midtown Manhattan law firm

Javerbaum Wurgaft takes Midtown Manhattan

By JW Law

Javerbaum Wurgaft Hicks Kahn Wikstrom & Sinins, P.C., is pleased to announce that the firm has moved its New York office to 589 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY 10018. The new, larger office space encompasses the entire 21st floor with approximately 4000 square feet and is situated just one block from the New York Times building, between Penn Station and Times Square.

Javerbaum Wurgaft partners, Lawrence M. Simon, Esq. and Christina Ctorides, Esq. will continue to be the firm’s resident New York Partners.

Simon concentrates his practice in truck, bus, motorcycle and auto litigation, as well as construction and premises liability matters. Ctorides focuses her practice on matters of medical malpractice and nursing home neglect. Both Simon and Ctorides are admitted to the State Courts of New York and New Jersey as well as the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York, and the District of New Jersey.

The move is one of the law firm’s major ventures within the New York City market.

“This move represents our commitment to our New York clients. The additional space gives the firm the flexibility to grow well into the future and also allows us to be well-positioned to assist our clients in the ever-changing practice of law,” said Simon.

About Javerbaum Wurgaft Hicks Kahn Wikstrom & Sinins P.C.:

Founded in 1978, Javerbaum Wurgaft Hicks Kahn Wikstrom & Sinins, P.C. is a litigation boutique with numerous attorneys certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey in civil trial practice, criminal trial practice and workers’ compensation matters.

In addition to New York, the firm boasts seven New Jersey locations, with offices in Springfield, Newark, Freehold, Jersey City, Mt. Laurel, Hackensack, and Elizabeth, as well as an office in Atlanta, Georgia. The firm offers a broad array of legal services including personal injury, criminal defense, workers’ compensation and numerous other litigation specialties.

David Wikstrom’s $2.7 million settlement for a man who lost his arm in a sausage manufacturing plant accident was highlighted in the “Ten More Awards Worth Noting” sub-section

Attorney David Wikstrom’s $2.7 Million Product Liability Settlement Recognized in New Jersey Law Journal’s Special Section

By JW Law


Date: May 2017


Attorney: David Wikstrom


Award: $2.7 Million


On August 28, 2017, the New Jersey Law Journal published its annual “Top 20 Personal Injury Awards of the Year” special section, which identifies the largest reported personal injury awards for the year. Attorney David Wikstrom’s $2.7 million settlement for a man who lost his arm in a sausage manufacturing plant accident was highlighted in the “Ten More Awards Worth Noting” sub-section. The $2.7 million settlement was one of the thirty largest settlements or jury verdict awards in New Jersey for the period of August 20, 2016, and August 21, 2017.

The case:

In 2013, Tulio Martinez-Carassco, an employee of Ronell Management was hired to clean food preparation equipment at Premio Foods in Hawthorne.

Martinez-Carassco was working on a large mixing and blending machine which included large metal paddles spinning around a large bowl to mix sausage filling. As he reached under the bowl with a hose to spray down the discharge door at the bottom of the mixer, he slipped causing his hand to be pulled into the mixer. As a result, his left, nondominant hand was severed from his arm. The doctors were unable to reattach the severed arm surgically and had to perform an amputation below his elbow.

The lawsuit named Premio and included products liability claims against Apache Stainless Steel, the machine’s manufacturer. The suit also named Ronell claiming that “the workers’ compensation bar to recovery should not apply because Martinez-Carassco was directed by his employer to clean the mixer with the paddles turning, posing a substantial certainty of injury,” Wikstrom told the Law Journal.

The suit claimed that two separate safeguard devices designed to prevent the paddles from spinning when the discharge door was open, were bypassed and disabled. “One such device required the user to access a control panel several feet away and depress two buttons simultaneously for the paddles to function with the discharge door open” Wikstrom added.

Apache contended that the mixing machine was built with proper safeguards, but Martinez-Carassco contended that the design did protect against certain misuses, according to Apache’s attorney.

The attorneys said a 2003 email from Premio to Apache demonstrated that Premiohad disabled the safeguards and was aware for the ten years leading up to the accident that the machine was being operated without guards.

The parties settled two days before trial through mediation. Premio agreed to pay $2.5 million; Ronell and Apache, $100,000 each for the damages.



New Jersey Attorney David Wikstrom’s $2.7 Million Product Liability Settlement in NJLJ Annual “Top 20 Personal Injury Awards of the Year” Section

The takeaways:

Workplace injuries are among the most common grounds for personal injury claims. According to the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2015 New Jersey’s private industry employers reported 72,000 nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses, resulting in an incidence rate of 2.7 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers.

Martinez-Carassco case, said Wikstrom, demonstrates the importance of workplace safety.

How to protect yourself from workplace injuries?
• Never take a risk that is outside your safety protocol. Most construction accidents can be avoided if the worker a) follows Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety protocols
and b) follows the safety protocols of the general contractor.
• Always use your safety equipment. If you feel you need more safety equipment, ask your safety foreman.
• Never work on machines that have safety guards dismantled or bypassed. The safety guards on machines are designed for the safety of the worker.

Even when companies take appropriate workplace safety precautions, accidents happen. How employers respond to these accidents can make all the difference.

In most cases, employers, insurers, and their lawyers tend to use deceptive tactics to avoid paying compensation to the injured worker. Some of them include: blaming the victim for the accident, denying claims altogether, delaying the legal proceedings, using out of context recorded statements, refuting the cost of treatment and advising the victim to see the company doctor.

Having an experienced lawyer by your side from the very beginning can help you successfully challenge the strategies and arguments employers and insurers use to avoid paying the compensation you deserve. Javerbaum Wurgaft’s Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation attorneys know precisely how employers and insurance companies work, what strategies they use and how to tackle them effectively.

“Defense attorneys in product liability and workplace safety cases often try to blame each other or the plaintiff as the cause of the accident. As attorneys for the plaintiffs, we combat these arguments utilizing experts and government documents and standards such as from OSHA,” added Wikstrom.

[Read Related: Recognized for $4.65 Million Combined Settlement in Drunk Driving and Dram Shop Claims]
Personal Injury and Insurance Attorney in New Jersey

Javerbaum Wurgaft Adds New Attorney in New Jersey

By JW Law

Javerbaum Wurgaft is pleased to announce that Sarabraj S. Thapar, Esq. has joined the firm as an associate attorney in Jersey City, New Jersey. Thapar is an accomplished trial attorney and has an extensive experience in handling personal injury and insurance matters.

Thapar joins the firm after working for a prominent insurance defense firm. During his tenure as an insurance defense attorney, Thapar won 18 out of 19 trials for his clients. He has also lectured at various insurance defense seminars and mentored new attorneys. He received the Bravo Award from Liberty Mutual for his outstanding trial work in 2015 and 2016.

Personal Injury and Insurance Attorney in New Jersey

Thapar has a double major in Business Economics and Criminal Justice from Rutgers University-New Brunswick where he graduated with Honors. He received his law degree
from The Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University. Upon his graduation, Thapar interned for Judge Donald Venezia where he handled criminal matters.

He is a member of the New Jersey Bar Association, Essex County Bar Association, Young Lawyers Division- Essex County and Sikh American Chamber of Commerce.

A native of West Orange, New Jersey, Thapar is a former assistant wrestling coach at West Orange High School where he has been coaching mock trials since 2012. Thapar is fluent in Hindi.

[Read Related: Retired Superior Court Judge Joseph Conte Joins Javerbaum Wurgaft’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Practice]

Attorney Eric Kahn settled $4.65M in drunk driving and dram shop claims

Javerbaum Wurgaft in Top 20 for Personal Injury Award

Personal Injury Attorney Eric Kahn Recognized for $4.65 Million Combined Settlement in Drunk Driving and Dram Shop Claims

By JW Law

Eric Kahn, the managing partner at Javerbaum Wurgaft, was recently recognized in the August 28, 2017 edition of the New Jersey Law Journal for obtaining one of the top 20 personal injury recoveries in New Jersey in 2017.

Each year, the American Lawyer Media’s New Jersey Law Journal ranks the top 20 personal injury recoveries in a special edition of its publication. With a combined total settlement of $4.65 million, the award achieved by Mr. Kahn ranked 11th overall as the largest in the State.

The case, Tulli v. Feist, involved a head-on collision caused by a drunk driver. Mr. Kahn and Javerbaum Wurgaft have a long history of successfully holding drivers, bars, and restaurants responsible in dram shop and drunk driving cases.

Mr. Kahn represented Deborah Tulli, one of three victims involved in the June 4, 2013 crash. On that date, after being served while intoxicated at Ciro’s Ristorante Italiano in Monroe Township, Ernest Feist, driving over 100 mph on Hoffman Station Road, struck Ms. Tulli head-on causing her tocollide with a third vehicle. As a result of the forceful collision, Ms. Tulli suffered multiple fractures and underwent several surgeries.

Attorney Eric Kahn settled $4.65M in drunk driving and dram shop claims

The passenger in Mr. Feist’s vehicle and the driver of the third vehicle were also injured as a result of the crash. At the time of the collision, Mr. Feist had a blood-alcohol concentration of .204, more than twice the legal limit of .08 for operating a vehicle. Mr. Feist was driving a vehicle registered to his business, Feist Engineering.

Suits by Ms. Tulli and the other two plaintiffs were consolidated and the subject of two settlement conferences before Superior Court Judge Jessica Mayer in Middlesex County. On Nov. 4, 2016, the case settled for $4.65 million, with $3.9 million paid by insurance carriers for Mr. Feist and Feist Engineering, and another $750,000 paid by the carrier for Ciro’s Ristorante Italiano.

“While my client will never fully recover from her injuries, it was important to hold both the drunk driver responsible as well as the restaurant that over-served him on the afternoon of the accident. Our dram shop laws are designed not only to compensate victims of accidents involving drunk drivers but also to act as a deterrent to establishments that are more concerned about profits from selling alcohol rather than the safety of others,” said Mr. Kahn.

Tulli received $3.1 million under the settlement.

Javerbaum Wurgaft was also recognized in the special edition of the Law Journal for the firm’s $2.7 million settlement in a products liability case. David Wikstrom, a partner at Javerbaum Wurgaft, represented the plaintiff, Tulio Martinez-Carassco, who lost his arm while cleaning food preparation equipment at a sausage plant in 2013.
[Read Related: Javerbaum Wurgaft Attorneys Answer the Call for Victims of Drunk Driving]

Retired Superior Court Judge Joseph Conte Joins Javerbaum Wurgaft’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Practice

By JW Law

Javerbaum Wurgaft Hicks Kahn Wikstrom & Sinins, P.C., one of New Jersey’s leading law firms, is pleased to announce that Joseph S. Conte, former Judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, has joined the firm as Of Counsel in the firm’s newly opened Hackensack office.

Judge Conte brings 20 years of experience as a Superior Court Judge to his current practice focusing on mediation, land use cases, and commercial real estate matters.

“I am excited to be a member of the firm. I am looking forward to many years of helping the clients and resolving cases as a mediator,” said Judge Conte.

During his tenure on the bench, Judge Conte served both in the civil and criminal divisions. He presided over a range of civil jury trials and cases including personal injury, medical malpractice, professional malpractice and employment discrimination. He also managed and presided over a large number of criminal cases including four death penalty cases and over 25 murder cases. When new legislation was passed for Sexually Violent Predator cases, Judge Conte was the first and only Judge assigned for the entire state of New Jersey.

 Retired Superior Court Judge Joseph Conte Joins Javerbaum Wurgaft's Alternative Dispute Resolution Practice

“We are honored to have Judge Conte join our firm,” said Eric Kahn, Managing Partner at Javerbaum Wurgaft. “His extensive experience and deep legal knowledge will be a tremendous asset to both our clients and our attorneys.”

Prior to his appointment to the Superior Court, Judge Conte was engaged in the practice of law in Paramus, NJ. He served as a municipal court judge for the municipalities of Ringwood, Upper Saddle River, Wallington and Rochelle Park. He also served as a Public Defender for the Borough of Paramus, attorney for the Paramus library board and Special Borough Attorney for the Borough of Ringwood.

Most recently he was appointed as an advisor to the Instituto de Seguridad y Proteccion of the Sistema Universitario Ana G. Mendez. He provided services including guidance, discipline or supervision, educational programs to improve the current training and future sufficient or appropriate training of the Puerto Rican Police Department, to eliminate civil rights violations that were identified in a report of the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division dated September 5, 2011 (investigation of the Puerto Rico Police Department) and other counseling to improve the department.

Judge Conte is a graduate of the University of Dayton with a degree in Accounting and a graduate of Cleveland University Marshall Law School.


IN THE NEWS: Javerbaum Wurgaft’s Defense Lawyer Quoted in Associated Press Article

By JW Law

New Jersey’s veteran defense attorney, Rubin Sinins, was recently quoted in an Associated Press article on the verbal jousting between the U.S. District Judge William H. Walls and attorneys from both sides of the aisle in a high profile political corruption case involving Senator Bob Menendez.

Menendez, New Jersey’s Democratic senior senator, is accused of carrying out an extensive bribery scheme with a Florida-based ophthalmologist, Dr. Salomon Melgen, for several years. Just two days into the trial, Judge Walls stopped the proceedings twice to admonish attorneys about the relevance of their lines of questioning.

Walls referred to the prosecutor’s questioning of a witness as “ridiculous,” ‘’junk” and “sheer nonsense.” He also told the defense attorney to “shut up” as the two engaged in a heated argument on Wall’s opinion, where he dismissed the defense’s request to temporarily hold the trial so that Menendez could participate in “critical” votes in the Senate.

Sinins said it’s the judge’s prerogative to maintain total control over the courtroom.

“A trial judge has total control over the courtroom, and any attorney who forgets that does so at his peril,” he said.


Sinins added that the residual effect of such exchanges could affect the client’s case, even though they were made outside the presence of the jury.

“A trial is about, in large part, the attorney’s credibility in trying to convince the jury that what they’re saying is the correct version of events. If a jury senses that a judge does not respect an attorney that is devastating to the client’s case.”

To read the full article, please click: Jousting between judge, attorneys enliven Menendez trial



Javerbaum Wurgaft Charitable Foundation Helps 500 Students Prepare for School

Javerbaum Wurgaft Charitable Foundation Helps 500 Students Prepare for School

By JW Law

Five-hundred students from the Boys and Girls Club of Newark will start the school year off on the right foot.

On Friday, August 25th, Javerbaum Wurgaft (JW) Charitable Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the law firm of Javerbaum Wurgaft Hicks Kahn Wikstrom & Sinins P.C., distributed backpacks filled with essential school supplies to students in need.

The Foundation organized its first annual “We Got Your Back” 5K charity run/walk, and through generous contributions from sponsors, donors, and participants, the foundation purchased 500 backpacks and school supplies, including folders, pencils, glue, crayons, and scissors.

“The idea behind the charity event is to help bridge the gap between disadvantage and academic success by providing students with essential school supplies. We received an overwhelming response from the community, with running clubs and local businesses supporting the campaign,” said Eric Kahn, managing shareholder of Javerbaum Wurgaft Hicks Kahn Wikstrom & Sinins P.C.

On Friday, the firm’s partners distributed the backpacks to the students from the club; just in time for the school year.

“We know that the club members at the Boys and Girls Club of Newark will benefit from the school supplies that Javerbaum Wurgaft Foundation has donated,” said Rodney Fuller, CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Newark. “We’re excited that all 500 children we serve in our after school program will receive a backpack to kick-off the academic year.”


Javerbaum Wurgaft Charitable Foundation Helps 500 Students Prepare for School

The backpack distribution drive was made possible thanks to the sponsors, donors, and participants who participated in the foundation’s first annual charity run held on Sunday, August 27th at the Branch Brook Park in Newark.

The inaugural race saw over a hundred registrants from all over New Jersey. Participants of all ages and abilities ran/walked the USATF certified race. They were cheered on by friends, family members and volunteers as they crossed the finish line.

“This event was a wonderful opportunity to have our firm give back to the community that we have been representing for 40 years. It was a great experience to have so many sponsors and individuals come and support the run/walk and help us raise funds for such a worthy cause”, said Diane Cardoso, race director, and partner at the law firm of Javerbaum Wurgaft.

Race results:

Best overall and best-timed female: Jayne Macedo with a time of 21:21
Best-timed male: Pedro Macedo with a time of 21:47

Best-timed female: Fran Merendino with a time of 27:45
Best-timed male: Paul Sommer with a time of 22:03

Click here for photos of backpack distribution and here for the back to school 5k charity run.

About Javerbaum Wurgaft Charitable Foundation:

The Javerbaum Wurgaft Charitable Foundation is a nonprofit corporation established in 2016. Our law firm has been representing clients who have been injured at the hands of other’s negligence for almost 40 years. The purpose of our Charitable Foundation is to give back to those within the communities that we serve who demonstrate a financial need.

About Javerbaum Wurgaft Hicks Kahn Wikstrom & Sinins, P.C.:

Founded in 1978, Javerbaum Wurgaft Hicks Kahn Wikstrom & Sinins, P.C. is a litigation boutique with numerous attorneys certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey in civil trial practice, criminal trial practice and workers’ compensation matters. The firm boasts six New Jersey locations, with offices in Springfield, Newark, Freehold, Jersey City, Mt. Laurel, and Elizabeth, as well as additional offices in New York City and suburban Atlanta. Practice areas include immigration, personal injury, criminal defense, worker compensation and numerous other litigation specialties.

Who is to Blame When you are Injured by a Driverless Car?

Hit by a Driverless Vehicle? Who’s to Blame?

By JW Law

It’s the year 2025. You just bought a shiny new driverless car and decided to take a ride. You enter your destination using voice control and head out of the city. As your car cruises down the highway, you catch up on your emails, sip a cup of coffee and listen to your favorite music. On the road, your car scans its surroundings, using a combination of cameras, detailed maps, radar, and adjusts its speed accordingly. Just as you get comfortable on your new ride- crash! – Your car strikes the driverless vehicle in front of you.

In normal circumstances, you would assess the damage, exchange insurance information, gather witnesses, and prepare for a legal battle. But this isn’t your typical accident. You were not in control of your car. So who is responsible for the damages? You? Your car manufacturer? Or the software programmer?

The above scenario may be imaginary, but injuries and deaths by autopilot systems (in semi-autonomous cars) are already a reality. Just last year a driver of a semi autonomous Tesla Model S was tragically killed when his car – in autopilot mode- rammed into the side of a tractor-trailer.

Tesla released a statement admitting that the car’s sensors failed to distinguish the large white truck against a bright sky. However, the company placed the blame on the driver stating that “the drivers need to keep their hands on the wheel to stop accidents like this from happening.” Soon after the incident, the car manufacturer announced that the company would not accept any liability for car crashes while in autonomous mode.

While other car manufacturers like Volvo, Google, and Mercedes have proactively pledged to accept full liability, they have not explained what “full liability” means.

“Since this technology is relatively new and just now being utilized on public roads, federal and state law is relatively silent on the subject.” said Jeffrey A. Rizika, Esq., who is chair of the Auto Committee for the New Jersey Association for Justice (NJAJ), the largest trial lawyer organization in New Jersey and whose practice includes automobile, truck, and bus litigation. “However, at this stage, all parties will likely be sharing the fault to some extent for such crashes.”


Who is to Blame When you are Injured by a Driverless Car?

Driverless cars are touted to bring a lot of benefits. They can empower those who are unable to drive themselves, make commutes more productive, reduce traffic, and most importantly, dramatically reduce traffic fatalities by taking human errors and emotions out of the equation. The National Transportation Safety Board estimated that driverless cars could save many, if not most of the 32,000 lives lost every year. However, robot cars are not completely immune to accidents, and therefore the question of responsibility for accidents remains. So who exactly is responsible for accidents?

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in response to a letter from Google, wrote that “If no human occupant of the vehicle can actually drive the vehicle, it is more reasonable to identify the driver as whatever (as opposed to whoever) is doing the driving.”

Does this mean victims can sue the automaker for accidents? “Each incident will require a separate analysis of the factors that resulted in the crash, how much control each potential defendant had to avoid the crash and what the reasonable expectations were of the parties involved,” explains Rizika. However, some lawmakers, car companies, and auto industry advocates are already pushing for measures that will let car manufacturers off the hook. In a report released earlier this year, the American Association for Justice (AAJ) warned that some regulatory proposals to ensure safety and accountability would, in fact, give robot car manufacturers legal immunity. In the report, titled: “Driven to Safety: Robot Cars and the Future of Liability,” AAJ also outlined potential safety gaps that could place the public at risk and recommended policies that the civil justice system, rather than regulators, legislators or the industry itself, serves as the primary forum for determining safety requirements and liability for failing to protect the public.

The vision of bringing driverless cars to the marketplace is slowly becoming a reality. Although this technology potentially offers benefits to the public, it also poses a very dangerous potential problem due to flaws that have not yet been worked out and the confusion that surrounds the usage of such vehicles. The attorneys at Javerbaum Wurgaft are dedicated to protecting the public against wrongful acts perpetrated against them and seeing that justice is done. If you have been injured in an accident involving a vehicle utilizing this new technology, please contact Mr. Rizika and the rest of the motor vehicle negligence team at Javerbaum Wurgaft. We are here to help.


Javerbaum Wurgaft Charitable Foundation 5K Run flyer

Javerbaum Wurgaft Foundation to Host “We Got Your Back” Annual 5K Charity Run

By JW Law

The Javerbaum Wurgaft Charitable Foundation is hosting its 1st annual 5K run/walk, titled “We Got Your Back,” on Sunday, August 27. Money raised from the event will be used to purchase backpacks filled with school supplies for local students in Newark.
“We are excited to launch our first annual charity run that will benefit children and families right here in our community,” said Eric Kahn, managing shareholder, Javerbaum Wurgaft Hicks Kahn Wikstrom & Sinins P.C., a boutique law firm with offices in New York, New Jersey, and Georgia. “Encouraging education and healthy living is part of our core here at Javerbaum Wurgaft, and we hope to help even more students in the years to come.”
The race will start and finish at the Branch Brook Park in Newark. Participants can register in several ways: To pre-register online for $25 (+$1.75 service fee) click www.imathlete.com/events/wegotyourback. For mail in registrations, fill out the We Got Your Back 5K Run mail in registration form and send in with a check payable to Javerbaum Wurgaft Charitable Foundation at 505 Morris Avenue, Springfield, NJ 07081. Participants can also register in-person on the day of the event for $35. Spot registration will start at 7 A.M, and the race will begin at 8 A.M. Registration fees are non-refundable.


Javerbaum Wurgaft Charitable Foundation 5K Run flyer




The race course for the back to school 5K run/walk is a United States of America Track, and Field (USATF) certified, ideal for experienced runners. The race, however, is not limited to experienced runners is open to runners, walkers of all levels.
“This event is designed for athletes of all levels. The idea behind the race is to bring the community together while raising funds for a good cause,” said Diane Cardoso, race director, and partner at the law firm of Javerbaum Wurgaft. “Backpacks will be distributed for local Newark youths so that they have the tools they need to prepare for the school year.”


All participants will receive t-shirts and goody bags. Race winners will be recognized in two categories and awards will be given to the best-timed female and male runners.
Have questions about the race? Please contact Jinal Shah at (973) 379-4200 or jshah@lawjw.com. You may also go online to www.imathlete.com/events/wegotyourback for the certified course map.


About Javerbaum Wurgaft Charitable Foundation:
Javerbaum Wurgaft Charitable Foundation is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization founded in January 2016. The goal of the corporation is to help people who are experiencing financial difficulties. The foundation collects donations and distributes them to benefit those individuals and/or families in our communities who need it the most.

nursing home elder abuse

Wrongfully Discharged from a Nursing Home? Read This

By JW Law

Moving a loved one or even broaching the conversation about moving to a nursing home or assisted living is an emotionally challenging process. But when nursing homes abuse or improperly evict residents, it is devastating both for residents and their families.

A recent story from National Public Radio (NPR) sheds light on the growing practice of involuntary discharge of Medicaid residents to accommodate Medicare and private pay patients to maximize reimbursements.

“This story offers an exquisite example of how the nursing home industry puts profits over people while committing fraud along the way,” said Javerbaum Wurgaft Attorney Francisco Rodriguez.

According to the available figures, in 2014 about 1.4 million people occupied 15,600 nursing homes across the country, of which 45,185 were in New Jersey and a staggering 105,390 in New York State.

While both federal Medicare and Medicaid programs pay for most of the nation’s nursing home care, roughly $75 billion in 2014, Medicare reimburses at a much higher rate for rehabilitation services than Medicaid for long-term care.

“Medicare pays for short-term rehabilitation after hospitalizations, whereas Medicaid pays for long-term care when a resident does not have assets to pay for a nursing home themselves,” explained Rodriguez.

In the article, NPR reported how a particular nursing home chain in Maryland and Illinois discharged Medicaid residents without proper discharge planning and charged Medicaid for planning services that it never provided.

“Nursing homes are required to discuss plans of an eviction with a resident and/or their loved ones, as well as prepare detailed records for the resident to give to their next facility or care provider,” he added.

However in this case, Instead of discharging the resident into an appropriate facility they were sent to homeless shelters. Some were left unattended on the sidewalk in front of their family member’s homes, even though they had dementia.

Those residents, who did not “fit the mold” or complained about the services, were inappropriately transferred to hospitals or in psychiatric wards. “…and of course, the government ends up paying more taxpayer money to take care of that resident’s unnecessary hospitalization,” said Rodriguez about this disturbing trend. “More importantly, residents end up with their health and safety in jeopardy, and family members and hospitals, end up with having to clean up the mess.”

nursing home involuntary discharge
Sadly the issue of wrongful eviction goes far beyond Maryland and Illinois. In a race for Medicare dollars, most nursing homes across the country wrongfully evict their long-term care residents.

An Associated Press analysis of federal data from the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program finds complaints about discharges and evictions are up about 57 percent since 2000. It was the top-reported grievance in 2014, with 11,331 such issues logged by ombudsmen, who work to resolve problems faced by residents of nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other adult care settings.

Know your rights:

The Federal Nursing Home Residents’ Rights Act protects occupants against unreasonable transfer or removal by specifying only six grounds for discharge:
-The facility cannot meet the resident’s needs
-The resident no longer needs nursing facility services
-The resident’s presence endangers the safety of others in the facility
-The resident’s presence endangers the health of others in the facility
-The resident has failed to pay
-The facility is closing

Even if one of the above conditions legitimizes the nursing home’s decision, there is a protocol that they must follow to ensure the patient’s safety. According to the federal law, the nursing home must fulfill proper discharge planning requirements. These include: providing a written notice 30 days before the removal/transfer unless there is emergency justification for removal on short notice. In addition to the notice, the discharge planning procedure requires the facility to prepare a report of the resident’s mental and physical health status and a post-discharge plan of care for the resident.

Sometimes these facilities toss out residents who are “undesirable” or complaint a lot. They often use the threat of discharge as a method of retaliation or obtain compliance from family and residents who may be complaining about dangerous conditions, inadequate care, or violations of state and federal regulations.

“Residents and their families need to understand that these threats of discharge and other forms of retaliation by facilities are just that, threats,” said Rodriguez. “In reality, it is the residents and family members who do not complain on behalf of their loved one to the authorities, like the state Ombudsman for the Institutionalized Elderly, who end up putting residents at risk. If they do not complain to the state when the illegal and dangerous conduct occurs, those residents are at the greatest risk. They will be run over by the thirst for profits of the owners of these nursing homes.”

If you or your loved one resides in a nursing home, rest assured that you have protection under the law. If you know of anyone who is unfairly discharged or threatened with eviction, contact Javerbaum Wurgaft’s nursing home Lawyers. Our highly experienced lawyers will intercede to enforce the law and fight for their rights.

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