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After helmet failure, 110 comatose days and counting

Traumatic brain injuries can happen to anyone, even Formula 1 racecar driver Michael Schumacher.

Schumacher has spent more than the last 110 days in a coma. He fell and hit his head on a rock while skiing. Even though he was wearing a helmet, which shattered into three pieces, he is still fighting for his life from the head injury. Doctors say if he had not been wearing the helmet, he would not be alive by any definition.

The accident has shaken the ski industry badly. Those who ski at any level are wearing helmets more than ever, according to a New York Times article. In fact, 70 percent of skiers are sporting helmets (about triple the number from 2003), but the gear has not reduced the number of fatalities or brain injuries.

A troubling 2012 study by the Western Michigan University School of Medicine revealed that head trauma incidents increased by 60 percent between 2004 and 2010 — the same time period when helmet use was on the rise. While helmets do reduce the likelihood of wounds like scalp lacerations, they do not avert concussions and traumatic brain injuries, the more fatal accidents.

Helmets are not the security blankets they are made out to be. If they are not made to actually protect a wearer’s head, defective or negligent manufacturing might have come into play. If you’ve been in this situation, speak to an injury lawyer and find out what your legal rights are.

Nursing home abuse: a bizarre spin-off

When people are considering nursing home abuse, they tend to envision physical, mental, emotional, psychological, medical and sexual abuse. Few think about a nursing home worker possessing controlled substances, including prescription narcotics, with the intent to sell them. Even fewer worry about a nursing home worker trafficking heroin.

Orange County police arrested two individuals at a Greenwood Lake apartment building, where they found 11 wax paper envelopes of a substance police were certain was heroin. Officers also found two oxycodone pills, 6 alprazolam pills, needles and three hypodermic syringes. One of the two arrested was a licensed practical nurse (LPN) working for county-owned and run Valley View Nursing Home.

Police felt that the case clearly connected abusing street drugs with abusing prescription drugs. Allegedly, the LPN used her position of authority as a healthcare worker to access controlled substances and to use them in an illegal manner.

The district attorney has made it clear they are pursuing all available legal avenues to hold the woman accountable for her alleged abuse of authority and for her actions.

It’s infinitely depressing when cases like this one come to light. Seniors in care deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. They need to feel safe with their caregivers.

If you have relatives in a nursing home and you suspect that something is wrong, contact a personal injury lawyer right away. Stop the abuse, no matter how unusual or odd the situation may seem.

California workers entitled to unpaid wages

There are times when an employer does not pay an employee all of their wages. They may not know how to pay a worker properly, understand the law or calculate the correct amount. Sometimes, wages are even withheld intentionally.

If a worker is not paid the current California minimum wage per hour, but instead is paid a commission or paid by the piece, his or her employer is still legally required to meet the minimum wage obligations. If a worker’s wages for a pay period is less than minimum wage, the employee must be reimbursed the difference.

Lodging and meals are not to be taken out of the wages unless a written agreement exists.

Employers may not take back wages earned. They may not pay a lower wage than specified by a contract or statute, and they may not deduct costs for loss of equipment, breakage or shortages (unless caused by a deliberately negligent act). Nor can they take back wages to offset workers’ compensation costs.

Workers in California have specific rights. Aware workers who feel they are missing pay need to consult with an employment attorney.