A nursing home should give your senior loved one a safe, comfortable place to live during the last years of life. Your loved one should receive high-quality medical care, assistance when needed, and a range of services dedicated to ensuring comfort and peace even as health deteriorates.
Some nursing homes, unfortunately, fail to provide that care and support. Instead, these nursing homes may provide substandard care or even allow abuse. That abuse can leave your loved one frailer than before, suffering from increased physical, mental, and emotional struggles as she attempts to recover from the abuse. If your loved one has suffered abuse in a nursing home, you need a qualified attorney who can help seek the compensation they deserve for their injuries. Contact Dolman Law Group or Sibley Dolman today at 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH) to schedule your free consultation.
The Benefits of a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
Many families worry that hiring a nursing home abuse attorney will have significant cost—often, more cost than the coverage and help they will receive. At Sibley Dolman and Dolman Law Group, however, we work hard to provide valuable service to our clients, in many cases increasing the compensation they receive for their loved ones’ injuries and their own. Take a look at our past results:
- $3.2 million for a client with a brain injury from a truck accident
- $1.75 million for a client who received shoulder surgery and a TBI from a truck accident
- $1 million for the family of a father killed in a rideshare accident
- $575 thousand for a client with neck and back injuries, in spite of preexisting conditions
At Sibley Dolman and Dolman Law Group, we cannot guarantee results for any client. We do, however, bring a high standard of legal assistance and our experience in the field of personal injury law to every case we accept. Working with an experienced personal injury attorney after your loved one suffers nursing home abuse can help you:
- Better define the extent of the abuse and your loved one’s legal rights as a result of that abuse. You may struggle to understand exactly what rights your loved one has after abuse or what compensation the family should receive. We will help you better understand the legal nuances of the situation and go after the compensation your family deserves.
- Communicate with the nursing home or insurance company on your behalf. You may struggle to know the right thing to say or even to talk calmly with the nursing home where the abuse occurred. Not only that, you have many other responsibilities, especially if you need to assist and support your loved one during the recovery process. When you hire an attorney, the attorney can communicate with the nursing home or insurance company on your behalf, freeing your time and emotional energy for other tasks.
- Fight for your loved one to get the full compensation deserved. Sometimes, a lawyer can simply negotiate with the insurance company and reach a settlement offer. Other times, you may need to take your case to court to get the full compensation your loved one deserves. With an attorney, not only will you receive solid advice about exactly how much compensation you should expect or accept, the attorney will also fight on your behalf and even take the case to court if needed.
If you wonder whether you can afford an attorney, consider Dolman Law Group and Sibley Dolman’s extensive history of satisfactory results for our clients. We take nursing home abuse cases on a contingent fee basis—that is, we take compensation out of the amount our clients receive from their injuries, rather than taking our fees upfront.
Nursing Home Abuse: An Overview
Do you think your loved one may have suffered abuse in a nursing home? Are you struggling to clearly define nursing home abuse or to understand what your loved one may have suffered? Make sure you fully understand several key types of nursing home abuse and how they can impact your loved one.
Most people consider physical abuse first when thinking about any type of abuse. Physical abuse occurs when one individual, often a caregiver who spends time alone with your loved one, uses physical force that causes bodily harm or pain. Caregivers may use physical force to coerce your loved one into doing something she does not want to do, or caregivers may simply choose to abuse a senior who cannot fight back against them. Common injuries from physical abuse include:
- Broken bones
- Unexplained bruises
- Skull fractures
- Cuts and lacerations
You may first suspect physical abuse because of your loved one’s withdrawal or because the nursing home staff refuses to allow them time alone with visitors. Your loved one might withdraw or struggle to talk about their day or daily treatment. You may also notice multiple injuries with no explanation or injuries in many different stages of healing at any given time.
You may find it harder to see emotional abuse at first. Your loved one may withdraw or appear to dislike certain members of the nursing home staff. Emotional abuse occurs when staff members or caregivers berate, humiliate, or use other verbal or other nonverbal means to cause harm. They may:
- Berate your loved one, making them feel useless or neglected
- Throw around insults
- Isolate your loved one from activities she normally enjoys
- Prevent your loved one from enjoying time with other residents or isolate your loved one from the family
- Threatening your loved one
- Refusing to speak to or around your loved one
- Treating your loved one like a child
When your loved one suffers unwanted sexual attention in a nursing home, they are a victim of sexual abuse. This includes:
- Unwanted genital contact, either with your loved one’s genitals or forcing them to touch the caregiver or staff member’s genitals
- Coerced nudity
- Taking pictures of your loved one unclothed
- Unwanted rectal or breast contact
- Sexual contact with a senior who cannot provide consent
Signs of sexual abuse may include rectal or genital bleeding or bruising, underwear with unexpected stains, torn underwear without an explanation, or unexplained STDs or genital infections. Any time your loved one issues an accusation of sexual abuse, you should investigate fully.
Your family chose a nursing home to help take care of your loved one. Unfortunately, the nursing home seems to be failing in their duty of care, providing inadequate assistance to maintain your loved one’s quality of life as he ages. Neglect includes failure to provide reasonable and expected care for the seniors living in a nursing home. Signs of neglect may include:
- Malnutrition that seems to occur for non-medical reasons: your loved one does not refuse to eat and does not have a medical condition that prevents proper absorption of nutrients, but they grow unnecessarily thin, exhibit brittle hair and nails, or have substantially increased healing time for wounds and injuries.
- Dehydration, especially if your loved one does not have a medical condition like dementia that prevents them from taking in proper fluids on his own.
- Unsanitary living conditions, including failure to clean up waste or allowing your loved one to sit in his own waste after an accident.
- Multiple unexplained falls that occurred due to a lack of supervision, especially if your loved one suffers from conditions known to cause fall risks.
- Failure to give medication on time.
- Failure to treat medical problems or seek medical care as needed.
- Bedsores in a patient who should not stay in bed or bed sores in a bed bound patient that go untreated
Neglect can cause a serious decline in your loved one’s overall health and enjoyment of life. Nursing homes that fail to provide the proper standard of care for their residents can suffer serious consequences.
Any time your loved one mentions potential abuse, you should investigate as soon as possible. Even if your loved one has Alzheimer’s or dementia, take accusations of abuse very seriously and investigate to ensure that mistreatment does not continue, whether they issue an accusation of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse or indicate problems with neglect. The sooner you address the accusation, the sooner you can determine its validity and, if needed, take action.
What Does a Nursing Home Abuse Claim Look Like?
When your loved one suffers nursing home abuse, you may need an attorney to help you move through the process and better understand your loved one’s rights. You can expect several key things as you address the abuse.
Filing the Claim
As you file a claim of nursing home abuse, you will ask for compensation in several key areas. Each nursing home abuse case has unique elements that can change the way you seek compensation; however, most families ask for:
- Compensation for any medical bills as a result of abuse. The nursing home should take responsibility for any medical bills your loved one accumulates as a result of the abuse, including treatment at a qualified facility. You may also need to seek payment for ongoing medical bills if you anticipate long-term costs due to the abuse.
- Compensation for moving your loved one to another facility. After abuse or neglect occurs, you may no longer feel comfortable leaving your loved one in the facility that allowed that abuse, especially if abusive staff members keep their jobs in spite of the reports of abuse. You can ask for financial help moving your loved one to a new facility, potentially including the increased cost of a better facility in the same geographic area.
- Compensation for pain and suffering. Your loved one suffered significant pain and embarrassment as a result of the abuse, and you can include that as part of the compensation you ask for when you file a claim. Often, pain and suffering represents the highest portion of the claim.
Who Bears Responsibility?
Typically, an entire nursing home did not abuse your loved one. Instead, specific staff members may have committed acts of abuse against your loved one. Abuse may have grown widespread among many seniors in the facility, or the abusers might have limited their attention to a handful of individuals—or even only to your loved one.
When it comes to legal responsibility, however, the nursing home as a whole bears responsibility for the abuse. A nursing home must observe a reasonable standard of care to all the seniors who live there. This includes carefully screening employees, supervising staff members, and protecting seniors living in the nursing home.
When the nursing home fails to provide that high standard of care for everyone who lives there, including your loved one, they may bear financial responsibility for setting things to rights. Working with a lawyer can help you better determine if others, including outside providers who work with the nursing home, also bear responsibility in your loved one’s case.
Will the Insurance Company Fight the Claim?
With proof of abuse, the insurance company may seem eager to settle the claim and minimize damage to the nursing home. Unfortunately, many insurance companies choose to use a variety of methods to decrease financial responsibility after instances of abuse. This might include:
- Offering a low settlement offer immediately after the abuse comes to light, before you have even fully decided how you want to handle the situation.
- Attempting to prove abuse did not occur. The insurance company might, for example, try to prove your loved one an unreliable witness due to deteriorating memory, especially in cases of Alzheimer’s or dementia.
- Trying to shift responsibility to someone the insurance company does not cover.
If the insurance company attempts to fight the claim or deny the funds your loved one deserves, working with a lawyer is the most effective way to help gather evidence, put together a more solid proposal, and fight for your loved one.
Do You Need a New Port Richey Nursing Home Abuse Attorney?
Dolman Law Group and Sibley Dolman have offices on both Florida coasts, making us a convenient resource for your Florida nursing home abuse concerns. Contact us at Dolman Law online today or call at 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH) to set up your consultation.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA – New Port Richey Office
5435 Main St
New Port Richey, FL 34652