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Why a Personal Injury Attorney in Richmond, VA, Will Not Take Your Case

It might discourage you if a Richmond personal injury attorney does not take your case. If someone rejects your case, no one can blame you for thinking that there is something wrong with it. However, don’t let a lawyer not taking your case dissuade you from pursuing your claim. The rules are pretty cut and dry: if someone else’s negligent actions injure you, they are liable for the associated damages. This fact remains unchanged regardless of whether a given attorney decides to take up your claim.  There Are Many Reasons to Not Take a Case If a lawyer rejects your claim, your claim might have a flaw. But there could be other reasons. Lawyers have to assess each claim that prospective clients bring them to determine whether to take it. The number of reasons lawyers have to accept or reject a given claim is practically infinite. Many of the reasons have little, if anything, to do with the quality of a claim. To figure out why your claim was rejected, your best option is to ask the lawyer. Barring that, however, consider a few of the many reasons why personal injury attorneys do not take certain claims to see what might apply to your case.  You Are Liable for the Injury This reason not to take a given case has everything to do with the quality of a claim. If a personal injury attorney looks into the facts and circumstances around a given claim and believes the claim has little or no chance of success in court, they will likely reject it. For example, a lawyer might reject your personal injury case because you are trying to hold someone else liable for an accident that you are at fault for.  Lawyers, particularly personal injury lawyers, are reluctant to take on losing cases. Many personal injury attorneys work on the basis of contingency fees. This means they only receive payment if they win or otherwise settle a case. Thus, if a case has a very limited chance of success, a personal injury lawyer who works on that case has a very limited chance of seeing payment. Law firms are businesses like any other; without revenue they cannot continue to operate successfully. There Was No Negligence or Intent Involved A person who causes someone else to injure themselves is not always liable for the relevant damages. In fact, there are four cumulative requirements to demonstrate civil liability in personal injury cases: A duty of care exists at the time of the incident; Someone breaches that relevant duty of care in the incident; There is a causal link between the breach of duty and subsequent injury; and The injury/incident leads to real damages. Essentially, the first two elements represent one concept as a whole: negligence or intent. Someone acts negligently when they fail to uphold a duty of care that they owe to someone else. A duty of care, for example, exists between all drivers on the road. All drivers have a duty of care to follow the rules of the road and avoid driving in an unsafe manner. Someone breaches that duty of care when they are careless or disobey traffic laws. Without negligence or intent, a personal injury case falls apart. Thus, if a lawyer listens to your story and determines that the at-fault party did not act negligently, they will likely reject your case.  They Have a Full Caseload If a Richmond personal injury lawyer will not take your case, they may have a full caseload already. Like other businesses that provide services, there is a limit to the amount of services law firms can provide. Each lawyer has a finite amount of time, so they cannot take every case that a client brings them. Having a full caseload may be the only reason a personal injury attorney in Richmond, VA, rejects your case. Your Damages Are Insufficient Some personal injury lawyers only take cases that involve damages that exceed a set number. If the estimated damages fall below that number, they will not take the case. Some personal injury attorneys use this practice to maximize profit, while others use it because their expertise lies with catastrophic injuries specifically. In addition, some lawyers will use this strategy to elevate their law firm’s reputation. By only taking big cases, these firms hope to differentiate themselves from others in the area by demonstrating their ability to litigate the biggest cases around. If the total damages in your personal injury case are below a certain amount, some personal injury attorneys will reject your claim. The Lawyer Has a Conflict of Interest Sometimes a personal injury lawyer will reject your claim due to a real or potential conflict of interest. A conflict of interest arises when someone has a vested interest in one outcome that conflicts with their vested interest in another outcome. The American Bar Association prohibits its members from allowing their own interests to adversely affect their representation of a given client. The best way for attorneys to avoid conflicts of interest is to avoid any situations with potential conflicts of interest. Thus, if you consult with a personal injury attorney and they foresee a potential conflict of interest, they might reject your case. Such a situation may arise, for example, if the attorney you consult with already has the responsible party as a client. It Is Too Late to File a Claim If you can no longer file a claim for your personal injury, any lawyer you consult with will likely reject your case. There is always a time limit to recover damages after a personal injury. Once the time limit, known as a statute of limitations, expires, you cannot legally file a claim to recover damages. If the claim goes to court, a judge will reject it.  The statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Virginia is two years. Thus, you have two years from the date of your personal injury to file a claim to recover damages. Virginia’s […]

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I Got Hit By a Car While Crossing the Street—Now What?

Getting hit by a car is every pedestrian’s worst nightmare. When a pedestrian is hit by a car, catastrophic injuries are not uncommon. When a collision occurs, the human body doesn’t stand a chance against the impact of a car. Everybody knows that if you get hit by a car while you are crossing the street, the person driving the car owes you money for any injuries you suffer. After all, if you cross the street when allowed to do so, why should you pay for your injuries? You followed all the relevant traffic rules, so you have a legitimate expectation that you can cross the street without being struck by a vehicle. It is true that the person who hit you is typically responsible for compensating you for your injuries, but how do you make that happen? If you have been hit by a car while crossing the street, here are the steps you should take immediately following the incident: Seek Medical Attention The first thing you should do if you get hit by a car while crossing the street is seek immediate medical attention. If your injuries are serious enough to warrant an emergency room visit, call an ambulance immediately. Otherwise, if you can safely walk away from the scene of the accident, you should seek a medical evaluation as soon as possible. Many injuries that pedestrians suffer after being hit by a car are obvious. However, internal injuries, which are often even more serious than external injuries, may not be visible to the naked eye. As a result, an evaluation from a medical provider after a pedestrian-vehicle collision can save the pedestrian’s life. Furthermore, seeking medical attention provides a basis on which you can seek compensation.  Track All Expenses After seeking medical attention, the next thing you should do is track all your expenses that are related to the injury. When you receive treatment for injuries, the only way you can get compensation is by keeping track of the resources you used to treat those injuries. To do so, you should make sure you have a copy of every medical bill you receive. Without tracking the bills, you have no proof of your injuries and subsequent treatment and, as a result, can’t get compensation. Medical bills are not the only expense you should track. If you miss work due to your injury, keep track of the wages you lose as a result. You may need therapy to work through the emotional trauma of the injury or your injury may require continuing treatment like physical therapy. Keep track of all those bills. They will serve as evidence of the damages you suffered as a result of the injury. Without them, you may jeopardize your claim. Retain the Services of an Attorney After you have received the proper medical attention for your injuries and kept track of all expenses related to your injury, you should contact and retain the services of a personal injury attorney in your area. Without an attorney, it may be impossible to recover the damages you suffered. Your attorney will listen to your side of the story, help you craft a legal strategy, file the claim on your behalf, and, generally, guide you through the claims process. There is no substitute for a personal injury attorney in this regard. Personal injury attorneys have the requisite experience and expertise to help you get the compensation you deserve without running into roadblocks along the way. Are You Ready to Call an Attorney? If you are looking for a Virginia personal injury attorney to help you after getting hit by a car while crossing the street, contact us at Lantz and Robins today! Our team of personal injury attorneys will help you with whatever you need. Whether you need to file a claim, track your expenses, or negotiate a settlement offer, the personal injury lawyers at Lantz and Robins will advocate on your behalf to fight for the compensation you deserve. If you want to know how we have helped our clients in the past, check out our testimonials and case results pages for more information. Whatever you decide to do, don’t forget to call Lantz and Robbins for a free consultation!

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Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Virginia

If you are driving without insurance in Virginia (VA), you are playing Russian roulette. That is because driving without insurance in VA can lead to significant consequences. If you have been in a car accident and were without insurance, there are additional risks and considerations. The best way to address a driving without insurance case is for you to hire experienced Virginia attorneys with a long record of success. Virginia Motor Vehicle Law Regarding Insurance The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (VA DMV) mandates that to purchase license plates or decals (the first step to legalizing your motor vehicle), you must certify that you have at least minimum insurance coverage for the vehicle. Virginia requires the following minimum coverage: Bodily injury/death of one person $25,000, Bodily injury/death of two or more persons $50,000, and Property damage $20,000. The State of Virginia must also have authorized your insurance carrier to conduct business in this state. Is There Any Way to Legally Drive Without Insurance In Virginia? If you do not have insurance, you must pay a required uninsured motor vehicle fee. Paying the DMV this uninsured motor vehicle fee is the only option to legally operate a vehicle without insurance. Therefore, if you drive without insurance in VA and have not paid the uninsured motor vehicle fee, you are driving illegally. This is ill advised, as doing so puts you at great legal risk. What Is the Fine for Driving Without Insurance? Virginia Criminal Code and the VA DMV address consequences for the act of driving without insurance and not in compliance with the uninsured motorist rule. The potential outcome for violating the insurance laws include a fine of $500 or more and a Class 3 misdemeanor conviction. You may also face suspension of: Your driver license,  Vehicle registration certificates, and  Vehicle license plates. Driving without insurance after falsely certifying that you have insurance adds additional financial penalties. These fees often include: A $600 non-compliance fee, and A $145 reinstatement fee. You may also thereafter be required to file proof of insurance and financial responsibility for three years. What Happens If You Are Caught Driving Without Insurance and Get in an Accident? You may face the most significant cost for driving without insurance if you are in an accident. As an uninsured motorist, you may be personally liable for any costs to you or the other driver. This is true even if you have paid the uninsured motorist fee, as that fee does not provide you with any insurance coverage. Without question, you will need legal help from car accident attorneys to manage the complexities that can come from criminal sanctions and lawsuits you may face.  What If I Didn’t Know My Insurance Expired? It is not relevant whether you knew that your once-valid insurance expired. If you are operating a vehicle without insurance and have not paid the uninsured motorist fee, you violate the law. How Can an Attorney Help Me? Accomplished attorneys who handle traffic and accident cases understand that people make mistakes. They are available to help people address those mistakes by protecting their rights during hearings regarding driving without a license.  A fallacy is that you do not need a lawyer if you are going to admit to guilt. You will need lawyers to represent you during that process to ensure that the judicial system hears your voice and that you are treated fairly during the process. A firm specializing in traffic offenses will also help you understand any obligations you may face for violation of the law. Along with offering the above, our attorneys in Lantz and Robins, P.C., are equally committed to fighting charges on behalf of our clients. If you have been stopped by law enforcement and charged with driving without insurance, we will begin by investigating the actions of the police. There are rules they must follow to stop someone, and we will hear from you to evaluate whether they followed those rules. Finally, you need a lawyer who can work with the DMV and prosecutors regarding fighting your charges if there is evidence to do so. Being charged with driving without insurance does not mean that the charge is always valid. Attorneys know the law and will be prepared to ensure parties in our judicial system are not acting beyond their powers in their attempts to charge, prosecute, and sentence you. All too often, people feel that they know how to handle their traffic and insurance cases. However, the knowledge, experience, and successful case history of Lantz & Robins, PC, cannot be overstated. It is well worth your time to seek a free consultation with one of our lawyers. Lantz and Robins, P.C.: Your Richmond, VA-Based Car Accident Lawyers Our firm focuses on car and traffic accident cases. We have extensive experience handling cases involving vehicle insurance issues. We are a compassionate team of lawyers, and we never stop working toward delivering the best results for our clients. Lantz and Robins, P.C., is grateful to have clients happy with our services time and again provide strong testimonials on our behalf. Lantz and Robins, P.C., is a firm you can trust to handle your case correctly and provide you with personalized service.  With Lantz and Robins, P.C., you are more than a number, and skilled, dedicated attorneys handle your case. We are based in Richmond, Virginia, and our team of experienced trial attorneys is ready to help. For more information or to schedule your free consultation, please call 804-938-6393 or reach us via our website.

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Is Talking on the Phone While Driving Illegal in Virginia?

Distracted driving results in thousands of car accidents in Virginia every year. In an effort to combat a leading cause of distracted driving, many states enacted legislation prohibiting talking on the phone while driving.  Virginia passed legislation aimed to reduce the number of drivers using cell phones in 2007. In 2021, lawmakers determined the previous law was too lax and adopted a more stringent law for Virginia drivers caught talking on a phone while driving. If you have more specific questions about Virginia’s cell phone laws, reach out to our attorneys at Lantz and Robins, P.C.  Distracted Driving Statistics in Virginia The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles reported in 2019 that 827 deaths occurred on Virgina roadways. 120 fatalities occurred due to distracted driving. Despite the staggering numbers, a large portion of car accidents are preventable. According to a study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, distractions like cell phone use, reading, or searching for objects attribute to nearly 80% of all car accidents. The study, which was funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, found: Texting while driving increased the risk of a crash by two times; Activities performed while making a phone call increased the risk of a crash by three times; Hands-free phone use is safer than hand-held phone use; and The average driver takes his or her eyes off the road for 23 seconds total when sending a text message. The findings illustrate the dangers of distracted driving. Virginia Law on Cell Phone Use While Driving The former Virginia law prohibited the use of handheld personal communication devices in certain motor vehicles. The statute specifically prohibited using a cell phone to: Manually enter multiple letters or text into the device as a means of communication; or Read emails or text messages. The prohibitions applied only to a person operating a moving motor vehicle. The statute also outlawed a driver from holding a portable cell phone while driving through a highway work zone. The new law, HB 874, prohibits the operator of a motor vehicle from holding their cell phone while driving.  Exceptions Cell phone use is allowed when drivers are stopped or parked legally. Thus, talking on the phone in a parked car is not illegal in Virginia.  Drivers may use their cell phone while driving when attempting to report an emergency. Operators of emergency vehicles who are engaged in their official duties are not restricted from using cell phones. Penalties Virginia law imposes penalties on drivers who fail to comply with the prohibition of holding a cellphone while driving. The first offense results in a fine of $125. The second offense results in a fine of $250. Violating the statute in a work zone results in a $250 fine. Is Talking on a Phone in a Car Always Illegal in Virginia? Virginia’s strict cell phone law does not restrict all methods of using a cell phone. Drivers can use their cell phone’s Bluetooth or voice control capabilities to make phone calls as long as the phone is not in their hands. Under Virginia law, talking on a cellphone while driving is permitted for drivers as long as it is done by using the phone’s hands-free capabilities. Despite its legality, hands-free technology can contribute to distracted driving just like using a cellphone in your hand.  Do Cell Phone Laws Really Make Roads Safer?  Some form of prohibition on cell phone use while driving has been enacted in every state in the nation, except Montana. State laws prohibiting drivers from holding a cellphone while operating a motor vehicle are known as hand-held bans. Twenty-five states and Washington D.C. currently have hand-held bans in place. Every other state, except Montana and Missouri, prohibits text messaging while driving. Missouri prohibits texting only for drivers under 21 years of age.  According to a study published in the scientific journal Pediatrics, states with strict cell phone laws have succeeded in preventing certain fatalities.  The study operated on the assumption that distracted driving increases the risk of car accidents, especially in teenagers. With that in mind, researchers evaluated how state laws affected this behavior. The study included fatal crashes involving drivers and passengers between the ages of 16 and 19 between 2007 and 2017. They compared rates across multiple states that had different types of cellphone while driving laws.  The study found that there were over 38,000 fatal crashes in the requested time period. The data indicated that states with stricter cell phone use laws had lower fatality rates overall than states without. Outright bans on handheld cell phone use demonstrated the greatest decrease in fatalities. What Do I Do If I Received a Ticket for Talking on a Cellphone While Driving?  If you received a ticket for talking on the phone while driving in Virginia, don’t panic. The circumstances of the situation determine whether you truly violated the Virginia law on cell phone use. Our attorneys at Lantz and Robins, P.C., can help you determine what steps to take next. Michael Lantz and Rand Robins have decades of experience litigating complicated legal issues. If you are considering contacting an attorney about Virginia driving laws, all you have to do is dial our number. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

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Current Nursing Home Staffing Requirements and Rules in Virginia

Despite numerous pandemic deaths, Virginia still has no rules dictating minimum nursing home staffing requirements. According to recent AARP statistics, Virginia’s nursing home COVID-19 death rate is the country’s second-highest. However, the state’s nursing home staffing issues began long before the pandemic. Some of Virginia’s nursing homes consistently receive low marks year after year, with several facilities garnering federal attention for immediate corrective action. The lack of proper Virginia nursing home staffing requirements has contributed to many of the ongoing issues multiple facilities have encountered in recent years. When there is a lack of staff, the residents are the ones who suffer. There tends to be a direct link between understaffing in a nursing home and increased neglect and abuse cases. In 2019, Richmond Times-Dispatch published an expose on the problems plaguing some of Virginia’s nursing homes. The title tells you all you need to know: “Bedsores, burns and a maggot: 5 Va. nursing homes on federal list of persistent underperformers.” If you believe your loved one has suffered neglect at a Virginia nursing home, our Virginia nursing home abuse attorneys at Lantz & Robins, P.C. are here to help. Contact us today to discuss the best course of action for your situation.   Legislation to Establish Minimum Staffing Ratios Died Despite the increase in deaths due to the pandemic, there’s still no current Virginia legislation addressing minimum staffing requirements for nursing homes. 2020 marked the 16th time a proposal to set minimum staffing requirements was brushed off, even though Virginia nursing homes continue to be ranked so low. The proposal came from state Senator Jennifer Kiggans, R-Virginia Beach, who wants nursing homes to provide a minimum of one direct-care staffer per six patients. The current reality is that some caregivers are assigned three to seven times that number. Some nurses have reported they are typically assigned anywhere between 20 and 40 patients every shift. Nurses being overworked means they can’t adequately care for residents, ensure high-risk patients are appropriately monitored, etc. That is why neglect and abuse are rampant within the Virginia nursing home system. Even though the proposal was shot down in 2020, legislators ordered the Department of Health to create a workgroup that would review and share recommendations on how to increase the Virginia nursing home workforce.  Updates to the Proposal in 2021 Fast forward to 2021, and it’s now the 17th time this proposal was killed. The workgroup held meetings, but when the final list came out, the top three recommendations out of 34 were focused on creating optional service-learning credits for students who were volunteering in these long-term care facilities. Further down on the list were proposals that would pay facilities a higher Medicaid reimbursement amount if they achieved specific nursing home staffing ratios. The first suggestion was to start at 12 patients to one caregiver and eventually reach the desired six-to-one ratio over the following four budget cycles. Lobbyists for nursing homes voted against both of these recommendations. The Virginia Health Care Association—Virginia Association of Assisted Living, was against instituting any type of staff-to-resident ratio. They argue that there needs to be more credentialed health care professionals in Virginia and that establishing staff-to-resident ratios isn’t going to work without having certified nurses who want to be there. How Nursing Home Staff Ratios Contributed to COVID-19 Deaths While staffing shortages existed long before the pandemic, COVID-19 exacerbated them, further contributing to the virus’s spread. According to the Virginia Department of Health, long-term care facilities are the second biggest source of outbreaks. There have been over 31,000 cases of COVID-19 in long-term care facilities, resulting in nearly 4,000 deaths. The next highest source of cases is at correctional facilities, with just over 18,000 cases and only 61 deaths. Those are significantly lower numbers than in nursing homes.   One of the reasons COVID-19 spread so rapidly through nursing homes is due to the shortage of staff. Many of the low-paid staff work at multiple facilities. If they contracted the virus and worked in two to three facilities in the same week, imagine all the people they exposed. Staffing shortages also led to not isolating positive COVID-19 patients from the negative ones. For nursing home residents, nursing home staffing issues literally mean the difference between life and death right now. Virginia Nursing Homes Continue to Rank Low Virginia nursing homes consistently fall to the bottom of the charts on various ranking criteria. For example, Families for Better Care has ranked Virginia as 36 overall with an overall grade of “D” for the third consecutive time. The report card shows residents receive less than two hours and 17 minutes of direct care daily. Three out of four nursing homes didn’t reach an above-average rating in the inspection. Overall, nursing home care in Virginia is second to the bottom for the Mid-Atlantic Region, barely squeezing above Pennsylvania as the worst state.  What to Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse Deciding to move a loved one to a long-term care facility is complicated enough in normal times. Having to do it during the pandemic is even worse. It’s crucial to do your research to find the best long-term care facility for your family member. However, even if you choose the best one, there’s no guarantee that residents are fully protected against neglect and abuse. To help protect your loved ones, you must monitor your family member’s condition and watch for red flags of abuse and neglect. If you suspect something is amiss, speak with a skilled Virginia nursing home abuse attorney right away. At Lantz & Robins, P.C., we have decades of combined experience handling nursing home abuse cases. Contact our office to schedule an initial consultation. Let us review your situation and explain the best course of legal action.

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Kentucky Woman Sues County Hospital After Medical Staff Allegedly Missed Her Cancer Diagnosis

(Fleming County, KY, March 3, 2021) — A Kentucky hospital misinformed a woman of her cancer diagnosis and attempted to cover it up, according to the woman’s lawsuit. The misinformation and lack of action led to the tumor continuing to grow untreated for nearly a year. Case Background The plaintiff, Kim Johnson, had a mammogram at Flemming County Hospital after feeling a lump in her right breast. Johnson’s mother died of breast cancer, so she was hyper-aware of the tumor. Much to her relief, Johnson received a letter in the mail a few weeks after her mammogram that informed her there was “no evidence of cancer.” Johnson, 53 at the time, went back to her life with seven kids and multiple farm animals. However, the lump in her breast did not subside. Her primary care physician, having been informed of the negative cancer screening, prescribed steroids for a staph infection. After nine months, the lump had grown more prominent and more painful; at Johnson’s request, the primary care physician referred Johnson to a different hospital for another mammogram. Johnson’s Fears Confirmed Johnson traveled 80 miles to Elizabeth Fort Thomas Hospital, where Dr. Heidi Murley ordered a mammogram and an emergency biopsy upon reading the results. Murley soon informed Johnson that she had stage 4 breast cancer, and it had spread to her lymph nodes and bones.  Rightly, Johnson wondered how the other hospital missed the cancer almost a year earlier. Murley wondered the same thing and reviewed the mammogram from Flemming County Hospital. She found apparent evidence of cancer in the image and determined that Johnson should have been scheduled for a biopsy within 30 days of that initial radiology appointment. Johnson confirmed that she only received one letter from Flemming County Hospital informing her that her mammogram was clear. Confused, Johnson followed the advice of a nurse in Murley’s office and sought legal counsel.  Johnson Sues Johnson’s lawyers filed a lawsuit against Flemming County Hospital in September 2016. To Johnson’s shock, the hospital responded and said they sent two additional letters after her initial visit directing her to schedule a follow-up appointment. She insisted she had never seen those two letters, but Johnson and the hospital settled the lawsuit for $1.25 million in 2018.  However, the plaintiff hired Andrew Garrett, a digital forensics expert, to analyze the evidence in the case. After multiple visits to the hospital and an extensive review of the documents in question, Garrett determined that the hospital created the two letters after Johnson filed the lawsuit—two years after her initial mammogram. Garrett also found evidence of two different hospital workers editing Johnson’s file various times to erase evidence of medical negligence.  The plaintiffs filed a motion to undo the settlement in 2019. Although the trial judge denied the motion, Johnson and her attorneys unsuccessfully appealed the decision in November and are now appealing to the Kentucky Supreme Court.  The defense argues that hospital computer systems frequently glitch, and the evidence related to computer records is unreliable. Johnson’s legal team ascertains that the codes used to change the documents belong to active employees, arguing that the defense is invalid. Case Result Although the outcome of her lawsuit remains unknown, Johnson is focusing her time on her children and her farm. She has undergone more than 50 rounds of chemotherapy and 40 rounds of radiation to treat the growing tumor; the cancer has continued to spread and is now in her neck. At the time of her diagnosis, doctors told her she would live for less than one year. Nearly five years later, Johnson is still fighting.  Source: NBC News Contact a Virginia Medical Malpractice and Negligence Lawyer If you believe your case is severe enough to warrant legal action beyond a formal complaint with the Virginia Department of Health, you need to speak with one of our attorneys. Our legal team has decades of combined personal injury experience, including with medical malpractice cases. We can review your circumstances and advise you on the best course of action. Contact Lantz & Robins, P.C., today to schedule an initial consultation.

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How to Report a Nursing Home in Virginia

Moving a family member to a nursing home is a scary transition. You assume your loved ones will be well taken care of and receive the care they need. However, not all nursing home employees treat residents with the respect they deserve. If you suspect your loved one is being neglected or abused, it’s imperative you take action immediately. You may be wondering how to report a nursing home in Virginia. There are Virginia elder abuse laws with provisions to protect nursing home residents. You can file a report with the Virginia Department of Health to start. You can also speak with one of our Virginia nursing home abuse attorneys at Lantz & Robins, P.C., today to discuss the best course of action for your situation.   How to Report a Nursing Home for Neglect You might assume that your only course of action is to file a lawsuit against the nursing home, but we don’t recommend that option to start. To win a lawsuit against the nursing home, you need to prove that the nursing home was negligent and that its negligence was the proximate cause of your family member’s injuries. You also have to show that your loved one suffered harm due to the nursing home’s negligence. Even though your family member may have suffered some harm, you don’t need to file a lawsuit for every incident. You may be better off trying to resolve it out of court. Not to mention a lawsuit will take considerable time to resolve, and it could be well over a year before your case settles. Not to mention, there’s always a risk that Medicaid or Medicare will want their share of the settlement. So, what do you do instead? Many clients we speak with say their primary concern is to ensure that the abuse or neglect doesn’t happen to another family. Filing a report with the appropriate agency in Virginia will trigger them to open an investigation to check out your concerns. Where to Report a Problem with a Nursing Home in Virginia? When you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect in Virginia, you need to file a complaint with the Virginia Department of Health’s Office of Licensure and Certification (OLC). The board will investigate your concerns by sending out a team of investigators to the nursing home to review the situation. They will not give the nursing home any notice either. During their visit, they will check your family member’s chart and condition and verify whether the level of care received met the legal standards of Virginia law. You can report the suspected abuse or neglect by contacting the Virginia Department of Health hotline at 1-800-955-1819. There is also an online Virginia nursing home report form you can complete and return in the mail or via fax. The OLC only responds to complaints involving suspected neglect, abuse, inadequate care, mistreatment, failure to treat, etc. They have no jurisdiction over any disputes related to billing practices or fees. Contact a Virginia Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyer If you believe your case is severe enough to warrant legal action beyond a formal complaint with the Virginia Department of Health, you need to speak with one of our attorneys. Our legal team has decades of combined personal injury experience, including with nursing home abuse cases. We can review your circumstances and advise you on the best course of action. Contact Lantz & Robins, P.C., today to schedule an initial consultation.

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Who Regulates Nursing Homes in Virginia

Are you faced with the need to decide whether to send a loved one to a nursing home, or is a family member already a resident? Understandably, it’s a very serious matter and a decision that should not be taken lightly. You may have many questions related to the process, the nursing home’s record, what your family member can expect, what to do if you suspect neglect or abuse, etc. If you already have a loved one in a nursing home, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with who regulates nursing homes in Virginia and where to report any issues.  You can also contact the experienced team of Virginia nursing home neglect lawyers at Lantz & Robins, P.C., to discuss your concerns. We will review your circumstances and advise you on the best course of action. Who Is Responsible for Regulating Nursing Homes in Virginia? The Office of Licensure and Certification (OLC) operates under the Virginia Department of Health. They administer the state licensing programs for all medical facilities, including hospitals, nursing homes, outpatient surgical centers, hospice programs, and home care organizations. They are also responsible for conducting inspections and monitoring complaints to verify nursing homes are complying with all state requirements. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) oversee things on a national level. They contract with state-level agencies like the OLC to certify that the nursing homes and suppliers who participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs comply with the minimum health and safety standards. Under their regular certification process, they ensure nursing homes adhere to all federal certification requirements. The Joint Commission Accreditation Nursing homes can also apply for voluntary accreditation through The Joint Commission. This accreditation lets people know the nursing home is committed to excellence throughout all aspects of care. Some potential benefits of Joint Commission accreditation include: Strengthens people’s confidence in the quality and safety of care, services, and treatment their family members will receive; Helps maintain and organize patient safety efforts; Could reduce liability costs for the nursing home; Reduces risk and improves risk management; Recognized by insurance companies and third parties; Provides deeming authority for certification from Medicare; Fulfills regulatory requirement in some states; Provides professional advice and counsel, including educating staff; and Aligns a nursing home with the most respected names in healthcare. Although there are many benefits for nursing homes to pursue voluntary accreditation, not everyone will go the extra mile. You can search for accredited nursing homes in Virginia by searching the Quality Check website. Currently, there are less than 100 certified nursing home facilities in Virginia. Nursing Home Reform Act Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, nursing homes across the country are legally required to provide services and activities that achieve or maintain the highest levels of physical, psychosocial, and mental well-being of all residents per the written care plan. Before a nursing home can qualify to participate in Medicaid and Medicare, it must adhere to all federal requirements applicable to long-term care facilities. Examples of some federal regulations require nursing homes to: Conduct an initial accurate and comprehensive assessment of every nursing home resident’s functional capacity; Have an appropriate number of nursing home staff members; Assist with activities of daily living, such as grooming or personal oral hygiene, if the resident is unable to carry out these activities on their own; Develop a comprehensive care plan for all residents of the nursing home; Promote every resident’s quality of life; Complete and maintain accurate clinical records on every resident that are easily accessible; Verify all residents receive satisfactory supervision and assistive devices that will prevent accidents; Promote every resident’s quality of life; Verify residents are free from any significant medication errors; Keep residents from developing pressure sores or, if a patient has one, treat them so they heal and new ones do not form; and Provide all residents with enough fluids, so they do not become dehydrated. Before a nursing home is eligible to receive funds from Medicare or Medicaid, it must comply with all aspects of the Nursing Home Reform Act. Elder Justice Act The Elder Justice Act was passed in 2010 to address neglect, abuse, and exploitation of older adults on a federal level. New initiatives and programs emerged that have helped promote elder justice research, coordinate better federal response to issues surrounding elder abuse, increase protections for nursing home residents, and support Adult Protective Services systems. The Elder Justice Coordinating Committee was also formed under the new act, coordinating activities across the federal government related to elder neglect, abuse, and exploitation. What to Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse in Virginia? If your loved one is already in a nursing home and you suspect abuse or neglect, it’s crucial you take immediate action. The first thing you should do is file a nursing home complaint with the Virginia Department of Health’s Office of Licensure and Certification. The OLC has a comprehensive nursing home complaint form that you can use to detail what is going on. If the abuse is serious, you can call the hotline number at 800-955-1819. You can return the form via mail or fax as well. Once you file a complaint, the OLC will open an investigation and send out inspectors to review your family member’s chart. These visits are unannounced, so the nursing home doesn’t have time to alter any records or cover up anything. Contact a Virginia Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyer Did your loved one suffer serious harm or injuries due to a nursing home’s negligent or intentional acts? You may be considering legal action. To learn the best course of action, you should speak with an experienced Virginia nursing home neglect and abuse attorney. At Lantz & Robins, P.C., our attorneys have over 50 years of combined experience with personal injury matters, including nursing home neglect and abuse. Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation. Let us review your circumstances and see how we can help.

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What Are the Four D’s of Medical Negligence in Virginia?

When you visit a doctor, you expect that they will treat you to the best of their ability. You should be able to trust your doctors and other medical professionals. However, not all medical providers provide the required standard of care, resulting in mistakes. Some of these mistakes rise to the level of medical negligence, which means you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries. To successfully resolve a medical malpractice claim, you need to prove the 4 D’s of malpractice. Because medical negligence claims are typically complicated to pursue, we recommend contacting a skilled Virginia medical malpractice lawyer for assistance.  What Are the Four D’s of Negligence? The four D’s of negligence are duty, dereliction, direct causation, and damages. If you cannot prove even one of these elements, you won’t have a valid claim for medical malpractice.  Duty Is the Physician’s Duty of Care All health care professionals are legally obligated to uphold a certain standard of care when treating any of their patients. This duty requires medical professionals to use the same high standard of care that similar medical professionals would use. They must also inform their patients about any potential risks of treatment or procedures and keep their patients’ personal information confidential. Dereliction Occurs When the Health Care Provider Breaches Their Duty When a health care provider is derelict in their duty, they can be held responsible for their actions. Examples of dereliction include when a health care provider prescribes the wrong medication or performs an unauthorized procedure. Other derelictions occur when a surgeon leaves a foreign object in someone’s body after surgery or a patient develops an infection after a procedure because a medical professional didn’t properly sanitize the work environment. Direct Causation Involves Showing That the Health Care Provider’s Negligence Caused Your Injuries The third D is direct causation. Proving direct causation requires showing the health care provider’s actions were the direct cause of your injuries. In some cases, proving direct causation is very easy, while it’s far more complicated in other cases. One example of direct causation is when a surgeon operates on the wrong body part. Damages Are the Financial Losses and Harm You Suffered The final element is damages. You must be able to show you suffered some financial and physical harm to have a case. Without the ability to show there was some negative impact to you, you don’t have the 4 d’s of negligence to successfully recover damages in a Virginia medical malpractice case. Damages in a medical malpractice case include physical and emotional harm, additional medical expenses, lost wages, and more. If you have suffered harm due to a medical professional’s actions, you need to contact a Virginia medical malpractice lawyer who can advise you whether you have a valid case to pursue. Contact Our Richmond Medical Malpractice Lawyers Don’t try to handle a potential medical malpractice claim on your own. Let an experienced Richmond medical malpractice lawyer represent you. You need a legal advocate who can protect your rights and gather the necessary evidence to prove the four d’s of negligence. Contact Lantz & Robins, P.C., today to schedule an initial consultation. Let us help you fight for the compensation you deserve and hold the negligent health care providers accountable for the harm they caused you.

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What Is Nursing Home Negligence in Virginia?

If you suspect a loved one is being abused or neglected in their nursing home, it’s imperative to take action right away. Some prospective clients want to file a lawsuit against the nursing home immediately. However, filing a complaint against a nursing home in Virginia requires you to prove negligence. Without proper evidence, the nursing home will not be held accountable. You can also file a complaint with the Virginia Department of Health. To learn more about how to report nursing home abuse, we recommend speaking with a skilled Virginia nursing home abuse attorney. Defining Nursing Home Negligence in Virginia Nursing homes are held to a high standard of care. Nursing home residents are guaranteed certain protections and rights when living at a nursing home facility, one of which is the right to be free from any type of neglect or abuse. Under the federal Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987, nursing homes that receive Medicaid or Medicare funds are required to maintain a safe environment for all their elderly residents. When a nursing home fails to adhere to the required standard of care, it can be held accountable for its actions. Proving negligence in a lawsuit requires you to show: The nursing home was negligent (the nursing home made a mistake); Their negligence was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries (their mistake caused the injury); and The injury was severe and resulted in damages (the plaintiff’s injuries required medical treatment). You want to have strong evidence before you consider filing a legal complaint. You also need to weigh the pros and cons of filing a lawsuit. Lawsuits can take years to resolve, they tend to be very costly, and there’s a good chance that Medicaid or Medicare will take a significant percentage of the settlement. Instead, look at filing a complaint with the Virginia Department of Health first. At Lantz & Robins, P.C., our legal team has decades of combined experience handling Virginia nursing home abuse and neglect cases. We can help you get a complaint filed with the Department of Health and determine whether you have enough evidence to proceed with a lawsuit. How to Report Nursing Home Abuse to the Virginia Department of Health? The Office of Licensure and Certification (OLC) oversees activities and licenses for Virginia nursing home facilities. You can report a concern by phone or file a written complaint. You’ll need to share detailed information on your concerns and why you suspect abuse or neglect. The OLC will send out an investigator unannounced to investigate and review your family member’s chart. The investigator will determine whether the nursing home provides the standard of care as required by the law. Filing a claim with the Office of Licensure and Certification does not cost you anything, but it can have a significant impact. It could help stop the abuse and neglect against your family member, as well as other residents of the facility. Contact a Virginia Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyer To learn more about nursing home abuse and neglect and discuss the best course of action for your particular situation, speak with our experienced Virginia nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers. Contact Lantz & Robins, P.C., today to schedule an initial consultation. Let us put our years of experience with nursing home abuse and personal injury cases to work for you and help you hold the nursing home accountable for mistreating someone you love.   

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