Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
For many families, admitting their disabled or elderly loved ones to a nursing home is the best way to ensure they receive proper care and attention.
When you admit your loved one to a nursing home, you expect them to be treated with dignity and respect. Unfortunately, the situation in nursing homes is not always ideal.
Some nursing home residents suffer abuse and neglect from caregivers, visitors, and other residents. Many innocent victims sustain injuries, become disabled, and die from the negligent or malicious actions of others.
These injustices almost always directly result from a nursing home’s negligence. If you or a loved one suffer abuse in a nursing home, don’t be afraid to seek legal help. The nursing home abuse lawyers at Injury Lawyers Team, sponsored by Rosenfeld Law Offices, will be your legal advocates in pursuing justice against a negligent nursing home.
Call our nursing home abuse lawyers today for a free legal case review. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team will remain private under an attorney-client relationship.
What is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse is a single or repeated act that causes physical, psychological, or financial harm to a resident. It can result from negligence, carelessness, or malicious intent of nursing home workers, visitors, or other residents.
The law defines elder abuse as a single or repeated act that causes or increases the risk of harm to a patient aged 65 or above in a relationship with an expectation of trust (e.g., a caregiver-patient relationship).
Since over 90% of residents are seniors, elder abuse is the most common type of abuse in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
How Often Does Nursing Home Abuse Occur?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as many as 64% of nursing home staff admitted to committing abuse in 2017. However, this number is based on self-reported data from employees. There is not enough data to show the overall prevalence of nursing home abuse reported by victims or their proxies.
The Rights of Nursing Home Residents
State and federal laws help protect the legal rights of nursing home residents. These laws include:
Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987
The 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act defines what services nursing homes and other residential care facilities must provide residents and establishes standards for these services. This law aims to protect the legal rights of nursing home patients, including:
- Freedom from abuse, neglect, or mistreatment
- Freedom from physical restraints
- Accommodation of physical, psychological, medical, and social needs
- Participation in resident and family groups
- Be treated with dignity
- Exercise self-determination
- Communicate freely
- Participate in one’s care plan review and be fully informed in advance about any changes in care, treatment, or status change in the facility
- Voice grievances without discrimination or reprisal
Each state has laws protecting residents from nursing home abuse and elder abuse. In most states, residents’ rights mirror the ones outlined in the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987.
Types and Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse can take many forms and manifest in different warning signs, including:
Physical abuse involves deliberately using force against a resident, causing injury, pain, or impairment. It includes but is not limited to actions such as slapping, striking, kicking, burning, and pinching.
Signs of Physical Abuse
- Broken bones
- Unexplained injuries (e.g., cuts, burns, bruises)
- Restraint or grip marks on wrists or ankles
- Broken eyeglasses
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Mental or Emotional Abuse
Mental or emotional abuse involves verbal and non-verbal acts that cause psychological harm to a nursing home resident. These acts may include verbal abuse, humiliation, intimidation, gaslighting, and geographical or social isolation.
Signs of Mental or Emotional Abuse
- Unusual changes in behavior or personality
- Depression or anxiety
- Being extremely withdrawn
- Loss of enjoyment in usual activities
- Difficulty sleeping
Sexual assault or abuse is any non-consensual sexual contact with a resident, including those who cannot give valid consent (e.g., a mentally disabled person). It can take many forms, including verbal sexual harassment, unwanted touching, explicit photography, sodomy, coerced nudity, and rape.
Signs of Sexual Abuse
- Reluctance or refusal to be touched
- Unexplained bruises around the breasts or genitals
- Genital infections
- Unexplained sexually transmitted diseases
- Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding
- Sudden changes in personality or behavior
- Refusal to be alone with specific individuals
Financial exploitation or abuse is the illegal, unauthorized, or improper use of a resident’s personal property, including money and assets. It can take many forms, including manipulating bank accounts, stealing personal belongings, and unauthorized transactions on credit cards.
Signs of Financial Exploitation or Abuse
- Sudden bank account changes
- Unexplained transactions on debit or credit cards
- Missing belongings
- Forged signatures on financial documents
- Inconsistencies in resident’s financial records of the facility
- Sudden changes in financial habits
Neglect occurs when a nursing home fails to provide food, medication, personal hygiene, clothing, and medical care, creating or increasing the risk of harm to a resident. Both intentional (active) and unintentional (passive) neglect are considered abuse.
Signs of Neglect
- Poor hygiene
- Bed sores
- Malnutrition or dehydration
- Rapid weight loss
- Untreated medical conditions (e.g., recurring urinary tract infections)
- Unsafe or unsanitary living conditions
- Inadequate clothing for the weather
- Lack of medical aids (e.g., eyeglasses, walkers, hearing aids)
- Medication errors
Elder Abuse vs. Dementia
In some cases, the signs of elder abuse mimic early indicators of dementia, such as mood changes, aggression, memory loss, and self-neglect. As a result, some families mistake elder abuse as a degenerative disease, potentially causing further harm to their elderly loved ones.
Furthermore, elder neglect or abuse may mirror mental illness. Similar signs include frequent crying, social withdrawal, difficulty sleeping, and self-harm.
Seek professional medical advice if you are unsure whether your loved one is suffering elder abuse, dementia, or something else entirely.
Effects of Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
Nursing home abuse victims often suffer significant and long-term consequences from abuse and neglect, including:
- Serious injuries
- Untreated medical conditions
- Psychological trauma
- Emotional distress
- Loss of personal property
- Monetary losses
- Loss of quality of life
- Reduced family or social ties
- Wrongful death
Common Nursing Home Abuse Injuries
Physical health problems are the most common consequences of nursing home abuse. Typical abuse or neglect-related injuries include:
- Bed sores
- Head trauma or traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Broken bones, especially hip fractures
- Bruises and cuts
- Soft tissue injuries (e.g., sprains, strains)
- Spinal cord trauma
Your nursing home abuse lawyer will help document your injuries as evidence for your claim. Whether visible or otherwise, our nursing abuse lawyers will ensure that all your injuries are included in your case.
Who is Most at Risk?
Although anyone can become a victim of nursing home abuse, some individuals are more vulnerable than others, including:
- Patients with physical or mental disabilities
- Patients with additional health care needs
- Patients with access to an abundance of wealth
- Dementia patients
- Bedridden patients
- Patients isolated from family members
Causes of Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
Nursing home abuse cases often stem from multiple factors, such as:
- Underqualified and Improperly Trained Staff: Staff with inadequate qualifications and training may be more likely to commit negligence, medical malpractice, and abuse, putting residents’ health and well-being at risk.
- Understaffing: A nursing home facility that experiences chronic staffing shortages may be less capable of providing proper medical care to disabled or older adults. As a result, residents lack direct care, proper supervision, and adequate social interactions.
- Poor Management: The poor performance of the leadership team directly affects the quality of patient care. Nursing home staff members are more likely to provide substandard care if management is disorganized, irresponsible, and reactive instead of proactive.
- Underreporting: Although it is required by law, only a small percentage of nursing home abuse and neglect cases are reported to the authorities. Consequently, many issues remain unresolved, and negligent nursing facilities continue to operate despite violations.
Our nursing home abuse lawyers will determine the direct causes of your loved one’s maltreatment during the discovery phase.
What to Do if You Suspect Abuse in a Nursing Care Facility
Report nursing home abuse to the local police. Call 911 if you think your loved one or another resident is in immediate danger or needs emergency medical attention.
You can also file a formal complaint to local agencies, such as:
- Adult Protective Services
- Long-Term Care Ombudsman
- Office of Attorney General
- Department of Health (or similar agencies)
Nursing homes that violate state or federal regulations could lose government funding, licenses, and certifications, depending on the sanctions of regulatory bodies. Facilities with widespread or egregious nursing home abuse cases may face permanent closure.
In addition, perpetrators may face criminal charges from local law enforcement. Depending on the severity of the crime, perpetrators could face either a misdemeanor or a felony charge. Punishments range from fines up to $10,000 to imprisonment.
Our nursing home lawyers can help you file a report to the appropriate agencies. After alerting the local authorities, contact your nursing home abuse attorney to discuss your legal options.
How to Seek Justice Against Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse and neglect are direct violations of state and federal laws. Therefore, you could hold a negligent nursing home by filing a legal claim.
Nursing home negligence cases fall under personal injury law. With the help of an experienced lawyer, you could recover financial compensation for your family’s economic and non-economic losses.
The Role of Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
Having the right lawyer can make the legal process easier. An experienced nursing home negligence lawyer can help you:
- Investigate how and why the abuse occurred
- Establish the liability of at-fault parties
- Collect medical records, testimonies, and other evidence to support your claim
- File your claim within the statute of limitations
- Handle all claim-related paperwork
- Negotiate settlement values
- Consult with medical experts and other nursing home abuse lawyers
- File a nursing home abuse lawsuit in civil court, if necessary
Your nursing home abuse lawyer will discuss these responsibilities further during your free case review. Our nursing home abuse attorneys can clarify what they can do for you.
Your elder abuse attorney will help you determine who is responsible for the abuse or neglect. Possible perpetrators may include:
- Nursing home staff members
- Other residents
According to state and federal laws, nursing facilities must take reasonable measures to protect residents from harm. Hence, a nursing home or assisted living facility could also be liable if it fails to prevent abuse or neglect.
Our nursing home abuse lawyers will help you hold responsible parties accountable, whether it is a single perpetrator or an entire organization.
You need substantial evidence to prove the liability of at-fault parties. Your nursing home abuse attorney will help you gather relevant proof, such as:
- Photos of injuries sustained
- Medical records, including psychological evaluations
- Incident and police reports
- Witness accounts from family members, staff members, visitors, or other patients
- Expert testimony
- An autopsy report, in case of wrongful death
Our nursing home abuse attorneys leave no stone unturned when investigating a case’s circumstances. While nursing home abuse can often be challenging to prove, our nursing home abuse lawyers will do everything in their power to establish liability in your nursing home abuse and neglect case.
Your abuse and neglect attorney can help you recover financial compensation for the following damages:
- Medical Bills: Compensation for your loved one’s medical expenses, including hospitalization, medication, therapy, surgery, emergency transportation, etc.
- Disability: Compensation for disability-related damages if your loved one becomes disabled from the abuse or neglect. These damages may include loss of quality of life, disability services, and medical equipment.
- Pain and Suffering: Compensation for physical and non-physical injuries, including physical pain, mental anguish, emotional distress, etc.
- Loss of Quality of Life: Compensation for your loved one’s reduced quality of life, which may manifest in loss of enjoyment in daily activities, reduced independence, and reduced societal ties.
- Wrongful Death: Compensation for wrongful death-related damages if your loved one dies due to abuse or neglect. These damages typically include funeral and burial costs, pre-death medical treatment, and grief. Your lawyer could help you file a separate wrongful death lawsuit if needed.
- Punitive Damages: Monetary awards on top of compensatory damages, aiming to punish negligent nursing homes for their actions and deter harmful behavior in the future.
Your nursing home abuse lawyer will estimate the potential value of your settlement during your free case review.
After filing a claim, you may receive an initial settlement offer from the facility’s insurance company. At this point, you can accept the offer or have your nursing home abuse attorney negotiate for a better settlement.
Accepting the payment at any point throughout the process will settle your case, meaning you can no longer sue for additional damages. Hence, do not accept the payment unless you believe it would be enough to cover your losses.
Ensure that you have an experienced attorney by your side throughout the process to avoid accepting an unfair settlement.
Other Legal Options
Most personal injury claims settle out of court with the help of nursing home abuse lawyers. However, this is not always the case.
Your nursing home abuse lawyer can help you recover financial compensation through other means if:
- The care facility refuses to take responsibility for the abuse, neglect, exploitation, or medical malpractice
- The insurance company refuses to make a better offer despite negotiations
Your nursing home abuse attorney could help you file a nursing home abuse lawsuit in civil court if either scenario happens. A judge or jury will hear evidence from both parties and determine a verdict, with your nursing home abuse lawyer serving as your legal representation. Most nursing home lawsuits take a few weeks to months to resolve.
To avoid litigation, your nursing home abuse lawyer could also help you pursue other legal options, such as arbitration or mediation. These alternative dispute resolution methods are often less expensive and time-consuming than a court trial.
Our personal injury lawyers will help you recover fair financial compensation, regardless of the legal process you have to take. Your nursing home abuse lawyer will discuss the different dispute resolution methods during your free consultation.
Hire an Experienced Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer to Take Legal Action Against a Negligent Nursing Home
Nursing homes are legally required to provide quality care to all residents and protect them from abuse and neglect. Failure to do so may result in injuries, disability, trauma, and even death to a disabled or elderly person, which is the exact opposite of what nursing homes are supposed to do.
Have you or a loved one suffered neglect or abuse in a nursing home? If so, the experienced nursing home attorneys at Injury Lawyers Team, sponsored by Rosenfeld Law Offices, will help you take legal action against responsible parties.
Our nursing home lawyers have been suing nursing homes for years, assisting countless victims in seeking justice for the injustices they have suffered. With our skilled lawyers’ legal help, you can seek financial compensation from the negligent nursing home through litigation or an out-of-court settlement.
Contact our personal injury lawyers today for a free legal case review. Our nursing home abuse attorneys handle all accepted cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t have to pay legal fees unless we win your case.