>> Host: Welcome to LawCall. Here’s what’s coming up tonight. We are talking about funeral home and nursing home negligence. Do you believe your family member is being neglected? Did a funeral director that fail to carry out your wishes? Give us a call. We’ll explain contributory negligence, we’ll talk about homeowner’s insurance and what it does and doesn’t recover. Brett Turnbull is here to look at your e-mail questions: I got rear ended by a guy playing on his phone while he was driving. My car is injured and I am hurt. Can I sue the maker of the video game?
>> Brett Turnbull: There’s no way. There is no way to know when the game was played. You may be covered by your own insurance. I recommend you contact your own insurance company and open an uninsured motorist claim.
>> Host: For more information go to delivering justice.com. In tonight’s side bar, Kirby Farris talks about how injury works and explains contributory negligence.
>> Kirby Farris: if you are injured how can you afford an attorney? In, in a contributory negligence case the lawyer will do this and be paid by a portion of the winnings. This ensures that ordinary people can take on corporations. Eliminating contingency fees would strip the keys to the courthouse from an ordinary person. I’m personal injury attorney Kirby Farris.
>> Brett Turnbull: I have my friend Drew Barnett from here in Birmingham. He’s worked in the field quite a bit over the last few years. Tell us what type of cases may be out there that might exist involving nursing home negligence or the mistreatment of remains you have seen?
>> Drew Barnett: Brett, as you know and the callers have probably seen multiple nursing home cases before. Funeral homes are different. It may not be on the forefront of the caller’s legal idea. As far as the type of claims that arise in a funeral home type of settings, those involve the destruction of a grave, mishandling of a body, the embalming process. Anything that goes wrong from the time the loved one passes on until the burial is completed falls within the funeral home aspect.
>> Host: We are taking calls on nursing home and funeral home negligence. Give us a call 1-855-law-1955. We have Brett and Drew. Let’s expound more on that if you don’t mind. Tell us about Alabama law?
>> Drew Barnett: Sure, Alabama is unique in the law and claim that we have in a funeral type of case is called the tort of outrage. In other cases it’s infliction of stress. Here in Alabama, we call it outrage. It’s conduct that a person goes through that they know or should know causes emotional distress. That is the difference in an outrage claim compared to a physical injury. The law allows emotional distress recovery.
>> Brett Turnbull: Talk about how strict Alabama is?
>> Drew Barnett: The language is extreme and outrageous conduct. It’s not necessarily just negligence, and extreme and outrageous conduct that the courts sago beyond to bounds of decency. You have to look at each case separately.
>> Host: We have the ones here who can answer the questions. Give us a call 1-855-law-1955. Brett, if you could talk about nursing home type cases that you have seen?
>> Brett Turnbull: Sure, shifting gears, nursing home cases are a wide array of cases out there. The usual case we would see would be simply negligence. That is where they have been mistreated to the extent of having bed sores. They have a condition unacceptable under Alabama law. There are circumstances where someone is a fall risk, known to be a fall risk. It’s part of their treatment or program. They are not properly supervised or taken from one place to another falling and getting hurt. That’s definitely a possibility. We see a bit of everything from malnutrition, all circumstances, certain types of infections are preventable as a result of medical negligence.
>> Host: You say certain parts are preventable.
>> Brett Turnbull: One-way that infections take place is when the skin breaks down. There is a situation where you have someone who is not properly turned in the bed or is left in a position for longer periods of time than the Medicare regulations call for. That is a gray area. We look to a time for the standard of care in the Medicare regulations. Improperly input of a catheter is one way. That has to be carefully monitored or infections that would have been preventable.
>> Host: Good input. We have Brett. We have Drew. If you have questions, give us a shout. We’ll be back after this break.
>> Host: Do you have homeowner’s insurance? You probably do if you own your own home. Do you know what it covers? Bob prince covers that in legal brief.
>> Bob Prince: If you think you only need something to protect you against fire and storm. Think again. That’s not homeowner’s insurance. It’s broader than that. It will protect you if someone gets injured on your property. Suppose someone comes up to your front door but falls on a loose step. You knew you should have fixed it. Your homeowner’s covers it. Suppose your child hits the ball into the neighbor’s window. You’re covered. The dog bites the postman? You’re covered. Get your policy out and make sure it covers these types of accidents. If you don’t understand the terminology, call your agent. They’ll be happy to explain it to you. That’s your legal brief for tonight. I’m attorney Bob Prince. Back to you.
>> Host: We are talking about funeral home and nursing home negligence. We have Michelle from warrior. How are you doing?
>> Caller: Hey.
>> Host: You are on with LawCall. What is your legal question tonight?
>> Caller: I have a small question. It was a long time ago. It was in the Florida area. I understand that and everything. I wonder at that time, did I have a case and everything? What it was, you know how you pay for a small funeral. Anyway, you pay for a small funeral and everything. Usually you expect to have the deceased person — which was my father on a gurney, a small setting with chairs and everything. They ask when they get the person ready they ask the people to come in. I was there with my small kids at the time. They were very young, but remembered. So the guy says, let’s walk around back here. I’m like okay. I thought maybe it was the room and everything. I walked my young kids into this funeral home with my dad lying in a cardboard box with a black blanket on him that was fuzzy with white stuff all over it, like on the crate you pick up with the forks? Next to — close to the incinerator with McDonald papers, Jack’s papers, soda cups and garbage.
>> Host: All right. You want to see what kind of claim you may have.
>> Brett Turnbull: Well, Michelle, I know that was a traumatic experience you had in that setting. We are sorry to hear about that. As far as providing any detailed facts, we would have to know as many facts as possible. A little different with your setting that it arose in Florida. Florida carrying a different statute of limitation, totally different claim as far as outrage or emotional distress type of claim. The first and best thing you can do is speak with an attorney licensed in Florida. There could be a statute of limitations. You have something there as far as a factual standpoint that I feel you should speak to a lawyer about.
>> Host: Let’s take a call from Bridget in Pleasant Grove. How are you?
>> Caller: I’m doing good. How are you?
>> Host: Just fine. You are on with LawCall. What is your legal question tonight?
>> Caller: My mom is in a nursing home. They sent her to hospital. She went by ambulance and I missed the ambulance at the hospital. During the time she was in the ER, they let her fall out of the bed. I saw that her chart was marked file risk. My mom has dementia. I also told the nurse she could not walk, but when she fell out of the bed, they didn’t even come get me. I was sitting in the waiting room. They didn’t notify me that my mom had fallen or that they were giving her x-rays on her body from this fall. I was just wondering when she fell out of the bed, it gave her a bleed on the brain. This happened on a Monday. That Thursday she went into a coma like state and they couldn’t wake her up. They had to do a cat scan. The doctor said she had a blood clot looked like from a fall. Can they be held liable for this?
>> Drew Barnett: I would be happy to answer. In this circumstance, it’s very well possible. The way this works is that when someone is admitted into a medical facility, and I think in this situation, emergency room is different because it could have been an emergency situation. Typically if someone is a fall risk, there is a scale. They assess the person and put them on the scale and make a determination how high on the scale they need to be. What level the person may be, the more safeguards they need to have in place for the person not to fall. Maybe bed rails are all that’s necessary. It may be a different standard. There may be physical contact needed or a walker or a wheelchair may be needed. It’s possible and highly sensitive. It depends on the scale how high the person is on the fall risk spectrum and what happened to cause the fall. It is possible based on the injury involved. I hate that, that happened but either of us would be happy to help you.
>> Host: We hope that answers your question. We’ll be back with more questions. You are watching Fox 6, WBRC.
>> Host: Mark your calendars, we’ll talk about divorce and child support. August 21st, worker compensation and august 28th, asbestos, cancer and the law. Call (205) 933-1500 or visit belt law firm. com. To reach bob prince call or visit prince law. net. If you have questions for Brett Turnbull, reach them on the web at delivering justice. com. Follow them on twitter and Facebook. Give us a call at 1-855-law-1955. Let’s take a call from another viewer. Marcus, how are you?
>> Caller: I’m doing alright.
>> Host: You are on with LawCall. What is your legal question for tonight?
>> Caller: My aunt’s body was exhumed from the hospital and went to the funeral home. It was not supposed to be embalmed but it was embalmed. It was supposed to be a cremation. The funeral home enforced payment for the embalmment plus cremation. Do we have to pay it?
>> Host: Thanks for the call. What do you think about that?
>> Drew Barnett: I think you have a case worth speaking with an attorney about. Factual details we need to uncover in depth would be the family and you about what went wrong with the embalming and communication side of that. Certainly something you need to speak with a lawyer, me or any of the guys at Farris riley and pit would like to speak with you about that.
>> Host: Let’s take another call. Alan, how are you? You are on with LawCall. What is your legal question for the evening?
>> Caller: When my father got buried, okay, that was in ’94. My mother passed in ’04 and the head stone is turned backwards and it’s cracked.
>> Drew Barnett: I hate to keep saying the cases are factual necessary. If there is evidence that a person or company intentionally harmed the gravestone, there is a case you could pursue. It’s about how it was broken. Feel free to give me a call or Brett here. We’ll discuss that off the air.
>> Host: All right, Alan. Thank you very much. Let’s take a call from one of our viewers. We have Pam from Ragland. What is your legal question tonight?
>> Caller: Nursing home negligence. My mom has been put in a nursing home back in April. She’s been walking around scratching constantly. It’s caused soars. She has soars on her head and all over her to her toes, she has soars. I spoke with the doctor. I have been trying to get him to help her to get rid of this, but they have not done so. It’s been going on for over a month.
>> Host: You want to get some resolve.
>> Drew Barnett: It depends on what is causing it, obviously, but if they have a condition in the facility, whether it be bedbugs or a reaction to the type of detergent they are using or something else, the most important thing is that it be resolved. I recommend getting an outside doctor to look at your mom to get a diagnosis. Once you have a diagnosis, you will have a better way to go. If it’s something the nursing home would have known would be a problem, it’s on their plate. If it’s a medical situation, you will know how to deal with it.
>> Brett Turnbull: There are significant windows between the situation that happened and now. How long does someone have to file a claim?
>> Drew Barnett: Generally speaking, it’s two years from the time the harm was done or when you discover the harm. It can be something where it’s two years later than when the conduct occurred, but it all goes back to the factual detail about each particular case. Quickly before we close out, someone may want to know the type of damage that can be claimed as well.
>> Brett Turnbull: In a typical injury type of case where you have injuries to the body, these are emotional distress type of cases. Damages are for emotional distress and punitive damages if the case warrants that. Given the context of the emotional distress damages, they can be quite severe.
>> Host: There you go. I hope we answered your questions. Take the attorney’s information and give us a call. Join us next Sunday when we take calls about divorce and child support. Have a good night, everybody.