Last week, $2.75 million was awarded to the family of an 18-year-old teenager who was killed in a Chicago police car chase in 2009. The teen was a passenger in a car which was involved in a 12-minute police chase following a stop-sign violation. The chase reached speeds up to 100 miles per hour, before the car crashed into some light poles killing the young man. The attorneys representing the family brought a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Chicago, believing that the chase was unauthorized and prohibited. Jurors agreed, and acted to compensate the grieving family for their terrible loss.
Wrongful death claims involve all types of fatal accidents from car accidents to complicated medical malpractice or product liability cases. Persons, companies, and governmental agencies can be legally at fault for acting negligently (failing to act as a reasonable person would have acted) and for acting intentionally. A wrongful death claim is brought on behalf of the survivors who suffer damage from a victim’s death.
Generally, there are three types of damages that may be available to survivors in a wrongful death suit. Economic damages include the value of the financial contributions the decedent would have made if he or she didn’t die and medical or funeral expenses connected to the death. Non-economic damages are awarded for mental anguish or pain and suffering of the survivors. And finally, punitive damages seek to punish the defendant, especially if the death results from misconduct.
If you or a loved one has been injured or a family member has died as a result of negligence, contact the Law Offices of John T. Hemminger for help. John has handled wrongful death litigation in Iowa for more than 30 years. He provides experienced, caring, personal and focused representation, helping those affected by injury or wrongful death attain justice and recover the compensation they will need.
Source: Chicago Tribune, “Jury Awards $2.75 Million in Wrongful Death Lawsuit”, by ALEXANDRA KUKULKA, November 20, 2015.
Arbitration agreements are common throughout the health care industry and are often required to gain admission into nursing homes across the country. Many families are unaware that they are, in effect, signing away many of their legal rights by signing one. If your loved one is neglected or abused causing injury or death in a nursing home or other care setting, an arbitration agreement can prevent you from getting justice.
In response to the growing problem of nursing home abuse and complaints regarding the arbitration process, a proposed federal regulation would require nursing homes to explain these arbitration agreements so that residents or their families understand what they’re signing. Much to the consternation of the American Health Care Association, it would also make sure that agreeing to arbitration is not a requirement for nursing home admission.
Opponents to the proposed regulation, including The American Health Care Association, feel that long term care facilities are being singled out among the larger community of health care industry providers, that also require arbitration agreements to treat patients. They argue that arbitration is more efficient for both sides than going to court and that consumers tend to get an expedited award.
However, advocates for the proposed changes disagree. They argue that these ‘expedited awards’ are about 35 percent lower than if the plaintiff had gone to court. They also point out that the bill for the arbitration process, which can climb into tens of thousands of dollars, is typically borne by the plaintiff. The growing sentiment is that no one should be forced to accept denial of justice as a price for the care their loved ones.
Source: National Public Radio, “Suing A Nursing Home Could Get Easier Under Proposed Federal Rules”, by Ina Jaffe, accessed November 16, 2015.
As a group, the elderly are the most vulnerable members of society. Unfortunately, this means they are sometimes taken advantage of by the individuals who are supposed to be their caretakers. Sometimes, abuse can occur at the hands of someone entrusted with the guardianship of an adult. According to an investigative report by the Wall Street Journal, adult guardianship systems across the country are fraught with allegations of exploitation and abuse.
Take the case of an elderly Washington woman who lost much of her savings when a court appointed a guardian to care for her after a well-meaning housemate pushed for a court petition claiming she was having behavioral and cognitive difficulty. The retiree, a previous NASA employee and real-estate investor, was flabbergasted when a guardian showed up on her doorstep who subsequently racked-up thousands of dollars in questionable caregiver fees before the woman successfully turned over the guardianship in court 30 months later – all on her own dime.
While many guardianships are awarded to family members, judges, as in this case, are turning to a growing industry of professional, unrelated guardians. These guardians are often granted broad authority over a ward’s living conditions, medical care and finances placing seniors in an extraordinarily vulnerable position if they stumble upon a bad apple. In fact, a federal survey conducted on guardianship reveals 64% of judges and staff who responded reported misconduct-related issues among guardians in the past three years – a number of guardians have faced prosecution for wrongdoing. With the population of seniors set to double by the year 2050, adult guardianship will increase and, along with it, further potential for abuse and exploitation.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, “Abuse Plagues System of Legal Guardians for Adults”, by By ARIAN CAMPO-FLORES and ASHBY JONES, October 30, 2015.
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