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State Creates “3 Strikes” Rule for Texas Nursing Home Abuse

by Keith Adkins | March 31st, 2015

Nursing home abuse has become a serious problem in many long-term care facilities in the United States, including Texas. The National Center on Elder Abuse estimates that as many as one-third of the elderly will become victims of nursing home abuse in the next year.

These numbers have prompted state legislators in the Lone Star State to reassess punishments for negligent nursing homes. The new bill creates a “3 Strikes” policy for nursing home and long-term care abuse and neglect.

The bill would allow the state to revoke the license of any nursing home that receives three citations involving abuse or neglect within a two-year time period. It would also provide provisions for the state to hire a non-profit to hear disputes involving appeals to expedite the processing of the claim.

According to an article from KBT News, the bill passed through the state senate unanimously earlier this week and will now be considered by the house of representatives before moving forward.

At Daniel Stark Injury Lawyers, our staff is aware of the devastating results that abuse or neglect in a nursing home can have on families. That’s why our team of College Station personal injury lawyers applauds the state for taking steps toward tougher regulations.

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Oil Field Injuries Lead Workplace Fatalities in Texas

by Keith Adkins | February 24th, 2015

The extrication of crude oil and the manufacturing of petroleum products is a lynchpin for the Texas economy, accounting for almost 35 percent of U.S. oil production and bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. However, work conditions are not always considered safe in Texas’s oil fields.

Texas oil field injuries are one of the leading causes of death in the mining and drilling industry today. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that roughly 40 percent of the 663 fatalities that were recorded nationwide in the drilling industry between 2007-12 were the result of Texas oil field injuries.

These numbers leave many citizens wondering why this line of work is so dangerous and many believe the answer is because of a lack of regulation. An article from Insurance Journal claims the laws that govern onshore drilling are much more relaxed than those for off shore drilling. That’s why the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is considering reform of the policies governing onshore drilling.

At Daniel Stark Injury Lawyers, we know how dangerous oil fields are for many hardworking Texans. That’s why our College Station personal injury lawyers would like to urge you to keep safety in mind at all times on the job.

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Free Veterans Disability Benefits Counseling Sessions in Central Texas This Week

by Keith Adkins | February 17th, 2015

Veterans of our military branches who are considered disabled due to injuries or illnesses related to their service to our country are often entitled to veterans disability benefits. The processes to get these benefits can often be complicated and frustrating, however.

Many veterans require assistance wading through the legal red tape of veterans disability benefits and luckily for veterans in Central Texas, that help is coming to them this week. Reports indicate the Killeen Heights Vet Center is sending a mobile unit to different communities in our region over the next several days to get disabled veterans in rural areas the assistance they need with disability claims.

According to the Waco Tribune, the first stop is at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 17, at the Mexia Peer Support Center. Then, the unit will move on to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency facility in Marlin, Texas. Stops are also scheduled in Copperas Cove, Lampasas, and Mills County throughout the remainder of the week.

In addition to the free counseling sessions, information will be distributed encouraging individuals to utilize other benefits offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

At Daniel Stark Injury Lawyers, we are aware of how confusing the veterans disability processes and laws can be. That’s why our College Station personal injury lawyers encourage all veterans to consider attending one of the free upcoming counseling sessions in Central Texas.

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Two WorkersSuffer Oil Field Injuries Caused by Tank Explosion

by Keith Adkins | January 27th, 2015

Fossil fuels are often extremely flammable and, at times, can be considered unstable. So it should come as no surprise that many oil field injuries stem from fires and explosions that occur on a job site.

Reports indicate an oil field incident occurred yesterday in Karnes County. According to KBTX News, the two victims were performing maintenance duties to a tanker truck. But the Texas Department of Public Safety points out that the tank had not been properly cleaned. When the workers ignited a welding torch, the contents of the tank ignited and exploded.

The two workers each sustained burns to a large portion of the bodies and are currently being treated at a local medical facility.

The incident leaves many workers in the extrication industry wondering what to do if they’re injured on the job. The College Station personal injury lawyers with Daniel Stark Injury Lawyers suggest:

  • Reporting the Incident- Be sure to let your employer know about your accident and injury. They can supply you with the necessary paperwork to apply for compensation.
  • Seeking Medical Attention- Be sure to see a doctor in order to have your injuries treated after an accident.
  • Collecting Evidence- Get statements from witnesses and save any receipts stemming from expenses incurred due to your accident.
  • Filing a Claim- You may have the right to file a claim against the party responsible for your work injury.

We hope these tips help you in the event you’re injured while working in an oil field.

 

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Where Do You Turn When Veterans’ Disability Benefits Aren’t Enough?

by Keith Adkins | January 13th, 2015

As more Texas veterans suffer from debilitating injuries and medical conditions, the need for services for these individuals is increasing. While veterans’ disability benefits is sometimes available to disabled vets, it’s often not enough. This leaves many in need of round-the-clock, long-term care at a reasonable price.

Nursing homes are where many disabled veterans end up, but an emerging group of citizens in Texas are beginning to open their homes and their hearts to disabled veterans.

An article from Foster’s Daily Democrat tells the story of how one woman got involved with the Medical Foster Program sponsored by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. She now has three elderly veterans who live in her home.

The program started 15 years ago and made a name for itself during that time. A total of 43 Texas veterans have been placed into homes, while more than 900 veterans in 44 other states have found homes through the program.

Fostering disabled veterans not only improves care, it cuts costs as well. Care for a veteran in a nursing home can be as much as $450 per day, while the same care in a foster home can be provided for $50 per day.

At Daniel Stark Injury Lawyers, we understand the hardships many veterans face, and our Texas personal injury lawyers applaud those working to improve the livelihoods of disabled veterans in Texas and throughout the United States.

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Social Security Disability Benefits to Increase in 2015

by Keith Adkins | December 30th, 2014

For those who receive Social Security Disability benefits, making ends meet on a limited source of income can be difficult each month. That’s why recipients will be happy to find out they can expect an increase in benefit payments in 2015.

The Social Security Administration announced that Social Security Disability benefit payments would increase by 1.7 percent in January. The increase was determined using the Consumer Price Index, which measures inflation rates based on fluctuations in the costs of goods and services. The increase in payments will translate to roughly $20 per month.

While the increase in payments is welcome, much of the extra $20 per month will be taken by the 1.3 percent increase in disability taxes.

The College Station personal injury lawyers with Daniel Stark Injury Lawyers suggest the following options to make the most of your Social Security Disability benefits:

  • Regularly Check Your Earned Benefits- You can see the amount of benefits you’ve earned by signing up for a My Social Security account on the Social Security Administration’s website or by taking a glance at the statement the agency mails to you.
  • Apply for Other Benefits- If you’re qualified for Social Security Disability benefits, you may also be eligible for Supplemental Security Income and other benefits programs.
  • Get an Attorney- If you’re applying for benefits or appealing a denial, a Social Security Disability lawyer can help ensure your legal rights to benefits are protected.

 

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Experts Say Number of Athletes Diagnosed With Brain Injuries Will Rise

by Keith Adkins | December 2nd, 2014

In recent years, more information has come to light about the devastating effects of brain injuries on professional and amateur athletes—especially football players. Despite a greater understanding of these injuries, experts say they expect the problem to get worse before it gets better.

Researchers discovered trauma to the brain can result in the victim developing a disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which can result in the victim displaying symptoms such as:

  • Memory Loss
  • Mood Swings
  • Changes in Behavior
  • Suicide

A total of 5,000 former and current players for the National Football League (NFL) recently settled a lawsuit that claimed league officials failed to warn them of the serious impact repeat traumatic brain injuries could have on their health. Despite this result, experts say more players will suffer such injuries.

According to KBTX News, one expert said she had identified the disease in the brains of athletes as young as age 18. With players developing the disease before they hit their prime, more cases can be expected in the future. The disease continues to develop even if the athlete quits the game and never suffers another blow to the head.

At Daniel Stark Injury Lawyers, our team of College Station personal injury attorneys wants to remind you and your loved ones to always wear a helmet during contact sports.

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The SSA Hopes to Improve With Open Government Plan 3.0

by Keith Adkins | September 30th, 2014

It’s no secret that getting Social Security Disability benefits can be difficult. It can take years for a claim to get processed and approved.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is working diligently to eliminate these issues with the Open Government Plan 3.0. The plan outlines the structural changes needed to get the Social Security Disability program back on track. This goal will be achieved through reforms in four main areas, including:

  1. Increasing Transparency- The agency hopes to improve the public’s access and knowledge of their inner-workings by providing easy retrieval of data and the documents that are necessary to file a claim.
  2. Expanding Participation- Increasing the number of users of the SSA’s programs and services—such as My Social Security—has become a top priority.
  3. Improving Collaboration- Working with other government agencies—like the VA—to ensure disabled Americans have access to the benefits they deserve.
  4. Internalizing the Open Government Principles- The agency will work in a much more efficient and productive manner if each employee adopts these ideas and applies them to how they perform their duties each day.

The Texas personal injury lawyers with Daniel Stark Injury Lawyers are hopeful these changes will bring necessary improvements to the SSA’s disability program.

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Report Shows Veterans Benefit Programs Are Struggling to Perform

by Keith Adkins | September 2nd, 2014

The law states that veterans of the United States armed forces are entitled to medical care and other benefits provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). However, a new report is showing the VA and it’s  veterans disability benefits program are plagued by “significant and chronic system failures.”

The report examined the care 8.8 million American veterans received at more than 1,700 health care facilities across the nation. It concluded more than 25 percent of whistleblower cases involving the federal government stem from issues with the VA’s services. Furthermore, there are currently more than 50 cases of the VA threatening patients’ health and safety now under review.

KBTX News also explains that the amount of time veterans have to wait to receive insufficient services. While the VA has a goal of getting veterans in need of medical care an appointment within 14 days, as many as 10 percent wait longer than one month for medical care. Another 56,000 veterans wait longer than three months to see doctors, while more than 46,000 others never receive care for conditions related to military service.

So what can you do to help expedite your veterans benefits and medical care? Speaking with a Texas personal injury lawyer may offer you the answers you need.

At Daniel Stark Injury Lawyers, our attorneys have decades of combined legal experience, and we can help you get the care you deserve. Call us anytime at (866) 241-4861 to discuss your case.

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Texas Addressing Nursing Home Abuse With “Three Strikes” Law

by Keith Adkins | August 19th, 2014

Abuse and neglect in long-term care facilities across Texas is a growing epidemic. Estimates show that almost 30 percent of disabled and elderly residents will suffer from nursing home abuse this year.

While intentional acts of harm make up a large portion of reported incidents, even more cases are the result of errors made by medical and care staff.

Investigations found 1,060 medication error violations in nursing homes in 2011. By 2013, that number had jumped to more than 1,200 errors reported.

The state is working to address the problem by stiffening penalties for patient safety and health infractions. An article from the Insurance Journal states a proposed law change calls for nursing homes that commits three serious safety infractions within a two year time period to have their operating licenses revoked. Proponents say the reform would allow officials to make swifter moves in addressing problem facilities than the previous laws allowed. Those opposed to the changes say the new laws may shut down facilities working toward change.

The Texas personal injury attorneys with Daniel Stark Injury Lawyers hope state lawmakers can find a solution that holds nursing homes accountable for their negligence. If your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, our legal team is here to protect your rights. Contact us today.

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