NHTSA Raises Awareness Through Child Passenger Safety Week

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recognizes Child Passenger Safety Week each September in an effort to highlight the importance of properly buckling up children in the correct car seat for their size and age. According to a 2015 national survey, about 37.4% of children between the ages of four and seven in the United States were not being properly restrained while riding as a passenger in a motor vehicle. The survey also showed that 25.8% were restrained by seat belts, and 11.6% were unrestrained altogether. Plus, 13.6% of children were prematurely moved from an infant car seat to a booster seat.

Furthermore, the survey indicated that proper child restraint usage among Hispanic children between the ages of one and 12 was lower than the national average. The lowest percentage of child restraint usage was among non-Hispanic African-American children between the ages of eight and 12 years old.

Among the events that the NHTSA sponsors are National Seat Check Saturday, during which hundreds of checkpoints are set up to allow parents to ensure that they are using their child restraining systems correctly. Local law enforcement agencies also sponsor educational presentations about the appropriate usage of child restraint systems, as well as car seat registration opportunities so that their owners receive notifications in the event of a recall. Finally, some presentations will advise parents about how to choose proper car seats for their children, including determining when their children are ready to move from infant seats to booster seats.

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.



Multiple Deaths Result From Drowsy Driving

A recent Forbes article highlighted a new report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) showing that an estimated 5,000 people died last year as a direct result of motor vehicle accidents caused by drowsy driving. Furthermore, the willingness and normalcy of drivers foregoing sleep resulted in 83.6 million sleep-deprived drivers on American roads. The cost of drowsy driving to American society is about $109 billion annually, and that figure reportedly does not include the cost of property damages resulting from this type of motor vehicle accident. These statistics undoubtedly helped contribute to the increase in U.S. motor vehicle deaths in 2015, which measured at 7.7 percent nationwide.

As a result of these increasingly common incidents of drowsy driving, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has expanded its definition of impaired driving to include drowsy drivers along with drugged, drunk, and distracted drivers. While some states have begun to initiate educational and outreach programs in order to address the dangers of drowsy driving, most states have not put forth much effort in this area.

According to GHSA, sleep deprivation mimics the effect of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in drivers; after 21 hours without sleep, a driver has the same reaction and reflex time as a driver with a BAC of 0.08%, which is the legal limit in most states. The demographics of drivers who tend to engage in drowsy driving more often tend to be teenagers and young adults. Additionally, people who work irregular shifts or who have sleep disorders also may engage in drowsy driving.

Boller & Vaughan are Wisconsin motor vehicle accident lawyers who are devoted to protecting the interests of injury victims, as well as their families, whether accidents result from texting and driving or another type of negligence. 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.



What is a Tort Under Wisconsin Law?

Under Wisconsin law, a tort occurs when an individual suffers an injury directly due to the breach of a duty owed to that individual by another party, which can be an individual or a business. The ensuing lawsuit or personal injury action allows the injured individual to seek financial damages for his or her injuries. The three main types of torts are negligence, strict or absolute liability, and intentional torts.

Negligence refers to the careless disregard of a person or company for an individual’s safety. This standard of liability is typically used in medical malpractice actions and personal injury cases, such as car accidents or premises liability, or being injured on someone else’s property. Strict liability is a standard used in product liability cases that requires no element of intent. In these cases, a company or individual who makes or distributes a product with a manufacturing defect or fails to warn consumers about a potential defect. On the other hand, intentional torts are those torts that require some element of intent under Wisconsin law. Examples of these torts include assault, battery, false imprisonment, libel, and slander.

All torts, no matter what type they may be, contain four elements: duty, breach of duty, causation, and injury. The party who is at fault for the accident must have owed some sort of duty of care to the injured party. For instance, all drivers owe a duty to other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians to exercise reasonable care in operating their vehicles. In order for a tort to exist, the responsible party must have breached that duty of care by acting in an unreasonable or negligent manner. The responsible party’s action – or inaction – must be the direct cause of the injuries suffered by the victim. Plus, the victim must have suffered actual injuries as a result of the responsible party’s actions.

When an accident occurs and causes injury or death to an individual, the injured individual or the family of the deceased may have a claim for damages under Wisconsin law. However, determining which parties are liable for your losses and quantifying those losses is not always as straightforward as it might seem. 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 or wrongful death claim, you should take immediate action to get legal help. Don’t delay in calling the Madison wrongful death attorneys of Boller & Vaughan in order to set up your free consultation today



Steps to Take to Prevent Elder Abuse

Increasing incidents of elder abuse have brought an awareness of this serious issue to the forefront. As a result, there are several simple steps that anyone can take in order to prevent elder abuse, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse.

Everyone, but especially those who have loved one being cared for by others or in long-term care facilities, should know the signs of elder abuse and neglect. You should frequently visit with and speak to your loved one in order to ensure that the caregivers are providing him or her with the appropriate care. Unexplained falls, bruising, and broken bones might all indicate physical abuse. Likewise, development of infections or other serious medical problems might stem from neglect. Carefully monitor your loved one’s care in order to protect him or her.

If your loved one receives care from a home health aide or private caregiver, ensure that he or she receives respite from caregiving on a regular basis. Everyone needs a break, and caring for an elderly person can be exhausting and frustrating, sometimes leading to abuse.

Get involved in your loved one’s finances to prevent him or her falling prey to scams or other types of financial exploitation. Find out what steps your loved one’s bank or other financial institution take to prevent fraud. Ask the bank manager to train the tellers to spot elderly financial fraud and other similar schemes. Also, ask the director of your religious congregation to educate its members about financial abuse of the elderly and what preventative steps to take.

When long-term care becomes a necessity, you want your loved one to be as safe and cared for as possible. At Boller & Vaughan, we are all too familiar with the rampant abuse that occurs all too often 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 abuse attorneys of Boller & Vaughan, and see what help we have to offer you.


Increased Risks of Abuse for Dementia Patients

The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) has compiled statistics showing that between two and five million elderly individuals nationwide suffer some sort of abuse each year. Abuse can include not only physical abuse, but also sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, and financial abuse. Those individuals who suffer from dementia, however, are at an even higher risk for abuse, simply due to difficulties with memory and other cognitive losses.

Today, about 5.3 million individuals suffer from Alzheimer’s disease in the United States. That number, however, is expected to grow exponentially in the future. By 2030, that number is projected to rise to 7.7 million people, and in 2050, 16 million people. As a result, the risks of abuse must be addressed in order to prevent the steadily growing population of Alzheimer’s patients from suffering the same abuse.

Caregiver burn-out may be a significant factor that results in abuse of dementia patients. Up to 20% of caregivers fear that they will become violent with the patients for whom they care. More importantly, international studies reveal that 34% to 62% of these caregivers abuse their dementia patients. A similar American study produced the same results; 47.3% of the caregivers surveyed abused or neglected their dementia patients in some ways.

About 60% of abuse is verbal in nature, whereas five to ten percent of abuse becomes physical. Another 14% of the abuse that occurs to dementia patients takes the form of neglect.

While some abuse and neglect cases may seem relatively straightforward to you, it can be difficult to get a long-term care facility or nursing home to take responsibility for the injuries that your loved one has sustained. The Madison abuse and neglect attorneys of Boller & Vaughan will meet with you at no cost in order to evaluate the facts relevant to your situation. Once we have heard all of these facts, we can assess your case and determine the best strategy for handling your case. Take the first step and call our office today to set up your free consultation with one of our Wisconsin abuse and neglect lawyers.


Causes of Elder Abuse

According to the National Institute of Justice, there are several different causes of elder abuse. Some abusers may feel that violence is the only way to solve a problem or get a certain income. Others, who are usually caregivers of the elderly person, feel that they don’t receive sufficient benefits from caring for the person, so violence is necessary to get their “fair share.” Abusers may have a personal history of abuse, use abuse to maintain power and control over the elderly individual, or to coerce the person into a certain type of behavior.

The cause of the abuse also can be dependent on the type of abuse that is being perpetrated on the victim. In terms of physical abuse, the abuser is typically a family member, and often an adult child. The abuser is often dependent on the senior citizen, whether due to health, finances, or both, and, as a result, resentful. A sense of family obligation often prevents the victim from cutting off the relationship, reporting the abuse, or getting help.

On the other hand, a neglected elderly individual may have an adult child or relative as a primary caregiver. The individual may justify the neglect by reasoning that he or she must have been a poor parent, and that the now-adult child is right to neglect him or her. The elderly individual may simply believe that he or she does not deserve any better, and is also likely to be physically or cognitively frail or impaired.

Victims of financial exploitation rarely have a trusted person whom they can go to with financial concerns. They may have declining health or cognitive impairment, or feeling that they are losing their independence and freedom. This may make the elderly individuals overly trusting of caregivers who are capable of theft and exploitation of assets.

We are the Wisconsin nursing home abuse lawyers whom you can turn to if you suspect or become aware of staff members’ abuse of your loved one while residing in a nursing home or receiving caretaker services at home. Regardless of the complexity or difficulty of your situation, the Madison abuse attorneys of Boller & Vaughan are prepared to advocate on behalf of your loved one and hold nursing homes, other long-term care facilities, or caretakers responsible for any abuse that has occurred.


Elder Investment Fraud

Investment fraud against the elderly can take many different forms, including unsuitable investments, fraudulent offerings, unregistered products, unlicensed financial advisors or brokers, and the theft or misappropriation of funds. Unfortunately, certain characteristics of the elderly make them particularly vulnerable to investment fraud. Age, lack of knowledge about technology, and medical conditions can all help contribute to victimization of senior citizens in terms of investment fraud. Older Americans simply may not have the decision-making capacity that they had in the past.

Investment fraud can have a significant effect on senior citizens. Financial losses and insecurities can lead to a lack of proper nutrition, hygiene, and healthcare for seniors. Significant financial losses can completely change the ability of a senior citizen, who is often on a fixed income, to support himself or herself. A lack of funds even can result in the loss of one’s home and basic needs.

Some older Americans are even more vulnerable to investment fraud than others. What follows are some characteristics that could indicate a vulnerability to financial or investment fraud:

  • Social isolation or depression
  • Recent loss of a spouse
  • Totally reliant on others for care
  • Uncomfortable with current care providers
  • Recent changes in ability to care for one’s self
  • Financially responsible for an adult child or spouse
  • Gives power of attorney to another to make financial decisions

At Boller & Vaughan, our financial abuse lawyers want to help protect those who can protect themselves the least. This is why we focus our efforts on protecting those who have fallen victim to financial abuse, whether they are in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities, or have fallen prey to home healthcare workers or private caretakers. We are skilled at investigating your case and assessing your situation in order to decide whether you have any potential legal claims against the facility, company, or caretaker that took the fraudulent actions against your loved one. Don’t hesitate to contact Boller & Vaughan right away and find out how our legal skills can help your family through this difficult situation.




What Does the WI Board on Aging and Long-Term Care Do?

The Wisconsin Board on Aging and Long-Term Care is a state agency that the Wisconsin legislature created in 1981. The main purpose of the agency is to advise the Governor and the Wisconsin state legislature about the different issues that are important to aging Wisconsin citizens, or those who are over the age of 60. The agency also serves as a home for the Long Term Care Ombudsman program and the Medigap Helpline. This Board is designed to protect the interests of senior citizens who live in long-term care facilities.


The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program allows long-term care residents to express concerns or make complaints about their treatment and care. There is no cost to contact the Ombudsman and these services are available in all of Wisconsin’s 72 counties. All complaints and reports are kept confidential by the Ombudsman, so the complaining party will have no fear of reprisal or repercussions from making a complaint. The Ombudsman deals only with complaints relating to long-term managed care.

The types of complaints and concerns that the Long-Term Ombudsman handles include:

  • Violations of rights
  • Concerns about treatment and care while in a long-term care facility
  • Questions about guardianships and advance directives
  • Concerns about decision makers, such as people holding powers of attorney
  • Choosing a residential care setting
  • Accessing local resources like Aging and Disability Resource Centers or Adult Protective services
  • Accessing other community supports, such as the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Alliance and the National Association for the Mentally Ill

You can contact the Ombudsman serving your area by telephone, email, or in person. There are services available for non-English speakers, as well

You entrust your loved one to a long-term care facility so that he or she is properly cared for. When that facility fails to provide your loved one with an even basic level of reasonable care, it is likely that negligence occurred, which may make that facility liable for the resulting injuries. If you find yourself in this situation, you may be entitled to compensation for the losses that you or your family member has suffered. Call our Wisconsin nursing home abuse attorneys at Boller & Vaughan and learn what we can do for you and your family.



Celebrate the Holidays – Safely

During the recent holiday season, Wisconsin roadways were crowded with shoppers and travelers visiting family and friends. Individuals often celebrate the holidays from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day with more drinking and partying than usual. When combined with predictably wintry weather, the results can be disastrous.

In order to stay as safe as possible during the holidays and at any time of the year, you should strongly consider taking the following precautions:

  • Keep a full tank of fuel at all times.
  • Carry an emergency kit in your car, including a blanket, extra warm clothing, jumper cables, non-perishable snacks, water, a shovel, a flashlight, matches, candles, and an ice scraper.
  • Ensure that someone always know when you are leaving, where you are going, and when you should be arriving at your destination.
  • Carry your cell phone at all times, and keep it fully charged with a car charger.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Be on the lookout for erratic drivers, bad road conditions, preexisting accidents, and other unsafe situations.
  • Stay home when the weather warrants it. No celebration or night out is worth getting in an accident.
  • Avoid driving after consuming any amount of alcohol, which can decrease your reaction time and slow your reflexes. If you’re going to drink, get a ride home from someone else.

Other commonsense driving tips are to leave early for your destination, and don’t rush if you’re late. You will be more likely to speed or be distracted if you are running late and trying to hurry. Check the weather forecast before you go, and be aware of any construction that is currently on your intended driving route.

The experienced Wisconsin accident 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 personal injury or 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.



Consumer Protections for Wisconsin Senior Citizens

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection publishes the Wisconsin Senior Guide, which provides education for senior citizens about how to avoid common financial scams and opportunities for exploitation. Wisconsin law also provides harsher punishments for those who financially exploit or take advantage of the elderly or disabled persons. Courts can impose additional penalties of up to $10,000 for violations of consumer protection laws, including false advertising, mail order scams, home improvement schemes, false vacation offers, and motor vehicle repair scams. Additionally, the guilty party can be ordered to pay restitution to the victim in the amount of the money that he or she wrongfully took from the victim.

Wisconsin also operates a Do Not Call Registry, which is available to all residential telephone customers in the state of Wisconsin. Registering your telephone number with this program can reduce the amount of telemarketing calls and scams that may target senior citizens. While the Do Not Call Registry will not prevent all telephone scams, it is one step that you can take to protect yourself from financial exploitation.

Another good way to prevent financial scams is for you or a trusted loved one to review all of your bills on at least a monthly basis. Scammers can hack into credit card accounts, bank accounts, and even phone bill accounts to take advantage of individuals. With today’s increasing technology, these security breaches have become very common, which can result in substantial financial losses.

Wisconsin state law also allows a three-day right to cancel most credit transactions and cash sales valued at $25 or more, so long as the transactions occurred away from the seller’s normal place of business. These transactions include transactions like door-to-door sales, telephone solicitations, online solicitations, and purchases that occur at conventions or expos.

Individuals who have fallen victim to financial scams, exploitation, and other unscrupulous individuals may have valid legal claims for damages under Wisconsin law. The Wisconsin abuse attorneys of Boller & Vaughan know how to stand up for the rights of those who have been injured, and how to hold those who exploit the finances of senior citizens responsible for their actions. Call us today at (608) 268-0268 and set up an appointment for us to assist you with your legal needs.



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