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Category Archive: Uncategorized

Category Archive: Uncategorized

  1. When Is a Nursing Home Liable for an Injury?

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    The nursing home setting is no stranger to instances of mistreatment. Every year, millions of nursing home residents are victims of horrendous abuse and neglect from employees, facility owners, and third-parties. From malnutrition to mental abuse, elderly residents are at risk of a wide range of traumatic events at the hands of negligent and abusive professionals. If your elderly loved one has suffered physical or psychological injury in a nursing home, find out who may be liable.

    Identify the Source and Cause of Resident Injury

    The first step toward discovering who is liable for nursing home injury is investigating the source of the injury. Tracing an injury back to its root cause will clarify who could be at fault. For example, a resident developing bedsores points to negligence on the part of the personnel in charge of the resident’s daily hygiene and care. A case of malnutrition, on the other hand, is more likely the facility’s fault for failing to provide proper meals to residents.

    In most cases, Texas courts will hold a nursing home facility strictly liable for the actions or inactions of its staff members. An employer or manager has a duty to provide a reasonably safe environment for residents, properly train workers, and address resident needs. The court might hold a nursing home liable for an injury in cases involving:

    • Negligent hiring procedures or staff training.
    • Failure to monitor staff.
    • Failure to provide adequate building security.
    • Failure to provide daily living necessities to residents.
    • Negligent medical care.
    • Failure to protect from safety and health hazards.
    • Unreasonable physical restraints.
    • Intentional abuse by staff members.

    In each of these situations, the nursing home would be at fault for resultant personal injuries. The law requires a nursing home or elderly care facility to uphold standards for the mental, physical, and psychosocial wellbeing of residents. Any shortcoming, breach of duty, or intentional harm that leads to a nursing home or its staff failing this legal duty is grounds for a personal injury lawsuit against the facility. If a plaintiff can show that a nursing home’s negligence played a role in a resident’s injury, the court may hold the facility liable for all consequent damages.

    Third-Party Responsibility

    There are several types of nursing home abuse and neglect that may stem from third-party negligence. A defective piece of medical equipment, for example, would lead to third-party liability for patient injury instead of the nursing home. Common third-parties involved in nursing home injury cases are staff members, outside contractors, manufacturing companies, and visitors. In some cases, naming the defendant can be difficult. A case of food poisoning, for instance, might result from negligent nursing home kitchen sanitation or a defect from the food supplier. Hiring a nursing home abuse attorney is the best way to investigate an injury and identify the correct defendant(s).

    There have been cases of elderly financial abuse in Texas that involve visitors or trespassers to the nursing home. A family “friend” or neighbor may hear of a wealthy elderly resident and visit the nursing home to conduct fraud. The visitor might threaten or abuse the resident until the perpetrator gets what he or she wants – bank account information, a blank check, or a changed last will and testament. In this case, the nursing home may be responsible for negligent security or the individual is liable for abuse.

    If you suspect nursing home abuse, take your loved one out of the facility immediately. Report the incident to the police, explaining why you suspect abuse or neglect. Then, call an attorney to assist you in investigating the injury and identifying the party that might be liable.

  2. Eight Tips for Outdoor Cooking Safety You Should Know

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    During the summer and cooler autumn months, Americans enjoy cooking outdoors. Favorite methods include grilling, deep-frying, and boiling. While nothing beats a nicely charred kabob, a deep-fried turkey, or some freshly boiled peanuts, outdoor cooking comes with certain risks.

    Fires, burns, smoke inhalation, and explosions can turn fun-filled afternoons into tragedies. According to a 2016 report from the National Fire Protection Association, grills are responsible for 8,900 residential fires every year, and gas grills account for more fires than charcoal grills. Numerous people seek medical treatment after accidents involving grills, highlighting the real dangers of outdoor cooking.

    The next time you turn on the propane, set up those charcoal briquettes, or put an oversized pot on the burner, remember these safety tips:

    1. Choose an appropriate location. Place all cooking equipment on a sturdy surface away from railings, eaves, and low tree branches. The area should feature appropriate ventilation and sit out of the way of foot traffic. Try to keep all grills and outdoor cooking appliances as far from the home as you can.
    1. Prep the station. Check the trays underneath the grill and heating element for excess grease and other fire hazards. Remove any debris. Place a spray bottle nearby for small flames on the grill, and keep an outdoor hose within reach of the cooking station. Prepare your food and locate all the long-handled grilling utensils and platters you’ll need. Accidents may occur if a cook leaves the station to locate cooking supplies.
    1. Wear the right attire. As with indoor cooking, loose, flowing clothing can ignite easily. Check loose sleeves, shirttails, and fringes before starting the cooking process, and keep some heat-resistant handling mitts nearby.
    1. Start your grill. Always open a gas grill lid before lighting to prevent the buildup of potentially explosive fumes. Use appropriate starter fluids for charcoal and other types of grills. If you use a nonstick spray for your grill grates, spray the grill before you start it, and then remove spray from the cooking area. Many nonstick spray containers are under pressure and can explode under high heat.
    1. Supervise children and pets. Instruct children to stay away from the grill and keep pets at a safe distance. A curious young child or dog can easily sustain burns from touching a hot grill. Use extreme caution with children and pets when boiling large pots of water or frying outdoors.
    1. Keep your owner’s manual handy. Like any other equipment, grills and outdoor cooking equipment require occasional maintenance. If you have a gas grill, check the gas line for leaks at the start of each cooking season. Follow all instructions regarding routine maintenance.
    1. Cool down in the right way. Some outdoor cooks prefer to burn off all food residue immediately after taking food off of a grill. If you do so, stay with the grill until you can turn off the flame to avoid accidentally forgetting about it. Turn off the gas supply after each cooking session, and discard charcoal remains only if they’re completely cool.
    1. Grab a first aid kit. Prepare for minor burns and more-serious accidents with a burn kit. If you travel away from the home to a park for outdoor grilling, pack the burn kit in with the grilling supplies. A basic burn kits should include antiseptic and pain-relieving ointments, gauze and bandages, and burn gels.

    Cooking outdoors is a fun way to enjoy the season, good company, and fantastic food. With basic precautions in place, you can significantly reduce the risk of injury during all your outdoor cooking festivities.

    If you’ve been injured in a cooking related accident because of the negligence of the chef, contact our Houston personal injury lawyers today

  3. Is a Company Legally Responsible if I Eat Recalled Food?

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    Food recalls are big news these days. With hundreds of reported food, beverage, and dietary supplement recalls in 2015, everything from produce to packaged goods can be a source of potentially harmful contamination. Alarmingly, the problem is not confined to one variety of company. Even large, well-regarded manufacturers issue recalls.

    In 2015, several deaths and illnesses were linked to a batch of Blue Bell Ice Cream that was contaminated with listeria. Recalled food and beverages can cause serious illness and death. In light of the frequency of recalls, consumers should know how to proceed if they discover they have ingested a recalled item.

    What to Do If a Product You Have Eaten Is Recalled

    If you learn that a product you have recently consumed is being recalled, stay calm. There are many reasons a product may be recalled, and not all of them are likely to lead to serious illness. Additionally, just because a portion of a batch of products has been affected does not mean that the hazard will be present in every product in the whole batch.

    Learn as much as you can about the recall, including warning signs of potential illness associated with any contamination. If the reason for the recall is bacterial or other contamination, pay attention to how you feel. Unfortunately, some illnesses caused by food-borne bacteria can take months to develop. Keeping a written record of anything that may be a symptom will help you keep track.

    Potentially dangerous reasons for recalling food and beverage products include:

    • Bacterial contamination. Common varieties of illness-causing bacteria include Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli, and Botulism.
    • Undeclared allergens, such as nuts, dairy, or soy. Many allergens can cause life-threatening reactions. The FDA requires all of these ingredients to be listed.
    • Accidental inclusion of hazardous materials. In some cases, products may be recalled because of the risk of glass, metal, or other fragments.
    • Diseases caused by bacterial contamination,  such as listeriosis and Salmonella poisoning can be fatal. They can also cause chronic health problems, leading to expensive medical bills and lost earning potential.

    What to Do If You Get Sick from Recalled Food

    If you begin to feel sick after consuming a recalled food item, seeking timely medical attention can minimize the impact of a food born illness or other contaminant. If the illness is mild, see your doctor for help determining the source. Provide the doctor with any information you have about the recall.

    If your symptoms are severe, go directly to the hospital. It is vital to get treatment right away. Along with providing the necessary medical treatment, medical professionals can document your symptoms, which will help support your case if you decide to seek compensation for illness caused by recalled food.

    Who Is to Blame?

    If recalled food makes you sick, there are several parties who may be at fault, depending on the specific circumstances. A lawyer can help you determine who is responsible. Possible parties include:

    • The manufacturer of the product.
    • The distributor of the product.
    • The store that sold you the product.

    While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for issuing recalls, it is not involved in the process of seeking compensation for illness as a result of consuming recalled products. In many cases, those responsible for selling you the recalled product can be considered liable for harm as a result of the product.

    If you or someone you love has sustained an illness or injury from a recalled product, legal representation can advise you of the best way to seek compensation for your suffering. Contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Gordon, Elias, and Seely LLP for a free consultation today.

  4. I Witnessed a Car Accident. Do I Have Any Legal Responsibilities?

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    Witnessing a serious car accident can be traumatic. In the aftermath, people may wonder whether they have legal obligations and how best they can help those involved in the accident. Some witnesses may want to help, but be concerned that their attempts could make them legally liable for a person’s injuries. The good news is that unless they caused the accident, witnesses who have attempted to help in good faith cannot be prosecuted for subsequent harm. The following overview provides basic information on how to proceed if you have witnessed a car accident.

    Texas Good Samaritan Law

    Like many states, Texas has a Good Samaritan law designed to protect well-meaning individuals from liability. In an emergency circumstance such as a car accident, a person who tries to provide medical assistance cannot be held responsible for anything that happens as a result of their attempts. The Good Samaritan Law applies in all cases, except for when an individual is the cause of the injury, behaves recklessly, or asks for compensation for assistance.

    What to Do After Witnessing a Car Accident

    Although witnesses are not legally obligated to remain at the scene of the accident, many people choose to do so. Providing a witness account can be very helpful in determining the cause of an accident. If you have witnessed a car accident and remain at the scene, the following steps can help you stay safe and provide the best assistance.

    • Prioritize your own safety. The most important consideration after witnessing a car accident is your health and safety. Many people feel upset and disoriented after witnessing a major crash.
      Do not make any sudden moves if you feel unsteady. If you are behind the wheel, pull over to a safe area and allow yourself a moment to calm down. Additionally, the accident may have caused dangerous circumstances, such as fire and broken glass. Be very cautious until you can be sure that the scene is safe. If you have any question about safety, wait for emergency personnel to arrive.
    • Call 911. Immediately notifying emergency services is one of the most helpful things a witness can do. The more quickly first-responders arrive, the better the chances of recovery will be for anyone injured in the accident. Remember, if you did not cause the accident and you act with good intentions, you cannot be held responsible for any damage in the aftermath. Calling 911 to report the accident will not make you legally accountable.
    • Assist those involved in the accident. If it is safe to approach the damaged vehicle and you feel comfortable doing so, try to make the injured parties as comfortable as possible until help arrives. Let them know that an ambulance is on the way, and provide verbal reassurance. Do not attempt to move anyone, as this can exacerbate injuries.
    • Make note of the circumstances. If you identify yourself as a witness, your account of the accident may prove to be important for insurance and other legal outcomes. Try to record as many details of the accident as you can. Note the precise time and location, the make, model, and color of all vehicles involved, and the order of events.
      If possible, write down what you observe immediately, as the stress of the event may make it challenging to recall details at a later time. If you have witnessed a hit-and-run, it is especially important to record all the details of the vehicle that left the scene. Do not attempt to follow the vehicle, however, as this could put you in danger.

    If you have witnessed a car accident and have questions about your legal rights or obligations, the experienced attorneys at Gordon, Elias, and Seely LLP can help. Contact us today for a free consultation.

  5. Dog Bite Safety

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    Whether you encounter a dignified Great Dane or a yappy Chihuahua, it is important to remember that all dogs have the capacity to bite. They have the capacity to physically harm, traumatize, and even impact your outlook on the most common pet in the Western world. At the end of the day, dogs are animals and not every action can be controlled, but with proper education, awareness, and training, you can mitigate the danger.

    Know The Signs

    The first step toward preventing dog bites is not to train the dog, but to train the human. Never approach a dog if it is sleeping, eating, chewing on a toy, or distracted by something else. Let the dog come to you – if the dog is interested in interacting, he will see and sniff you first. Even if you are familiar with the dog, make sure to pay attention to signals of discomfort: tensed body, pulled back ears, raised hackles, stiff tail, and/or furrowed brow. If you observe these warning signs or sense unease, back away without turning your back on the dog. It is always best to err on the side of caution.

    Reduce Risk

    There is no way to guarantee that your dog will never bite, but you can significantly reduce the risk by doing a few things that responsible dog owners should be doing anyway. Spaying or neutering your dog not only prevents unwanted additions to the family, but also reduces the dog’s desire to fight and bite. Proper socialization allows your dog to be used to different types of people, animals, and environments thus reducing stress. A lower stress level equals a lower chance of biting. It is also a good idea to teach your dog how to act when people come to your home. Each time someone rings the doorbell, have your dog sit in his bed and give him a treat after he has stopped barking/calmed down. Again, if someone new is entering your house, it is never a bad idea to sequester him in an unoccupied room.

    Train Your Child

    Even if there is not a dog in your household, it is important to teach children how to approach and interact with dogs. A child’s first instinct is often to greet with overflowing enthusiasm, but remember that dog bites happen not for lack of love, but for a lack of understanding. Always ask the owner for permission to interact with the dog. Let the dog come to you and give a sniff. If the dog appears receptive, gently engage. Remind your little ones to be gentle and understanding.

    Be Polite

    If you have a canine family member, teach your little humans that they shouldn’t interfere during meal time, never tease by taking toys away, and allow them to have a space of their own. Teach them that small dogs are not meant to be dragged around and big dogs don’t like to be ridden. Some of this behavior may be cute, but it is difficult for a dog to communicate discomfort. Dogs generally don’t bite out of the blue, but when they do, the warning signs only appear in hindsight.