SAN ANTONIO — The Carlson Law Firm’s two San Antonio locations are joining forces with The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio at this year’s Fiesta kick-off event, Pin Pandemonium. All proceeds generated from pin sales will go directly to The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio Foundation.
Together, The Children’s Hospital and The Carlson Law Firm will join more than 100 other organizations buying, selling and trading medals and pins. This year’s custom pin design incorporates The Children’s Hospital’s signature handprint logo turned into a giraffe, outfitted with a sombrero and sarape.
“The services that The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio provides are invaluable to our community,” Carlson Law Firm Partner Edna Elizondo said. “Each year, we try to help an organization that carries a similar mission as ours; which is to improve the lives of those suffering through no fault of their own.”
Proceeds generated from the medals will go toward the children’s care, groundbreaking research, equipment, supplies, wellness programs that benefit the San Antonio community and other needs of the hospital. In addition, The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio treats children regardless of their parents’ ability to pay.
“This year, we hope to highlight the importance of The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio,” Partner Steve Dummitt said. “With the community’s help at Pin Pandemonium, we can help show these children just how important their lives are and show the staff how much the San Antonio supports them.”
This is The Carlson Law Firm’s third year benefiting a San Antonio not-for-profit organization at The Alamo City’s biggest event of the year. Last year, the firm partnered with the Battered Women and Children’s Shelter in San Antonio to donate proceeds from pin sales.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Kazia Conway
April 17, 2019
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio Foundation was founded in 1955 to support The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio. The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio is the first freestanding hospital in San Antonio solely dedicated to the care of children. Located in the heart of downtown San Antonio, The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio is owned by CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System. Founded in 1869 by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word of Houston and San Antonio, CHRISTUS Santa Rosa is a Catholic, faith-based, nonprofit health and wellness ministry dedicated to extending the healing ministry of Jesus Christ and providing the highest quality medical care and services available. As one of the top health care organizations in South-Central Texas, CHRISTUS Santa Rosa has five hospital campuses, with campuses located in downtown San Antonio, the South Texas Medical Center, in New Braunfels, in Westover Hills, and a short-stay surgical hospital in Alamo Heights.
With 12 locations across the state, The Carlson Law Firm is a Texas-based personal injury law firm committed to providing exceptional legal services to our communities. We handle a variety of personal injury cases, including auto accidents, trucking accidents, motorcycle injuries and workplace injuries, as well as medical malpractice, defective products, nursing home neglect, offshore injuries, wrongful death and much more.
One minute, everything is fine, and then all of a sudden, the worst has happened. You’ve been in a car crash. What you do next will make all the difference from your medical treatment to the compensation for your pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages and more. Injuries may be severe and emotions high, but it is important to remember that there are a few oh-so-important steps to take immediately following a car crash to ensure your rights are protected.
Car crashes are unexpected, stressful and are bound to happen to every one of us at some point. For this reason, it is essential to prepare for the worst case scenario.
After the initial adrenaline rush, take a few deep breaths and grab your Carlson Law Firm Do’s and Don’ts checklist. This short list of critical steps that we’ve compiled will guarantee your safety, protect your rights, and ensure you are adequately compensated for your losses.
An auto insurance policy is a contract between an individual (the insured) and an insurance company. A customer pays the insurance company a premium that is set based on a variety of factors.
In 49 out of 50 U.S. states, car insurance is mandatory. And even in the one state that doesn’t require insurance, drivers must prove that they have the financial means to cover damages from a crash. This is because when you are in a crash, and you are at fault, you are financially responsible for any damage that you cause. Conversely, when someone injures you, you deserve compensation for the injuries their negligent acts led to.
Most state laws require that drivers carry car insurance. Generally, the reason is that when property damage or injuries occur, the damages can be costly. Further, most people don’t have the funds to make a person whole. Not everyone follows the law and when they do, many drivers only carry the minimum state standards. Each state has different minimum standards for liability insurance.
The auto insurance industry often uses tactics to settle claims for as little as possible. And with a qualified auto crash attorney on your side, you can get the fair settlement that you deserve. But while attorneys can fight for your rights, it’s important that you give them the tools they need to do so. There are a few basic components you need to know in order to ensure you are getting the coverage you need.
Liability coverage is the most basic insurance that a person can carry. In addition, it is the coverage that is legally required in most U.S. states. Liability insurance only covers the damages of the other party in an accident that you cause.
Comprehensive insurance proves an extra level of coverage in accidents. It can help pay for damage to your car caused by incidents not related to crashes. For example, comprehensive insurance covers vandalism, certain weather events and accidents with animals.
This type of insurance covers damage to your car after an accident involving another vehicle and can help repair or replace a covered vehicle.
Understanding the limits of your policy is important when you are filling out paperwork to purchase insurance. Any personal injury attorney worth their salt will tell you that there are optional auto insurance add-ons that are in your best interests to purchase. The most important is UM/UIM insurance.
UM/UIM Insurance is worth the extra cost
Uninsured motorist cover and underinsured motorist coverage are types of optional insurance offered through your auto insurance companies. This insurance is not automatically included in whatever type of insurance you purchase. You must add on UM/UIM insurance to your policy. UM/UIM insurance covers you and your household family members riding in any car. In addition, it covers non-family members riding in your car as well.
Depending on where you live, UIM is part of UM. However, this is not always the case. It is important that you check with your insurance company to make sure you carry both UM and UIM insurance.
What is Uninsured Motorist (UM) Insurance?
Uninsured motorist coverage covers when a driver without insurance hits you. Further, this coverage can cover you if there is a hit and run.
What is Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Insurance?
An underinsured motorist differs from an uninsured motorist. Underinsured motorists are drivers that carry insurance, but do not have enough to pay for the entirety of your injuries after a crash. For example, if your medical bills and property total $50,000, but the at-fault driver carries the most basic liability insurance coverage of $30,000, then you are vulnerable to needing to cover $20,000 in medical bills and property damage. If you carry UIM insurance, then you can turn to your insurance company to cover the rest of your expenses.
Personal injury protection insurance
Personal injury protection insurance covers certain medical expenses and loss of income resulting from a car crash. Depending on the limits of a policy, personal injury protection could cover as much as 80% of medical and other expenses stemming from a covered accident.
Medical payments coverage
This optional coverage can help pay medical costs related to a covered accident regardless of who is at fault.
- 1: Stay at the scene
- 2: Ensure your safety
- 3: Call the police
- 4: Gather details
- 5: Talk to witnesses
- 6: Take photos
- 7: Go to your doctor
- 8: Contact a qualified car crash lawyer
Never leave the accident scene until it’s appropriate to do so. If you leave, particularly where someone has sustained injuries or was killed, you can face serious criminal penalties for being a hit-and-run driver.
After the accident, immediately determine whether anyone is injured. If so, seek medical attention for those seriously injured by calling 911 to get an ambulance on the scene. Often, the pain and injuries from motor vehicle accidents become apparent hours after the actual collision. If the vehicles involved are still operational, get them to the shoulder or off the main road. If you have flares or reflective emergency triangles, set them up to warn other cars. Move yourself and others involved away from the vehicle and to a safe place.
Whether an accident is just a minor fender-bender or a major collision, calling the police is important and in some states, it’s legally required. The responding officers will fill out an accident report and document the scene. If the police can’t come to the scene of the accident, you can go to the nearest police station and complete a report yourself. Make sure you request a copy of the report for yourself along with the name and badge numbers of responding officers.
If you do not know certain facts, tell that to the officer. Do not speculate, guess or misstate any of the facts. If you are asked if you are injured and you are not sure, say you are not sure, rather than no. Note the name, contact and insurance information of all parties involved in the accident. Take a moment to jot down the details of the scene while still fresh in your mind.
Ask everyone what they saw and if they have ever witnessed a similar accident in the same place. Ask for their contact information so that they can be contacted by your attorney later on.
Document the entire crash scene, your and the other driver’s vehicle, plate and insurance card. If you have visible injuries, you should photograph them as well. Take pictures of street signs, skid marks and anything else that may affect your claim.
Naturally, if you are severely injured then you will need to seek immediate medical attention. But not all injuries rise to the level of needing to seek help in an emergency room. However, paying a visit to the doctor as soon as you get the chance can identify injuries that have yet to present themselves. Additionally, a doctor can recommend you visit a chiropractor or other specialist should your injuries require it.
An experienced personal injury attorney can be extremely helpful in negotiating the often chaotic and confusing world of personal injury claims and settlements. Often, insurance companies want to take statements immediately after an accident. It is important that you have received legal advice before providing such a statement. Your attorney can advise you on issues ranging from how to make sure you are fully compensated for your vehicle to how to make sure you are getting the best medical treatment available. Personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means there is no legal fee unless the attorney recovers compensation for your injuries.
- Do not admit fault: Be courteous, but avoid apologizing to the other driver, no matter who is at fault. Stick to the facts when speaking to others.
- Do not post about the crash on social media. Insurance companies have a team of investigators who will look at your social media accounts and dig into your background to find information to deny fault and eventually deny your claim.
- Do not speak to the at-fault driver’s insurance adjusters: Keep in mind that insurance adjusters do not have your best interest in mind. They are trained to settle your claim for the least amount possible, even it means undervaluing your injuries. Anything you say during a phone call with them may be recorded and used against you in the future.
- Do not accept a check: Although you do want to report the car crash to your insurance company, don’t take any form of payment without fully understanding the extent of your losses, injuries, and damages. This may not entirely or fairly compensate you for your damages. Don’t sign any waivers provided to you by your insurance company without seeking the advice of a personal injury attorney first.
Over six million car accidents occur each year in the United States. Fortunately, most of them involve only property damage – damage to the vehicle as opposed to the occupants. But one in three accidents involves personal injury to the driver or passengers and out of that number, two out of every ten accidents lead to fatal injuries. When filing a Personal Injury Claim, one of the first and most important actions to take after a personal injury occurs is to enlist a knowledgeable lawyer who has the tools and resources needed to prove fault and fight for maximum compensation on your behalf.
It is important to understand that the effects of some injuries suffered in car crashes have the potential of lasting a lifetime, making it critical that you have someone in your corner protecting your rights. Not only is it possible you may be in pain for an on-going period of time if your injuries require physical therapy, multiple surgeries and so forth, but medical bills may pile up. To avoid the added stress of medical debt, it is essential you speak to a qualified personal injury attorney who is dedicated to protecting your rights.
There are many instances in which an individual does not realize they have been injured in a car crash. Some injuries may take hours or days to become apparent. An example is a traumatic brain injury (TBI). The varied signs and symptoms such as dizziness, blurred vision and loss of focus associated with this type of injury make it difficult to recognize. An experienced car crash lawyer will ensure you are receiving the proper medical attention for your injuries.
After an injury, you may wonder how you will pay for medical bills or recover lost wages? Are you questioning how the legal process works or where to start? These are questions that our Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Lawyers can answer for you.
At a time when you’re vulnerable, traumatized and emotionally exhausted you need a team that will support you through the often complex process that lies ahead. At The Carlson Law Firm, we can provide a level of representation that has been given recognition with awards and accolades that can be used to your advantage. Contact us for a free evaluation. We care, we can help.
Child electric shock injuries can occur in the blink of an eye. Turning away for just a moment to start dinner, paired with a toddler’s increasing freedom and natural curiosity can lead to extremely dangerous situations. Young children, particularly toddlers, are most at risk for electrical shock. For example, they most often experience electric shock injuries when they bit into electrical cords or poke metal objects just as forks, knives or screwdrivers into unprotect outlets or appliances. Further, child electric shock injuries can occur when a child is sitting or standing in water with electrical appliances around.
In the United States, electric shocks are responsible for approximately 1,000 deaths or 1 percent of all deaths. In order to prevent child electric shock injuries, it is extremely important for parents to take the necessary precautions.
Electric shocks occur when electric currents pass through the body. The severity of the shock depends on several factors:
- the amount of current (amperage);
- the type of current (direct or alternating);
- the body’s resistance to the current;
- the current’s path through the body;
- And the amount of time the body remains in contact with the current.
Most children can tolerate a current of 3 mA to 5 mA. These numbers are much lower than the current generated by most circuit breakers—the electrical switch designed to interrupt electrical flow—when there is an excess of electrical found in the home.
Children account for approximately 20 percent of all electrical injuries. The incidences are highest among toddlers and adolescents. For children aged 12 years and younger, household appliance electrical cords and extension cords cause more than 63 percent of injuries. Wall outlets are responsible for 15 percent of electric injuries. However, in infants, putting metal objects in their mouths is the most common cause of electric shock injuries.
The human body is a great conductor for electricity. This means that electrocution can easily pass through the body. For many parents, this should be of particular concern when children are small. It goes without saying that electrical currents can be deadly. Even when electrical burns look insignificant, there can still be significant damage. For example, electric shock injuries can cause damage to the internal organs of a person who comes into direct contact with an electrical current. Electric currents passing through the body and cause damage in the following ways:
- Cardiac arrest
- Muscle, nerve and tissue destruction
- Thermal skin burns
- Head injuries from a fall after contact with electricity
Much like adults, the outward physical appearance of electrocution may be minimal. However, severe burns will appear on whichever part of the body touched the current source. Symptoms often depend on the strength of the voltage and how long the individual was in contact with the electrical current.
When electric shock occurs in young children or toddlers, it may be difficult or impossible for them to communicate or explain their symptoms. Generally, symptoms of child electric shock injuries that parents should look out for include:
- Severe burns on hands, heels or head
- Burns to the mouth that are red in appearance
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Abdominal pain
Burns are typically red or dark and charred appearance. Other injuries are possible if forceful muscular contractions throw the child from the electrical source.
When an electric shock occurs, it is important that you do not touch the victim while the current is still flowing. Doing so can also electrocute you.
If the electric shock happens in the home, immediately shut off the main power. If that cannot be done, and the current is still flowing through the child, stand on a dry, nonconducting surface, such as a folded newspaper or newspaper and using a nonconducting object such as a wooden broomstick or dowel rod, push the child away from the current source.
Immediately call for emergency medical help. If you are trained to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), immediately begin the process.
A person shocked by a high voltage (500 volts or more) should be evaluated in the emergency room or clinic. Any person present at the scene of the accident should immediately call 911.
Brief low voltage shocks (110-220 volts or less) that do no result in any symptoms or burns may not require care. However, it is important that parents consult with their healthcare provider if the child has any noticeable burns to the skin. Further, no matter how mild, parents should keep an eye the child experience numbness, tingling or vision, hearing and/or speech problems.
Again, the treatment for a child electric shock injury depends on the severity of the injuries. Doctors typically treat minor burns with topical antibiotic ointments and dressings. On the other hand, severe burns may require surgery to perform skin grafting or to clean the wounds. Further, severe burns on the arms, legs or hands may require amputation to remove damaged muscle or nerves.
The severity of the shock influences survival and long-term effects. Electric shocks cause death in 3-15 percent of cases. Infection is the most common cause of death in hospitalized victims following electrical injury. Electrocution can damage the brain, leading to permanent disorders such as seizures, depression, anxiety and other personality changes.
Importantly, low voltage shocks don’t usually produce the extreme damage found in higher, more severe shocks.
Parents, guardians and child care providers must be aware of possible electrical dangers in the home. For example, you should replace or discard damaged electric appliances, wiring, cords and plugs. Your child should know not to use hair dryers, radios and other electric appliances in the bathroom. The appliances may accidentally fall into the water and lead to severe electrocution injuries.
Young children should be taught about the dangers of using extension cords and other electrical appliances around water. Further, they should be taught about the dangers of playing with electricity as early as possible. Parents and other adults around a child should never allow the child to play with any electrical cords or outlets. If young children are present in the home, cover all exposed electrical outlets with childproof outlet covers.
Teenagers share the same propensity for danger and curiosity as toddlers. For that reason, teens should be aware of the dangers of climbing on power towers, playing near transformers or exploring electrified train rails and other electrical systems.
If you are the parent of a child who suffered electric shock injuries as a result of a negligent homeowner, business or child care provider, contact our firm today. The Carlson Law Firm has a qualified Electrocution Lawyer who can navigate the legal system on you and your child’s behalf. We can help you recover the costs of medical bills and other compensation as a result of your child’s injuries.
A White and Carlson client received his certification in Drilling Fluids Engineering after a severe workplace injury left him unable to return to his previous role.
In August 2017, Shawn Harmon was employed by Cactus Wellhead. As part of his employment, he installed tubing heads on well sites. During the installation of the tubing head, Harmon put his hand on or near the eye of the tubing head to remove it.
Without warning, a coworker operating the forklift raised the boom without first checking if it was safe to do so. Typically, the person operating the forklift should get the “all clear signal” prior to raising the blades. This act of negligence led to Harmon’s left thumb being pinched between the lift eye and the lift eye bolt. In the process, the tip of Harmon’s thumb was severed. His injuries were so severe that he required immediate medical and surgical intervention.
This workplace injury seriously derailed Harmon’s career in the oilfield. Harmon worried about how he would provide for his family. His severed thumb ultimately prevented him from continuing to work in the same position as a Cactus Wellhead employee.
The oil and gas industry leads other industries when comes to the severity of workplace injuries. Without a qualified attorney, there is no guarantee that you will get fair compensation for your workplace injuries.
Rather than risk getting an unfair offer from the company for its negligence, Harmon sought the help of an attorney. Upon taking his case, attorney Brantley White hit the ground running. In December 2018, White secured a significant settlement for Harmon. The settlement breathed new life into Harmon’s oilfield career. In addition to providing ongoing medical treatment, the money provided an opportunity for Harmon to further his education.
Harmon began attending the Texas Petroleum Institute to complete certification in Drilling Fluids Engineering. On March 1, 2019, he received his certification. As a Drilling Fluids Engineer—or Mud Engineer—Harmon can work on an oil well or gas well drilling rig. His new education secures him a role that will make him responsible for ensuring the properties of the drilling fluid are within specifications.
Most importantly, his certification as a ‘Mud Man’ ensures that his family is taken care of.
Alongside White and Carlson, The Carlson Law Firm has a 40-year history dedicated to helping victims of personal injuries rebuild their lives. Mr. Harmon is just one example of how our firm takes on even the most difficult cases and gets our clients the recoveries they deserve.
Our clients can count on us to represent them with fearless determination. Our personal injury attorneys have committed to ensuring our clients receive the maximum compensation they deserve for their injuries. If you or a loved one have suffered injuries as the result of workplace negligence, contact The Carlson Law Firm. We are ready to meet with you to discuss your legal options.
National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is a convenient and responsible means of disposing of unused prescription drugs in a safe environment. The event provides an opportunity for Americans to participate in the prevention of drug addiction and overdose.
RX Take Back Day is a coordinated effort by organizations and law enforcement agencies to collect unused drugs. Thousands of events occur simultaneously across the United States, typically in April and October. The program has been around since 2010 when Congress formally recognized the public safety concerns of controlled substances.
Often unused prescription drugs find their way into the wrong hands. The misuse of prescription drugs can carry dangerous and long-lasting consequences on society and individuals. According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 11.5 million people misused pain relievers and almost 3 million misused prescribed psychotherapeutic drugs. Further, 53 percent of those who misuse prescription drugs receive the drug from a friend or relative.
It’s no secret that prescription drug abuse is on the rise. In fact, the DEA considers unused and expired medication as a public safety issue. The Federal Drug Administration says that drugs should immediately be disposed of when they are no longer needed. This helps reduce the chances for others to intentionally misuse unused medication. The best options for drug disposals are:
- Drug Take Back Programs
- Mixing the drugs in with undesirable contaminants such as used coffee grounds, dirt or cat litter
Each year, take back programs bring in almost 1 million pounds of expired or unused prescription medication. Since the fall of 2010, the DEA says that it has collected 10,878,950 pounds of prescription drugs.
The FDA has moved away from recommending flushing drugs because of concerns about impacts on the environment. However, the agency does recommend flushing what it considers potentially dangerous drugs. The FDA recommends this as an option only when there is not a drug take back program readily available. However, the agency recognizes that impact of doing this on the environment. For this reason, it doesn’t recommend flushing all drugs. Instead, the agency has a list of specific medications to consider flushing when there are no other options available.
No matter which method of disposal you choose, the DEA recommends you scratch out all identifying information on the prescription bottle.
The group most affected by prescription drug abuse are young adults between the ages of 18 to 25. In homes across the country, young people have access to unused medications in their parents’ or grandparents’ homes. In fact, for many teens, prescription or over-the-counter medications is their first introduction to getting high.
For example in Texas, approximately 20 percent of high school students report using prescription drugs without a doctor’s prescription.
In addition to intentional misuse, there is the possibility of younger children may find the drugs and put them in their mouths.
There are several reasons why a person may not take all of their medication. In many cases, it depends on the type of condition the medication is treating.
For example, for chronic conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, a patient may stop taking prescribed medication because the side effects are too severe. While other patients who underwent surgery or a dental procedure find that they don’t need to take all of their prescribed pain medication.
Another reason people may stop taking medication is that they find out that the drugs are defective. Defective drugs can cause severe adverse effects that can lead to life-altering consequences, including death.
In any event, when these drugs are left to sit in medicine cabinets, they are a clear and present risk to anyone in the home may view the drugs as a good time or quick fix to an ailment.
The majority of prescription medications commonly left unused are:
- Pain relievers (15 percent)
- Hypertension Medication (14 percent)
- Antibiotics (11 percent)
- Psychiatric (9 percent)
Of the unused drugs, 9 percent were flushed down the toilet, 11 percent were disposed of via drug take back programs, 14 percent were thrown in the trash and an alarming 55 percent were left in cabinets.
In many cases, prescriptions carry a use-by date. This date is typically a year from the time the pharmacy filled the patient’s prescription. While this may give the illusion that a drug’s potency fades over time, this isn’t necessarily true. For example, a study by the FDA shows that more than 90 percent of drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter held their potency 15 years after the expiration date.
By law, drug manufacturers are required to stamp an expiration date on their products. All this date means is that this is how long the manufacturer can guarantee a drug’s potency and safety.
Because very few people realize that drugs can remain potent well past their expiration date, they may take more than the needed amount. As a result, this can lead to an overdose. The best thing you can do to protect your family is to get rid of expired drugs to prevent overdose and addiction.
It is illegal for a person to be in possession of a prescription drug that a doctor did not prescribe to them. While businesses, schools, churches and other organization can organize a Take Back Day event, an officer must be present. An officer from the following agencies can perform the duties needed at a take back event:
- Federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)
- Local police officer
- Sheriff’s deputy
- Department of Public Safety officer
In addition, these officers can only serve in as the official law enforcement official role at the take back event if the event is held within their jurisdiction.
Drugs turned in at National Prescription Drug Take Back Day events must be properly disposed of in accordance with the law. Typically, disposal occurs through incinerating the drugs. Because of the potential negative impact on the environment, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends that disposed medication goes through government-approved incinerators. These incinerators must have air permits. Additionally, incinerating the drugs prevents any drug diversion from occurring.
The responsibility for ensuring proper drug disposal depends on the agencies involved.
- If a group partners with the DEA, the DEA assumes all responsibilities and costs for medication disposal.
- When partnering with a law enforcement agency, the agency is responsible for disposing of medication within accordance of the law. This is largely the safest disposal method for the environment. Incinerators must have air permits.
- Take back organizers may pay a company to incinerate collected medication.
If you miss a drug take back event, the DEA also provides a database of disposal locations that will take unused medications all year long.
As the opioid crisis grows, our firm is committed to ensuring the safety of communities across the country. At The Carlson Law Firm, we support any effort to remove dangerous drugs from the home. As product liability attorneys, we’ve seen the effects of dangerous drugs. It is necessary that everyone does their part in reducing access to these dangerous drugs.
Suffering ill effects after taking a prescription medication can mean you or a loved one has a valid claim against a manufacturer, pharmacy or prescribing physician. Contact The Carlson Law Firm to discuss your legal options.
From The Carlson Law Firm welcome to season 1 of The Verdict a podcast, about the laws and processes that shape the real courtroom outcomes of personal injury cases. I’m your host, Kazia Conway. Understaffing has become a considerable problem for American nursing homes, it can lead to serious negligence and serious negligence leads to serious injuries and sometimes death. Texas has the highest percentage of one and two-star nursing homes in the country. Additionally, nursing homes in the state have consistently ranked the lowest amongst the 50 states and the District of Columbia at providing care for nursing home residents. Many of Texas’ nursing home abuse and neglect issues stem from its problem with understaffing. To go into detail, this week we are joined by one of the leading nursing home litigation attorneys The Carlson Law Firm’s very own JT Borah. JT has testified before the Texas house on the condition of Texas nursing homes and he has also successfully represented hundreds of clients and their families in nursing home abuse and neglect cases.
K: So JT why don’t we start this off by you telling us what difference is between nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect?
J: The difference between abuse and neglect has to do with the intent of the person involved in it. The abuse I would say is more intentional than neglect. For instance, abuse would be things such as physical assault, verbal assault, sexual assaults, things of that nature. Where on the other hand, neglect is not necessarily intended and so what you’ll have is or situations in which the staff not having enough time to do all the tasks that they are asked to do during their shift. And what ends up happening is a certain task goes undone not intentionally. The staff really want to get it done because most of these staff members just love these old people that they work with, and they feel bad about it. But the thing is that they put in eight hours and at the end of their shift they realized oh wait a second I wasn’t able to do this, that, and this for this particular resident and so the resident ends up being neglected. Again not because of any intention on the part of the staff at all.
K: How serious is neglect as a problem for nursing homes, not just in Texas, but all over the country?
J: Neglect is a much more serious issue, in my opinion, than abuse is. I believe that abuse does get more headlines but neglect has more victims because what ends up happening because the staff members are unable to complete their tasks they literally get less job satisfaction. And they end up having to do so many things in such a short period of time they just get burned out. And so it’s not just the residents who are victims of neglect, it’s also the staff members themselves because they are, the neglect is actually forced upon them because there is just not enough staff members in order to accomplish all the tasks. And what we’re finding is that pretty every one of our cases is what we refer to as, every case is, an understaffing case and understaffing leads to neglect.
K: How big of an issue has understaffing become?
J: I am friends with nursing home attorneys all around the country and they’re all saying the same thing. In every single one of their cases too. And so we’re talkin’ every state with almost every nursing home.
K: So JT tell us, what are some of the more common nursing home neglect injuries that you see?
J: The most common ones that we will see is the development of a pressure injury or what is commonly referred to as a bedsore or falls and the reason those things happen is, again with not enough staff to accomplish everything that they are supposed to do, these are the injuries that you would expect to increase. And they in fact do increase.
K: Why do you think that occurs?
J: For instance, on the pressure injury/bedsore scenario, the recommendation is that the person who has limited mobility and is basically bound to their bed, needs to be repositioned at least every two hours, and when that’s not done their skin is susceptible to break down and because of the pressure. With falls, what happens is you will have a person who needs help going to the restroom and so they’ll push their call button and there won’t be a timely response. And because of the urge to go and not want to lay in their own urine and feces, they decide to get up and attempt to get to the bathroom by themselves and they ended up falling. When they fall they either break a bone, like a leg or a hip, or they hit their head and they suffer a brain bleed. And what’s bad about that especially with nursing home residents is that the majority of them are on blood thinners. And it just makes it much more easy for them to have a brain bleed. And what nursing homes fail to do at that time is to take them immediately to the hospital to have an MRI or a CAT scan. Instead, what they do is, they run an x-ray of their head to see if they have any fractures. And what they can’t see with an x-ray is blood entering the brain and causing what’s called a subdural hematoma which then quickly leads to their death. One of the interesting cases we’ve had recently was a lady who had survived breast cancer three different times, and she was told a fourth time it had recurred and she informed her family and her doctor that she was too tired to fight it again and she just wanted to pass away peacefully. And so they decided to put her in a nursing home on hospice. A couple of days after she was there, the nursing home called the family and informed them that she had fallen the previous night. The family members asked if everything, she, was ok if any broken bones anything like that. They said no, no she’s fine, she’s in her bed sleeping comfortably. And they said ok. Later that day several family members went there to visit to see how their mother was doing but the nursing home had positioned her mom in such a way so she was facing the wall and they couldn’t see her face or anything. And she again was sleeping, and so they didn’t turn her over to examine her to see if she had any bruises. So they let her alone and they left. The next day they were informed that their mother passed that previous night. And so they informed the nursing home please go ahead send her, they had made arrangements to have her sent to the morgue to have her cremated. When the hospice nurse showed up later that day she asked were that resident was and they said that she had passed the previous night. The hospice nurse pulls out her cell phone, calls the family and says “you need to have an autopsy because I do not believe that your mother died as a result of the cancer.” And they asked what she thought she died of, and she goes, “I’m not sure but I don’t think it was the cancer.” And they said ok. Fortunately, this was a family that had means, and they could afford an autopsy. Most of our clients can’t. So, they stopped the cremation process from starting, sent her out to the medical examiner and the results of the autopsy was that she had died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head which resulted from a fall.
K: What really happened to the resident when she fell was far more serious than what the nursing home had originally told the family.
J: A couple of nights into her stay at the facility the resident needed to use the restroom so she had pushed the call light, and as happens in understaffed facilities, no one responded in a timely fashion and so in her desire not to soil herself she attempted to walk across her room into the bathroom. And in that process, she fell and she hit her head.
K: Stories like this are tragic, but unfortunately they aren’t unique. Injuries from falls are just one of the many ways understaffing affects U.S. nursing home residents. Few people recognized that as many 95% of American nursing homes are understaffed. When nursing home injuries occur many families are left confused and angry.
J: As you can imagine, the family was furious over that. We, of course, filed the lawsuit and were able to get a settlement that, although because of the caps in Texas, really didn’t serve as justice in the case but it was at some level holding the nursing home accountable for really egregious activity on their part.
K: Why do nursing homes fail to take residents to the hospital if they have experienced a fall, or something as equally damaging?
J: There could be a couple of reasons, one is they honestly don’t understand the problem, the staff doesn’t understand what the problem is. What they do is they’ll see oh they hit their head they might have a bruise but their only concern is whether there is a fracture. And I guess the staff has not been informed, when I say the staff I’m talking about the CNAs. Obviously, the RNs know this LVNs should know this. The staff will just maybe not even recommend that an x-ray be done they just see there is no torn skin, they are not complaining of any pain in their legs or anywhere, they have a headache. But they haven’t been trained enough to know that, you know, Mr. Jones is on blood thinners and this is a critical thing that needs to be done in case there is a fall. So I think there is an educational component to it that lacking. Another thing, that is another possibility, is that you have nursing homes who are concerned about having the hospital that they would take these people to, do what I refer to as grader their paper. And so you end up with a person showing up there, at the hospital, and they notice other things that are wrong with this person. Which might be malnutrition, could be dehydration, it could be the presence of pressure injuries or bedsores. That the nursing home just doesn’t want, like I said, the hospital to see it and grade their paper.
K: How does a family go from a phone call that their loved one has been injured to coming to you?
J: So, what would happen is, the person, we’re talking about a fall here, you’d have a fall the nursing home hopefully would inform the contact, the main contact, and say “we just want to let you know your [mother/ father] fell.” Then what they should do at that point is not ask, “well how are they doing?” What they should do at that point is to go down to the nursing home to see how they are doing. And then if the relative hit their head they need to insist they be taken to the hospital and have a brain scan or CT scan of the brain or an MRI of the brain. If they’ve developed a subdural hematoma and there is nothing that can be done about it then at that point they are moved into hospice and they will usually pass within a week or so, or less. If they’ve suffered a broken bone as a result of the fall there are times that, if it is a displaced fracture, then they need to have surgery. However, a lot of old people will not survive the surgery, and so they will tell them “don’t do the surgery.” But, they will often time give them the option of having surgery but with the caveat that “please understand that as soon as we give them anesthesia it’s very possible that their heart could stop.” And so, a lot of times people will decide not to have the surgery and other people decide to have the surgery. And it’s not a bad decision, either way, it just depends on the situation. But it’s heartbreaking because in both situations in normally death is not that far away. And so, once the death happens they need to give me a call.
K: And so, at that point, your clients can file a wrongful death claim.
J: Well at that point what will happen is, we will get the records. And so one, we will have to look through the records to see what we can document and what we can prove from the records. And if we believe that the records are such that we can prove negligence on the part of the nursing home, then yes we would be recommending to them that we file a lawsuit.
K: You testified for the Texas legislature in mid-November about how Texas nursing homes are doing, and one of the things you touched on was staffing to acuity. Can you say a little bit more about what that looks like and what should families who are touring nursing homes look for?
J: So, staffing to acuity is juxtaposed to staffing to census. So we need to define a couple terms here. Census is basically what i refer to as “butts in the bed,” its how many people are here in the building, how many residents are in the building. And so you may have a facility that has say 110 beds and they are at 72% capacity so they’ll have 80 people in there. And you can have some type of calculation, when I say you I mean the facility and the chain, might have a type of calculation where they go, for 80 people during this particular shift during the day we need x number of CNAs, x number of LVNs, x number of RNs. Evenings we need less because they’re sleeping. But still they’ll have the calculation x number of CNAs, x number of LVNs, x number of RNs for that shift. But it’s just based on just the pure number of people in there. What that doesn’t take into account is acuity, which is the other term we need to define here. And what acuity basically means is the level of care a particular resident needs. And so you might have a resident in the facility who needs very little care but the reason they’re there is because they memory issues and they can’t be left at home alone cause they could start a fire, they could walk away and not know where they are, they could get in their car and drive away and not know where they’re going. And so they just can’t be alone. However, if you looked at ‘em they’re walking around, they’re talking, they can bathe themselves, they can dress themselves, they can do all the hygiene stuff they need themselves. That person’s acuity level is pretty low. Now, on the other hand, you might have a person who is on a ventilator who needs constant care. They may have a catheter that needs constant care. They need to be repositioned at least every two hours. And so that’s going to require more people than the person who just has dementia issues. And so every facility has a different acuity mix and different facilities will strive for higher acuities and others might strive for lower acuities. And so that’s why when I was testifying before the Texas legislature I say, “please do not set an arbitrary number as to what the staffing level should be because you might have high acuity facilities who will point to that number and say hey we staff at that level and it’s just not enough to meet the needs of their residents.”
K: What are some of the difficulties you face when trying to prove abuse or neglect?
J: The difficulties that I face have to do with the clients not knowing what actually happened. What you’ll have is families that are really involved in their families, in relatives, care at the facility. They’re up there at least three times a week, some of our clients actually show up everyday. And some of them, you know, spouses will spend all day up there. But they, of course, they aren’t there 24 hours. And so when a negative event, terminology that is used in the industry, when a negative outcome happen the family is just sort of bewildered as to how in the world that could have happened. And so they don’t know, they haven’t seen any records, they get the records, they don’t know how to read them, they don’t know what they’re looking for. And so then we’ll go through and look at the records and what we find sometimes, and what we’ve heard from some people in the industry, cause that whenever a negative outcome happens for a resident there are things they refer to as charting parties. The way it has been described to us it that they will go into a conference room,and they will have about four or five different people there, they’ll have about 3-4 different color pens, and they will just start charting and showing things that they actually did things that didn’t happen. Now the thing is that there are so many different departments in nursing homes, that to keep that all straight is difficult because you’ve got therapy department, you’ve got the nurses notes, you got doctor’s orders, you got dietary, you got so many departments that’s the social aspects. They all have different reports, and so trying to keep all those straight, is very difficult. It can be done, I have no doubt, that if they are organized enough that these charting parties can actually write away any negligence in their cases. But the things is that it’s still is a very difficult thing for them to do and charting parties doesn’t happen after every negative outcome. But it is something that we have to deal with, with the records being altered. Every time I get a set of records I presume that there is false charting in it and that there are things that are missing. I recently had a case where I got the records from the nursing homes lawyer, which I thought weird cause, normally I just get it straight from the nursing home but this time it came from the lawyer. But normally what I do is I ask them to provide us with an affidavit that the records are complete and reflect everything that went on at the facility. Basically, the care that my client received between x date and y date. And so we get these records and there was no affidavit with them. So I emailed the attorney and I said hey, maybe this is an oversight here’s another copy of it, can you have your records custodians sign this and have it notarized. And so I just got an email this morning actually, on that case, and he informed me, he goes “well actually there are some things that we have withheld from the document, from your client’s clinical record, and it’s because they’re confidential,” or something like that. And I’m probably saying I’m gonna follow up on that, but I thought it was pretty interesting that they were removing stuff. They’ve admitted to me now that they have removed stuff from my client’s clinical record.
K: and in email.
J: in an email.
K: in writing
J: Yeah. I mean it was done, it was very nice, it was very civil about it. But it will be interesting to see how that all unfolds. That’s the thing, the biggest problem is record keeping.
K: So what are some of the legal challenges with holding nursing homes accountable?
J: The biggest legal challenge in Texas has to do with what is referred to as a cap, which limits the amount of money that a family can recover as a result of the negligence or abuse of their relative. And the reason that that’s a problem is that these cases cost a lot of money to prove. We have to higher experts, we are required to higher experts by the law to prove our case. The law also requires that this be a side job for our experts because the statute says they have to be practicing medicine. And so this can’t be their main source of income, they have to be working with older people, they have to be geriatric practice, whatever practice it is this is just on the side. And so it’s hard to find experts to do that. In addition to that, a lot of doctors don’t like to grade the paper of other doctors and give them a bad mark, and so it’s difficult to find experts, but we have good experts who do a great job. But that is an issue, that is an issue for a lot of people. Another thing is that nursing homes are organized, from a business perspective, in such a way as to not have any assets. And when you take that into consideration with another fact that in Texas nursing homes are not required to have insurance, it makes it a less attractive target for a lawsuit. And so by doing that it discourages attorneys from taking these cases. And it’s a big problem, we were recently informed that a major chain here in Texas filed for bankruptcy. And what that ended up doing is I have ten cases now with that chain that had no insurance that is in bankruptcy now. And I’ve contacted the bankruptcy lawyer to give me some advice on this, that’s not my area of practice, and he has basically informed me that the likely outcome of our ten cases is that they will basically have to be dismissed. With our client recovering nothing, and in those cases we have incurred I think it was about $95,000 in expenses that we will now have to eat. And so this is discouraging for attorneys to take these types of cases. And so those are, as far as legal issues and really corporate formation business structure, things that make it legally difficult to pursue these cases.
K: So with that in mind, why is the nursing home abuse and neglect attorney important?
J: In my opinion, yeah.
K: Your expert opinion.
J: Well, in my opinion, the nursing home plaintiffs lawyer is necessary in order to hold someone accountable. Without us there to hold their feet to the fire and to publicize, there’s no hope for change. You know, we’ve talked a couple of times or mentioned a couple of times about me testifying before the Texas legislature, the committee that I was asked to testify in front of is called the Texas House Committee on Human Services and they had their between sessions. And they had this thing called an in-room charge, between the sessions there is a charge that they were tasked with investigating. And basically what the charge they were asking is “are our regulations and laws enough to deter bad actions on the part of the nursing homeowners?” And my testimony was no, because the regulations, which I think are for the most part are fine, are not, again in my opinion, they’re not enforced enough. Texas has primarily been one the ranked very low as far fines against nursing homes.
K: Do you think that plays into the fact that Texas has the highest percentage of one and two-star nursing homes?
J: Oh yeah, yeah, because they’re just not forced to provide the care they need to provide. That we’re paying them to provide. The majority of the people in the nursing homes are being paid for by Medicare and Medicaid which is us as taxpayers, are paying them this. And in Texas what nursing homes do is they go up to the legislature and they’re just constantly asking them to raise Medicaid and they’re constantly asking them to limit the amount of exposure they have for liability. And so those are the only two options we have, we have regulatory or we have the lawsuits. And when both of those are limited you’re gonna get more bad actions and if those are more vibrant and there is more muscle behind the regulations and also the lawsuit, you’re gonna have people acting differently because they don’t want to pay that money.
K: Alright so JT now that the 86 legislature is underway, what sort of movement do you expect to see on nursing home acuity, neglect, abuse, enforcement and anything else that has to do with nursing home regulations?
J: So, the regulatory aspect of nursing home practice in Texas is going through, the regulations are going through a rewrite right now. I’ve seen multiple drafts of it, I really like the changes that have been made. Of course, I could always ask for more, but I like what they’re doing. And so that will be interesting, but again, the whole issue is the enforcement of those regulations. So that something that takes place outside of the legislature. But in the legislature, I asked in my testimony, I asked the legislator not to set an arbitrary staffing number because of the acuity/census issue, and so I’m hoping that they don’t do that. Channel 8 in Dallas ran a six or seven part series on nursing homes in Texas, and they highlighted one particular aspect that caught the attention of the Texas legislator and that had to do with the ease with which convicted felons could get employed in nursing homes. I expect that loopholes involving that will be closed up, which is a good thing. It is a very good thing and so I do expect that to happen. Now I do also expect that there will be proposed legislation to for lack of a better term, defanging health and Human Safety Committee Commission as it relates to being able to fine nursing homes in Texas, which would be a shame. Because we have all these regulations, but then they’re gonna limit on how they can actually enforce the regulations. I expect because I’ve been told, that legislation is coming down the pike. Another thing that I did hear is that the tort reformers are going to try to file legislation to limit the percentage that attorneys can charge on their cases. And the argument is going to be that this way they can guarantee that affected families and the victims can get more money. But of course, when you reduce the percent, or the pay, that a plaintiff lawyer can get on these things it’s going to make it even that much more difficult for plaintiff lawyers to handle these cases. When you have a lower percentage and you have to spend so much money to prove up the case. And so what will end happening is you will have to use a term that is constantly used up at the capital, you’ll have unintended consequences. And the unintended consequence is that the victims will get less money because there will be fewer lawyers doing this.
K: Without the pressure from personal injury attorneys nursing homes go largely without consequences when neglect and abuse occur. As the approximately 76 million aging baby boomers move into retirement it is more important than ever that families empower themselves with what to look for in long term care. In addition, families need to be aware of the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect. It’s important to note that nursing home abuse and neglect isn’t just limited to falls and bed sores. The issues our most vulnerable population face can include choking, chemical or physical restraints, physical sexually and verbal abuse, malnutrition, and dehydration. It may be difficult to recognize the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect, especially among nonverbal residents. But to find out more about how you can empower yourself visit us at carlsonattorneys.com. We offer valuable resources on the topic you just listened to. We’d also love for you to leave us a review wherever you get your podcast content. Don’t forget to subscribe and recommend us to your friends. As always if you’re in need of a personal injury attorney give us a call at 1-800-359-5690, we’re available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. We care and we can help.
Pests have long plagued those who work in agriculture. From the locust in The Bible to the weeds of today building up a resistance to Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, unchecked agricultural pests have long been a threat to our food supply. There have been several incarnations of the best way to deal with weeds and other pests. From archaic hand-weeding to the early plows of the Han Dynasty in China to the DDT environmental disaster of the mid-1900s to the likelihood that Roundup is causing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma—it’s time for humans to rethink weed control again. We need something that manages to get rid of unwanted plants with minimal environmental effect, like weed pulling, and maximizes time, like chemicals. The answer is right in front of you if you’re reading this online. Developers are exploring the possibility of using electricity as a weed killer.
With the safety of Roundup standing trial and the growing challenge of herbicide-resistant weeds, you might be shocked to learn that idea of using electricity as the solution to weed control has been around since the late 1940s. In fact, patents to kill weeds with electricity date back to 1949.
It’s easy to identify a weed by sight. They’re typically ugly little vegetation that makes your flower bed look unkept. But the actual definition of a weed is an unwanted wild plant growing in direct competition with cultivated plants. For average people, they are an easy annoyance to address in our private gardens. But for those who tend to farms, golf courses, school grounds or parks, they are much more than an unattractive annoyance.
Weeds are a problem because they compete with cultivated vegetation for nutrients in the soil. For example, if weeds go unchecked on a farm, it can harm the quality of crops. It is this reason that weed management products, such as Roundup, are so popular.
Companies are working on hand-held devices and large farm equipment to kill weeds with electricity. The concept of using electricity as a weed killer isn’t new. However, the current method of killing weeds with electricity is.
In the past, electricity was used to basically cook the plants to death. However, this new method doesn’t use high temperatures to kill the plans. Instead, today’s devices send electric currents through the plant. The basic concept is to kill weeds by delivering a jolt of electricity to the weed. Currently, the methods of using electricity as a means of weed control have been built on years of technology. It is most effective when the electric current enters one plant, goes down into the root and comes out through another plant.
Developers say that every part of the plant is instantly damaged. This compromises the plant’s chlorophyll and cell integrity from the leaves to the roots. Additionally, the jolt breaks the plant’s vascular bundles which leads to the plant rapidly drying out.
There are currently two main types of electrical treatment for weed control:
- Spark discharges. This method uses high voltage, short duration pulses for weed control, plant thinning and the acceleration of ripening.
- Continuous contact. This method uses an electrode connected to a high-voltage source. As it touched the plant, the current flow for the duration of the contact time.
In both of these treatments, the plant tissue suffers severe damage. According to one company, plants show signs of death within minutes of receiving a jolt.
There are a couple of very prominent reasons why farmers are trying to discover new techniques for dealing with weeds.
For starters, as mentioned above, weeds are becoming more resistant to herbicides such as Roundup and its active ingredient glyphosate. In addition, the future of Roundup—the most popular herbicide in the world—is in danger of being banned in countries around the globe.
Further, farmers spray more than one billion pounds of glyphosate every year. For this reason, more alarms have been raised about glyphosate’s ubiquity in food. The Environmental Working Group released a report stating that glyphosate was found in 31 out of 45 food products made with oats. And in subsequent testing, the group found the chemical in 100 percent of tested products. Glyphosate is common in conventionally grown food items because one of farming’s biggest concerns is weed control. As a result, farmer spray fields with large quantities of Roundup or other glyphosate products to preserve their crops. Additionally, there is concern that the chemical accumulates in the tissue of animals we consume.
Despite glyphosate’s popularity and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s support of the chemical, people have long-searched for an alternative to chemicals. In fact, scientists have tested products that included heat treatment, lasers, and irradiation.
Bayer-Monsanto’s Roundup has dominated the herbicide industry for more than four decades. In fact, it is so popular that today more than 160 countries use more than 1.4 billion pounds of Roundup each year. However, over the last decade, countries have begun questioning whether or not the herbicide’s active ingredient glyphosate is a carcinogen.
The Internation Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) categorized glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic in humans.” The agency made this decision after finding glyphosate caused cancer in laboratory animals.
There have been several hundred lawsuits filed against Monsanto alleging that the company’s product is responsible for the development of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
There is growing evidence that glyphosate is a carcinogenic substance. There are strong links between those who work with large quantities of glyphosate for extended periods of time and the blood cancer non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Glyphosate does severe damage to the kidney and liver. Any disruption to these organs causes the body’s endocrine system to suffer and increasing the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
The lawsuit against Bayer-Monsanto for its dangerous product Roundup is currently making its way through the courts. The Carlson Law Firm specializes in handling cases against negligent manufacturers. If you or a loved one have an established history of using Roundup and received a non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis, contact our firm.
We can also help family members file a wrongful death lawsuit against Bayer-Monsanto.
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Each year, the month of March is marked as the time to honor those impacted by brain injury and promote prevention, care, research, and advocacy. For over 30 years, the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) has called on the nation to observe Brain Injury Awareness Month through a public awareness campaign. This year’s theme: #ChangeYourMind.
The campaign highlights the need for de-stigmatization of brain injury, greater empowerment for those who survived brain injury and enhanced promotion of the types of support available to those living with brain injury.
Every day, 137 people die in the United States because of a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Whether the cause of a TBI is a child falling off a bicycle or a family involved in a car collision, brain injury affects many lives daily. It is important that we do our part to support the survivors and their caregivers.
A TBI is defined as an alteration in brain function, or other evidence of brain pathology, caused by an external force. Traumatic impact injuries can be either closed (non-penetrating) or open (penetrating).
Currently, there are 5.3 million people in the United States living with a TBI-related disability. The effects of brain injury include impaired thinking and memory, movement, sensation such as vision and hearing and emotional functioning such as personality changes and depression.
These effects vary based on cause of injury, location of injury and the severity of the injury.
The severity of damage to the brain after an injury is the primary factor in predicting the impact on the individual. TBIs are categorized as mild, moderate or severe. It is usually apparent that a brain injury has occurred if the injury is severe. Further assessment is often needed to diagnose mild or moderate brain injury.
Mild brain injury
Brief, if any loss of consciousness
Vomiting and dizziness
Moderate brain injury
Unconsciousness up to 24 hours
Signs of brain trauma
Contusions or bleeding
Signs of injury on neuroimaging
Severe brain injury
Unconsciousness exceeding 24 hours (coma)
No sleep/wake cycle during loss of consciousness (LOC)
Signs of injury appear on neuroimaging tests
Anyone who suspects they have a brain injury should go to the emergency room or contact a physician immediately.
How can you honor Brain Injury Awareness month this year? Consider these suggestions:
Learn about traumatic brain injury. Read about prevention, treatment and how to be a support system for someone dealing with a TBI.
Post your support on social media. Express your support for Brain Injury Awareness Month on Facebook, Instagram Twitter or other social media channels. You may spark your friend’s interest and get them to join you!
Donate. Do some research to find a non-profit or health organization and donate to brain injury research or services. You can use sites such as GuideStar or Charity Navigator to ensure you are donating to a trustworthy organization.
Fundraise. Hosting a bake sale is a good way to raise funds. Not only will you gather funds to donate, but you will also bring awareness with the bake sale itself.
Volunteer at an organization dedicated to TBI. Monetary efforts are not the only way of giving to TBI services and those affected by it. Lend a helping hand to an organization that serves those with traumatic brain injury.
Help an individual or family in need. For many, dealing with a TBI is a life-long process. If you know anyone who is caring for a loved one that experienced the trauma of a TBI, ask how you can help. Something that may seem like a small gesture such as providing transportation to the doctor may mean much-needed rest for the caregiver
Share your story. One of the most powerful ways to bring awareness and influence someone regarding an issue is by sharing a personal experience. Aside from bringing awareness to those who have not experienced a TBI in any type of way, sharing your story may help others know they are not alone. You can pass along advice and support to someone who may feel they are alone on their journey with a TBI.
Not only is it important to raise awareness of the dangers associated with brain injuries, sharing knowledge on how to prevent them can be invaluable information. Every nine seconds, someone in the United States sustains a brain injury. The Carlson Law Firm recognizes and is proud to take part in Brain Injury Awareness Month by spreading awareness and providing tips to the public in an effort to prevent brain injury.
One of the first motor vehicle safety lessons we learn in life is to buckle up. We hear it from our parents, cartoons, at school, on road signs and all throughout life. We are all aware that not wearing a seatbelt could result in potentially fatal consequences, including serious brain injury, yet 27.5 million people still do not buckle up.
- Make it a habit to put your seatbelt on and ensure all passengers are also buckled up before you start your vehicle.
- Use an appropriate child safety seat or booster seat and have it inspected to make sure it is installed correctly. An alarming 95 percent of infant car seats have at least one major installation error.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is the third leading cause of motor vehicle collisions.
Never drive while intoxicated or ride as a passenger with someone who is intoxicated.
- If a friend or loved one is intoxicated and wants to get behind the wheel, take their keys. You may be saving their life as well as lives of innocent people.
Studies have shown that wearing a helmet can reduce your risk of a serious brain injury. In fact, helmet use reduces the odds of a head injury by up to 50 percent. Think about it. If you fall off your bicycle or motorcycle while wearing a helmet, the helmet rather than your head and brain absorb most of the energy
- Whether you are riding a motorcycle, cruising on a bicycle, or coasting on a scooter, always wear a helmet that fits. Keep in mind; helmets are designed specifically to an intended activity, so it is a good idea to wear the right style as helmet as well. Check the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines before purchasing a helmet.
- When fastened and tightened, a helmet should not move from side to side or front to back.
Falls continue to be the leading cause of TBIs. Young children and older adults are most at risk of suffering a TBI from a fall. Reduce the risk of falls in older adults to improve their ability to live longer and independently by:
- Ensuring there are hand bars and rails along with adequate lighting on stairs, especially for those who have poor vision or difficulty walking.
- Use double-sided tape to help keep rugs from slipping.
- Install grab bars next to your toilet and in the bathtub and shower along with non-slip mats.
- Make sure your loved ones visit the eye doctor at least once a year.
- Encourage regular exercise as it improves strength, balance and coordination.
It is our duty as parents to protect our children from harm, including potential head injuries. Supervision is key to preventing falls in young children. Whether your child is inside at home or playing outside, they should be supervised at all times around fall hazards. Additional tips to prevent falls in young children include:
- Make your home a safe place for children by putting gates at the tops and bottom of stairs.
- Do not sit children on countertops or other high surfaces.
- Check playground equipment for cracked or broken parts and make sure there is a soft landing surface below such as rubber mulch, sand or wood chips.
Pedestrians are vulnerable to head injuries should an accident occur. Aside from being struck by a vehicle, pedestrians can suffer TBIs in other ways such as a slip, trip or fall due to dangerous conditions on sidewalks or properties.
- Walking distracted is just as dangerous as distracted driving. Avoid looking down at your cell phone while walking, especially when crossing the street.
- Make eye contact with drivers who are stopped to be sure they are aware you are about to cross the street.
- Always walk on the sidewalk, if there is not a sidewalk, pedestrians should walk facing traffic.
- Obey all traffic signs and signals.
- Don’t run into the street assuming you will beat the oncoming vehicle. They may not see you and speed up.
- Only cross on crosswalks or corners.
Taking part in a team sport can be very beneficial as it keeps you physically active and can teach sportsmanship and discipline. On the downside, playing sports puts athletes at risk of head injuries that cause the brain to move quickly back and forth.
- Athletes should wear appropriate protective equipment that fits properly.
- Athletes should understand safe playing techniques and follow the rules of the game.
- Coaches and parents should learn how to detect signs and symptoms of a concussion.
- Athletes with suspected head injuries should not return to play until they are evaluated by a healthcare professional.
Here at The Carlson Law Firm, we understand brain injury victims face life-changing repercussions that cause harm to entire families. Our legal team is committed to ensuring our clients are in the best possible position for long-term relief and will advocate relentlessly until you receive the justice you deserve. If you or a loved one suffered a TBI due to the negligence of another, don’t go another moment without the legal representation of a Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer to protect your rights and future. Contact The Carlson Law Firm today. Our experienced and compassionate lawyers can evaluate your case and help you explore your options for seeking maximum compensation. We care, we can help.
The family of an elderly dementia resident has filed a lawsuit against Tristar Care Center Nursing and Rehabilitation in Fredericksburg, Texas, for its failure to protect the woman from a registered sex offender living as a resident in the facility. The lawsuit alleges that the negligent actions of the staff at Tristar led to the rape of an elderly dementia patient who required round-the-clock care.
Records show that on three separate occasions within a two-week period, a registered sex offender, that Tristar admitted as a resident, targeted and sexually assaulted Ms. Dorothy Gallardo in the privacy of her own room in the facility.
Between July 31, 2017, and Aug. 8, 2017, staff members of Tristar found the resident sex offender in Ms. Gallardo’s room. Each time, his intentions becoming abundantly clear. However, the nursing home and its staff failed to act.
In the first incident, a Tristar staff member found the sexual offender at the foot of Ms. Gallardo’s bed with the privacy curtain drawn. The staff member removed the sex offender from the room and did nothing else. Less than a week later, around 1:30 a.m. on Aug. 6, the same resident sex offender was seen walking out of Ms. Gallardo’s room. Upon entering the room, a Tristar staff member found Ms. Gallardo with her blouse pushed up exposing her abdomen and her underwear pushed under her buttocks. The staff member simply pulled Ms. Gallardo’s underwear up and her blouse down and went on about their business.
On Aug. 8, a Tristar staff member caught the same sex offender in the act of raping Ms. Gallardo. The nursing home removed him from the room and sent our client to the hospital for an exam. They also reported the incident to the police, who still have an on-going investigation.
Tristar Care admitted at least 15 registered sex offenders as residents during Ms. Gallardo’s nine-year stay in the facility.
To add insult to injury, rather than remove the sex offenders from the facility, Tristar asked Ms. Gallardo’s family to move her to another facility because they could not protect her from the registered sex offender. Ms. Gallardo had resided at Tristar for more than nine years. It was her home and she loved it. As a dementia patient, keeping Ms. Gallardo in a stable environment would have been in her best interest. Tristar also asked the families of several other female residents to move their loved ones from their facility for the same exact reason.
“This is an egregious example of nursing home neglect,” says Carlson Law Firm nursing home abuse attorney J.T. Borah. “Ms. Gallardo’s family spent a lot of time trying to find the perfect place for her to live. For nine years, it seemed as if they found it. However, unbeknownst to them, this perfect place was slowly turning into a dangerous place for their sister and aunt and they had no idea.
Eighty-three percent of victims of elderly sexual abuse are in institutional care environments such as nursing homes, according to research untaken by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR), one of the more active coalitions in the evaluation of all types of sexual abuse.
“We send our loved ones into these facilities hoping that they will care for and protect them at all costs. Ms. Gallardo, as an elderly woman, a patient living with dementia, and a long-time resident of Tristar should have received better treatment and more deference than the registered sex offender ended up receiving. But in this case, it appears as if Tristar cared more about the money being generated from their 15 valued registered sex offender residents than the ladies they forced to leave their facility,” Borah adds.
Want to learn more about the current state of nursing homes in America? Listen to our podcast and hear from Nursing Home Abuse Attorney J.T. Borah.
Elder abuse is a growing danger for nursing home residents in the United States. Nursing home abuse is considered a silent condition because no one knows exactly how many of our nation’s elderly are exploited, neglected or abused each year. Evidence suggests that thousands are harmed every day. However, no comprehensive statistics exist for each state reports different and these cases are often underreported.
Being a woman is an inherent risk of elder sexual abuse. Women are six times more likely to be a victim of elder sexual abuse.
Additional factors for nursing home sexual abuse includes residents who suffering Alzheimer’s, dementia or any other form of memory loss or mental impairment. Sadly, these most vulnerable patients are often targeted because the abuser believes no one will believe their complaints. As a result, a resident’s mental impairment will give an abuser confidence that they can inappropriately without consequence.
When a loved one is at-risk for nursing home physical and sexual abuse, it is important to watch for signs of abuse. If you suspect nursing home abuse, contact The Carlson Law Firm. Our nursing home physical abuse experts are ready to discuss your options for civil remedies.
Researchers, lawmakers, and advocates for the elderly continue to address the issue of rape in nursing homes, including the need for better measures for identifying sexual assault incidents and their frequency. One of the primary reasons for concern is the fact that so many crimes against elderly individuals in nursing homes go unreported.
Continuing research indicates that there are several reasons why elderly sexual abuse is underreported, including:
- Elderly individuals are less likely to pursue psychological services following sexual abuse
- Elderly individuals often feel a great deal of shame and are uncomfortable speaking openly about sexual abuse
- Healthcare providers and caregivers often fail to recognize sexual abuse among elderly individuals
- Because elderly individuals often complain of aches, pains, and bruising, it is difficult to diagnose complaints as sexual abuse rather than a common malady of aging
Nursing home sexual abuse can manifest in mental changes in a person in addition to physical indicators.
- Pelvic Injuries
- Problems with walking or sitting
- Contract a sexually transmitted disease (STD)
- Bruises on the genitals or inner thigh
- Bleeding from anus or genitals
- Torn, bloody or stained underwear
- Pain in the anus or genitals
- Panic attacks
- Signs of post-traumatic stress disorder
- Symptoms agitation
- Social or emotional withdrawal
- Inappropriate sexual activities
- Unusual or aggressive sexual activities
- Suicide attempts
If your loved one is showing signs of physical or sexual abuse in a nursing home, contact our firm right away. We can help.
The Carlson Law Firm has more than 40 years of representing vulnerable populations. We are the premier personal injury law firm dedicated to protecting the rights of the injured. We will fight on your behalf to get you the justice you deserve. Nursing home physical and sexual abuse are unacceptable. Call our firm to set up a free consultation with leading nursing home physical abuse attorney, J.T. Borah.
As a team of U.S. aviation experts arrived in Ethiopia to begin collecting data to determine the cause of the Ethiopian Airlines jet crash, the United Kingdom announced that it was grounding all Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes as a precautionary measure. So far, more than 40 countries have grounded the plane. But, both the U.S. FAA and Boeing continue to deny there is a serious enough issue that requires grounding.
On March 10, an Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed shortly after take-off—killing all 157 on board. The diverse mix of passengers included eight Americans.
The MAX 8 is the foremost jet of a new generation being manufactured and sold to many countries. However, the Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday became the second Max 8 to crash within five months. In October 2018, a Lion Air plane nosedived from the skies of Indonesia and into the Java Sea twelve minutes after take off. All 189 passenger and crew members on board the Lion Air flight were killed.
The United States has yet to ground any planes following the latest MAX 8 crash. However, former National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Jim Hall says both Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) should ground the U.S. fleet of 737 MAX 8 jets.
While every country has a civil aviation authority that its own authority to ground planes, a decision to ground these jets from the FAA would have a tremendous influence on other countries.
Currently, there are 74 MAX 8s flying in the United States and 387 flying globally. With 4,661 more of these planes on order, experts are warning that its vital to find out what’s wrong with the planes before they return to the sky.
The 737 MAX is the newest version of the 737, the best-selling airliner of all time. In terms of aviation transportation, the MAX 8 is a relatively new jet. It has been in flying for a little over two years. Since its 2017 debut, dozens of airlines have embraced the MAX 8 for its fuel efficiency and utility for both short and medium-haul flights.
The plane retails from $100 million to $135 million, however airlines typically get deep discounts. Currently, 69 airlines fly the 737 MAX 8 globally with 54 of those airlines operating in the U.S. This includes airline titans Southwest and American Airlines.
It’s too early to know the exact cause of the Ethiopian Airline crash. However, what we currently know is that moments after takeoff, the senior pilot issued a distress call. He was told to return to the airport, but all contact was lost shortly after.
A witness said smoke was coming from the rear of the plane before it hit the ground. Additionally, the witness told the Associated Press that the plane rotated twice before crashing and exploding.
The Lion Air plane that crashed 12 minutes after takeoff in Indonesia is the same style jet that crashed in Ethiopia over the weekend. While it is too soon to say that these planes went down for the same reasons, there is some evidence that the planes experienced similar problems. Both flights experienced drastic speed fluctuation during ascent and both pilots tried to return to the airport after takeoff.
According to reports, moments before the Lion Air crash, technical problems began occurring. The plane crashed moments after the pilot asked to return to the airport. Pilots struggled with the plane’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). The system repeatedly forced the plane’s nose down, despite pilot efforts to correct this.
When Boeing redesigned the 737, the size and placement of the aircraft’s engines altered how the jet handled in flight. For example, the MAX 8 tends to pitch or raise its nose in flight. But if a plane pitches too high, it risks stalling and crashing. Boeing was aware of this and designed an anti-stall system called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). This system is designed to stabilize the plane while in flight and automatically reduce the ‘pitch’ without pilot input.
However, pilots learned only after the Indonesia crash that this may be a flawed system.
The MCAS is fed data through synchronized devices located on the plane’s nose called Angle of Attack sensors. These sensors detect if the plane is pitching too high and adjusts the tail’s stabilizer—the horizontal part of the aircraft’s tail—to level out the plane. However, these sensors can fail and feed faulty or contradictory information to the MCAS. According to a bulletin issued by Boeing in November 2018, when this series of events occurs, it will force the jet into a nosedive.
Pilots can turn the system off. However, if or when the system suddenly activates, it can lead to pilot confusion. Further, according to The Air Current, the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System was not mentioned in the flight crew operation manual. And pilots say they didn’t learn of the system until after the Indonesia crash.
The Ethiopia Air crash renews scrutiny of the MCAS system that began shortly after the Indonesian Lion Air Crash on October 28, 2018.
Losing a loved one in a plane crash can be an unexpected and total upheaval to your life. Airplane manufacturers and airlines have a duty to ensure that all aircraft are safe. These types of cases are time sensitive and require an attorney to get to work right away. Our team works diligently to collect and examine information that can help you hold negligent parties accountable.
If our team determines design or parts defect led to a crash, we can help you with your next steps. We believe every person who has been affected by negligence deserves justice. It is your right to seek legal help, and that is why we are here. Contact a Carlson Law Firm aviation attorney for a free consultation.