Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
What is a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer?
Nursing home abuse lawyers are lawyers who specialize in cases involving nursing home abuse. Nursing home abuse is a subcategory of elder care laws.
Millions of elderly adults in the United States reside in nursing homes. These residents are totally dependent on others for their basic needs such as food, water, and clothing. There are many nursing homes, however, that have insufficient and poorly trained staff which contributes to the growing problem of nursing home abuse.
A nursing home abuse lawyer can review your claim, determine if the nursing home may be liable for damages, and assist you in filing a lawsuit. It is extremely important to have an attorney helping you care for your elderly loved ones who cannot care for themselves.
Why is it Important to Have a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney?
It is very important to have a nursing home attorney helping with any nursing home abuse issues. There are several steps you can take to help an elderly loved one who is being abused. Your attorney can guide you through each step.
The first step is to file a complaint with local law enforcement. They may initiate a criminal investigation into the alleged abuse.
The second step you can take is to contact your local protective services. They are usually part of the State Department of Health.
Lastly, you may file a lawsuit for compensatory damages and punitive damages. Damages are awarded in the form of monetary compensation for injuries suffered. Punitive damages are only awarded in cases where the defendant’s conduct was outrageous and it is necessary to deter future similar behavior.
Nursing home abuse is a difficult and extremely troublesome area of personal injury law. Your lawyer will help you understand your rights, your elderly loved one’s rights, and advise you of the best course of action against the nursing home.
What are Some Other Issues Related to Nursing Home Neglect Laws?
Nursing home abuse, especially long-term care abuse, may include the following:
- Failure to provide adequate food, water, or medicine;
- Failure to protect elderly from safety hazards; and
- Assault, battery, rape or any other unwanted physical contact.
There are many steps you can take to help prevent nursing home abuse, including:
- Asking questions. When you choose a nursing home, you should ask numerous questions regarding the services they provide, staffing, and any other issue you may have;
- Check on your loved one. Be on the lookout for weight loss, bedsores, and changes in behavior or mood;
- Listen if they have any complaints. Issues may be mentioned in passing because loved ones do not want you to worry but pay attention if they mention an issue, such as missed medications;
- Visit as frequently as possible. Your life is busy and it may be impossible to visit every day but, by visiting as frequently as you can, you can watch for issues and signs of abuse.
It is important to note that an employer can usually be held liable for the actions of their employees when they are at work. If your loved one is injured by a nursing home employee that was on duty, the nursing home is most likely liable. Your attorney will be able to provide advice on whether the facility is liable for the injury.
Do You Need a Nursing Home Attorney for Your Case?
Yes, it is extremely important to have a nursing home attorney for any nursing home abuse cases. In many instances, the nursing home will either have an attorney on staff to defend them against any lawsuits or they will have the funds available to hire one.
In some cases, nursing home patients are injured as a result of nursing home negligence. This occurs when an employee, staff, or other personnel at a nursing home fails to exercise the duty of care that is owed to the patients and residents at the facility.
In many cases, this includes abuse and neglect of patients or residence. In order for the facility to be held liable, the actions of the employee must be the direct and proximate cause of the individual’s injury and there must be measurable damages, for example, a broken bone that is treated at the hospital.
Nursing home negligence may include issues such as:
- Failing to respond to a patient’s requests or complaints;
- Failing to provide medication or food at the required time;
- Leaving a patient unattended, especially if they require special supervision;
- Not screening the patient’s visitors;
- Direct abuse of the patient;
- Negligence in relation to clothing changes, baths, and other duties;
- Failure to keep premises reasonably safe and free of hazards; and/or
- Negligent hiring of employees.
Negligence in a nursing home setting may occur due to factors such as:
- Employees working too many shifts or too many hours;
- Failure to inform employees of state and federal health and safety standards; and
- Miscommunication between employees.
A nursing home attorney will be familiar with the laws of your state as well as what type of claim you may have for your loved one. It is important to have an attorney fighting to protect your loved one’s rights.