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Nursing Home Brain Injuries

nursing home brain injury

When people place their vulnerable elderly relatives in a nursing home, we expect they can handle their needs. Many elderly people need help with daily activities. Generally, staff is incredibly friendly, supportive and available for all kind of help. Unfortunately, sometimes residents suffer neglect and negligence. This neglect can lead to traumatic brain injuries.

An incident took place in Bartow County, Georgia where an employee of a nursing home was convicted for forcing an elderly woman – 95 years old – to strike herself in the face. The employee had pinched the victim’s earlobe and forced the elderly women to repeatedly hit herself in the face. The employee was found guilty of the offenses.

What Head Injuries Occur at Nursing Homes

Head injuries can occur due to:

  • falls out of a bed,
  • slips in a bathroom,
  • improper bed rails,
  • wet floors,
  • transportation related injuries, and
  • weak upper bodies that cannot catch a slip or fall.

50% of deaths that occur due to falling occur after a head injury. Additionally, 32% of hospital admissions involving a head injury result from a fall. Of these head injuries, 25% occur in elderly adults who are in a nursing home facility.

How Can Nursing Homes Reduce Head Injuries

Nursing home staff must reduce hazardous situations that may result in a head injury. Therefore, the staff must stay alert and aware of the situations of their residents. Additionally, facilities must supervise the weaker residents. If a resident has certain diseases, such as dementia, additional resources may be necessary. Lastly, overmedication or undermedication neglect could result in a slip or fall.

If a significant fall occurs, the nursing home may need to dismiss the employee. If the employee remains, they need to hold them responsible for their actions or inaction.

When Your Family Member Suffers a Head Injury

First, take your relative to emergency care for evaluation and treat the any injury. Due their age, even a minor injury could result in significant pain and suffering. If your relative has declining health, they become even more susceptible to injury. If you need to discuss the injury with a lawyer, find a local experienced personal injury lawyer, such as the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. to discuss your options. Many attorneys will meet with your for a free consultation. If you desire a free consultation with our attorneys, call us today at 847-357-0403.

Generally, nursing homes do not provide specific rehabilitative therapies to address the needs of person with head brain injury. Regardless of if the brain injury occurs at the facility or not, you may need to find an outside care provider. Approximate 244,000 residents suffering from brain injuries in nursing homes without proper treatment. Luckily, some nursing homes put great efforts to get those residents with brain injuries into facilities that have the resources to care for them. Unfortunately, around 4 million people require long term care and the current brain injury facilities can only accommodate 40,000 patients.

Medicaid Rules

Medicaid is required to cover the cost of nursing home for long term care under the United States laws. The laws do not require the Medicaid to pay for specialized that those suffering from brain injuries need. Facilitates that can handle cases for brain injuries are not licensed as nursing homes which means that Medicaid would not cover the facilities for long term care. Nursing homes recognize that those with brain injuries should not be in restrictive areas therefore they refuse to take them. This leaves elderly who require nursing home care and have brain injuries to a severe disadvantage.

Could a Juror Facebook Post Change a Trial Result?

Many complain about jury duty. And in January 2016, a juror took this frustration about missing work to Facebook. At first, she wrote, “As if one day of jury duty wasn’t enough smh day 2 I’m soooo over it already!!!!” She followed up with “Lolol oh by the way this is goin n the fact that I gotta keep showin up theren missin work…just cz Ima vote guilty lol. #impetty #PettyLinda”

The defendant was found guilty of possessing a loaded weapon without a concealed carry license. The judge refused a motion for a new trial after finding the juror’s comments credible because it did not affect the verdict. A panel majority agreed with the lower court judge.

Justice Daniel J. Pierce wrote in an unpublished order that although the post was done in error, it was harmless. The post did not show any third party influence into her verdict.

However, Justice Carl Anthony Walker dissented. He argued that by allowing the jury verdict to stand it encourages distrust and skepticism into the judicial system. He urged the Illinois Supreme Court to adopt new standards and procedures regarding juror misconduct on the internet and social media.

The full text of the opinions can be found here: The People of the State of Illinois v Johnie Daily, 2018 IL App (1st) 160813-U

What to Expect When Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

If you are planning on retaining an attorney or already have retained an attorney to help you in an injury case, you should have some idea of what the process will look like.

What To Expect

Personal injury attorneys work on a contingent free contract, meaning the attorney fee will be paid after successfully recovering the money for the client. Generally, that fee is 33% of the recovery but can go up to 40%.

At every point of the case, the attorney must keep the clients informed. You will know what happens at every step of the case. For example, if there is an offer of settlement made by the opposing party or scheduling of a deposition, the attorney is expected to inform the client immediately before making any decision.

Your attorney should stay informed about the case. For example, if you are in the hospital, then the attorney should be aware of whether the doctor is addressing all the concerns, what treatment the client is going through, and what diagnostic test had been last checked. The attorney should also keep a log that documents all the visits and calls and should be available to answer your questions whenever you require it or need clarification.

Insurance coverage

Health insurance can be useful in paying the medical bills at a reasonable time after the case has been settled. Your attorney can help with the process of paying through insurance.

Settlement Negotiation

Settling a case is not an overnight process, many factors affect the time it takes to agree on a fair settlement. First, work must be done in gathering evidence necessary to confirm the accident occurred and establish the faulty party. Such evidence includes (witness, photographs, officials reports). Second, the doctor needs to release from the hospital and you have recovered from your injuries, or at least your physical conditions have stabilized in order for and attorney to proceed with the case. Third, lawyers generally solicit advise from insurance companies that are involved. Some delay can be caused since the case is reviewed by number of insurance company employees. When an offer is presented, it will be sent to you and the lawyer will discuss possible course of actions. Fourth, if fair settlement is not obtained from the insurance company then a lawsuit can be filed. Lastly, after the discovery proceedings, you are ready to move on further in the case.

Personal Injury lawyers are great tool to help you get through a traumatic experience. Not only are the lawyers there for support, but also to do all the hard work to obtain our recovery so you don’t have to spend your time and energy fighting for damages and compensation.

Lexicata CRM Software Review

In our personal injury practice, we accept only about 1 of every 5 leads (actually we now know that figure is exactly 18.55% for last year). Because of this, we must accurately track all of our leads.  Since the beginning of 2018, we track our leads with the help of a CRM software designed especially for law firms called Lexicata.

Before using Lexicata, we kept track of our leads with a paper system.  We have multiple people who do intake calls. Previously, no central location existed to reliably and consistently keep  all the intake info.  Also, we weren’t very precise about tracking leads by lead source. We were guessing about our conversion rates.  With a very user friendly interface, Lexicata does what we need at a reasonable cost, $24 per month per user.

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How Dull Headlights Affect Safe Driving

headlights

When you’re driving down the road and see another car coming from the opposite directions, sometimes you wish you could wear your sunglasses at night to stop the blinding light. However, those lights can save your life. With half of all fatal accidents occurring after dark, headlight safety is an important factor in accident avoidance. One of the issues leading to these car accidents is the quality of the headlights. New research from AAA reveals that clouded or yellowed headlights generate only 20% of the amount of light that new headlights do. This leads to dangerous nighttime driving conditions.

The decrease caused by sunlight damage leads to discoloration. The fogginess then diminishes the headlight’s ability to provide adequate lights. When you drive down the the dark roadways, you want the best light possible. In fact, the AAA urges drivers to check their headlights for signs of deterioration. Finally, if you check them, invest in new headlights or a service to boost the safety of driving after dark.

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One Warm Coat Drive 2018

To say we were blown away by our community’s generosity with our Coat Drive would be an understatement! In under 3 weeks, we partnered with One Warm Coat and collected over 150 coats for Palatine’s community organization, Journeys The Road Home. Journeys will be distributing to the homeless & near homeless throughout the NW suburbs. We are so grateful to all who stopped by our office, our homes , even holiday parties  to make sure they distributed coats for the needy. We are truly humbled and thankful for your support. What a way to start the year!

 

In conjunction with One Warm Coat, The Law Offices of RF Wittmeyer is proud to host a coat drive to collect clean, gently worn, warm coats. We invite area residents to make a difference in our local community by donating to this coat drive to help us reach our goal of collecting 75 coats for the community. All coats will be donated to Journeys, The Road Home in Palatine, a community organization in Palatine that assists the homeless and near homeless within the northwest suburbs.

“We are so excited about our upcoming One Warm Coat Drive and hope the community will support us.  Nearly 50 million Americans currently living in poverty and struggle to provide a warm coat for their families.  One Warm Coat’s program helps us keep all of the coats we collect in this community, which will make a big difference for our neighbors who need a coat” said Ron Wittmeyer  of The Law Offices of RF Wittmeyer

We have had an exciting start with a local school district donating 30 coats to our Coat Drive!

 

One Warm Coat

Each year, hundreds of thousands of gently worn coats are distributed through One Warm Coat’s Coat Drive program. Across North America, Open Warm Coats provide the coats to children, women and men in need.  “We are so grateful for our partners like The Law Offices of RF Wittmeyer. It is because of our incredible volunteers that we have been around for more than 25 years, helping get coats to our neighbors who need them. Thanks to RF Wittmeyer’s efforts, many people in this community will have a much warmer winter,” commented Jennifer Stockard, President and Chief Executive Officer of One Warm Coat.

One Warm Coat, a national non-profit organization, works to provide a free, warm coat to any person in need. Additionally they raise awareness of the vital need for warm coats.  One Warm Coat supports individuals, groups, companies and organizations across the country. They also provide the tools and resources needed to hold a successful coat drive.  Coats are distributed in the communities where they were collected. They provide coats to any person in need, without charge, discrimination or obligation. Over the past 26 years, One Warm Coat has worked to give away more than 5 million coats.

The One Thing by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan

the one thing

Written by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, The One Thing Book is packed with practical strategies that you can immediately apply in business and life. I found this Wall Street Journal #1 Best Seller simple and quick to read. Its message is  straightforward. Gary Keller is the founder of Keller Williams Realty, which is the largest real estate brokerage in the world.  Jay Papasan is a co-author of several best-selling books, and also is a leading broker at Keller Williams Realty.  Now, Keller and Papasan, along with Jeff Woods, built upon their success with The One Thing book by expanding into a personal development and training company. Their website contains various paid services like training and workbooks, but also contains some free stuff.

Pareto Principle

The foundation for the book is the Pareto principle. Many of us have heard of it. If you have not, it says that 80% of our achievements come as a result of 20% of our efforts. The book then takes that principle one step further and coaches you in how to boil down that 20% of your efforts to “The One Thing”, in each important area of your life. The book also teaches some effective strategies (like time-blocking) to help you avoid the distraction of all of the relatively unimportant things encountered throughout each day, and instead focus your time and energy on those tasks that will actually lead to you accomplishing more of your goals.

Recently I was sharing my enthusiasm for the book with my son Kevin (who is a young accountant), and the next week Kevin told me how he had been listening to The One Thing free podcasts. And, he was pretty excited because he had already been employing some of the strategies from the podcasts in his daily work life. Since then I have been enjoying the podcasts in the car on my daily commute to work. There are more than 150 The One Thing podcasts all available free online.  Several I have listened to I thought were very solid.  I particularly like those where the narrator, Jeff Woods, interviews a highly successful entrepreneur.  And, you can get a free digital copy of the book by subscribing to the podcasts.

So, in summary, while the principles and strategies in the book are simple, they are also very valid and effective.  If you check out The One Thing book or podcast, let us know what you think. Thanks for reading this review – I hope you like The One Thing!

State Negligence Damage Cap Raised to $2 Million

Illinois

The Illinois legislature overrode the veto of SB 2481 in November. The bill provided additional compensation to families of veterans who died of Legionnaires’ disease at the Quincy veterans home by raising the damage cap for tort actions against the State of Illinois. Since July of 2015, thirteen resident veterans at the Quincy Veterans Home died while under the care of the State of Illinois.  Under the previous law, the law set the damage cap at $100,000.

Governor Rauner’s Veto

Illinois set the the $100,000 cap, which tied for the lowest in the country, in 1972. The Illinois legislature voted to raise the cap to $2,000,000. Lawmakers proposed the bill after reports that the families of the Legionnaires’ victims could only collect $100,000. At the time, the Rauner administration denied negligence handling the outbreaks at the Quincy nursing home.

When Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed the bill, he said that the bill ignored the impact of future litigation on the “fiscal position of the state and its taxpayers.” He argued that the damage cap should increase from $100,000 to $300,000.

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Additional Illinois Shoveling Tips

shoveling

As another snowstorm comes to Arlington Heights, remember that shoveling your sidewalk provides you immunity from liability. But at the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd., we want to provide you with the best safety advice on snowfall. The 1979 Snow and Ice Removal Act shields property owners from liability if someone gets hurt. But in a recent Illinois Supreme Court case, they clarified the requirements.

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Illinois Allows Testing for Autonomous Cars

autonomous cars

Self-driving cars will soon be on the roads of Illinois. Many are excited to move forward and see how the new technology will be benefit their lives. However, skepticism remains for many lawmakers. They worry about liability if the self-driving cars malfunctioned and caused accidents. Recently, an accident in Arizona involved an Uber self-driving car.

Autonomous Cars Executive Order

The Illinois Department of Transportation, through an executive order from Governor Bruce Rauner, can allow for testing of autonomous (self-driving) cars on the roads of Illinois. The executive order just allows testing of the cars. Rauner stated that these cars the “future”. He predicted they will permanently change roadways in the next five to 10 years.

Beginning this winter, the testing phase will begin, but a driver remains behind the wheel. Gov. Rauner said in a statement, “Working without public and private partners, we can make our roads safer, save lives, attract investment and create new high-tech jobs throughout the state.” Proponents of autonomous vehicles promotes the technology through safety, fuel efficiency and increased access to transportation, especially for the elderly and people with disabilities.

According to the governor’s statement, the automated vehicle industry expects to generate $800 billion annually nationwide by 2050. This includes creation of jobs and fuel saving. The technology hopes to reduce the number of car crashes by vehicle by 94 percent due to human error. The Autonomous Illinois program will connect interested universities, research institutions and other technology partners to test the techonology.

Liability Issue Questions Surround Autonomous Cars

Although lawmakers are showing support for the autonomous vehicle testing, they also question the liability issue in case of collision. According to the executive order, the vehicles will be covered by insurance or other type of financial responsibility but it still doesn’t make it clear whether the person in the driver-less vehicle is liable for the accidents.

Alderman Edward Burke raised concerns when he had attempted to ban the introduction of self-driving cars. He fears that hackers or terrorists could infiltrate the technology for malicious uses. Burke also directed concerns towards the job losses that delivery services and driving companies will face. In the past, Burke has taken several measures throughout the years to protect the taxicab companies from the new and innovative technological vehicles that soon will take over the industry.

If autonomous cars do become the primary form of transportation, changes to the zoning and city planning will have to be done. Road way infrastructure will need changes. Roadways that currently accommodate human error with wide streets, guardrails and lane markings and signs may disappear creating more rooms for pedestrians and bike lanes. Though Illinois has only taken the first step to introducing testing for autonomous cars, we should keep in mind the changes the cities would have to go through to accommodate the new technology.

About the Firm


Ronald F. Wittmeyer, Jr. practices plaintiffs' personal injury law at his office in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

About Ron

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