Workplace Harassment: What You Need to Know

Recently, matters of workplace harassment have gained national interest and it is becoming one of the most sensitive areas of effective workplace management.  

What is Workplace Harassment?

Workplace harassment can include behavior that is belittling, threatening, cajoling, and/or retaliatory in nature, exhibited toward workers in certain circumstances.  Harassing behavior can be based on gender, race, disability, national origin, religious beliefs, but often falls under the category of sexual harassment.

Two Types of Workplace Harassment

According to the Department of Labor, there are essentially two types of workplace harassment.

Quid pro quo harassment generally results in a tangible employment decision based upon the employee's acceptance or rejection of unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors, but it can also result from unwelcome conduct that is of a religious nature. This kind of harassment is generally committed by someone who can effectively make or recommend formal employment decisions (such as termination, demotion, or denial of promotion) that will affect the victim.

Examples:

  • Supervisor who fires or denies promotion to a subordinate for refusing to engage in or submit to sexual behavior.
  • Supervisor requires a subordinate to participate in religious activities as a condition of employment
  • Supervisor offers preferential treatment/promotion if subordinate sexually cooperates or joins supervisor's religion

A hostile environment can result from the unwelcome conduct of supervisors, co-workers, customers, contractors, or anyone else with whom the victim interacts on the job, and the unwelcome conduct renders the workplace atmosphere intimidating, hostile, or offensive.

Examples of behaviors that may contribute to an unlawful hostile environment include:

  • Discussing sexual activities
  • Telling off-color jokes concerning race, sex, disability, or other protected bases;
  • Unnecessary touching
  • Commenting on physical attributes
  • Displaying sexually suggestive or racially insensitive pictures
  • Using demeaning or inappropriate terms or epithets
  • Using indecent gestures
  • Using crude language
  • Sabotaging the victim's work
  • Engaging in hostile physical conduct

What is Not Workplace Harassment?

Behaviors that are not considered harassment are those that arise from a relationship of mutual consent. A hug between friends, mutual flirtation, and a compliment on physical appearance between colleagues are not considered harassment.  Moreover, the alleged harassment must stem from factors that distinguish the victim from others in the workplace, such as the victim’s sex, race, religion, or disability.

Intellectual disagreements related to academic freedom are also not considered harassment.

The management and discipline of employees is also not harassment. Legitimate requirements to comply with rules or standards—such as requests to meet dress codes, deadlines, employee performance standards, attendance requirements—are not considered harassment.

What Should I Do if I Think I Am the Victim of Workplace Harassment?

Even though you may have been a victim of harassment, recovering damages can be a long and difficult process. Fortunately, the law allows victims to retain experienced and dedicated employment attorneys to represent their legal interests. If you think you have been the victim of workplace harassment, please call Kelly Reed and her team at 304-292-2020, to schedule a free consultation.

negligent discharge

Negligent Discharge and How It Affects You

How Do I Know If I Have Been Negligently Discharged From the Hospital?

Occasionally, a doctor or hospital makes a decision to discharge a patient too early -- before you, the patient, is medically stable enough to go home. In situations where you need to be readmitted, the decision to discharge may amount to negligent discharge and medical malpractice.

Negligent discharge from hospital happens when your doctor deviates from the standard of care. If you are discharged prematurely, then that could constitute negligent discharge. You may have been negligently discharged if you experience one of the following conditions soon after you leave the hospital:

  • Your condition worsens
  • Your suffer an injury as a result of the condition for which you were hospitalized
  • You are readmitted for the same condition only a short time later

What Should I Do or Not Do?

Medical malpractice lawsuits are complex pieces of litigation, requiring skill and attention to detail. Moreover, hospitals and doctors retain experienced defense attorneys adept at denying and delaying claims, even as you and your family may struggle to deal with lost wages and medical bills incurred as a result of a hospital’s and/or doctor’s negligence.

If you think you’re a victim of negligent discharge, you should consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss the details of the case and explore your options. A dedicated attorney can sift through all the medical information and work with experts in the field to prove the patient’s doctors failed to exercise due caution when administering medical treatment.

What Are My Legal Rights?

Negligent discharge victims can receive compensation for various types of damages. Although each case is different, most claims seek to recover damages for:

  • Hospital bills
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Funeral costs

Even though you may have been a victim of negligent discharge, recovering damages can be a long and difficult process. Hospital bills and lost wages are most commonly recovered, but other expenses and compensation often require expensive and time-consuming litigation.

Fortunately, the law allows victims to retain experienced and dedicated medical malpractice attorneys to represent their legal interests. If you think you have been the victim of wrongful discharge, please contact call Kelly Reed and her team or call 304-292-2020, to schedule a free consultation.

anesthesia errors medical malpractice

Anesthesia Errors Can Be Considered Medical Malpractice

What are the dangers of anesthesia errors?

Anesthesia errors are generally more dangerous than surgery mistakes because even the smallest error can result in brain damage or death. An anesthesiologist can commit medical malpractice by:

  • Administering too much anesthesia
  • Failing to monitor a patient's vital signs
  • Using equipment that is defective
  • Failure to properly intubate a patient (insert a tube into the trachea for ventilation)

Despite the advances in modern medicine, anesthesia errors continue to occur at even the best facilities and hospitals worldwide. Standardized protocol and simple vigilance are key factors that can avoid the occurrence of anesthesia errors.

What causes anesthesia errors?

There are a variety of factors that give rise to the high incidence of medication errors during the conduction of anesthesia. The most common risk factors include:

  • Fatigue
  • A lack of staff
  • Odd working hours
  • Inattention
  • Poor communication
  • Carelessness
  • Look and sound-alike drugs
  • Failure to calculate drug dose

How common are anesthesia errors?

Anesthesia errors are common in the modern healthcare system. According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), 44,000 to 98,000 patients die each year due to medical errors. A large number of these fatalities are associated with medications. An anesthesia error is any mistake that occurs during the medication process. It can be the failure to perform an appropriate action, or to perform an appropriate action incorrectly. The IOM estimates that each year, 1.5 million Americans are injured by medication errors including anesthesia errors. 

What should I do if I think I have been injured by an anesthesia error?

You only have two years to file your anesthesia error medical malpractice claim. If you believe that you have a case, then you should talk to an experienced Morgantown medical malpractice attorney today. Kelly Reed and her team has successfully recovered millions of dollars in damages for our clients. Call us today at 304-292-2020 to schedule a free initial consultation.

defective auto parts

Defective Auto Parts and Knowing When to File a Claim

What are the realities of defective auto parts?

Today's automobile companies manufacture their cars almost exclusively by robots on automated assembly lines. Most people assume that their cars are well-built, precise, and always up to standards. However, every year manufacturers recall automobiles for defective parts that cause serious harm to innocent consumers.

Because of the high expense of a recall, many manufacturers only recall defective automobiles after they have injured someone. Of course, they may be unaware of the defective part, but some still choose to ignore the problem. For example, airbag manufacturer Takata failed to disclose the dangers their product posed to consumers resulting in serious injuries and deaths, even though they were aware of the defects.

What should I know before filing a defective auto parts claim?

Because the litigation process is complicated, gather as much information as possible before filing a claim. If you're injured and you suspect a defective part is to blame, you should:

  1. Identify the suspected defective part
  2. Identify the manufacturer of that part or parts
  3. Know how the defective part contributed to your injury
  4. Keep detailed records including trips to the emergency room, your doctor, police reports
  5. Take pictures of your automobile, especially the affected part or parts

What are some common defective auto parts?

While there are thousands of automobile parts that can be defective and lead to injury, the most common are:

  • Airbags
  • Tires
  • Seat belts
  • Brakes
  • Headlights

How should I file a claim?

Finally, if you're injured, you do not have to go through this complicated experience alone. An experienced lawyer will help you navigate the intricacies of defective auto parts litigation.  and determine who should be held accountable for your suffering. We recommend consulting a personal injury lawyer to discuss your options. Call Kelly Reed at 304-292-2020 to schedule your free consultation.

uninsured motorist

Uninsured Motorist and Filing an Auto Accident Claim

Can I make a claim if I was in an accident with an uninsured motorist?

If you were in an accident with an uninsured motorist -- a driver that has no insurance--then you may be able to recover damages under your own insurance policy. According to West Virginia Code §33-6-31, every insured driver is required to have Uninsured Motorist Coverage for these minimums:

  • $25,000 property damage
  • $20,000 for one injury or death
  • $40,000 for two injuries or deaths

Furthermore, insurance companies must give you the option of purchasing more coverage for uninsured and uninsured motorist. You may decline the option to have more than the minimum coverage for uninsured coverage or any coverage at all. However, we recommend that you purchase uninsured and underinsured insurance. Purchase insurance in equal limits as your liability coverage, as rates are fairly reasonable.

What should I do if my insurance company is denying my claim?

Because they don't want to compensate you, many insurance companies deny coverage for any reason. Therefore, it is a good idea to contact a lawyer, if your insurance company is denying your claims for coverage. 

What should I do after the accident?

Consequently, after being hit by an uninsured motorist, it is important to put yourself in the best possible position by:

  • Taking photographs of the damages and the accident scene
  • Getting the information of the other driver
  • Calling the police so they can fill out an accident report
  • Visit your doctor to get a professional opinion on the nature and extent of any potential injuries
  • Consult with a lawyer about your options

An experienced lawyer can help you determine a proper, fair course of action after the accident. Kelly Reed and her team has won millions of dollars in compensation for her clients. Call today to schedule an initial free consultation. 304-292-2020.

 

child injury

Child Injury Due to Reckless or Negligent Behavior

How often does often does unintentional child injury occur?

As a parent, child injury resulting from a careless or reckless caregiver, or due to another's negligence is absolutely heartbreaking. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), unintentional injuries such as those caused by burns, drowning, falls, poisoning, and car wrecks – are the leading cause of death among children in the United States.

The latest data compiled in the CDC Childhood Injury Report: Patterns of Unintentional Injuries Among 0-19 Year Olds in the United States found:

  • On average, over 12,000 children 0 to 19 die each year in the U.S. due to an unintentional injury
  • The death rate for males is almost double the rate for females
  • Car accidents are the leading cause of death among children
  • Emergency departments treat 9.5 million children each year for an unintentional injury
  • Every year, nearly 3 million children visit the emergency room after a fall
  • Suffocation is the leading cause of death for infants
  • Auto accidents are the leading cause of death in children over the age of five

According to the CDC, the major causes of nonfatal injuries in children, include falls, being struck by or against an object, animal bites, overexertion, and motor vehicle accidents.

What are the some of the long-terms effects of child injuries?

Even though an injury may not be fatal, it may still have life-lasting consequences for the child. Burn injuries and dog bites can cause permanent scarring and disfigurement. Children may suffer from permanent brain damage from near-drowning, falls, and automobile accidents resulting in a significantly reduced quality of life.

When should I file a child injury claim?

If your child was injured in a car wreck, at a pool, daycare, or on public or private property, it is likely they are entitled to compensation. Children lack the maturity and foresight to avoid all danger. Therefore, caregivers and adults are responsible for keeping them safe, and preventing foreseeable injuries.

Call Kelly Reed (304-292-2020) for a free consultation if you think you're child has been wrongfully injured.

medical malpractice, personal injury lawyer

Medical Malpractice? Do I Have a Case and What Should I Do?

What is Medical Malpractice?

If you think that a doctor may have made a mistake in your medical treatment, then you may wonder if you have a medical malpractice lawsuit. This is what you have to prove in order to have a successful claim:

  1. The doctor, nurse, or another medical professional did not exercise the appropriate standard of care. In other words, they made a mistake or by failing to do something that someone else would have done under the same circumstances.
  2. Their negligent actions caused you injury or further injury.

Common Medical Malpractice Errors

Some of the most common errors that can be considered medical malpractice include:

  • Failure to diagnose
  • Mistreatment based on misdiagnosis
  • Anesthesia mistakes
  • Birth injuries, including cerebral palsy
  • Surgical error
  • Leaving a sponge or surgical instrument inside a body
  • Bed sores
  • Pharmaceutical injuries

Some times there is more than one person who is to blame for your injury. For example, doctors, nurses, hospitals, pharmacists, hospitals, nursing homes, and even medical device designers and manufacturers can be guilty of medical malpractice.

How Long Do I Have To File a Medical Malpractice Claim?

You only have two years to file your medical malpractice claim. If you believe that you have a case, then you should talk to an experienced Morgantown medical malpractice attorney today. Kelly Reed and her team has successfully recovered millions of dollars in damages for our clients. Call us today at 304-292-2020 to schedule a free initial consultation.