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Salem MA Personal Injury Law Blog

Nursing home complaints up 33 percent in last five years

Even though various factors cause millions of elderly people to reside in nursing homes across the country, the period between 2011 and 2015 saw a slight decrease in the occupancy of skilled nursing home facilities. Unfortunately though, the same period saw a 33 percent increase in the number of nursing home complaints handled by state authorities. A brief released by the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services highlights the issue and the extent to which nursing home complaints are investigated within the given time frame.

Though the number of high priority complaints decreased between 2011 and 2015 in Massachusetts-from 478 to 285-it was alarming to see that the number of these complaints not investigated within 10 days increased-from 183 in 2011 to 232 in 2015. A high priority case is one that is defined as a complaint about harm to a patient's physical or mental health. An immediate jeopardy case is one that involves the death or injury of the resident and states have two days to investigate those cases-the OIG found that all four that took place in 2015 were investigated within the allotted two days.

Multiple vehicles involved in fatal motorcycle accident

Conditions on Massachusetts roads can change in a heartbeat and when drivers are careful and cautious accidents can often be avoided. Unfortunately, in some cases serious and even deadly collisions occur despite the best efforts of some involved. Recently a fatal accident occurred in Waymouth and a Massachusetts motorcyclist lost their life.

The serious incident occurred on Route 18 and involved at least three vehicles. Law enforcement officials reported that, in addition to the motorcycle, a tractor-trailer and a minivan were part of the accident. However, only the motorcyclist was killed in the severe collision.

What is medical misdiagnosis?

When Massachusetts's residents go to a doctor, they expect to leave feeling better than they were previously, not with a worsened medical condition. Though we assume they have the requisite knowledge, at the end of the day they are also human and can make human errors. The only difference is that their medical error can cost someone their life.

A delay or failure to diagnose a medical condition can result in an the progression of the disease or an injury above and beyond what would have happened if there had been a timely diagnosis. But the main legal question to assess is that how does one demonstrate that the doctor has not diagnosed a medical condition in a timely manner, when the doctor is trained to list, in the descending order of probability, the condition they think the patient may have?

How can liquor liability affect your case?

If you suffered injuries in a drunk driving accident, you may know that you have the right to pursue compensation through a personal injury claim. However, you would be wise to consider all potential liable parties that you could name in your claim. It is possible that liquor liability could have a significant role in your case and your attempt to obtain compensation. 

Massachusetts laws allow for victims of drunk driving accidents to seek recompense under both social liability laws and dram shop laws. These may allow you to hold liable parties accountable for over-serving individuals at bars or restaurants who then cause harm after getting behind the wheel. Social host or dram shop liability could play a crucial role in your case.

Teenager dies in fatal car crash

Losing a loved one in a sudden car crash is devastating for family members. This is especially true if the car accident victim was a young vibrant child who was expected to live a long healthy life. Family members are frustrated by the sudden turn of events and often want answers and justice. Why did the negligent or reckless driver behave in such a manner that they caused a fatal accident?

The family members of a 13-year-old accident victim who died in a car accident in Massachusetts recently might be having the same thoughts as they come to terms with their loss. According to the police, two children were crossing the road when a car authorities believe was being driven by a 35-year-old man hit them. According to reports, not only did he strike the children but then he also drove away. The child was taken to the hospital to receive treatment for his injuries, but he later died at the hospital.

Fatigued truck driver claimed he was fired for taking a break

Much has been said numerous times about the effect of having a fatigued truck driver on the roadways in Massachusetts as well as the rest of the country. When a truck driver is tired and drowsy, he or she is more likely to fail to see a vehicle approaching them in their blind spot or the motorcyclist traveling along side them. They may end up running a red light or stop sign, striking a pedestrian and causing fatal injuries in the process. This is why multiple laws, both at the state and federal level, exist to prevent truck drivers from driving a certain number of hours without taking a rest break. These laws are in place to encourage drivers to act responsibly, but the result of a certain case may end up discouraging them from taking those breaks.

A truck driver has alleged that he was fired from his job for taking rest breaks. The case, decided by the federal appeals court, is interesting to keep an eye on because the driver alleged he informed his supervisor about the breaks he took because he was too tired to continue to drive. According to him, his employer violated the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982, as it prevents an employer for firing an employee for refusing to operate a vehicle for safety, security and health reasons.

You don't have to appeal a workers' comp denial alone

Some workplace accidents leave scars and injuries that are visible to the world, making them easier to link to an accident in the workplace and recover compensation for. Others, however, develop over time or are more psychological rather than physical, making it harder to file a claim or receive compensation for them. Whether a workers' compensation claim for a physical or psychological injury or illness is denied, it is important to remember that appealing the denial is an option that must be availed as soon as possible, as mentioned in last week's post.

Going up against one's employer or a huge insurance company can prove to be daunting for an injured Massachusetts' resident, especially as they are trying to recover quickly enough to return to their workspace. Injured employees may be afraid of retaliation, which may be another reason they decide they do not want to push the issue. However, it is a worker's right to work in a space free of hazards and file a workers' compensation claim without fear of retaliation.

How do I appeal a denied workers' comp claim?

Most workers spend more time at their workspace than they do at their house, which is why when a worker becomes injured they expect to be taken care of by their employer. Generally, there are rules in place to protect injured and ill workers if their condition is related to a work accident. This form of protection is k known as workers' compensation.

Employers are obligated by law to provide workers' compensation coverage to all their employees in Massachusetts, including pay for reasonable and necessary medical treatment related to a work-related illness or injury and pay for lost wages after the first five days of temporary or permanent disability. Though the system exists to protect workers, employers often up disputing many claims and many others are denied by insurers. So the question then arises-what happens if one's workers' compensation claim is denied?

Is food poisoning making you sick?

Food poisoning affects over one hundred thousand people in the United States every year. Sadly, 3,000 people will die every year because of foodborne illness. Those with compromised immune systems, the very young and the very old are most at risk from the dangers of improperly handled food.

You can take preventative steps to avoid food poisoning when you prepare food at home. Basic standards of cleanliness and proper cooking techniques will allow you to enjoy food without the threat of getting sick. But sometimes you don't have as much control over your food. If you go out to eat, or if you buy food that has not been properly processed, you will increase your risk of sickness. County health departments exist to help keep food preparers accountable.

What laws are in place against texting and driving?

Social awareness campaigns have been widely successful in demonstrating the effects of engaging in risky behavior while driving. For example, drinking and driving campaigns, especially near the time prom is going on, have created awareness about the increase in alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents. However, despite the many signs pointing to the dangers of texting and driving, it is alarming that not only are people still engaging in this behavior, but that it also is not out rightly banned in states across the nation, including Massachusetts.

Only junior drivers, those who are younger than 18, are prohibited from using their cellphones while driving. For the rest of the drivers, there is a prohibition against texting and driving, which means drivers cannot text, send emails or access the Internet while driving a motor vehicle. Even if the car is stopped in traffic, the prohibition still stands.

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