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Setting up your estate may seem daunting at first. After all, you are planning for the event of your death- plus, estate planning can have plenty of legal and familial factors to concern.

Thankfully, understanding these factors can make planning your estate far less intimidating. No matter what, setting up your estate will always be a time-consuming process; however, it doesn’t have to be scary!

While legal factors may vary, family matters are one of the most vital things you must consider- this includes anything from their needs to their changing personal life.

In Tennessee, 11 well known nursing homes have been named as some of the poorest performers in the state. Violations ranging from untreated bedsores, unreported falls, bruises that are unexplainable, and an insulin overdose that equated to 25 times more than the standard dosage are just some of those that have been made.

These revelations come after two U.S. Senators: Bob Casey, D-Pennsylvania, and Pat Toomey, R-Pennsylvania, of the Senate Special Committee on Aging released a “secret” report in June. The report suggested that in the U.S. there were at least 400 underperforming nursing homes. After the report was released Medicare and Medicaid opted to disclose to the public a list of these homes; the agencies said they would also receive extra inspections and attention through the Special Focus Facility Program.

Although lists of underperforming nursing facilities have always been public, resources to improve their services are very limited. For instance, in this case when 400 nursing homes are not performing to the best of their ability, there are only enough resources for 88 homes to be a part of the Special Focus Facility Program.

Tennessee has the highest number of denied medical disability claims in the United States. In 2017, 72% of applicants were denied – the national average is 66%. The state contracts medical doctors to review all Medicare disability claims. These doctors are paid per review which means the faster they can work, the more money they make.

The federal standard of reviewing disability claims is 1.5 cases per hour. Of the 50 contracted medical doctors in Tennessee, over 25 of them exceed that amount. One of them reviewed a case every 12 minutes.

Some of these cases are short and a few pages. Others comprise of several hundred pages, lab reports, MRI results, X-rays, work records, and other important information. It is the medical doctor’s duty to review the case, in full, and report their findings back to the state. Opinions from experts and previous employees say there is a shortage of medical doctors to review the cases; therefore, it’s impossible to do so without making wrongful rejections.

President Trump Tweeted that the “Attorney client privilege is dead” after the FBI conducted a raid at the office of Michael Cohen, a New York lawyer and legal representative of Trump. The President is well known for his Tweets, and later continued to tell his Twitter following that “I have many (too many!) lawyers and they are probably wondering when their offices, and even homes, are going to be raided,”. He added, “All lawyers are deflated and concerned!” 

Those who follow Trump, including thousands of lawyers, had plenty of questions after his bold Tweets; namely whether or not what he said had any real truth. Before discussing what the attorney client privilege is, it will be important to understand why the offices of Attorney Michael Cohen were raided. Here’s a few fast facts:

  • Michael Cohen is one of Trump’s lawyers.

October is a time of year in which the leaves start to change color and Tennessee residents start to pull out their autumn jackets. This time of year has also been set aside to acknowledge America’s seniors and the contributions they have made to every future generation to come.  The National Long-Term Care Residents Rights Month aims to bring focus to seniors living in elderly care or nursing homes; enabling people to remember and value each and every one of these people. In addition to this, the commemorative month is meant to encourage seniors, and their loved ones, to remember their rights and their voice. Through this direct involvement and say from the resident’s themselves, long term facilities may be able to operate more effectively while building a reputation they can be proud of.

My Vote Matters Theme

Each year, The National Long-Term Care Residents Rights Month follows a theme. This year’s theme was ‘My Vote Matters’, and was chosen to garner attention to resident’s and their retention of voting rights, regardless of where they live or what kind of care they receive. The importance of this greatly exceeds many other important events for it reminds people that a seniors’ vote could impact the very laws and regulations which encompass long term resident homes.

Sudden, Sharp Increases in Premiums for Certain Types of Life Insurance Policies

For those who hold life insurance policies with variable premiums, beware of sudden, sharp increases in premium rates. If you have suffered financial hardship to keep up with the premiums or if you have defaulted on the policy because the cash value is depleted or because you cannot pay the premiums, you may have a claim. Contact The Higgins Firm for help.

Universal Life Insurance: Peace of Mind or Risky Investment Product?

The most important decision you can make in your case is hiring the right accident attorney. With so many out there to choose from, this is harder than it can seem. It is critical that you hire someone who is experienced at representing accident victims and negotiating directly with the insurance companies. This will put you at an advantage when it comes to settlement negotiations or if you need to go to court.

The biggest thing that you need to remember is that the insurance company has a team of skilled attorneys on their side. They know what to do in order to keep the settlement low and will do whatever they can to pay you as little as possible. You need an equally skilled accident attorney, on your side, to ensure that you are treated fairly and get as much money as possible. This is not the time to hire a novice lawyer or someone who rarely deals with insurance companies. With your future on the line, you want the very best attorney you can find.

There are several things you can do to ensure that you hire the best attorney for your particular situation. They include –

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has said it will block nursing homes from federal funding should they use pre-dispute binding arbitration agreements. What this means is nursing homes in Tennessee can no longer force their patients and families to sign away their rights to sue in court before being admitted into the facility. Nearly all nursing homes are federally funded in some way or another, so this agreement could likely have a massive impact on the industry as a whole.

Prior to this ruling being made, it has been commonplace for elderly individuals and families to have to agree to private arbitration over the United States legal system. This meant elderly people, who are being cared for in federally funded nursing homes, may have been prevented from seeking legal damages as a result of neglect, recklessness, endangerment or wrongful death.  Currently, these arbitration contracts have helped the nursing home industry reduce legal costs and total cumulative damages as well as prevent tarnished reputations and long lasting repercussions.

Unfortunately, elderly are often desperate for care and shelter and will be quick to sign something even if they don’t understand what is being noted in the contract. When certain people have attempted to seek legal assistance for a dispute, the arbitration has held up as a legally binding contract; thereby affecting some of the most vulnerable Americans. For all new contracts between nursing homes and residents, this arbitration clause cannot be included.

We have all heard about the Tough Mudder events.  They are fun, challenging and popular.  Unfortunately, they can also be risky.  In this case, 28-year-old Avishek Sengupta drowned at the Tough Mudder Mid-Atlantic event on March 20, 2013 in West Virginia and the wrongful death lawsuit claimed that Tough Mudder and Airsquid Ventures, whose subsidiary was responsible for aquatic safety at the event, among others,with gross negligence for their conduct at the “Walk the Plank” water obstacle. The complaint alleges that overcrowding made it impossible for rescue and safety personnel to monitor the pool and that Tough Mudder removed safety features to speed up crowd flow.

Before this event took place, Tough Mudder had received several complaints on social media about  long waiting times at many of its obstacles. In response to complaints of long wait times at Walk-the-Plank, Tough Mudder took steps to decrease wait times and increase the flow of participants through the Obstacle. This led Tough Mulder to decrease if not completely abandon their safety measures.

Avishek Sengupta and his “Walk the Plank” teammates experienced a traffic jam of other people while they wanted for their turn to plunge. They had to slowly make their way with hundreds of  other participants toward a near vertical wall of two-by-sixes that rose to a platform 15 feet above a man-made pool of muddy water that was roughly 40 feet wide and 15 feet deep. When they reached the top, they would have to leap in and swim to the other side, only  Sengupta didn’t resurface after he went into the water. He was underwater and sinking to the bottom, passing out at some point, for reasons that are still unknown. When he was  seen on the surface, at least eight and a half minutes after he’d jumped, he would be unconscious and in the arms of a rescue diver.

By now, many people have probably heard about how actor Anton Yelchin recently died when his vehicle rolled away and caused him to be pinned in between his car and a brick pillar. His vehicle which was a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee is just one of many vehicles that may be involved in a recall by Chrysler for a shifter defect that may have caused this unfortunate and devastating accident. If you or someone you love has been injured or died in an accident that may have been linked to this shifter defect, you need to speak to a vehicle defect and automobile accident lawyer with The Higgins Firm right away. We will listen to your case and make sure you get the compensation you need for what you have been through.

The Chrysler shifter defect is just one of many examples of the dangers presented by the hazardous combination of rapidly evolving automotive technology and a recall system that is inadequate to address safety defects and protect the public. The problem involves the transmission shifters which allow vehicles to roll away even after a driver believes he has put the vehicle in park. Chrysler has had problems with vehicle rollaways in other vehicles for years, usually as the result of the mechanical design of its transmissions. The specifics are unknown but this problem is likely related to a new shifter that shifts the transmission electronically.

This particular defect has been linked to certain Dodge Chargers, Sedans and Jeep Cherokees manufactured between 2012 and 2015 and has been under investigation by the NHTSA for two years. There have been over two hundred reported crashes according to the NHTSA database and at least forty people injured,  Despite these numbers and the length of time this problem has been under investigation, there was no recall announced until April. Even today, it appears that most people who own these cars have not even received recall notices, much less been given the opportunity to have the shifter fixed.

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