Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
When a loved one is placed in a nursing home, it is with the intention that they are going to be well cared for and have their every need seen to, medication administered appropriately, and be put back on the path to health, or maintain a comfortable lifestyle.
When the opposite occurs – abuse, neglect, and medical malpractice – it is devastating.
What’s more, some of these charges can even be criminal. This is why a skilled nursing home abuse attorney is an incredibly important ally to have. They will be able to assemble all of the information necessary to bring your loved one’s abusers to justice and ensure your family member receives the compensation they are owed. Contact Malloy Law Offices, LLC for a free consultation today.
Nursing Home Abuse Attorney: Why You Need Legal Counsel
If your loved one has been abused or neglected while in a nursing home, a case can be filed against all liable parties, including a care worker who inflicted harm, a medical professional who failed to provide the accepted standard of care, the nursing home, or any other party who breached what is termed the “duty of care.”
Get Help from Malloy Law Offices, LLC
At Malloy Law Offices, LLC, our team of experienced trial lawyers is very familiar with the processes involved in filing a lawsuit against a negligent nursing home. If your loved one has suffered serious injuries or passed away, and you have evidence that abuse or neglect was involved, you need legal help immediately. Our firm offers the following benefits:
- Your nursing home abuse case will be represented on a contingency fee basis, giving you access to top-level representation to navigate the legal system and achieve justice for your loved one. There is never a fee unless we win.
- Our personal injury attorneys believe that our elderly citizens must be protected from harm, and if any abuse or neglect has occurred, leading to serious injuries, illness, or loss of life, you have the right and deserve the maximum in compensation.
- We forge a partnership with the people we represent, and work closely with them throughout the duration of a nursing home abuse case, ensuring they are well-informed as the case progresses.
Nursing Home Statistics
Maryland as a state does not rank well for nursing home care.
In fact, Maryland was ranked 25 out of 50, and regularly makes the nation’s top ten worst states for nursing homes list. Maryland has a population of approximately 5.8 million people. Within the state, there are 228 nursing homes, of which 45% are for-profit and the rest either non-profit or government-run.
With so many people entering nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, it would be reasonable to think that care and attention would be paid to this growing number. However, by 2015, 40% of nursing homes in the state had a minimum of three complaints each citing poor care, treatment, and other issues.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Abuse comes in many forms, especially when in a nursing home. Below are some of the most common forms of abuse encountered in nursing home cases.
What Is Abuse?
According to the Code of Federal Regulations, abuse is defined as “the willful infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation, or punishment with resulting physical harm, mental pain, or anguish.” This can include anything ranging from physical to mental and even sexual abuse, and most often deals with virtual imprisonment, unreasonable or unnecessary restraints, deprivation of food and drink, medication, or other basic necessities, and even using medication on a patient that was not prescribed by a doctor. In order for a nursing home abuse case to be filed, someone must have taken direct action and intended to cause harm to the patient. This separates abuse from neglect and medical malpractice, and also makes it eligible for criminal charges, as well.
The NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) has published reports regarding nursing home neglect, and lists the following common types of abuse from Certified Nursing Assistants:
- Aggressive behavior with a patient
- Improper use of physical restraints
- Over-medicating as a restraint measure
- Rough handling of a patient
- Pulling a patient too hard, causing pain
- Angry yelling
- Speaking harshly to a resident, saying mean things to a resident
What Is Neglect?
Unlike abuse, where physical action was taken against a patient, neglect is the result of inaction or indifference. The Code of Federal Regulations defines it as “the failure to provide goods and services necessary to avoid physical harm, mental anguish, or mental illness.” The organization or individual caretaker, or both, were negligent in overseeing the patient’s care, including not taking measures to prevent bed sores, feeding the patient, or providing them with hygienic care, such as bathing, assisting them to the bathroom, or other needs.
The NCBI also lists the types of neglect by CNAs:
- Failure to provide oral/dental care.
- Not helping the patient by performing range of motion exercises.
- Not changing patients after wetting themselves.
- Ignoring bedridden patients, rather than keeping them engaged.
- Not performing prescribed wound care.
- Failing to bathe residents as needed.
- Not performing scheduled visits to toilet or refusing to help a resident to the toilet when asked.
- Failing to provide adequate hydration.
- Turning off a call light pressed by a resident without taking action.
In cases where medical malpractice occurred, nurses or doctors in the nursing home provided a substandard level of care to their patients. This could be in multiple forms, including neglecting to give medication on time or at all, distributing the wrong medication or administering medication without a prescription, failure to resuscitate in a timely manner, failure to diagnose or treat, and others.
The legal standard for nursing home care has to do with the reasonable caregiver standard. This asks whether the individual or organization charged acted the same way a reasonable caregiver under the same circumstances would have acted. If the answer is no, then the individual or organization did not meet the reasonable caregiver standard and has likely committed nursing home neglect.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse: Watching Over Your Relative
If you have a relative in a nursing home, there are various signs of elder abuse that may become evident. These are the signs of abuse you should be alert to:
- Broken bones, dislocations, sprains
- Bruises, scars, welts on body
- Signs of overuse of restraints, red marks or bruising on wrists and ankles
- Broken glasses
- Your relative appears over-medicated, rarely awake when you visit
- Flinching away from physical contact
- A relative appears fearful and will not communicate.
- Unusual behavior that is outside the person’s usual personality.
- A relative looks fearful when specific caregivers enter the room.
- Genital infections
- Bruising at breasts or genital area
- Stained, bloody or ripped undergarments
- Bleeding (vaginal, anal) not related to a health condition.
- Dirty clothing
- Resident appears unkempt or has an unpleasant odor
- Hair and teeth unbrushed
- Soiled bedding
- Unexplained weight loss
- Dehydration (dry, flaky skin)
If you observe any of these conditions or other issues that may put your loved one at risk, write them down, and immediately speak to the administration, along with issuing a letter with your concerns. If the situation is not immediately resolved, or your relative appears to be in a worsened condition, call Malloy Law Offices, LLC to discuss your case.
Damages in Cases of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
There are two types of damages a person could receive in a nursing home abuse case. The first is called compensatory damages. These include both economic and non-economic damages, such as lost wages, lost benefits, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium. The other form of damages someone could potentially receive is called punitive damages. These are very rarely awarded and are meant as a deterrent from other companies doing the same thing. Punitive damages may be awarded in the most severe cases, where there was gross negligence, including wrongful death, and direct malice towards the individual. The decision to award punitive damages is made by a jury.
Steps to Take after Discovering Abuse
If abuse or neglect is suspected in a nursing home, the first step would be for someone to contact the nursing home’s administration. If the situation does not improve or worsens, the next step would be to call 911 and remove the family member from the nursing home. After they have been removed, report the abuse or neglect and contact a skilled Bethesda nursing home abuse lawyer.
Contact a Skilled Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
Knowing that the facility you entrusted your loved one to has harmed them, or even caused their untimely death, is devastating. It can be difficult to know who to turn to. A nursing home abuse lawyer skilled in litigation can absolutely help, however. They will take the burden from your shoulders and work on building the case against the nursing home while you focus on helping your loved one recover. Call (888) 291-6445 to contact Malloy Law Offices, LLC today for your free consultation with a nursing home abuse lawyer in Bethesda to discuss your case.