Yesterday, an agency within the Health and Human Services Department issued a new rule that bars any nursing home using federal funds from requiring residents to enter into arbitration agreements.
The move will provide residents and their families with more robust legal options, especially when in cases of elder abuse, nursing home neglect, sexual harassment and wrongful death.
Arbitration agreements are viewed by nursing homes as a way to reduce legal costs by keeping disputes out of court. In exchange for forfeiting their legal rights by signing one, residents gain access to a desired facility and get the care they need.
However, many residents and their families are negatively affected because arbitration clauses limit their ability to get justice in cases of wrongdoing.
Following numerous reports of rampant abuse and neglect in nursing homes across the nation, calls to end government funding for nursing homes requiring arbitration agreements rose, resulting in the new rule which will be effective this November.
The rule will provide more transparency, helping prospective residents and their families to choose a safe and healthful nursing home. It also “restores a fundamental right of millions of elderly Americans…their day in court.”
If you or a family member has suffered abuse or neglect in an Iowa nursing home or other care facility, contact Attorney John T. Hemmminger for help. John has represented nursing home residents and their families for over 30 years in personal injury or wrongful death cases. Contact our offices today for a free consultation regarding your legal issue.
Source; New York Times, “U.S. Just Made It a Lot Less Difficult to Sue Nursing Homes”, By Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Michael Corkery, September 28, 2016
Unfortunately, workplace injuries are all too common leaving many workers with unforeseen medical bills, lost wages and sometimes permanent disabilities.
Each year thousands of workers are injured – some fatally – while operating a forklift. Being crushed by a forklift tipping over is the leading cause of forklift-related deaths in the U.S. In the event of a tip over, drivers are safer strapped in by a seat belt because of the reduced risk of falling out.
Despite the known precautions, some companies do not ensure that their forklift operators are safe. A seafood processing plant in Washington was recently fined $70,000 for serious workplace safety violations, many of which involved not performing regular forklift safety inspections and neglecting to fix reported defects such as broken seat belts.
Just this past April in Iowa, a postal facility was cited for two repeated violations linked to forklift operation. Following a complaint that operators were handling unstable loads and driving forward with no clear path of visibility, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found that employees were dangerously exposed to crushing and struck-by hazards while operating forklifts. The law requires employers with workers who move materials with forklifts to ensure loads are stable, and pathways are clear to prevent injury.
Serious physical harm or death can result from a hazardous condition in the workplace. If you or a family member has been injured on the job, contact the workers compensation personal injury lawyer John T. Hemminger for help. While you may have been told that the only compensation you can receive will come from your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance, there may be situations in which you may be able to sue for damages caused by your injuries in cases of negligence or third party liability. Call us today for a free initial consultation regarding your case 515-283-2116.
More than 2.8 million workers are employed through the temp industry. Since the 2008 recession, many companies across the nation have turned to temporary employees to work in factories, warehouses and construction sites.
Unfortunately, temps in these industries face a significantly greater risk than permanent employees of getting injured, sometimes severely. This typically boils down to a lack of training in the absence of adequate regulations. The very nature of temp work increases the risk of injury. Temps are often working in a new environment, operating machines or handling tasks they don’t have experience with.
If you are a temporary worker and are injured on the job, you are generally eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits, usually through the temp agency or leasing firm where you are employed. If you have a family member that has been injured on the job or you have been denied workers’ compensation, it is important to contact a workers’ compensation attorney to represent you so that you can get the benefits you need for lost wages and medical care. Contact the Des Moines Law Offices of John T. Hemminger for help today.
Are your parents, grandparents, or relatives safe in retirement homes? Not according to a recent congressional report released on the issue. According to the report, nearly 1 in 3 of our nation’s nursing homes (5,283 facilities) have been found to abuse the elderly (ABC News). Of these cases, 1,601 of them were “serious enough ‘to cause actual harm to residents or to place the residents in immediate jeopardy of death” (ABC News). The type and degree of the reported cases was wide ranging, however. In some cases, “a member of the nursing home’s staff was accused of committing physical or sexual abuse. In others, staff were cited for failing to protect people from abuse by other residents” (ABC News).
One report, for instance, documents an attendant who struck an elderly woman in the face resulting in a broken nose. Another case involved attendants bribing an elderly man with an intellectual impairment “with cigarettes to attack another resident, then watched the two fight” (ABC News). Unfortunately, these incidences of abuse of the elderly at resident homes appear to be on the rise. As the congressional report indicates, there is a growing trend in abuse cases since 1996.
Part of the problem with many of these retirement homes is that they are run like a business enterprise bent on profit rather than ensuring quality care for its residents. Although correlation does not equal causation, there appears to be a relatively strong connection between the cases of abuse and whether or not a resident home is a for-profit business entity or not. Another potential cause of the rise in resident abuse is the lack of quality staff on hand. Those who work within the nursing home industry claim that these problems are, in part, due to a “nationwide difficulty in attracting and keeping quality, skilled staff” (ABC news).
Regardless of the causes, it is clear that something must be done to ensure greater accountability in our nation’s retirement homes so that the elderly remain safe. If you or a family member has been a victim of nursing home neglect or abuse in an Iowa nursing home or other residential care facility, contact the Law Offices of John T. Hemminger for help today.
Source: ABC News, “Elderly Abused at 1 in 3 Nursing Homes: Report”, by David Ruppe, July 30, 2016.
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