Across the United States, there are more than 30,000 assisted living facilities with approximately 1.2 million beds available for residents. Assisted living facilities serve people who need help with their daily needs, but at a lower level of care than a nursing home provides. When an older person reaches a point where they are not fully capable of taking care of themselves – but can still do many things independently – then assisted living is often a better option.
In an assisted living environment, our elderly loved ones are able to retain a sense of autonomy, while their relatives can take comfort in the idea that their elderly relatives are not alone, subject to the perils that solo living at an advanced age can bring. Unfortunately, as is sometimes the case in a nursing home, assisted living residents can be the subjects of abuse at the hands of the facility staff. When this occurs, the abuse victim and/or their family may be able to file a lawsuit against the facility.
At the Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan, we advocate for the rights of seniors and people with disabilities who are living in residential care facilities across New York. We understand how devastating assisted living abuse and neglect can be, which is why we fight to help our clients get justice. Reach out today to schedule a free consultation with a New York assisted living abuse attorney.
Protecting the Rights of Assisted Living Residents
Although in most cases residents of assisted living facilities are better able to care for themselves than nursing home residents, they are still in need of care and supervision. Much like their nursing home counterparts, residents of assisted living facilities are prone to injuries due to falls, pressure sores, physical abuse, malnutrition, and general neglect. In many cases, these injuries and illnesses are a result of negligent or even intentional conduct on the part of the facility or its staff.
An assisted living facility typically offers several different levels of care. Residents usually have their own apartments or rooms, and share common areas like dining halls. Depending on their needs, they may receive services like help with medication, housekeeping, assistance with personal care, mobility, and social and recreational activities. Higher levels of care are usually necessary for residents with memory loss or dementia issues, or who have more significant physical limitations.
While people in assisted living facilities tend to be more independent than residents of nursing homes, they still require some level of care. Assisted living facilities and staff are responsible for providing that care. When they fail to do so, it could be considered abuse or neglect.
Types of Assisted Living Facility Abuse
There are several different types of elder abuse that may occur in assisted living facilities. They include:
- Physical abuse, which may involve hitting, pushing, and restraining a resident against their will;
- Emotional or psychological abuse, which can include name-calling, threatening, yelling, or ignoring the resident;
- Sexual abuse;
- Neglect, which may involve not attending to physical, emotional, or social needs, or withholding food, medications, or access to healthcare; and
- Financial abuse, when a staff member steals from a resident or otherwise uses their position to financially exploit the resident.
Signs of assisted living abuse can vary depending on the type of abuse involved and the resident’s capabilities. Common signs of assisted living abuse include a resident:
- Becoming withdrawn
- Acting agitated
- Showing signs of trauma (like rocking back and forth)
- Having unexplained bruises, burns, scars, or cuts
- Developing preventable conditions like bedsores
- Looking messy or unhygienic
- Having an unsafe or hazardous living environment
- Lacking personal care items like a walker, dentures, hearing aids, or glasses
- Having unexplained injuries
- Experiencing unanticipated financial difficulties
If you notice that your loved one is showing signs or symptoms of nursing home abuse, then you may want to seek help. This can include filing a report with the appropriate state agency, removing your family member from the facility, and seeking medical treatment. You may also consider filing a lawsuit against the facility and/or any responsible staff members.
When Can I File an Assisted Living Abuse Lawsuit?
It is the responsibility of the facility staff to ensure that accidents and neglect do not occur. If you believe that your loved one has suffered abuse or neglect, it may be possible to bring a legal claim against them. Through this type of personal injury lawsuit, you can recover financial compensation for their losses – and potentially prevent this type of abuse from happening to another person.
These cases are usually based on a theory of negligent or intentional conduct. Generally, negligence cases are brought when an assisted living facility is careless in some way, such as by failing to remove tripping hazards that cause a fall. If a resident of an assisted living facility is physically, emotionally, or sexually abused, then the case will be brought under a theory of intentional conduct.
Examples of assisted living abuse claims may include situations that involve a failure to:
- Properly screen employees for a history of abuse
- Train employees on the appropriate level of care
- Supervise employees
- Implement programs to reduce risks, such as a fall prevention program
- Administer medications as necessary
- Seek medical care for residents
There are many other possible cases where an assisted living facility may be liable for injuries or illnesses suffered by their residents. In some cases, such as physical and/or sexual abuse, the staff member(s) responsible may be charged with a crime. However, even if no charges are brought against the employees who harmed your family member, you can still seek financial compensation through a civil lawsuit.
If your loved one is able, they can file a lawsuit on their own behalf. Otherwise, you may be able to file a claim for them. This may include a wrongful death lawsuit if they died as a result of their injuries. The lawsuit may be brought against the owners or operators of the facility, supervisors, administrators, managers, and caregivers who were directly responsible for the abuse and/or neglect.
Through this type of lawsuit, you can recover financial compensation for the losses associated with assisted living abuse, such as:
- Medical bills
- Future medical treatment
- Prescription medication
- Medical equipment and devices
- Moving costs
- Diminished quality of life
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and/or disfigurement
For many families, one of the most important aspects of filing an assisted living facility lawsuit is seeking justice on behalf of their loved one. Financial compensation won’t make their family member whole again, but bringing a legal claim against the responsible parties can give them a sense of peace in knowing that they are being held to account. It may even stop this type of abuse from happening again.
If you feel that a loved one has been subjected to neglect or abuse in an assisted living facility, the team at the Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan, PLLC is here to help. Reach out today to schedule a free initial consultation with a member of our legal team.
How Our Law Firm Can Help
Making the decision to place a loved one in an assisted living facility can be a difficult one. When they suffer abuse or neglect at the hands of the assisted living facility staff, many people struggle with a sense of guilt. While filing a lawsuit cannot undo the harm that was caused, it can be an important step in the healing process.
At the Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan, we have more than four decades of experience in New York elder care law. We offer free consultations to all prospective clients and never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. To learn more or to schedule an appointment with a New York assisted living abuse lawyer, give us a call at 914-220-1086 or fill out our online contact form.
How Long Do I Have to File an Assisted Living Abuse Case?
Generally, you have 3 years from the date that you knew or should have known about the abuse. If you don’t file a lawsuit within 3 years, then you may not be able to file a claim.
While 3 years may seem like a lot of time, it can go quickly when you are focused on your family member’s health and well-being. Reaching out to an attorney as soon as possible after learning about assisted living facility abuse or neglect can ensure that your rights are protected and that all evidence is available. Call the Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan to schedule a consultation with a New York assisted living abuse lawyer.
How Much Is My Assisted Living Abuse Case Worth?
The value of any personal injury case depends on several factors. This includes the severity of the injury, whether the victim is expected to make a full recovery, and whether liability is clear. For example, a case where the victim had over $1,000,000 in medical expenses will typically be worth more than a claim that involved minor injuries.
During a free consultation, a New York assisted living abuse attorney will give you a ballpark estimate of the value of your claim. As the case progresses, this number may increase or decrease. To learn more or to schedule a free initial consultation, contact the Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan to talk to a member of our legal team.
How Can I Afford to Pay a Lawyer for an Assisted Living Abuse Lawsuit?
Assisted living abuse claims are typically handled on a contingency fee basis. This means that you will pay nothing upfront, and will only pay a fee if your attorney recovers money for you through a settlement or verdict at trial. The total fee will be a percentage of your recovery.
Contingency fee agreements allow anyone to hire a lawyer for an assisted living abuse case – even if they don’t have the money to pay out of pocket for an attorney. In New York, call the Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan to schedule a free initial consultation.Contact Us today for a free Consultation