Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Who Can Commit Nursing Home Abuse?

When you think of nursing home abuse, you may generally assume that the people who work at the facility are the abusers. While this is often the case, there are other parties that can cause harm to residents of Brookdale Senior Living centers or other facilities. However, there are other parties that may commit abuse that can result in serious physical and emotional injuries in your loved one in a nursing home.

Determining who was responsible for nursing home abuse is essential because if you choose to seek compensation for the injuries, you must file it against a specific party. The following are some examples of parties that can commit nursing home abuse:1

Staff members - Many staff members at nursing homes are underpaid and work long hours. If they become irritated or impatient, they may react by engaging in harmful behavior toward residents. Staff members are the most common perpetrators of physical abuse, verbal and emotional abuse, and neglect.

Nursing home owners - Owners of nursing homes can also act in a manner that either causes harm directly or otherwise leads to harm to residents. For example, owners can fail to properly maintain the premises and injury can be caused by unsanitary conditions. Owners can also be responsible for negligent hiring of potentially dangerous staff members, not providing adequate food or medication, and other types of abuse.

Other residents - Nursing home residents can also assault one another and cause injuries. This is common with physical assault and also for sexual assault. In such situations, the nursing home itself may also be held liable because they allowed the assault to occur.

Visitors - Visitors to the nursing home can be perpetrators of assault in nursing homes, as well. Whether someone is visiting another resident or is a stranger who is trespassing on the nursing home premises, visitors can figure out how to enter the rooms of residents and assault them. The nursing home may also be held liable if they failed to provide adequate security to keep out trespassers or to secure the rooms of residents.

When nursing home abuse occurs, it is important to identify who was the perpetrator both to keep residents safe and to seek compensation for the medical bills and pain and suffering they caused. Abusers may also face criminal charges2 though these cases are separate from any personal injury claim you file in civil court.

Discuss Your Situation with a Skilled Clearwater Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

Knowing against whom to file a claim is one of the first and most important steps of seeking compensation for harm caused in a Brookdale Senior Living or another nursing home. The highly experienced nursing home abuse attorneys at the Dolman Law Group in Clearwater, Florida will evaluate your situation and determine who can be held liable for the pain and suffering caused to your loved one. If you would like more information about how we can help you, please call 727-451-6900 for a free consultation today.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Traumatic Brain Injuries and Recovery

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are usually caused by a traumatic blow or jolt to the head or body that results in a disruption to brain functioning. The seriousness of the injury relates to the nature of the incident and the force of the blow. TBIs are categorized as mild, moderate, and severe, but even a mild brain injury is a serious injury for which you should seek immediate medical attention and prompt diagnosis. While mild, traumatic brain injury can cause brain cells to be temporarily dysfunctional, more serious injuries can cause brain damage in the form of bruising, torn tissues, bleeding, and other long-term complications.1 Traumatic brain injuries can reap a wide variety of both physical and psychological damage.

Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries can have wide-ranging effects that include physical, sensory, behavioral, cognitive, psychological, and personality-altering symptoms that can range from mild to severe. These symptoms can include:

  • Unconsciousness;
  • Confusion;
  • Headache;
  • Nausea and vomiting;
  • Sleep difficulties;
  • Extreme fatigue;
  • Mood swings or changes; and
  • Unusual behavior.

In more serious injuries, these symptoms can be exacerbated, and severe TBIs can also have more profound symptoms such as convulsions, seizures, or clear fluid draining from the nose or eyes. TBI can be difficult to diagnose because the physical damage to the brain is not always discernable through standard diagnostic tools. If you have suffered a blow to your head, it is important to seek immediate medical attention and to continue to monitor your symptoms.

Course of Recovery

The most common causes of TBIs are falls and collisions. But each traumatic brain injury is unique to its own exact circumstances. For this reason, every recovery process follows its own course. While many people who suffer TBIs return to their former abilities and their “old self,” others do not. The recovery process can be long and arduous for both you and your loved ones.

The process of recovery goes in stages, but the first step should always include medical attention and medical stabilization when necessary. During the first couple of months after incurring a TBI, you will most likely experience your most rapid recovery. After six months, you will probably have achieved most of your initial recovery gains, and your doctor will be better able to predict the course of your expected recovery at this time. After this initial recovery, you can continue to make more gradual gains for up to two years and beyond. The recovery process is notoriously slow and the psychological effects can be the most difficult to recover from.

If you or someone you care about is recovering from a traumatic brain injury – incurred in an accident caused by the negligence of another – you should hire an experienced personal injury attorney to guide you on the path to financial recovery.

Contact an Experienced Brain Injury Attorney in the Clearwater Area

If you are recovering from a TBI in Florida, do not hesitate to call Dolman Law Group. We are here to help and our experienced and skilled personal injury attorneys will work with you to protect your rights and to obtain the legal results that you deserve. Give Dolman Law Group a call today at 727-451-6900 or contact us online.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

4 Things You Didn’t Know about Pedestrian Accidents

Whenever anyone is involved in an accident, whether as a bicyclist - a driver or passenger of a personal vehicle, of a commercial vehicle, or as a pedestrian - there are several important matters that you must know. The following are some things you may not have realized about pedestrian accidents.
An Insurance Company May Not Have Your Best Interests In Mind

Insurance companies represent their insured and are always interested in their profits and bottom line. Insurance companies hire accountants, adjusters, and actuaries, all of whom are bean counters in some degree or another, to determine how to save more money and how to charge more money. They keep rates low not to save money but to be competitive and they keep their settlements low in an effort to rake in more money for their shareholders.

If you are contacted by an insurance adjuster, you must be wary of what their true interests are. Just because they send you medical release forms so you do not have to collect and forward the medical records does not mean that they want to help you. They are simply looking to settle your case for as minimal amount as possible, despite what your medical and life needs are. They will tell you what is covered and not covered, but that does not mean that they are accurate, honest, or forthright. To be certain, the only person who both has the training and acumen to know what is covered and what is not covered AND has your best interest in mind is an experienced personal injury attorney.
Collect Evidence in the Form of Eyewitness Statements and Videos

If you are involved in a pedestrian accident, it is critical you speak with an experienced, aggressive attorney as soon as possible. It is not uncommon for pedestrian accidents to be recorded on videos by local business owners. Often, these business owners have recordings that they may use again in several days or weeks time unless someone contacts them and asks them to preserve the video of the events. Likewise, dash cameras by a police officer or someone else who happened to be in the area may have also captured the event. Without someone contacting them, these recordings may end up being recorded over and destroyed unless they are asked otherwise.

Eyewitness statements are also time sensitive. Perhaps the eyewitness is not from the area and will travel home and can be difficult to reach at a later time. In addition, memories fade. It is important for the eyewitness to write and otherwise record their recollection of events.
Who Will Pay Your Medical Bills Until the Matter is Resolved?

If you have a valid legal claim against a driver, the driver’s insurance company should pay your medical bills during the negotiation and litigation of your case. But what if they do not? What if  

the insurance company acts in bad faith and denies coverage? Insurance companies are interested in the bottom line and not always interested in paying for what your doctor says is medically necessary. Only a trained attorney looking out for your best interest can guide you on how to proceed to ensure you get the treatment you need.
Cases Do Not Always Settle

Sometimes the insurance company will not settle with an injured pedestrian. Even the most seemingly simple and clear-cut case can be bogged down in endless and fruitless negotiations if the insurance company is simply recalcitrant. What do you do then? Again, only a trained, aggressive attorney can help you in situations like this.
Contact a Clearwater, Florida Pedestrian Accident Attorney Today

The attorneys of the Dolman Law Group are experienced and dedicated, and they know how to protect your best interest to make sure that you are made whole for your loss. We know the toll that these injuries have on you and your family. If you or a loved one were injured in a pedestrian accident, or any other accident, you must contact the Dolman Law Group now. We can be reached online or by calling us directly at (727) 451-6900 for your free initial consultation.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765

Friday, January 20, 2017

Elder Financial Exploitation-What is it and Why is it a Problem

Like newborn babies and cute cats, elderly persons are viewed as a class that requires extra protections. However, unlike babies and cats, seniors are adults in advanced age who have lived full and productive lives. They are not revered for being cute, but instead respected for having attained what we all hope for: long life.
This is apparent even in the rate of crimes committed against seniors. According to a study by the U.S. Bureau of Justice, the rates of property and nonfatal violent crimes against elderly persons was lower than it was for individuals aged 25 to 64 between 2003 and 2013. The idea alone of causing harm to someone who is viewed as more defenseless brings about a shudder. And yet, even elderly persons are not precluded from crime.
The state of Florida has enacted laws to protect elderly persons against various forms of abuse, neglect, and exploitation. These laws are meant to defend so-called vulnerable persons, or adults whose ability to provide care or protection for themselves is impaired due to disability or age.
These laws set forth a standard of care that elderly persons are entitled to receive, while defining forms of crimes that can be punishable under specific circumstances. One such crime is elder financial exploitation.  
Elder financial exploitation is essentially obtaining or using (or working to obtain or use) an elderly person’s money, property, or assets for the benefit of another. This type of abuse must be intentional, where the abuser’s actions are committed with the intent of depriving the elderly person’s use of the assets through deception or intimidation.
In recent years, a common scam that has evolved against elderly persons involves them giving their money or credit card information to a caller who claims to be their relative or a representative of their relative. They tell the senior that they or their relative is in trouble and needs help right away. It could be that someone needs bail, an attorney, or assistance with treating an immediate injury.
The caller asks for a credit card number or a prepaid debit card, such as the Green Dot MoneyPak. There is often a haste and a request to not call other relatives. If the caller is successful, they will have swindled money out of an elderly person through deception and intimidation.
Although these types of scams have made national headlines, more often than not, the abuser is someone who is in a position of trust in the elderly person’s life, such as a family member, caregiver, neighbor, or health care worker. They use their position of power to misuse an elderly person’s property or assets for the benefit of someone other than the owner.
There are many signs to look out for that may indicate elder financial exploitation, such as:
  • A caregiver, friend, neighbor, or relative trying to isolate the elderly person from other friends and relatives.
  • Large withdrawals or transfers between bank accounts.
  • Major changes in spending patterns.
  • Increased credit card spending.
  • Excessive gifts for a caregiver, such as large sums of money or a new car.
  • Changes to deeds or titles of personal property.
  • Bills are not paid on time even though the senior has the financial resources to pay them.
  • Sudden changes to a will or estate plans.

These signs do not necessarily point to the financial exploitation of an elderly person, but they can show that funds and assets are not being used to the owner’s best interests. When viewing the fiduciary relationship between an elderly person and a caregiver, financial decisions must be made in a prudent manner. That is, using the judgment that a practical person would have when making decisions.
The concept of a prudent fiduciary is not exactly clear for a reason, but the role can be examined considering the circumstances. Take as an example the trustee who pays herself a set amount of money each month from an elderly person’s funds. Using proper judgment, we can tell that $15,000.00 a month is a hefty price for care giving, but a more modest sum of $2,000.00 is not.
The issue lies in determining whether the action taken using the elderly person’s assets was intentionally done to deprive them of its use in order to benefit another person. If a senior is having a hard time paying for his medications at the pharmacy because his caregiver was using his money to pay for renovations in her own home, there is an intentional deprivation of the seniors’ basic needs.
While Florida laws make it possible to prosecute an individual that abuses and exploits a senior financially, it also provides a route for civil action. Remedies that can be regained include actual and punitive damages caused by the abuse and exploitation.
A civil lawsuit can be brought against the abuser by the senior or her guardian, by an individual or organization representing that senior with her or her guardian’s consent, or by her court-appointed representative if she is deceased.
If you have reason to believe that an elderly person is being financially exploited, Florida law requires that you immediately report it. The state of Florida has a confidential hotline for these types of tips; the phone number is 1-800-96-ABUSE (22873).
If you or a loved one who is an elder has been financially exploited, take actions to ensure that your or your loved one’s resources are not fully depleted. This can include canceling and requesting new credit cards, changing who has access to bank accounts, and establishing a safe space for the senior. After reporting actual or suspected elder financial abuse, you should consult an experienced civil trial attorney to determine your best course of action.
At Dolman Law Group, we have a team of attorneys who are experienced in various forms of civil practice. We work hard to protect people who need protection the most. At Dolman Law, we offer all prospective clients a complimentary case evaluation, so be sure to email us through our Contact Us page or call us at (727)451-6900.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765