Tag Archives: medical malpractice

service members

Fighting for the Service Members Who Fight for Us

Service Members Are Vulnerable to Scams, Sickness, and Subpar Healthcare

Military Injury Attorney in New Hampshire
Forty-four percent of service members are under 25, making them financially inexperienced

There are more than two million active and reserve service members of the Unites States armed forces. Their situation is unique; many are young and financially inexperienced and are often and frequently relocated or deployed. They sometimes face difficultly accessing phones or the Internet.

Sadly, these vulnerabilities have made them a target for small and large businesses alike that prey on soldiers. Even when soldiers turn to their government for aid, they aren’t always given the support they need. Fighting for Those Who Fight for Us is a troubling new report by the American Association for Justice that reveals what our military members endure – and highlights how we can help them. Here are a few of the big takeaways from that report.

Targets of Predatory Financial Services

Military personnel and their families face many of the same financial management challenges as civilians. This includes budgeting, paying bills, retirement planning, and debt management. However, being in the military also involves unique circumstances that can make managing household finances even more difficult: deployments, frequent changes of station, and prolonged separation from family. Changes of station can also affect the job security of spouses and other family members. This makes predatory lending practices and illegal financial scams all the more damaging for our service members.

One in three service members have resorted to some sort of non-bank borrowing organization, such as payday lenders and rent-to-own retail chains. These companies set up shop around military bases and sometimes misuse official government logos to look more legitimate. Contracts look straightforward but usually include hidden fees and exorbitant interest rates.

In 2007, Congress passed the Military Lending Act (MLA) to stop lenders from charging extremely high interest rates. Nevertheless, unscrupulous lenders continue to victimize service members by ignoring or circumventing the law. And it’s not just small payday companies getting in on the action. Large financial corporations like Prudential, Bank of America, and Capital One have settled class action suits with military personnel over questionable practices like profiting on life insurance benefits after veterans have died, charging higher-than-legal interest rates, and denying reprieve from foreclosure and repossession while soldiers are on active duty.

Victims of Medical Malpractice

The Feres doctrine is a little-known 1950 Supreme Court decision that has caused suffering for thousands of service members and veterans. Feres v. United States effectively bars non-combatant active-duty service members from collecting damages from the U.S. Government when injured or killed by the negligence of others. This means that there is nowhere for service members to turn when faced with illness, pain, and suffering if they receive poor medical care while serving our country. An example from the report includes a woman left with multiple instruments inside her body after surgery. Other examples include a misdiagnosed skin cancer that ended in death, and an appendix surgery gone so wrong that it resulted in a brain-dead father of two. Patients recount experiences of medical horror with no legal recourse and no way to bring providers to justice.

Exposure to Toxic Chemicals

Military Injury Attorney in New Hampshire

Most of us have heard of Agent Orange, a herbicide used to clear jungles during the Vietnam War. For years, the military denied links between this deadly toxin and exposed soldiers suffering from cancer, birth defects, and more. It has also been well documented that service members and veterans face serious risks for developing asbestos-related diseases. This is a result of the historical presence of asbestos in buildings, ships, and other locations. These diseases include mesothelioma, a deadly and aggressive cancer.

Today’s Agent Orange story includes the more than 250 open-air burn pits used by the military in Iraq and Afghanistan to dispose of waste. Currently there are more than 175,000 veterans and service members who have registered on the VA’s Burn Pit Registry, suffering from an array of illnesses, including cancer, respiratory problems, and blood disorders. But even as the Burn Pit Registry grows, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is still denying that there is scientific evidence proving the connection between military burn pits and health problems. Lawmakers are working to make documentation and research more readily available for possible burn pit victims, all in an effort to provide service members, both past and present, with the benefits they deserve.

Just the Tip of the Iceberg

These are just a few examples of shameful behavior by corporations and others toward our servicemen and women. Others include military pension buyout scams, improper firings, human experimentation, and opioid abuse. If you or a member of your family serves in the military, take a minute to read the full report here.

Contact Experienced NH Injury Lawyers for a Free Consultation

Have you or a loved one been injured by another person’s careless acts? If so, it is essential that you have competent personal injury representation from the onset of your case through litigation. Big insurance companies have lawyers looking out for their interests and you should too!

For a free consultation, contact the experienced NH personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC. We may be reached at (603) 671-3156, by email at info@MZLawNH.com, or by using the “contact us” or chat feature on our website.

Experienced.  Knowledgeable.  Committed to Justice.

NH Injury Attorneys Discuss Rise in Elder Abuse

As U.S. Population Ages, Reports of Nursing Home Abuse on the Rise

National data on cases of elder abuse in America’s 15,600-plus nursing homes and other elder-care programs is hard to come by. But several recent studies by government investigators, advocacy groups and the news media have chilling implications.

Elder Abuse
Protect the elderly in your life by learning the signs of elder abuse

According to the National Ombudsman Reporting System (NORS), 14,258 (7.6 percent) of approximately 188,599 complaints reported to state ombudsman programs in 2014 involved abuse, gross neglect or exploitation. Another study of nursing home staff throughout the country found that 36 percent had witnessed at least one incident of physical abuse of an elderly patient in the previous year, 10 percent committed at least one act of physical abuse and 40 percent admitted to committing psychological abuse. It gets worse: A CNN special investigation in February of 2017 found that the federal government cited more than 1,000 nursing homes for mishandling or failing to prevent alleged cases of sexual assault and abuse from 2013 to 2016.

Given that 1.4 million aging adults already live in nursing homes and that the number of Americans 65-plus will double between 2010 to 2050, this issue will only become more pressing.

Keep a Watchful Eye

Nursing Home Abuse
Financial abuse is often overlooked, costing older Americans more than $36 billion a year

Elder abuse can encompass a wide range of behaviors, including physical, mental, emotional, sexual, and financial abuse and neglect. Beyond the physical scars left by abuse, neglect and mistreatment have dangerous effects on the quality of life left to an aging person. Elders who have been abused have a higher risk of early death compared to those who have not been mistreated. If your loved ones are in a nursing home or other elder care program, watch for these warning signs:

  • Broken bones or fractures
  • Bruising, cuts or welts
  • Bedsores
  • Frequent infections
  • Signs of dehydration
  • Mood swings and emotional outbursts or unusual depression
  • Reclusiveness or refusal to speak
  • Refusal to eat or take medications
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Poor physical appearance or lack of cleanliness
  • Caregivers not wanting patients to be left alone with others
  • Sudden changes in financial situation or missing personal items

Protect Your Most Vulnerable Loved Ones

For a family member or caregiver choosing a care facility, the risk of abuse can be overwhelming and traumatic. The best way to prevent elder abuse is to choose the right care facility, which is not always easy given location or financial constraints. Nevertheless, here are factors to consider:

  • Talk to residents or other patients. Observe their physical well-being and behavior. Also visit with residents’ families if possible, and learn whether they have experienced problems with the facility.
  • Avoid facilities that have restricted access.
  • Meet with key personnel (nurses, aides, social workers, administrators and doctors).
  • Read contracts carefully before signing and look for a forced arbitration clause. The rights of your loved one may be denied even if they are abused. Ask that the forced arbitration clause be removed or consider another facility.
  • Visit frequently. Vary your visits to different times of the day and evening to assess the care provided during the day, night, weekends and holidays.
  • Trust your gut. Pay attention to whether residents appear clean, well fed and free of bruises or other wounds. Also note if the environment is peaceful and feels safe.
  • Document in writing the details about any problems or concerns.
  • Compare facilities. Look up state survey reports here.

Contact NH Elder Abuse Attorneys

Before pursuing  a civil action for institutional elder abuse, it is important to objectively evaluate the facts of the case. The NH Nursing Home Injury Attorneys at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC provide aggressive yet caring legal representation to those whose loved ones have been the victims of NH nursing home abuse. Our goal is to help our clients receive full and fair compensation for their injuries. This includes pain and suffering that has been suffered due to negligent care of the elderly.

If you need help bringing a NH nursing home abuse claim, or have any questions, including needing information about a nursing home requiring the signing of a forced arbitration clause, we are available to help. There are no up-front costs for our services. All NH personal injury cases are handled on a contingency basis. This means that we are only paid for our services if we successfully recover damages from the responsible party. For a free consultation, call (603) 239-2101, email us at info@MZLawNH.com, or contact us by using the “contact us” form or chat feature on our website.

Experienced.  Knowledgeable.  Personally Committed to Justice.

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What are Wrongful Death Lawsuits?

What are the Rights of a Family Following a Loved One’s Wrongful Death?

wrongful death lawsuitsAt the NH personal injury law firm of Manning & Zimmerman, we are often asked by family members what legal rights they have if a loved one dies as the result of another person’s wrongdoing. Wrongful death lawsuits enable the family of a victim to sue a wrongdoer for damages on behalf of the deceased. In general, immediate family members or the administrator of the decedent’s estate may sue on behalf of the deceased party by claiming negligence against the responsible party.

The Filing of Wrongful Death Lawsuits

The theory behind these lawsuits is to ensure that a negligent party cannot avoid responsibility merely because the victim died. Wrongful death lawsuits make it possible for family members to recover payment for medical bills and burial expenses. Additionally, a lawsuit may be filed for the victim’s anticipated future wages. The lawsuit may also include the pain and suffering survivors have endured as the result of losing their loved one. One of the more common reasons for bringing a wrongful death lawsuit is medical malpractice, but other reasons (among many) include the death of a motorist, motorcyclist, pedestrian or bicyclist that was found to be the fault of a driver.

Call Experienced NH Wrongful Death Attorneys

Big companies have lawyers looking out for their interests and you should too. If you feel that you have been treated unfairly by an insurance company, the NH personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman, PLLC can help. When representing injured victims, we are only paid for our services when we successfully recover damages from the responsible party. For a free consultation, call (603) 239-2459, email us at info@manningzimmermanlaw.com, or contact us by using the “contact us” form or chat feature on our website.

Experienced.  Knowledgeable.  Personally Committed to Justice.

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The NH wrongful death attorneys at Manning & Zimmerman Law invite you to subscribe to our newsletter. You can also follow us on Twitter.

 

 

 

How to Prove a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

According to a study in the Journal of Patient Safety, every year between 210,000 and 440,000 Americans who visit the hospital for care may suffer some type of preventable harm that contributes to their death. To put that in perspective, only heart disease and cancer kill more Americans than medical errors in hospitals and other health care facilities. In fact, according to Martin Makary, a professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, “It boils down to people dying from the care that they receive rather than the disease for which they are seeking care.”

medical malpractice lawsuitOne of the first questions you may have about your potential medical malpractice lawsuit is, “What do I need to prove?”

If you are injured in a hospital, you will have to prove that a health care professional was negligent in their treatment of you and that you were injured as a result of that health care professional’s negligence. This is an overview of what you will need to prove in a medical malpractice lawsuit against a hospital, and the types of damages that you can reasonable expect to recover.

In order to be successful in a medical malpractice lawsuit against a hospital, you will have to prove the following:

  • The hospital owed you a duty of care. Hospitals are required to treat all patients regardless of their ability to pay.  If you were medically treated at a hospital, then all of the hospital’s treating health care professionals owe you a duty of competent medical care up to the standards established by the medical care profession.  The hospital usually will be liable for the acts of its staff and treating health care professionals.  Conversely, if you choked on a piece of food and were injured at a dinner party where a physician who works at a hospital was a guest, that doctor and the hospital would not owe you a duty of care since the doctor was a guest and you were not at the dinner party to receive medical treatment.
  • The hospital breached that duty of care to you. The duty of care refers to the medical standard of competence established by the medical care profession.  The question is what a reasonable treating health care professional would have done in a similarly situation and whether the treatment you received met the established medical standard of care.  An example would be if a nurse or physician made a prescription error or failed to diagnose your condition which led to an injury.  Those mistakes could constitute medical negligence.  As another example, if you go to a hospital for treatment and got an infection because the hospital’s facilities were unclean, you could have a case for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
  • The hospital’s breach of their duty of care to you caused your injuries. This refers to whether the hospital’s treating health care professional’s conduct caused your injuries.  Common situations of breaches of the medical standard of care include failure to diagnose, improperly performed procedures, an unclean environment, and prescription errors.  For example, if you go to a hospital for an emergency surgery and a doctor improperly amputates an extremity or leaves a scalpel inside of you, then you probably have a case for a medical malpractice lawsuit.  However, if you had a pre-existing condition, such as a heart condition that was not related to your treatment at the hospital, the hospital would probably not be liable for injuries related to your heart condition.  An exception would be if your treating health care professional’s actions worsened your pre-existing condition unnecessarily.
  • That your injuries are compensable. If you were injured because of a hospital health care professional’s negligence, you will have to sustain actual injuries for which you can be compensated.  As an example, if your doctor improperly performed a surgery, but you recovered well and suffered no real loss, you would probably not have any compensable injuries.  Conversely, if a hospital doctor improperly conducted a surgery and caused you to lose the full use of your arm that would not have otherwise have happened but for the doctor’s substandard medical care, then you would probably have a case for a medical malpractice lawsuit.

These are the types of damages that you can reasonably expect to recover in a medical malpractice lawsuit against a hospital:

  • Medical expenses. This includes the cost of your medical treatment and the cost of any future medical treatment attributable to the hospital’s negligence.
  • Lost and future earnings. This refers to any lost wages, time off work, vacation and sick days, and any future loss of earning capacity caused by the hospital’s negligence.
  • Pain and suffering. This refers to your monetary recovery for grief, anxiety and other emotional damages.
  • Loss of use. This refers to damages for loss of use of an extremity or other part of your body or any physical limitations caused by the hospital’s negligence.
  • Emotional distress. This refers to any emotional damages incurred as a result of negligence that can be attributed to the hospital’s negligence.
  • Wrongful death. This refers to damages or a cause of action that can be sustained by a family member or a spouse if a hospital’s negligence results in the death of a spouse or a family member.
  • Enhanced compensatory damages. Unlike many states, in most situations New Hampshire law does not allow for punitive damages – which are designed to not only compensate the victim but to punish the defendant. However, New Hampshire does provide for “enhanced compensatory damages” when the negligence was particularly severe.

If you have been injured as a result of medical malpractice, here are some tips on what to do to ensure that you receive proper medical care and the compensation you deserve:

  • Seek medical attention right away and get treatment. It is important that you take care of yourself and get proper medical care.
  • Make a list of witnesses who can attest to your substandard medical treatment.
  • Document your injuries and expenses. For example, keep track of your medical bills, lost compensation, and any other expenses related to your treating health care professional’s negligence.
  • If you are medically cleared by a competent treating physician and still feel pain or discomfort, get a second opinion.
  • Keep a journal of how you feel each day, including your emotions, and any pain, discomfort or limitations that you experience as a result of your injuries.