What is Adult Protective Services?

In the state of Wisconsin, the purpose of Adult Protective Services is to help older adults when they have suffered abuse, neglect, or exploitation. In many cases, the individuals who benefit from Adult Protective Services are those who are developmentally disabled, suffer from a degenerative brain disorder, are seriously mentally ill, or have another type of incapacity. The goal of Adult Protective Services always is to keep these adults safe from abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation, prevent deterioration, and stop the adults from hurting themselves or others.

In general, Adult Protective Services may refer to a county agency who has been assigned the duty of protecting adults in that particular county or geographical area. Adult Protective Services are legally authorized to provide the following types of services for the residents that they serve:

  • Conducting outreach and education
  • Identifying adults at risk
  • Counseling and referral for services
  • Coordinating all necessary services
  • Tracking at-risk adults and conducting follow-ups
  • Performing social services and case management
  • Offering legal counseling or referrals, particularly for guardianship
  • Conducting diagnostic evaluations

Adult Protective Services attempt to address all different types of abuse, including physical abuse, mental abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse, unreasonable confinement or restraints, and treatment without consent. Neglect, whether it be self-neglect or neglect by a caregiver or facility, also is a focus of Adult Protective Services.

The experienced Wisconsin personal injury attorneys of Boller & Vaughan are here to help you and your loved ones through the aftermath of abuse and neglect experienced by some of the most vulnerable members in our society. No matter how grave the injuries or death of your loved one may be, we can look into the facts and circumstances surrounding your claim, evaluate your likelihood of recovery, and determine the best path to follow in any legal claims that you may have. We know how to build a strong case of abuse and neglect against those who were charged with caring for you loved one. Take a moment to contact our office today and schedule a free initial consultation about any potential claim that you or your loved one may have.




Drugged Driving Report From Wisconsin DOT

The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports in its 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health that ten million individuals over the age of 12 reported driving after consuming drugs in the prior year. Men and young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 are more likely to use drugs and then drive than other groups. The most common drug found in drivers’ systems is marijuana, followed by prescription drugs.

Drugged driving is very dangerous because different drugs can have different effects on a person’s body and driving behavior. For instance, marijuana consumption may slow a driver’s reaction time, adversely affect judgment, and decrease coordination. On the other hand, consumption of cocaine or methamphetamines can result in aggressive, reckless driving behaviors. Finally, some sedatives and opiates can cause excessive drowsiness and dizziness, neither of which are helpful to safe driving.

Wisconsin is no exception to the nationwide trend of drugged driving, which can result in crashes causing injuries or even death. Under Wisconsin law, the penalties for drugged driving can be severe. If a driver has any amount of a controlled substance in their system, then he or she can receive the same penalties as a drunk driver. Plus, if a driver is under the influence of any drug – even a prescription or over-the-counter medication – to the extent that he or she is unable to drive safety, he or she also may be guilty of drugged driving. In addition to the criminal penalties for drugged driving, an individual who causes an accident while under the influence of drugs also is likely to be financial responsibility if the accident results in harm to others.

Whether your injuries result from a drugged driving crash, drunk driving accident, or an incident caused by another type of wrongful behavior by another driver, the Madison personal injury lawyers of Boller & Vaughan know how to effectively represent your interests. We will determine there are any personal injury claims that may be available to you, and help you choose the best course of action for you and your family to get compensation for your losses. Call our office today and get a better understanding about how our attorneys can help ensure that you obtain the maximum compensation that is possible in your case.




What is Subrogation?

When another party acts negligently and causes an accident in which you sustain injuries, you may think that the other party’s insurance company should pay for your medical bills as they accrue. In practice, however, this rarely occurs. Rather, your health insurance company and auto insurance company, if applicable, will pay its portion of your medical treatment and expenses that are related to your injuries in the accident. However, if you receive a personal injury settlement or award after a trial, your health insurance and auto insurance companies typically have the right to recoup the medical costs that they paid out for you. This is the insurance company’s right of subrogation.

A right of subrogation is usually written into the terms and conditions of your insurance policy. While the language of this provision may vary from policy to policy, the meaning of the provision is the same. If you are injured and receive payment for your injuries from a third party, a subrogation clause will require you to repay your insurance company for any expenses related to your injuries that they covered.

There are two basic types of subrogation. Common law subrogation requires you to pay back your insurer after receiving a personal injury settlement or award only if the amount of money that you receive makes you “whole.” This means that the financial settlement or award puts you back in the same position as you were prior to the accident that caused your injuries. Arguably, then, if the money you receive does not make you whole, then your insurance company should have a reduced right to subrogation, or even no right to subrogation at all.

Insurance plans that fall under the Employee Retirement Security Income Act (ERISA), however, are different. While provisions may vary from one plan to the next, ERISA plans generally require that any funds that they expended on your behalf be paid back in full from the financial settlement or award that you receive. With an ERISA plan, you have much less room to negotiate a lesser payment to your insurer.

Subrogation can be a difficult legal concept for injury victims to understand and process. Having a skilled and experienced injury lawyer on your side to help you navigate the legal system is an essential piece of obtaining compensation for your losses. For more information about how to properly handle your personal injury claim, contact the Wisconsin personal injury lawyers of Boller & Vaughan today.

Government Considers Mandatory Sleep Apnea Testing for Certain Drivers

A March press release from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and Federal Railroad Administration stated that they are gathering input from the public on the impact of screening, evaluating, and treating rail workers and commercial motor vehicle drivers for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). These agencies are taking this action on the recommendations of the National Transportation Safety Board.

Studies estimate that over 22 million individuals could be suffering from undiagnosed OSA, which is a respiratory disorder that involves a reduction or cessation of breathing while sleeping. OSA also can cause an individual to inadvertently fall asleep and suffer from deficits in attention, concentration, memory, and ability to safely avoid or handle hazards. One result of this increased government focus on OSA is the recommendation that doctors or other healthcare professionals who measure the physical qualifications for individuals seeking to become commercial vehicle drivers should refer those individuals with respiratory issues for further evaluation and treatment. In order to qualify prospective drivers, healthcare professionals must be listed on the agency’s National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.

The federal government will continue to solicit and receive public feedback on the possibility of mandatory OSA screening and treatment for commercial truckers, bus drivers, and railroad workers through July 8, 2016. Although sleep experts laud the suggestions as essential to promote public safety and the wellbeing of commercial operators, other associations have criticized the proposal, citing insufficient evidence between OSA and higher rates of commercial vehicle crashes and the high costs of sleep apnea testing. The U.S. government has not decided, or at least not made public, whether the proposed screenings would apply to existing drivers, or whether the screening would affect a prospective driver’s ability to get a job.

Regardless of the issues that led to the motor vehicle crash that harmed you or your family member, you may very well have a personal injury claim under Wisconsin law. Call Boller & Vaughan today at (608) 268-0268, or contact us online at www.bollervaughan.com in order to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Wisconsin personal injury lawyers. Don’t give up on your losses without a fight for what you deserve from those responsible for your injuries.

Is Snapchat’s Speed Filter to Blame for Car Wrecks?

NBC News recently reported on a personal injury lawsuit filed in Georgia that concerns Snapchat’s speed filter. The suit, which lawyers filed on behalf of man who suffered permanent brain damage in a car crash, alleges that the social media platform’s speed filter led to the crash that caused his injuries. The injury victim has sued both the other driver involved in the crash and Snapchat. The suit alleges that the other driver increased her speed to more than 100 miles per hour in order to post an image of herself going fast on Snapchat. The speed filter available on Snapchat allows users to post such images in exchange for reward points.

Authorities estimate that the other driver was traveling at a rate of about 107 m.p.h. while driving in a zone with a 55 m.p.h. speed limit when the crash occurred with the victim, who was starting a shift as an Uber driver at the time of the crash. The vehicle crash caused the victim to suffer a traumatic brain injury that left him hospitalized in an intensive care unit for five weeks following the crash. He lost 50 pounds and is unable to work or completely take care of himself.

Snapchat has issued a general statement to the effect that no Snap is more important than an individual’s safety. The company also stated that they discourage usage of the speed filter app while driving, including posting a warning message in the app itself that reads “Do NOT Snap and Drive.” As of the date of the NBC news report, neither Snapchat nor the other driver involved in the crash had responded to the lawsuit.

Boller & Vaughan is substantially skilled in Wisconsin personal injury law and has the extensive experience necessary to lead you throughout the often lengthy and complex process of a personal injury claim. Regardless of the cause of the car wreck that led to your injuries, we know how to help you get the compensation that you deserve. If you are facing this type of situation, you can count on your Madison motor vehicle accident attorneys to help you develop and manage your claim for damages under Wisconsin law.



Pedestrian Traffic Deaths on the Rise

The Governors Highway Safety Administration (GHSA) recently released preliminary 2014 data regarding pedestrian traffic fatalities by state. Nationwide, traffic-related pedestrian deaths have continued to increase over the past ten years. In 2014, Wisconsin had 0.78 pedestrian traffic deaths per 100,000 of the state’s population. While Wisconsin was not one of the states with the highest rates of traffic-related pedestrian deaths, there still have been significant increases in the number of these deaths over the years, especially in the past few years.

For example, a comparison of pedestrian traffic deaths from the first six months of 2014 with those that occurred during the first six months of 2015 showed a 47% increase. More specifically, while there were 15 pedestrian deaths in Wisconsin in the first six months of 2014, there were 22 such deaths in the first six months of 2015. Based on this data for Wisconsin and other states, the GHSA estimates a ten percent increase pedestrian fatalities overall between 2014 and 2015, which is a relatively large increase.

As a result of these figures, the GHSA is recommending that states continue to take steps to protect pedestrians from traffic-related fatalities. According to the GHSA, the most effective of these steps involve further separating pedestrians from vehicles, making pedestrians more visible to drivers, and enforcement efforts to reduce vehicle speeds. For instance, the installation of roundabouts as opposed to stop signs and traffic signals, the creation of speed humps and curb extensions, and automated enforcement all can help reduce vehicle speeds, which, in turn, leads to fewer pedestrian fatalities.

The Madison personal injury lawyers of Boller & Vaughan devote their time to advocating on behalf of clients who have fallen victim to all types of car accidents, whether they are pedestrians, drivers, passengers, or bicyclists. Our job is to seek compensation for you and your family through the applicable legal framework, while you can focus on healing from your injuries and rebuilding your life with your family. Never hesitate to call our office for legal advice and counsel about your situation, so that we make our experience and knowledge work for you.


Sleep-Deprived Teenagers at Increased Risk for Injuries From Car Wrecks

A recent study from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that teenagers who suffer from sleep deprivation are at a greater risk for sports injuries and car crashes. Unintentional injury sustained in motor vehicle crashes is the major cause of death among teenagers. In an examination of risk behaviors in teenagers that led to fatal motor vehicle accidents, such as failing to wear a seatbelt, texting while driving, or drunk driving, the study found that sleep deprivation, or seven or fewer hours per night, led to a significant increase in these risk behaviors. It is typically recommended that teenagers get an average of nine hours of sleep per night, but for a teenager to get less than nine hours of sleep is very common.

For instance, of the teens who reported getting nine hours of sleep per night, almost five percent admitted to drinking while driving in the past month. However, for those teens who reported getting six hours of sleep per night, the percentage of teens who had drank and drove in the past month doubled to ten percent. Plus, for those teens who got only four hours of sleep or less per night, the percentage increased to 17%.

The study attributes several reasons for teenagers tending to get less than the recommended amount of sleep per month. These reasons include the fact that teenagers tend to have poor sleep habits, such as using electronics in the bedroom and engaging in irregular sleep patterns. For example, teens often get up very early during the school week, and then sleep much later on the weekends in an attempt to make up for lost sleep during the week.

If you or a loved one suffers serious or fatal injuries in a motor vehicle accident, you may be entitled to compensation from the party or parties who are responsible for the accident that led to those injuries. In order to develop your claim for damages, we must determine which party or entity was at fault for the accident, acted in a negligent or reckless manner, or otherwise acted in a manner that caused death or injury to your loved one. At Boller & Vaughan, our Madison accident lawyers can help you with this inquiry and carefully guide you through any personal injury or wrongful death claims that you may have against various responsible parties.



Do I Have a Deadline to File a Personal Injury Suit?

A statute of limitations is a time limit for filing a lawsuit. All states have different statutes of limitation for different types of lawsuits. If you do not file a lawsuit before the statutes of limitation expires, then you lose your right to pursue the claim under state law. In the state of Wisconsin, the statute of limitations for a typical personal injury lawsuit is three years. This means that the victim of a personal injury accident must either settle a claim for damages or file a lawsuit in court no later than three years following the date of the accident.

There are exceptions to the statute of limitations in some types of personal injury cases. For instance, if you have a personal injury claim against municipal entity, such as a city or town, you must give the municipal entity written notice of your claim within 120 days of the accident that led to your injuries. Prior to the filing of any personal injury lawsuit against a municipal entity, the victim must provide that entity with a detailed notice of the claim. There also are different statutes of limitation under Wisconsin law for minor and incompetent victims who have suffered personal injuries due to another’s negligence. If an injury victim is under the age of 18 at the time of the accident, the statute of limitations does not expire until two years after the victim turns 18, except for claims against health care providers. Similarly, if a victim’s disability is based on mental illness, the statute of limitations does not expire until two years after the victim is no longer disabled, except that the statute of limitations cannot be extended for more than five years.

Boller & Vaughan are Wisconsin motor vehicle accident lawyers who are devoted to protecting the interests of injury victims, as well as their families. When another driver has acted in such a manner so as to cause you harm, he or she may be responsible for your financial losses. In the case of a personal injury suit, however, there are strict deadlines that you must follow, or you risk losing your right to compensation altogether. Contact our office today to set up your free consultation and learn what legal options we can offer you.




If I Get in a Trucking Accident, Who is Responsible for My Injuries- the Driver, the Trucking Company, or Both?

An accident involving the negligence of a commercial truck driver can be more complicated than an accident with a passenger vehicle, since there is potentially more than one party who is liable for any resulting injuries. It can be difficult to discern if the driver was acting of his own accord in driving the truck, or if the driver was acting in the course of his or her employment. Under the legal doctrine of respondeat superior, a trucking company may be liable for the actions of its employee, and, by extension, liable for the injuries stemming from the accident that the driver caused.

Respondeat superior is the primary legal theory that makes a trucking company financially responsible for the wrongful actions of its agents, including truck drivers. The policy behind this rule is the fact that the risks of doing business include the risk that wrongful conduct will occur. Furthermore, trucking companies, as opposed to individuals, typically have “deep pockets.” In other words, a trucking company typically has the insurance coverage to pay out claims in situations such as this, and can spread out the costs of the claim over the entire business, as opposed to an individual who is likely to only be covered by personal liability vehicle insurance.

There are other parties who also may be fully or partially responsible for the accident that led to your injuries. For instance, the manufacturer of a truck may be liable for damages if equipment failure caused the accident to occur. Likewise, if a company or individual improperly loaded or secured the materials placed on or in the truck, that entity or person also could be financially responsible for the injuries caused by the accident.

When a trucking accident occurs for any reason, and causes injury to a passenger or driver of another vehicle, the injured individual may have a claim for damages under Wisconsin law. However, determining which parties are liable for your losses is not always as straightforward as it might seem, particularly in the case of trucking accidents, in which many potential defendants are involved. Since it may take some time to sort these matters out, and you only have a limited timeframe in which to a file a personal injury claim, you should take immediate action to get legal help. Don’t delay in calling the Madison personal injury attorneys of Boller & Vaughan in order to set up your free consultation today.









How Can an Aging and Disability Resource Center Help Me?

An Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) is a central resource for information and assistance about all aspects of aging and living with a disability. Created by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, ADRCs provide access to a wide range of programs and services for families with aging or disabled loved ones. ADCRC staff can help individuals understand and explore the various long-term care services that are available to them, help them apply for services, programs, and benefits, and access publicly-funded long-term care providers. Individuals living in all counties in the state of Wisconsin have access to a local ADRC.

A primary objective of the ADRC is to match consumers with services that they need. These services may include in-home care, housekeeping, errands, home repairs and modifications, transportation, home-delivered meals, housing, assisted living, financial assistance, legal assistance, mental health treatment, alcohol and drug abuse treatment, respite care, and adaptive equipment. Benefits specialists can help individuals resolve issues related to health care, insurance, and other benefits that they may have difficulty navigating. Staff also can help determine if you are eligible for public or private funding for long-term care, as needed.

ADRC is also an information resource for individuals in need of emergency services, such as those who are at risk of abuse or neglect, losing housing, or going without necessary utilities such as heat, electricity, or water. The organization has the connections and resources in order to avoid what could ultimately be a dangerous situation for an older Wisconsin resident.

At Boller & Vaughan, we are all too familiar with the rampant abuse and neglect that often occurs in understaffed, underfunded, overcrowded nursing homes. We have investigated many allegations of abuse and neglect, including those that have resulted in serious injuries to elderly residents, thus giving rise to a claim for damages against the responsible person and facility. Allow us to look into the background of your situation, evaluate the many options that may be available to you, and help you decide what move to make next. Contact the Wisconsin nursing home neglect attorneys of Boller & Vaughan, and see what help we have to offer you.






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