Compassionate Chicago Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Offers Advice

Nursing homes are centers that offer care for the elderly, individuals suffering from dementia, and those who need a safe, comfortable living environment. According to the U.S. Bureau of Census, five percent of the 65 years and older population currently reside in nursing homes. As of 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that there were 15,600 registered nursing homes in the state, housing 1.4 million residents.

As the aging population continues to increase, nursing homes are starting to become overrun. Many have their resources stretched thin, and new facilities are opening their doors to take the overflow. Unfortunately, with so many new nursing homes opening each year, it is hard for state regulators to monitor them or inspect them – thus increasing the chances for injury, improper care, and even wrongful deaths.

Nursing home abuse around the country and in Chicago is becoming more prevalent than ever. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a nursing home, you have rights. You can hold the nursing home responsible for the injury and help prevent the same acts from occurring to other residents.

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What Is Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?

Nursing home abuse takes numerous forms:

  • Outright Abuse – Outright abuse can be emotional, physical, or sexual. It involves a caretaker who purposely causes harm to the patient.
  • Physical Neglect – Physical neglect occurs when caretakers deprive their residents of specific needs such as failing to ensure proper hygiene, lack of assistance while toileting, not repositioning the patient’s  bodies, and allowing bed sores to form.
  • Medical Neglect – Providing limited medical care or lack of medical care entirely. This includes failing to give prescription medications, providing poor access to care, or failing to treat an illness or infection.
  • Lack of Assistance – Sometimes negligence focuses on the lack of assistance such as not providing an immobile patient with help eating, drinking, or moving. This also includes failing to answer patient requests for assistance even after a patient cries out for help.

Do You Know the Warning Signs?

Most cases of nursing home abuse go unnoticed. Statistics have shown that 44 percent of residents have been abused during their stay in a nursing home, and not all these cases are reported to law enforcement.

Some signs of abuse or neglect that family members need to be aware of include:

  • poor personal hygiene identified by the resident being unbathed, dirty clothes, dental problems from poor oral health, or rashes from unchanged adult diapers.
  • emotional outbursts or sudden changes in their mental health without explanation.
  • signs of dehydration and malnutrition.
  • unexplained bruises, lacerations, bed sores, rashes, and other injuries.
  • changes in their psychological health, including becoming depressed or anxious for no reason.
  • bedsores present on immobile patients, especially around the hips, ankles, and back.

How Are Nursing Homes Held Liable for Injuries?

Nursing homes must provide the standard of care that is expected of them. These standards are higher than the average person providing care to a loved one, because nursing homes take a fee in return for skilled providers to care for family members.

When injuries occur because of outright abuse or neglect, the nursing home is held negligent under one of the following legal theories:

  • Negligent Supervision and Care – Nursing home caretakers have a duty to their patients. They must not only provide them with reasonable care, but also prevent potential injuries. That means ensuring the premises is safe, giving extra assistance to patients that need it, ensuring proper diet and hydration, and ensuring basic needs are met. When a staff member fails to provide this level of care, the nursing home can be held liable for failing to supervise or care for their patients properly.
  • Negligent Hiring and Retention Practices – Nursing homes are required to hire properly trained staff. They also must monitor that staff, train them when new protocols or regulations arise, and prevent unnecessary amounts of turnover. When a nursing home has a high turnover rate, the chances of abuse or injury increase for the residents.
  • Negligent Maintenance – Sometimes it is not the caretaker, but the facility. Leaving floors wet or slick, having cluttered hallways, not complying with the ADA rules, and other poor maintenance practices could lead to serious injuries. Nursing homes are responsible for ensuring their premises are safe, and that any potential hazards are corrected before they cause a serious injury.
  • Assault and Battery – If a patient is physically assaulted by his or her caretaker, the nursing home and the caregiver could be liable in civil and criminal courts.
  • Contract Violations – When you put a loved one in a nursing home, you sign a contract. The contract ensures that you will pay the nursing home and lists the services and level of care your loved one will receive. When injuries occur because of abuse or negligence, the nursing home almost always has violated these contracts – thus, making them liable.

Who Do You Report Nursing Home Abuse To?

If you suspect abuse or neglect, you need to report it quickly. You have three main avenues to take:

  • Reporting to the IDPH – Report the suspected abuse by filing a complaint with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). IDPH is responsible for monitoring and enforcing all nursing home regulations in the state, and they have a hotline specifically for nursing home claims at 800-252-4343.
  • File a Lawsuit – You can also speak with a nursing home abuse attorney and file a lawsuit in civil court. Lawsuits not only open an investigation into the nursing home, but they are the only way that you can recover damages for your injuries or the injuries to a loved one. These damages can include medical costs, returning the costs paid for nursing home care, pain, suffering, and more.
  • Filing a Complaint with the Police – When abuse or a wrongful death occurs, contact law enforcement immediately. The prosecutor may seek criminal charges against the nursing home itself or the caretaker suspected of abuse.

Meet with a Chicago Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Today

If you or a loved one is injured by a negligent nursing home, it is imperative you speak with an attorney. Contact Malman Law today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. We handle cases involving nursing home abuse, neglect, and wrongful deaths.

Schedule your consultation now at 888-675-9854 or request more information online.

Info From Your Trusted Chicago-area Car Accident Attorney

Thousands of car accidents happen on the roads of Illinois each year. While some cities are prone to higher accident rates, Chicago is surprisingly low on the list. In fact, Chicago ranks 150th for accidents, and most drivers will go eight years between collisions. In the city, a crash is 25.2 percent less likely to occur than the national average.

While you might go well over eight years without an accident on your record, or have never had an accident until now, it is important to know what you should do after a car accident. Acting appropriately could be the difference between receiving the compensation you deserve and having medical bills go unpaid.

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What Are the Most Common Injuries in Chicago Car Accidents?

Car accident injuries can vary and often come down to the circumstances that caused the accident and the speeds at which each vehicle was traveling.

Types of car accidents seen in Chicago include:

  • Rollover Accidents – These can lead to traumatic injuries, including broken bones, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), internal organ damage, lacerations, bruising, amputations, and permanent paralysis.
  • Rear-End Accidents – Rear-end collisions can be just as traumatic, and in some cases victims will have chronic, long-term complications from their rear-end collision. Common injuries in rear-end accidents include whiplash, back injuries, airbag injuries, lacerations, broken bones, and bruises.
  • Head-On Collisions – Head-on collisions often lead to some of the more serious injuries because both vehicles strike at such force in the center of the collision. These accidents can lead to TBIs, internal organ damage, back injuries, nerve and spinal cord damage, lacerations, broken bones, and more.

These injuries, even minor ones, can cost you significantly. Not only will you have the initial medical treatments, but then you will have follow-up care, prescriptions, medical equipment, and other costs that only add to the total medical costs from the accident. Furthermore, you will need time off work to recover from your injuries, which means income missed as probably vacation and sick leave used up. Eventually you may run out of compensation options.

What Should You Do after a Car Accident?

The sooner you act, the easier it will be to prove your claim in court. Injury cases are based heavily on the evidence collected. The more evidence you have showing that the defendant was negligent, the more likely you are to receive the compensation you deserve.

After your accident, here are five critical steps you should take:

  1. Take Photographs – If you can, take photographs of the accident scene. This includes the area where the accident occurred, road and weather conditions, damage to both vehicles, and any injuries to yourself that are present at the accident. When your injuries are too severe, have a friend or family member take the photos for you. Even then, try to take photographs of your injuries at the hospital or home shortly after. Showing the initial injuries will help paint a picture for the claims adjuster or jury regarding how serious they were at the time of the accident.
  2. Collect Information – Write down the name of the other driver, their insurance company, and their vehicle information. If there were passengers in that vehicle, write down their names and contact information too. Then, look for witnesses at the accident scene. You do not need their official statement right away but get their name and contact information so that you or your attorney can reach them later for an official statement.
  3. Be Patient – You will be contacted by the other party’s insurance company quickly. While you might be desperate to pay medical bills or receive compensation, do not accept anything. Also, do not sign any documents from the insurance company until you have talked with an attorney.
  4. Seek Medical Treatment – Immediately after an accident, even if you do not have severe injuries, seek medical treatment. You can go to the emergency room or visit your family physician, but the sooner you receive treatment the easier it will be to prove that your injuries came from the accident. The defense will do what they can to disprove injuries or try to make it seem like your injuries are not as serious as you claim. Therefore, avoid trying to “tough it out” and make sure you are checked out immediately after the incident.
  5. Contact an Accident Attorney – While you are recovering from your injuries, meet with an accident attorney. An attorney can explain your rights, explore options for compensation, and help identify the potential defendants in your case. Furthermore, they know how to negotiate with the insurance company and are more likely to get the settlement amount you deserve.

What Compensation Could You Receive?

When you follow the steps above, you increase the chances of a successful settlement. You might ask “what is in that settlement?” Here are some of the types of compensation you could receive for your case:

  • Economic Damages – These are the basic types of damages that everyone receives because they cover tangible losses like your medical expenses, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket costs.
  • Non-Economic Damages – These damages are harder to calculate because they focus on the intangible losses such as your pain, suffering, loss of consortium, loss of enjoyment, and the permanent emotional and physical effects of a serious injury.
  • Punitive Damages – When a defendant’s behavior is unnecessarily negligent, the courts may allow for punitive damages. These do not compensate, but instead punish the defendant and serve as a reminder to the public of what will happen if they act in a similar manner.

Meet with an Accident Attorney Today

If you or a loved one is seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident, you need to meet with an attorney right away. Contact the accident team at Malman Law to explore your options for compensation. Schedule a free, no obligation meeting today at 888-675-9854 or request more information online.

Motorcycle accidents are by far one of the most catastrophic on the road. With the high speeds and a rider completely exposed to vehicles, elements, and the road itself, the injuries are much more severe than passengers in the vehicle.

If you are injured in a motorcycle accident, you might start exploring your option for compensation. While you were in an accident caused by someone’s negligence, you forgo wearing a helmet. Now you wonder if that helmet will become an issue in court – and whether it will make it impossible for you to receive compensation.

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer here. Instead, it comes down to the evidence and the role your missing helmet played in the accident and injuries you suffered.

What are the Motorcycle Helmet Laws in Chicago, Illinois?

Illinois is one of the few states to have no helmet laws. You can choose whether to wear a helmet on your motorcycle, and you will not receive a citation for not wearing one. There are a few bills in the making that may change this, but as of 2018, there are no helmet laws in place and those that have attempted to pass have failed.

In the past, most states did have a universal helmet law – Illinois included. However, by the 1970s the Department of Transpiration no longer could create financial penalties for states without these laws. As the fines stopped, the laws disappeared too.

It is within your right to not wear a helmet, but not wearing one could result in civil complications – even if you have no criminal complications for that choice.

Motorcycle Laws Only Play a Small Role When It Comes to Lawsuit

Sadly, motorcycle laws only matter if there is a requirement to wear a helmet. If there was a law stating you must wear a motorcycle helmet and you are in an accident without one, you have broken the law and showed a blatant disregard for safety. Therefore, it will be difficult to receive compensation.

In a motorcycle accident in Chicago, there are no laws mandating you wear a helmet. While you might assume exercising your right protects you from being put to blame for your injuries, you would be wrong. Even if there is no requirement, motorcycle helmets can save a life and prevent serious traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Therefore, when you choose to not wear one, the defense will be quick to argue that your choice had caused your injuries and the losses you suffered. The result? Their client may not have to pay for those injuries.

Motorcycle Laws and Your Ability to Recover from Injuries

A motorcycle rider in an accident needs to consider the law, but also how that lack of helmet played a role in their injuries and the compensation they are requesting.

Where Was the Injury?

You were in a motorcycle accident and you have injuries, but where were those injuries? If the only injury you suffered was to your head and neck, but you did not wear a helmet, the defense has a reasonable argument that your negligence played a heavy role in the accident and your injuries.

If you have injuries that not only include your head and neck, then you can still receive compensation, because helmet or not, injuries to your chest, legs, and extremities are not impacted by your choice to wear a helmet.

How Extensive Was the Injury – and Were There More Serious Injuries?

The more serious the injury, the more scrutiny you will receive. For example, you have lacerations and a few broken bones, but these are injuries you recover from quickly. You have a long-term disability now because of the injury to your head. You did not wear a helmet; therefore, the defense will argue that they are responsible for the other injuries, but the long-term complications you suffer from your TBI are not their client’s fault – and the court might agree with them.

On the other hand, if you were to suffer a minor concussion, and your most serious injury was damage to your spinal cord, then you could receive compensation despite your not wearing a helmet. Helmet or not, the injury to your spinal cord would not have been protected by helmet use; therefore, the defense has nothing to argue.

Comparative Negligence – How it Affects Your Settlement

Comparative negligence is a term you will hear often in these types of cases.

Illinois uses the pure form of comparative negligence. Therefore, you can receive compensation when you are partially at fault for your injuries, but the compensation you receive is reduced by your contribution. So, you may receive compensation even if you did not wear a helmet, but the jury would decide how much of your negligence contributed to the injuries.

What is Comparative Fault?

Comparative fault or negligence is what determines who is at fault for an accident and who should pay for what portion of that fault. It determines how the settlement and fault is divided. Some states will bar you from seeking compensation if you are slightly at fault, but Illinois is not one of them.

Using the new modified comparative negligence, your damages are simply reduced by the amount of fault you have contributed. For example, the driver was speeding and texting. You were obeying the rules of the road but failed to wear a helmet. The driver’s negligence obviously caused the accident, but your negligent choice to not wear a helmet contributed to the core of your brain injuries. Therefore, the jury decides that the driver is 80 percent at-fault for the collision, and you are 20 percent at-fault for the rest.

The court awards you $100,000. Then, they reduce your settlement by the 20 percent you contribute, or $20,000. You will receive $80,000 for your compensation.

Options for Fighting Helmet Usage Defenses in an Injury Case

Because comparative fault will play a heavy role in this type of accident case, you need an attorney. Insurance claims adjusters work hard to reduce settlements by looking for every possible avenue. They want to put you at-fault, they want to reduce the settlement, and they will try to allege you are mostly to blame for the accident.

You need an attorney to help find a substantial amount of evidence that will thwart the allegations that your helmet affected your injuries. The two key pieces of evidence your attorney will use include:

  • Medical Testimony – Testimony from a medical doctor is the most powerful evidence you have in these cases. You need a doctor to testify about your injuries, and how a helmet would have lessened them or whether it would have had an effect at all. An expert can show how most of your injuries were not related to your helmet use; therefore, the helmet played no role.
  • Medical Records – Medical records, such as diagnostic scans and doctors’ notes will show your diagnosis, what MRI and CT scans reveal, and where the core of your injuries are located. The more injuries outside of your head and neck, the easier it will be to justify your compensation requests.

When you can prove that the severity of your injuries would not have changed even if you wore a helmet, it becomes easier to fight your case and push the insurance company into a fair settlement.

Ideally, You Should Always Wear a Helmet

You cannot predict other motorists, and no one wants to find themselves in a position where they must fight for compensation because they exercised their right to not wear a helmet. Before your next motorcycle ride, consider the consequences of not wearing a helmet, and keep in mind that you will be pitted against the insurance company who is ready to use their resources so that they can reduce your compensation. then, reconsider wearing a helmet.

Hire an Attorney to Help

If you were involved in a motorcycle accident and you did not have a helmet on at the time, it is imperative you speak with an attorney quickly.

The attorneys at Malman Law are here to protect you from insurance companies ready to claim your negligence caused your injuries. You did not cause the accident; therefore, do not let the insurance company bully you out of the settlement you deserve.

Speak with our team today at 888-305-5043 or request a free consultation online. There is no obligation to meet with us, and you do not pay our attorneys unless we succeed with your case.

Millions of Americans currently collect benefits from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Equally, there are millions who suffer car accidents each year in the country. When you find yourself in both categories, you may wonder if one will affect the other. If you were to receive SSDI benefits, how would that affect your car accident settlement? Would you still receive SSDI if you also receive compensation for your accident and injuries?

Naturally, it is always best to consult with a car accident attorney for these types of issues. SSDI is a complex area of the law and compensation may or may not affect those benefits – dependent on the situation. Therefore, only an attorney can review your case and adequately decide how you could be affected.

How Many People Receive SSDI in Chicago and the U.S. as a Whole?

SSDI payments are given to injured employees, people who are disabled, and even disabled adult children. According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), there are 65 million Americans currently receiving benefits as of March 2016.

Most of these recipients are under Social Security Disability Insurance, which is available for anyone who has worked long enough to receive the credit. Others may receive regular SSI or Social Security Income, which helps provide lower-income individuals with funds because they cannot work from disability.

Right now, the average monthly SSDI payment is $1,160, which is an extensive amount of money paid to an individual. Therefore, you may wonder if you would lose that amount if you also have compensation from a car accident case. To answer this, you must first understand how SSDI works, and how it differs from SSI.

How SSDI Benefits Work

SSDI are benefits paid out to workers who have enough credits earned over the course of their employment years. When you have a disability or condition that is expected to last 12 months continuously, and that condition prevents you from working or performing activities that offer you gainful income, then you could qualify to receive these benefits.

SSDI is not needs-based. Therefore, the benefits you receive are legitimate insurance benefits. Payments are essentially premiums that you paid over your course of working for several years, and they were deducted from your paycheck every pay period. The insurance was there so that if you became disabled, you would receive payments until you went back to work, or you achieved the retirement age, or if the SSA has deemed you no longer eligible.

If you are not working and you have no income, the SSA would not care if you received a settlement in a personal injury lawsuit. They also do not care about how much money your spouse might equally earn, because the SSDI benefits are something you are entitled to because of your disability alone – not your means. You have paid into the trust fund with each paycheck; therefore, you are right to collect ton it.

How General SSI Benefits Work

SSI or Supplement Security Income is different. SSI is not something you pay, and guarantee benefits if you become disabled. Instead, you must be disabled for 12 continuous months, and you will receive wage-based income assistance. To qualify, you must meet the same criteria of SSDI, but your income and assets must be within a specific poverty range. If you do receive a settlement in a car accident lawsuit, it could jeopardize those SSI benefits you receive monthly.

Furthermore, your spouse’s income or assets may affect your eligibility for SSI.

Accepting any type of cash settlement would end your SSI benefits. With that compensation, you would no longer meet the asset test. In fact, assets as low as $2,000 can disqualify you from receiving SSI and your car accident settlement is likely to exceed that amount.

Should You Sue or Just Seek Disability?

If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, you may wonder if you should seek disability payments before filing a lawsuit. After all, SSI pays you monthly, which means consistent income that you can rely on to pay bills and help contribute to your household.

Disability could be your only option if you suffer from a disorder or condition that happened naturally. However, when your disability occurs because of someone’s negligence in a car accident, like a traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury, you could sue that party for their negligence and receive compensation.

Many victims are hesitant about pursuing a lawsuit. they fear that the outcome is too unknown, and there are too many factors at play that could affect their receipt of compensation. Disability insurance is more consistent, and they may feel more comfortable with that route.

Even if the SSA recognizes your disorder as a disabled, that disability insurance payment is often way under the amount you would receive in a regular car accident lawsuit. furthermore, the lawsuit covers compensation that you would not receive from SSI or SSDI, such as:

  • Lost wages
  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of companionship
  • Quality of life changes

You receive SSDI or SSI for a monthly paycheck from the government, but these are not meant to compensate you for losses you incur because of the initial accident.

If you were injured in a car accident, taking the responsible party to court can provide you with more than enough compensation to not only support yourself, but cover costs that you paid out of pocket while you waited for a settlement. You could receive compensation for:

  • Lost wages and future earnings
  • Medical costs paid and future medical costs
  • Nursing home or skilled nursing care
  • Pain and suffering

Social security is strictly for your living wage, and the living wage is often well under what you were making before your injury or what you could have made if you were not injured and continued to work.

What if You are Already Receiving SSI?

If you are receiving SSI, and you find yourself in a personal injury lawsuit, you are at risk of losing those government benefits. This loss can be catastrophic, and the necessary expenses like hospitalizations, surgeries, and therapies are no longer covered. They eat away at the compensation from your accident, and you find yourself struggling financially to move forward.

Luckily, an attorney can help you with these types of instances. Often a special needs trust (SNT) can be used to protect you. These are specially designated trusts for disabled individuals. It allows you to access your settlement through a trust to pay for expenses. While putting the compensation in an SNT, you can remain eligible for SSI, because you no longer have a high-value asset or payout.

Assessing the Pros and Cons

If you are unsure whether you should seek SSDI or compensation in a lawsuit, here are some pros and cons to consider first:

  • Pro: You are more likely to receive a higher compensation value in a lawsuit than SSDI. Look at the average SSDI monthly payment. Then, consider how much your case is worth. An attorney can review your case and estimate what you would receive, then calculate it monthly. For serious injuries and permanent disability after an accident, you receive compensation for the wages you would have earned. You also receive pain and suffering damages, which compensate for mental anguish, physical pain, and emotional suffering. In most cases, you will find the monthly support higher in a lawsuit than filing for insurance benefits.
  • Pro: You are protected long term with a lawsuit. SSDI benefits could be revoked at any time. The moment the SSA feels you no longer qualify, you lose your benefits. Therefore, you could only receive a few months of SSDI and have no income. If you are still suffering from injuries, you could be unable to work, have difficulty finding employment, and be without the compensation you need.
  • Con: Lawsuits take longer and could be drawn out in court. If you apply for SSDI benefits, it will take a few months, but you can receive the payment and back pay once you are approved. A lawsuit can take a few months to a few years depending on the court’s current caseload, the defendant, and the evidence. While it does take time, you will receive compensation for that time you wait, including compensation for medical costs and lost wages you incur while waiting. Therefore, your wait is paid eventually.

Injured and Now Disabled from a Car Accident? Meet with an Advocate

The best way to decide if SSDI or a lawsuit is right for you is to meet with an advocate. The team at Malman Law offers a free, no-obligation consultation. That means you owe us nothing to meet and discuss your options, but also you do not pay our attorneys unless we win compensation in your case.

Call us now to discuss your options at 888-305-5043 or request more information online.

When you look for a nursing home for a loved one, you may be perplexed at the number of options. Today, you have a few senior nursing facilities and deciding on the right one can be a challenge. You know of nursing homes, because those are the more familiar option.

While you may assume there is one type of nursing home, you will soon realize there are two different types. These two are rather distinct; therefore, it is important you understand how skilled nursing varies from nursing homes before selecting one for your loved one.

The terms are often used interchangeably, but these nursing home types are extremely different from one another.

The Regulations Governing Nursing Home Facilities in Chicago

One important difference is how these facilities are regulated. The national government does not have a regulation for nursing homes. Instead, every state’s Department of Health oversees nursing home facilities and combines them with regulators from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). They then work to regulate and oversee nursing homes.

How are Regular Nursing Homes Regulated?

Nursing homes have inspections known as CMS surveys. These are used to look for violations and safety threats to residents. The administrator assesses their received survey and will create a plan of correction for the DHS authorities to review. If they fail to fix what they propose, they may face fines or have their license revoked.

How are Skilled Nursing Homes Regulated?

Skilled nursing facilities are federally regulated. The U.S. Department of Health and CMS take a more comprehensive approach to reviewing and regulating these facilities compared to regular nursing homes. That is because a skilled home has an experienced medical staff including registered nurses and physicians. Nursing homes often have custodial care, which does not require the same regulations.

What is Skilled Nursing Home Care?

Skilled nursing homes are exactly as they sound. They have professionals on-site and there regularly taking care of loved ones. The staff in these facilities are permanent, and they are not brought in as-needed. Instead, you can expect one of the following on-site always:

  • Panel of medical directors
  • Audiologist
  • Licensed nursing
  • Registered nursing
  • Speech and language therapists
  • Vocational nurses
  • Licensed physicians

These professionals are not found in a nursing home regularly. They are available daily to skilled nursing home residents, and they will provide them with a safe, comfortable environment that caters to their disability, illness, or just complications associated with aging.

Skilled Nursing Care in a Home

Sometimes, skilled nursing home care is done at the patient’s home; instead of a facility. These services are provided by registered nurses or therapists. The service must be prescribed by a physician to have the services covered by Medicare – or at least a portion of it.

Skilled Nursing Care in Assisted Living

Some assisted living facilities will offer skilled nursing care. When registered, residents will have a care plan created by a licensed, registered nurse and the team at the facility will follow that plan. They have personal care and nursing staff there around the clock, but the supervision is not as in-depth as a regular skilled nursing home facility.

What is a Regular Nursing Home?

Traditional nursing homes do not provide specific types of services to specific patients. Instead, they provide generalized custodial care. Residents in a nursing home still receive excellent care, but that care is not medically focused. Therefore, nursing homes are best for residents who need assistance, but do not have specific medical needs.

A nursing home does not have a limit on how long a resident can stay either. Skilled nursing home does. Medicaid and Medicare do not pay for nursing homes; therefore, there is no financial assistance or limitations in that respect.

Nursing homes are often a permanent residence, while skilled nursing care is used temporarily. In some cases, skilled nursing homes can be used for end-of-life care, but it depends on the patient’s situation.

Because the service is less medical-based, the services your loved one would receive at a typical nursing home include:

  • Help with daily hygiene needs
  • Providing meal services
  • Offering housekeeping
  • Providing general care
  • Assisting residents with mobility issues
  • Offering transportation
  • Assisting with toileting
  • Helping patients dress

Nursing homes provide adults with daily care and assistance so that they are safe, healthy, and happy. The care is often customized to the resident’s level of mobility and special medical needs.

Medical Coverage for Both

The biggest difference between skilled nursing care and nursing homes is the coverage. Medicare and Medicaid do rely on 24-hour care for residents as a medically necessary cost and part of coverage. However, they do not cover every aspect.

Paying for nursing home options often relies on a person setting up long-term care insurance policies beforehand. Sometimes, these facilities are paid for from a savings account where money was set aside to pay for long-term care.

Most residents use Medicare or Medicaid. These programs look at the resident’s income and assets, then determine if they fall within the state-assigned limits.

Skilled Nursing Receives Medicare and Medicaid

Skilling nursing facilities are regulated by Department of Health, while nursing homes are not. Therefore, they have regulatory requirements and Medicare personally ensures these facilities meet qualifications. The care at a skilled nursing home, such as medical attention, physical therapy, and administering medications requires more skill. Medicare will cover treatment in a skilled nursing facility for up to 100 days. Some seniors stay longer, but if you must stay past the 100-day mark it will be from your own pocket or other long-term care insurance policies.

Medicare does not cover traditional nursing homes, because they lack the regulations that skilled nursing facilities provide.

Skilled Nursing Care is Short-Term

Another key difference is the longevity. Skilled nursing homes are not meant for long-term care. Instead, a resident will stay there until they are medically able to move back to a traditional nursing home. For example, a patient is released from the hospital and may be prescribed skilled nursing until they recover from an illness and then can move toward long-term nursing home care once again.

Residents may also move from a nursing home into a skilled nursing facility for a short period recovering from an injury, illness, or surgery. Then, after they have been rehabilitated they move back to their original nursing home.

What if a Resident Needs Long-Term Skilled Care?

Some skilled nursing homes offer long-term care. After all, there are some residents who may not be expected to recover enough to move back to a traditional nursing home. In these instances, you would want to see if the nursing home you pick offers skilled care long-term or if they are a short-term care facility.

Most long-term care facilities will have respiratory therapists and other services on-site. Long-term facilities are typically combined with a nursing home so that they can care for patients longer than the short period of a typical skilled nursing home.

Safety and Hazards in Skilled Nursing Homes versus Typical Nursing Homes

One key difference to note is the risk factor. A skilled nursing home is subject to heavy scrutiny by the state and federal government. They must meet specific regulations, inspected regularly, and hazards are caught and corrected faster than a typical nursing home.

State nursing home inspections, unfortunately, understate the issues found in nursing homes, including present dangers. While government oversight has seen improvements over the past few years, the health and safety violations of state nursing homes are still astounding and unacceptable.

Therefore, if you are looking at a typical nursing home, make sure you research the inspection history, complaints, and choose one that puts themselves above the minimum state-required standards for health and safety.

The New Inspection Process

A new inspection process was initiated November 28, 2017. However, it may take a few years for all nursing homes registered to undergo the new inspection due to the sheer volume of nursing homes in the country.

The findings from inspections for one year will not be used to calculate the star rating of nursing homes. And ratings may not always reflect the most recent inspection until the government can catch up on all inspections. However, these new health and safety inspection requirements are designed to reduce the number of neglect and abuse cases in typical nursing home facilities as well as skilled nursing homes registered in Illinois and the rest of the country.

When Abuse or Neglect Happens, Contact an Attorney

Despite your efforts to research and find the right facility, your loved one suffered a serious injury or illness due to neglect or abuse. You can hold that nursing home accountable and prevent the same from happening to others by reporting it and contacting an attorney at Malman Law.

Our team will advocate for your loved one, help you receive the compensation you deserve, and protect others from receiving similar treatment.

To get started, meet with one of our advocates today by calling 888-305-5043 or request a free consultation online today.

Every year on May 9th children around the country are encouraged to ride a bike to school or even get in a walk. Your child may come home with a flyer about the event if their school participates.

Riding a bike to school is an excellent way to get in some exercise, avoid traffic, and reduce emissions. The first National Walk to School Day was held in 1997, and the National Bike to School Day came in 2012. Since then, these events have been repeating themselves to show children the joy and independence they get from walking or biking to school each day.

If your child plans to participate in the event, you will want to brush them up on some essential bicycle safety tips.

Cycling Safety is a Must for Chicago Residents

Cycling to work or school is healthy, gets you out in the fresh air, and even squeezes in exercise. However, that ride means you will be sharing the road with motor vehicles, and not all drivers exercise caution when sharing the road with bicycles.

In 2015, there were more than 1,000 bicycle rider fatalities, and over 467,000 injuries in accidents. Certain groups are at higher risk for injury or fatal accidents. Adults between the ages of 50 to 59 were at the highest risk for a fatality in a bicycle accident, while children between the ages of five to 19 were at high risk for serious injuries. Adolescents, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, account for one-third of bicycle accidents reported.

Most fatalities occur in urban areas and not in the intersection like you would think. Therefore, these catastrophic accidents can occur in your seemingly quiet neighborhood.

Whether you are riding alongside your child, they are with friends, or they are going to bike alone, make sure everyone in your household brushes up on bike safety basics so that this Bike to School Day on May 9th will be one that is accident-free.

Tips for Staying Safe while Riding a Bike in Chicago

It does not matter if your child is riding two blocks or 20. Now is the time to brush up on smart, effective safety tips that could make a difference later.

Always Wear a Helmet

Not all cities or states require that bicycle helmets are worn, but they can be the difference between a serious accident with long-term disabilities and an accident one fully recovers from. Right now, Chicago is in a big debate whether a helmet is useful in a crash.

There are pros and cons to their use. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 70 percent of cycling fatalities occurred because the rider was not wearing a helmet. A person without a helmet is 14 times more likely to be involved in a fatal bike accident too. Other advocates feel that the helmet is only part of the picture. If a cyclist wears a helmet, it might protect their head. However, that does not mean they should forgo all other safety tips or even ride recklessly assuming the helmet will save them no matter what.

What is the Helmet Law in Chicago?

Right now, adults and children have a choice whether to wear a helmet. It is rare for a city not to require a person under the age of 18, but it is up to the parent if they want their child to wear one. The only people legally mandated to wear a helmet in Illinois are bike messengers and delivery services that utilize bicycles. The rest of the population can choose.

Regardless of the law, it is in your child’s best interest to wear a helmet while riding their bike to school. Make sure the helmet is the appropriate size (most are sized by age for children). Have them try it on and ensure there is a snug fit, but not too tight. The helmet should cover their head, but not be so bulky that it covers their line of sight.

Make sure your child knows how to clasp the helmet too. Wearing a helmet will do nothing if it is not secured in place.

Ride on the Sidewalk (When You Can)

Children can ride on the sidewalk in some areas of the city. However, if your child is riding on the sidewalk, they are required to obey all pedestrian signs and signals. That means using designated crosswalks, waiting for motor vehicles to stop, and so forth.

Also, if your child is riding his or her bike on the sidewalk, they are required to look for pedestrians and yield the right of way to them. They can slow down and pass those walking, but they must alert them of their presence.

Know the Pavement Markings

If your child rides on the road, they need to know the pavement markings and what they indicate. All riders on the roadway are required to obey similar laws to vehicles, including yielding at stop lights and stopping for pedestrian traffic.

Make Sure Your Child Knows the Traffic Lights

Traffic signals tell motorists and cyclists when they can go and when they must stop. A cyclist must stop at a red light with vehicles. If they have a yellow they can proceed through with caution but should look for vehicles that may be speeding through to catch the light. If the light is flashing red, they must stop, look all ways, then proceed across.

A light flashing yellow means that cyclists and motorists must slow down before passing through with caution.

Ride One to a Bike Only

While it might be tempting to let a friend hitch a ride, two to a bike made for one is never safe. Riding with more than one person makes it hard to balance the bike, come to a stop and the passenger can block your child’s view.

Always Keep Both Hands on the Handlebars

Whether it is horseplay or fidgeting with something, the moment a hand is removed from the handlebar is becomes harder to control the bike or press the brakes – which could save a life. Always have your child wear a backpack so that his or her hands are completely free for their bike. Also, they should ride slower on wet or bumpy roads so that they can control the bike easier.

Make Sure the Bike is Ready

Even if your child rides their bike every day, bikes need maintenance just like motor vehicles. The bike needs reflectors, a well-oiled chain, inflated tires, and the brakes checked. Make sure the brakes are working and replace the pads if they seem bumpy, make weird noises, or your child notices the bike doesn’t stop as quickly as it once did.

One area people forget to check is the handlebar and seat. Make sure both are at the proper height and securely attached.

Ride with Traffic; Not Against

Your child should know to ride with traffic always. That means alongside the vehicles. Going against traffic can draw vehicles in toward the rider rather than keep them away.

Be Aware of the Weather

Check the weather before riding that day. If the roads are going to be icy or slick, consider taking your child to school. If they need to ride, make sure they have the right gear to ride in those conditions. While it might be daytime, they need more reflective gear in poor weather to ensure vehicles see them.

Also, they need waterproof jackets and backpacks so that they do not arrive at school soaking.

Ride in Groups

See if your child has some friends in the neighborhood who will also ride their bike. Children are more likely to be seen by motorists when they are riding in a group then solo. Even a group of two is more visible to motorists than one bike.

Avoid the Distractions

Today, we live in a society that is driven by electronics. Whether it is a digital music player or cellphone, these distractions are not just affecting motorists; they affect riders too. Make sure your child knows to not ride distracted, be aware of his or her surroundings, and always make eye contact with drivers to ensure they are doing the same.

Was Your Child Injured?

If your child was injured while riding to school or just riding their bike around the neighborhood, you may be entitled to compensation for those injuries. Speak with an attorney today from Malman Law and let our team discuss your options and your rights.

Schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today at 888-305-5043 or request more information online.

Traffic accidents, including motorcycle accidents, happen daily in the United States. However, what one person experiences could be entirely different from another. Even in the same accident, one person could have a traumatic emotional response, while the other walk away emotionally unscathed. In some instances, the emotional trauma does not show up for days or even weeks, but that emotional scarring is so severe that it affects your everyday life.

For those with severe emotional trauma, they may be diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is not diagnosed with normal emotional responses either, such as guilt, anger, or even minor depression following a motorcycle accident. Instead, it is reserved for those psychological symptoms that are so strong they impede your ability to live your life.

Chicago Motorcycle Victims Could Experience PTSD

One study found that PTSD is a severe psychological consequence associated with catastrophic motor vehicle accidents and motorcycle collisions. They found that PTSD was prevalent in instances where there was an actual or threatened death, severe injury, or a threat to a person’s body – leaving them disabled.

PTSD versus Normal Post-Accident Emotional Responses

What is important to realize here is that there are rational post-accident responses, and then there are the symptoms of PTSD. PTSD is much stronger, and the anxiety of it affects your quality of life. Typically, the post-traumatic response will fade over time, but when the feelings do not go away, or you notice them intensifying, you should seek immediate medical attention.

PTSD can change how you act, think, and interact with loved ones. The feelings are so strong that they get in the way of your everyday lifestyle. Some problems associated with PTSD include, but are not limited to:

  • Ongoing, general anxiety that is not relieved.
  • Anxiety about getting into the vehicle or driving a car.
  • Refusing to have medical tests or procedures performed.
  • Excess worry, unreasonable anger, and irritability.
  • A feeling that you are no longer connected to people who were not in the accident.
  • Memories, on-going nightmares, and constant hauntings of the accident.
  • Difficulty sleeping or suffering from severe insomnia.

PTSD Affects A Person’s Life

If you do have PTSD after a motorcycle accident, it will impact your life rather significantly. Motorcycle accident victims could:

  • Re-experience the crash in their head. The accident might have happened weeks or months ago, but it feels as though it was yesterday. You may have flashbacks, nightmares, or scary thoughts continuously during your recovery that makes you relive it over again.
  • Becoming hyper-aroused and stressed. Everything sets you off. You cannot have a conversation, hear a car drive by, or even go to the grocery store because you are on edge, stressed, and irritable. You have difficulty concentrating, eating, and you may be unable to sleep most nights.
  • You avoid situations. Anything that reminds you of the accident you now avoid, including vehicles, motorcycles, doctor’s offices, and more. You also lose interest in things you once loved, such as riding a motorcycle ever again.

The symptoms of PTSD affect you the rest of your life if you do not seek treatment. They could affect your ability to work, interact with family and friends, or even receive medical care.

Life after Motorcycle Accidents and PTSD

Luckily, PTSD is not an uncommon occurrence. Therefore, you have multiple options for coping with your PTSD and the feelings that come after a catastrophic accident. Some ways you can learn to deal include:

  • Talking: Sometimes just meeting with a counselor and talking about the accident will help. Talk about your feelings, including what you are afraid of, how you feel, and what you experienced before, during and after the incident.
  • Activity: Staying active may help counteract the debilitating nature of PTSD. Try to exercise, get outside, and do physical therapy to help you recover from your injuries faster. Your family doctor will tell you what you can do safely with your injuries.
  • Follow Up: Medically speaking, you need to keep up with appointments, go to your doctor’s office, and take medications prescribed to you. All of these are designed to help you recover quickly. Ignoring doctor’s orders or failing to follow up not only delays your recovery but could make it harder to receive compensation if you file a claim.
  • Try to Resume Normal Activities: When your injuries allow you to do so, resume normal day-to-day activities, including your schedule of getting up in the morning, helping your kids, going to work (if able), and social activities you once did before the accident.
  • Medications: Your physician may prescribe medications to help manage your PTSD. These medications are there so that you can push through the anxiety and cope. Many patients take depression or anti-anxiety medications and eventually are taken off them once they recover. Even if you take them the rest of your life, they ensure that PTSD does not affect your quality of life.

Can You File a Lawsuit for PTSD Following a Motorcycle Accident?

If someone’s recklessness, purposeful acts, or negligence caused your motorcycle accident and you developed PTSD as a result, you can file a lawsuit and seek damages. To establish that your PTSD came from the accident, your attorney will need to have expert witnesses testify about your condition and its onset, but also present your medical records and have you testified about the trauma you experienced.

Some of the items your attorney will need to convince the jury of include:

  • That you suffered a catastrophic injury which caused a psychological condition as a result.
  • That the traumatic motorcycle event is what triggered your emotional trauma.
  • That you should recover compensation for your treatment costs and any future damages that result from the injury and psychological trauma.

PTSD Claims and Emotional Distress

When your PTSD claim is genuine, you may also file a claim for emotional distress, which encompasses more than just the PTSD, but any emotional trauma you suffered.

In a motorcycle accident case, you are likely to file for a negligent infliction of emotional distress, which means the negligent or reckless acts of the defendant caused your injuries, and therefore the defendant is liable for the damages.

Proving Your Claim for PTSD

PTSD is a complicated psychological disorder, and you may have difficulty showing that your PTSD is legitimate or that it stems from the accident without the help of an attorney. Your attorney will need to hire expert witnesses, and they will play a critical role in bridging the gap between your diagnosis and the accident.

Why Hire an Expert Witness for Your Case?

When a legal issue goes beyond the average person’s comprehension, you need an expert witness to testify and explain how the issue raised and share their opinion on whether you genuinely suffer from that condition.

Most people do not understand PTSD. While they have heard of the term, they do not understand what causes it nor do they comprehend the impact it has on the rest of a person’s life. An expert witness is there to assess the situation for them, and they can share their opinion on your severity of PTSD, the cause, and prognosis. Realize that the defense too will have a witness, but their witness will be there to disprove your PTSD or downplay it.

The Difference Between Expert and Fact Witnesses

An expert witness is there to explain to the jury what the medical industry requires to diagnose a person with PTSD, and if you meet that diagnostic criterion. Furthermore, they will testify about any interviews they have had with you, what they see in your medical records and their conclusions about whether the motorcycle accident caused your PTSD.

A fact witness is not as in-depth. Instead, they may be there to provide additional testimony about symptoms they have witnessed themselves, how your PTSD affects you, and any insight they might have. A fact witness might be a spouse, family member, or friend who has daily interaction with you after the motorcycle accident.

Expert witnesses could be your treating physician, a psychologist, or another person that practices in a field that makes them qualified to assess and share an opinion on your PTSD.

Suffering from PTSD after a Motorcycle Accident? Contact an Injury Advocate

If you have PTSD following a severe motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to additional compensation for your emotional distress.

To see what compensation you have available to you, contact an attorney from Malman Law. Schedule a free consultation with our team today at 888-307-2051 or request an appointment online. There is no obligation to meet with our attorneys, and you do not pay our team unless we secure compensation for your injuries.

It is a common misconception that carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) can only occur from repetitive stress. While it is true repetitive stress injuries are the most common cause, they are by no means the only cause.

If you suspect that you have carpal tunnel from a motor vehicle accident, you might be surprised to find that CTS can occur from trauma, especially direct injury to the wrist or hands.

How Chicago Doctors Define Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that causes pain, numbness, weakness, and other abnormalities of the wrist and finger function. It occurs when the median nerve going from your hand to the carpal tunnel of the wrist is under pressure or compressed.

Trauma or repetitive stress can force the carpal tunnel to become smaller as the area swells, which then results in the symptoms known as CTS. The traumatic carpal tunnel is believed to be caused by the damage and stress on the wrist’s tendons and ligaments. It can occur in one or both wrists.

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome focus on your lack of function, which comes from the median nerve in your forearm. Some major symptoms that most people with CTS will experience include:

  • Numbness in their hand
  • Pain in the hand, forearm, and wrist that may ache or be severe
  • Tingling like pins and needles
  • Numbness or pain when you try to flex your wrist
  • Stiffness in the fingers, especially in the morning
  • An aching sensation in your forearm
  • Weakness in the hands, dropping items frequently or being unable to grasp

You may have one or all these symptoms depending on the severity of your CTS. Sometimes the symptoms come and go, making you think that you do not have CTS. Eventually, they become more severe, and the longer you go untreated, the harsher the CTS symptoms become.

The Long-Term Effects of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is not something that just goes away on its own. In fact, the condition worsens over time if it is not treated. The situation might be worse at night and you find relief early in the day. Because of the numbness and reduced grip strength, you may not be able to perform your job duties. Sometimes, the numbness and weakness limit your at-home activities as well, including helping your family.

For some people, the CTS symptoms are so severe they cannot even brush their teeth in the morning. Depending on the severity and persistence, a doctor may need to use aggressive treatments. Other times, conservative methods will help relieve the symptoms.

Some treatment options available for those diagnosed with CTS include:

  • Avoiding excess strain and not performing job duties and activities that aggravate the condition.
  • Icing and using wrist splints to support the area.
  • Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication.
  • Receiving corticosteroids.
  • Using opioid pain relief for cases of severe CTS.
  • Receiving endoscopic or open surgery to correct CTS.

Can a Car Accident Cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Yes, a car accident or any direct trauma to the hand and wrist may result in CTS. Trauma-induced CTS can also occur in slip and fall cases, where the victim uses his or her hands to brace themselves.

When trauma happens, the ligaments and nerves are injured. As they heal, they develop scar tissue. That scar tissue impinges on your nerves, which then results in the classic CTS symptoms.

When the tunnel has no room to expand, any inflammation can impede the functionality of your median nerve. Your median nerve travels through your carpal tunnel and has nine tendons and tissues, known as your tenosynovium. If anyone of those nine become inflamed, they pinch your median nerve, which causes CTS. Acute trauma, such as from a motor vehicle accident, damages these tissues and tendons, leading to long-term inflammation and scar tissue.

According to one study, victims with neck pain after a motor vehicle accident had CTS or trigger finger also diagnosed. All patients were injured in accidents involving rear impacts – being rear-ended. The CTS developed from median nerve compression caused by the acute hyperflexion or hyperextension of the wrist in the crash. This can occur from gripping the steering wheel in a collision.

Risk Factors that Increase the Chances of Developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Some victims in a car accident are more at risk for developing CTS, including:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
  • Lupus
  • Age
  • Pregnancy
  • Medications (including birth control)
  • Smoking history
  • Menopause

Establishing that Your CTS Resulted from a Car Accident

You must use significant evidence when trying to state that your CTS stems from a motor vehicle accident. Some ways you can do this include:

  • Medical Evidence: The most substantial proof you have is medical evidence. Everything from diagnostic scans (i.e., CT, MRI, and x-rays) can help show the extent of your CTS. Also, medical observation, thumb weakness tests, tourniquet tests, and pressure tests can confirm the CTS and establish that it does exist. Using past medical records, you can prove that these symptoms did not appear until after the incident.
  • Expert Testimony: Expert testimony is crucial in a CTS claim. Your physician and other professionals experienced in treating this condition can testify that your nerve injuries resulted from the accident and are not consistent with repetitive stress.
  • Injury Diary: Immediately after the accident, you should create an injury journal. This lets you document your pain, symptoms, and the treatments you endure. Make a note of how difficult it is to perform everyday tasks, such as brushing your teeth. Note when you have pain or numbness, how severe it is, how it impacts you that day, and how often it happens.
  • Accident Reports: Photographs of the accident scene, including your vehicle, may be helpful. These show the severity of the impact and the likelihood that you would suffer from trauma to your wrists and hands.

Recovering Damages for Your CTS

As with any injury case, you can receive damages for your CTS. While CTS might not seem as though it is a severe condition, the medical costs, time off work, and the impact it has on your quality of life add up quickly. Imagine the doctor’s visits, diagnostic tests, prescription medications, and even the surgery required to correct it. Then you have lost wages, cost of living, and pain.

These are significant costs to shoulder yourself, especially if you did not cause the accident. When you have CTS from an accident, you may be entitled to compensation by filing a car accident claim with the insurance company or an official injury lawsuit.

Most likely you have other injuries aside from CTS; therefore, your attorney will request compensation for the total damages, their costs, and your pain and suffering from those injuries. Because CTS is something that may affect you long-term, your attorney may explore options for compensation for the long-term costs, like medical treatment, future lost wages, cost of learning new skills to change careers, and long-term physical pain, mental anguish, and emotional distress.

Challenges You Could Face

CTS is still considered a soft tissue injury; therefore, you will face heavy scrutiny when filing a claim that includes damages for CTS. The insurance company may try to say you are exaggerating the symptoms, or that you are not returning to work when you could. They may also deny the injury outright, saying that it stemmed from work-related repetitive stress and not the incident.

Regardless, you have challenges ahead. However, with an attorney by your side, the problems are not as daunting. An attorney will work to prove that your CTS developed after the accident, the severity of your symptoms warrant compensation and that you have damages. Furthermore, they advocate for you, seek the compensation you need to pay your bills and hold the at-fault party responsible for your injuries.

Suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome from a Car Accident? Speak with an Attorney Right Away

If you have developed CTS as one of the many complications from a motor vehicle accident, speak with an attorney from Malman Law. We are here to help you seek the compensation you deserve after a severe injury.

We understand how debilitating CTS can be, and how it can affect you the rest of your life. Let our team secure the money you need for medical costs, time off work, and the long-term complications you might face.

Schedule a free consultation with an attorney today at 888-307-2051 or request a no-obligation consultation online.

Population aging refers to an issue where there is an increased number of older individuals compared to younger, and an increased life expectancy rate. The trend can be dangerous for the economy, but also the health of those in the aging population. It is estimated that by 2050, the number of adults over 60 years will double and reach an estimated 2 billion – putting a significant strain on the economy, nursing homes, assisted living, and family members.

When these numbers increase and population aging hits full force, labor forces will decline, fertility decreases, and the age dependency ratio will fluctuate significantly. For example, while there might be ten employees to every elderly individual today, in 2050 they expect that number to be four people for every one elderly person. Imagine what that means for the healthcare system? Some European countries even expect their numbers to reach as low as two workers per one person.

The Unique Challenges of Population Aging in Chicago, IL

The long-term care needs of Baby Boomers and the aging population in 2050 requires action today. These challenges that come with the aging population increase include:

  • Finding a payment and insurance system that works for long-term care that can handle the increased number of applicants expected in 2030 – 2050.
  • Taking advantage of any advances in medicine that help keep the elderly healthy and active; thus, reducing their dependency on long-term care facilities.
  • Changing how society uses community services and making them more accessible so that the aging population can remain at home, but still get assistance when needed.
  • Change the cultural view of aging and ensure that older adults are integrated into society more.

Right now, the government and healthcare industry is struggling to find a way to ensure that the aging society will have proper care and access to funding. There are insufficient resources, and currently, the Medicare and Medicaid systems are lacking the complexity to handle a double increase of users.

More than 8 Million Americans Currently Need Long-Term Care Services

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 8 million individuals currently need long-term care services – and most of those 8 million are over the age of 65. While there are options for long-term care, these options are expensive.

Long-term care cannot keep up with the booming numbers of those needing the service. In the United States, family members are carrying the financial burden because their loved one’s government assistance and retirement accounts no longer have funds to pay for their services. More Americans are living well past their expected age when they retired, meaning most have inadequate savings to cover those additional five to ten years.

Limited Funds and Limited Staffers for Nursing Homes

Nursing homes have been scrambling to secure funding, and many new nursing homes have been popping up throughout the state and the rest of the country to meet the demands of the aging population. Unfortunately, with all the new nursing homes and assisted living facilities, government agencies are falling behind on inspections and regulations.

With so many new nursing homes, the quality of care has decreased. Companies are lowering their standards when hiring staff for their nursing homes, which means lower quality caregivers and an increased chance of neglect or abuse for residents.

Furthermore, management is less inclined to note neglect or abuse because they are taking on more residents than they used to even ten years ago – stretching the caregiver to patient ratio to the maximum.

The Growing Trend of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Unfortunately, with so little oversight today in long-term care, experts report that elder abuse knowledge is severely lacking. There is no systematic approach or reporting system in place, and if one is not found soon, there will be more cases that go unreported when the aging population doubles by 2050.

The Current Challenges of Elder Abuse and Neglect

The reasons these numbers are so underreported stem from a variety of factors:

  1. There is no single definition of elder abuse used nationwide; therefore, the forms of abuse and reporting requirements vary by state.
  2. There is the issue of privacy when researching abuse and neglect, creating ethical dilemmas in healthcare.
  3. The standards used to investigate and research for signs of abuse and neglect are highly variable, meaning no two inspectors handle or report the same way.
  4. There is a significant lack of field researchers and investigators for state and federal entities.

Risk Factors Increasing the Chances of Neglect and Abuse

Several studies have been investigating the growing trend of abuse and neglect cases in nursing homes and assisted living facilities across the United States. They have compiled a list of some of the current risk factors that put an older adult at higher risk:

  • Social Support: When a person has minimal family or social support, they are at higher risk for all forms of abuse and neglect.
  • Dementia: Sadly, patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease are at higher risk for abuse and neglect, only because their perpetrator knows that the victim is less likely to be believed if they were to report it, but also unlikely to even remember their mistreatment.
  • Functional Impairments: Patients that have limited mobility or other functional impairments which force them to be more reliant on their caregivers have a higher risk for abuse and neglect.
  • Gender: Sadly, women are more likely to receive nursing home abuse than male patients.
  • Higher Patient Volumes: When a nursing home or assisted living facility have a higher volume of patients to caregivers, there is a higher chance for mistreatment.

The Statistics on Nursing Home Abuse and Long-Term Care Facilities

Elder abuse occurs in the community setting more often than at-home care services. Some of the research has concluded that:

  • In 2014, 7.6 percent of the 188,599 complaints received by the National Ombudsman Reporting System (NORS) found the complaints contained issues of abuse, gross neglect or exploitation.
  • In a 2008 study, the U.S. General Accountability Office found that licensed facilities had at least one deficiency (for 70% of the population), and 15 percent of those surveys missed harm and jeopardy for the patients.
  • Most studies conclude that abuse in long-term care facilities comes from staff members.

The Impact of Elder Abuse and Neglect

Elder abuse affects not only the victim but family members and the economy. The increased cost of relocating all patients in a facility that is shut down from gross negligence, the healthcare costs required to help rehabilitation victims of abuse and neglect, and the emotional burden are extensive.

The negative impacts of elder abuse include:

  • Physical Impact: The physical effect is by far one of the more serious. A person will have physical injuries, such as welts, broken bones, or even bedsores. Elders who receive physical abuse have a 300 percent increased risk of death compared to elderly patients without abuse or neglect.
  • Psychological Impact: The psychological impact of abuse and neglect often lasts longer than the wounds themselves. A person could suffer distress, anxiety, depression, and a long-term decline in mental health.
  • Financial Impact: The financial impact of abuse and neglect may affect not only the victim, but the healthcare system, government funding, and family members. The economic losses for the victim cost $2.6 billion per year for Americans.
  • Social Impact: The consequences socially include everything from decreased social resources, increased expenses for providing social services, and resources that are lost through exploitation.
  • Hospitalization and Disability Impact: A victim of elder abuse or neglect is more likely to require hospitalization – about three times more likely. Also, victims are more likely to need emergency department services and have an increased risk of mortality and permanent disability.
  • Medical Costs: Medical costs are already on the rise, and with cases of neglect and abuse, the direct medical costs are currently expected to add to more than $5.3 billion for national healthcare costs. Also, it is estimated that these adverse events cost $2.8 billion per year in Medicare costs alone and they are 100 percent preventable.
  • Other Costs: There are other costs of elder abuse that affect the community, including the cost to prosecute, punish, rehabilitate, and relocate those living in the facility.

Do You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse?

If you suspect that your loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, contact the attorneys at Malman Law. Our advocates have extensive experience handling cases of abuse, and we will not rest until your loved one is safe, and the facility responsible provides you with compensation.

Furthermore, we want to help lessen the financial, physical, and psychological burden of the neglect or abuse for you, your loved one, and the community. By holding nursing homes accountable, we hope to reduce the number of abuse cases each year.

Explore your options and speak with an attorney at Malman Law today by calling 888-307-2051 or request more information online.

Most personal injury cases settle out of court, but how they settle can vary. Some cases end during essential negotiations and often before the courts are involved. Other times, the case goes through alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation or arbitration.

Today we focus on the use of arbitration in personal injury cases – and how your case might require arbitration, the process of it, and potential outcomes.

What is Arbitration and Why is it Used in Chicago Injury Cases?

To ease the burden on the court’s schedule, some personal injury attorneys might opt for arbitration over a traditional trial. Arbitration still puts both sides in control of the outcome – compared to the unpredictable nature of a jury trial.

This legal proceeding is informal, and both sides can dispute, offer testimony, provide evidence, and work alongside a neutral third party known as an arbitrator. The arbitrator is the “referee” of the process. Typically, your arbitrator is a retired judge or an attorney that has vast experience in personal injury cases. They are not affiliated with either side and instead, help facilitate an agreement and ultimately decide on the matter.

After both sides have presented their evidence, the arbitrator will decide on the case. Arbitration might be binding or non-binding. If it is binding, that means you have entered a court-ordered arbitration (which makes it mandatory), and the arbitrator’s decision is final.

If the case is entering non-binding arbitration, then both sides have the right to reject the arbitrator’s decision. However, the case does not restart. Instead, it proceeds to a jury trial.

How Often Do Personal Injury Cases Go to Arbitration?

Most personal injury cases use mediation or a jury trial, but some will use arbitration. Medical malpractice claims, especially against health insurance companies or hospitals will typically require arbitration. That is because when you accepted treatment from that provider, you most likely signed a binding arbitration with them. Therefore, you must go to arbitration instead of court or mediation.

Some car accident cases will go to arbitration, especially if the claim is filed under underinsured or uninsured motorist insurance. Most insurance companies have provisions in these policies specifically that require arbitration if the insured and the insurance company refuse to settle.

If a contract requires arbitration, that means you are likely encountering binding arbitration. With binding arbitration, you are stuck with whatever decision the arbitrator decides unless both reject it and move to a jury trial.

The Arbitration Process

During arbitration, you and your attorney will be in the same room as the arbitrator and the defense. You will sit across from one another at a conference table, and there is a court reporter present because this will be part of the court record.

The arbitrator goes over the rules of arbitration in the beginning, and they will require that you are sworn in to tell the truth as part of standard courtroom procedures. If you bring witnesses to your arbitration, then those witnesses will be sworn in at the start too.

From here, your case goes through several key steps, including:

Opening Statement

Just like in a courtroom, your attorney and the other side’s attorney will have their opening statement. While you have a more informal setting, arbitrators do not want lengthy introductions. Therefore, most attorneys will keep their opening statement short and succinct. The statement does not discuss case details or evidence. Instead, it addresses the date of the accident, injuries, and their severity, and overall the compensation you hope to receive at the end of the proceeding.

Sometimes the defense will not provide an opening statement until after you have presented your evidence and it is their turn. They do this so that they can adjust their statement after seeing the evidence revealed in your case.

Presenting the Evidence

After opening statements, the plaintiff’s side shows the evidence. The evidence supports anything in the opening statement that was said but also establishes the negligence, injuries, and proof of damages.

Any detail given to the arbitrator should be backed by tangible evidence – whether that is a photograph, medical record, or witness testimony. Any documents will be given to the arbitrator as they hear the evidence, and they will review them.

Questions from the Opposition

After you have represented the evidence, testified yourself, and your witnesses have completed their testimonies, the insurance company or defense attorney has the chance to ask you questions in front of the arbitrator. Some arbitrators will skip this phase or require that the insurance company filter questions through them directly.

Questions are related to the evidence only. They are not personal like deposition questions and can only be used to question your evidence or a witness’s statement.

Defense Presents its Case

Next, the defense has a chance to present their case. If they reserved the right to make a statement later, then now is the time to hear their opening statement. After the attorney for the defense provides his or her opening statement, they then start using their evidence to rebut your side.

At the end of their presentation, you too may ask questions. Your attorney will look for holes or items that are questioned in the presentation, then present these questions at the end.

Closing Remarks

Just like in a trial, both sides will present their closing remarks. Closing remarks touch on what was presented with the evidence, your injuries, and again why you are seeking compensation – and the preferred amount.

After closing remarks are made, the arbitrator will end the hearing. They will gather any evidence for further review, and the hearing ends.

You do not receive a decision that same day. Instead, you will receive the arbitrator’s decision in the mail. Sometimes, the arbitrator may request additional documentation that they feel is necessary to make their decision. However, you will not hear from them again until you receive the decision.

Decision

Arbitrator’s decisions typically take one to two weeks. Depending on the type of arbitration, the decision may be final, and you may have no options to appeal that decision. Your attorney will discuss your options after you receive the arbitrator’s decision. If you are awarded compensation, then your attorney can file the necessary documents to collect that compensation.

The Pros and Cons of Using Arbitration

Most attorneys try to settle an injury claim without mediation or arbitration. This is because they remain in control of the outcome, while arbitration is not always predictable. However, there is a place for arbitration in personal injury cases, and there are also disadvantages to going through it.

The Pros of Arbitration

  • Avoids the courtroom hostility. Arbitration allows both sides to participate fully and find a resolution. They may work together more amicably than they would in the courtroom, and it is unlikely for hostility to escalate because both sides know that the arbitrator’s decision might be final and binding.
  • Cheaper than courtroom litigation. Most importantly, arbitration is less expensive than going to a jury trial. Arbitrators have a per day fee for their services, but even then, that fee is cheaper than the cost of a full hearing. The process is quicker too, which means lesser attorney fees and a faster resolution.
  • Faster resolutions for injury victims. You are suffering from your injuries, but also have living costs that you cannot afford much longer. When you go to trial, it could take weeks or months to resolve. Arbitration goes faster, and you will receive a settlement quicker.
  • More flexibility and an informal environment. If the idea of going to court scares you, arbitration might be a better route. The process is informal; you are not dealing with the confines of the court. Also, there is more flexibility in scheduling. You are not waiting weeks to make it on to the docket, you can schedule a hearing around your needs, and some arbitrators will even do evenings and weekends.
  • Simplified rules when it comes to evidence and court procedure. Arbitration does not have the same convoluted rules of evidence. You can call witnesses, produce documents, and skip over the scheduled tasks of a traditional hearing including interrogations, depositions, and the entire discovery phase.
  • Everything is kept private. If you choose arbitration, you can keep the outcome from the public record.

The Cons of Arbitration

The cons of arbitration vary depending on the case. However, the biggest disadvantage is that you may be stuck with the decision, and that means limited recourse if you disagree. If you were to go to trial, you have the option to appeal. Arbitration is also questionable when it comes to the objectivity of the arbitrator. You may not be able to pick the arbitrator, and the outcome can be highly unpredictable depending on who the court assigns.

Injured? Speak with a Local Advocate Today

If you or a loved one was seriously injured in an accident, you should not worry about how your case will be resolved. Instead, contact an attorney from Malman Law.

Schedule a free consultation and let our team work to secure the compensation you deserve. Call us at 888-307-2051 or request more information online.