Some Superlatives Just Don’t Work

People of Texas pride themselves on being the largest and biggest in everything, but being named the state with the biggest problem with their nursing home facilities in the country is not something to be proud of. In fact, it is a downright disgrace.

This rating is based on a report by an advocacy group based in Florida, which gives the nursing facilities in its home state a good (B) if not great rating. Texas warranted an F because a whopping 94% of the surveyed facilities found deficient or severely deficient in providing state-mandated minimum level of care to residents. The biggest problem found in these facilities is the severe lack of direct care provided by staff, indicating that residents are largely neglected most of the time. When considering that these residents are mostly unable to care for or even get around by themselves, this is indeed a big problem.

Cases are on the rise but the state is slow in imposing sanctions or yanking licenses for facilities that have been repeatedly cited for violations. Nursing home abuse lawyers have their work cut out for them even in cases where videos from hidden cameras show actual physical and verbal abuse being doled out by nursing home staff. Part of the blame for this state of affairs is placed on the constant shortage of experienced staff, but that is no justification for the failure of the administration to properly monitor their staff and ensure the safety of the residents.

As pointed out at, nursing homes are there to provide professional health care for the most vulnerable of the population, and need to meet certain standards of care. Unfortunately, it is not so easy. It is only when victims and their families take action in civil court to hold the responsible parties accountable that these nursing homes are compelled to honor their duty of care.

Child Adoption in North Carolina

A married couple who are unable to have children of their own may consider adopting a child the next best thing. However, it is not an easy or simple process; it is not like picking up a puppy in the pet store. There are laws in place that are designed to protect the rights not only of the child but also the birth parents and the adoptive parents. But because there are many and, ifs, and buts in the laws, it can get pretty easy to get lost in the forest and fall into quicksand.

In an ideal world, a pregnant female who is unable to care for the unborn child will give it up for adoption so someone who has a better chance of providing a good life for the child can do so. The child will grow up well and healthy, and everybody goes home happy.

However, more often than not a snag happens to clog up the works. The birth mother may change her mind right after giving birth or just before the grace period expires, the birth father may assert his custodial rights, or it turns out that the adoptive parents do not qualify under state adoption laws.

In North Carolina, this is embodied in the North Carolina General Statutes (Chapter 48) which endeavors to provide concise guidance for the judicial process that will smoothen the way for a clean, final adoption. Under the law, for example, adoptive parents may be held responsible for some expenses of child birth but only up to a certain limit, so the birth mother cannot legally demand more than that.

Even in North Carolina, it is advisable to hire a lawyer in the area specializing in adoption to oversee the entire process. Adoptive and birth parents are typically not aware of their rights, and it is up to the lawyer to ensure that their client’s rights at least are protected.

Birth Injuries and Medical Malpractice

Not all birth injuries can be considered medical malpractice. Medical malpractice requires that it be proven that but for the negligent action or inaction of the medical professional, the injury would not have happened. There are other factors that may have led to the injury.

There are many types of birth injuries, and in most cases, they occur when there is some difficulty in the delivery. The birth injury can be mild such as some minor bruises, or it could be severe, such as traumatic brain injury. Some of the milder birth injuries that eventually resolve itself over a short time include forceps marks on the face and head, lacerations, subconjunctival hemorrhage, caput succedaneum, cephalohematoma, and those involving the brachial plexus. However, any of these injuries can be life-changing or -threatening if they are carried to extremes.

More serious birth injuries include fractures, brain trauma, and facial paralysis. Any of these will require intervention and close monitoring, and may nonetheless result in permanent disability.

Birth injuries may be due to difficult labor, size of the baby, cephalopelvic disproportion, or baby position. These do not necessarily qualify for medical malpractice because it would not have mattered who the medical practitioner was; the circumstances would have still been the same. However, if the birth injury occurred because the physician or medical staff failed to act according to accepted medical practice i.e. respond appropriately to profuse bleeding, then that could be medical malpractice.

If your child suffered birth injuries because your doctor, the attending nurses, or other members of the medical staff acted negligently, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice case. Consult with a personal injury lawyer in your area specializing in medical malpractice to have your case assessed.

Investigating Nursing Home Abuse

Federal law under the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 (NHRA) imposes rules and regulations specific to elder care establishments that receive payments from Medicaid or Medicare. These rules are generally more stringent than the standards of care required of wholly privately-funded nursing homes, although when abuse is reported, they are held just as liable. States may also, and do, have their own laws governing nursing homes over and above federal law, although they may be patterned after the NHRA.

But according to the website of law firm Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® in Wisconson, nursing homes cannot be relied on to provide residents with the care and attention they require. When it comes to incidents of abuse or neglect, the nursing home may be found liable for the actions of their staff members or other residents if they are aware of it but fail to report it to the designated authorities.

Under Texas law, anyone can report incidents of abuse or neglect, and in the case of nursing homes, this includes administrators and owners. Once a written report is made to the designated agency, the agency will then begin an investigation within 24 hours of receiving the report. Anonymous tips alleging nursing home abuse or neglect are not given the same weight as a named source, and the agency may choose not to do an investigation.

Typically, the investigative process begins with an unannounced visit to the care facility. The investigator will then observe and interview residents for signs of abuse or neglect and other witnesses that may corroborate the report. The investigator may also conduct a physical inspection of the premises and document the findings in writing and with photos. It may be necessary to obtain a court order to carry out some or all parts of the investigation.

A report from the investigator must be submitted within 30 days after the investigation has been completed. It will contain the findings of the investigator, and recommendations for future action

What are Trusts?

Trusts are often associated with the rich, but a trust is an instrument often used in estate planning. So as long as an individual has some property, a trust may be formed as an arrangement for the disposition of property.

Basically, a trust is a system by which property may be settled in favor of another person under the management of a third party, referred to as a trustee. A trustee may be an individual or a bank, and serves as the fiduciary agent.

Trusts are entered into for a variety of reasons. It could be for the benefit of a minor, whose age precludes responsible management of the property, and usually ends when the beneficiary reaches the age of majority. A trust may also be used as part of a will, setting the terms of how assets will be distributed to beneficiaries. It could also be for tax purposes.

Another reason why trusts may be a good way to pass on property is the issue of probate. Under the traditional will and testamentary trusts, beneficiaries have to go through probate, which can be expensive as well as long-drawn out. One kind of trust that bypasses probate is the living trust, wherein the property owner (settlor) is still alive but created as a contingency against disability or incapacity. Married couples can also double their estate tax exemption if they include a formula clause. However, because such trusts repose a significant amount of control to the trustee, it is important that this person is someone who has a reputation for honesty.

In the US, the laws governing trusts depend on the applicable state, although 25 states have, as of July 2012, patterned their laws after the model Uniform Trust Code. It should also be noted that while state law prevails over the terms and conditions of trusts, federal law on tax issues also apply.  In general, trusts are taxed based on circumstances. An experienced attorney will know what type of trust will best suit the requirements of a client under the most favorable tax terms.

Types of Explosion Injuries

Explosion injuries typically present unique problems for emergency medical personnel, mostly because it rarely occurs and encompasses a whole range of injuries. There are four types of explosion injuries, and an individual can suffer all four of them if they happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.


Injuries that result from the initial percussive shock wave are called primary injuries. Pressure and duration being equal, the nearer an individual is from the point of an explosion’s origin, the more massive the damage. The most commonly affected parts of the human anatomy by the sudden overpressure are the ears, lungs, stomach, and intestines. External damage is not often observable, but there are significant internal injuries. Most people injured in an explosion but who get out alive die shortly after from the effects of primary injuries.


Secondary injuries refer to shrapnel and debris produced from the destruction of objects by the force of an explosion. These materials are propelled at great speed and distances, and can result in penetrating injuries. A majority of injuries resulting from an explosion are secondary in nature, because it has a wider range.


Aside from objects, the force of an explosion can also throw people a considerable distance, depending on the size of the explosion and the proximity of the individual. These injuries can result in blunt force trauma i.e. thrown against a wall or penetrating damage. Children are particularly vulnerable because of their lesser weight.


This is the “miscellaneous” of the bunch. These include injuries that cannot be classified under the other three types such as psychiatric damage. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a common quaternary explosion injury.

If you sustained any type of injury from an explosion accident that could have been prevented but for the negligence of a third party, you may be able to get compensation for what you have suffered. Contact a personal injury lawyer in your area for an initial consultation.

Chances of Getting DWI Charges Dismissed

The percentage of driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI) charges that get dismissed at the starting block varies widely from state to state, when the information is available at all. Available statistics are usually for convictions; this is understandable as a dismissed case means no criminal record. The few states that do have some data for the number of dismissals after being charged with DWI put the number at between 10% (California) to 70% (Connecticut).

Particular interesting for someone charged with a crime is the most common grounds for dismissal. In DWI or DUI charges, this is the absence of probable cause. For an arrest for drunk driving to stick, the arresting officer must have a legitimate reason for making the stop in the first place. It could be erratic driving behavior, a separate traffic violation i.e. broken taillight, or even littering. If the arresting officer cannot give a satisfactory reason for making the initial stop, the whole case gets thrown out or dismissed.

In other cases, what is considered a dismissal may actually be what is termed a deferred adjudication, where first-time DUI offenders complete a course that will allow them to avoid a conviction even when there is overwhelming evidence of DUI. This is equally desirable under certain circumstances.

This is why it is so important that a person charged with a crime should take advantage of their right to remain silent and to consult with a criminal defense lawyer immediately after being arrested. The land of probable cause is a slippery slope, and an experienced Austin criminal lawyer is likely to know where the best footholds are. If you are being charged with DWI, you will want to be guided to those footholds to avoid a conviction because it has long-term and far-reaching consequences. Those convicted of DWI run the risk of losing their driver’s license, being thrown in jail, and having to pay hefty fines.