In long-term care facilities where our ageing loved ones seek comfort during their final years lies an ugly secret: nursing home abuse. This issue looms large over their well-being and safety – the irreparable harm done to vulnerable seniors by this deeply concerning practice.
These facilities should serve as places of refuge, providing our ageing loved ones with the support and care they require for a better quality of life. However, often invisibly lies abuse which inflicts unimaginable suffering on those we hold closest.
Nursing home abuse has become an increasing threat across the US. According to estimates from the National Center on Elder Abuse, approximately one out of every ten elderly individuals residing in long-term care facilities is mistreated or neglected, though likely much greater numbers remain hidden due to instances that go unreported.
If you suspect your loved one is being mistreated in a nursing home, taking action can help stop the abuse from continuing. Report it immediately to the administrator, state licensing board or police as soon as you find out; additionally, speak with a Houston nursing home abuse attorney today to learn more about how you can seek compensation for your loved ones injuries.
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Background of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse is an endemic that affects millions of elderly US citizens each year, taking many forms, such as physical, emotional, sexual or financial abuse.
Older adults are especially prone to abuse because of their cognitive impairments, frailty and dependence on others for care. Nursing home staff have a duty of care towards elderly residents; they ought to provide safe and respectful care. But some staff members neglect or mistreat these senior residents either accidentally or intentionally.
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, one out of every ten elderly individuals residing in long-term care facilities experience some form of mistreatment or negligence. But this number could be higher since some incidences remain hidden or unreported.
Nursing home abuse can cause irreparable physical and psychological damage, from anxiety, depression and PTSS (post-traumatic stress syndrome) to disability, injuries and pain. Victims may suffer physical trauma as well as shame or guilt from sexual exploitation, while financial abuse victims could lose their homes, savings accounts or assets altogether.
If you suspect your loved one is being mistreated at a nursing home, it is crucial that immediate steps be taken. Report the abuse directly to the home administrator, the state licensing board, or police, or contact nursing home abuse attorneys like Husain Law + Associates Accident Attorneys, P.C., who may help claim you determine the best course of action against the nursing home.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
The most common types of nursing home abuse include:
This form of abuse refers to any intentional infliction of pain or injury on an older individual through actions like hitting, kicking, slapping, pushing and restraint.
Emotional abuse refers to any action or words which cause mental or emotional discomfort in an elderly individual, such as verbally abusing, criticizing, insulting, threatening, isolating and marginalizing them in some form or fashion.
Sexual abuse refers to any unwelcome form of contact between an older adult and another person without their permission. This includes but is not limited to raping, fondling, and/or sexually exposing oneself directly or indirectly with the senior resident.
Financial abuse refers to any illegal or inappropriate use of an elderly person’s money or property without their knowledge and permission, such as theft, forgery and taking out loans without permission being given first.
Here are some strategies for recognizing nursing home abuse:
Changes in Behavior
Anytime an elderly resident’s behaviours change suddenly – such as becoming more withdrawn, agitated, or depressed – this could be an indicator of abuse.
When an elder’s funds disappear unexpectedly, it could indicate their financial exploitation.
Bumps, cuts, broken bones or any unexplained injuries could indicate abuse.
Untreated Medical Conditions
If an elderly resident isn’t receiving the necessary healthcare (doctor consultations and prescription drugs) they require, this could be seen as neglect.
If you observe any of these indicators of abuse against an elderly resident in their nursing home or community care setting, it is vital to report it immediately to the appropriate authorities and contact an elder law attorney who can protect their interests.
Types of Lawsuits Against Nursing Homes Engaging in Abuse
There are two primary forms of lawsuits against nursing homes engaging in abuse:
A negligence suit is a civil legal claim filed against those who fail to act with reasonable care in similar situations, often nursing home staff members who have caused injury through negligent behaviour. Residents or their family members who have experienced harm due to such staff members may file these types of suits against the facility in response.
Intentional Tort Lawsuits
An intentional tort lawsuit, as defined by civil law, is filed when someone deliberately injures another individual or party.
For nursing homes specifically, such claims often stem from residents being injured as a result of intentional misconduct by staff and must therefore be protected under civil law.
Such intentional torts include
- Assault: When someone acts intentionally with intent to create a reasonable fear of harmful or offensive contact.
- Battery: Any intentional act which results in harmful or offensive contact.
- Defamation: Publishing false statements about another individual to damage their reputation.
- False imprisonment: This refers to any act intended to confine another individual without their knowledge and consent, such as falsely confining them without consent.
- Invasion of privacy: Unauthorized intrusion into one’s private life.
If you believe your loved one has been the victim of negligence or intentional misconduct in a nursing home, it is vital that you seek legal guidance as soon as possible.
How Can I File a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit
Here are the steps involved in filing a nursing home abuse suit:
Step one is gathering evidence in support of your claims of abuse – such as medical records, photographs, witness statements or anything else which demonstrates this was indeed happening to your loved one.
Documenting abuse can also be essential. This can be accomplished by keeping a journal of incidents of mistreatment, noting the names and contact information of witnesses, and taking photographs of injuries sustained as evidence of misconduct.
File A Lawsuit
Once you have collected evidence and documented any abuse at a nursing home, file a civil suit in court whose jurisdiction encompasses it.
Hire an Attorney
Hiring an attorney will assist in filing your nursing home lawsuit effectively and can assist in understanding legal processes, collecting evidence and representing you in court proceedings. Fortunately you can find yourself a qualified one at Husain Law + Associates Accident Attorneys, P.C.,
Negotiation or Trial
Nursing home abuse cases often reach a settlement through negotiation and discussions between both parties involved. Your lawyer will represent you or your loved one to achieve fair compensation for all damages sustained from abuse.
If no settlement agreement can be reached between both sides, however, litigation will proceed to trial, where a judge or jury will make their verdict based on presented evidence.
Filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit can be complex and time-consuming, which makes having an experienced attorney as your guide integral in fighting for the rights of your loved ones.
How to Know if You Have a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit
Here are a few tips for establishing whether you have a legitimate nursing home abuse lawsuit:
Establish The Elements of Negligence or Intentional Tort
To establish negligence, you must show that the nursing home owed your loved one a duty of care which was breached, causing their injuries.
To prove intentional tort against a nursing home, you must demonstrate that their actions caused harm directly and damages as a result of said injuries.
When dealing with abuse allegations, evidence should always be collected as soon as possible. This evidence can include medical records, photographs and witness accounts.
Understand The Statute of Limitations
Each jurisdiction has a statute of limitations – or deadline within which any lawsuit must be filed for nursing home abuse cases in their area. So it’s crucial that you know when filing suit against nursing home abuse should happen.
Failing to do so within this specified timeframe could void your ability for legal recourse altogether; to make sure this happens on time, consult an attorney promptly regarding this subject and ensure your case is filed without further delays.
An experienced attorney is best equipped to assess the merits of your nursing home abuse lawsuit based on specific facts and applicable laws while also helping you understand your legal rights and options and represent you if necessary in court proceedings.
Nursing home abuse can have devastating repercussions for elderly residents who fall prey. To protect those vulnerable residents and help stop future mistreatment of this sort, it’s crucial that you’re aware of its signs so as to report and protect those at risk of abuse. In such situations, legal help should always be sought – a Husain Law + Associates Accident Attorneys, P.C. attorney will explain your legal rights and options and represent you in court if need be.
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