Nursing home residents have the same rights and freedoms as anyone else. Yet, the institutional setting they live within combined with the disabilities that placed them in the institution can result in a loss of dignity and the absence of proper care. In 1987 Congress enacted the Nursing Home Reform Law which acts as the underlying policy nursing home rights.
Despite reform, nursing home abuse still occurs in Louisiana. In fact, 97.5% of Louisiana nursing homes were found to have health inspection deficiencies and 90% of nursing homes were insufficiently staffed. While nursing home abuse is no laughing matter, the 1996 golf comedy, Happy Gilmore, does lightheartedly touch on nursing home abuse. Today we’re taking a look at the abuse that occurs in the movie and what Louisiana nursing home residents should know about their rights.
The Nursing Home In Happy Gilmore Isn’t So Happy
For those of you who haven’t seen Happy Gilmore in some time or have never seen the movie, Happy starts playing golf to save his grandmother’s home which is facing seizure from the IRS because of a large sum of unpaid back taxes. Grandma Gilmore is temporarily forced to move into a retirement home until Happy can come up with the $270,000 owed.
1) Nursing Homes Can’t Enforce Bedtimes
Shortly after Grandma Gilmore gets settled into her new room Hal enters the room to inform Happy that it is now resident nap time. Once Happy leaves Grandma Gilmore requests a glass of warm milk before bed to which Hal replies, “You can trouble me for a warm glass of shut the hell up! Now you will go to sleep or I will put you to sleep.”
In reality nursing home residents have the right to decide when they wake up and go to bed and Hal’s nursing home would be in the wrong for enforcing a nap time. Residents, not nursing home staff, get to determine their hours of sleep. The abuse continues as the movie progresses and things only get worse.
2) Nursing Homes Can’t Exploit Unpaid Labor
This should be glaringly obvious, but it’s illegal for nursing homes to use residents as slave labor. In another nursing home scene Hal uses his residents to make quilts during arts and crafts time which he then sells for a profit. When one of the residents refuses, Hal sends her off to maintain the lawn.
Assuming Hal wasn’t even using his residence for labor, he’d still be committing abuse just for making them do something they don’t want to do. Residents have the right to choose activities and determine how they spend their time. A nursing home cannot unwillingly force a resident into any activity.
3) Nursing Homes Can’t Invade Resident Privacy
Happy visits the nursing home on several occasions to check in on his grandma. In many of these occasions Hal is hovering over the two to make sure that Grandma Gilmore doesn’t say anything unfavorable about the nursing home.
Again, Hal has infringed upon nursing home resident rights. Residents have a right to privacy when family and friends visit. Nursing homes should have areas for residents to receive private visitors where no one can intrude. Additionally, these rights to privacy extend to all aspects of care including communication with others via telephone and email.
4) Nursing Homes Can’t Make Life Threats
Nursing homes can’t make threats. In fact, residents should be free from reprisal in exercising any of their rights such as the freedom of speech. Residents have the right to be assertive and identify problems within the nursing home. Similarly, nursing homes have the duty to assist residents in both raising and responding to concerns.
Sometimes a misplaced step is all it takes to provoke serious injury. In the event it occurs on someone else’s property, inside a business, or on a public sidewalk, who is responsible? More importantly, who should have to foot the bill?
Here in Louisiana, those questions get asked all the time in what we generally refer to as slip and fall cases—insurance claims or personal injury lawsuits in which an individual has suffered injury from a fall that may have been prevented.
Slip and Fall Cases in Louisiana
In Gretna, Louisiana a man named Bryan Dowell recently filled a suit against Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. and AFC Enterprises Inc. for a slip and fall that happened inside a Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen.
According to the plaintiff, the owner of the popular fried chicken franchise is responsible for injuries suffered by Dowell, who claims he slipped on a soapy floor near the bathroom. The floor did not have any warning signs displayed, and Dowell is accusing the owner of negligence for failing to keep the restaurant free of hazardous conditions, and failing to properly inspect the restaurant for potential hazards.
Proving Negligence and Liability
To win a personal injury case involving a slip and fall, the plaintiff must be able to prove that another person (usually a business owner or employee) was responsible for the fall in one of two ways:
- Did the property owner fail to recognize or remedy the hazard in a reasonable amount of time? For example, he or she might have allowed a dangerous pothole to remain in the parking lot for six months.
- Did the owner, employee, or another party, actually cause the accident in the first place? For example: an employee might knowingly leave a hazardous obstacle in the way of patrons.
Typically, one of these theories must be proven if you are to pursue a slip and fall case in Louisiana successfully.
To prove negligence, the plaintiff will have to prove one or several conditions.
- Demonstrating that the dangerous condition existed long enough for the defendant to reasonably remedy the problem;
- The property owner didn’t have policies in place to ensure hazards were regularly avoided; or
- The hazard or dangerous condition could have been made less dangerous.
Louisiana Contributory Fault Rules
As is the case with auto accidents, the property owner in a slip and fall case might try to argue that the plaintiff is totally, or partially, responsible for the accident. This is important to note because not all states have the same legal codes pertaining to how restitution for personal injury cases can be awarded.
This kind of legal argument is known as comparative fault, or comparative negligence. Louisiana’s comparative fault rule reduces an injured person’s damages by the amount equal to the share of fault assigned to that person.
In other words, if the property owner can prove the injured party was in some way responsible for the slip, any awarded damages will be based on the percentage the property owner was at fault. If a court determines the injured party was 50 percent responsible for the fall, the injured party will only be able to collect 50 percent of the total award.
Injured in a Slip and Fall Accident?
Choosing an experienced personal injury lawyer can make a huge difference with regard to your settlement. While you focus on recovering from the slip and fall, we take care of the claim and manage the complicated legal process from start to finish.
If you have questions about slip and fall cases, or a personal injury claim, we at the Monroe Law Office of J. Antonio Tramontana, want to hear from you.
For a free case review, please fill out the form to the left, or call me directly at 318-340-1515.
When you suffer a personal injury in Louisiana, the clock starts to tick immediately, counting down the time you have to file a lawsuit that would allow you to seek reparations for any damages, expenses, or loss of income suffered as a result.
Time limits for civil lawsuits are called the Louisiana Statutes of Limitations and they determine how long you have to file a civil lawsuit. Time limits vary depending on the type of injury or legal claim, and they vary from state to state, so it’s important to be informed about your state’s limits and processes for filing a legal claim.
Why Louisiana has Statutes of Limitations
State legislators determine the time limits for various civil claims and crimes. These limits are representative of the public interest and function to serve both the public’s safety and individuals facing charges within the state’s criminal justice system.
Statutes of limitations function to ensure convictions are timely, and that those convictions only occur when the evidence does not depreciate over time.
A statute of limitation requires a criminal to remain in the same state where the crime was committed, and that he or she remain publicly visible, or gainfully employed, so law enforcement has the ability to pursue a public investigation.
Time Limits in Louisiana
Most time limitations on civil statutes in the state of Louisiana can be found in Louisiana’s Civil Code.
Not every legal claim has the same time limit, and there are several kinds of claims that cover a wide range of civil offenses, including assault and battery, fraud, medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury (like car accidents), and wrongful death.
Please see the charts below for a full list of case descriptions and the time limits we observe in the state of Louisiana.
|Contract (in writing)||10 years||La. Civ. Code art. 3499|
|Contract (oral)||10 years||La. Civ. Code art. 3499|
|False Imprisonment||2 years||La. Civ. Code art. 3493.10|
|Assault and Battery||2 years||La. Civ. Code art. 3493.10|
|Fraud||1 year||La. Civ. Code art. 3492|
|Legal Malpractice||1 year||La. Civ. Code art. 3492|
|Libel||1 year||La. Civ. Code art. 3492|
|Medical Malpractice||1 year||La. Civ. Code art. 3492|
|Personal Injury||1 year||La. Civ. Code art. 3492|
|Product Liability||1 year||La. Civ. Code art. 3492|
|Property Damage||1 year||La. Civ. Code art. 3492|
|Slander||1 year||La. Civ. Code art. 3492|
|Trespass||1 year||La. Civ. Code art. 3492|
|Wrongful Death||1 year||La. Civ. Code art. 3492|
Current and new residents of Louisiana should prepare themselves for the possibility of these civil crimes and familiarize themselves with the time limits, so they know what to do in the event that legal action is necessary.
If too much time passes after a crime occurs, the Louisiana Statutes of Limitations will prevent you from pursuing restitution for loss or damage.
For example, personal injury claims and wrongful deaths have a one-year time limit in the state of Louisiana. The date the accident or crime actually happened is the date that begins this one-year period. Once the time limitations have expired, you are no longer able to file a lawsuit, nor can the offender be prosecuted for the crime.
How do Civil Lawsuits Affect Insurance Claims?
In personal injury cases, the statute of limitations is only applied to the lawsuit and will not directly impact an insurance claim.
Louisiana’s Comparative Fault Laws
Coinciding with the statutes of limitations, states have comparative fault laws. Louisiana Civil Code 2323 states that Louisiana follows a comparative fault approach, meaning if the court decides that you contributed to your injury, your compensation will be reduced by the court-determined percentage of fault.
For example, if your damages amount to $100,000 and the court determined that you were 50 percent at fault, your total compensation would equal $50,000.
The Code also states that if a person suffers an injury, death, or loss due to another person’s negligence, the comparative fault law does not apply.
Timely Lawsuits in the State of Louisiana
It’s important that you act quickly with any civil claims you wish to file in the state of Louisiana. Your inability to file in a timely manner ultimately hurts you and your family if you’re seeking restitution for loss or damages.
If you reside in northeastern Louisiana and have questions about statutes of limitations, or a personal injury claim, we at the Monroe Law Office of J. Antonio Tramontana, Attorney at Law, want to hear from you. For a free case review, please fill out the form to the left, or call me directly at 318-340-1515.
Accidents caused by dilapidated infrastructure has everyone talking, including John Bel Edwards, who became Louisiana’s governor last November.
“For years, the Transportation Trust Fund has been raided to pay for other priorities,” Edwards said, “leaving a $12 billion backlog in critical infrastructure projects.”
Louisiana Rated a C- in Infrastructure
UPDATE: Louisiana is now Rated a D+ Overall in 2017
Edwards isn’t the only one who shares this concern. Infrastructure has been a hot topic on the campaign trail this year. Across the country, the American infrastructure system has come under intense scrutiny, with politicians citing dangerous performance reports, like the 2013 Report Card for American Infrastructure researched by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Louisiana received a C- grade, with bridges and roadways scoring the lowest among several categories. Specifically, 1,827 of the 13,050 bridges were deemed structurally deficient. What’s more shocking, each motorist in the state of Louisiana spends an extra $464 a year to drive on roadways in need of major repair.
According to the report, “Nearly every deficiency noted in the road system is directly attributable to an inadequate and outdated funding model that forces transportation professionals to defer capacity, safety and maintenance projects.”
Gov. Edwards Creates Transportation Task Force
In early June, Governor John Bel Edwards and Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) Secretary Shawn Wilson announced the formation of the Governor’s Task Force on Transportation Infrastructure Investment—a group designated to research immediate threats, identify long-term funding solutions, and make recommendations “to be introduced in 2017 to fund a robust, multimodal construction program…”.
During the next six months, the Louisiana Task Force will be researching and drafting plans that will hopefully reduce congestion and safety concerns on our local roadways. Additionally, they’ll be looking at ways in which Louisiana can become a leader in multimodal transportation, with an emphasis on sound and sustainability policies.
Staying Safe on Louisiana Roadways
In the meantime, motor vehicle accidents in Louisiana continue to be a likely occurrence, as excessive congestion and poor maintenance translates into a greater risk for drivers, their vehicles, and personal property.
Remember to heed warning signs during construction. Slow down for construction workers, and keep extra distance between you and the driver in front of you. As public roadways, bridges, and other municipal works begin their improvements, it’s going to take extra attention from everyone in the state of Louisiana to ensure the safety of other drivers during this critical time of development.
If you get in an accident in Louisiana
If you’re in a car accident, your No. 1 priority should be your health, but that’s often easier said than done, especially when taking time off work is a challenge, and expensive medical bills become a burden.
Choosing an experienced personal injury lawyer can make a huge difference to your recovery. While you focus on getting better, we take care of the insurance claim and manage the complicated legal process from start to finish.
Along with causing auto accidents, personal injury due to negligent drivers or safety hazards from poor infrastructure can affect pedestrians and bicyclists. It’s never been more important for us to share public roads with our fellow drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
If you have questions about auto accidents or a personal injury claim, we at the Monroe Law Office of J. Antonio Tramontana, Attorney at Law, want to hear from you. For a free case review, please fill out the form to the left, or call me directly at 318-340-1515.
If you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident because of someone else’s negligence, you probably know you’re entitled to compensation for your injuries.
But did you know the compensation you receive is dependent on the type of harm incurred? It’s important to work with an experienced Monroe car accident attorney who can accurately estimate the value of loss you have suffered in a crash.
Two Types of Harm in Vehicle Crashes
- Economic (or “special damages”).
- Non-economic (or “general damages”).
You can probably guess what economic harm includes:
It’s items like your medical expenses, any lost wages due to injuries, and the costs of having your car repaired or replaced.
The value of non-economic harm, on the other hand, is harder to peg with a dollar figure. It includes categories like your physical pain and suffering, any emotional consequences, and the loss of your enjoyment of life.
Losses Related to People
Losses from an auto accident also can be sorted according to the object of the harm: people and vehicles. Among the harm caused to people, some losses are economic.
Medical expenses: If you’ve suffered mental or emotional injuries, you may need medical care now and in the future. Your attorney will work with a medical professional to help you get better and to estimate the ongoing costs of your care.
Compensation for medical expenses may include:
- Hospital stays.
- Treatment in an emergency room.
- Doctor visits.
- Nursing services.
- Diagnostic tests.
Your attorney will assist you in gathering documentation to prove that your medical expenses are directly related to injuries you suffered in an accident.
Household help: You may need help with household tasks while you recover and even on a permanent basis, depending on the extent of your injuries. If you would not have incurred the expense if you hadn’t been injured, you may be entitled to compensation.
Lost income and lost earning capacity: If you lose wages or the ability to earn money in the future because of an accident, you may receive compensation.
Other human losses related to accidents are non-economic and can include:
- Pain and suffering due to permanent disfigurement or ongoing, severe physical or emotional pain.
- Loss of the ability to enjoy life.
- Loss of the affections of a spouse.
- Loss of the companionship of close family members.
- Mental anguish, including emotional distress such as anxiety, grief, shock or feelings of loss of dignity.
Losses Related to Vehicles
When a vehicle is damaged in a crash, the resale value may be diminished even if the vehicle is repaired. For the owner this means:
Diminution — or reduction — in the value of the vehicle.
So even if you’re compensated for the cost of repairing your car after an accident, you may be entitled to additional compensation for the lost value (“diminished value of your vehicle”).
Under Louisiana law, you may be entitled to recover damages related to diminution if:
- Your car is damaged but not destroyed in a crash.
- The damage is due to someone else’s negligence.
- You can prove that the fair market value of the vehicle is less because of the damage even if the vehicle is repaired to pre-accident condition.
If you’ve suffered loss in an accident — either from personal injury or damage to your vehicle — it’s important to work with an experienced Monroe car accident attorney. For a consultation, please contact J. Antonio Tramontana at 318-340-1515.
In the State of Louisiana, drivers are required by law to report accidents that either result in injuries or in damages of over $100. Damages- whether physical or property- can be deceptively expensive, so we suggest reporting all accidents.
When you play it safe and legal and call police to file a report after a Louisiana car accident, you protect your rights as well. If the other party later tries to claim that you caused the accident, that police report will be a lifesaver for your case. What makes the police report so important? Information and official documentation – read on to find out why they matter.
Reasons to File a Police Report After an Automobile Accident in Louisiana
While remaining within the legal guidelines is a must, there are also some clear benefits to filing a police report after an accident; the report filed now may be needed by your lawyer later.
Reports Include Complete and Comprehensive Details
The police report will include hard facts about the accident and provides much-needed information for your legal team. If you have been injured, these details will be needed to support you case in court and ensure that you receive all of the compensation you are entitled to. If you have been accused of contributing to the accident, then these details can help clear your name and ensure that the accusations do not impact your insurance or case settlement.
What kind of information could you find inside your accident report?
The report will cover the names of the people involved, describe any overt or obvious injuries or damages, properly identify the vehicles, drivers and witnesses; and since it is written by an objective third party, be accepted as an accurate account of what happened.
A police report also serves as official documentation of the accident and can be used by the court, your lawyer and the insurance company as evidence. Everything from the location of the vehicles to the weather outside will be documented in the report and serve as useful information for your attorney. Many personal injury cases are settled before the court is involved, so official documentation will help your attorney fight for you.
What’s the Bottom Line on a Louisiana Police Report After an Accident?
Three words: Call right away
While Louisiana does give you up to 24 hours to make the report, there is really no reason to wait. You should call the authorities in the city or town where the accident occurred or the state authorities if the accident was not within town limits. Calling the police at once allows them to see what happened immediately, not a day or two later or after the cars have been removed.
What to do if you were in a Louisiana Car Accident
Call the police immediately after an accident, even if there do not seem to be injuries. This will protect your rights and make it easier for an attorney to help you out in the courtroom.
If you have been injured an accident, we can help. Contact us for a complimentary consultation about your case and to find out what compensation you might be entitled to. We are committed to protecting your rights and helping you fully recover from an accident and stand ready to help you however we can.
Image via Pixabay
In an effort to combat distracted driving, New York is proposing legislation that will make it legal for law enforcement to use a “textalyzer” on the phones of drivers after an accident. The textalyzer, which allows police to determine if the driver was texting at the time of the accident, will make it much easier to identify when drivers have been operating their vehicles while distracted.
Texting While Driving – A Dangerous Problem
The numbers are clear – distracted driving, especially related to mobile device use, is a major issue on both a state and a national level. According to the the official government website on distracted driving – Distraction.gov – there were 3,129 deaths due to distracted driving crashes in 2014.
Louisiana Crash Data Reports, which gathers data on all crashes in the state of Louisiana, lists five fatalities and another 812 injuries due to cell phone use while driving in 2015.
The Distraction website lists a number of unsettling facts related to distracted driving, including the fact that a driver’s eyes are off the road for a full five seconds while texting – enough time to drive the length of a football field blindfolded. It is no surprise then that so much can go wrong while texting behind the wheel. The driver is not aware of his or her surroundings while hurtling along in a dangerous vehicle traveling at potentially high speeds.
How The Textalyzer Can Help
The texting-while-driving problem has a lot of parallels to the drunk driving epidemic, hence the name of the new device. Like the breathalyzer, the textalyzer can quickly determine if a driver was doing something that they shouldn’t have. The risks of texting while driving are apparent now, as evidenced by the statistics and the many movements to discourage the dangerous practice. Drivers should be driving, not messing around on their phones – for both their own safety, and for the safety of everyone else on the road.
One of the main arguments for the adoption of the textalyzer by law enforcement is that it will give clear insight into whether or not the driver was using the device in the moments leading up to the accident. If law enforcement can identify the use of the device right before the accident, then prosecuting the offender for distracted driving becomes much easier. With successful prosecution and punishment, it will become clear to all drivers that distracted driving puts you at risk of getting in big trouble. Like with drunk driving, most people will prefer to control themselves rather than risk getting caught.
Making Roads Safer
The fact that you can be obeying all the rules of the road, yet still get hurt due to another driver’s negligence, is not OK. Yet every day, other drivers get behind the wheel and choose to endanger the lives of others. Fortunately, technological innovations like the textalyzer are making it possible to deter at least some of the bad behavior that puts innocent people at risk. It may take some time for all states to adopt the use of the textalyzer, but it is encouraging to know that solutions are being created to combat the rise in distracted driving due to mobile device use.
Helping Injury Victims In Louisiana
If you or someone you care about has been hurt in an accident caused by a distracted driver, it is important that you talk to an attorney about what happened. Our firm is here to answer your questions and help you determine if you have a case. Let us help you pursue those responsible for your injuries and make sure you get the compensation you deserve. Please contact us now to get started.