Oklahoma Family Law Attorneys Answer Frequently Asked Questions about Domestic and Intimate Partner Violence

Ending a marriage is never easy. However, for victims of domestic and intimate partner violence leaving a marriage or relationship may be the most dangerous thing they ever attempt to do. It is estimated that 75 percent of women who are killed by their intimate partners are murdered at the time they attempt to leave or just after they have left the abusive relationship.

Sadly, domestic and intimate partner violence is no stranger to the State of Oklahoma.

  • It is estimated that nearly 50 percent of women and 40 percent of men in Oklahoma have experienced violence by an intimate partner.
  • According to the National Coalition against Domestic Violence, Oklahoma ranked 3rd in the country for the largest number of women killed in domestic violence related homicides for the past two years in a row.
  • A 2013 Center for Disease Control’s National Violence against Women Survey found that the lifetime prevalence of rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner to be greater in Oklahoma than any other state.
  • It is estimated that a third of all women murdered in Oklahoma are killed by their husbands.
  • A study by the Oklahoma Domestic Violence Fatality Review Task Force found that 41 percent of all homicides in Oklahoma were linked to domestic violence.

Despite its prevalence, often people are not necessarily familiar with what domestic or intimate partner abuse looks like. Most individuals tend to think of domestic abuse as an act of physical violence. While physical violence, like hitting, punching, shoving, kicking, biting and throwing of objects, can and does occur, it is not the only type of abuse from which victim suffer.

Just as serious as physical abuse is emotional or verbal abuse. Emotional abuse can include things like yelling, trying to control the victim, belittling the victim, tearing down the victim’s self-esteem, and threatening physical violence or other forms of abuse against the victim or her children. Sexual abuse is another form of abuse. Abusers may try to force their victim to engage in sexual behavior that victim does not wish to do.

The scariest part about domestic and intimate partner abuse is that it knows no boundaries. Individuals of both sexes, all races, and of any age can and do become victims. Domestic violence does not discriminate against education level, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or religious beliefs. Intimate partner violence can strike in urban, suburban and rural communities alike. No one is safe.

The most important things to remember if you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship are:

  • Victims are never to blame for the abuse. The abuser alone is responsible for his or her behavior.
  • Abusers do not necessarily act awful all of the time. Abusers can be nice and do nice things. However, over time victims notice that these periods of niceness or calm only occur right after an abusive episode and do not last long.
  • If you or your children are in danger, get help. Contact a domestic violence hotline, reach out to a trusted friend or family member, or call the police or 911.

If you are in abusive or violence relationship and are considering leaving the marriage, it is important to seek the counsel of one of our experienced Oklahoma Family Law Attorneys, if at all possible. Domestic violence is not to be taken lightly and leaving an abusive relationship is a dangerous time for a victim. In speaking with an Oklahoma Family Law Attorney, he or she can advise you how to best protect yourself and your children. To make an appointment with one of our skilled Oklahoma Family Law Attorneys, contact The Handley Law Center at (405) 295-1924 to schedule a free and completely confidential consultation.

Oklahoma Personal Injury Attorneys Warn Motorists of the Dangers of Driver Fatigue

Americans are busy people. It seems like there are never enough hours in a day to accomplish all that seems to be need to be done. Hectic lifestyles often lead people to shortcut the amount of sleep that they truly need to function. Tired drivers are not only a danger to themselves, but also to the other motorists and passengers with whom they share the roadways. According to data collected by the National Highway Safety Administration, driver fatigue is a serious safety concern. In 2013 alone, fatigued drivers were the cause of more than 72,000 accidents, 44,000 injuries, and 800 deaths.

Who is most at risk of drowsy driving?

Obviously drivers who have not received enough sleep are clearly at risk of drowsy driving. But unfortunately, drivers running on a lack of sleep are not the only fatigued drivers on the road. Other at risk group of drivers include:

  • Shift workers and drivers who work 3rd shift or night shift
  • Long-haul drivers and other commercial drivers who drive for prolonged periods of time
  • Drivers who are under the influence of drugs, either prescription medications or other drugs, like alcohol, that have side effects that cause drowsiness
  • Drivers who suffer from an undiagnosed or untreated sleep disorder. Some studies estimate that the number of Americans who have a sleep disorder could exceed 70 million people.

Why is drowsy driving so dangerous?

Of course, the most dangerous part of drowsy driving is the risk of the driver falling asleep at the wheel. But snoozing at the switch is not the only danger drowsy driving poses. Fatigued drivers are more likely to engage in other hazardous driving behaviors due to their lack of Zs. Lack of sleep causes drivers to have:

  • Slower reaction times which can lead to not being able to brake or swerve in time to avoid an accident.
  • Less focus on the road as drivers struggle to stay alert
  • Greater chance of engaging in aggressive driving behaviors
  • Brain fog which can interfere with the drivers’ decision-making abilities

Prevention is key!

While most adults require an average of seven hours of sleep a night, let’s face it, there are going to be nights where you are not going to get the requisite shut eye before you have to hit the road. If this happens to you, you need to be aware if your lack of sleep starts to impact your ability to drive. If you notice that you are engaging in the following behaviors, you need to pull over:

  • Frequently yawning and blinking to stay awake
  • Inability to recall the last few minutes of driving
  • Leaving your lane or hitting a rumble strip
  • Passing your exit

Also, remember not to drive after taking any new medication, prescription or over the counter, until you know how the medication will affect you.

If you or a loved one was seriously injured after being involved in an auto accident caused by a drowsy driver, it is important to contact our skilled Oklahoma Personal Injury Attorneys as soon as possible. Only an experienced Injury Attorney can examine the facts of your case and make the determination if you may be entitled to receive compensation for your injuries. The Oklahoma Injury Attorneys at The Handley Law Center are dedicated advocates who understand the devastating impact an accident can have on a victim and their family. You can trust our team of experienced injury attorneys to fight for your rights throughout the legal process. To schedule a free and completely confidential consultation with one of our qualified injury attorneys, contact The Handley Law Center today at (405) 295-1924.

 

Oklahoma Family Law Attorneys Dispel Domestic and Intimate Partner Violence Myths

Separating fact from fiction is not always as easy as it seems. Certain beliefs or ideas are so widespread in our communities that they take on an air of truth, despite being completely false. These beliefs or ideas often spread because in some sense they seem logical. Take for example, “lighting never strikes the same place twice”. While it seems to have a kernel of truth to it, it is actually a myth! Lighting tends to hit the same places, like tall structures or trees all the time. In fact, the Empire State Building gets hit around 23 times a year. While this is a pretty harmless example of a myth, most myths are not so innocent.

Myths about domestic and intimate partner violence not only hurt victims of abuse, but they also inhibit others from taking supportive action to help victims. It is important to be able to dispel these myths because incidents of violence are so widespread in Oklahoma and across the country. The following are just a few of the many common myths about domestic and intimate partner violence that need to be corrected:

Myth #1: Alcohol, drugs and stress cause domestic violence.

While an abusive partner may also have a drinking or drug problem or be under stress, these problems do not cause abuse. An abusive partner may try to explain to his or her victim that the reason for the abusive incident was due to stress or alcohol, but it is only an excuse. Stopping a batter’s drinking will not stop the abuse. Keep in mind batter’s abuse their partners and maybe even their children, but they usually do not harm individuals outside of their home.

Myth #2: What happens between intimate partners is their business alone.

The truth is that domestic violence and child abuse are crimes in every state. Men do not have the right to hit or make unwanted sexual advances on their intimate partners or wives. A woman is not a man’s property and marriage does not give a man special rights to treat his partner differently from any other woman he meets.

Myth #3: If a person was truly in an abusive relationship, he or she could just leave.

This is probably the most damning myth related to domestic violence. Often outsiders think that if the relationship was “that bad” the victim would simply leave. And the truth is the victim may have tried numerous times to leave. What many people do not know realize is that leaving is a very dangerous time for a victim. Women are more likely to be killed when leaving the relationship that at any other time. A woman may also feel like she has to stay in an abusive relationship, for numerous reasons including:

  • She has nowhere else to go
  • May have the belief that it is best for the children to stay in the home with both parents
  • May be financially dependent on the abuser
  • Feels that no one will believe her about the abuse
  • Is scared that the abuser will come after her
  • Worried that abuser will take away the children
  • Thinks the abuser may take his own life

If you are in abusive or violence relationship it is important to keep in mind that you are not in any way responsible your abuser’s actions. Our experienced Oklahoma Family Law Attorneys can help you protect yourself and/or your children from an abusive partner. He or she can advise you of your legal options, such as filing a protective order or a dissolution action.  No matter what you decision, a skilled family law attorney can help you make the best decision for you. To make an appointment with one of our skilled Oklahoma Family Law Attorneys, contact The Handley Law Center at (405) 295-1924 to schedule a free and completely confidential consultation.

Oklahoma Nursing Home Neglect Attorneys Answer Questions About Bedsores

Even if you do not have a loved one in a nursing home, you more than likely are familiar with the term “bedsores.” Unfortunately, bedsores are so common that vast majority of Americans have heard the term, although most may not understand what a bedsore is and why it is a very big deal. The following are some of the most frequently asked questions Oklahoma residents have about bedsores:

What is a bedsore? A bedsore, otherwise known as a pressure sore or ulcer, is an injury to the skin that occurs after prolonged periods of pressure to that area. Bedsores most commonly transpire on the skin near bony areas like the hips, tail bone and buttocks, shoulders, heels and ankles.

Who is most at risk of developing bedsores? The people who are most at risk for developing bedsores are individuals who have an illness or medical condition that prevents them from adjusting their position, or that confines them to a particular position for long periods of time. In nursing homes or hospitals, these are often people who are confined to a wheel chair or bed ridden because of age or infirmity.

Is a bedsore a serious medical problem? Bedsores are wounds that need to be taken very seriously as they can develop and progress into a dangerous medical condition quite quickly. There are four stages of severity of bedsores. The National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel defines the stages which range from Stage I, where the skin is not broken, but may appear reddish or discolored, and the area may be tender and painful, to Stage IV where the wound has resulted in a large-scale loss of tissue. Bedsores, therefore, once diagnosed, must be treated right away. If left untreated, bedsores can lead to a serious infection like sepsis and even cause death.

Are bedsores preventable? In almost all cases bedsores are preventable. Quality nursing home facilities have procedures in place so that a resident who is immobile or confined to bed do not develop bedsores. Staff at nursing home facilities are specifically trained to reposition residents so that they do not sit or lay in the same position for long periods of time. When a resident does develop bedsores this is a potential sign that the facility is not providing adequate care. Either the facility staff may be negligent or often the facility is understaffed. This is often the case when a resident did not have bedsores when he or she was first admitted to the facility.

My loved one suffered bedsores, does he or she have a case against the nursing home? Nursing home abuse and neglect cases are often complex. That is why it is necessary to only trust an experienced Oklahoma nursing home neglect attorney who is capable of carefully reviewing and evaluating your loved one’s case.

How much does it cost to sue? If you have reason to believe your loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect it is important to know that there is no cost to meet with an attorney. In fact, there is no fee unless the attorney wins the case.

If your loved is a nursing home resident and has suffered from bed sores it is important to contact our Oklahoma Nursing Home Neglect Attorneys as soon as possible. At The Handley Law Center, we understand how devastating it can be to discover that your loved one is the potential victim of abuse or neglect.  Specifically, we make it our goal to fight for justice for our clients and their families. To schedule a free and completely confidential consultation with one of skilled nursing home neglect attorneys contact The Handley Law Center today at (405) 295-1924.