It’s devastating to think of elderly residents of a nursing home becoming the victims of abuse or neglect. Unfortunately, it’s a reality many people have to face every year. According to the Nursing Home Abuse Center, nearly one out of three nursing homes in the U.S. have been cited for abuse.
When you moved your loved one into a nursing facility, you assumed the staff would provide quality, attentive care. If you’ve noticed signs of elder abuse or neglect, however, the experienced personal injury attorneys at DeMayo Law Offices, LLP can help you take immediate steps to protect your loved one and secure the compensation you need to cover their health care, residential needs, pain and suffering, and more.
At DeMayo Law Offices, LLP, we hold nursing homes and staff responsible for the abuse their patients endure. Depending on the circumstances, the perpetrator could be a nurse, maintenance worker, or another resident. Whoever the negligent party is, we can help you pursue a case against them and hold them accountable for their actions.
Contact us at (704) 333-1000 to schedule a free consultation with our Charlotte nursing home negligence law firm. We will advise you on the best way to take legal action to help ensure the future well-being of your beloved family member.
Why Hiring an Attorney for Your Nursing Home Negligence Claim Can Help
Hiring an attorney to assist with your nursing home negligence claim is about more than just having someone answer calls from the insurance company or stand next to you in court. An attorney is an advocate, someone who will take a professional interest in seeing that any harm done to your family member is redressed and any losses compensated. This can be especially important in cases of nursing home negligence because the injured parties in these cases are usually those who are least able to defend themselves.
Here are some reasons why hiring an attorney to assist with your claim is a good idea:
- If you or a family member has suffered abuse or negligence at the hands of those charged with their care, it can be a grueling and emotional experience. You may feel angry, betrayed, frustrated, or even vengeful. You may blame yourself for not investigating the facility thoroughly enough before committing your loved one to their care or for not spending enough time with your elderly family member after they moved into the facility. Trying to handle this kind of situation under an emotional strain can be extremely difficult. When you have an attorney to assist you, we take any emotions out of the equation and deal only with the facts. We will translate your emotional response into concrete action and present your claim with composure and professionalism so you won’t have to.
- Experience and knowledge. We are personal injury lawyers and know the law in North Carolina. We’ve seen every possible kind of personal injury case and know how to move forward while avoiding legal pitfalls and novice mistakes that can hurt your claim or get it outright denied. We will bring the full weight of our knowledge and experience to your case and use our skills to help you obtain the maximum amount of compensation possible.
- Assessing damages. Compensation for damages is meant to make up for specific losses you suffered because of someone else’s negligence. Knowing what these losses are and how they are defined can help you request more compensation than you might without the help of an experienced attorney. For example, if your loved one was injured because the neglect they suffered while under the care of a nursing home ended in hospitalization, you may ask for compensation to cover the costs of the hospital stay. What you may not know is that you may be able to recover compensation for non-economic losses like emotional distress or loss of enjoyment of life. Nursing home negligence can be traumatic for all involved, and an experienced lawyer can help you obtain compensation that repays you for monetary losses and restores your peace of mind.
- Insurance company tactics. Big insurance companies know how to protect their bottom line. They will do everything possible to minimize, delay, or deny your claim for compensation, including using tactics that are questionable or downright dishonest. They may tell you that hiring an attorney isn’t necessary or offer a settlement check to cover surprise expenses, like moving your loved one to a different care facility, hoping that you won’t notice the amount is nowhere near the amount you requested for compensation. A good attorney can help protect you and your family from these dishonest and underhanded methods and get you the dollar amount you deserve.
- Filing a lawsuit. If the insurance company reviews your claim and decides that it doesn’t warrant a payout, you’re left with very few options outside of attempting to negotiate with them. They know that you are limited in your lack of knowledge about the claims process and know there is only so much time and money you can commit. Hiring a lawyer signals to them that you don’t intend to stop once they’ve issued a denial and you can take your case all the way to trial if necessary. This changes their calculations. If you do file a lawsuit against the party responsible for the nursing home negligence, they will be required to meet you in court and defend their customer against your injury claim. Going to court is expensive. Even if they are able to successfully defend their insured, they will have to spend money and resources to do so, which may end up costing more than the price of a fair settlement would have. Hiring an attorney can tilt the odds in your favor, even with no further intervention.
Why Should I Hire DeMayo Law Offices, LLP for My Nursing Home Negligence Case?
Since 1992, DeMayo Law Offices, LLP has helped over 92,000 clients in North Carolina get appropriate compensation for their claims. From slip and fall injuries to the Johnson & Johnson talcum powder mass tort case, we handle personal injury claims of all shapes and sizes. We have a staff of over 100 legal professionals with over 150 years of combined legal experience. We are standing by to help you get just and fair compensation for your injuries, and we will protect your rights with dignity, compassion, and professionalism.
DeMayo Law Offices, LLP regularly gives back to our communities. We support several charitable organizations including the Boys & Girls Clubs and the American Heart Association. Our founder, Michael A. DeMayo, created the Michael A. DeMayo Arrive Alive scholarship program to provide thousands of dollars in tuition funding for local high school seniors, and for the last fourteen years, we’ve held an Annual Food Drive to help feed struggling families in the Carolinas. We understand that our communities are only as strong as the people that support them and make giving back part of our overall mission.
Most importantly, we get results. In our nearly thirty years of operation, we’ve obtained over $850,000,000 in settlements and awards for our clients. We can put that experience to work for you and your family.
The Major Types of Nursing Home Negligence
There are six main types of nursing home abuse and neglect that you should be aware of:
Elder physical abuse occurs when someone uses force that causes the victim bodily harm or death. Common signs that someone is the victim of physical abuse includes:
- Unexplained burns, cuts, or bruises
- Broken or fractured bones
- Dislocated joints
- Hair loss
- Teeth loss
- Consistent treatment for similar injuries
- Fear of specific individuals
The definition of sexual abuse is unwanted or forced sexual contact between the perpetrator and the victim. This includes forcing sexual acts with an elderly individual with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or another disability.
Warnings signs to watch out for that your loved one is experiencing sexual abuse includes:
- Bruised genitals or inner thighs
- Injury to the pelvis
- Bleeding from or pain of the genitals or anus
- Development of an STD
- Difficulty sitting or walking
- Stained, torn, or bloody underwear
- Emotional or social withdrawal
- Panic attacks
Emotional or Psychological Abuse
Psychological and emotional abuse against a nursing home patient is when someone intentionally causes them fear, pain, or distress. It’s a bit more challenging to spot the signs of this form of abuse because there are typically no physical injuries associated with it.
Psychological and emotional abuse may include the following actions:
- Insulting or name-calling
- Preventing access to personal belongings
The most common signs the victim of emotional or psychological elder abuse will show include:
- Avoiding eye contact with others
- Withdrawing from family, friends, and activities
- Feeling depressed
- Insomnia or a change in sleeping patterns
- Low self-esteem
- Mood swings
- Trouble eating
- Feeling uncomfortable around specific people
Neglect is the result of a caregiver failing to meet their patient’s needs or protect them from harm. Neglect will often result in an injury or even a fatality. It’s not just an accident or mistake; it’s careless behavior that puts the elderly resident at risk.
To figure out if your loved one is experiencing neglect at the nursing home, watch for these signs:
- Poor hygiene
- Unkept appearance
- Dirty clothing
- Disorganized or unclean living area
- Hazardous conditions around the facility
Elder abandonment sometimes goes hand in hand with neglect. It happens when the person who’s supposed to take care of a nursing home resident intentionally abandons them. The nurse or staff member might leave their victim in a wheelchair alone for hours or ignore their request for help to the bathroom. This form of desertion can result in severe injuries if they try to get up or walk somewhere without assistance.
If you suspect elder abandonment, there are some signs your loved one might exhibit, such as:
- Feeling depressed or lonely
- Appearing lost, scared, or confused
- Poor hygiene
- Unexplained injuries
Financial abuse is the illegal, improper, or unauthorized use of an elderly resident’s finances. This is the least common form of negligence that occurs in nursing homes, but it does happen.
Warnings signs might include the following:
- Discussing financial arrangements that don’t include documentation
- Property or belongings go missing frequently or consistently
- An elderly individual who doesn’t understand their own finances
- Bank statements or canceled checks sent to the perpetrator’s home address
- Discontinued utilities, unpaid bills, or eviction notice
- Unexplained ATM withdrawals your loved one couldn’t have made
- A specific person who shows an unusual interest in their elderly patient’s financial situation
Steps to Take If You Suspect Nursing Home Negligence
If you think your loved one has become the victim of abuse or neglect in a nursing facility, there are important steps you need to take to ensure their safety and increase your chances of pursuing adequate compensation for their suffering.
- Remain calm and treat everyone at the nursing home with respect. If you lose your temper, you could create more issues for your loved one, yourself, and your case.
- Speak to your loved one in private about the circumstances. Ask them specific questions about what happened to them and why they have certain injuries or are behaving differently than usual.
- Report the incident to a manager or the owner of the nursing home. You can also file a police report with the local police department for additional documentation.
- Remove your loved one from the facility and transfer them to another nursing home or a medical facility to treat their injuries.
- Take detailed notes about the situation, get the names and phone numbers of people who witnessed the abuse, and gather as much information as possible.
- Keep copies of your loved one’s medical records, prescriptions, imaging reports, and additional documents showing the treatment they require.
- Hire a Charlotte nursing home negligence lawyer from DeMayo Law Offices, LLP to help you with your case.
Why Does Nursing Home Negligence Happen?
There’s a wide range of situations that can lead to nursing home abuse or neglect. They include:
- Negligent hiring
- Inadequate training or supervision
- Understaffed facility
- Inexperienced staff
Employees who don’t know what they’re doing or feel overworked because there aren’t enough staff members, might take out their anger and frustration on their patients. Lack of experience could also result in neglect or abuse due to their limited experience in interacting with elderly patients. If they don’t receive training, and there are no supervisors around to monitor their interactions with residents, they can easily get away with inappropriate or aggressive behavior.
Unfortunately, many nursing home residents have some type of disability, whether it’s physical or mental. They either have a mental illness or require assistance to care for themselves. The following factors make a resident particularly vulnerable to elder abuse:
- Cognitive illness: A cognitive disorder, like dementia, requires extra care because communication is more difficult between the patient and staff. They may be unaware of their abuse or neglect, or unable to communicate it.
- Physical disability: Those with a physical disability might need help showering, getting dressed, grooming, going to the bathroom, and walking around the property.
- Mental illness: If an elderly patient suffers from depression or anxiety, they might have trouble coming forward about being the victim of abuse in a nursing home for fear of the perpetrator retaliating.
- Wealthy: Resident with known financial resources may be vulnerable to financial abuse.
- Females: It’s more common for women to become victims of abuse than men.
Hire a Charlotte Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer Immediately
Neglect and abuse often go unreported in nursing homes. Many victims don’t say anything because they can’t or fear potential repercussions from their abuser. Other times, there isn’t sufficient evidence that proves negligence occurred. Nursing facilities’ insurance companies will prioritize their bottom line. When you file a claim for compensation, they will do whatever it takes to provide the lowest possible settlement offer or issue a denial letter.
An experienced Charlotte nursing home negligence lawyer from DeMayo Law Offices, LLP will handle the process for you from start to finish. We will complete the following steps on your behalf:
- Review the abuse details by performing an in-depth investigation, which includes gathering evidence, such as medical records, witness statements, and video surveillance.
- Negotiate assertively and strategically on your behalf with the nursing home facility and their insurance company to secure the full and fair compensation you and your loved one deserve.
- If necessary, file a lawsuit with the appropriate court system and submit the necessary documentation, such as a summons and discovery requests.
- Gather additional evidence and request information from defense counsel. Schedule depositions to question the negligent party and witnesses under oath.
- Set up a mediation to try to negotiate a settlement. If that isn’t successful, we’ll move forward with a trial.
- Prepare your case to argue the other side in front of a judge and jury.
The statute of limitations to file a nursing home negligence lawsuit in North Carolina is three years. To qualify for winning a financial award on behalf of your loved one, you need to sue the liable party within three years from the date the abuse occurred.
Seeking Justice for Victims of Nursing Home Negligence
At DeMayo Law Offices, LLP, our Charlotte nursing home negligence attorneys understand the anger you feel after discovering your loved one was the victim of nursing home negligence. No one should have to go through something like that and families deserve to fight for justice on behalf of their elderly relatives. We will help you pursue the monetary award the nursing facility owes for all the expenses and pain suffered.
If your loved one was the victim of abuse or neglect, call (704) 333-1000 to schedule a free consultation with our Charlotte nursing home negligence law firm.
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