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Will a Nursing Home Arbitration Prevent You from Suing?

Nursing Home Abuse and Arbitration Attorneys Serving Upstate New York Families

Experienced Legal Representation for all of Upstate New York Including Troy, Albany, and Sarasota

nursing home arbitration
When we leave our loved ones in the care of a nursing home, we trust the caregivers to provide their needs and care for them in the best way possible. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. Far too often, our elderly and disabled family members end up being neglected or injured. And, in some cases, the treatment can be fatal. When this happens, family members are often forced to sue the nursing home facility and the personnel responsible for the abuse, in order to get justice for their loved ones.

Unfortunately, even if you can prove that someone else caused your loved one harm, you could still be prevented from suing. Here’s what you should know regarding arbitration if you are considering a lawsuit against a nursing home.

What is Arbitration?

Sometimes, nursing homes include an arbitration clause in their contracts, stating that even if you pursue a wrongful death claim for your loved one, you might have to go through arbitration first. If you sign a contract when you admit your family member into the nursing home that includes a binding arbitration agreement, it typically means that you must resolve any conflict through arbitration rather than court.

The arbitration process is usually where an argument is heard, and judgment is passed by arbitrators. It is intended to solved issues at a lower cost while avoiding a lawsuit in a court of law. While it might seem like a better process for everyone involved, the biggest issue with arbitration is that in nursing home neglect and abuse cases, it usually favors corporations rather than family members or the loved one who was neglected.

Your Options if You Face Arbitration

Before you sign any contract, it’s important to examine the details carefully to ensure the details are in your loved one’s best interests. When you agree to arbitration, you agree to resolve issues without a public record of the dispute and without a trial or opportunity to appeal.

However, even if you aren’t sure whether or not you agreed to a binding arbitration clause, you might still have other options. If your loved one was injured or harmed in a nursing home, it’s in your best interests — and your family member’s best interests — to make sure the right person is held accountable. At the very least, you could help prevent the neglect and abuse from happening to someone else.

Contact Experienced Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys

The lawyers at E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy have a hundred-year reputation for making sure our personal injury clients get justice for their injuries. We know how frustrating and devastating it can be to trust a nursing home only to find out they weren’t doing their jobs or caring for our loved ones properly. If you believe your family member has been hurt or neglected by a nursing home, let us help you get justice for them. We offer a free and confidential consultation with you and your family. Request a consultation with one of our injury lawyers by calling (518) 380-2597 or fill out our online contact form to get started immediately.

Betsy DeVos Rescinds the Title IX Dear Colleague Letter to Colleges and Universities

sexual assault Education Secretary Betsy Devos has rescinded the Obama-era Title IX Dear Colleague Letter to colleges and universities, which established a crucial part of the Department of Education’s policy on campus sexual assault. Devos has said that the move aims to give colleges and universities more freedom in dealing with campus sexual assault.

The Title IX Dear Colleague Letter

The Dear Colleague Letter in question implemented two important changes in policy several years ago, in an effort to get colleges and universities to crack down on campus sexual assault. The old rules required the colleges use a “preponderance of the evidence” to decide whether a student was or was not responsible for sexual assault.

Opponents of the old rule felt that this wasn’t fair to students accused of sexual assault. The consequences of campus sexual assault can include expulsion and other forms of discipline. The change by Secretary Devos allows colleges to raise the standard to “clear and convincing evidence.”

A statement issued by the department has said that the Obama-era rules “lacked basic elements of fairness.” Advocates of students accused of sexual assault have sought this change since it the old rules were implemented. The Obama-era standard of evidence was controversial at the time of its implementation.

More Changes to Come

Secretary Devos plans to change the rules again following a public comment period which “could take at least several months,” and colleges may continue to adhere to the lower standard of proof in the meantime. However, Secretary Devos has not given any indication of what the new rule for standards of evidence might be.

However, some colleges may not be legally able to raise the standard of evidence for investigating sexual assault cases on campus. Some states have passed laws requiring colleges to use the lower, preponderance of evidence standard. In the near future, different colleges may evaluate and investigate sexual assault cases in different ways, leading to vastly different environments for students. Some students disciplined for sexual assault under the old rules have already successfully sued their colleges for violation of their legal rights.

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Today

Sexual harassment and sexual assault are serious charges, whether they happen in school, in the workplace, or in your personal time. This is just one of the reasons it’s important to make sure you have someone on your side who represents your best interests. If you have been charged with sexual assault, it’s crucial that you have an experienced defense on your side to ensure you retain your rights.

The attorneys of E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy law firm have decades of experience defending clients against many different types of criminal charges. Let us help you defend yourself throughout the process in the best way possible. To request a free and confidential consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, call us at (518) 274-5820 fill out our online contact form as soon as possible.

What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Dog in New York

angry barking dogFew things are more confusing and frightening than being bitten by a dog. Man’s best friend has turned on you, and now you need to know what to do about it! If you or someone you love has been bitten by a dog in New York, here’s what you need to do.

Identify the Owner

The first thing you should do after being bitten by a dog is find out who that dog belongs to. Get the owner’s name and address, if you can. This will allow you to sue for damages should you require medical treatment, and can even help your healthcare provider determine what treatments you’ll need, such as rabies vaccinations, for example.

The owner will need to present proof that the dog has been vaccinated against rabies, or, alternatively, will need to monitor the dog at home for a period of 10 days for signs of rabies. If the dog is a stray, it will be euthanized and tested for rabies.

Seek Medical Attention

You will need to seek medical attention for your injuries right away. While there have been no dogs with rabies in New York City since 1954, it’s best to begin receiving vaccinations for this possibly fatal disease as soon as possible, if necessary.

Report the Dog Bite

Although you might be hesitant about reporting the bite, it’s in your best interest to do so. All animal bites in New York City must be reported. City officials will follow up with the owner of the dog, and the person who was bitten, to make sure that the animal presents no additional threat.

Document Everything

Even if you haven’t yet decided whether you want to sue the dog owner, you should document everything to do with your dog bite injuries, including medical treatments, time lost from work, damage to personal property, and therapy for psychological and emotional distress.

It is also best to photograph your injuries, and any damage to clothing or personal property. Collect the names and contact information of any witnesses to your dog attack.

Contact an Experienced Dog Bite Attorney Today

The statute of limitations for filing a dog bite lawsuit in New York is three years from the date of the incident. A dog bite lawyer can tell you whether you have a case, and to what compensation you may be entitled. And, although it might be might be difficult to make sure you’ve followed all these steps after a dog bite, you might still be entitled to compensation.

If you or someone you love has been bitten by a dog in New York, whether it was your neighbor’s dog or a stranger’s in the park, it’s best to consult experienced dog bite attorneys to help you and your family get justice. The attorneys of E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy law firm can help. To request a free and confidential consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, call us at (518) 274-5820 fill out our online contact form.

New Law Might Make It Easier to Clean Up Your Criminal Records


criminal record investigations


It’s especially common for people who have had criminal convictions, to do their time and move on with their lives to become productive citizens. This path, however, can be difficult with your criminal record following behind you at every turn.

It isn’t always a simple matter to just get a job, an education, or even find a place to live, with certain criminal convictions on your record. Many people wonder if it’s fair for a past criminal act to negatively affect a person for the rest of their lives – after they’ve paid the price for their crime.

Fortunately, a new law in New York, Criminal Procedure Law 160.59 could make it a little easier to get a fresh start. Before the new legislation, you could only seal your records in limited situations. Beginning in October 2017, you could have opportunities you didn’t have before, even with a criminal record behind you.

What Is Criminal Procedure Law 160.59?

This law is considered more forgiving than the previous laws for sealing records.  And while the new law doesn’t exactly make cleaning up your record a walk in the park, it does make it easier. Beginning in October, you will be able to seal up to two New York criminal convictions — only one of which can be a felony conviction.

Requirements for Sealing Criminal Records

There are a couple of caveats with the new law. For instance, you are only eligible to seal a conviction under the new law after 10 years of good behavior from the date you were convicted or released from custody, whichever is later.

However, there are parameters. If you have more than two criminal convictions, if you have serious felonies like murder, or if your felonies are considered violent or are sex offenses – you likely will not qualify. Other examples of felonies that might not be eligible:

  • Manslaughter
  • Sexual conduct against a child
  • Assault
  • Burglary or robbery

But even if you have one of these convictions, it might be worth looking into whether or not the new law can help get your records sealed. Several factors could be considered, including the seriousness of the crime and circumstances; so it doesn’t hurt to see if you are eligible.

How Sealing Your Records Could Help

Unfortunately, Criminal Procedure Law 160.59 isn’t going to erase your conviction completely. Law enforcement and certain regulatory government agencies will still be able to see your criminal records. However, it could make your charges invisible to many employers and other types of government agencies.

This means that you won’t have to divulge your criminal background to a prospective employer, which could also give you a better chance at employment. Other benefits to sealing your criminal record include applying for housing or student loans. If your records are sealed, you could be eligible for housing assistance and professional licenses, which can all lead to increased success in starting fresh and moving forward.

Further, one of the most significant benefits of sealing your criminal record is you won’t have to worry about the embarrassment that comes with failing a background check. With sealed records, you could have opportunities that weren’t available before.

Criminal Lawyers with Experience at E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy

Do you have criminal convictions and want a clean slate? Even with the new law to seal records, you’ll need experienced criminal defense lawyers who are familiar not just with the law but also with the application, paperwork, and process required. You might not be sure if you qualify, but a chance at a clean record – especially when it comes to employment and other opportunities – is certainly worth looking into.

Contact the attorneys at E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy to request a free and confidential consultation at (518) 274-5820 or fill out our online contact form today!

7 Most Common Medication Errors

medication error

Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other medical professionals make mistakes every day. Although we expect each to provide us with the medication we need to keep us healthy, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes medication errors happen that can change your life or even become fatal. Here are 7 of the most common medication errors.

Improper Dosing

In order for medication to work properly, it’s important that patients take the amounts they need according to what their bodies need. If you or given too much or not enough, you could end up sicker than you started. Improper dosing can happen when medicine is prescribed as well as when patients are hospitalized.

Prescription Errors

Mistakes with your prescription can happen if the doctor prescribes the wrong medicine or a medical professional administers a medicine without considering your allergies or interactions with other medications. Other errors include prescribing the wrong dose, quantity, or concentration as well.

Wrong Drug

Believe it or not, patients are often prescribed or given the wrong drug altogether. As you might guess, this can be a fatal mistake that happens across every person in the medical profession from doctors to pharmacists.

Incorrect Route of Administration

This error simply means the medication is taken in the wrong way. The route of administration is the path in which the drug is supposed to enter your body. Whether the medication must be inhaled or administered intravenously, it must be taken correctly or the results can lead to extreme illness or even death.

Wrong Dose Times

Another common mistake that is made with medication is taking it at the wrong time or too many times. This mistake can be one that is made by the doctor or pharmacist, but it can also be the patient’s fault. Taking medication at the wrong times is common with elderly people who often forget that they have taken their meds or forget to take them at all.

Not Following Directions or Wrong Directions

It is possible that medication can be prescribed with incorrect directions, but patients also fail to follow the directions as well. It’s important that medication is not only prescribed with the proper instructions, but that patients also follow the directions as they should.

Patient Mix Ups

Sometimes, errors involve giving patients someone else’s medicine or getting the patients confused. This means that people end up taking medication intended for someone else’s illness or injury, which can have dire consequences. Although medical professionals must have contact with many people every day, it’s important that each is treated as an individual without the risk of being prescribed someone else’s medicine.

Experienced Attorneys Can Help with Medication Errors

Because of human nature, medication errors can be made in a number of ways. However, many times they are completely preventable and occur because people aren’t paying attention or aren’t following proper procedures for prescribing medicine.

When this happens, those medical professionals can be considered negligent and held accountable for their errors. If you or someone you love has experienced a medication error, contact the attorneys at E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy. To request a free and confidential consultation call us at (518) 380-2597 or fill out our online contact form today.

Examining a Nursing Home’s Duty of Care to Residents

nursing home

It’s obvious that not every bump or bruise can be blamed on the nursing home or its faculty. If one of your family members or loved ones is in a nursing home, it’s important that you understand what the nursing home’s duty of care actually means.

What is Duty of Care?

For any business, its duty of care is simply an obligation by law to provide a standard of reasonable care while performing acts that could harm others. If there is a breach of the duty of care, the business can be sued for negligence. What this means is that nursing homes have a responsibility to care for its residents and ensure they are in safe environments. This includes making sure personnel are properly trained as well as ensuring that the resident is protected as much as possible from the possibility of injury or harm.

Nursing Home Responsibility to Residents

For elderly people, the duty of care includes maintaining rights of the person to things like self-determination, freedom of choice, freedom of confidentiality, and dignity. It isn’t solely about protecting residents of nursing homes against physical abuse. Examples where a breach of the duty of care can happen with residents of nursing homes include:

  • Care staff who do not respond to problems
  • Neglect of basic needs
  • Personal hygiene neglect

In many cases, the neglect or abuse isn’t visible. Taking advantage of an elderly person financially, for example, is also considered a form abuse. Because you might not see the injuries and harm that have happened, it can be difficult to detect. Abuse and neglect can go on for years before it is uncovered.

Signs of Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse

Unfortunately, when neglect or abuse happens in a nursing home, our loved ones aren’t always able to let us know. They might be afraid of repercussions, or might not even be aware of issues. Signs you can look for include physical injuries, malnutrition, bed sores, and sudden weight loss. If you suspect any neglect or abuse, it’s important that you investigate and make sure you have an experienced attorney on your side.

Contact an Experienced Nursing Home Neglect Attorney

When it comes to examining a nursing home’s duty of care, it’s important to remember that each situation is different. Not only are the signs not always clear and difficult to detect, but uncovering and proving neglect or abuse can be complicated.

Don’t make the mistake of leaving your loved one in the care of someone who isn’t taking care of him or her as they should. Contact the attorneys at E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy to request a free and confidential consultation at (518) 380-2597 or fill out our online contact form.

How to Prevent Swimming Pool Accidents this Summer

happy child in pool

Experienced Injury Attorneys Serving Victims of Swimming Pool Accidents in Albany, Troy, Sarasota and all of Upstate New York

Summer is a great time to take a dip in the pool, but it also means an increased risk of accidents. Unfortunately, swimming pool accidents not only end up being fatal sometimes, but even minor accidents can result in serious injuries. Any accident can end up costing you money, especially if it happens to someone visiting your home. Here are some ways you can protect yourself by preventing swimming pool accidents this summer.

Make Sure Children are Never Unattended

Even if the next door neighbor’s elementary school aged children are training to become Olympic swimmers, it’s important that you never allow swimming without an adult. Further, the adult that monitors the children should be a good swimmer. Whether it pertains to your children or someone else’s, it’s a good rule of thumb to require adult supervision at all times.

Double Check All Equipment

Before anyone swims, it’s a good idea to double check every piece of equipment to ensure that everything is working as it should. This includes not only the pool itself, but also ladders, slides, lights, filters, and any other pieces of equipment that could cause an accident.

Cover Pools When Not in Use

To make sure everyone is safe, even small children who might wander near the pool area, cover the pool when it isn’t being used. Safety pools are available that can keep children and animals from falling into the pool when no one else is around. You might also consider barriers and swimming pool fencing to keep children from entering the area when you aren’t around. Do not make the mistake of leaving your pool open for anyone to fall into.

Learn CPR

It’s a good idea to learn CPR in case you ever need to use it. Although no one wants to think they’d be in this situation, the truth is you never know when it might be up to you to save someone’s life. If you don’t already know CPR, it’s a good time to take a class and learn.

Have Safety Devices on Hand

Although you might think you won’t need life vests in your own pool, they could make a difference in saving someone’s life. Also, make sure you have real life vests on hand and not just floaty toys or devices designed for playing. You have a better chance of helping someone with a life vest than with a blow-up beach ball.

Jones Hacker Murphy New York Attorneys

The person the swimming pool belongs to is usually responsible for any injuries that happen. This means the property owner has a duty to do anything possible to decrease the chances of someone being hurt while on their property. If you or someone you love has been injured because of someone else’s negligence, the attorneys at Jones Hacker Murphy can help you get justice. To request a free and confidential consultation, call us at (518) 380-2597 or fill out our online contact form.