How Can a Lawyer Help with Abuse in a Nursing Home?


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Unfortunately, millions of elderly individuals are abused every year. Many families have to make the difficult decision to place their loved ones in a nursing home so that they can receive the proper care and supervision that they need at this stage in their lives. However, elderly individuals in nursing homes are vulnerable to sustaining abuse. If a loved one is being abused, it can often be difficult to know what to do. A nursing home abuse lawyer may be able to help.

Identifying Signs of Elder Abuse

Many loved ones have never encountered elder abuse in the past. They may not know signs to look for. However, nursing home abuse lawyers are familiar with the many forms of abuse that elderly individuals may confront. They are trained at spotting potential signs of abuse. They may look into incidences of unexplained injuries, such as repeat fractures, bruises or scarring.

They may look into reports of numerous bed sores which may indicate that the elderly individual has not been rotated as often as necessary. They may look for personality signs of elder abuse, such as mood swings, sudden disruptive behavior, regressive behavior liking sucking their thumb or rocking or acting withdrawn.

In many instances, the nursing home resident may not feel comfortable sharing information with a loved one, or they may not be able to communicate this information due to physical disability or mental incapacity. A nursing home abuse lawyer can look for more subtle signs of abuse. For example, the resident may not want to be left alone with a particular nursing home staff member. They may have unexplained weight loss or have a decline in their hygiene. They may suddenly become despondent, depressed or anxious.

Investigating Reports of Abuse

Nursing home abuse lawyers can also investigate reports of abuse. They are familiar with the various rules and regulations that nursing homes must follow. They may have previous experience in pursuing claims against a particular nursing home that can help inform future claims. Many states have specific rights that are afforded to nursing home residents. He or she can show how a nursing home violated a state or federal regulation.

He or she may also look into previous complaints against the nursing home. He or she may request reports that state regulators completed on the nursing home to establish a pattern of misconduct or to discover contributing factors, such as understaffing or retaining employees when complaints were filed against them.

Establishing a Legal Theory

A nursing home abuse lawyer can help determine which legal theories may be asserted against the nursing home. If there is a contract with the nursing home, the lawyer may suggest a breach of contract claim. He or she may base a claim on negligence, such as negligent supervision and care or negligent hiring. He or she may base the claim on a theory of assault and battery.

Quantifying Damages

Insurance companies may try to offer a low settlement value for a claim. They may try to rationalize that the elderly individual may not have the same types of damages that younger victims have, such as no loss of income or earning capacity. Due to cognitive decline, the insurance company may argue that the elderly individual was not aware of any harm. However, a nursing home abuse lawyer will seek all applicable damages for the elderly individual and his or her family. He or she will ensure that the elderly individualís pain and suffering is fully factored into a settlement value. Additionally, he or she may pursue punitive damages for outrageous conduct.

Reporting Abuse

A nursing home abuse lawyer can also discuss ways to report your suspicions of abuse. This action may sometimes spur a state actor to conduct its own independent investigation into the claim. This step may be able to help prevent future abuse and the abuse of others in the nursing home.

Exploring Options

If a loved one suspects abuse, he or she can discuss possible options with a nursing home lawyer. One option may be to file an administrative complaint with the state. He or she may also discuss the possibility of filing criminal charges if the case involves criminal behavior. He or she may also discuss the possibility of filing a civil claim and seeking damages. All three options may be pursued at the same time.

Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

If you suspect your loved one is being abused, contact a nursing home abuse lawyer in your area for help. He or she can explain all the ways that he or she can help with your claim.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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