Can you sue for Bedsores or Pressure Sores?

bedsore lawyer

Bedsores should not happen while in a nursing home or hospital. Often they are due to neglect and negligence.

Bedsores, Pressure Sores or Decubitis Ulcers are not the fault of the patient. At a hospital or nursing home there are federal laws in place to protect patients and assure they get the proper care. When these standards of care are not used sores can develop. Simple duties like turning an immobile patent frequently to relieve pressure, proper cleaning an hygiene are sometimes not provided. If a sore develops the patient has now become a victim. The sores can cause extreme pain and suffering and unfortunately even death. You can sue. And you have every right to do so and get financial compensation. Depending on the case, monetary awards can be in the millions. Below are some of the different types of lawsuits relating to sores.

Medical Malpractice

Medical Malpractice cases arise when a health care practitioner departs from the accepted standard of care in the medical community. In more simple terms, when a hospital, doctor, nurse, practitioner commits a serious error in his/her care and treatment, which results in further injury to the patient. Some common examples are failing to diagnose the bedsore; failing to report bedsores or pressure sores; failing to admit a patient into the hospital for bedsores when necessary; and failing to perform a medical procedure or provide treatment for bedsores that was otherwise indicated.

FREE BEDSORE FACTS BOOKLET>

Nursing Home Liability

The elderly population frequently suffers due to serious neglect once they become patients or residents in nursing homes or any long term care facility.  Some critical issues relating to sores are: over or improper medication; lack of supervision; inadequate wound care leading to infections; not reporting the issue in a timely manner and overall neglect.

The severe injuries that patients experience along with the constant pain and suffering associated with bedsores are often the result of preventable situations. In our experience in handling these types of cases we have found frequent examples of poor care planning; lack of stimulation; failures to turn and position patients; failure to provided adequate pressure relief devices to patients; and unbelievably, failure to change adult diapers and failure to provide sufficient quantities of food and water. As a result of neglect in Nursing Homes, the illnesses range from severe infections and amputations, to dehydration and, unfortunately, death. Bedsores and pressure sores often lead to further infections and illnesses.

Hospital Negligence

At one time or another we all go to hospitals. While patients there, we have the right to expect quality medical care and treatment.  The unfortunate reality is that there are often tragic outcomes that are the result of medical malpractice which should never occur. This is especially true with bedsores.

Hospital Negligence occurs when there are “departures in the standards of good and accepted medical practices” that one should be able to expect in the local medical community given the current state of medical treatment and technology. These departures in the standard of care can stem from negligent treatment on the part of Doctors, Surgeons, Specialists, Lab Technicians, Physician Assistants, Nurses, Nurses Aides, Therapists, Administrators, Pharmacists and any other member of the Hospital Staff whose conduct, actions, or inaction, causes injuries and suffering that should not have occurred.

Some examples of Hospital Negligence include failure to provide proper medication or medical devices; failure to provide proper monitoring and supervision; failure to order consultations to other medical specialists; failure to diagnose bedsores in a timely fashion; failure to prevent infection and amputation; failure to turn and position the patient resulting in pressure sores, bedsores or decubitus ulcers; failure to perform a medical procedure or surgery properly; failure to warn patient of risks of a surgery or medical procedure; failure to keep family members informed regarding medical decision making; and failure to provide safe and proper discharge instructions.

Wrongful Death

This type of lawsuit occurs when a spouse or close relative has a right to recover when a loved one dies due to the sores or a medical complication that was related to the sores. Recovery is from the at-fault or negligent party. Recovery can include loss of income, services, comfort and society. New York has a very restrictive and complicated wrongful death statute. Our knowledgeable lawyers take you through it one step at a time. We understand that dealing with the loss of a loved one is not easy, so we are extremely sensitive when dealing with family members. Unfortunately, left untreated or not treated in time, bedsores can rapidly progress from stage 1-4 and lead to further complications often resulting in a wrongful death.

If you or someone you know is a victim of bedsores, the first thing to do is get the stage of the sore identified and immediate and proper medical attention. If you think you have a lawsuit then contact me on how to proceed. You can also begin an evaluation online by clicking here. We can even help you get better medical attention at the same time. Feel free to email about these matters at bedsores@RaphanLaw.com

Regards, Brian

Tips: How to Track Down a Life Insurance Policy

Use these strategies if a loved one dies and you’re not sure whether he or she had a policy–from a Q&A of Kim Lankford of Kiplinger.com

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Q: My sister-in-law passed away recently. We thought she had a life insurance policy, but we’ve searched through her papers and can’t find one. Is there a way to find out if she still had a policy and, if so, with what company?

There isn’t a centralized database for tracking down life insurance policies, but you can use several strategies, and a few new resources, to help with your investigation.

Searching through her papers is a good first step (obviously, you must be her legal representative or an approved family member to do so). Look in her bank records and canceled checks for premium payments, and check her tax returns for evidence of any taxable withdrawals or dividends, which can help you find the insurer. Also look through her address books for contact information for a life insurance agent, financial planner, accountant, attorney or other adviser and ask if the adviser knows about a life insurance policy. Contact each insurer with whom she had other types of policies and ask if she had life insurance there, too. And keep an eye on the mail for any premium notices.

If your sister-in-law was working at the time of her death, contact her company’s employee benefits office — she might have had some workplace coverage. Check with former employers as well to see if she purchased voluntary, extra coverage and kept it after she left the job.

If your initial search fails to produce results, contact the insurance department in the states where she lived (see the National Association of Insurance Commissioners map for state-regulator contact information) . Several states plus Puerto Rico have new resources to help people track down lost life insurance policies, including LouisianaMassachusettsMissouriNew YorkOhio and Oregon. Programs are also being developed in Rhode Island and Texas.

Missouri’s Policy Locator Service, for example, helps track down information about both life insurance policies and annuities purchased in Missouri. Executors and legal representatives of the deceased person, and people who believe they may be beneficiaries, may submit a notarized search-request form with an original death certificate. Requests are forwarded to Missouri-licensed life insurance companies within 30 days, and if a policy is located, the insurer will contact the beneficiary. Since its launch in November 2011, the service has located a total of $148,000 for beneficiaries.

If a state doesn’t have a special program to find lost life insurance, it may still have resources that can help you with your search. Ask the state insurance department for contact information for life insurers licensed to do business in the state, and contact the companies yourself. The insurance department can also help you find current contact information for insurers that may have merged since your sister-in-law bought a policy.

A state’s unclaimed-property office may eventually get the money if an insurer knows a person has died but is unable to contact the beneficiaries. You can search unclaimed-property databases for several states at MissingMoney.com or find links to each state’s unclaimed-property division through http://www.unclaimed.org/ the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators. See 4 Ways to Get Lost Money From Government Agencies for more information about tracking down money in the states’ unclaimed-property databases.

The Medical Information Bureau’s Policy Locator Service can also help. Insurers who are members of the MIB share general medical and other information they discover during underwriting about applicants for life insurance policies. The service tracks applications for individual policies made to member companies since 1996. (Although most life insurers are members, the service doesn’t track group policies.)

Not everyone can get the information. You must be the executor of the deceased’s estate or the surviving spouse; if there is neither an executor nor a spouse, the child of the deceased or another eligible representative may make the request. Whoever makes the inquiry must provide an original death certificate.

The service costs $75 and takes about ten days to produce a report. If your sister-in-law applied for life insurance at any of the member companies, the report will include the company’s name, the date the application was submitted and information about how to contact the insurer. The insurer can then tell you if the policy was actually issued, whether it remains in force and who the beneficiary is.

While you’re tracking down your sister-in-law’s life insurance policy, remember to keep good records yourself so you can spare your heirs the same hassle. The American Council of Life Insurers recently introduced a new My Insurance Log tool that helps people pass key information about insurance policies and retirement plans to their beneficiaries and personal representatives. Also be sure to keep the beneficiary contact information up-to-date with your insurers, which will make it easy for them track down your heirs.

Another good resource is the NYS Office of Unclaimed Funds.

Regards, Brian

www.RaphanLaw.com

State Can Recover From Entire Value of Property in Which Medicaid Recipient Had Life Estate

MEDICAID RECOVERY

The Idaho Supreme Court rules that the state may recover Medicaid benefits from the entire value of a property that a Medicaid recipient transferred to his daughter while retaining a life estate for himself. In re Estate of Peterson (Idaho, No. 40615, Aug. 13, 2014).

Melvin Peterson deeded property to his daughter, retaining a life estate for himself. He then applied for Medicaid benefits. When he died, Mr. Peterson had received a total of $171,386.94 in Medicaid benefits.

The state filed a claim against the estate to recover the Medicaid benefits it paid for Mr. Peterson’s care. Under Idaho law, the state may recover any property that passes outside of probate, including any property that that the Medicaid recipient had a legal interest in that passes to a survivor through a life estate or “other arrangement.” The trial court ruled that the life estate remainder interest, but not the retained life estate, was an estate asset, and the appeals court affirmed. The estate appealed, arguing Mr. Peterson had no interest in the life estate at his death, so it could not be subject to recovery.

The Idaho Supreme Court affirms in part holding that both the life estate and the remainder interest were estate assets subject to Medicaid recovery. The court determines that Mr. Peterson’s life estate interest in the property was transferred to his daughter when he died, and under state law “when assets of a Medicaid recipient are conveyed to a survivor, heir or assign by the termination of a ‘life estate,’ the assets remain part of the recipient’s ‘estate'” for purposes of Medicaid recovery. In addition, the court rules that the remainder interest Mr. Peterson’s daughter received is also part of Mr. Peterson’s estate as an “other arrangement.”

For the full text of this decision, go to: http://www.isc.idaho.gov/opinions/40615.pdf

The above article is an example of why you need to understand the full spectrum of Medicaid Planning options. For more information on how we can help you protect your assets for feel free to call me at 212-268-8200 or email medicaid@RaphanLaw.com

Regards, Brian

www.RaphanLaw.com