Understaffing in Wisconsin Nursing Homes Leads to Neglect

Wisconsin law does set forth a specific number of hours of care that a nursing home should provide each day for residents needing skilled nursing care. Additionally, a portion of that nursing care each day must be provided by a RN or LPN. All too often, Wisconsin nursing homes fail to live up to the plans of care that they are required to create for all residents, simply due to understaffing. When proper staffing does not occur, residents can suffer from a lack of feeding, a lack of appropriate medication, and a lack of sufficient fluids. Furthermore, allowing a resident to go without basic hygiene and left in bed for the majority of the day can rapidly lead to infection, illness, and bedsores.

According to the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, understaffing leads directly to nursing home neglect and abuse. Furthermore, over half of the nation’s nursing homes do not maintain the suggested minimum staffing levels for nurse’s aides. These employees tend to be underpaid and overworked, which leads to a high turnover rate, yet they are responsible for the majority of a resident’s hygiene, despite their lack of skills and training. Nursing homes also tend to be understaffed with more skilled employees, such as RNs, which leads to a lack of supervision for nurses’ aides and skilled care for residents. When residents do not receive the appropriate care in terms of hygiene, feeding, and hydration, serious medical conditions can occur.

Individuals who suffer injuries due to understaffing in nursing homes may have valid legal claims for damages stemming from their injuries. At Boller & Vaughan, we know how to stand up for the rights of those who have been injured at the hands of those who are supposed to be taking care of them. Call us today at (608) 268-0268, schedule an appointment with one of our Wisconsin nursing home abuse attorneys, and learn how we can assist you.


What Are Whiplash Injuries?

Whiplash injuries commonly occur in motor vehicle accidents, and often are at least a partial basis for personal injury claims. An individual’s head and neck are often the parts of the body that are most susceptible to injury, since a narrow spine is the sole support for a much larger head. When the impact of a car accident occurs, the occupant of the vehicle often is thrown back and forth in a violent manner, which causes the neck to act as a whip, forcing the head beyond its normal range of motion. Whiplash injuries also are commonly known as soft tissue injuries, since they tend to affect the ligaments, tendons, and muscles in the neck.

Even in what appears to be a minor car accident, whiplash injury is a possibility. The impact of another motor vehicle, even at a speed of only 30 mph, is more than enough to cause a serious whiplash injury that can have lasting consequences for the affected individual. Symptoms of whiplash can include headaches, neck soreness and stiffness, swelling around the neck, and muscle spasms in the shoulders and arms.

Whiplash can result in neck injuries, injuries to the cervical spine, cervical disc herniation or rupture, and even brain injuries. Therefore, it is essential that you get medical treatment as quickly as possible following any type of motor vehicle accident, even if you initially do not feel as if you have been injured. In many cases, soreness and stiffness of the neck do not set in until a day or more following the accident, which can result in a delay in treatment that exacerbates the medical condition.

At Boller & Vaughan, we know that suffering serious injuries such as whiplash in an auto accident or any other type of situation can be a stressful, emotional, physically painful, and financially draining event. Allow us to take some of the burden of this situation from you and your family by allowing us to handle your personal injury claim, which will allow us to work toward getting you the compensation that you need and deserve. As skilled Madison personal injury lawyers, we are here to help you through this ordeal from a legal perspective, while you concentrate on healing from your injuries and recovering from the financial impact of the accident.











Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

When a loved one dies as a result of the negligent behavior of another individual or business, you or other family members may have the right to file a wrongful death claim on his or her behalf.  Wisconsin Statutes 895.04 sets forth the requirements for a wrongful death suit under Wisconsin law. The executor or administrator of the deceased individual’s estate has the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit, as well as any person who has a right to any damages recovered from the responsible party or parties.

Among the individuals who might be eligible to file a wrongful death suit are the deceased person’s child, parent, or spouse. The priority of these individuals, or the right to claim damages from a wrongful death lawsuit, depends on the situation. If the deceased is a minor child, then his or her surviving parents would have the right to recover damages. If the deceased was married, then the spouse could recover damages; however, if the deceased has minor children, they may be entitled to receive some damages, as well. If the deceased is an unmarried adult with no minor children, then Wisconsin law would dictate the heirs who are eligible to file a wrongful death suit. These individuals might include parents, adult children, grandchildren, or siblings, depending on the circumstances.

The experienced Wisconsin wrongful death attorneys of Boller & Vaughan are here to help you through the aftermath of a motor vehicle crash, no matter how great the damages or injuries may be. We can look into the circumstances surrounding your accident, assess the situation, and evaluate any claims that you may have for damages. We know how to determine fault in a car accident, and build a strong wrongful death claim based on that determination. Contact our office today in order to schedule a free initial consultation about any potential claim that you may have.


Safety Tips to Avoid Motorcycle Accidents

There are a number of factors that make a motorcycle accident much more likely. According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, failing to control a motorcycle, speeding, inattentive driving, alcohol usage, and drowsiness are the most common factors that lead to motorcycle accidents. Since motorcycle riders lack the protective framework of a car, truck, or other passenger vehicle, they are much more likely to be injured in a crash, whether it involves another vehicle or stationary object, such as a tree or telephone pole.  Therefore, motorcycle riders should take some simple precautions in order to reduce their risk of injury from collisions.

Motorcycle riders always should wear protective gear, including a safety-approved helmet. One out of every five motorcycle crashes results in head or neck injuries. These injuries can be very severe and even fatal. Wearing a helmet helps reduce the risk of head and neck injuries. Furthermore, most motorcycle crashes tend to happen when riders are only traveling a short distance, which is also when riders are least likely to wear a helmet. The safest policy is to wear a helmet every time you ride, no matter how short the distance. Additionally, other protective gear, such as boots, gloves, full-length pants, and long-sleeve jackets, also help protect other parts of your body in the event of a wreck.

You also should take other basic precautions, such as the following:

  • Wear visible clothing so that other drivers always can spot you.
  • Communicate with other drivers by using your turn signals and brake lights as needed.
  • Allow enough space between you and other vehicles, especially when passing.
  • Slow down, especially when rounding curves.

Boller & Vaughan are experienced Madison personal injury lawyers who know Wisconsin law and know how to effectively represent your interests in any personal injury claim that you might have, whether it involves a motorcycle, semi-truck, or a passenger vehicle. Call our office today and learn how our attorneys can help ensure that you receive the compensation in your case to which you are entitled.





What Kinds of Damages Are Available in Wisconsin Personal Injury Cases?

When you file a personal injury case in the state of Wisconsin, your goal is to obtain compensation for your losses suffered as a result of the negligent actions of another person or entity. The types of compensation that are potentially available to you in a personal injury case are based on Wisconsin law. Probably the most commonly claimed type of damages is referred to as compensatory damages. This type of damages is designed to compensate you for the actual financial losses that you suffered as a result of your injuries. Compensatory damages might include compensation for wages or salary that you lost due to your injuries, as well as compensation for medical bills related to your injuries. These medical bills might include the costs of hospitalization, emergency transport, doctor’s visits, tests and lab work, and physical therapy.

Another type of damages that is potentially available in a personal injury case is pain and suffering. This type of damages is not measured in dollars like compensatory damages. The idea behind pain and suffering is to compensate you for the physical and mental trauma that you suffered as a result of your injuries. A related type of damages is loss of companionship or consortium, which simply refers to your inability to be intimate with or spend time with your spouse or family due to your injuries.

Finally, a personal injury case rarely involves a claim for punitive damages, but they can be relevant in some cases. These damages are reserved for the worst type of negligent, reckless, or intentional behavior that causes an incident that leads to your injuries.

As this post indicates, there are a number of types of damages available in a personal injury case, which may differ substantially depending on the details of your case. For more information about how to properly handle your personal injury claim, contact the Wisconsin personal injury lawyers of Boller & Vaughan today.








Teen Driving Habits: Research From the CDC

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), young people between the ages of 15 and 24 constitute only 14% of the U.S. population, but they make up 30% of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries to males, and 28% of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries to females. This amounts to some $26 billion in motor vehicle injury costs.

In 2013, the most recent year for which statistics regarding teenage drivers are available, over 2,100 teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 were killed and over 243,000 were injured in motor vehicle accidents. In 2013, males between the ages of 15 and 24 had a motor vehicle death rate that was almost twice the rate of females in the same age range. Furthermore, the risk of a motor vehicle crash increases with the number of teenager passengers that a teenage driver has in his or her vehicle at any given time.

Aside from the presence of other teenage passengers, there are various other factors that increase the risk of motor vehicle crashes among teenage drivers. Some of these factors include the following:

  • Teens underestimate hazardous driving situations.
  • Teens tend to speed and allow a shorter distance between vehicles than is recommended.
  • Teens often drink and drive and have a very low rate of seatbelt usage.
  • Most accidents involving teens occur on weekends and in the late afternoon and evening hours.

When you or a family member suffers serious injuries from a motor vehicle crash or any other type of accident, and another’s negligence caused the accident, you may 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 set up an appointment with one of our Wisconsin personal injury attorneys, and see what we can do for you.



What is the Abuse of Individuals at Risk Act?

The Abuse of Individuals at Risk Act, which is located at Wisconsin Statutes 940.285, is a Wisconsin state law that is designed to penalize those individuals who abuse any individual at risk, which can include both an adult and an elder adult. With a few exceptions, this law provides that any person who intentionally, recklessly, or negligently subjects an individual at risk commits a criminal offense. If the person’s actions result in death, the person can be charged with a Class D or Class C felony, depending on the person’s level of intent. On the other hand, if the actions lead to great bodily harm, the crime is a Class F felony. If the actions are likely to cause great bodily harm, the crime is a Class G or Class I felony, depending on the level of intent. Actions resulting in bodily harm may be either a Class H or Class I felony, again depending on intent. Finally, if a person’s actions are not likely to cause bodily harm, then the crime is a Class B misdemeanor.

It is important to note that the Abuse of Individuals at Risk Act does not apply to staff members at residential care facilities, such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities. There is a separate statute, located at Wisconsin Statutes 940.295, which provides for criminal penalties in these situations.

Boller & Vaughan knows elder abuse law and has the experience to help you through any type of elder abuse claim. No matter what type of nursing home facility abuse or neglect is at issue in your case, we can help. All too often, residents and their families are reluctant to demand justice for situations that occurred in the resident’s care. In this situation, you can count on your Madison elderly abuse attorneys to guide you through every step of the personal injury claims process.



Choking Injuries in Nursing Home Residents

Nursing home residents are often more susceptible to choking injuries than individuals in the general population. For instance, nursing home residents may suffer from certain neurological conditions that may adversely affect their ability to swallow, such as a stroke or brain injury, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, or muscular dystrophy. Certain cancers, as well as radiation treatments, can make it difficult or impossible for an individual to swallow. Likewise, one of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease may be difficulty in chewing and swallowing. Finally, aging itself may make it more difficult for an individual to swallow, simply because so many muscles are involved when an individual tries to swallow.

Neglect by nursing home staff often can lead to choking injuries for residents, as well. Some residents may need close supervision whenever eating or drinking in order to avoid the risk of choking. Staff may need to change the form or type of nutrition that a resident receives in order to minimize the chances of choking. Furthermore, staff will need to give special consideration to residents who are dependent on breathing tubes, in order to avoid brain injury and even death.

The effects of choking can be swift and severe. Even a short choking episode can lead to the patient’s air supply being cut off, which, in turn, can cause permanent brain damage. Longer episodes of choking may even lead to death.

The nursing home abuse lawyers of Boller & Vaughan pride themselves on advocating on behalf of clients who have been injured in some way, whether it be through choking, suffocation, or another type of incident. We can seek compensation for you through the legal claim process, while you and your family can concentrate on healing, recovering from any trauma that you might have experienced, and moving on with your life. Don’t hesitate to call our office today and learn how we can help.





Medication Errors and Assisted Living Facilities in Wisconsin

Medication errors for residents of assisted living facilities can have a devastating impact, in that they can result in serious injuries or even death, depending on the severity of the error. In fact, medication errors tend to plague the entire medical community, not just nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Problems with correctly administering medications are compounded by the fact that residents may not be cognizant of which medicines and what dosages they are supposed to have in a given day. They may be completely reliant on staff members to administer the correct type and amount of medications. Furthermore, chronic understaffing of residential care facilities can lead to even more mistakes as staff members struggle to keep up with every resident’s medication schedule, along with all of the other duties of their jobs.

There are a number of types of common medication errors that may occur in Wisconsin assisted living facilities. These errors include things like splitting or crushing pills that are not designed to remain whole, failing to give resident adequate nutrition or fluids when required to take certain medications, or administering the wrong type or dosage of medication altogether. Staff members who are not paying close attention when giving medications to residents may inadvertently mix them inappropriately, or allow a resident to swallow a pill that is designed to be placed under an individual’s tongue and dissolve.

If you or a loved one is seriously injured as a result of a medication error, or your family has suffered the loss of a loved one to a medication error by assisted living facility staff, you may be entitled to compensation. This inquiry involves determining which party or entity was at fault for the accident, acted negligently, or otherwise caused the medication error that led to your injuries or your loved one’s death. At Boller & Vaughan, our Madison assisted living facility neglect lawyers can help you with these determinations, and support you through any personal injury or wrongful death claims that you may have.





What are the Typical Kinds of Car Accidents That Lead to Personal Injury Claims?

Car accidents occur in many different ways, but some are more likely than others to generate personal injury claims. First, a traffic accident that leads to a personal injury claim often involves two or more vehicles, rather than one vehicle hitting a stationary object. In order to result in a personal injury claim, one driver must have acted negligently so as to cause the crash, which, in turn, led to injuries to another person. Particularly when the collision involves two different vehicles, there are many ways that it can occur. One vehicle may cross into oncoming traffic and hit the other vehicle head-on, sideswipe another vehicle, rear-end another vehicle, or hit the side of the vehicle, which is commonly called a T-bone crash.

Another type of accident that commonly leads to a personal injury claim happens when a vehicle strikes a pedestrian or bicyclist. Given the difference in size and power between a vehicle and a wholly unprotected individual, the risk of serious or fatal injuries to the individual is very high. While a bicyclist or pedestrian may contribute to the accident by ignoring the basic rules of the road or acting with disregard for his or her safety, a driver of a vehicle who strikes an individual often will have acted negligently in doing so, which can result in a personal injury claim.

On the other hand, one-car accidents do not lead to personal injury claims in many cases. In these cases, the driver is likely the one who sustained the injuries, and he or she is responsible for his or her own negligence. One exception, however, is if a business or other entity created a road condition that was unsafe in some way, which then led to the accident. This situation might give rise to a personal injury suit. Another type of scenario involving only one vehicle is where a drunk or speeding driver causes an accident that injures a passenger in his or her own vehicle. In this case, the injured passenger might also have a personal injury claim against the negligent driver.

As this post illustrates, there are many different circumstances that can lead to a motor vehicle accidents that results in injury to another person. Boller & Vaughan are Wisconsin motor vehicle accident lawyers who dedicate their practice to protecting the interests of the injured and their families. Call our office today to set up your free consultation and learn what options are available to you.





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