Deciding with your family that a loved one needs dedicated care from a nursing home is a heart-wrenching decision. When you trust an institution with a loved one’s care, you believe that their staff will provide excellent treatment. It’s a reasonable expectation, but some nursing homes fail to meet it.
Unfortunately, nursing home abuse and neglect happen every day in North Carolina. If your loved one was the victim of nursing home negligence, contact DeMayo Law Offices today. We may be able to help you pursue an insurance claim or lawsuit against the responsible party.
Our Monroe, NC nursing home negligence lawyers believe in holding the facilities and staff members liable for their carelessness. We’ll take steps to make them face the consequences of their actions and recover full, fair compensation for you and your family. You don’t have to face down an unfeeling corporation alone. Call us at (704) 291-9200 today to schedule a free consultation.
What is Nursing Home Negligence?
Nursing home negligence is a form of abuse that occurs in nursing homes charged with the care of elderly and vulnerable residents. Unfortunately, many nursing homes value their profits above their caregiving missions. They may cut corners and provide substandard care and breach their duty to keep their residents safe.
When they do so and physical or emotional injury to those in their care, they can be held liable. There are six types of nursing home negligence your loved one could experience: physical, emotional or psychological abuse, neglect, abandonment, financial exploitation, and sexual abuse.
Physical abuse against a nursing home patient happens when a staff member or resident uses physical force leading to bodily harm or death. Signs that your loved one could be the victim of physical abuse include:
• Hair loss
• Broken or fractured bones
• Unexplained bruises, burns, or cuts
• Frequent treatment of similar injuries
• Dislocated joints
• Tooth loss
• Fear of specific individuals
Emotional or Psychological Abuse
Emotional and psychological abuse occurs when a person intends to cause pain, fear, or distress through verbal or other non-physical means. It’s more difficult to recognize since it typically causes no physical injuries.
This form of abuse could involve the following behaviors:
• Name-calling or insulting
• Preventing access to visitors, activities, and personal belongings
Signs that your loved one might have suffered emotional or psychological abuse include:
• Mood swings
• Withdrawal from family, friends, and favorite activities
• Avoiding eye contact with other people
• Difficulty eating
• Change in sleeping patterns
• Low self-esteem
• Feeling uncomfortable around certain people
When a caregiver fails to protect their patient from harm or fails to meet their needs, it’s known as neglect. Some forms of neglect cause injuries and fatalities. Unintended accidents do happen in nursing homes, but neglect is a deliberate pattern of inaction that puts elderly and vulnerable residents at risk.
The below signs might indicate the nursing home has neglected your loved one:
• Dirty clothes
• Poor hygiene
• An injury that went untreated
• Unclean or disorganized bedroom
• Disheveled appearance
This type of nursing home negligence occurs when the person or persons responsible for a patient abandons them intentionally. Abandonment could take the form of leaving the elderly resident in bed for hours despite requests for assistance to the bathroom or ignoring a patient sitting in a wheelchair in the middle of the hall. Desertion causes physical injury when patients attempt to address their own needs.
Common signs of abandonment include:
• Feeling depressed or lonely
• Unexplained injuries
• Appearing scared, confused, or lost
Nursing home sexual abuse is forced, unwanted sexual contact. That can include forcing a patient with dementia, Alzheimer’s, or another disability into a sexual act.
If you believe your loved one was the victim of sexual abuse, you can look for these physical and behavioral warning:
• Trouble walking or sitting
• Bleeding from the anus or genitals
• Pelvic injuries
• Diagnosis of a new STD
• Emotional or social withdrawal
• Torn, bloody, or stained underwear
• Genital or anal pain
• Bruised genitals or inner thighs
• Panic attacks
Financial abuse is the improper, unauthorized, or illegal use of a nursing home patient’s financial resources.
The most common warning signs of financial abuse include:
• The patient doesn’t understand their finances
• Unexplained ATM withdrawals your loved one didn’t make
• Missing belongings or personal property going
• Unpaid bills, an eviction notice on their home, or discontinued utilities
• Discussions of undocumented financial arrangements
• A facility employee showing undo interest in their patient’s finances
• Canceled checks or bank statements mailed to the perpetrator’s home instead of you or your loved one
What to Do if You Suspect Nursing Home Negligence
If you believe nursing home negligence occurred, you can take the bellow steps to secure your loved one’s safety and ensure the proper response from authorities. After the appropriate local or state organization is notified, you can take steps to seek the financial compensation you and your family deserve.
1. Stay calm and remain respectful of the nursing home staff. It’s not a good idea to escalate the situation. Let the authorities or managers take those steps.
2. Talk to your loved one about the circumstances of their abuse in private. Ask them questions to retrieve specific, relevant information about their injuries or unusual behavior.
3. Report the incident to the nursing facility immediately. Elder abuse is a crime. Contact the North Carolina Adult Protective Services, both to document the incident and make sure any criminal actions are taken care of by the appropriate agency.
4. If necessary, seek medical care at a hospital or appropriate provider to treat their injuries.
5. Write down notes about what happened, such as the name of the alleged abuser, contact information for those who saw what happened, dates the incidents occurred, and the injuries that resulted.
6. Keep copies of all documents related to the abuse. That includes prescriptions, medical records and bills, operative reports, MRI and X-ray records, etc.
7. Contact a Monroe, NC nursing home negligence lawyer to discuss your legal options.
The Reasons Nursing Home Negligence Occurs
Unfortunately, nursing home negligence is common throughout the state. There are many reasons for this, including the following:
• Inadequate training of nurses
• Failure of supervisors to monitor their staff
• Understaffed nursing home
• Failure to monitor potentially violent residents
• Negligent hiring of unqualified employees
When a nursing home staff member is inexperienced or overworked, they could take out their frustration and anger on their patients. If the facility doesn’t provide the proper training and employee supervision, it can encourage irresponsible individuals to mishandle residents.
Many nursing home residents have physical or mental disabilities that require assistance with routine tasks, such as getting dressed. These patients, including the elderly, are more vulnerable to abuse and neglect.
Factors that leave residents more susceptible include:
• Mental illnesses: Someone suffering from anxiety or depression could find it difficult to admit their caregiver is abusing them. They might fear retaliation or not understand what’s happening to them.
• Physical disabilities: Physically disabled patients need nursing home staff to help them get out of bed, shower, groom, and walk. Requiring that much assistance creates the opportunity for abuse, neglect, or abandonment since they’re unable to defend themselves.
• Women: Statistically, women are the victims of abuse more than men. That’s because many individuals think they’re easy targets.
• Cognitive illnesses: A cognitive disease, such as dementia, limits communication skills. Patients who can’t voice their poor treatment or who forget what caused an injury are vulnerable.
• Wealthy residents: Staff members might take advantage of residents who they perceive to be wealthy, hoping to capitalize on their vulnerable position.
Our Charlotte, NC Nursing Home Negligence Lawyers Will Help You Fight
Most victims of nursing home abuse or neglect don’t report it. They might not have the ability to say anything or worry about additional abuse if no one believes them. Sometimes, a lack of evidence leads to the report being dismissed and allows the negligence to continue.
Nursing home liability insurers have endless resources at their disposal. That means they’re able to fight allegations of misconduct in court and intimidate victims into dropping their cases. If you pursue an insurance claim or a lawsuit against them, they might offer a low settlement to promptly close the case or scare you into ceasing legal action against them.
When you hire one of the Monroe, NC nursing home negligence lawyers DeMayo Law Offices, we will take over the difficult communications with insurance companies so you can focus on your loved one’s recovery. We’ll:
• Investigate your allegations of nursing home negligence
• Obtain crucial evidence, such as eyewitness statements, your loved one’s medical records, and security footage
• Request a copy of the nursing facility’s insurance policy
• Review your loved one’s records from the nursing home
• File an insurance claim or a lawsuit on your behalf
• Negotiate an insurance settlement or argue your case in court
If you choose to file a lawsuit against the nursing home or a specific staff member, you must meet the statute of limitations. In North Carolina, the statute of limitations for nursing home negligence cases is three years. That means you have three years from the date the abuse started to seek financial compensation from the liable party.
Contact DeMayo Law Offices
Our Monroe, NC nursing home negligence lawyers understand the pain you and your loved one experienced. It’s unacceptable that they became the victim of abuse by someone they trusted.
We’ll fight the nursing home and their insurers so that you know they’ve been held responsible for their wrongdoing and will make changes for the future. We won’t rest until you and your family recover fair compensation for the negligence your loved one suffered.
To discuss your loved one’s case with us and find out how we can help you and your loved one move forward with your lives, call us today at (704) 291-9200.
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