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.

 

 

 

 

 


Do I Have a Right to a Jury Trial in My Personal Injury Case?

Individuals who are pursuing a personal injury claim often ask whether they are entitled to a jury trial in the event that their claim must go to court for resolution. Both in federal court and in many state courts, including the state of Wisconsin, the constitution guarantees an individual’s right to a jury trial in a civil personal injury case.

Most personal injury cases arise from tort law, which is a common law claim. The Seventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution safeguards your right to a jury trial in a civil case that involves a common law claim. If you properly request a jury trial, you are entitled to have your claim heard by a jury rather than just by a judge. A jury consists of community members whom the attorneys involved believe are not biased toward either you or the other party, including the insurance company. Jury members listen to all of the evidence presented by both sides of a personal injury claim and then make a decision based on the judge’s instructions about the applicable laws that relate to the claim.

There are some exceptions to the right to jury trial in civil cases, and there may be both advantages and disadvantages to proceeding to a jury trial. With that said, in the state of Wisconsin, it is personal injury claims that most frequently proceed to a jury trial. On the whole, however, less than five percent of personal injury cases go to trial; the vast majority of personal injury cases are settled before the case ever reaches the courtroom.

While some personal injury claims may seem relatively straightforward to you, there is the likelihood that the insurance company handling your claim will do everything possible to minimize the payout on your claim. The Madison personal injury attorneys of Boller & Vaughn will meet with you at no cost in order to the facts relevant to your situation. Once we have heard all of these facts, we can evaluate your claim and the settlement offer that you have received from the insurance company, if any. We will assess your claim and place a value on it in order to get the maximum payout to which you are entitled from the insurance company. Take the first step and call our office today to set up your free consultation with one of our Wisconsin personal injury lawyers.

 

 

 

 


What Are the Different Types of Assisted Living Facilities?

Assisted living facilities in the state of Wisconsin include Community-Based Residential Facilities, Adult Family Homes, Adult Day Care, and Residential Care Apartment Complexes. Wisconsin residents who need some level of care monitoring services, but who do not need or want 24-hour access to nursing care services, may reside in assisted living facilities.

A Community-Based Residential Facility (CBRF) is a residence designed for five or more unrelated individuals who live together in a community setting. These individuals receive care, treatment, or services that are above the level of room and board, as well as up to three hours per week of nursing care. Individuals who reside in a CBRF should not require more than an intermediate level of nursing care. Residents of a CBRF must be at least 18 years of age, and CBRFs may house as few as five to as many as 257 individuals.

A Residential Care Apartment Complex (RCAC) is an independent apartment complex where five or more adults live. Each unit must have a separate, lockable, entrance and exit, a stove or microwave, and individual sleeping, living, and bathroom areas. A RCAC may contain five to 109 individual units or apartments, and can be connected to or physically a part of a larger nursing home or CBRF. The average RCAC contains 36 units.

Adult Day Care (ADC) is a daily program that provides the elderly and other adults with certain services when their primary caregivers are at work or need relief from their caregiving duties. ADC staff provides a group of adults with assistance in activities of daily living, supervision, and protection, as needed. The services that an ADC provides may include personal care, provision of meals, medical care, medication administration, transportation, and social activities. ADCs may operate in family homes, free-standing centers, churches, schools, and senior centers.

An Adult Family Home (AFH) is a facility that houses adults who are over the age of 18 and unrelated to the operator or administrator of the facility. The care, treatment, and services provided in an AFH are above the level of room and board, and may include up to seven hours per week of nursing care. The state of Wisconsin regulates three and four-bed AFHs, whereas individual counties regulate one and two-bed AFHs. An AFH may house older individuals, persons with dementia, individuals with developmental or physical disabilities or mental health problems, individuals suffering from traumatic brain injury, AIDS, or alcohol or drug dependency, as well as correctional clients, pregnant women in need of counseling, and the terminally ill.

We are the Wisconsin abuse lawyers whom you can turn to if you suspect or become aware of abusive actions taken toward your loved one while residing in an assisted living facility. Regardless of the complexity or difficulty of your situation, the Madison injury attorneys of Boller & Vaughan are prepared to advocate on behalf of your loved one and hold assisted living or other long-term care facilities responsible for any abuse that has occurred.


What is the Ombudsman Program and How Does It Work?

In accordance with federal law, the State of Wisconsin has established a Board on Aging and Long Term Care, which consists of seven appointed board members, agency staff, and an executive director/state ombudsman. The purpose of this Board is to advocate on behalf of long-term care consumers, inform these residents of their rights, and to educate the public about long-term care and related issues. This agency also has created the Ombudsman Program, which is a valuable resource for long-term care consumers and their families throughout the state of Wisconsin. The Ombudsman Program is designed to protect and promote the rights of long-term care consumers so that they can achieve their expected quality of care and life.

The Program serves all consumers of long-term care facilities who are ages 60 and older. These consumers include residents of any nursing home, Community Based Residential Facility, Residential Care Apartment Complex, or Adult Family Home, as well as anyone using the services of the community Options Program or the Family Care/Partnership/PACE program. You can contact the Ombudsman Program for a number of reasons, including the investigation of complaints about the long-term care services that a consumer is receiving. The Ombudsman also can mediate and resolve issues regarding long-term care services, and provide information about resident rights and concerns related to abuse and abuse prevention. There is a regional Ombudsman that serves all Wisconsin counties. You can identify your regional Ombudsman by looking at this state ombudsman coverage map, or by calling the Ombudsman Program toll-free at 1-800-815-0015.

At Boller & Vaughan, our nursing home abuse and neglect 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 abuse and neglect in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes. 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 that took the neglectful and abusive 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.

 

 


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