Friday, October 21, 2016

Sexual Abuse can Occur in Nursing Homes

When you think of injuries sustained by nursing home residents, you likely think of medication errors, falls, or other injuries caused by neglectfulness. However, many injuries are caused by intentional abuse of residents. In fact, one family recently won a large settlement from Brookdale Senior Living,1 a company that runs many facilities, for the abuse and wrongful death of their loved one.

In addition, if you think of nursing home abuse, you probably consider physical abuse, such as shoving or hitting residents. You may not immediately think of sexual abuse of nursing home residents. Unfortunately, sexual abuse of elderly residents of nursing homes is more prevalent than you may believe. Sexual abuse may include fondling, exposure of residents, exposing oneself to a resident, taking nude photographs of residents, forcing sexual contact, or forcing sexual penetration.

Sexual Abusers in Nursing Homes

Sexual abuse can be committed by many different parties in nursing homes, including:

Staff member
Another resident
Third-party intruder or stranger to the resident

While a nursing home certainly has the duty to monitor its staff members to ensure that no type of abuse is occurring, these facilities also have the duty to provide adequate security to protect residents from abuse by other residents or strangers who may enter the facility. Therefore, nursing homes may be held liable for sexual abuse even if the abuse was not committed by a member of their staff.

Common Signs of Elder Sexual Abuse

In many situations, an elderly loved one may not come to you and open up about the sexual abuse they have experienced in their nursing home. The can be for different reasons - maybe they do not have the mental capacity to understand or remember what happened, perhaps they have been threatened by staff members to remain quiet, or maybe they feel too ashamed to say anything. For these reasons, you must be fully aware of the signs of sexual abuse so you can recognize if your loved one may have been a victim. Some of the most common signs include the following:

      Having trouble sitting or walking

Thumbprints or bruises on the breasts, inner thighs, buttocks, or genital area

Unexplained itching, redness, or soreness in the genital area

Genital bleeding

Blood stains on undergarments or bedding

Sudden sexualized behavior that is inappropriate or aggressive

Unexplained genital infections or diagnoses of sexually transmitted disease

Withdrawal or shamefulness

Reluctance to get undressed

Showing fear of certain staff members or of physical contact

These are far from the only signs of sexual abuse in nursing homes. If you notice any physical, emotional, or behavioral differences in your loved one, it is always wise to have them examined by a medical professional.

What to do if You Suspect Sexual Abuse

If your loved one has been abused in a Brookdale Senior Living facility or any other type of assisted living or long-term care facility, it is critical that you ensure their safety first. Often, the best option is to remove them from the home and select another residence for them. In addition, you must ensure they receive all of the medical attention they need. They should be tested for sexually-transmitted diseases and any lacerations or contusions should be properly treated.

After their safety and physical health are attended to, you should not delay in contacting a dedicated Florida nursing home abuse attorney to discuss the possible courses of action to obtain justice for your loved one. In addition to criminal charges against the perpetrator, your loved one has the right to file a claim for personal injury against the nursing home and the offender. In this claim, your loved one can seek damages for the following and more:

Physical pain and costs of medical treatment needed;

Emotional trauma and injuries;

Punitive damages.

Contact a Clearwater Nursing Home Abuse Attorney as Soon as Possible

At the Dolman Law Group in Clearwater, Florida, we firmly believe that nursing homes such Brookdale should take appropriate action to prevent any type of abuse in their facilities, especially sexual abuse. If you believe that your senior loved one has suffered any type of harm, please do not hesitate to call our office to discuss your options. We are here to provide compassionate and confidential assistance throughout your case, so call our nursing home abuse lawyers at 727-451-6900 for a free consultation today.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Pedestrian Accidents Cause Particularly Serious Injuries

Millions of Americans walk along or across roads every day. Whether it be commuting to work, running errands, or just going for a leisurely stroll, pedestrians are an important part of the roadways in most big cities. In Florida, where the year-round warm weather leads to more people being outside, pedestrians are an even more common sight.
Unfortunately, accidents involving pedestrians often result in greater injuries and even death than those involving cars. Without seat belts, air bags and car frames to protect them, pedestrians are at a much greater risk of severe injury or death. In 2013, 4,735 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in the United States alone.1 Accidents involving pedestrians are most likely to happen in urban areas at night and most often take place outside of intersections.
Who Is at Risk?
Children: Children are likely to be involved in pedestrian accidents as they are likely to be in the road unexpectedly and their small size makes them more difficult for drivers to see. In 2013, of all of the children under the age of 14 who died in traffic accidents, one in five was a pedestrian.
Elderly: The elderly are also more likely to be involved in pedestrian accidents. Pedestrians aged 65 and older accounted for 19% of all pedestrians deaths in 2013.
Alcohol-Impaired: Of all of the pedestrian accidents reported that resulted in a death in 2013, 49% involved alcohol consumption, with the pedestrian being over the legal limit in 34% of the fatal accidents.
Typical Injuries for Pedestrians
The nature of a pedestrian accident is that there is no protection from being hit by the full force of an oncoming vehicle. Without the additional protection that cars afford, injuries to pedestrians tend to be more severe in nature and are more likely to require emergency medical attention. Many are fatal.
Injuries to pedestrians can be primary or secondary. Primary injuries occur at the point of impact. Secondary injuries are inflicted when the impacts pushes the pedestrian into another solid object, like a wall, or when they hit the ground. For example, a primary injury of a broken rib may happen when a car hits a pedestrian. That same pedestrian may suffer a secondary injury of a broken arm when they are flung into a light pole nearby.
While the kinds and severity of pedestrian injuries range with each case, some of the most common include:
Lacerations, contusions, and scrapes – These more minor injuries will occur in nearly every collision involving a pedestrian. While generally mild, they should still be treated by a doctor to ensure that there are no underlying injuries (such as an internal bleed) and that no infections will develop from any open cuts.
Broken Bones – Pedestrians who have been struck by a car often suffer broken bones as a result of the collision. Broken bones can be set at a hospital and in most cases the pedestrian will make a full recovery.
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) – Traumatic brain injuries2 occur when some sort of external force acts in such a way that brain function is disturbed or impaired. TBIs usually result from a heavy blow to the head or body and can result in bleeding, skull fractures, and even death. More minor TBIs will usually result in bruising and tissue damage. Symptoms can include loss of consciousness, confusion, nausea, headaches, dizziness, fatigue, blurred vision, mood changes, vomiting, depression, memory problems, seizures, numbness in extremities, slurred speech, and falling into a coma.
Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI) – Spinal cord injuries occur when damage is done to any part of the spinal cord or to the nerves surrounding the ends of the spinal cord. This is usually caused by impact to the neck or back. Symptoms may include weakness, problems with coordination, muscle spasms, numbness, pain, loss of mobility, and loss of use of limbs and extremities.
Soft tissue injury – A soft tissue injury is the most common type of minor injury suffered in auto accidents. Essentially it is a strain, sprain or bruising of muscles, tendons, or ligaments throughout the body. The symptoms usually are pain, stiffness, weakness, minor loss of use of the affected area, and loss of range of motion. Treatment usually involves physical therapy and some combination of muscle relaxers and/or pain medication.
Accidents involving a vehicle and a pedestrian can be complex. Given the potentially severe consequences for the pedestrian involved, if you are a pedestrian who has been hit by a vehicle, you should contact a Florida injury attorney right away to ensure that you recover all that you are entitled to.
Contact a Clearwater Pedestrian Accident Attorney Today for a Free Consultation!
If you or a loved one has been involved in a pedestrian accident, contact a Clearwater pedestrian accident lawyer at the Dolman Law Group right away. To schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers, call our office today at 727-451-6900 or send us an email through our online contact form.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Fall and Drowning Hazard Spurs Recall of Summer Infant Bath Tubs

The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced on October 6, a recall of more than 86,000 Lil’ Luxuries Whirlpool, Bubbling Spa and Shower products, after the manufacturer received over 90 reports of safety sling problems, 11 of which resulted in head injuries due to falls.
The battery operated baby bath tubs are designed to bathe infants and toddlers, up to two years old, by placing the child in a fabric sling attached to a plastic frame around the top of the tub. The reports indicated that the slings can detach from the frame, causing the child to fall against the side walls of the tub and underwater. Upon further study, it was discovered that the headrest area of the fabric sling did not contain a plastic attachment to balance and hold infants upright creating a tip-over hazard.
Anyone who has purchased one of the tubs is being asked by the CPSC to stop using the safety sling feature immediately, due to the risk of serious head trauma or drowning should the safety sling detach.
Included in the recall are Lil’ Luxuries Whirlpool, Bubbling Spa & Showers with fabric slings and integral whirlpool and motorized jet features, manufactured in China for Summer Infant Inc. of Woonsocket, Rhode Island. The recalled products are marked with item numbers 18840. 18850, 18863 and 18873 along with date code indicating the year and month with two digits each – 1210, 1211, 1212, 1301, 1302, 1303, 1304, 1305, 1306, 1307 and 1308.
There were approximately 86,000 of the units were distributed throughout the U.S. according to the CPSC recall noticed. The agency, as well as Summer Infant is warning that the tubs which were sold in 2012 and 2103 may have reached the aftermarket and are being sold as second hand. They were originally sold at Toys Я Us, Babies Я Us and other juvenile specialty stores nationwide, for around $60.  
Customers who have these tubs are being asked to cease use of the safety slings immediately and contact Summer Infant at 1-(800)-268-6237 or go to and navigate to the ‘safety and recalls’ section for information on receiving a free replacement sling and clips.
Injuries from Nursery Products
According to the CPSC there were 77,900 emergency room visits by children under five years old, due to injuries caused by nursery products in 2012. In the period between 2008 through 2011, the CPSC staff reports that there was an average of 111 fatalities per year. Cribs/mattresses, bassinets/cradles, playpens/play yards, infant carriers/car seat carriers, and baby baths/bath seats accounted for 89 percent of those deaths.
Dolman Law Group is committed to the safety of all infants and children and strives to help create safer products to reduce the number of preventable injuries and fatalities. If you have a child who was injured due to a defective juvenile product, contact Dolman Law Group today and set up a consultation with a product liability attorney. There is no cost or obligation.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765

Monday, October 10, 2016

Common Birth Injuries

There are a variety of different types of injuries that occur during birth and a wide array of affects. Some birth injuries are temporary and have mild symptoms, while others can be severe and last a lifetime.
Complications during birth can lead to serious injuries, lifelong conditions, and even death. While sometimes these injuries can occur without anyone being at fault, many times proper medical care would have prevented the injury. Below are some of the more common injuries that can occur during childbirth due to medical negligence.1
Common Birth Injuries
Brain injuries – These injuries are the type that will often last for a lifetime, if the infant survives the injury. The most common cause of brain injuries in infants is a lack of oxygen. Oxygen deprivation often occurs when the umbilical cord compresses or wraps around the baby, cutting off circulation. This can normally be detected with proper monitoring of the baby immediately before, during, and after birth.
If the baby is not getting enough oxygen for any reason, the most common course of action is for the obstetrician to deliver the baby as quickly as possible to lessen the effect of the interruption of circulation. This usually entails a caesarian section. In situations where the oxygen deprivation has been too great, the infant may develop cerebral palsy2 or other brain disorders, such as seizures, which will last for the life of the child. Treatment for these disorders often depends on their severity and may help to manage symptoms.
Fractures – A somewhat common occurrence during difficult deliveries involves the doctor forcefully repositioning the baby and/or pulling on the baby during delivery. This can result in fractures to the baby’s fragile bones. Most commonly, fractures occur to the shoulder and arm area because they are the most likely to be yanked during the process. Generally, treatment is rather quick and the infant makes a full recovery with no long-lasting issues.
Brachial plexus injuries – Brachial plexus injuries occur when the infant’s shoulder and arm area become trapped during delivery. If the doctor too forcefully pulls on the baby, permanent damage can be caused to the nerve system of the infant, with severe cases resulting in complete paralysis. Symptoms can range from loss of sensation in certain areas to paralysis, so the likelihood of success of treatment depends on the severity of the injury.
Cephalohematoma – During the birthing process, it is not uncommon for the infant to develop bleeding underneath the cranium, resulting in a bump on the head. This is known as cephalohematoma and is usually something that clears up on its own within a few weeks. In rare instances, though, it can lead to other health risks caused by blood disorders, such as jaundice, anemia, and hypotension.
Perinatal Asphyxia – Perinatal Asphyxia is another birth injury that can be caused by inadequate oxygen supply. This injury can cause a range of issues from trouble breathing to seizures and coma. Treatment depends on the severity of the issues present, as does the length of time

issues will be present. In some instances, the issues will clear up almost immediately and in others they will be lifelong.
Caput Succedaneum – Caput Succedaneum is caused by too much pressure being placed on the infant’s head during birth. Essentially, it is a bruising or swelling of the scalp that appears after birth. It usually will clear up on its own within a matter of days, but could be evidence of a greater underlying issue, such as internal bleeding or a fracture if it does not.
While not all birth injuries are serious or permanent, it is important to fully understand what has happened to your baby. Some effects may not present until the child is older, such as developmental or educational delays.
Contact a Clearwater Birth Injury Attorney Today for a Free Consultation
If you have a child who suffered an injury during birth, contact a Clearwater, Florida birth injury lawyer right away. Florida law allows victims to recover compensation for injuries and other losses that they may experience as a result of medical negligence. A lawyer familiar with litigating Florida birth injury cases can often help victims recover substantially more compensation than they would be able to retain on their own, so it is highly advisable for the parents of a child who suffered a birth injury to discuss their options with an experienced lawyer. To schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers at Dolman Law Group, call our office today at 727-451-6900 or send us an email through our online contact form.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Workers' Compensation Claims: Complications and Denials

Five common issues that injured workers encounter:
Claim was denied.
Employers and insurance companies often deny workers’ compensation claims before they ever really get started. The exact number of how many claims are filed versus how many claims are denied is unavailable, since the Florida department in charge of overseeing claims doesn’t publish data in this area.
One must remember that insurance companies are a business; a business’s goal is to make a profit. This could obviously not be done if everyone’s claim was approved. This does not mean that only invalid claims are denied. Often, perfectly legitimate injury claims are denied every day, with the insurance company and the employer hoping the injured won’t bother to dispute it.
Insurance companies are also under pressure from employers who want to keep their premium costs as low as possible. Because of this, insurance companies carefully scrutinize claims to find ones they can deny or reduce benefits to. The less claims an insurance company pays out, the lower they can keep their premiums.
Claim process is being dragged out or staled.
A worker’s compensation claim can take a long time to go through, especially if something about the claim is contested. If a lawsuit is filed contesting the claim, then pre-hearing discovery and depositions must be collected and carried out; this can be time consuming. One may also need to seek additional medical opinions, either because they don’t agree with an opinion that was given or because the insurance company requested one for a similar, albeit, converse reason. Someone may also need to seek additional opinions to establish or contest something called, Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). All these things can make a seemingly simple process take much longer than expected.
The amount received doesn’t seem like enough.
One of the biggest complaints regards the amount that someone receives from a settlement or a judge’s order. This is because workers’ compensation claims are limited to partial wage reimbursement and medical bills. In some extreme cases, compensation may be awarded for loss of limbs, permanent debilitation, and other cases of severe loss. Workers' compensation laws do not normally allow compensation for pain and suffering. This can often make the monetary figure feel insignificant, since it often doesn’t even cover the entire amount of out-of-pocket expenses, much less compensation for everything an injured party has to go through.
Employee was fired after filing a claim.
It is illegal for an employer to terminate a worker because they filed a workers' compensation claim. The situation becomes less clear when a doctor has certified a worker as able to return to work and the injured party disagrees with that doctor's opinion. Once an injured worker is medically cleared by a doctor to return to work, and they refuse to do so, an employer does then have the right to terminate their employment.
Despite medical clearance, a claimant is still in pain.

This situation often arises when pain and medical conditions/diagnosis don’t match. For example, the doctor may diagnosis a patient with a minor back sprain that they claim will go away in a week or two. However, it has been a month and the patient is still in a high level of pain. Therefore, the doctor has cleared the patient to return to work, yet the patient finds even walking to be difficult. These situations are often the toughest to handle, but it is very possible to work it out in benefit of the injured.
Remember, pain is subjective, and therefore, cannot be measured definitively.
A doctor may diagnose an injured worker as having reached maximum medical improvement, but the worker may disagree. If someone does not agree with the MMI diagnosis or allotted recovery time, the best thing to do is seek a second medical opinion.
Filing a Complaint against the Insurance Carrier
If you have credible evidence that your claim was wrongly denied—fraud, administrative error, or another irregularity—you can file a complaint with the state of Florida. The form can be found here. When you file a complaint, it will go through a review process.
If you feel that you need to file a complaint with the insurance company, it is probably time to start thinking about hiring an attorney. Despite what your employer and their insurance company might tell you, an attorney can be very beneficial in helping to reverse a denied claim and recover much more than what a carrier will offer on their own.
Common Reasons Workers’ Compensation Claim are Denied
Failure to notify your employer of injury within time limit.
You should immediately—or as soon as reasonably possible—notify your supervisor when you are injured. Each state is different, but Florida requires that injury is reported to the employer no later than thirty (30) days. You can read the statute here. Technically, your claim doesn't begin until you report your injury to your employer.
Statute of limitations has ran out.
Reporting your injury is not the same as filing a workers’ compensation claim. The time in which you must actually file the complaint is known as a ‘statutory limit period.’ Missing this filing time window is grounds for denying your claim.
In Florida, the statute of limitations requires that a claim must be filed within two (2) years of the date of accident.
Your injury didn’t occur at work.
In order to be eligible for coverage by your employer’s workers’ comp insurance, your injury must have occurred while performing your work duties on your employer's premises. You will also be covered if it occurred off-site while performing duties assigned to you by your employer or supervisor.
If your injury occurs before or after normal work hours, even if you are technically doing something to complete a work task, your injury may not be covered. This is why most big companies are extremely strict  about not working ‘off the clock.’
Your injury occurred while you were under the influence of a substance.
If you were injured while under the influence of alcohol or illegal narcotics, your claim will most likely be denied. It does not matter how hard of a worker you are, how long you've been with the company, or what type of work you were doing.
Some people think they are safe from this provision, because they would never go to work drunk or high. However, blood tests are performed after an injury, which can show alcohol in the blood even from the night before. This is often grounds to deny a claim. If proof exists that even a small amount is still in your system, your claim will probably be denied. This is also true for some up-to-date, doctor prescribed medications. For example, if you were taking a prescribed narcotic painkiller or anxiety medication for completely unrelated reasons, and the insurance company can prove they were in your system at the time of the injury, it is likely your claim will be denied.
Your employer has decided to dispute your injury.
As the injured party, you are responsible for proving that you are injured. An employer does not have to prove that you are not injured. This is called the burden of proof. An employer may dispute the claim for any number of reasons—by claiming that your injury was pre-existing, it occurred outside of work or while performing a non-work related task, or that you are faking your injury.
The injury or condition you suffered isn’t covered.
A good example of this psychiatric injuries. Workers’ compensation claims that are based on mental health issue are almost always initially denied. This is because it is difficult to prove that the mental health issue occurred as a result of your work. To be covered, you must be able to link your mental health issues to a specific, work-related event. For example, if you are filing a claim for anxiety after a near-death situation at work, you would have to prove that one is related to the other. Florida does cover psychiatric injuries from specific events, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Even conditions arising over time, such as depression and severe anxiety, may be covered, if it can be proven that they are directly related to work. This requires precise and convincing medical evidence from a licensed psychiatrist. Even then, it is likely to be disputed, at least initially.
Your employer doesn’t consider your injury to be serious.
As mentioned earlier, there is often a discrepancy between what someone feels and what their diagnosis is. Everyone is different. You may think that your injury is debilitating, but your employer or their insurance company may not consider it to be all that serious.
In order to technically qualify for workers’ compensation, your injury must limit or fully prohibit you from completing your job duties. This, like all the other things related to a personal injury case, will ultimately be settled by a doctor’s—ideally multiple doctors’—opinion. It is these issues that make it imperative to have an experienced workers’ compensation attorney on your side. They have seen all the tricks of denial and know how to handle them. They are also often familiar with credible doctors who will not give a wrong diagnosis just to help out an insurance company.
How to Appeal a Denied Workers’ Compensation Claim
If your claim is initially denied, which is very common, you do have options. Although it is frustrating, you have the right to dispute the claim’s denial. Once the insurance carrier decides to deny your claim, they will send you a denial letter with an explanation of your workers' compensation insurance coverage, your rights to appeal, and the deadline for filing your appeal.
An Experienced Workers’ Comp Attorney
The initial filing of most workers' compensation claims can be handled without an attorney. When your claim is being unnecessarily delayed or has been unfairly denied, it is probably time to retain an attorney.
Dolman Law Group represents injured workers in the Clearwater-Tampa Bay area on a regular basis. We have a proven track record with real, credible results. Before you hire any attorney, you should research their reputation. The best places to do this on attorney ranking website, through, the Florida Bar Association, and of course, Google Reviews.
We welcome this kind of scrutiny. We are sure we can help you, and we want you to be sure you made the right decision. Once you retain us, you will be sure you did.
Every client receives their attorney’s personal cell phone number and email address. This way, we can personally serve you and solve your workers’ compensation case on an individual level.
We understand that filing a claim with an insurance company is often difficult and frustrating. We are here to help, every step of the way.
Contact us today for a free consultation at (727) 451-6900.