Massachusetts Supreme Court Looks at Arbitration Agreements in Nursing Home Contracts

Arbitration agreements are increasingly common in nursing home contracts. Arbitration agreements stipulate that if there is a dispute between the nursing home resident and the nursing home facility, it must be handled via binding arbitration rather than in a court of law. This can make it difficult for plaintiffs to pursue legal action to obtain full compensation in cases where a nursing home has failed to live up to patient obligations. hospital-bed-69132-m.jpg

Arbitration agreements can seriously curtail the rights of nursing home residents, and are part of an effort by nursing homes to reduce the potential risk of liability they face. In other words, instead of stepping up and making sure that the homes actually do right by patients, nursing homes are instead trying legal tricks to make it harder for plaintiffs to get damages after they are hurt.

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More Proposed Malpractice Changes- Do They Miss the Mark?

Medical malpractice reform has been much discussed as a means of lowering healthcare expenditures, even though evidence has repeatedly suggested that malpractice is not a significant factor in driving costs.

Despite solid evidence that the vast majority of plaintiffs recover large malpractice payouts only in cases where they have been seriously injured, new proposals continue the fight to fix a system that is not really broken. dentalseries-2-80921-m.jpg

Recently, for example, an opinion article was published in Bloomberg View arguing for a "safe harbor" for doctors in malpractice suits provided they followed "evidence-based" protocols. The suggestion is that we should move away from a local customary-based practice standard and instead judge doctors based on whether they follow national practices that are more widely accepted.

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Boston Construction Accidents Often Caused by Falling Objects

Falling or flying objects are a common hazard faced by construction workers.
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In fact, our Boston construction accident lawyers note struck-by accidents are one of the four deadliest dangers found on construction sites, according to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration.

More than 25 percent of all deaths in construction are the result of struck-by accidents, which also account for about 10 percent of all occupational deaths.

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Could Balance Exercises Help You Prevent a Fall Injury?

Fall injuries are on pace to become a leading cause of trauma-related deaths in the United States, and falls currently cause thousands of people to get badly hurt in the Boston area each year. To help combat this problem, the Boston Globe recently published an article with some balance exercises that people could do to reduce their risk of a fall. girl-in-black-clothes---balancing-1189552-m.jpg

While these exercises may be helpful to some, the sad fact is that falls are often caused by the negligence or wrongdoing of others and not by anything that the victim did or didn't do. Balance exercises only go so far to prevent a fall, especially among vulnerable populations. Property owners, and especially nursing home operators, have a duty to prevent falls from happening and should be held liable if they fail to live up to this obligation. A Boston injury lawyer can help victims who have been harmed by a fall to take legal action and pursue a claim for damages.

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Burn Injury Awareness Week Aims to Protect Kids

In Massachusetts, Burn Injury Awareness week was held in early February to remind the public of the serious risks of burn accidents. While burns are most often attributed to fires, the reality is that fire is not the leading cause of burns in Massachusetts. Instead, as WWLP reports, the leading burn injury cause is hot liquids scalding kids under the age of five. warning---dirty-water-1-1102257-m.jpg

Young children and the elderly are generally considered to have the greatest risk of suffering a burn injury, although burns are also very common in certain workplaces as well. No matter what age someone is or how a burn happens, burn injuries have something in common: these injuries are often very painful and very expensive to treat. Prevention should be a top goal, and those who do sustain a burn injury should speak with a Boston injury lawyer for help as soon as possible to ensure they have the money they need for plastic surgery and other treatments.

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Discouraging C-Sections Could Affect Birth Injury Rates

The number of caesarean sections has increased significantly in recent years, in part because of doctor concern about potential malpractice claims. A woman who is in labor too long could experience serious complications and extended labor could cause birth injuries to infants. Cesarean sections are viewed as a solution that reduces the potential for problems from long labors and protects doctors from being sued for failure to act on signs of fetal or maternal distress. baby-hand-1434430-m.jpg

Now, however, the Boston Globe is reporting that two prominent medical groups have issued new guidelines to encourage more vaginal births. The guidelines are encouraging doctors to allow first-time mothers to stay in labor for longer and to push harder to try to increase the number of infants born without resorting to a C-section. While these new guidelines could actually result in better outcomes for parents and children, it is also essential that doctors carefully monitor all labors to ensure that they don't endanger the life of the child.

Families affected by birth injuries should consult with an experienced Boston birth injury lawyer. Conditions such as Cerebral Palsy can be caused by a difficult birth and can affect a child for the rest of his life, so it is important for families to be fully compensated for birth injury.

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Emergency Therapy to Prevent Serious Brain Injury

The bad news about brain injuries has just kept coming in recent years. Studies now link brain injuries to seizures, to the development of epilepsy and to an increased risk of dementia. Even a simple concussion has been found to cause a fundamental change to the brain that can still be observed months after the injury. mri-head-scan-370098-s.jpg

With so many troubling discoveries regarding brain injuries, the new research coming out of University of California Berkeley is more than welcome. Researchers have discovered reasons why as many as 50 percent of people with brain trauma are at risk of developing epilepsy and work is now underway to develop an emergency drug to prevent this type of serious and lasting damage from brain trauma.

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Feeding Tube Dangers Substantial for Boston Dementia Patients

Alzheimer's disease is cruel. It will steal a person's memories, ability to speak, mobility and ultimately, their independence. In many cases, it will also cause patients to lose the ability to eat. soup.jpg

At this point, caregivers and loved ones need to decide whether it makes sense to have a gastric feeding tube inserted. This is usually an issue that arises toward the very end, when the disease has begun to chip away at the part of the brain that allows a person to perform basic functions, such as swallowing.

Loved ones who reach this difficult juncture believe they are essentially deciding whether to buy their aging relative more time or allowing them to slowly die.

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Cost of Boston Birth Injury Can Be Astronomical

A recent study published in the journal BMJ Open reveals that the cost for a healthy, vaginal birth is anywhere from $3,000 to $36,000. In cases of a C-section deliver, the range varies from $8,000 to about $71,000. babyhands1.jpg

Researchers focused primarily on the fact that costs were disparate for no apparent rhyme or reason. This is a subject worthy of further exploration. However, our Boston birth injury attorneys were interested in these figures for another reason. When you consider that a relatively uneventful, healthy birth has the potential to cost tens of thousands of dollars, situations in which there are complications that require additional hospitalization and specialized treatment are going to result in costs that are astronomically high.

Even in cases where there has been a clear issue of malpractice - such a child who suffers from Erb's palsy or a mother who dies as a result of undiagnosed preeclampsia - those bills will still come rolling in. People who can't afford to pay them can suffer a substantial blow to their credit. The family of a child who is disabled as a result of improper care before, during or immediately after childbirth can expect those bills to pile up for many years to come.

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Feds Highlight Risks of Child Car Accident Fatalities

A third of the children who died in car crashes on U.S. roads in 2011 weren't properly buckled in, U.S. health officials recently reported. From 2002 through 2011, the annual rate of death in car accidents for children 12 and younger fell more than 40 percent, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Thomas Frieden, MD. Med Page Today reports the recent findings were based on data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). CDC officials looked into the accidents that involved child passengers and looked closer at restraints that were used to protect them.
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"The tragic news is still with that decrease, more than 9,000 kids were killed on the road in this period," said Frieden.

Our Boston child injury lawyers understand that thousands of children are still at risk as not enough are properly buckled in during each and every car ride. From 2002 to 2011, during the study period, officials found that more than 9,000 children died in car crashes during the period. But deaths dropped sharply, from 2.2 deaths per 100,000 people in 2002, to 1.2 deaths per 100,000 in 2011, a 43 percent decline.

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Massachusetts Birth Injury Claims Against Federal Defendants Must be Timely

A young mother dies as a result of severe hemorrhaging following the birth of her third child. babykiss2.jpg

The father filed a Boston medical malpractice claim within the allotted three-year window for such lawsuits in the Commonwealth. However, the claim was ultimately dismissed as time-barred - a decision recently affirmed by the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Sanchez v. United States - because the doctors in the case were deemed to be federal employees. Although this information was unbeknownst to the plaintiff, the Federal Tort Claims Act requires any medical malpractice action against federal employees be brought within a two-year window.

The plaintiff, too late, is unable to seek justice for his beloved wife, mother of his children.

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New England Ski Injuries in Focus After Teen Death on Slopes

A recent skiing accident took the life of a 19-year-old, according to CBS Boston. The accident happened around 11:00 a.m. when the silkier lost control at a trail intersection and slammed into a trail sign. She was rushed to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.
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Skiing and snowboarding are less dangerous than other high-energy participation sports, and less so than some common activities. However, skiing and snowboarding are still challenging and require physical skills only learned over time with practice. The sports involve some inherent risk, but in some measure, it is the thrill that entices most skiers and riders to pursue it. Even with the attendant risks, the health and fitness benefits of skiing and snowboarding are enjoyed by people of all ages across the slopes each season.

Our Boston personal injury lawyers note over the last decade, more than 40 people have died each year before of skiing/snowboarding accidents. During the 2011/2012 season, officials recorded 54 fatalities. Close to 40 of these were skiers and 12 were snowboarders. Improvements to equipment have led to reductions in injury rates. For instance the introduction of quick release mechanisms dramatically cut the number of lower leg fractures, while smarter ski design is helping the downward injury trend in the alpine disciplines. But we're not in the clear.

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Roxbury Man Killed in Rear-End MBTA Accident

A 24-year-old driver from Roxbury was killed after rear-ending a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MTBA) bus at a bus stop, reports CBS Boston. The accident happened on Route 28.
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On the bus, there were nine people who were sent to the hospital with injuries, most complaining of back pain. According to the spokesperson of the MBTA, the bus was legally stopped at its bus stop when the accident happened.

Our MBTA accident lawyers understand that bus stops and other mass transit hazards are scattered throughout the city, and safety navigation around them can be tricky at times. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were more than 10,000 injury bus accidents recorded in the U.S. in 2008. Roughly 11,000 vehicles were involved and close to 25,000 passengers injured.

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Massachusetts Rank as Nation's Worst Drivers?

Distracted driving, careless maneuvers and road rage -- they're all common characteristics of drivers in the area. We face these dangers on a daily basis. And we often think "Massachusetts has some of the worst drivers!"
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Now, we can see just who has the worst drivers, thanks to a recent study from Car Insurance Comparison. Not only do these dangerous drivers aggravate your daily commute and make it a lot more dangerous, but they're also contributing to the increase in auto insurance premiums.

Our car accident lawyers in Massachusetts note officials with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the National Motorists Association and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) looked at drivers in each state and based a rating off of information regarding deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, drivers' neglect to obey seat belt and traffic signal laws, drunk driving numbers, the number of tickets issued and trends regarding careless driving. With all of this information, officials calculated a total score, to determine which states are the worst.

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Massachusetts Fall Injuries a Growing Risk

Trauma centers across the county are reporting an increase in the number of fall-related accidents. According to Pain Medicine News, if the trend continues, these kinds of accidents could account for more injuries and fatalities than either firearms or traffic collisions.
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According to the study, the number of car crashes has dropped more than 25 percent since 2002 because of the increase in car safety features, medical care and public awareness. That decrease has been offset by an increase in the number of deaths resulting from fall accidents, which are up more than 45 percent in an eight-year period.

Our Somerville personal injury lawyers understand that the total trauma-related mortality decreased by about 5 percent from 2002 to 2010. The decline happened even though we saw an increase in the number of miles driven by Americans and a 10 percent increase in the number of firearm injuries. The number of fatalities from firearms remained relatively the same, although the number of injuries resulting from firearms increased slightly.

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