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Maryland Nursing Home

How Can You Hold a Maryland Nursing Home Responsible for Neglect?

Every year in the United States, elders are abused in the very facilities loved ones trusted to take care of them. It is estimated that 1 in 10 elders over the age of 60 has been abused, and 14% of self-reported elder abuses are neglect. If your loved one has experienced abuse in a Maryland nursing home, Mobley and Brown, LLP is here to help.

Can You Sue a Maryland Nursing Home?

Just like you can file a lawsuit against a doctor or hospital, you can file a lawsuit against a nursing home. However, things are not always cut and dry. Nursing homes are not liable for every injury or accident that happens while someone is in their custody. Even with a high standard of care and excellent healthcare staff, elders can still receive injuries or have an accident. However, abuse and neglect are serious problems that can lead to injury or death.

What Is Neglect?

Neglect is defined as failure on behalf of a Maryland nursing home to provide an elder with basic life necessities including housing, medicine, hygiene or food. It’s important to note that neglect in nursing homes is not always malicious or perpetrated by a rude nurse. Instead, ongoing understaffing can lead to employee stress and burnout, which snowball into neglect or abuse.

In Maryland nursing home neglect cases, nursing homes can be liable if they fail to care for a patient properly and they face a negative health consequence, including injury, as a result. Malnutrition can be a type of neglect, as nursing homes have an obligation to ensure patients are eating and drinking properly. Bedsores and falls are other common neglect-related complaints.

What Are the Signs of Neglect?

Many times, loved ones are the first ones to notice changes in an elder that indicate signs of abuse. Some of the signs of Maryland nursing home neglect include:

  • Bed sores
  • Unusual injuries like bruises, cuts or burns
  • Strange explanations for injuries
  • Refusal to eat or take medication
  • Dehydration
  • Bad physical appearance (dirty clothes, poor hygiene)
  • Hesitation to talk about abuse out of fear you, other residents or staff members will tell the abuser
  • Changes in personality
  • Rapid weight loss

If you feel that something is wrong or notice unusual behavior or interactions between a resident and a staff member, you should speak with the nursing home administrator immediately. If you suspect that your loved one is being abused, you should contact Mobley and Brown, LLP immediately to review your claim. 

Concerned About Potential Maryland Nursing Home Neglect? Call Mobley and Brown, LLP

If you need help getting your loved one out of a dangerous situation or are concerned about Maryland nursing home neglect, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 261-4952 or toll-free at (833) 355-9897.

Driving Without Insurance

If I Was Driving Without Insurance and in an Accident, Can I Still Be Compensated?

Driving without insurance is against the law, but what happens if you are injured in an accident while doing so? There are a number of factors that influence whether or not you’re eligible for compensation, and you need a skilled law firm like Mobley and Brown, LLP on your side.

Is Maryland a No-Fault State?

Currently, 12 different states are “no-fault” states for car insurance. That means that, if someone is injured in a car accident, they are responsible for seeking compensation through their own car insurance coverage. Maryland is not on the list of no-fault states, which means that you are able to file a lawsuit or have one filed against you. If you cause an accident and the other person is injured, they can file against you. If you are driving without insurance, you will be personally liable for all expenses, not an insurance company.

If You Are Injured and the Other Party Is at Fault

If you were driving without insurance but injured in an accident where the other driver is at fault, you might still face restrictions on how much you can recover. First, you should expect to face criminal or administrative penalties from the state of Maryland for breaking the law and driving without insurance. These penalties will be levied regardless of fault or responsibility. However, these penalties will not be factored in when the court considers the injuries that you suffered and your civil claim. The fact that you were driving without insurance will also not be admitted as evidence when the case is heard. As a result, you should never hesitate in seeking the compensation that you deserve after a car accident, regardless of whether or not you had insurance at the time.

If You Are Injured and You Are at Fault

If you caused the car accident and were injured in the crash, you are responsible for covering your personal medical expenses. You should also be prepared to face potential litigation from the other party or their insurance company, and should consult with an attorney. 

Driving Without Insurance and in a Crash? Call Mobley and Brown, LLP

If you want guidance in the aftermath of an accident when you were driving without insurance, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 261-4952 or toll-free at (833) 355-9897.

Estate Plan

Why Everyone Needs an Estate Plan

Nobody wants to dwell on the possibility of dying, and what will happen to loved ones, family and property after a passing. However, a total lack of planning can lead to a myriad of unfortunate circumstances if an unexpected tragedy occurs. By creating an estate plan with the help of a skilled law firm, like Mobley and Brown, LLP, you are ensuring that your family can move forward carrying out your intentions after you’re gone.

What Is an Estate Plan?

Estate plans are your instructions for what should happen to everything that you own after you’re gone. These legal documents can include instructions for cars, real estate properties, savings accounts, furniture, life insurance, personal possessions, investments and anything else of value that an individual owns. Estate plans can also include additional preferences, like burial instructions, payment for final expenses and wishes in the event that one becomes incapacitated and unable to make medical decisions.

Why Does Every Person Need an Estate Plan?

  • Avoid Probate: Probate is what occurs when an estate plan was not in place, and the local court is responsible for dividing up the assets of a deceased individual. Because probate is a legal process, it can take a great deal of time to complete. Your assets may not reach loved ones for years or more after death if the estate enters probate.
  • Reduce Taxes: With a little bit of planning, many couples can reduce or eliminate federal and state estate taxes by setting up trusts as part of a will. Don’t let what you leave behind be ravaged by taxes before being put to good use by your loved ones.
  • Designate Beneficiaries: Who do you want to take care of after you’re gone? An estate plan allows you to designate and protect beneficiaries, whether they are minors or adults. By clearly stating your intentions, you can prevent a wealth of family discord and legal expenses.

What Does an Estate Plan Include?

  • A Will
  • Beneficiaries
  • A Durable Power of Attorney (DPA)
  • Healthcare Power of Attorney (POA)
  • Living Will
  • Letter of Intent
  • Life Insurance Information
  • Trusts (Including Living Trusts)

Protect Your Assets with Mobley and Brown, LLP

If you are interested in planning for the future of your family and protecting your assets, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 261-4952 or toll-free at (833) 355-9897.

Personal Injury Case

Can You Use Witness Statements from an Accident During a Personal Injury Case?

When you’re dealing with a personal injury case, particularly one relating to an automobile accident, making a strong case can be difficult. The at-fault party’s insurance company will look for any reason possible to limit liability. If your personal injury case goes to trial, witness statements and testimony are invaluable. Can you use witness statements from an accident during a Maryland personal injury case?

Witness Statements

Witness testimony typically comes from two categories of witnesses, lay witnesses and expert witnesses. Lay witnesses are people without specialized training, education or knowledge related to the testimony. Lay witnesses could be people who watched the accident occur or who were there in the immediate aftermath. These witnesses can give statements detailing their observations before, during and after the crash.

Expert witnesses have specialized training, education, experience or knowledge relating to the subject at hand. Expert witnesses for a personal injury case in the aftermath of a car accident could include accident reconstruction professionals, rehabilitation experts or medical specialists. All of these witnesses apply their backgrounds to the circumstances of the case to give professional opinions.

Why Are Witness Statements Important?

Witnesses help to validate the facts of your personal injury case. When liability is in dispute, eyewitnesses and expert witnesses both bring valuable testimonies to the table. Eyewitnesses can offer testimony about:

  • Weather, visibility and temperature at the scene of the accident
  • Traffic
  • Driver behavior before and after the accident, including whether or not the driver seemed intoxicated or like they were not paying attention
  • Approximate speeds, directions and locations of vehicles
  • Color of traffic lights, pedestrian signals and the presence of traffic control devices

In a personal injury case, friends, family members and colleagues can also offer testimony and statements during the trial. These statements are important for illustrating the impact of the accident on your life. For example, a co-worker could detail how the victim cannot perform a particular job duty anymore as a result of the accident.

What Could Complicate a Witness Statement?

When you work with a lawyer, it is easier to determine which witness testimonies and statements add the most value to your personal injury case. Some witnesses are less convincing and reliable as others, including those who:

  • Have a personal interest in your claim
  • Know you personally (if eyewitnesses)
  • Have a history of criminal convictions
  • Suffer from eyesight, memory or hearing issues
  • Did not see the accident in its entirety

Mobley and Brown, LLP can assist you with gathering the most valuable statements and testimonies for your personal injury case. 

When You Need an Experienced Maryland Personal Injury Case Lawyer, Call Mobley and Brown, LLP

When you are dealing with the aftermath of an accident and looking to seek damages to ease your suffering, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 261-4952 or toll-free at (833) 355-9897.

Noah’s Law

What Is Noah’s Law?

In December 2015, a Montgomery County Police Officer named Noah Leotta was tragically struck and killed by a drunk driver during a routine traffic stop. To prevent the same tragedy from occurring to another person in the future, Maryland implemented the Drunk Driving Reduction Act of 2016, also known as Noah’s Law.

Noah’s Law 101

Noah’s Law requires ignition interlock devices for all drivers convicted of:

  • Driving While Impaired (DWI) while transporting someone under the age of 16
  • Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
  • Homicide or life-threatening injury by motor vehicle while DWI or DUI

Ignition interlock devices stop a car from starting if it detects specific levels of alcohol on the driver’s breath. Depending on the number of convictions, affected drivers are required to participate for different lengths of time:

  • 6 months for the first incident
  • 1 year for the second incident
  • 3 years for a third or subsequent incident

Participants in the program are only allowed to operate vehicles equipped with ignition interlock devices. Currently, people who are detained on suspicion of DWI or DUI and refuse a chemical test or have a BAC above 0.08 can elect to participate in the program instead of having an administrative hearing to argue the charge.

How Long Are Affected Drivers Required to Participate?

Any driver participating in Noah’s Law is required to successfully complete the ignition interlock program, including no violations in the three consecutive months before the conclusion of the program. Increased penalties may occur for drivers under the age of 21, drivers who already have alcohol restrictions, drivers with a CDL or drivers with previous DUI or DWI convictions.

The Impact of Noah’s Law

Before Noah’s Law, penalties for refusing to take a test and the subsequent license suspensions were much more lenient. There has been a small decline in the total number of car crashes in Maryland since the law went into effect. Maryland officials are hopeful that Noah’s Law will make an impact on the high number of impaired driving crashes in the Baltimore metropolitan area. Over the period from 2011 to 2015, a whopping 46.2% of crashes involved impaired drivers. 

When You Need an Experienced Maryland DUI or DWI Lawyer, Call Mobley and Brown, LLP

If you want guidance in the aftermath of a DUI or DWI arrest, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 261-4952 or toll-free at (833) 355-9897.

Failure to Diagnose

The Difference Between Misdiagnosis, Delayed Diagnosis and Failure to Diagnose

When you go to the doctor for medical care, you expect your experience to be professional and your healthcare practitioners to be knowledgeable and accurate. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. Depending on the medical condition you are coping with, a timely and correct diagnosis can be the difference between life and death. Whether it’s a misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis or outright failure to diagnose, you may have a right to compensation.

Misdiagnosis

Misdiagnosis occurs when a doctor incorrectly diagnoses an illness, injury or disease. If the incorrect diagnosis leads to harm in the patient, it could lead to a medical malpractice claim. For example, if Matt is suffering from a heart attack but an emergency room doctor believes it’s a muscle strain, and that misdiagnosis leads to death or long-term complications, that doctor might be liable. It’s important to note that every misdiagnosis does not constitute malpractice. Your lawyer and evidence must demonstrate that a knowledgeable doctor acting in the same situation would not have made the same error.

Delayed Diagnosis

Delayed diagnosis is when the right diagnosis is eventually given, but only after a severe delay. For a malpractice case to have merit, that delay in diagnosis must negatively impact patient health and stem from medical negligence. Delayed diagnosis is the most common type of medical malpractice, and it can contribute to a severe illness getting much worse in a short span of time. Many illnesses like cancer can be treated if caught early. However, a delay in a proper diagnosis can push the disease past an easily-treatable stage in days, weeks or months.

How does a delayed diagnosis occur? Some of the most common reasons include:

  • Not listening carefully to a patient’s complaint
  • Minimizing symptoms
  • Ignoring medical history
  • Failing to monitor weight loss/gain, vital sign changes, etc.
  • Failing to order medical tests
  • Assuming details about a patient’s life based on stereotypes, age, gender or lifestyle
  • Suggesting or performing a procedure before checking for contraindications
  • Failing to consider differential diagnoses

Failure to Diagnose

Failure to diagnose occurs when a doctor completely missed the right diagnosis until the patient experienced irreversible harm or died. Heart disease, HIV, cancer and syphilis are all treatable when diagnosed properly and fatal if there is a failure to diagnose. If a health care provider failed to diagnose a serious medical condition as a result of negligence, the provider might be liable for medical malpractice or a wrongful death suit. 

When You Need an Experienced Maryland Medical Malpractice Lawyer, Call Mobley and Brown, LLP

If you want guidance throughout your medical malpractice claim, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs and ensure you receive what you are entitled to. Call us now at (410) 261-4952 or toll-free at (833) 355-9897.

Maryland Auto Accident

How Is Fault Determined in Maryland Auto Accident Cases?

One of the most pressing questions in the aftermath of every Maryland auto accident is who is at fault. Whether or not there was an injury involved, the driver at fault can face a variety of consequences from the other party involved, the insurance company and even the police. Those are just some of the reasons why determining fault is so vital in Maryland auto accidents.

Who Determines Fault in a Maryland Auto Accident?

In general, there are 4 key people involved in determining fault: police officers, insurance claims adjusters, a jury or judge and your attorney. The police officers that arrive at the scene of the accident will develop an opinion about what occurred. If there isn’t much property damage and nobody is injured, the officer will probably not complete a formal report. Instead, the police officer will make a form with basic information on who the drivers were, license numbers and insurance information. If a full formal report has been completed, that will often include the officer’s opinion of who caused the accident and other observations from the scene.

Claims adjusters will also develop a conclusion as to who was at fault for the Maryland auto accident after talking to their own insured driver. Today, many adjusters have additional evidence in the form of photos and videos from the crash scene. Your attorney will also have an informed and important opinion on who is at fault. Experienced auto and personal injury attorneys have evaluated hundreds of accidents, so they can discern with a practiced eye.

Finally, the judge or jury during a formal trial can also ultimately decide who caused the car collision. Judges and jurors have access to a range of evidence, as well as arguments from the lawyers of both parties.

What Matters in Maryland?

In Maryland, there are 3 possible determinations after an accident: you caused the accident, you didn’t cause the accident or you contributed to the accident. What factors are brought into consideration?

  • Police report
  • Statements from involved parties and witnesses
  • Statements from involved police officers
  • Photos and videos from the scene
  • Surveillance or dash cam footage
  • Opinion from a car damage appraisal professional
  • Legal principles
  • The rules of the road 

When You Need an Experienced Maryland Auto Accident Lawyer, Call Mobley and Brown, LLP

If you want guidance throughout your personal injury claim in the aftermath of an auto accident, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs and ensure you receive what you are entitled to. Call us now at (410) 261-4952 or toll-free at (833) 355-9897.

Social Media

How Social Media Can Affect Your Case

No matter the circumstance, whether your legal case is of a business or personal matter, it isn’t a good idea to share the details online. It can be tempting to share every step of your journey, both good and bad, with your family, friends and online community. However, social media can be a double-edged sword for anyone with an open legal case. Oversharing could cause you to lose your case.

Social Media isn’t Private

When you’ve tuned into any courtroom drama or police show, there’s a good chance you’ve heard the Miranda rights – “Anything you say can and will be held against you in a court of law.” Unfortunately, for those who wish to share everything on social media, the same principle applies to posts and comments made online. Many mistakenly assume that “private” means posts are made in confidence. In reality, “private” simply means “not public.” Lawyers and court officials can still access the information, and your posts are considered public information that can be admissible as evidence. For example, if you have a pending personal injury lawsuit, but pictures are posted on social media showing you dancing at a party or otherwise participating in a rigorous physical activity, that material can be used against you in court.

It is not advisable to draw attention to any pending cases, in any capacity, online. If you do wish to post anything during the time of your pending case, keep in mind the risks. Remember that law enforcement officials can and will access the content. If it’s something you wouldn’t want to have brought up in court, then it’s best not to mention it on social media – private post or not.

Posts Can Be Used in Multiple Practice Areas

If you’re a small business owner making posts about your business, keep in mind that those posts can be used in multiple practice areas. While your current court case might be a trademark dispute, posts about your financial gains or annual income could be used in bankruptcy court in the future. Photos, text posts and videos can all be used now or years in the future as supplementary evidence.

Similarly, if you have a personal case (i.e. car accident, medical negligence, premises liability, etc.) and boast about how much you’re expected to get from your case, or otherwise mention it to the public, that can backfire as well.

What Can You Do?

While nobody wants to hear this advice, the best thing that you can do while you have an active court case is to stay away from social media entirely. Posting positive news, information about your in-court experience or sending an angry message can all come back to work against you in the future. You should avoid posting or talking about your case until it is closed. Even then, there is no harm in keeping things private.

Before You Head to Court, Call Mobley and Brown, LLP

If you want guidance throughout the business entity formation or employee hiring process, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs and set you up for long-term business success. Call us now at (410) 261-4952 or toll-free at (833) 355-9897.

Your Own Business

Starting Your Own Business 101

Starting your own business is a big decision and one that you should never make without consulting a lawyer first. Before you open your doors and order your inventory, here is what you need to know.

What Type of Business Is Right for You?

The structure of your business has serious legal and tax ramifications, so it’s crucial that you take your time and work with an experienced lawyer. If you choose not to establish your own business as a legal entity, you will be a sole proprietor (owner) and legally responsible for your company. That means that, if you fall into debt or face a lawsuit, you are personally accountable for the ramifications.

It’s a much better idea to structure your business with your personal financial and legal protection in mind. Some of the most common structures include:

  • Limited liability company (LLC)
  • Limited liability partnership (LLP)
  • Corporation
  • Limited partnership
  • Non-profit corporation

Laying the Groundwork for Employees

The employees that you hire, especially early in the life of your business, can make or break you. Hiring the right people and providing a great environment for growth is essential. Smart hiring and employment practices will help you to attract and retain the best employees in your field. When starting your own business, you should work with a skilled attorney to develop your employee handbook and employment policies, as well as employment and independent contractor agreements. These policies and procedures are vital to legally protecting your business, as you need to comply with a wide range of federal and state laws, from equal opportunity employment laws to minimum wage requirements.

Protecting Your Intellectual Property

Whenever you have something that is proprietary about your business, or a product that makes you unique, you need to take steps to protect those elements with copyrights, patents or trademarks. A lawyer can ensure that your branding, taglines and intellectual property are safe and secure from your competitors and opportunists.

Gathering Relevant Documents

To make the most of your time with your lawyer, you should gather up documentation in advance. As a general guideline, you should get together:

  • Your business plan
  • A pro forma balance sheet containing liabilities and assets that will be contributed to or assumed by the new business
  • A proposed list of any officers, directors or investors
  • Tax returns, corporate records or financial statements if you will be merging two businesses together
  • Any documents that have already been created including meeting minutes, notes or agreements
  • Any other documents that your lawyer asks you to bring along 

Before You Create Your Own Business, Call Mobley and Brown, LLP

If you want guidance throughout the business entity formation or employee hiring process, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs and set you up for long-term business success. Call us now at (410) 261-4952 or toll-free at (833) 355-9897.

What is the Invention Disclosure?

Person filling out an invention disclosure formAn invention disclosure is a form that represents the first recording of an invention. These forms should include comprehensive descriptions and be explained in a way that anyone can interpret and understand. This form acts as the documentation of an invention you create, which will be necessary for submitting the patent for the design.

When filling out an invention disclosure form, you want to ensure the following is included.

  • The title of your invention
  • Your name, address, and phone number
  • When and how you thought up the design
  • The date of public exposure
  • A thorough description
  • Any testing results
  • Any research funding sources that were used
  • Potential competitors
  • Signatures of all involved

When to Disclose an Invention?

As soon as your creation is deemed an invention, you should disclose it. Even if the patent application is never completed, the disclosure can help offer protection against other patents for similar or the same design. You also want to ensure that you keep your disclosure form updated, to ensure all of the details are for the best protection.

At Mobley and Brown, LLP, our business attorney in Baltimore, MD, is available to assist with a variety of legal issues. Contact our team today at (410) 261-4952 to schedule a consultation.