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Category: nursing home injuries

Why You Should Take Notes During an Accident

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Personal injury claims are not always just about medical expenses. A myriad of damages are typically on the table when someone successfully fights for damages in a personal injury case. That is why it is very important to document everything you can about the circumstances surrounding your accident, the impact on your life and employment and, yes, your injuries and medical expenses.

One of the best ways to do this is to take notes from the very outset of the accident. Notes will help to remind you of all of the important details of your case months down the line when you and your attorney set out to calculate desired damages in your case. Memory alone is a poor reference for the time, pain and loss you endured as a result of the accident.

Facts matter in an injury case and notes that document all of the details of your accident will help bolster the facts of your case and the damages you are demanding.

Circumstances of Your Accident

From the very outset, it is very important to document the circumstances of your accident. Everything from the time of day to the number of witnesses to the positioning of traffic signs can be an important factor in determining fault in your case. Details help to set a context and with the absence of a clear causal agent, context may be the best way to help determine fault and liability. As soon as you are clear-headed enough, document the circumstances surrounding your accident to support your case.

Your Injuries

As with the circumstances of your accident, you want to document your injuries from the very first opportunity you have. If you suffer pain or discomfort, you want to document it. Of course, you want to keep all medical records to document doctors’ diagnoses, and treatment you receive. But keep a daily journal to note the level of pain, anxiety, loss of sleep and any other injuries you notice from day to day. This will be helpful in identifying less quantifiable losses in your case.

Loss of Income or Other Losses

Your accident may impact your ability to earn a living. If that happens, you want to document those losses from the start. Take notes immediately after the accident when you suffer a loss of any element of your lifestyle prior to your injuries. Whether they are educational opportunities, social opportunities, marital harmony or other losses, these are important to note from the very start in order to get a real sense of the accident’s impact on your life.

Conversations

Take notes on all of the discussions you have with people involved with the accident. Documenting in-person or telephone conversations (and preserving any email or text communications) is important because it helps to note details as seen by those involved (including witnesses, claims adjusters, medical personnel and insurance representatives).

The Scene

It is also important to document the scene of the accident. If you can have photos taken at the time of the accident, remember to do so. That can help set conclusive evidence in your case. It may also be helpful to return to the scene of the accident to get photos and locate and talk with witnesses who might be able to support your case.

It is also important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney like the skilled injury lawyers of Panio Law Offices. We can help support the establishment of fault in your case with documentation of all evidence and expert witnesses testimony. We have a wealth of experience winning large rewards for our clients in injury cases. Call us at 888.799.7561. We can help.

Products Viability Vs. Medical Malpractice

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When a patient is injured by a medical device in a hospital or medical treatment setting, the most immediate response is typically to seek damages in a defective products claim. However, it may also be true that damages may be awarded in connection with medical malpractice as a result of the incident.

The good thing is that claimants do not have to choose which to pursue: products liability or medical malpractice. Claimants are eligible to fight for damages under all available legal theories. As such, it is very important to understand when you are eligible for multiple awards or for damages under multiple legal theories.

In the case of a patient injured by a medical device in the course of treatment, it is important to make the distinction between the two legal theories at play.

Products Liability

Under the theory of products liability: (1) a claimant must have been injured; (2) the defective  medical device must have been defectively designed or manufactured or packaged/promoted with language that failed to properly warn of any inherent danger related to the device’s use; and (3) the defect or improper marketing was identified as the cause of your injuries.   

To successfully win a products liability claim, it is important to understand that you are not entitled to damages if you were never actually injured by the defective device.

Medical Malpractice

In the context of an injury caused by a defective medical device, medical malpractice typically comes into play when the physician, nurse or technician improperly operates the medical device or even fails to recognize that the device is defective when other qualified medical professionals in their position would have understood that it posed a significant danger to the patient.

There are many ways a medical professional commit medical malpractice, but essentially, when a medical professional, be it a doctor or a nurse or EMT, fails to carry out the standard of care as recognized by the medical industry (and identified as common to other qualified medical professionals in the same circumstance), any resulting injuries may entitle the patient eligible to  medical malpractice damages.

It is advisable that you seek the counsel of an experienced medical malpractice attorney like those of Panio Law Offices. We are very experienced in negotiating personal injury claims and litigating medical malpractice cases. Our attorneys know well the intricacies of Illinois medical malpractice law. We will work assiduously to ensure you are awarded all of the damages to which you are entitled.

Call us at 888.799.7561. We can help!

Medical Standard of Care

When patients suffer further injury in a hospital or medical facility setting the typical response is to assume medical malpractice. However, there are specific circumstances that constitute medical malpractice, and further injury alone is not necessarily enough to warrant a personal injury medical malpractice claim.

Two specific factors must be established in any medical malpractice case (assuming, of course, that the patient can establish that they were, in fact, under the care and treatment of the medical professionals they attribute fault in their medical malpractice claim). The claimant must demonstrate that: (1) the medical standard of care required for the given circumstances surrounding their treatment (and therefore subsequent injury) was not achieved; and (2) they were in fact injured as a result of said treatment (or lack thereof).

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Reporting Nursing Home and Elder Abuse

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When families agree to put a loved one into the care of a nursing home, they have to employ a great measure of trust. But, as we know, abuse and/or neglect can become a problem in such institutions. In 2000, the National Center on Elder Abuse conducted a study that found that 44% of the nursing home residents surveyed had said that they had been abused in the past 12 months and that 95% of the respondents had witnessed instances of neglect during the same time period. Studies have also shown that few of these instances are ever reported.

Injuries in nursing homes can comprise a wide variety of situations and circumstances and abuse can take many forms, including physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and financial exploitation. These and other forms of abuse nursing home patients may encounter generally fall into the category of a failure to provide for a resident’s needs when it comes to food, shelter, clothing, hygiene or health care.

One of the key elements of reporting nursing home or elder abuse is knowing the warning signs.

If anyone suspects or becomes aware of elder abuse that is immediately life threatening, they should, of course, contact emergency personnel by calling 9-1-1.  If the danger is not immediate, calling local law enforcement and/or state’s attorney’s office to report the abuse is imperative.

Other resources are also important for anyone who suspects elder or nursing home abuse. Adult Protective Services (APS) typically is the first agency that responds to reports of elder abuse. The agency typically investigates abuse reports and offers responsive services. APS also may be a great resources to find further resources available to anyone with a loved one suffering elder or nursing home abuse.

The National Council on Child Abuse and Family Violence has developed a list of elder abuse reporting hotlines for each state. Their website (nccafv.org) is a great resource for additional advisory and intervention agencies. You may also call the Eldercare Locator (eldercare.gov), a service of the U.S. Administration on Aging, for more information as well.

After reporting the abuse to appropriate authorities and initiating intervention on behalf of your loved one, it is important to speak with a practiced personal injury attorney with experience in elder and nursing home abuse. The attorneys of Panio Law Offices have a wealth of experience fighting for victims of nursing home abuse. From a thorough investigation to collection of documentation of the conditions to the development of witness testimony that supports your case, we work extremely hard to recover the damages for your loved one and support the recovery process to a healthy and normal life.

Please call Panio Law Offices at 800.799.7561 if you have any questions about reporting nursing home abuse or filing a personal injury claim in an elder abuse case. We can help.

Nursing Malpractice

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Just like physicians, nurses have a legal responsibility to maintain standards of quality in patient care. As such, states recognize when a nurse's failure to live up to those responsibilities and patient harm results. We lay out several instances where Illinois recognize nurse malpractice and allow for recovery of damages. 

Failure to monitor 

It's commonplace in a hospital setting that nurses monitor and even assess the patient before a doctor makes his or her own evaluation. If a nurse fails in his or her duty to monitor their patient and the patient suffers harm as a result, the patient may indeed be able to file a medical malpractice claim.  Some examples of this include a failure to address a change in vital signs, a failure to take appropriate corrective action when a patient is in distress, and the failure to notify a physician when necessary.

 

Procedural Errors

With the wide array of medical procedures nurses perform (i.e., inserting catheters, drawing blood and starting IVs), nurses are held accountable for errors made when carrying out their duties. Not all errors are considered medical malpractice. However, as with physician malpractice, where doctors must act in ways that a reasonable physician would under the same circumstances, nurses must also behave in a way a reasonable nurse would also in circumstances similar. Typically what is reasonable is attested to by a medical expert. But remember, not only must the nurse be in error, those errors must be responsible for a patient's injuries.

 

Medication Errors

It is also rather commonplace for nurses to administer medication to patients. If the wrong medication or dosage is given, serious medical injuries or even death can result. Furthermore, if a patient is given a medication that poses a danger in light of a known or documented allergy, serious consequences can occur. Some medication error injuries can be long-term and some can be life threatening.  Additionally, if an administration of a medication has caused injury, an experienced personal injury attorney will investigate the medication itself. Improper instructions provided by the manufacture or a defect in the medication itself may yield product liability damages against the manufacturer.

Documentation Errors

Nurses are often responsible for accurately documenting a patient's condition as well as symptoms and treatment. This documentation is critical to appropriate and reasonable care. When a nurse improperly records details of a patient's care and condition and that causes harm to the patient (i.e. over-dosage due to inaccurate documentation of medication administration), the patient may be able to recover medical malpractice damages.

The critical issues raised in these examples often lead to complex personal injury cases. It takes an experienced personal injury attorney to navigate the documenting of evidence in the case, obtaining expert testimony and identifying the responsible party(s) (whether that is the hospital and/or the physician. If you have questions about a possible nursing malpractice case and would like to speak with an attorney, call Panio Law Offices at 800.799.7561. We have a wealth of experience recovering large awards for our clients. We can help you.

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