Medication Errors in Nursing Homes – A Dangerous Dilemma

We have focused a major portion of our law practice on helping the victims of prescription errors and also on nursing home negligence. Sometimes there are medication errors occurring inside nursing homes and other care facilities, and the friends and families of the victims don’t know where to turn. We’ll start with some facts:

• State and Federal laws actually consider a percentage of prescription medication errors to be “acceptable” and even though nursing homes and other care facilities are inspected regularly, little is done when mistakes exceed the allowed level.

• Often, mistakes are self-reported, so it’s not known if every error is making it into the records.

• Most people are not aware that information about care facilities is available online, and ratings and inspection reports are available for review.

• People are also unaware of the warning signs for prescription-related sicknesses and injuries and how to look for them.

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration recently issued this statement:

In addition to the requirement that nursing homes shall not have medication errors of 5% or greater, each nursing home must provide pharmaceutical services to ensure accurate administration of medications. This includes the participation of a pharmacist consultant who helps develops and monitors processes within the facility to ensure resident do receive the correct medications.

We believe 0% is an acceptable number of medication errors because of the serious harm that a patient may experience if given the wrong medication, or an over-dose, or medication is not administered at all.

Warning Signs: If you have a loved one currently in a care facility in Florida, it would be a good idea when you visit to ask questions about the dispensing of drugs. Ask about the procedures for giving drugs to patients and how the records are kept. Watch for changes in the patient with regard to their alertness, energy level, skin color, and balance. If there is a sudden change in any physical characteristic at all, ask questions. Also, look into their eyes when you visit and watch for any changes. Dilated or constricted pupils can be a sign something is wrong. We’re not suggesting you do the job of a doctor, but try to be aware of anything unusual.

Also, there is a website that offers details about all the health care facilities in Florida, as well as information on doctors. Please click here to find information on facilities, and click here to verify the license of an individual doctor, nurse, or other health care professional.

Doctors, pharmacies, and pharmacists make mistakes. When they do it can cause serious injury, pain, and suffering. Victims have rights, and they can take action to be compensated for the mistakes made by others. If you have questions, we’re here to help. Call us at 954-356-0006.


Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Attorneys

Pain and Suffering Damages in Florida – Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Attorneys

How do you put a price on relieving pain? If you have a headache, a bottle of Advil or Tylenol is available at Walgreen’s for about 5 dollars and you’ll probably be back to normal in a few hours.

What if your pain is long-lasting or permanent? What if it was caused by someone else’s carelessness or negligence? And what if your treatment for that pain is very expensive and will be necessary for many years? How will you deal with your pain and suffering?

You’ll need help.

You should be aware that if you are injured in Florida there are three Statutes that limit the time people have to take legal action. They are:

• 4 years for personal injury (Sec. 95.11(3)(a) & (o));
• 2-4 years for medical malpractice (Sec. 95.11(4)(b));
• 3 years for most claims against state & local governments (Sec. 768.28(6))

There are also some limits on how much you can recover in Florida for pain and suffering:

• No cap on pain & suffering damages, generally; $500,000 cap on non-economic damages in most medical malpractice cases; $200,000 cap on most claims against state & local governments (Sec. 768.28(5))

• No-fault rule (for car accidents) and pure comparative negligence rule may limit recovery of damages (Sec. 768.81(2))Florida Personal Injury Lawyers

You should also be aware that there are people who think there should be more limitations on how much you can recover for pain and suffering, and that insurance companies are known for being uncooperative when it comes to paying people for injuries. It takes experience, knowledge, and the execution of a solid plan to go after and recover the monetary compensation you need to heal. Sometimes it can be accomplished with reasonable negotiations and sometimes it is necessary to go to court.

Fortunately we live in a country where access to the courts is guaranteed by the Constitution, and with guidance from an experienced attorney you have the ability to pursue justice.

Every day we work with people who have been injured in auto, truck, and motorcycle accidents to get help for their pain and suffering. We also help people who have been hurt when the action or inaction of someone else has caused an accident. Falls are common causes of injury, and objects falling on people are also responsible for thousands of serious injuries each year.

The attorneys at Lazarus & Lazarus are ready to listen to you. We are a small firm dedicated to personal service and diligent work to get you the compensation for pain and suffering you deserve. Call us at 954-356-0006 for a confidential consultation.

Fort Lauderdale Motorcycle Accident Attorney

We’re Number One! Florida Ranks #1 on Many Lists, Some Good, Some Bad

Florida has one of the fastest growing populations in the nation, so we know there are some good things that make people want to live here.

Uninsured Motorists Florida

Of course there are some things that aren’t so great about our Sunshine State, and Channel 10 WPLG recently made that point in their story “Florida ranked No. 1 in sun, fun and fraud (not in that order).” But we love it here and we’re committed to making living in Florida better!

People love to read rankings and reviews, from college football to the best Taco Tuesday in town, and most are based on opinions, not facts. Florida ranks very high for weather, as a place to retire, and our higher education was ranked number one for higher education based on the time it takes for students to graduate, low-cost tuition, and low burden of debt.

We also rank number one on two fact-based lists that we need to work on: Most fatal accidents involving motorcycles and most uninsured drivers. For some reason, people in Florida are not taking the time to watch out for motorcyclists, and a very high percentage of drivers are going without auto insurance. These are both unacceptable.

It’s possible that the motorcycle accident rate is higher than other states because we have the weather for motorcyclists to ride year-round, but we have a higher percentage rate than other states with mild climates. It’s really a matter of educating drivers about the importance to do what we stress all the time:

  • When you pull out into traffic, look twice.
  • Be aware of who may be coming up from behind when you change lanes.
  • Never turn in front of an oncoming motorcycle, it may be moving much faster than you think.
  • Never text and drive.

Uninsured motorists are another huge problem, and we posted a graphic below from the Insurance Information Institute. Don’t assume that if someone hits your car that you can just “collect from their insurance company.” Over 1/4 of Florida drivers have no insurance! Keep this in mind when you review your own coverage. Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage is available but there are different types and it’s important to ask your insurance company or agent to explain the variations, cost, and benefits of each.

The bottom line is, please make sure you have good insurance coverage and drive responsibly. Working together we can get Florida off those two lists and save lives in the process.

If you have questions after being involved in an accident and you’re not getting straight answers, that’s what we do. Lazarus and Lazarus has been helping victims of automobile, motorcycle, and truck accidents for over 20 years. We have developed an excellent reputation for getting great results for our clients, and we’ll work hard to do the same for you. Call us at 954-356-0006 for a free consultation.


How Long Does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Take? Fort Lauderdale Accident Attorneys

When you are hurt in an automobile, truck, or motorcycle accident you may suffer injuries that are serious enough to alter your life in a dramatic way. People are often unable to work after an accident, it’s difficult to pay medical bills and household expenses and they need relief immediately. Creditors, mortgage companies, and landlords expect to be paid and they are not concerned about your misfortune.Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Attorney

If you are involved in an accident that was not your fault it seems reasonable that you should receive compensation for lost time from work, pain, injuries, and damages to your vehicle immediately. But, that’s not usually the case. So, what can you do?

There are many options, and each one is going to depend on the specifics of the case. The first thing to do is to seek out an experienced attorney who has a history of helping people in these situation and who gets results.

Your attorney will examine every detail related to the case, including physical injuries, property damage, and insurance coverage. Often insurance companies don’t want to pay and we have to be persistent. The process must move expeditiously because time is money and we will not stand by while our client is in financial or physical distress. A qualified attorney will understand that your need for justice is first and foremost, but that speed is also very, very important. Many people will face financial hardships while everything is sorted out and they may turn to borrowing money to cover their bills. When this happens some victims may consider personal loans, using their credit cards to live on, or even a lawsuit loan.

Lawsuit Loans – A lawsuit loan (also called a lawsuit cash advance, litigation financing, lawsuit funding, and settlement funding) is a cash advance against a future lawsuit judgment or settlement award. You will want to move very carefully before you choose lawsuit funding. Borrowing against a future settlement or judgment can help you deal with short-term financial hurdles but may cost you a lot in the long run.

Once again, the best thing to do is obtain advice from a professional who has dealt with these situations over a period of many years.

One of the first things we do at Lazarus & Lazarus is establish expectations. We lay out in plain talk what the case looks like and what our clients can expect in terms of our performance, and we write down a timetable for each case. We have learned that it’s wrong to raise expectations by making unrealistic promises. On the other hand, we work very hard to build a solid and strong case for every client so that it has the best chance to establish the truth and get the results and compensation that are appropriate.

Reaching out to us is easy, just call 954-356-0006 and we’ll be happy to set up a confidential consultation.


South Florida Personal Injury Attorney

Large Law Firm or Small – Which is Best for You? Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Attorneys

Our society for many years has classified what people do to earn a living into jobs, trades, professions, and the learned professions. We found this definition for aSouth Florida Personal Injury Attorneys profession: a profession is a vocation founded upon specialized educational training, the purpose of which is to supply disinterested objective counsel and service to others, for a direct and definite compensation, wholly apart from expectation of other business gain.

Traditionally a “learned” profession is one of the three professions, theology, law, and medicine, usually associated with extensive learning or erudition; broadly or any profession in the preparation for or practice of which academic learning is held to play an important part.

Today, the professions requiring extensive advanced education most often have some type of organization that regulates and issues licenses to members. Doctors have the American Medical Association, attorneys have local, state, and national bar associations. Engineers, financial advisers, teachers, and many others all have a high level of responsibility and accountability.

In law, the bar is the legal profession as an institution. The term is a metonym for the line (or “bar”) that separates the parts of a courtroom reserved for spectators and those reserved for participants in a trial such as lawyers.

Any person who has a job and performs its duties with excellence over a long period of time can be thought of as being a professional. We have known professional tailors, painters, chefs, and bartenders.

The learned professions are different than most other other jobs in that they are held to a higher standard, that is they can be liable, negligent, or even guilty of malpractice if the circumstances warrant and there is evidence. They deal with matters where errors could have tragic consequences, financially or physically to structures, property, or human beings.

One thing that is common in most professions is that they are becoming more and more specialized every day. In the past if you were sick you went to a doctor and if you had a legal issue you visited an attorney. Today there are over ten different types of specialties in ophthalmology alone, and lawyers have branched out to be of service to people in dozens of very specific areas of law.

When something happens up and you need an attorney, you will have many choices. The largest law firm in the United States by number of attorneys is Baker & McKenezie in Chicago with over 4,200 and there are probably many legal situations where B&K would be the perfectly appropriate firm to call for help. There are many general practice firms, large and small, that handle personal injury cases, and they also handle criminal cases, bankruptcies, and family law. These firms are also qualified and capable of handling cases professionally and they perform very well for their clients.

South Florida Personal Injury AttorneysThe Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus has filled a special space in the south Florida community for over 20 years. We are a small firm consisting of Gary and Arleen Lazarus with an excellent support team and we work with people who have been injured in any number of ways because of some incident or accident that was not their fault. In particular we have sought to help people injured in accidents, including those involving automobile, truck, and motorcycle crashes. We work with people injured in industrial accidents, and accidents on private or public property. We have also gained a tremendous amount of experience working with people hurt by pharmacy or pharmaceutical company errors. Certain types of medical malpractice also fall into our area of expertise.

Our smaller size allows us to focus on each client and their case with a level of personal service it is sometimes hard to find in a larger firm, and we are committed to keeping that service level in place. If you have been hurt due to someone else’s carelessness, we ask for the opportunity to meet with you and review our track record, our qualifications, and the testimonials from previous clients. Please call us at 954-356-0006 to arrange a confidential consultation, and thank you.

Driving Drowsy Can Be Deadly – Fort Lauderdale Accident Attorneys

Florida Highway Patrol troopers and rescue workers were amazed when a driver and his passengers survived a serious crash at a tollbooth on the Florida Turnpike recently. Early indications are that the driver fell asleep at the wheel and the vehicle plowed into some crash absorbers, narrowly missing a pay lane where a another vehicle was stopped. The story in the Miami Herald contains a video of the crash, but warns “the following video contains graphic content.”

How common are “asleep at the wheel” crashes? It’s difficult to ascertain whether a driver was nodding off before a crash because there are no medical tests to help, like there are for determining blood alcohol level. But a recent AAA study reveals that driver fatigue is a factor in 1 of 10 accidents, and the problem seems to be getting worse over time.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that 35 percent of American drivers sleep less than the recommended minimum of seven hours a night.

South Florida Accident LawyersSummer is the traditional time for long trips in the car to reach various vacation spots, so it’s a great time to prepare for a common sense schedule of drive time, rest time, meal time, and sleep time. It’s a good idea to drive during the time you are usually awake so you aren’t knocking your body’s internal clock out of whack. If you normally sleep at night, then sleep at night during your trip. Arrange to take turns with another driver if possible, and drive in 2-3 hour segments before taking rests.

Many drivers have a tendency to “push it” until they reach the next destination, but don’t do it. The minute you feel sleepy get off the road and rest.

The National Sleep Foundation says these are warning signs that you are getting fatigued and you should stop driving:

  1. Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking, or heavy eye lids.
  2. Daydreaming; wandering/disconnected thoughts.
  3. Trouble remembering the last few miles driven; missing exits or traffic signs.
  4. Yawning repeatedly or rubbing your eyes.
  5. Trouble keeping your head up.
  6. Drifting from your lane, tailgating, or hitting a shoulder rumble strip.
  7. Feeling restless and irritable.

We are experienced motor vehicle accident attorneys in south Florida for over 20 years and we have worked with many victims of sleep-related serious crashes. Please call us if you have been involved in any car, truck, or motorcycle accident and you’re not sure about what you can do to take care of your injuries and damages. We’re available all the time by calling 954-356-0006.

Have a safe summer!

Soft Tissue Injuries are Painful and Slow to Heal – Fort Lauderdale Accident Lawyers

If you were asked to name common injuries from automobile accidents, you would probably say cuts and broken bones. Those are common injuries and they are usually the first to be diagnosed when the victim of an accident is treated on the scene by paramedics or later at the hospital. But soft tissue injuries to muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments are really the most common, the most difficult to diagnose, and often the most painful and hard to treat.

A synonym for the word “soft” is “delicate.” These are areas of the body that are very sensitive to trauma. 

Soft tissue injuries include sprains, strains, bruises, and tendinitis. Under the category of sprains there are three levels:

Grade 1: Only some of the fibers in the ligament are torn, and the injured site is moderately painful and swollen. Function in the joint will be unaffected for the most part.
Grade 2: Many of the ligament fibers are torn, and pain and swelling is moderate. The functionality of the joint is compromised.
Grade 3: The soft tissue is completely torn, and functionality and strength on the joint is completely compromised. In most cases, surgery is needed to repair the damage.

Often soft tissue injuries do not become obvious until some time after the actual injury occurs, sometimes a few days or even a few weeks. Probably the most common and the most painful soft tissue injuries people experience after an auto accident are whiplash (neck) and other spinal injuries. If a car is jolted suddenly into movement, for example from being rear ended, the cervical (neck) spine can be seriously damaged.

How can a soft tissue injury be diagnosed and treated?

The science of medicine has become so specialized that going to a physician who doesn’t handle your specific issue may waste precious time and money. For example, years ago when you had an eye issue you went to an ophthalmologist. Today there are over 10 sub-specialties of ophthalmology including specialists for the retina, cornea, optic nerve, glaucoma, and cataracts. If you choose the wrong doctor, you will just be referred to another.

If you are involved in an auto accident and you feel fine at first, but later realize that “something just is not right” there is a good possibility you have some type of soft tissue injury. The Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus has been working with victims of car, truck, and motorcycle accidents for over 20 years and we have been fortunate to work with some of the finest doctors in the nation who happen to practice here in south Florida. We stand by our clients until they are connected to the medical specials who will truly improve their condition, heal their injuries, and lessen their pain.

Call us at 954-356-0006 if you have any questions, and thank you.

Florida Accident Attorneys - Wrong Way Crashes

How to Avoid a Crash with a Wrong Way Driver – Fort Lauderdale Accident Attorneys

It’s hard to comprehend how a driver could get on a busy expressway and drive the wrong way for any period of time, but it happens. It happens far too often and while some measures to alert other drivers have been put in place, it’s prudent to understand what you can do to reduce your chances of being involved in a wrong-way accident.

Wrong-way crashes tend to be especially violent and cause very serious and often deadly injuries.

Warning devices — flashing beacons, solar-powered warning signs and vehicle-detection equipment — were installed on 10 ramps on the turnpike’s Homestead Extension between Miramar and Doral and on five ramps on the Sawgrass Expressway in Broward. If a motorist goes the wrong way or enters the roadway using an exit ramp and misses the flashing signs, a camera will send a picture of the vehicle to the FHP’s command center and to the Turnpike’s traffic management center in Pompano Beach. Traffic managers can then program overhead signs on the highway to alert motorists that a wrong-way driver is in the area. Officials estimate that in the first year of operation, 14 wrong-way crashes were prevented by the warning system.

How can you reduce the chance of being involved in a wrong-way crash?

The Florida Highway Patrol recommends drivers stay to the right when driving on a highway at night. Wrong-way drivers will likely think they should stay to the right, which for right-way drivers is the left. Stay alert, never text while driving, and if you see someone going the wrong way you should call 911 immediately. Also, if someone is coming at you from the wrong way, slow down carefully, and move to avoid the car while being careful not to hit cars beside you.

If you ever become distracted for some reason and miss a red “WRONG WAY” sign yourself, stop and move off the roadway carefully. Do not try to move forward to find an exit. Call FHP for assistance.

Obviously, many wrong-way drivers are impaired and you may think there is not much you can do about that. But every responsible citizen needs to make a commitment not to tolerate drunk driving. Insist friends leave their keys and call a taxi cab if they have been drinking. If you serve alcohol to someone visiting your home make sure they have a ride.

The Law Form of Lazarus and Lazarus has handled many serious crashes involving wrong-way drivers who crashed into oncoming traffic. We work hard for every client to make sure their medical and other needs are met and that they receive the maximum compensation for pain and suffering allowed by law. Call us at 954-356-0006 if you have any questions.

Florida Prescription Medication Attorneys

Prescription Errors Persist Despite Regulations and Training – Florida Pharmacy Error Attorneys

In most workplaces a small error doesn’t cause a problem, but at the pharmacy it may jeopardize someone’s life. A recent case involved a woman who was scheduled for an MRI examination. Her physician prescribed a mild medication to calm her nerves because she gets claustrophobic, but what was supposed to be 1/4 milligram dose was dispensed from the pharmacy at 2 full milligrams and the patient passed out during the test. Paramedics were summoned and they were able to revive her after some time.

Another situation was a name mix-up. A man who thought he was picking up a muscle relaxant actually received a bag with pills intended for a man with the exact same name. The man went home and began taking pills intended to treat a psychological issue, and he attempted suicide. Fortunately he survived and is suing the pharmacy for the error.

And in a move that could cause even more errors and mix-ups, there are more companies moving into online prescription ordering and fulfillment, including Amazon. CBS Miami recently reported on the growing trend, and a professor of pharmacology at FIU said “Almost 50% of patients take their medication incorrectly and that causes emergency room visits,” she told CBS4 Anchor Lauren Pastrana. “Over 3.5 million physician office visits (happen) yearly due to medication-related problems.”

All the publicity about these serious mistakes has prompted more training for pharmacists and pharmacy techs, and internal policies and procedures have been tightened according to the major pharmacy chain stores, but the problems are not going away.

There is a reason for the consultation window at the pharmacy but it seems that few people take advantage of it. We strongly advise everyone to closely examine their prescriptions before leaving the pharmacy. Ask the pharmacist to come to the window and check the name, the medicine, the doctor, the dosage, and the instructions. The few extra minutes it takes to do this may save you from being seriously hurt or worse by a pharmacy error.

If you ever have any confusion whatsoever about a pill or pills that you can’t identify, and you’re not sure if it’s the right one, return to the pharmacy and ask.

The Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus has been helping people who are victims of either doctor or pharmacist mistakes regarding prescription medications for over 20 years. We also handle cases where people are hurt due to a problem with the drug because of harmful side effects. We are very experienced investigating cases to find the cause of problems whether it is a pharmacist, pharmacy, doctor, hospital, or drug company and we get the facts and answers needed to proceed with whatever action is necessary to protect our clients.

Call us any time at 954-356-0006 if you have questions. We’re here to help.

Fort Lauderdale Accident Attorneys

Prepare for Your Summer Road Trip – Fort Lauderdale Accident Attorneys

Accident Attorneys Fort LauderdaleDid you know that our nationwide network of highways is actually called the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways? The system is named for President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who championed its formation. Construction was authorized by the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, and the original portion was completed 35 years later, although some urban routes were cancelled and never built.

Before all the highways were built people weaved their way through towns and farmlands on narrow roads, and long distance trips took far more time than they do today. Many families choose road trips over air travel for their summer vacations and pack the car, truck, or camper because they enjoy the sights, but it is prudent to be properly prepared.

Some of the things you’ll want to think about before you embark on your trip involve a thorough mechanical check of your vehicle, your car insurance, and your health insurance.

Hopefully you have a regular maintenance schedule for your car and stick to it, but even if you do it’s a good idea to double check the things that are most likely to cause problems on the road.

Overheating – Hoses, radiator, water pump, anything involving the coolant system should be inspected. Breaking down on a hot highway in the middle of July can ruin any vacation.

Belts – This is a big one. Most modern cars have one or two belts that run all the various systems: cooling, steering, electrical, and more. If your belts are worn, replace them.

Tires – Make sure your tires are properly inflated and the tread is not worn. Check your spare and make sure you have a jack that works in case you have a flat and need to change it.

Loading your car – Heavy loads should be packed in the center and low. Loading heavy items near the top, especially in a van or SUV can make the vehicle top-heavy and possibly more likely to tip over. If you use a roof rack, keep the same in mind, don’t overload. Always load according to manufacturers specifications.

Fort Lauderdale Accident LawyersCheck all your lights – Headlights, back-up lights, brake lights, and turn signals. Sit in the car and have someone stand outside while you check every light on the car.

Car Insurance – Call your insurance company or your agent and make sure you are up-to-date on payments and fully covered. If your roadside assistance is tied to your insurance make sure it will cover you if you’re far from home in the middle of nowhere and that your coverage includes long-distance towing.

Health Insurance – Chances are you’ll be out-of-network for your trip so keep in mind that medical emergencies don’t care where you are when they happen. Also, make sure you have an adequate supply of prescription medications with you, or have the ability to refill if needed.

Focus on the Road – We understand that people get excited when vacation time comes, and people tend to throw caution to the wind, but please stay focused on the road. Don’t text while you drive or stare at the GPS. Never, ever drink and drive. Look after your car, take care of details, and pay attention to the road ahead of you and you’ll have a vacation to remember forever.

The Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus works with people who have been injured in accidents, including many who have accidents on vacation. If you have questions about accidents, insurance, or anything else related to driving-related injuries please call us at 954-356-0006 and have a safe summer.