Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse: Personal Injury Claims & Lawsuits
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities fulfill a vital need for many people; however, nursing home neglect and abuse occur far too often. Our population is living longer, yet families are unable to fully meet the needs of their elderly loved ones. As a result, many of the most vulnerable people in our society are placed in a nursing home or elder care facility, where we expect they will be well taken care of.
Whether an elderly person suffers because of neglect—when their most basic needs go unnoticed or overlooked—or are victims of blatant abuse, the issue is a serious one. The consequences of nursing home abuse or neglect can include criminal charges as well as civil lawsuits. Understanding when you should contact a personal injury lawyer to help with your claim can be the difference in holding a nursing home or elder care employee responsible and receiving fair compensation for the damages inflicted on your loved one.
Should I Contact a Lawyer for Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse?
To help determine whether you should contact a personal injury attorney for a nursing home neglect or abuse claim, see if you answer “yes” to any of the following questions:
- Are bedsores or unexplained bruises evident on an elderly resident?
- Was an elderly resident overmedicated or not given their medication, either once or repeatedly?
- Did an elderly resident fall and sustain a serious injury while in the care of a nursing home or caregiver?
- Has an elderly resident lost a significant amount of weight or do they appear dehydrated?
- Has an elderly resident’s health rapidly deteriorated while in the care of a nursing home?
- Was an elderly resident subjected to physical abuse, including being hit, slapped or shaken?
- Did an elderly resident suffer nonconsensual sexual contact?
- Was an elderly resident force-fed, or was food withheld as punishment?
- Did an outright assault occur against an elderly resident?
- Was an elderly resident verbally threatened by a nursing home staff member?
- Was an elderly resident humiliated or degraded by a nursing home staff member?
- Was an elderly resident isolated from other residents?
- Did an elderly resident pass away under suspicious circumstances?
Note that if nursing home neglect or abuse resulted in death, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Steps to Take After Suspected Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse
If you suspect nursing home neglect or abuse, you must take immediate action for the safety of your loved one. The following steps will help you determine how to prioritize your actions:
Recognize the signs of elderly neglect or abuse — Pay close attention to how your loved one reacts to the presence of staff and caregivers. The elderly person may appear frightened around certain people, or may bear physical signs of abuse and neglect. Also keep an eye out for depression, withdrawal from normal activities or new coping techniques, such as mumbling or rocking, which are all red flags.
Immediate danger — If you feel your loved one’s life is in imminent danger, don’t hesitate—call 911.
Obtain verification of neglect or abuse — If you don’t feel there is immediate danger, do your best to identify the neglect or abuse. The elderly may be confused due to their age or medications, or may have a disease that affects their judgment. Take photographs, gather your loved one’s medical records, then talk to other relatives, friends and relatives of residents in the nursing facility in order to obtain a comprehensive view of the situation. If you are not sure how to collect the proper evidence, consult with an attorney.
Notify the nursing home of your suspicions — If you feel there was no resolution to your concerns, remove your loved one from the situation. Have other short-term arrangements in place, and be working on a long-term plan which involves a safe, caring place to live.
Reassure your loved one — Make sure your loved one understands he or she did nothing wrong and is not to blame.
File a formal complaint — File the proper paperwork with the police to ensure that it is documented, and contact the state department of social services in your area.
Contact an experienced attorney — Contact a personal injury lawyer who can help provide you with the necessary guidance, file appropriate charges, and take legal action to ensure such neglect and abuse does not continue and that proper compensation is provided for such actions.
Back to Top
"Such a quick response time in contacting me. When I was contacted everyone was very friendly, helpful and most of all understanding."
- Visitor from New York