Abuses and neglects are common in nursing homes in the United States. Hiring a nursing home abuse attorney can make the legal process a lot easier and can also help in increasing the chances of receiving the financial payout.
The emerging types of nursing home abuse can manifest themselves in several forms especially through mental or visible platforms. No matter what situation someone is facing, a nursing home abuse lawyer can help you get out of this trauma and help you understand the legal consequences for your abuser.
Regardless of the type of abuse, it is frequently witnessed in nursing homes. And for this reason, it is essential to pose charges on someone who had been negligent towards his duties.
However, to hold an abuser liable for the injuries, the victim or the family of the resident has to identify the signs and symptoms of the nursing home abuse.
Identifying nursing home abuse injuries
When your elderly loved ones become the residents of nursing homes, you want them to be safe and cared for. Also, for several reasons, residents of a nursing home become reluctant to report any negligence they experienced to their families. This is why it is essential to look at the signs and symptoms of the injuries or mistreatment that your loved ones may have borne. This is also important when it comes to taking actionable measures against the nursing home facility.
Signs of nursing home abuse
A victim of nursing home abuse can possibly experience these signs and symptoms. If you or your loved one experienced any of them, then keep reading to know how a nursing home abuse lawyer can help you mitigate the damages.
Some of the common symptoms and signs of nursing home abuse include:
- Bedsores: Bedsores appear on the skin of a person or patient who lies on the bed for a longer period of time, without much movement in a constant position. They are also called pressure ulcers. Bedsores signs include the absence of certain layers of skin, discoloration, and broken skin.
- Bruises: Bruises are formed as a result of a severe physical trauma leaving the region discolored. Some people easily get discoloration due to physical abuse while others may need a serious attempt to get bruises. Common types of bruise symptoms include periosteal, subcutaneous, and intramuscular discoloration.
- Bone breaks and fractures: Bone fractures and bone breaks occur when there is a fluctuation in bone continuity. The bone breaks are categorized widely in fractures, compression fractures, and closed fractures.
- Choking: Oftentimes, meals can be dangerous at nursing homes if they are left unsupervised for the nursing home residents. The nursing home staff especially the ones working for profit or who are understaffed most likely dish out foods without proper monitoring.
- Emotional abuse: Psychological or emotional abuse refers to the intended infliction of anguish or fear through intimidation, threats, or any other form of maliciousness. Emotional abuse is hard to evident and oftentimes not obvious to the families of the nursing home residents.
- Death: Apart from any medical condition, the death of a resident may result after severe nursing home abuse. Symptoms and signs to look for in these cases include malnutrition, infections, bruises, and altering of medication.
- Falls: Falls often happen with the residents of nursing homes. As the residents already are physically weak so they become prone to such kinds of incidents. Also, fewer bodily movements and physical limitations, psychological trauma, age, and various medical conditions also play their part in slips and falls. This is why special precautions and protocols must be taken into account to prevent such accidents from happening at a nursing home.
- Dehydration and Malnutrition: Malnourishment or malnutrition is a physical condition that appears as a result of an unbalanced diet at a nursing home which is either lacking or excessing the essential nutrient needs of the resident. The thing that needs special consideration from the victim’s family is that the resident will likely develop a rare nutritional disorder. And when this happens, it can initiate other diseases as well.
- Financial exploitation: When it comes to financial exploitation, it can take many pathways to get the money out of pockets from the residents’ families. The working staff of the nursing home can deliberately take signatures on the checks. They also possibly manipulate the procedures and force the court-appointed guardian to make adverse financial decisions.
- Veterans Abuse & Neglect: LTCI – The Long-Term Care Institute in The United States is liable to review and survey the care practices in the nursing homes and to conduct in-depth research. Unfortunately, the institute found many surveys and reviews that show failing procedures and nursing care given to nursing home residents.
- Sepsis: It is a severe infection that is caused due to the bacterial invasion in an open wound, IV, or a catheter. The infection causes the chemical to travel through the bloodstream creating clots in the entire body that ultimately block the nutrients and oxygen from reaching the essential organs.
- Elopement & Wandering: American Health Care Association identifies that over 50% of nursing home residents are suffering from dementia. Elopement and wandering are some of the common incidents that happen with the nursing home residents which eventually impose a dangerous threat to those especially dealing with dementia or Alzheimer’s.
- Sexual abuse: Sexual abuse in a nursing home can be identified with some investigations. The abuse includes rape, photography, non-consensual sexual exchange, touching, verbal harassment, and video tapping. Neglect in the incidents of sexual abuse can lead to failing the protection of the victim. Also, lack of investigation and prompt actions may also fade evidence that could prove the mistreatment. This is why residents’ families need to remain vigilant specifically about sexual abuse and non-sensual contact that victims couldn’t express due to threat or indictment.
- Poor Hygiene: Negligence in the nursing home causes poor hygiene of the residents which can be evident if the resident is left unattended and unwashed for long periods. If a resident gets contagious disease due to being left untreated or unattended in unhygienic conditions, then it not only affects the resident but is dangerous for the residents as well.
- Medication Errors: Wrong or over medications are common signs of nursing home abuse. Sadly, due to the decrease in Medicaid and Medicare cuts, the number of nursing home staff is reduced on the total number of residents. This made the existing staff overburdened which eventually made them less attentive to every resident.
What does the abuse look like?
Nursing home staff and the members of the facility are the ones who commonly are involved in the nursing home abuse. But anyone who has access to the nursing home can be the reason for providing potential harm to the residents. Understanding and identifying early signs of abuse and harm can help in recognizing when to intervene. Mentioned above are the red flags that you should look for in nursing home abuse cases.
No matter what type of nursing home abuse your loved one has experienced, a nursing home abuse lawyer can support you in making a strong defense and in capitalizing the compensation against potential damages.
If anyone doubts or believes that their loved ones had been the victim of nursing home abuse, the first thing that they should do is to bring the concern to the administrator of the nursing home.
In addition to that, to prove your concerns, take photographs of the injuries, bruises, and any other signs that made you believe the same. By doing this, you not only have the evidence to prove your concern but if you hire a nursing home abuse lawyer at a later time, these photographs will help you there as well.
However, if the nursing home administration does not return with a response, the victim’s family can contact state courts to file complaints or contact local lawyers for legal assistance.
In a nursing home abuse case, a victim can ask to recover both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include the financial loss borne in medical bills, doctor’s fees, physiotherapy, and other medical expenses that were suffered in the treatment of the victim. In other situations, victims can ask for lost wages and for losing the ability to earn but in a nursing home, unless someone is living there temporarily there are no working individuals.
When it comes to recovering non-economic damages, the recovery can be made on the pain and emotional suffering of a nursing home resident. Also, the resident can ask for punitive damages if the actions of nursing home staff were reckless, criminal, and egregious.
It also depends on the skills of a nursing home abuse lawyer to have a sufficient recovery against your damages. However, the type of injuries and abuse will play an important part in determining the loss and help a lawyer to legally proceed with the case.
Benefits of hiring a nursing home lawyer
If someone believes that their loved one is going through physical or mental trauma at a nursing home, they must contact a nursing home abuse lawyer as early as they can. It is also important to convince the sufferer not to ignore the problem and think that the injuries will be fixed on their own.
A skillful layer will gather all the required evidence of nursing home abuse and will prepare a solid defense to defend your case. If someone is certain that their loved one is under any abuse at a nursing home, they should not take the matter casually and do not let someone abuse their loved one. Having the assistance of a nursing home abuse lawyer will not only save your loved one from further suffering but help you compensate for the pain and suffering as well.
Therefore, it is suggested to contact a nursing home abuse lawyer immediately.
What is the state statute of limitations for nursing home abuse and neglect cases?
Although the statute of limitation for nursing home abuse and negligent actions vary across states, most of them more or less follow the same statutes. Some of them include:
- There is a time limit for filing a lawsuit after the abuse happened. In most states, a personal injury lawsuit can only be filed within three years from the date of the incident.
- For filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, the sufferer or someone on his behalf can file a lawsuit within 30 months of the negligence.
- If the victim suffered death after the negligence or abuse happened at the nursing home, a lawsuit for wrongful death can be filed within two years from the date of death.
It is important to note that after the statute’s designated date, no matter how severe the injury was or how much the victim suffered, no legal proceeding can be done. Therefore, speak to the nursing home abuse lawyer as soon as possible.
Whom can you hold liable for nursing home abuse?
Multiple parties can be held liable for the nursing home abuse case. The liability will generally be imposed on the person involved and how the negligence occurred initially.
Involved parties can be one of them;
- Supervising doctors
- Maintenance staff – if they were negligent in providing care and maintaining safety for the members and residents
- Caregivers and nursing home staff
- The nursing home administration – when they failed to provide the services of trained staff, appropriate accommodation, or sufficient staff.
The following are some of the common nursing home abuse warning signs and symptoms that you should look for;
- Physical discomfort
- Bleeding and bruises
- Emotional withdrawal
- The silence when the caretaker is around
- Dehydration and Malnutrition
- Infections and unexplained physical phenomenon
- Bills left unpaid despite providing advance checks
- Sudden financial obligations
- Changes in the residents’ will
- Change in POA
A resident of a nursing home under a Medicare program is eligible to be free from sexual, verbal, mental, and physical abuse. Plus, he has the right to be protected against any chemical and physical restraints which are enforced by purpose instead of treating any medical condition.
Nowadays, almost all the states have a proper system of complaining about any negligence or abuse caused at nursing homes. If a complaint is filed, an investigation will take place that will include interviews from witnesses, staff, administrations, the victim, the family of the victim, and management. If the abuse or negligence investigation meets the accusation, adult proactive services will ensure to provide support to the complainant and make arrangements for the prevention of the reoccurrence of the incident.
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