California Car Accident Overview

California car accidents are not uncommon and the consequences can be costly. As the economy continues to improve, California roadways continue to experience more traffic and congestion. Many drivers are also more distracted than ever by cell phones and other electronics. These factors have helped to create a dangerous environment for residents and tourists, alike. When an accident does happen the result can be serious. Fortunately, California law allows injured car accident victims to pursue compensation from at-fault parties.

The Cost of a California Car Accident

If you are injured in a California car accident you may be entitled to damages from the person responsible for your accident. The costs associated with a car accident can be extensive, and a personal injury claim for damages may be the best way to recover those costs. In 2013, the average cost of a personal injury claim following a car accident was $15,443. If you are severely injured in a California car accident, or if your car suffers significant damage, you will probably be faced with bills and expenses that exceed this amount. Filing a personal injury claim for damages against the party responsible for causing the accident can help to cover these (and other) accident-related costs.

Comparative Fault in California Car Accidents

While you are able to pursue compensation after a car accident, your ability to recover may be limited if you were also responsible for the crash. In California, car accident personal injury claims are generally based on the theory that one party’s negligence caused another party’s injury. California, however, follows the theory of comparative fault. This means that your ability to recover compensation could be limited if you were partly responsible for the crash that caused your injuries. Generally, your ability to recover compensation is reduced by the percentage of the accident that is determined to be your fault.

For example, let’s say that you are involved in a California car accident. If it is determined that you were 20% at fault for the crash your ability to recover compensation will be reduced by 20%. So, if you suffer damages in the amount of $50,000 you will be entitled to recover no more than $40,000 from the driver who hit you.

Recovering Damages For a California Car Accident

What kind of compensation can California car accident victims recover through a personal injury claim? Generally, California allows victims to seek both compensatory and non-compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are awarded to cover economic and financial costs and expenses you suffer because of an accident. Compensatory damages can help to cover the costs of medical expenses such as ambulance fees, surgery, lab tests, prescriptions, rehabilitation. These damages can also compensate victims for lost wages and reduced earning capacity.

non-compensatory damages, on the other hand, are awarded to cover subjective injuries and harms. There is no standard or routine way to calculate non-compensatory damages. Rather, the amount of an award will depend on the facts and circumstances of each specific case. non-compensatory damages can help to cover the costs of pain and suffering, disfigurement, mental anguish, embarrassment, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium.

Hiring an Experienced California Car Accident Attorney

The best way to maximize the compensation you recover after a car accident is to hire an experienced California personal injury attorney to handle your case. Insurance companies are not on your side and will not have your best interest at heart.

Instead, they will attempt to capitalize on your recent trauma and take advantage of your lack of legal expertise. They will do whatever they can to get you to agree to a lowball offer. Hiring a personal injury attorney from Citywide Law Group to represent you helps to ensure that your legal rights are protected and that insurance companies will not prevent you from recovering the compensation you may desperately need.

Nursing Home Negligence

Falls in Nursing Homes

Litigators who work with cases involving long term care know how significant the issue of falls can be. Falls are the leading cause of injury and death by injury in adults over 65. Approximately half of the 1.6 million nursing home residents in the U.S. fall each year, and a report by the Office of the Inspector General found that about 10% of Medicare skilled nursing residents experience a fall resulting in significant injury; and, more than 1/3 of hospital falls result in injury. In the rehab setting, rates are often higher – for example, fall rates among stroke patients have been shown to be very high. Immobility and falls can lead to poor outcomes.

Fear of falling is defined as a geriatric syndrome. It not only occurs in older adults who have fallen, but in those with impaired mobility and is associated with decreased physical ability and depression. Care of older adults requires that clinicians be aware of the myriad of issues related to falls including knowledge of this syndrome, increased risk and interventions needed to prevent injury related to falls.

Just about every resident in a long term care setting, including assisted living and sub-acute rehab, is at risk for falling. Between medications, functional and medical issues and advancing age, older adults in most settings are prone to falling.

There are well established standards of care related to fall prevention; but, as I continue to review records related to issues like falls, I am amazed at how often these basic standards are not being practiced. The basics of a fall prevention program include assessment and ongoing reassessment of risk, ensuring a safe environment, medication review, providing therapy as needed, individualized interventions, and staff education.

Basic nursing practice includes assessment, planning (Care plan), putting interventions in place and then evaluating outcomes to determine if those interventions are appropriate and effective. Assessment includes completing fall risk assessments on admission and then as needed. Very often, the fall risk assessments completed by nurses in LTC are inaccurate. The tools utilized in long term care typically include these risk factors: history of falling, use of ambulatory aids, gait/balance issues, medications, secondary diagnoses (i.e. diabetes) and mental status. Care planning is the next step in nursing care - it is the standard of care that as the resident’s status changes, assessments and care plans must be updated, and often, are not. For example, with each fall, there should be updates, or if there is a new diagnosis, i.e. stroke, or worsening dementia, updated interventions should be put into place, with ongoing evaluation of effectiveness.

Care planning and interventions very often are generic and not individualized. For example, a toileting schedule that includes only after meals and before bedtime may not be appropriate. If a resident has issues with constipation or incontinence, this may lead to the need for more frequent toileting to prevent falls. The “make certain call bell is within reach” for residents with dementia is an example of a generic intervention. Older adults with dementia may not recognize a call bell or remember to use it. The debate about use of bed and chair alarms go on – they are a part of an individualized care plan, not a solution to preventing falls. Often, I see delays in putting interventions in place, i.e. with the resident who is incontinent NOT being put on a toileting plan immediately. The other common issue I see when reviewing records is the lack of updating care plans as the resident’s status changes – with every fall, with worsening dementia, physical decline, or new medical diagnosis (i.e. Parkinsonism).

Nurses reviewing records need to pay attention to the MDS, risk assessments, care plans and Interdisciplinary notes with attention to where the standard of care is not being met.
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7 days ago  ·  

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