Americans are living longer than ever before. According to data from the U.S. Census, 16.5% of our population is aged 65 or older. While increased longevity is good news, it can often mean that a loved one needs to reside in a nursing home in their later years.
If a family member suffers abuse or neglect as a nursing home resident, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible parties, including the personal care facility, doctors, nurses, care attendants, and other staff.
Through this type of lawsuit, you can help your family member obtain financial compensation for their injuries. You can also help them achieve some measure of justice.
At the Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan, we understand how devastating it can be to learn that your loved one has been abused or neglected while residing at a nursing home. Our White Plains, New York nursing home abuse attorneys will fight to get them the compensation that they deserve for their losses. Reach out today to schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse Cases We Handle
Elder abuse can take many forms, including:
- Physical abuse, including hitting, pushing slapping, or restraining
- Sexual abuse, which involves forcing an older person to take part in or watch sexual acts without their consent
- Pressure injuries, such as bedsores
- Neglect, which may include not providing basic care or access to food, medications, or health care
Older adults are particularly vulnerable to elder abuse, particularly when they reside in a nursing home facility. People who depend on others for help with their daily activities – such as bathing, dressing, and taking medicine – are often victims of this type of abuse. Dementia, memory problems, and other health issues may make it difficult for them to report the abuse.
It can be hard to spot abuse and neglect, particularly if you cannot visit frequently. When you do visit a nursing home resident, you can watch out for signs or indicators of abuse and neglect, such as:
- Pressure sores (bedsores, decubiti)
- Withdrawn or depressed mood
- Medication errors
- Falls and Fractures
- Signs of trauma, such as rocking back and forth
- Missing medical devices (such as hearing aids)
- Unexplained financial difficulties
- Malnutrition and dehydration
- Unexplained bruises or cuts
- Choking incidents
- Significant weight loss or gain
- Looks messy
If you believe that your loved one is being abused or neglected, then you should take immediate action. The New York State Department of Health, Division of Nursing Home and ICF/IID Surveillance is responsible for investigating allegations of abuse, mistreatment, or neglect in nursing homes, assisted living, and long-term care facilities. You should submit a complaint form or call the Nursing Home Complaint Hotline (1-888-201-4563).
The Department of Health will then conduct an investigation of the allegations. If the complaint is substantiated, it may become an important part of a nursing home abuse lawsuit. You should also look into moving your loved one to a different facility, if possible.
How Common is Nursing Home Abuse in New York?
Unfortunately, nursing home neglect and abuse are very common. We know about the cases that are reported, but there are studies that show that instances of abuse, or neglect, are significantly underreported. You are dealing with a population whom many have dementia, or may not be able to communicate with staff or family members, so the reporting of these incidents is not that reliable. The latest numbers that I have seen indicate that around twenty percent of the population in nursing homes are victims of abuse, or neglect at some point during their admission.
Reporting Abuse: What to Do if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse
Who Can File a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit?
Nursing home abuse lawsuits may be based on a theory of negligent or intentional conduct. Cases involving physical abuse, sexual abuse, and/or emotional abuse involve intentional or reckless behavior. Nursing home neglect cases are often considered a form of negligence, or carelessness.
In many situations, a care home does not intentionally neglect the needs of its residents.
Nursing home staffing levels are an important factor in the quality of care. According to a 2006 survey conducted by the Medicaid Fraud Unit of the New York State Office of the Attorney General, 98 percent of New York’s 600 nursing homes surveyed failed to meet federal recommendations for nurse staffing levels. Based on these statistics, it is not surprising that nursing home residents often do not receive appropriate attention and care.
Whether your case involves intentional, reckless, or negligent conduct, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the at-fault parties with the help of a nursing home abuse lawyer. If your loved one is able to do so, they can file the case on their own behalf. If they lack the capacity to file a claim, then their family members may pursue legal action for them. If your family member suffered a fatal injury while residing in a nursing facility, you may also be able to pursue a wrongful death claim against the company.
Cases of abuse and/or neglect may also result in criminal charges being filed against the at-fault party. Regardless of whether your claim involves criminal charges, you can still pursue a personal injury lawsuit against anyone who perpetrated or enabled the abuse. This may include:
- Caregivers who work directly with nursing home residents
- Administrators, managers, or other people responsible for training and supervising staff
- Owners or operators of the facility
Care facilities and their insurance companies will rarely admit fault or pay out on a claim without the potential for a lawsuit. Working with an experienced personal injury lawyer is the best way to hold nursing homes responsible for their mistreatment of residents – and to ensure that your loved one gets the money that they need for their medical bills, pain and suffering, and other losses.
Nursing home negligence and intentional harm cases can be complicated. They can also be incredibly emotional, as family members often experience a sense of guilt that their loved ones were victims of abuse or neglect. If you have any questions about whether you can file a lawsuit, reach out to our law firm to schedule a free consultation with a nursing home abuse attorney.
Are Nursing Home Abuse Cases Civil or Criminal in Nature?
Nursing home abuse can fall under both criminal and civil law. My office handles the civil side of these cases. What I mean by that is we pursue civil lawsuits asserting the violations of resident’s rights provided under the law. For each case, what we are seeking is monetary damages. Either district attorney’s offices or an attorney general’s offices pursue the criminal side of some of these cases. These can have criminal consequences (fines, jail time, probation) for either the nursing home, or the staff members that have committed the crime.
Does the Criminal Side of the Case Affect the Civil Suit and Vice Versa?
The criminal side can affect the civil side or vice versa; it would not affect the timing of the filing of either, but in terms of discovery and the investigations of the case, the criminal usually goes first. Many witnesses of the events would appear as witnesses in both civil and criminal matters. The criminal proceedings would proceed first because the consequences are greater, some would potentially go to jail, and after the criminal side has ended, we then can move forward with the civil depositions, and take the perpetrator’s testimony under oath. Criminal defendants are often advised by their criminal defense attorneys not to give testimony under oath until the criminal proceeding is complete.
Common Types Of Injuries Sustained In Nursing Home Abuse Cases
Compensation For a Nursing Home Abuse Case
In a personal injury case, you are entitled to financial compensation for any harm caused by the at-fault party. You may recover compensatory damages for any losses that you have suffered. In addition, you may seek punitive damages to penalize a wrongdoer in cases involving intentional or reckless conduct.
There are two types of compensatory damages: economic and non-economic. Economic damages cover direct financial losses, such as medical bills, future medical care, hospital expenses, extra long or short-term care, psychological counseling, and expenses for medical equipment. If you have to move your loved one to a different facility, it may also include moving expenses.
Non-economic damages compensate an injury victim for intangible losses. Examples of non-economic damages may include pain and suffering, emotional distress, scarring, disfigurement, and decreased quality of life.
Finally, in situations where nursing home staff engaged in intentional or reckless behavior – such as physical or sexual abuse – punitive damages may be appropriate. Punitive damages punish a wrongdoer instead of compensating a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect. If criminal charges have been brought against a caregiver, then punitive damages may be appropriate. An experienced New York nursing home abuse lawyer can help you determine whether you are entitled to punitive damages.
Our personal injury lawyers handle all nursing home abuse and neglect claims on a contingency fee basis. This means that you will pay nothing upfront, and will only pay a fee if we recover money for you. Reach out today to learn more about how our team of aggressive nursing home abuse attorneys can help you achieve justice for you or your loved one.
Fighting to Protect Victims of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Senior citizens play an important role in our society. Unfortunately, they are often vulnerable to neglect and other forms of abuse when they reside in a nursing home. If you believe that your loved one has been subjected to physical, sexual, or verbal abuse or neglect at a nursing home, we can help.
The Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan works hard to achieve the best possible outcome for our clients in all types of personal injury cases – including nursing home abuse and neglect. If you believe that nursing home staff members have victimized your loved one, we will work with you to help them get maximum compensation for their injuries. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation with a New York nursing home abuse lawyer, give us a call at 914-220-1086 or fill out our online contact form.
Nursing Home Lawyers Representing Our Most Vulnerable
At the law firm of Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan, PLLC, our New York Attorneys offer dedicated and aggressive legal representation to families whose loved ones have been abused. For 40 years, our attorneys have successfully fought to protect vulnerable victims. We are ready to fight for you and your family. Most people are admitted to a nursing home with the promise of quality care. Unfortunately, all too often, nursing home facilities fail to keep that promise. Vulnerable nursing home residents become victims of neglect and abuse at the hands of employees or other residents, sometimes resulting in wrongful death.
Are you concerned your family member has been neglected or abused? You need an experienced, aggressive legal team. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.
Dedicated and Aggressive Legal Representation
Nursing home staffing levels are an important factor in quality of care. According to a 2006 survey conducted by the Medicaid Fraud Unit of the New York State Office of the Attorney General, 98 percent of New York’s 600 nursing homes surveyed failed to meet federal recommendations for nurse staffing levels. Based on these statistics, it is not surprising that nursing home residents often do not receive appropriate attention and care.
Schedule a Free Initial Consultation Today
We will charge no fee for our legal services unless we obtain financial compensation for you.
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