal injury lawyer can help you pursue justice.

Recognize the Signs of Possible Abuse

Signs might include:

  • Unexplained bodily damage or harm
  • Unsanitary living conditions
  • Depression or withdrawing from interactions with others, including close family members.

If you have noticed these symptoms, it’s imperative you speak to your loved one. Ask what they may be feeling or experiencing, but don’t be surprised if your loved one is afraid to tell you. They may not want you to worry or they may have been threatened that if they tell, they will be punished.

Contact an Little Rock Personal Injury Attorney for Help

Call an attorney to discuss your concerns. They can help you determine if abuse is actually occurring. An attorney can launch an investigation, collect evidence, and seek the opinions of professionals in the medical field. Ultimately, if your loved one has been abused, an attorney can help your family seek compensation for that abuse and get them the emotional and physical treatment they need to help them heal.

Grandparent Rights to Visitation

A family is not simply composed of parents and their children. Often, grandparents are a cornerstone in the upbringing of a child, and want to ensure they will always be assured a place in the lives of their grandchildren. It used to be the case that grandparent’s visitation relied solely on the outcome of divorce proceedings and agreements between the parents and their legal status in the aftermath. In many states, however, the courts and the state legislature have determined that grandparents and great-grandparents are entitled to fight for visitation and custody rights to their grandchildren, granted they meet certain requirements and guidelines. Child custody is one of the cornerstones of family law, and skilled child custody lawyers Arizona can count on believe grandparents should have every right to see or obtain custody of their grandchildren if they so deserve. Today, we will examine some of the requirements for visitation in some states, as well as the custody rights of grandparents later on.

Grandparents Visitation Rights

Visitation, in its most basic form, is the time a child or children spend with a parent or other family member who does not have the majority custody. This is often the case with parents who do not have joint or equal custody, and the parent with whom the child does not live may be granted visitation time, depending on court proceedings and the terms of a separation or divorce agreement. Grandparents also have visitation rights to their grandchildren, thanks to some legal changes by some state legislatures.

In terms of grandparent or great-grandparent visitation, the court will determine if interaction of the child and the grandparent will be in the best interest of the child at question. The grandparent must first petition the court to hear the case. When it comes before the judge, he or she will examine three important factors and if any of these three apply, they will be considered, as well as determining what would be in the best interest of the child. The list of applicable situations includes:

  • The child’s parents have been divorced for a minimum of three (3) months
  • A child’s parents have been missing or deceased for at least three (3) months
  • The child was born out of wedlock (meaning the parents were not married)

These three items are determinants in deciding if the interaction would be optimal for the child. However, there is another list of requirements that come into play when figuring out the best interests of the child, which is comprised of things like:

  • The motivation of the requesting party (the grandparent)
  • The amount of time requested for visitation and how that may impact the rest of the child’s everyday activities
  • The track record and history of the relationship between child and grandparent
  • The motivation and reasoning of the parent denying visitation
  • The benefits of maintaining a relationship with extended family

These five criteria are used to determine what is best for the child. When considered in conjunction with the situation of the parents and children, grandparents can make a strong case for how their continual and growing involvement in a child’s life will be beneficial. Though these are not the only factors, they are the baseline for any case or petition a grandparent will bring to the court.

It is important to remember that visitation comes into play when the parent related to the grandparent has not lost their legal rights to child custody or parentage of the children. For example, if a father does not have any visitation rights to his children, then the paternal grandparents will encounter many more obstacles, as visitation petitions rely on legal status of parents, which translates to a grandparent’s legal status. However, when legal status causes issues, there are other options in those cases, such as filing for third party visitation.

Visitation rights for grandparents can be a difficult issue on which to make a quality determination. If you are a grandparent and are seeking proper visitation rights for your grandchildren, you need to employ a quality family law firm to ensure you get the best outcome possible.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Hildebrand Law for their insight into grandparents rights and visitation.

$5.5 Million Awarded in Colorado Nursing Home Death

McKnight’s Long-Term Care News is reporting that the family of a Colorado nursing home resident who died in the facility has received a potentially record-breaking $5.5 million verdict.

According to the family’s complaint, 77-year-old Sophia Alcon endured numerous instances of neglect and abuse from the time of her admission into the Life Care Center of Pueblo in the City of Pueblo until she passed away in November of 2013. Her family filed a wrongful death lawsuit in January of 2015, alleging that the nursing home’s neglect led to unexplained bruising, bedsores, infections, malnutrition and eventually, her death.

Her son, George Alcon, first brought the case against the facility into the court. He was awarded $5 million in punitive damages, which are monetary awards designed to punish wrongdoing and discourage the same behavior from others, $500,000 in damages stemming from his mother’s death and $57,000 for economic damages due to the facility’s negligence.

As noted by McKnight, this verdict is believed to be a new record for a wrongful death claim against a nursing facility in the state. It was also reported that no witnesses or corporate representatives showed up at the trial on behalf of Life Care Center of Pueblo’s parent company, Life Care Centers of America Inc., and this may have been a factor when it came to the jury’s award.

The facility’s Executive Director, Keith Jackson, did make a statement to KOAA 5 News, saying that Life Care Center of Pueblo will appeal the ruling but cannot provide any information regarding the Alcon family’s lawsuit or other pending cases due to health privacy laws and the legal process ( Jackson also reaffirmed the nursing home’s commitment to providing quality care to its residents.

Currently, there are two other wrongful death cases against the Life Care Center of Pueblo. One involves the death of Sophia LaCombe in 2014, and one is for the death of Dorothy Balch, who passed away in the facility around the same time as Sophia Alcon. The Alcon case is also the second nursing home facility lawsuit in Pueblo to end with a verdict of millions of dollars in the last few years. In 2014, an 82-year-old resident and his family received an award of $3.3 million from a jury who found the Belmont Lodge Health Care Center guilty of repeated negligence. This negligence reportedly led to the resident losing significant weight and experiencing urinary tract infections, skin loss, and bedsores.

Unfortunately, neglect and abuse in nursing home facilities are happening all across the country, as covered recently in a detail investigative report by CNN. The elderly in these types of facilities often suffer from physical and/or mental health conditions that make them more vulnerable to mistreatment, and facilities have covered up or ignored instances of abuse and neglect by staff in past cases reported by the media.

If someone you care about has been harmed by the actions of a nursing home facility, speak to an attorney today.

The Difference Between Nursing Home Negligence and Abuse

The long-term care industry is an essential part of the American healthcare industry. Many institutions within the long-term care industry are committed to providing compassionate care to elderly patients. There are some exceptions, however. Some organizations fail to provide a reasonable standard of care for their patients — many of whom could be very vulnerable, and all of whom deserve the utmost respect. Nursing home negligence and nursing home abuse are two types of personal injury cases that involve the exploitation of residents living in long-term care facilities.

Nursing Home Negligence 

Negligence is legally defined as the failure to perform some duty that is owed to another person. If someone is negligent, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they acted deliberately. It simply means that the individual failed to act in a reasonable way, and this failure led to another person’s injury.

In a nursing home environment, it could be easy for staff members to become distracted and fail to perform their regular duties to a reasonable standard. It’s possible for staff members to forget to provide the correct medication to patients or fail to pay attention to basic hygienic needs. The staff members in these situations might not be considered abusive because they did not intend physical or emotional harm to residents.

As a Phoenix nursing home negligence lawyer might explain, extreme cases of negligence could potentially be prosecuted as criminal charges. Depending on the jurisdiction where the act occurs, if an act of negligence is done in a manner that would suggest “willful disregard” for the safety of another, or is done “with reckless abandon,” such an act could be prosecuted in a criminal court.

Nursing Home Abuse

Abuse, on the other hand, implies some level of intent. This could mean the blatant intention of causing physical harm or it could mean clear indifference to the consequences of one’s actions. Nursing home abuse may be prosecuted in criminal court because it could be considered a criminal offense.

In a nursing home setting, abuse may manifest itself in many forms. Residents may be physically, sexually, and/or emotionally abused. They might be financially abused by someone who wants to take advantage of their vulnerability.

Some cases of elder abuse don’t involve the staff members of the long-term care facility; rather, a family member of the injured individual could be to blame. This may be particularly evident if a relative is attempting to take advantage of the elder’s financial situation.

Taking Action in a Nursing Home Negligence or Abuse Case

Given the circumstances of an abusive act, abuse can cross the divide separating the civil act of negligence and the criminal act of assault and battery.

In questions of the exposure to liability on the part of the employer, an act of negligence would be the easier charge to defend if it could be shown that the incident was not a part of multiple occurrences of the same act, or if the act could be demonstrated to have been an honest mistake.

If you suspect that your elderly relative is being abused in a nursing home facility — by a staff member, by another resident, or even by a family member — don’t hesitate to contact a personal injury lawyer today.

ASThanks to our friends and contributors from Alex & Saavedra, P.C. for their insight into nursing home negligence.

Workers’ Compensation Claims for Degenerative Disc Disease

What is a degenerative disc disease?

Degenerative disc disease is something that many adults face as they get older. It’s a natural process of aging, but certain tasks can aggravate the symptoms and make the condition worse. Common symptoms of degenerative disc disease include pain and numbness throughout the back and neck — sometimes to the extent that it’s impossible for a person to perform basic daily tasks. It’s sometimes possible to treat the condition if the degenerative disc can be located and replaced, but this isn’t always possible.

Even though this condition may occur and advance on its own, research shows that certain injuries and stressful movements may exacerbate degenerative disc disease. These movements may include lifting heavy weights, making sudden movements, or simply putting the back and neck under stress for a long period of time.

Workplace Injuries and Degenerative Disc Disease

Minor workplace injuries can have very painful consequences for someone who suffers from degenerative disc disease. As an employee, you (or your employer) may be required to take certain preventative measures against injury if you know that you are at a high risk. However, employees suffering from degenerative disc disease may still be eligible to claim workers’ compensation payments if a work-related task causes or worsens a back injury.

Simple workplace activities and tasks that may cause a back injury could include:

  • Twisting while lifting objects that are too heavy
  • A fall when reaching out to an object that is placed high and out of reach
  • Being hit by a falling object
  • The jerking motion experienced when one trips, even without landing on the ground

A minor injury from one of the examples listed above can cause stress, wear, and tear on a degenerated disk. Over time, the damaged tissue may become very painful and the damage could worsen.

Are you entitled to compensation? 

With degenerative disk disease, it could be easy for the insurance company to claim that the disc degeneration is naturally occurring. However, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney may be able to help you make a successful claim with the aid of medical records. The main goal is to prove that your work injury led to the present condition.

If your job involves heavy lifting and making repeated movements, you may be more at risk for injury. If one occurs, your employer may be held liable for your damages. Regardless of whether you had a prior disc injury, if the degeneration was accelerated in a workplace accident, you should not be punished. Workers’ compensation covers both new and pre-existing injuries.

A workers’ compensation claim has a statute of limitations, the time frame for which differs by state. The most prudent thing to do is to get in touch with an experienced work injury attorney New York relies on who can start the claims process before the time expiration. We offer free case reviews to workers injured on the job. As a highly rated and respected legal firm with a focus on workers compensation cases, we encourage you to contact us today.

PSRThanks to our friends and contributors from Polsky, Shouldice & Rosen P.C. for their insight into workers compensation claims.

Wacky Celebrity Prenup Agreements

Prenuptial agreements (aka prenups), those written contracts that two people who are in love and plan to be married draft prior to the big day are big business in Hollywood. As they should be, with millions at stake and the high rate of celebrity divorce so popular in celebrity news, it makes sense for celebs to have them. And while most prenups are pretty garden variety, even among celebs, and detail property, assets, debts, etc, as you can imagine some include some pretty very wacky clauses. Here are some of the wackiest:

Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones

Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones were married in 2000. Naturally these two high dollars celebs wanted to protect their assets–and themselves. The eyebrow raising clause in their prenuptial referenced Douglas’ infidelity issues. If Douglas, who is 25 years older than Zeta-Jones, has an affair which destroys the marriage then she receives $5 million. This would be in addition to $2.8 million for every year that they’re married. And it’s good thing that this prenup is in place as the couple has had their ups and downs, even separating for a year before reconciling in 2014. Now after 17 years of matrimony, if Douglas does have an marriage-ending affair, it’s going to cost him more $50 million. Not sure if he has that!

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban

Actress Nicole Kidman (former wife of Tom Cruise) married country singer Keith Urban in 2006. Kidman is a high grossing A-Lister and Urban is well known to struggle with substance abuse. Bottom line: she earns more than he does and and she wants him to stay clean and the two of them to stay married. So, as part of their prenup, Urban will earn a fat wad of cash for every year they stay together–$640,000 per year, to be exact. The prenup stipulates that if he uses illegal drugs, he forfeits the money. Interestingly, in October of 2006 after the two were wed, Urban was admitted into the Betty Ford Center. So, although it seems as if right at the outset he may have violated the prenup, today, more than ten years later, the two remain married. And word on the street is that Urban is clean. I certainly hope so–for the both of them and their family.

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan

This prenup, between the man behind Facebook and his wife, was more about quality time than money. It is referred to as a lifestyle clause, and it focuses on the same problem many of us have– the inability to stop checking Facebook. The prenup specifies that Zuckerberg must spend at least 100 minutes alone with Chan as well as one date night every week. During that one-on-one time, neither is allowed to check Facebook and their alone time cannot be at his office. No word on what the penalty is for breaching the agreement but I doubt that it requires Zuckerberg to shut his Facebook profile down. I don’t know about you, but I kind of like this lifestyle clause!

Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren

The prenup between the legendary golfer and his former Swedish model wife detailed that she would receive a lump sum of $20 million if they divorced. As we all know that day did in fact come. But, when Wood’s cheating scandal rocked the world and Nordegren did file, Woods agreed to pay her $110 million. However, even that was chump change compared to the $200 million he offered her in a new agreement if she agreed to stay married. As we all know, Nordegren declined. Good for her!

Lamar Odom and Khloe Kardashian

Basketball player Lamar Odom and Khloe Kardashian’s prenup included a clause that gave her $500,000 for every year the couple was married.  The two only made it four years so that came to $2 million. This payout was is in addition to other great perks negotiated in the agreement which included courtside seats to Lakers games, a $5K monthly shopping “budget”, a new car at the end of every lease, $25K in monthly spousal support, the house, and $1K every month to pay for her beauty needs. Well done, Kardashian lawyers–it’s not as if Khloe doesn’t earn money or have the ability to do so. Her deal was pretty good! But, it should be pointed out that despite their short lived marital life, Khloe truly seems to care for Lamar. She postponed the divorce during his life and death struggle that resulted from his overdosing and for which he was in a coma so that she could make important medical decisions on his behalf.  Though the two are still not together, Lamar did recover and the two appear to be on friendly terms.


proof-with-jill-stanleyThanks to our friends and contributors from Proof with Jill Stanley for their insight into wacky celebrity prenups.

Driving Away from Car Accidents


Driving away from the scene of a car accident is a crime, no matter the circumstances. Being in an accident can be scary, and the knee jerk reaction can easily be to drive away and avoid getting into any trouble. However, if you drive away from an accident you can find yourself stuck in a world of legal issues that can result in the loss of your license or even jail time.

The law differentiates between driving away after hitting a parked car and driving away after hitting a moving car. When you strike an unattended vehicle, you have a duty to attempt to contact the owner of the vehicle. This can be done by simply leaving your name, phone number, address, and insurance information in a note on the car before leaving. Be sure to take a picture of this note in the event that you may later need to prove that you left it. Failure to make an attempt to contact the owner of the vehicle can result in being charged with a misdemeanor and risks your license.

Leaving the scene of an accident involving an operated car or a person is a much more serious crime. When you are involved in a car accident, you have a legal obligation to stop and ensure that everyone involved has not sustained major injuries and to call an ambulance if necessary. You are also required to call the police and give your name and insurance information to others involved in the accident. If you fail to stop and instead leave the scene of an accident which results in serious injuries or death, you can be found guilty of a felony and sent to prison.

If you have been hit by a driver who has fled the scene, try to get as much information as you can about the driver’s car. If possible, take pictures and write down the car’s license plate number. As soon as you can, contact the police and give this information to them.

Though fleeing the accident may seem like an easy way to avoid getting in trouble, doing so risks your driver’s license and your freedom, as well as puts the lives of those who you leave behind at risk. The best thing to do is always to stop and talk to the other people involved and call the police. If you have been in an accident and did not stay as required by law, you should contact an experienced car accident attorney Dekalb County GA relies on to ensure that you fully understand your rights moving forward.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into driving away from the scene of an accident.

Before You Sign a Waiver – Here’s What You Need to Know

From zipline adventures to rides on a hay wagon, it seems like every activity comes with a waiver. Over 15 million civil lawsuits are filed each year, as a skilled personal injury lawyer Phoenix AZ trusts might explain. Waivers are designed, usually by insurance companies, to prevent people who engage in dangerous or recreational activities from suing the companies in charge in case something goes wrong.

Should you always sign a waiver? You should definitely think about it. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 3.5 million children under the age of 14 are injured every year in sports or recreational activities. Whether you are sending your child to camp, signing up for a new fitness center, or renting a paddleboard at the beach, it seems that a waiver signing has to happen first. But just what rights are you signing away? If the treadmill malfunctions and you fly off and break your leg, do you have any rights against the fitness center, or have you signed them all away? If your child isn’t properly supervised at camp and suffers an injury, are you still protected?

Before you sign a waiver, be sure to:

1. Read the waiver. It’s easier to just sign quickly and move on, but it may not be wise to if you don’t really know what you are signing. If there is something you don’t understand in the waiver, ask.

2. Make sure you can still sue the company if there is gross negligence. All waivers are designed to protect the company from accidents, especially if they are unpreventable. For example, if your child jumps off the table in the camp cafeteria and hurts his ankle, this is likely not the camp’s fault. However, if a camp counselor tells your child to stand on a table, and then the table breaks resulting in an injury to your child’s ankle, that could be.

3. Know the difference between gross negligence and ordinary negligence. Gross negligence occurs when an injury is caused by a piece of equipment that was reported to be malfunctioning. If the equipment was not taken out of service or fixed, this is gross negligence. Ordinary negligence is the failure to act as a “reasonably prudent professional” would act under the circumstances. If the camp counselor at your child’s camp tells your child to use a canoe that has a hole in it, but the counselor didn’t know about the hole, this is ordinary negligence.

4. Trust your instincts. Do not sign a waiver if something seems “off” about the company or the activity. Do a little research first. The internet is a good source of reviews and articles on many companies. If someone else has had a bad experience — or a good one — at a place you are considering visiting, it’s likely they have posted about it to social media, Yelp, or other websites.

When you sign a waiver, you are usually agreeing to “hold harmless” the company involved. This does not, however, mean that you can never recover damages. If you have been injured, an attorney may be able to get you the compensation you deserve. If the company is at fault and guilty of gross negligence, you may still have a case against them, waiver or not.

Alex and Saavedra Law OfficesThanks to our friends and contributor from Alex & Saavedra, P.C for their insight into signing waivers.

Johnson & Johnson Target of Talc Powder Caused Ovarian Cancer

As Americans begin to learn more about the dangers of talc, more of them are using the court system to hold accountable companies whose products contain the mineral.

A new case has been brought against Johnson & Johnson in Los Angeles County. The plaintiff is a man whose wife died of ovarian cancer. The woman used Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder and Shower to Shower powder, both feminine hygiene products.

This new filing comes on the heels of a recent jury finding in St. Louis that the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer after using talc-containing feminine hygiene products was entitled to $72 million in damages.
According to court documents, Soren Threadgill contends that his wife, Eva Maria, used the talc-containing products for 25 years. Doctors diagnosed her with ovarian cancer in 1998, and she died four years later.

His suit contends that Johnson & Johnson; Imerys Talc America, Johnson & Johnson’s main talc supplier; and the stores where the products were purchased, Rite Aid Corp. and Gelson’s, a supermarket chain, are liable for her wrongful death. The suit also alleges fraud, negligence, breach of implied warranty and product liability.

As in more than 1,000 cases across the country, Eva Maria Threadgill used the talc-containing products on a daily basis. Research has shown that talc particles from the powders make their way through the female genital area, ultimately settling in the ovaries, where they lead to a significant cancer risk.

Johnson & Johnson marketing efforts over the past several decades show that the company intended for its products to be used regularly — “Just a sprinkle a day keeps the odor away,” one ad slogan reads, according to Threadgill’s complaint. Another slogan encourages women to use the products “ anytime you want the skin to feel soft, fresh and comfortable.”

However, leading cancer researchers have linked talc to cancer for many years. In 1994, the Cancer Prevention Coalition warned Johnson & Johnson that females who use talc-containing products in their genital area are at “a serious risk of ovarian cancer,” Threadgill’s suit notes. Also in the suit is the fact that the International Association for the Research of Cancer labeled as a human carcinogen hygiene powders that contain talc.

To date, Johnson & Johnson has refused to include a warning label of the cancer risk on any of its products that include talc. The company has earned special scorn for its marketing efforts toward African-American females, who use body powders at a higher rate than the female population in general.