Every year millions of Americans suffer from a preventable fall injury, and over 800,000 of those will end up in the emergency room with a fracture or head injury. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, falls are the most common cause of nonfatal unintentional injuries and are responsible for slightly more than three in 10 injuries overall. Deaths because of a fall have also skyrocketed since 2000, from 13,322 to 34,673. Half of all accidental deaths in the home are caused by a fall.
National data on cases of abuse in America’s 15,600-plus nursing homes and other elder-care programs is hard to come by. But several recent studies by government investigators, advocacy groups and the news media have chilling implications.
According to the National Ombudsman Reporting System (NORS), 14,258 (7.6 percent) of approximately 188,599 complaints reported to state ombudsman programs in 2014 involved abuse, gross neglect or exploitation. Another study of nursing home staff throughout the country found that 36 percent had witnessed at least one incident of physical abuse of an elderly patient in the previous year, 10 percent committed at least one act of physical abuse and 40 percent admitted to committing psychological abuse. It gets worse: A CNN special investigation in February of 2017 found that the federal government cited more than 1,000 nursing homes for mishandling or failing to prevent alleged cases of sexual assault and abuse from 2013 to 2016.
Given that 1.4 million aging adults already live in nursing homes and that the number of Americans 65-plus will double between 2010 to 2050, this issue will only become more pressing.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the U.S. population will reach a turning point in 2030 when every surviving member of the baby boomer generation will be 65 or older. Seniors will outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history and will make up one-fifth of the American population.
Furry, scaly or feathered companions are nearly a given in most American homes. It is estimated that 68 percent of all American households own pets, and in 2017 these households spent over $69 billion on food, vet care and more for their beloved beasts. Clearly an injury to a pet can be traumatic and expensive for owners, especially if it was caused by the negligence of another party. Consider these legal options.
Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery in which traffickers use force, fraud or coercion to control victims for the purpose of commercial exploitation. This can encompass sexual exploitation, indentured servitude, forced labor, forced marriage or even organ harvesting. Human trafficking is a silent and insidious industry that affects an estimated 45 million people worldwide, including an estimated 57,700 right here in the United States.
The best way to ease the pain and suffering caused by workplace injuries is to prevent them in the first place. Every year on April 28, we recognize Workers’ Memorial Day. This international day of remembrance honors workers who have been “killed, disabled, injured or made unwell by their work.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 2.9 million workers were injured in the workplace in 2016, and 5,190 died from those injuries [download full report]. Over 30 percent of workers required time off because of an injury, and workplace injuries cost employees, employers and insurance companies more than $250 billion a year.
Most cars now already feature some form of self-driving technology, from cruise control – first developed in the 1950s – to electronic stability introduced in the mid-1990s to recent innovations like automatic braking, lane departure alerts and self-parking. The latest technologies, like Autopilot from Tesla and Drive Pilot from Mercedes-Benz, automatically steer, adjust speed and brake. Instead of relying on eyes, ears and a brain for control, autonomous vehicles depend on data from cameras, radar and LIDAR – high-tech sensors that detect light – all fed into an on-board computer.
Advocates for individual rights might someday call 2017 The Year of Reversal for an unprecedented number of attacks on America’s civil justice system. Pick your poison for examples, from the rollback of restrictions on forced arbitration to passage of legislation that will weaken protections against medical malpractice and nursing home abuse to a slew of proposed “tort reform” measures. At the root of all of these initiatives is corporate profits rather than the safety and legal rights of all Americans. Here’s a closer look.