Personal Injury

Personal Injury

Employee Fired after Reporting Suspected Nursing Home Neglect

A former nursing assistant who worked in a Portland nursing home has filed a lawsuit against the facility after she was allegedly fired because she reported patient neglect.

The former employee states that while she was on leave with the flu, other employees at the facility failed to provide proper care for her patient. When she returned to work, she found that the patient had developed a large, infected wound on his leg.

Questioning the Evidence

The employee took photos of the wound and brought them to a medical educator in an attempt to report medical neglect. The lawsuit states that the employee was fired for sharing the photos because the images violated the patient’s medical privacy.

The employee believed that she was fired for bringing attention to this alleged neglect. She is now suing the facility for $575,000.

Elder Abuse an Epidemic in the United States

If you believe that a loved one is having to deal with elder abuse, you are not alone. According to a report from the US Department of Health and Human Services in 2014:

  • As many as one in twenty elderly individuals facing abuse and neglect in United States
  • Only one in fourteen cases are reported to the authorities
  • Nearly 22% of patients in skilled-nursing facilities experience unnecessary and preventable injuries, such as infections, medication error and falls

What to Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Neglect

If an older individual is in immediate danger, is is imperative that you call 911 or contact the local police department for immediate assistance.

If the danger is not immediate but you suspect elder abuse is occurring, you can report the suspected abuse by contacting the Adult Protective Services (APS) in the state where the older individual resides. You can find the correct APS reporting number in to ways:

  • Visiting the State Resources Section of the National Center on Elder Abuse website; and/or
  • Calling the Eldercare Locator at 1 (800) 677-1116

When You Should Contact Dwyer Williams Dretke Attorneys, P.C.

The attorneys at Dwyer Williams Dretke Attorneys, P.C. are proud to serve all of Oregon with offices in Bend, Grands Pass, Eugene, Roseburg and Portland. If you believe that an older loved one has sustained permanent emotional or physical injury or even death because of the abuse of a nursing home facility, we are here to help.

To schedule for your free initial consultation, please call (541) 617-0555.

Couple Recovers Damages Following Restaurant Slip-and-Fall Accident

A Pennsylvania jury recently awarded approximately $1.2 million in damages to a woman who injured her left knee as a result of a slip and fall accident in a famous bread restaurant. The plaintiff claimed that she slipped on a greasy substance while walking towards the restaurant’s restroom and landed on her knees. The fall injured her left knee which left her immobilized for some time.

Orthopedic Surgeon’s Expert Testimony

Crucial to the case was the expert testimony of the plaintiff’s orthopedic surgeon who testified that the slip and fall accident caused an acute subluxation of the plaintiff’s left knee which required extensive surgery to reconstruct and realign the injured joint. He also testified that the plaintiff needed continued diagnostic studies, visits, physical therapy, and possible knee replacement for a full recovery.

Plaintiff’s Claims

In addition to her past and future medical costs, plaintiff also alleged that she remained in crutches for weeks, underwent physical therapy and rehabilitation which prevented her from regularly reporting for work as a regional director of an education company. She also claimed that her injury which would prevent her from traveling extensively would affect her chances of promotion. She sought compensation for past and future lost earnings from the defendant.

Plaintiff also maintained that she now uses permanent braces to stabilize her injured knee, leading her to live a sedentary lifestyle that prevents her from enjoying the usual activities she had with her family. She asked that she be awarded damages for past and future pain and suffering. Her husband also claimed compensation for loss of consortium.

After deliberations, the jury returned with a verdict awarding approximately $1,225,500 to the plaintiff and her husband.

Portland Slip-and-Fall Accident

In Portland, Oregon, a person who is injured in a slip and fall accident due to the negligence or fault of the owner or manager of the premises may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you sort the legal issues of your situation, determine whether a party or parties are legally responsible, and establish the important elements of your case with the help of medical or other accident experts.

The law firm of Dwyer Williams Dretke has over 90 years of collective experience, helping injured persons in Porland recover adequate and full compensation in slip and fall accidents.

We welcome your call today to schedule a free, no obligation consultation with one of our approachable attorneys (541) 617-0555.

Jury Awards Damages against Toy Maker and Distributor for Child’s Brain Injury

A toy manufacturer and its distributor were recently ordered to pay damages in connection with a young child’s brain injury. The jury award is reportedly the first in several similar lawsuits involving a toxic toy that was manufactured in China.

Toxic Toy Beads

The toy is a craft kit with tiny candy-colored beads that children can use to create a multitude of designs. The toy beads were voluntarily recalled after the manufacturer received reports that some children who swallowed the toy beads suffered nausea, vomiting, and coma. The beads were later found to be tainted with a chemical substance that once metabolized, converts to a harmful chemical known as GHB, also known as a date rape drug.

The plaintiffs are parents of a young boy who was only 16 months old when he ingested the tainted toy beads and lapsed into a coma. He suffered a brain injury as a result. After trial, the jury ruled that the toy maker and its distributor must pay damages amounting to $435,000 to the child’s family. The plaintiffs, however, said that they are going to appeal the value of the award, citing astronomical costs of past and future medical bills for the child’s brain injury.

Oregon Brain Injury

Brain injury is a life-changing event that can take an emotional and financial toll on the injured person and their loved ones. When the injury is a result of someone else’s fault or negligence, Oregon tort law allows the injured party to recover compensation and damages from the negligent party.

If a member of your family has recently suffered a brain injury in an accident, an experienced personal injury attorney can evaluate whether you are entitled to compensation under the situation. Brain injury cases are often very complicated, often requiring expert medical opinion to help establish the cause of the brain injury and identify the party who caused the injury.

In Portland, Oregon, the experienced and tough personal injury law firm of Dwyer Williams Dretke has been helping injured clients recover from brain injury by obtaining the true value of compensation that they legally deserve.

Our lawyers have over 90 years of collective experience in a wide range of personal injury cases such as auto accidents, motorcycle injury, bicycle accidents, semi-truck accidents, dog attacks, DUI accidents, elder abuse, and wrongful death cases.

We offer a free, no obligation evaluation of your case so call us today at (541) 617-0555.

Patient Files $22 Million Suit Against Surgeon Who Paralyzed Him

Near the end of the summer, a medical malpractice suit was filed against Oregon Health & Science University and its surgeon for paralyzing a patient during an operation to untether a pinched nerve.

The plaintiff alleges that the surgeon twice dropped a surgical instrument onto his spinal cord during the surgery. As a result, the plaintiff suffered permanent damages including: quadriplegia, urinary and fecal incontinence, pain, interference with daily activities and loss of enjoyment to life. He is requesting damages totaling $22 million.

Specifically, he is asking for:

  • $2,000,000 for past medical bills
  • $10,000,000 for future medical bills and cost of care, and
  • $10,000,000 for loss of enjoyment of life and pain and suffering

Oregon Torts Claim Act

Under the Oregon Torts Claim Act, there is a limit to recovery in successful tort claims brought against the state or its employees. Since the Oregon Health & Science University operates a public hospital, any damages the plaintiff receives will be capped. The rationale behind the cap is that it strikes a balance between awarding appropriate damages and protecting the public from absorbing the cost of exorbitant payouts. While the petitioner is seeking $22 million, he can only receive a maximum of $4.1 million by statute.

2009 Oregon Health & Science University Lawsuit

Unfortunately, this is not the first time that Oregon Health & Science University has been sued for medical malpractice. Another suit was filed against OHSU in 2009 alleging that a surgeon negligently severed a blood vessel in the petitioner’s liver forcing him to have a liver transplant. Under the Torts Claim Act, the petitioner only received $3 million; an amount so small it didn’t cover his outstanding medical bills, let alone any future bills he would incur. In response to this suit, OHSU apologized but claimed that the Torts Claim Act cap allows hospitals and other high-risk public services to function.

Have You Suffered an Injury in Oregon?

If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal or brain injury, you should immediately contact an attorney. At Dwyer Williams Dretke Attorneys, LLP we have years of experience handling these complex cases and will ensure that you receive the services that you deserve. Call (541) 617-0555 for an initial consultation, free of charge. We understand that these injuries incur great financial burden on the victim and their family, that’s why we work on a contingency fee basis. If you don’t recover any money, we don’t get paid.

Nursing Homes No Longer Able to Force Arbitration

Near the end of September, the Department of Health and Human Resources promulgated a new rule that prohibits nursing homes that receive federal funding from requiring its residents to resolve disputes through arbitration.

The agency reasoned that forced arbitration clauses found in nursing home contracts kept widespread patterns of elder abuse out of the public view. The result is that residents and their families can seek justice in an open forum for the abuse and neglect that they have suffered.

What Is Arbitration?

Arbitration is a form of dispute resolution that is an alternative to going before a judge in a court of law. Usually written into a contract, both parties agree to discuss a settlement with an impartial arbitrator and the final product is binding. This means that each party waives their right to have an independent review of the facts before a judge or jury.

The final award is usually sealed to the public so only the parties involved know the final resolution.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Arbitration

Arbitration agreements are becoming increasingly common because they have many practical benefits. Generally arbitration:

  • Is cheaper than litigating in court
  • Is faster than other alternatives
  • Allows more control over the outcome

While arbitration can be beneficial, forced arbitration has many drawbacks. Forced arbitration:

  • Is unreviewable by a court of law
  • Effectively hides criminal and civil misconduct
  • Is generally sealed to the public

Since arbitration agreements are common in many types of contracts, you should always make sure that you have a qualified attorney review any document that you sign to make sure that it is in your best interest.

Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes

Unfortunately, elder abuse is far too common in nursing homes today. Fortunately, this new rule will help victims of nursing home abuse get the recourse that they legally deserve. If you or a loved one has been the victim of any form of elder abuse, you should immediately contact an attorney.

If you reside in Oregon, the attorneys at Dwyer Williams Dretke, LLP have years of experience specializing in elder abuse cases. Attorneys are available for a free case evaluation to determine the damages that you may be entitled to receive. Please contact us at (541) 617-0555. 

While nothing can eliminate the pain that elder abuse causes, everyone is entitled to legal protection under the law.