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The 7 Awful Types of Abuse in Nursing Homes: What to Look for in 2020

Moving a loved one is a tough choice. Understanding the different types of abuse in nursing homes can help you help your loved one stay safe and protected.

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The 7 Awful Types of Abuse in Nursing Homes: What to Look for in 2020

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Moving a loved one is a tough choice. Understanding the different types of abuse in nursing homes can help you help your loved one stay safe and protected.
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Numbers from the last census revealed there are approximately 1.4 million elderly Americans living in nursing homes... due mainly to the increasing number of baby boomers filling the beds.

Nursing homes are, for most residents, a safe and reliable environment. Yet many times, some facilities are unable to provide their residents with the safety and security they need and deserve. In truth, elder abuse is a widespread occurrence in nursing homes in America.

But precisely what is elder abuse? More importantly, how can you stop it from happening to your loved one?

The best way to answer these questions is by investigating the 7 types of elder abuse identified by the National Center on Elder Abuse. 

1. Physical Abuse

Physical abuse occurs when an older person is subjected to physical pain, ongoing impairment, or bodily harm. It’s one of the most recurring forms of elder abuse in nursing homes today. It includes kicking, beating, pushing, shoving, slapping, biting, burning, or shaking the victim. Sometimes, this form of abuse can also involve the use of restraints, inappropriate use of drugs, and force-feeding an elderly person.

How can you tell if your loved one has been the victim of physical abuse? Here’s a list of some physical signs of nursing home abuse:

  • Bruises, fractures, dislocations or broken bones
  • Bleeding or internal injuries
  • Sprains, lacerations, welts or open wounds
  • Restraining devices in the room or marks from ropes on their wrists
  • Unexplained cuts, scars, or welts
  • Broken personal items such as eyeglasses
  • Abrupt changes in the behavior of your loved one
  • The refusal by staff for you to see your loved one alone
  • Reports by your loved one that they were kicked, slapped, hit, or mistreated
  • Evidence that your loved one isn’t taking medication according to the doctor’s instructions

Physical abuse can be life-threatening, so if you suspect it is happening, take action immediately. You should consider bringing the issue to the attention of a nursing home abuse lawyer right away.

2. Sexual Abuse

What’s more horrifying than to suspect that your elderly loved one is the victim of sexual abuse? Unfortunately, sexual abuse does happen, and women are the more likely victims. 

Sexual abuse happens when the victim is exposed to non-consensual sexual contact or intercourse. Forms of sexual abuse include unwanted touching, coerced nudity, sexual nudity, sodomy, taking pictures of nude individuals, and intercourse. 

So what signs should you be on the lookout for?

  • Unexplained infections in the genital area
  • STDs that cannot be accounted for
  • Bruises on genitals or the breasts
  • Bleeding from the vagina or anus
  • Stained or torn underwear 
  • Claims by the elder that they’ve been victims of sexual abuse 

Keep in mind your loved one may not always be willing to share reports of sexual abuse, so you need to play detective at times. If your loved one starts to exhibit troubling behavior such as scratching their private areas or physical discomfort when they sit down, investigate.

3. Emotional or Psychological Types of Abuse in Nursing Homes 

Emotional abuse may not be immediately apparent, but it’s just as unsettling as other types of elder abuse. This form of abuse occurs when your elder is the victim of pain, anguish, or distress through verbal or other means. Some examples of emotional abuse include verbal assault, threats, humiliation, harassment, and intimidation. 

Typically, emotional abuse involves treating the elderly loved one as a child, especially by isolating them from friends and family. Caregivers may also give your loved one the silent treatment, socially isolate them, or withhold their personal items.

While visiting your loved one, watch out for the following signs and symptoms:

  • The elder is visibly agitated or appears emotionally upset
  • The elder does not communicate, is withdrawn or unresponsive
  • Your loved one exhibits fear or anxiety in the presence of some caregivers
  • The elder has unusual behavior such as rocking, mumbling, or thumb-sucking 
  • Personal items like journals and photographs are missing

In the case of missing personal items, always follow up with the staff to find out why you can’t see them. Sometimes, there’s a logical explanation. 

4. Financial Abuse of the Elder

Financial abuse happens when a caregiver improperly or illegally acquires an elder’s assets. How does it happen?

The perpetrator could forge your loved one’s signature, sign their checks, take cash from them, steal possessions from them, or coerce them to sign documents. The perpetrator could also wrongly use the benefits of being a senior’s power of attorney, conservator, or guardian. 

How can you tell if a nursing home is financially exploiting your loved one? Look for the following signs:

  • Unexplained changes in your loved one’s bank account where large amounts of money have been withdrawn
  • A caregiver’s name appears on the bank card of your loved one
  • There are changes in legal documents, such as the will
  • Your elder’s possessions have disappeared
  • Unauthorized use of an elder’s ATM card
  • Your elder receives standard care when they can afford better care
  • The provision of unnecessary services
  • Transference of assets to a non-family member
  • A sudden reappearance of relatives who claim rights to your loved one’s affairs or possessions
  • Forged signatures on financial transactions and titles    
  • Claims by your loved one that they've been financially exploited

A practical solution to protecting your loved one from financial exploitation is to to place limits on access to their cash and bank accounts. Designate only one or two family members you can trust as signers on their accounts.

5. Neglect of the Elderly Residents

The primary reason for taking a loved one to a nursing home is to make sure he/she receives the care they need. This is why "neglect" is one of the most disturbing types of elderly abuse.

Neglect occurs when a nursing home fails to provide residents with the care they need to lead a comfortable life. Often, inadequate staffing in the nursing home is the main reason the facility fails to provide top-quality care.

However, there are other instances where the nursing home fails its obligations by not providing such necessities as food, water, clothing, shelter, personal safety, medicine, hygiene, and comfort.

 How can you tell if your loved one is a victim of neglect? Here are some telltale signs:

  • Failing to provide sanitary living conditions for the elder
  • Letting the elder live in a hazardous environment such as a room with faulty wiring or lack of heat
  • Not paying attention to the elder’s hygiene
  • Not making sure that the elder is dressed appropriately for the weather
  • Drastic weight loss that cannot be accounted for
  • Bedsores arising from not turning the patient regularly 
  • Unaddressed health problems
  • Unpleasant smells in their rooms
  • A report of neglect from your loved one

6. Abandonment of the Elderly

You wouldn't desert your senior loved one in an unfamiliar environment, so why would a caregiver or someone who has custody over them do that? That's what abandonment entails.

The common signs of abandonment include:

  • Deserting an elderly person at a public place, such as a mall
  • Deserting a senior in a hospital or even at the nursing home
  • Claims of desertion by your loved one

Abandonment can expose your loved one to risks or cause confusion and anxiety to the elder.

7. Self-Neglect By the Elder

In some cases, an elderly person can engage in behaviors that pose a threat to their health and personal safety. For instance, the elder may fail or refuse to give themselves the appropriate amount of food or water. Sometimes, the elder fails to clothe themselves properly, take medication, or shelter themselves appropriately.

Such abusive tendencies are referred to as self-neglect. Keep in mind that self-neglect does not include instances where a mentally competent elder is making a voluntary decision to engage in behaviors that threaten their health. 

How can you spot self-neglect in your loved one? Look out for these signs:

  • They are living in an unsanitary living environment
  • They aren’t using their hearing aid, glasses, or dentures

Stop Nursing Home Abuse

Suspecting that your loved one could be the target of abuse in nursing homes can be distressing. Fortunately, there are ways to confirm or dispel your fears. The moment you have irrefutable proof of nursing home abuse, don’t hesitate to take appropriate action.

Keep checking for more great content like this on our blog

If you’d like legal assistance on nursing home abuse, we’d like to help you. You can speak to us for free. Call 904-LAW-1212 anytime, day or night.

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What to do After a Car Accident Injury: 7 Tips for a Full (And Cost-Effective) Recovery

If you've been injured in a wreck, you know the pain all too well. Learn what to do after a car accident injury to ensure a speedy and cost-effective recovery.

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What to do After a Car Accident Injury: 7 Tips for a Full (And Cost-Effective) Recovery

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In the United States, there are an average of 6 million car accidents every year.

Being involved in a car accident can often be shocking and traumatizing. That's why it's so important to know what to do after a car accident before you actually end up in one.

Accept Medical Treatment

After being in an accident, you may not start experiencing aches and pains until days later. Because of this, think twice before refusing medical attention at the scene of the accident.

The time right after an accident is not when you should be acting tough. If there are emergency responders on the scene, tell them everything that is affecting you, no matter how mild it is. Injuries like internal bleeding and head trauma are important to spot right away because they are potentially fatal.

If the paramedics want to take you to the hospital, strongly consider going with them. If you don't end up going to the hospital, you should see your primary care physician as soon as possible. And if your doctor isn't available, visit either an urgent care clinic or the hospital emergency room.

There are two reasons why it's important to seek medical attention immediately following a car wreck. First, is to prevent potentially more severe pain or injury. Second, the longer you wait to see a doctor, the weaker your personal injury claim will become. 

By waiting a long time, the insurance company may claim some or all of your injuries were sustained after the time of the accident.

Look Out for Soft Tissue Injuries

Damage to parts of your body other than a bone is referred to as a soft tissue injury. Injuries felt in the ligaments, tendons, and muscles are all soft tissue injuries.

Even a low-speed accident is powerful enough to generate a high amount of force. When an accident occurs, it usually results in a fast and sudden stop. When this happens, a lot of stress is placed on vulnerable parts of the body including joints.

The most well-known type of soft tissue injury is "whiplash". Whiplash is when the head is suddenly thrown forward and then back, causing an injury to the neck muscles.

The important thing to realize is that symptoms of soft tissue injuries like whiplash can take weeks or even months to appear. If you think you might start experiencing whiplash symptoms soon, it's a good idea to visit a doctor.

Continue Treatment Until You're Told to Stop

If your doctor diagnoses an injury after a car accident and begins treatment, continue with the treatment until your doctor tells you it's time to stop.

There are two primary reasons why it's important you continue your treatment all the way through. First, your doctor is in the best position to prescribe you specific treatment as well as determine how serious your injury is. Following your treatment as prescribed is the best way to a speedy recovery.

The second reason is there will be a record of all the times you visited your doctor. These records will confirm the extent and nature of your visits and also the timeframe and course of your treatment. Medical bills, as well as medical treatment, are a big part of damages in a personal injury case.

Go Over the Doctor's Treatment Records

Be sure to ask for a copy of your medical records. You want to carefully review everything and make sure your doctor can correct any errors.

Pay close attention to how the records describe your car accident. This description is typically one of the first parts in the records. Make sure the doctor accurately described how the accident took place and didn't misunderstand any of the facts.

For example, does the report state that you were hit on the driver's side, when in actuality you were hit on the passenger's side? Does it say you were going 30 mph when you were really going 20 mph?

Although it can be cumbersome to comb through medical records, it's absolutely necessary. Errors must be identified and fixed as the defense team and insurance adjusters may otherwise use them to discredit your take on the accident.

Also, make sure your medical records state your precise symptoms. And lastly, check to be sure your doctor got your medical history correct. If a doctor erroneously puts that you have a history of back problems, but you've actually never had a back issue in the past, then this is something that needs to be corrected.

The defense team always looks at your medical history in hopes of finding something like a pre-existing condition or earlier injury, so they can claim the accident didn't actually cause your current symptoms.

You want to be as involved with the claims process as you can so your odds of winning are as high as possible.

Having detailed reports from both the police and EMS (Emergency Medical Services) will bring a lot of value to your personal injury case. A detailed police report will contain information about weather conditions, insurance information, witnesses, accident diagrams, and more.

The EMS report will detail your injuries and the type of medical care you received immediately following the accident. These reports are great to have and can definitely strengthen a case, but they don't contain everything. If you're physically able, you'll have to do some evidence gathering yourself too.

Take Photos

If you are able, take photos of everything related to the accident, while at the scene. Also, snap some shots of the points of impact on both your car and the other party's vehicle. Perhaps most importantly, take photos of your injuries as well. It's important to know how to document your injuries and other losses.

Collect Vital Information

If the police arrive at the scene of the accident, they will most likely take care of this. However, if they don't come for some reason, then it's up to you to exchange information. After a car accident takes place, you'll always want to collect the following information:

  • The driver’s name, telephone number, address, work number, and email address
  • The driver’s insurance company’s name, telephone number, and the driver’s policy number
  • Contact information for everyone else in the other vehicle
  • The make, model, Vehicle Identification Number, and license plate number of the other car
  • The names and contact information of all the witnesses

Notify Your Insurance Company

No matter who was at fault, notify your insurance company after reporting the accident to 911. Practically all auto insurance policies come with a "notification clause" or FNOL (First Notice of Loss).

This clause typically means you agree to alert your insurance company whenever there is damage or theft to the vehicle. You also agree to cooperate in the insurance company's investigation.

By immediately notifying your insurance company, you might be able to take advantage of certain benefits including med-pay, coverage for a car rental, or car repair reimbursement.

Be Prepared by Knowing What to Do After a Car Accident Injury

By knowing what to do after a car accident injury, you'll be able to take care care of yourself. It can be very easy to give up your rights or potential benefits when you are still dealing with the trauma of an accident.

The best way to protect yourself is to hire an experienced personal injury attorney. Interested in learning more? Contact us today and we'll help you with all your car accident questions.

You can speak with us for free. Call 904 LAW-1212 anytime, day or night.


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9 Steps to Filing a Workers Comp Claim in Florida (2019-2020)

If you've been injured at work, filing a workers comp claim correctly is an important part of the process. Learn how to file a claim in Florida, today.

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9 Steps to Filing a Workers Comp Claim in Florida (2019-2020)

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The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported recently that more than 2.5 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses occurred in the US. This means for every 100 full-time workers, three of them were injured.

If you’ve been injured on the job, filing a workers comp claim is your next step. Check this helpful guide on how to apply for workers compensation in Florida. Follow these steps carefully to protect yourself throughout the process.

Worker’s Compensation Defined

Workers compensation is a group of state regulations that guarantees a worker hurt on the job will receive repayment to cover their medical expenses. Workers Compensation helps an employee avoid suing their employer to recover their costs.

Worker’s compensation covers workers injured on the job site. Under the law in most states, every business must have some form of workers' compensation insurance to cover injured employees. 

All 50 US states have their own individual workers' compensation regulations. Some states have special laws for federal government employees. Other states have special requirements for employees in specific industries like railway workers.

In recent years, federal and state workers' compensation laws covered over 135 million workers. The total wages paid to these covered employees was more than seven trillion dollars.

Lawmakers in Florida first passed workers compensation regulations into law in 1935.

Filing a Workers Comp Claim

Since every state has its own group of laws, it’s easy to get confused about how to apply for workers compensation. Each workers comp law, however, contains a basic form of important routine steps:

1. Report Your Injury to Your Employer

Make sure to alert your employer immediately after your injury, in writing or orally. Check to see if your employer has special procedures and deadlines for reporting your injuries.

You must report your injury no later than 30 days after you are aware of your job-related injury. 

2. Seek Medical Treatment as Soon as Possible

Schedule an appointment with your physician as soon as you can after your injury. Ask your doctor to include any details they think are necessary so you can prove your workplace accident is directly responsible for your injury.

3. Receive Materials from Employer’s Workers Comp Insurance Carrier

Once you’ve notified your employer of your injury, they will send you a copy of their First Report of Illness or Injury which they also file with their insurance carrier. 

If are eligible to receive benefits, you will start receiving repayment within 21 days after your reported injury. These repayment checks will be sent to you every two weeks.

4. Consider Resolving any Disputes Before Filing a Workers Comp Claim

If you do not receive a check or any correspondence from your employer’s insurance carrier, you should notify your employer. If you have a dispute with your employer or their insurance provider over their offer for benefits, try and resolve the matter with them first.

Florida has a “good faith law” that requires workers compensation claimants to try to resolve any disputes with their employer. This step is necessary before heading further into the process.

The Florida Employee Assistance and Ombudsman Office (EAO) can offer you guidance on how to resolve workers compensation disputes with your employer. They can also advise you on the “Managed Care Grievance Procedure.” This is the process to dispute the benefits you have been granted. You must follow this process before formally filing your workers compensation petition.

5. Contact a Workers Comp Attorney

If your direct efforts to resolve your dispute fail, the next step is to formally file a workers comp petition. You will need to hire a workers comp attorney to help you navigate this legal process. These professionals are also sometimes called an accident lawyer or personal injury attorney.

A workers comp attorney represents injured victims who need help proving their injuries occurred on the job. Workers comp lawyers help victims negotiate with their employer's insurance providers. They can also help guide their clients on how to file a workers comp claim.

6. File Your Formal Workers Compensation Claim

You have thirty (30) days from your accident or thirty (30) days from your doctor's diagnosis that you are suffering from a work-related injury to notify your employer you plan to seek workers compensation.

Some employers may give you all of the official claim forms you need to submit your claim. Other employers may file your claim with their insurer for you. Once you have the necessary forms, be sure to list the following details on your workers comp claim forms:

  • Types of injury and the damaged areas of your body
  • Day, time, and address where your injury took place
  • Any other witnesses involved in the injury
  • How the accident happened and
  • All medical treatments received to date.

Once your claim is reviewed, an insurance representative will notify you to tell you if your claim has been approved and for what amount.

7. Worker’s' Comp Claim Review

Your employer has seven (7) days from the time you notify them of your injury to contact their insurance provider. If your employer doesn’t report your injury, you can notify their insurance company yourself. The insurance carrier will then decide if you are eligible to receive benefits.

The carrier's review of your claim may include:

  • Assessing your medical records
  • Researching your work experience, education, and wages
  • Requesting a medical examination with their appointed physician to evaluate your condition, and
  • Requesting you to perform a functional capacity evaluation that tests your abilities to perform your expected job duties).

Florida law requires insurance carriers to quickly approve or deny a workers compensation benefit request. If your request is approved, you begin to receive your disability payments or other benefits.

If your employer’s insurance provider denies your claim, you have two (2) years to file a petition for benefits with the Employment Assistance Office. You will also need to file your claim with the Office of the Judges of Compensation Claims (OJCC) Clerk’s Office.

If you do file a claim with OJCC, be sure to mail a copy of your claim through certified mail to your employer and their workers compensation carrier.

8. Prepare for Mediation and/or Court Hearing

Within 130 days after your petition filing date, you may be asked to participate in mediation. If you don’t reach a settlement during the mediation process, your claim will be scheduled for a pre-trial hearing. A Judge of Compensation Claim will review your claim.

The judge issues their decision no later than thirty days after your final hearing. If you aren’t satisfied with the judge’s ruling, you appeal that decision to the First District Court of Appeals.

9. Re-Opening Workers Compensation Claims

Workers can also reopen a closed workers compensation claim after it has been closed. Victims may want to reopen their claim if they start to suffer delayed onset injuries.

Delayed-onset injuries won’t show visible symptoms right away. They might take quite a while to manifest into real pain. Headaches and whiplash are two common examples of a delayed-onset injury.

Re-opening a claim will depend on the type of settlement you and your employer negotiated before the onset injuries began. If you agreed to a “compromise and release” agreement, your case can’t be reopened. If you agreed to a “stipulation and award,” your case can be reopened if certain circumstances exist such as errors or miscalculations within the original agreement.

Next Steps

Thinking of filing a workers comp claim? If so, get your own accident records in order. Then, make an appointment with your own physician immediately. Keep them up to date on the progress of your claim and ask them to provide comments on any treatment plans.

Keep a detailed record of your doctor’s visits and recovery. These records may be helpful in case you start to notice any delayed onset injuries in the future.

Give us a call for more helpful information on the top reasons a workers comp attorney is your best first move. You can speak with us for free. Call 904 LAW-1212 anytime, day or night.

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The Personal Injury Lawsuit Process: What to Expect after an Injury

If you've never been involved in a personal injury case before, knowing what to expect isn't easy. Learn about the personal injury lawsuit process, today.

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The Personal Injury Lawsuit Process: What to Expect after an Injury

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Were you recently hurt in an accident that wasn’t your fault? The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there are over 39 million medical exams for accidental injuries in the US.

In Florida, if you can prove the other person’s irresponsible behavior or negligence is responsible for your accident, then this guide is for you.

Do your homework today and our system of justice will award you for your loss.

Personal Injury Definition

There are many common types of personal injuries, including:

  • Dog attacks
  • Medical malpractice
  • Public or private property liability
  • Motor vehicle collisions and
  • Work sight injuries.

Personal Injury Lawsuit Process: Step by Step

Navigating the personal injury case process may not be foremost on your mind following your accident. You will most likely be experiencing other feelings like pain or shock.

It’s important, however, that you follow these action steps to reinforce your case.

Stop/Pull Over

If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, your best course of action is to pull over to a safe area immediately to assess the scene. Be sure to check and see if you or anyone else involved in the collision have any injuries. Call 911 to request help and then exchange information with others involved in the accident.

Seek Immediate Medical Attention

It’s vital you call and get medical treatment as soon as you can. Sometimes, injuries won’t be immediately visible nor apparent. Swelling and scar tissue can form many days after the accident occurred. 

Talk to your physician to make sure that any injuries are diagnosed and treated right away. Documenting this medical exam can help prove the accident caused your injuries.

Collect Your Evidence

Evidence plays a central role. Write down the details of your accident as you remember them. Take pictures of the accident scene as well as your injuries.

Report the Accident to Law Enforcement

Communicate with law enforcement so they can file a report. 

Hire a Lawyer

In Florida, personal injury attorneys are the experts that can guide these cases through the legal system so the victims can focus on recovering.

You should look for someone with extensive litigation experience. If the case goes to court, you'll want a professional with years of successful experience in the courtroom.

Follow the Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations specifies the amount of time a victim has after their injury to file a lawsuit in the court system. If a victim doesn’t file their claim before these deadlines, they can’t receive reimbursement to cover their damages.

The Florida Statute of Limitations for a personal injury case is four years after the injury occurred. 

Complaint and Answer Phase

A personal injury claim (or “complaint”) alerts the local courts a victim intends to collect payment from the responsible party. Complaints are filed in the court system where the responsible party lives or where the injury took place.

When victims file a legal claim, the responsible party must respond to the evidence and arguments presented to the court. If they don’t respond, the court automatically rules in the victim’s favor. If the responsible party disagrees with the presented arguments, the claim then moves along to the discovery phase.

Discovery Phase

Discovery is the trial process where both sides of a case exchange their evidence. Each side shares their expectations so all parties involved can choose their next course of action.

Motions Phase

The responsible party can submit a motion either before or after the discovery phase to request the court to act in their favor. This request might include a request to dismiss some or all of the victim’s claims in the lawsuit.

Settlement Negotiations

Approximately 95 percent of personal injury cases are settled outside of court. If both sides want to reach a private settlement, the lawsuit is dropped and the parties move on to mediation to negotiate outcomes.

Personal Injury Trial Phase

If the victim and the responsible party don't settle the case, the claim moves into the trial phase where a judge or jury makes the final decision on whether victims should receive compensation and how much. 

Next Steps

If you’re a victim and think you have a strong personal injury claim on your hands, then you should act today. Collect your own pictures and testimony to outline what exactly took place during your accident.

Schedule appointments with many different personal injury lawyers to find the professional that’s right for you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about their litigation experience.

Check out our website for more insights on the personal injury lawsuit process. You can speak with us for free. Call 904 LAW-1212 anytime, day or night.