Nursing homes should be a safe haven for seniors in need of care during their golden years. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. More than two million cases of elder abuse are reported each year — and there’s likely many more that go unreported.1 It’s possible for this abuse to take place in care facilities that are improperly trained, understaffed, or poorly supervised. You can search online to learn how to fight back against elder abuse and neglect.
If you or a loved one has experienced abuse in a nursing home, you should definitely consider filing a claim. You can find attorneys that specialize in this type of lawsuit by searching online.
Here’s when you should file a claim for nursing home neglect.
How to Know If You Have a Case
It might be hard for elders to recognize or vocalize that they are being neglected, especially if they have a disability. That’s why it’s important to learn about the different forms in which neglect can take place. It will give you the necessary confirmation that something is not right and a claim should be filed.
There are many types of abuse that can happen in or outside nursing homes. Some of them include:
- Physical abuse;
- Emotional abuse;
- Sexual abuse;
- Neglect, and;
- Financial abuse.2
The National Center for Victims of Crime reports 15.3 percent of elder abuse complaints are for neglect.3 This means a caretaker may not be responding to a resident’s physical, emotional, or social needs. They might also be neglecting them by withholding food, medications, or access to health care.
Abuse can happen to any resident in long term care facilities. It’s most concerning for people who rely on caretakers to perform activities of everyday life such as dressing or bathing. Those who are most vulnerable are people with memory problems, dementia, or other disabilities.
There are several reasons seniors might experience neglect. Understaffed nursing homes are one of the largest factors. Staff members may need help tending to residents, but having a lack of colleagues can lead them to be overworked or careless. It could also be due to negligent hiring or inadequate training.
Some red flags for neglect may be more obvious than others. Some warning signs that a senior might be neglected by care workers include:
- Poor resident hygiene;
- Unsanitary living conditions;
- Malnutrition or dehydration;
- Loss or lack of mobility;
- Unexplained injuries, or;
- Psychological issues.
Any of these signs could give you reason to file a claim. After recognizing neglect, it’s time to find the right attorney to represent you.
Choosing an Attorney
Finding an attorney to advocate on your behalf is essential to winning any case against a nursing home. They can be your voice and potentially earn you some type of compensation for your experience. There are lawyers you can hire that specialize in these types of cases.
If you’re unsure whether or not you have a case, see if there are attorneys that offer free consultations.4 You can share your experience with them to learn if it’s worth pursuing action against your nursing home. It’s also an opportunity for you to get to know a lawyer’s background and decide if they’re someone you’re comfortable working with.
The lawsuit could result in a verdict, settlement, or restitution. Whether the case is a civil or criminal case will ultimately depend on the victim’s experience.
There are two types of civil nursing home abuse lawsuits: tort and breach of contract. Tort lawsuits typically involve neglect cases. Since nursing homes typically have liability insurance, it gives victims an opportunity to collect more compensation.5
It’s important to find out what kind of procedures to expect after filing your claim. You can learn whether the attorney will consider settling or if arbitration will be an option. The consultation will also be the time to understand the legal costs of hiring them as your attorney.
Nursing Home Abuse Settlements
The average nursing home neglect settlement in the United States hovers around $406,000, but this figure can vary significantly. 6 The specific circumstances of each case, the gravity of the neglect, and the resulting impact play a vital role in determining the final amount. In one instance, a wrongful death lawsuit resulted in a settlement of $13 million. 7
When it comes to nursing home abuse settlements, it’s essential to understand the array of compensations a plaintiff can receive. Damages are broadly categorized and can cover various aspects such as:
- Emotional suffering experienced by the victim;
- Anticipated future healthcare costs;
- Medical bills accumulated during treatment;
- Funeral expenses in the unfortunate event of death, or;
- Other associated costs
A particularly noteworthy component of these settlements is the punitive damages. These serve not just as compensation but as a stern reprimand to the nursing home, penalizing them for their transgressions.
Find an Attorney by Searching Online
No one should have to put up with neglect, especially seniors in nursing homes. You can get the help you need by hiring an attorney. With someone to advocate on your behalf, you can hold the facility accountable and potentially receive compensation based on your experience.
To file a claim, search online for an attorney. Visit them for a free consultation to learn about their past work and how they would proceed with your case. There are resources you can find online that will connect you to low-cost and even free legal services for people unable to afford more expensive legal representation.