Can I Sue Someone if I Slip and Fall?

A slip and fall accident can be a source of a personal injury claim, depending on the circumstances. While some slip and fall incidents that result in injuries are simply accidents that are not anyone’s fault, there are situations in which a slip and fall occurs directly as a result of someone else’s negligence. When that occurs, the injured person may have a claim for damages against the responsible party.

In most slip and fall cases that involve a personal injury claim, there is a dangerous or hazardous condition that exists at the time of the accident. It is not enough to randomly slip and break your ankle on an otherwise safe surface. Rather, there must be some identifiable danger that the owner of the property didn’t sufficiently or quickly remedy. For example, there must be a spill, uneven flooring, ice, or some other hazard that contributes to the slip and fall.

Additionally, in order to have a valid personal injury claim based on a slip and fall accident, there must be some negligence by the property owner that directly led to the accident. For instance, a property owner generally must put up an appropriate barricade or warning sign if there is a hazardous condition on his or her property. If a property owner knew about a spill or missing floor tiles that conceivably could pose a hazard to anyone walking by, and the owner does nothing to either remedy or at least warn pedestrians of the potential danger, then the property owner may be liable for any accident and injuries that occur as a result.

Boller & Vaughan are Wisconsin personal injury lawyers who are devoted to protecting the interests of injury victims, as well as their families. When another individual has acted in such a manner that causes you harm, such as failing to clean up a spill on the floor of a business open to the public, 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.

Boating Accidents and Fatalities

Boating is a common recreational pastime for many individuals in the state of Wisconsin, who have access to Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, and the Mississippi. In addition to summer holiday weekends, when scores of boats are on the water, Wisconsin residents are free to enjoy the Great Lakes on any warm, sunny day, whether they are jet skiing, tubing, water skiing, or simply cruising along on a leisurely pontoon. Nonetheless, all boat owners and their passengers must take care to avoid the hazards that are ever present on the water, particularly in high-traffic areas and during busy holiday weekends. The primary boat safety rule that everyone on a boat should observe is that everyone wears life jackets every time, no matter the circumstances.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), despite the safety rules that most boaters follow, there still were 108 boating accidents involving 154 vessels in the state in 2016. These accidents resulted in 74 injuries and 21 fatalities. While the number of boating accidents declined slightly from 2014 and 2015, in there were 117 and 115 accidents, respectively, the number of accidents in 2016 is still much higher than it was in 2013, when only 87 boating accidents occurred. The number of fatalities in 2016 was exactly the same as the number of fatalities in 2015. Therefore, while there has been some small improvement in the number of boating accidents occurring on Wisconsin waterways, there still is much room for improvement.

When a boating accident or any other type of serious accident occurs and causes injury to anyone, the injured individual may have a claim for damages under Wisconsin law. However, determining the cause of the accident that led to your injuries 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 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.

Study Urges Nursing Homes to Listen to Patients’ Family Members

A recent study by UK-based researchers indicates that the family members of skilled nursing facility residents may be the key to eliminating unnecessary hospital admissions. Their research, which was published in the Journal of clinical nursing, revealed that it is often the observations of family members that lead to an accurate assessment of a resident’s health. When family members were involved with their loved one to the extent that they could detect changes in the residents’ health conditions and inform facility staff about those changes, the facility could provide better care to residents. Furthermore, when facility staff listened to family members, the resident was more likely to avoid an unneeded hospital stay.

Family members are an integral part of a loved one’s long-term care plan, and long-term care facilities should use the valuable information that they can provide. With the advocacy and involvement of family members, staff members at skilled nursing facilities are better able to care for their residents. Family members may be more cognizant of subtle changes in a resident’s emotional or physical condition that might necessitate treatment or medication than a staff member who has known a resident for only a short period of time. By having this valuable information sooner rather than later, staff members can head off health problems before they become so serious as to require hospitalization. Residents also can receive quicker treatment of problems as they arise, which can lessen periods of pain or discomfort.

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 abuse and neglect attorneys of Boller & Vaughan, and see what help we have to offer you.

What if I Suspect a Loved One is Being Abused in a Nursing Home?

The Division of Quality Assurance (DQA) of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has the responsibility of ensuring that Wisconsin residents are healthy and safe. If you ever believe that a nursing home or other long-term care facility has violated state or federal laws or that a health care provider committed any type of abuse or neglect, you have the right to file a complaint with DQA.

If you have a complaint about a nursing home, you should contact your regional DQA office. You also can file a complaint online by emailing DQA at Complaints also can be made by calling the DQA’s toll-free number, 1-800-642-6552. To make a complaint against a particular caregiver about a specific incident or pattern of behavior, including nurses, nurse’s aides, and doctors, you can contact the Caregiver Intake Unit of DQA at (608) 261-8319.

If you suspect that a loved one who is over the age of 60 has been the victim of abuse, you can call your County Help Line for assistance. You can find information about your county’s elder abuse agency here. It is the responsibility of elder abuse agencies to record complaints, investigate complaints, and report incidents of abuse to the proper local and state authorities. Keep in mind that abuse is not limited to physical abuse. You can and should still make a complaint if the abuse is emotional or financial in nature.

If your loved one has suffered abuse or neglect at the hands of a caretaker, whether in a home setting, nursing home or other healthcare facility, you may have a valid personal injury claim. This type of situation makes it essential to contact your experienced Madison elder abuse attorneys in order to protect your rights and obtain the financial relief that you deserve. Certain individuals have an obligation under the law to report suspected abuse or neglect of an elderly individual or nursing home or other facility resident. Those who fail to do so must face the consequences of their actions. Hold negligent Wisconsin care providers responsible for their actions. Contact Boller & Vaughan today and learn how we can help you.

What are the Differences Between Nursing Homes, Other Care Centers?

There are a number of different options when it comes to medical care and assistance with activities of daily living for senior citizens, depending on the level of care needed. Fortunately, there are different types of facilities that offer varying levels of care that older individuals and their families can choose from.

Assisted living facilities house individuals who need some level of care, monitoring, and services, but who can live relatively independently. Individuals who live in assisted living facilities do not need 24-hour nursing care. Assisted living facilities allow individuals to continue to live independently while still receiving some care and monitoring.

A Community-Based Residential Facility (CBRF) is a type of assisted living facility where five or more unrelated persons who are over the age of 18 live together in a community setting. CBRFs are often senior-based communities, but they also may offer housing for adults with developmental disabilities, mental health problems, and physical disabilities. The type of care available at CBRFs is above the level of room and board, and may include up to three hours per week of nursing care per resident.

Nursing homes are residential facilities for five or more adults who need access to 24-hour nursing care, whether it is limited nursing care, intermediate nursing care, or skilled nursing services. Individuals in nursing homes are unable to live independently or even semi-independently. In most cases, nursing home residents have medical problems that are significant enough that they require constant nursing care.

No matter which type of long-term care facility is right for you or your loved one, you have the right to expect quality care and protection from abuse and neglect. Unfortunately, some facilities do not provide the quality that you expected, which can result in abuse or neglect of its residents. We are the Wisconsin abuse lawyers to whom you can turn if you suspect or become aware of abusive actions taken toward your loved one while residing in any type of long-term care facility, including nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and CBRFs. Regardless of the complexity or difficulty of your situation, the Madison long-term care abuse and neglect 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.

Americans Often Feel Rushed in Choosing Nursing Facility

The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society recently published a study by researchers at Brown University. The study found that older adults often feel rushed and unprepared when they must choose a skilled nursing facility following a hospitalization.  The experience overall was generally negative; doctors and health-care providers offered little guidance or education, discharge planners at hospitals merely provide names and addresses of potential facilities, and the patients often were rushed through the process of choosing a facility. Since unexpected emergencies led to hospitalization most of the time, quick decisions about facilities were often necessary. In most cases, patients made their choice of facilities either the day before or the day of their discharge from the hospital. When combined with a total lack of information about their options, patients often chose facilities based on location rather than quality.

The study suggests that health care workers, and hospital discharge planners, in particular, familiarize themselves with available facility options so that they can better guide patients and their families to a facility that will meet their needs and desired quality of care. Ensuring that workers are familiar with these facilities could lead to patients having a more positive overall admission experience. According to the study results, the combination of an emergency hospitalization and a short period in which to make decisions about nursing homes created a mostly unfavorable experience overall.

Deciding between different long-term care facilities can be a difficult and time-consuming decision. Above all, you really want your loved one to be safe and well-cared for, no matter what option you choose. 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 these individuals 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 toward 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.

Nursing Home Deficiencies Drop, but Staff Numbers Still Low

A new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that while the average number of deficiencies in nursing homes has dropped in recent years, staffing levels are still falling short of the recommended levels. The study looked at data from 2009 to 2015. During this timeframe, the average number of deficiencies in general declined. There was a larger decrease from 2009 to 2013, and then a small increase between 2013 and 2015. Still, in 2015, more than one-fifth of facilities had a deficiency indicating actual harm or immediate jeopardy. The most common types of deficiencies include infection control, accident prevention, sanitation, and quality of care in general.

On the other hand, staffing levels remained fairly stagnant. There was a slight increase from 2009, in which total nursing hours averaged 3.9 per resident day, to 2015, in which total nursing hours averaged 4.1 per resident day. These levels of staffing still did not rise to the level suggested by some experts, who indicated that the target staffing goal should be 4.55 nursing hours per resident day.

The report detailed some other findings, as well, that relate to current conditions in nursing homes. For instance, the study found that nursing staff still may not be receiving adequate training to properly care for residents with higher needs, or those with behavioral issues. Although nursing home capacity has remained relatively flat, occupancy rates in nursing homes declined slightly between 2009 and 2015. However, the number of for-profit companies operating nursing homes increased slightly from 2009 to 2015.

You entrust your loved one to a nursing home or other long-term care facility with the intention that staff members will properly care for him or her. When that facility’s staff members fail to provide your loved one with an even basic level of reasonable care, it is likely that negligence occurred, which may make that facility and the guardian 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. Contact our Wisconsin nursing home abuse attorneys at Boller & Vaughan and learn what we can do for you and your family.

Thousands of Medicare Beneficiaries at Risk for Opioid Abuse

According to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services, there are grave concerns about the possibility of opioid abuse among about half a million Medicare beneficiaries in the United States. These seniors receive large amounts of painkillers, such as hydrocodone, codeine, and oxycodone, with almost 90,000 Medicare Part D enrollees at “serious risk” of opioid abuse. The OIG recently released a report detailing these findings, as well as airing its concerns about questionable prescribing practices among at least 400 healthcare providers.

Nonetheless, there is a consensus that in appropriate cases, health care providers should and do prescribe painkillers to patients in order to lessen the pain of a debilitating medical condition. Using opioids as prescribed can help some elderly people maintain a relatively independent level of functioning. The ability to care for one’s self and not be totally reliant on others can be a powerful tool in avoiding illness and a general decline in an individual’s overall medical condition.

While most people have heard of the opioid crisis rising to unprecedented levels in America today, you may think of the elderly as individuals involved in that crisis. However, the OIG report tells a different story. With roughly one in three Medicare Part D enrollees receiving a prescription opioid in 2016, senior citizens are just as at risk of drug dependency and abuse as other individuals. Additionally, senior citizens using large amounts of opioids are at a higher risk of confusion, falls, adverse drug interactions, and broken bones, which can definitely lead to a declining medical condition.

The opioid epidemic is a major issue in many long-term care facilities today. Don’t allow a negligent healthcare provider to unnecessarily medicate your loved one. The Wisconsin healthcare injury attorneys of Boller & Vaughan know how to stand up for the rights of those who have been injured at the hands of those individuals and institutions who are supposed to be caring for your loved one. We will help you hold the perpetrators financially responsible for their actions. Contact us online or call (608) 268-0268 to set up an appointment for us to assist you with your legal needs.

Motorcyclist Seriously Injured in Fitchburg Crash

Fitchburg law enforcement officers reported that a motorcyclist suffered serious injuries in a crash that occurred last month. While this crash involved only a single motorcycle, motorcycle accidents involving other motor vehicles continue to occur across Wisconsin and the nation, especially during the warmer summer months.

All too often, motorcyclists become the sudden victims of traffic accidents, for a variety of reasons. Other drivers, and particularly those of large trucks or other motor vehicles, often fail to see motorcycles in their blind spots or fail to allow them sufficient room on the roadway. Motorists who do not obey speed limits and make dangerous traffic maneuvers also are a common cause of motorcycle accidents.

The reality is that a motorcycle is no match for a motor vehicle, even if the vehicle is a relatively small car. While the driver of a motor vehicle is surrounded by a steel frame, a motorcyclist has no barrier between him and the road or another vehicle. Likewise, motor vehicles have safety features that motorcycles are not equipped to have. Most notably, seatbelts and airbags are wholly absent from motorcycles, simply because the vehicle is too small to have them. While some protective gear is available for motorcyclists, such as helmets, boots, and protective clothing, those items cannot live up to the standard of protection that seatbelts provide. Ironically enough, while seatbelts are mandatory under Wisconsin law, motorcycle helmets are not. As a result, many riders go without helmets or any protective gear at all, especially in warm weather.

At Boller & Vaughan, we are motorcycle injury lawyers who pride ourselves on representing the rights of those individuals who have been injured or killed in motorcycle and other motor vehicle accidents. The devastation of losing a loved one can be overwhelming and traumatic; a long recovery from extensive injuries also can be a very difficult situation for you and your family. Allow us to handle the legal aspects of your situation, while you and your family focus on the healing process. Contact our office today to set up your free consultation.

Nursing Home Employee Accused of Cyberbullying Alzheimer’s Patient

ABC News recently reported on the criminal charges that authorities have filed against one nursing home employee who is accused of verbally abusing a patient with Alzheimer’s Disease by using Snapchat. Authorities charged the woman with being a peeping tom after she and another employee were caught posting a video on Snapchat of their verbal abuse of an 82-year-old woman and resident of the facility.

Following the incident, the facility reportedly fired the employees and, after checking the residents for any signs of physical abuse, found that no such abuse occurred. The employees told law enforcement officers that they were just being “funny.” The patients involved allegedly cannot remember the incident due to their physical and mental health conditions.

Civil lawsuits also have arisen from this and other similar incidents at the nursing home in question. One such suit seeks to hold the home liable for the allegedly wrongful death of the woman in the incident above. In their suit, the woman’s family claims that the Snapchat video led her to develop a debilitating ulcer that caused her a permanent decline in health. The suit also contains a claim that the nursing home failed to establish and maintain an effective infection control system in the home. Another suit regarding a different patient claims that the home is guilty of negligence and fraud for failing to adequately care for the patient, as a staff member attempted to videotape the woman while partially clothed and then uploaded the resulting video to Snapchat.

The Wisconsin long-term care abuse lawyers of Boller & Vaughan know how to protect your loved ones’ rights, no matter what the situation may be. Our law firm handles these cases on a regular basis and is experienced in advocating on behalf of clients just like you. We are here to help you fight back against any healthcare facility that causes harm to your loved one, and get any compensation to which you are entitled, regardless of the circumstances involved in your case. Please contact us to arrange your free consultation and learn how we can help.

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