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Things Nursing Homes Are Not Allowed to Do

Nurse cares for elderly patient in close up shot

Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have a high level of responsibility–often, they care for some of the most vulnerable people in our society. Family members of residents place a lot of trust in these facilities to care for their elderly or disabled loved ones.

Unfortunately, misconduct on the part of nursing home staff members is far too common in the industry. Despite government regulations intended to protect the well-being of nursing home residents. Abuse, neglect, and other unethical behaviors are not unheard of.

If you suspect that your loved one is being mistreated by their assisted living facility, you may be right. Laws and regulations vary from state to state and city to city, but in general, nursing home care facilities should not engage in the following practices.

Things Nursing Homes Are Not Allowed to Do

Abuse or neglect residents

It is estimated that one in six elderly people experiences abuse in a community setting (such as a long-term care facility). Not all abuse is physical, either. There are several types of abuse or neglect that may occur at a care facility:

  • Psychological or emotional abuse
  • Financial abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Neglect

All of these types of abuse can negatively impact a victim’s physical and emotional well-being. If you notice unexplained injuries, unusual behavior, or unsanitary conditions when you visit your loved one, it may be a sign that they are being abused or neglected.

Federal law also requires that nursing home residents be treated with dignity and respect. Residents should be allowed to make their own decisions (as long as these decisions do not conflict with their care plan). Staff members should not use physical restraints on residents unless they pose an immediate danger to themselves or others.

Violate residents’ right to privacy

Many nursing homes are considered healthcare providers. This means they are subject to HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. HIPAA is a federal law that states that, in general, medical providers may not share patients’ protected health information without their consent.

Even in facilities that are not considered healthcare providers, resident privacy should be respected at all times. Residents should have control over who has access to their belongings and living space. Their medical records and other personal information should not be disclosed to people or organizations without the consent of the resident or their family members.

Withhold medical treatment or medication

Nursing home staff members have a duty to follow residents’ care plans. This includes administering medication and other medical care. They should also never administer medications that are not part of the treatment plan.

Discriminate against residents

Federal law prohibits nursing homes from discriminating against residents based on race, gender, sexuality, age, disability, religion, nationality, or any other protected characteristic. All residents should be treated with equal respect, dignity, and consideration.

Engage in financial exploitation

Nursing homes may not require residents to allow the facility to manage their finances. If the resident gives consent for the facility to be their financial custodian, the facility must provide quarterly financial statements. They may not prevent a resident from accessing their money.

Additionally, nursing homes should be transparent about their fees and billing practices.

Restrict visitation

Residents have the right to receive visitors, and nursing homes cannot interfere with that right. This is important because visitation can help residents stay connected with their loved ones and maintain their social and emotional well-being. It can also help residents feel less isolated and lonely.

There are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if a resident is contagious with a disease, the nursing home may restrict visitation to protect other residents. Even in these cases, the nursing home must make reasonable efforts to allow the resident to communicate with their loved ones.

What Should I Do if I Suspect My Loved One Is Being Mistreated in a Nursing Home?

If you suspect that your loved one is being mistreated in a nursing home, it is essential to take immediate action to ensure their safety and well-being. Here are some steps you can take:

Document any and all evidence

Start by closely observing any concerning signs or changes in your loved one’s behavior, physical appearance, or living conditions during your visits. Document any incidents, injuries, or unusual occurrences with dates and details. If possible, take photos of any visible injuries or neglect. Keeping a record will provide crucial evidence if you need to take further action.

Communicate with nursing home staff

Approach the nursing home staff with your concerns in a calm and respectful manner. Ask for explanations and seek solutions to any issues you have noticed. Sometimes, issues can be resolved through better communication or by addressing misunderstandings. Ensure you talk to the appropriate staff members, such as the nursing home administrator or director of nursing.

Contact authorities

If your suspicions persist or you encounter resistance from the facility in addressing the concerns, report the mistreatment to the appropriate authorities immediately. Contact your local Adult Protective Services (APS) agency or state’s long-term care ombudsman program to file a complaint. They are mandated to investigate allegations of abuse or neglect in nursing homes and protect the rights of residents.

Consider contacting a nursing home abuse lawyer

You can consult with an attorney who works in elder abuse law to understand your legal options and effectively advocate for your loved one’s rights.

Do not be afraid to speak up if you suspect your loved one is being abused or neglected by their caregivers at a nursing home or other long-term care facility. Their well-being and quality of life are of the utmost importance, and you have a legal right to ensure their needs are being met.

How Can a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Help?

As an advocate for your abused or neglected family member, you may feel like you are alone in the fight for their quality of care. If a nursing home facility has acted negligently, they may be unwilling to admit to their negligent conduct or to make things right. You do not have to fight them by yourself.

If your loved one is being abused or neglected, an attorney can help you take legal action against the care facility. Your legal representative can help you understand federal and state laws regarding nursing homes and determine whether you have a case. They will also work to compile evidence and negotiate the settlement you and your loved one deserve.

The Advocates personal injury law firm is here for you. Our competent, compassionate staff will listen to your story, answer your questions, and provide the resources you need to access physical, emotional, and financial recovery. With an Advocate, you are never alone.

Contact us today for a free consultation. You deserve an attorney who will protect the best interests of you and your loved ones. You deserve an Advocate.

States Where Lane Filtering Is Legal

In recent years, a handful of states have legalized the practice of lane filtering for motorcyclists, and several more states are working toward it. While lane filtering can be a controversial topic, several studies support it as a safer way for motorcycles and other motor vehicles to share the road.

What is Lane Filtering?

Lane filtering is a lane sharing technique that allows motorcyclists to pass between cars traveling in the same direction– typically when the cars are stopped and the motorcycle is moving at low speeds. Four states have changed their traffic laws to allow lane filtering, and several others are considering passing legislation to allow it.

What Is the Difference Between Lane Filtering and Lane Splitting?

The terms “lane filtering” and “lane splitting” (also called white lining or stripe-riding) are often used interchangeably, although there is a difference between the two– a big difference, considering that lane splitting is only technically legal in one state.

While lane filtering generally refers to the practice of motorcycles moving between stopped or slow-moving vehicles, lane splitting allows them to share lanes with traffic moving at normal speeds.

Where Is Lane Filtering Legal?

As of October 2022, five states have legalized lane sharing of some kind. The conditions under which a motorcycle rider may filter between cars vary from state-to-state.

The following states allow lane splitting or filtering under certain conditions:


So far, California is the only state to make lane splitting legal. When splitting lanes, bikers should not ride the white line faster than 10 mph above the speed of surrounding traffic. Lane splitting is also discouraged when traffic speeds are higher than 30 mph.


Lane filtering is allowed in Utah under the following conditions: 

  • There are two lanes of traffic traveling in the same direction
  • Traffic is stopped (typically at a stoplight or in heavy traffic)
  • The speed limit is not more than 45 mph
  • The motorcyclist is traveling at not more than 15 mph


In Montana, motorcyclists may split lanes to pass slow or stopped vehicles as long as the biker is not traveling faster than 20 mph and traffic conditions make it safe to do so.


Bikers may filter between cars in Arizona under the following conditions:

  • Traffic is stopped
  • The speed limit is 45 mph or less
  • The biker is not traveling faster than 15 mph


Motorcycle riders in Hawaii may use the shoulder of the road to pass stopped traffic on roads with at least two lanes of traffic. Because Hawaii’s roads tend to be narrow, motorcyclists may not travel between two lanes.

In all states, it is the motorcyclist’s responsibility to ensure that the maneuver may be made safely before riding the white line.

States Without Lane Splitting Laws

Eleven states have no lane splitting laws that prohibit the practice, so it is technically not illegal. However, you may still be cited for changing lanes improperly or driving recklessly, particularly if you are involved in an accident. States without laws regarding lane splitting or filtering include:

  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Idaho
  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • New Jersey
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Texas
  • West Virginia

Washington DC also does not have laws pertaining to lane splitting.

Lane sharing of any kind is expressly prohibited in 34 states, including New York and Florida. However, a handful of these states (Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Oregon, to name a few) are considering or have considered passing legislation to legalize the practice.

What Are the Benefits of Lane Filtering?

More and more states are putting forward legislation to legalize motorcycle lane splitting or filtering, thanks to studies that have found the practice is generally safe. One study in particular, done by the Safe Transportation Research and Education Center at University of California Berkeley, found that there are several benefits to lane filtering, as long as it is done safely.

Eases traffic congestion

Motorcycles who do not lane split take up the same amount of space as a passenger vehicle. Lane-splitting riders allow more space for cars, easing traffic for everyone around them.

Lane filtering at stoplights can shorten lines at the light, allowing more cars to get through on green and keep traffic moving more efficiently.

Protects motorcyclists from collisions

The study by UC Berkeley found that lane splitting and filtering can actually increase motorcycle safety. Some of the leading causes of motorcycle accidents are failure by motorists to give bikers sufficient space, and failure to see motorcyclists. This often leads to rear-end collisions in heavy traffic.

When motorcyclists are allowed to keep moving through traffic, it may decrease their risk of being hit from behind, the study found. It also found that injuries from lane-splitting accidents tend to be less serious than those sustained in other types of motorcycle accidents.

Helps prevent motorcycles from overheating

Some motorcycles rely on airflow to keep their engines cool. In hot states like California and Arizona, the ability to keep moving through stop-and-go traffic can help prevent these motorcycle engines from overheating.

When Is Lane Splitting or Filtering Unsafe?

Lane sharing must be done correctly in order to keep motorcyclists and other motorists safe. Violating motorcycle laws or otherwise engaging in unsafe behavior negates the benefits of lane splitting and filtering.

Motorcyclists should only practice lane sharing in places where it is legal. Doing so in states where it is prohibited may catch other drivers by surprise, increasing the risk of an accident. It is always good practice to behave as predictably as possible on the roads in order to avoid an accident.

The UC Berkeley study also found that large speed differentials between motorcycles and other vehicles dramatically increase the risk of injury. Lane sharing is generally safe, the study said, when traffic is moving no faster than 50 mph, and when the motorcycle is traveling within 15 mph of the speed of surrounding traffic.

How Can A Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Help Me?

If you have been involved in an accident with a negligent driver while motorcycle riding, a personal injury lawyer can help you navigate the next steps in your recovery. The motorcycle accident attorneys with The Advocates have decades of experience representing accident victims and helping them obtain fair compensation for their damages.

When you hire an Advocate, you get fierce representation and thoughtful, compassionate care. Your attorney will help you:

  • Access medical care
  • Get your motorcycle repaired
  • Communicate with your employer regarding your accident
  • Negotiate with insurance companies
  • Take your case to court if necessary

Our legal team is standing by, ready to listen to your story and get started on your case. Contact us today for a free consultation. You deserve an attorney who truly cares about your recovery. You deserve an Advocate.

The Burden of Proof in Personal Injury Cases

You’ve likely heard the term “beyond a reasonable doubt” when referring to evidence in criminal cases. However, civil matters have a lower burden of proof. In a personal injury case, the injured party must prove that the defendant is liable for the damages listed in the claim. The extent to which a plaintiff must prove fault differs depending on what kind of damages they are seeking.

What is Preponderance of the Evidence?

In personal injury claims and other civil cases, the standard of proof is often referred to as the “preponderance of the evidence.” This standard requires that the plaintiff have better or more convincing evidence than the defendant does. The plaintiff must have enough evidence to show that there is a greater than 50% chance that the defendant caused the damages the plaintiff suffered.

For example, if a car accident victim is able to prove that the other driver ran a stop sign, causing them to collide, this evidence might meet the burden of proof for their case. Evidence for this claim might include eyewitness statements, traffic cameras, or body damage on the two vehicles. If the victim’s injuries were a result of this car accident, they would likely be entitled to financial compensation for their medical bills and other expenses related to the accident.

Other types of evidence that can help substantiate a plaintiff’s claims:

  • Photographs from the scene of the accident
  • Police reports
  • Statements made by the at-fault party after an accident
  • Medical records regarding the victim’s injuries and medical history
  • Testimony of health care providers

In general, people in public owe each other a “duty of care,” or a reasonable amount of attention, caution, and prudence. Each person has the responsibility to avoid causing harm to others or their property. The plaintiff must prove that the defendant violated their duty of care to win the case.

Microphone with attorney in the background


The Issue of “More Likely Than Not”

You may also hear the preponderance of the evidence in civil cases referred to as “more likely than not.” This is because the plaintiff must prove that it is at least 51% likely that their version of events is true. In a personal injury case, if the jury is convinced that the defendant’s negligence more likely than not caused the plaintiff’s injuries, the plaintiff will win the case.

What are Punitive Damages?

In most personal injury settlements, the money involved is a form of compensation for the damages the victim suffered. These are referred to as “compensatory damages.” They are meant to pay for the victim’s medical bills and other expenses, as well as compensate them for non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering.

However, punitive damages are also sometimes awarded in personal injury lawsuits. Punitive damages are meant to punish the at-fault party for extreme or intentional dangerous behavior and discourage others from participating in that same behavior in the future. Punitive damages are rarely allowed in personal injury cases, unless the victim can prove that the defendant acted with gross negligence or intentional malice.

The evidence standard for punitive damages differs between states, but it is higher than the standard of proof for compensatory damages. Rather than simply needing the preponderance of the evidence, the plaintiff must provide clear and convincing evidence for their version of events.

What is Clear and Convincing Evidence?

In order to prove a fact by clear and convincing evidence, a plaintiff must show that it is highly more likely to be true than untrue. For punitive damages, a 51% likelihood is not enough evidence. The plaintiff’s version of events must be highly probable in order for punitive damages to be awarded.

For example, if a drunk driver caused an accident that killed another motorist, punitive damages may be awarded on top of the compensatory damages in the wrongful death claim. However, the plaintiff would need clear and convincing evidence that the defendant was, in fact, under the influence.

In order to meet the “clear and convincing” standard of proof, the plaintiff will need more or better evidence than they would for compensatory damages.

Does the Defendant Have to Meet a Burden of Proof?

In general, the defendant in a personal injury case does not have the burden of proof. The plaintiff is the one bringing the case, so they must prove their story is true. However, a defendant will likely provide evidence of their own in order to introduce doubt into the minds of the jury regarding the plaintiff’s version of events. There are also certain cases where the burden of proof is shifted onto the defendant.

Shifting the Burden of Proof

There is one circumstance where the burden of proof shifts to the defendant. An affirmative defense is a set of facts that acknowledge the plaintiff’s claims, but mitigate the consequences for the defendant’s actions. If the defendant presents an affirmative defense, the burden of proof is shifted to the defendant. Some examples of possible affirmative defenses are:

  • The statute of limitations has expired
  • The plaintiff assumed the risk of being injured
  • The jurisdiction of the court does not extend over the case
  • The defendant’s actions were done to avoid greater harm

The defendant must provide evidence for these claims to meet the standard of proof.

What to Do After an Accident to Help Your Case

After any accident, it’s important that you take the following steps to protect yourself and provide evidence for your eventual personal injury claim:

Check for and document injuries

Make note of any pain you are feeling and take pictures of any visible injuries. Seek medical attention as soon as possible. If an ambulance is summoned to the scene of the accident, the medical team can check your injuries for you. If injuries are minor and no ambulance is called, you should still see a doctor as quickly as possible. Some injuries may be hidden or may progress gradually. A doctor will check for any injuries you may not see or feel immediately. They will also document your treatment.

Take pictures of the scene

Photographs provide compelling evidence in personal injury claims. Take pictures of any vehicles involved from multiple angles. Be sure to also get pictures of the accident scene as a whole. Make note of weather and traffic conditions at the time of the accident.

File a police report

Many insurance companies require a police report in order to file a claim. Even if the accident does not seem serious, call your local non-emergency line and ask for a police officer to come to the scene. The officer will ask questions of those involved and document the facts surrounding the accident.

Exchange information with the other party

Be sure to get the other party’s name, phone number, address, and insurance information. Gather the contact information of witnesses to the accident, in case they need to provide a statement later.

Report the accident to your insurance provider

Even if you end up filing a claim against the other party’s insurance company, you need to report the accident to your own insurance. Depending on your policy, they may cover some expenses until you receive a settlement and are able to repay them.

Consider hiring a personal injury lawyer

An experienced personal injury attorney has the knowledge necessary to offer legal advice, build your case, file a claim, and negotiate a settlement. You can file the claim yourself, but an attorney can make the process easier and less stressful as you recover from your injuries.

How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

After an accident, it’s easy to feel stressed and overwhelmed. You are likely trying to deal with pain, property damage, medical bills, and insurance companies all at once. A personal injury lawyer can help you receive the compensation you deserve for the following:

An attorney can help you access adequate medical treatment, get into a rental car, navigate the recovery process, and understand what evidence is necessary for your case.

The Advocates personal injury law firm is a team of caring, competent professionals who are ready to help you throughout your entire case. When you hire an Advocate, you get up-front, honest communication, compassionate care, and fierce representation. Call or chat online with a live attorney for a free consultation. Don’t go through tough times alone. The Advocates are here to help.