Can I Sue a Nursing Home for Neglect?
Families place a great deal of trust in nursing homes and other care facilities to provide their elderly relatives with a clean, safe place to live. Unfortunately, instances of abuse and neglect are far too common in nursing homes throughout New Jersey.
The elderly residents of nursing homes are often unable to advocate for themselves. Some are too frightened to speak up when they are subjected to neglect or abuse.
Nursing home residents have rights. If you or a loved one has suffered abuse or neglect at the hands of a caregiver, contact a New Jersey nursing home abuse attorney at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi today for a free case review.
When Do I Have a Nursing Home Neglect Claim?
Unfortunately, the residents of nursing homes can suffer a wide range of abuse and neglect. Generally, abuse by a caretaker is intentional, and it can take several different forms:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional and verbal abuse
- Financial abuse and exploitation
Nursing home neglect, on the other hand, usually occurs due to errors on the part of caretakers (rather than outright malice). Common signs of neglect in nursing homes include:
- Malnutrition and dehydration
- Unclean living quarters and common areas
- Lack of supervision of residents
- Poorly maintained premises and grounds
- Residents with poor hygiene (e.g., lack of bathing, unlaundered clothes, etc.)
- Missing or improperly administered medications
- Emotional issues among residents (e.g., mood swings, isolation, lack of sociability, etc.)
- Residents wandering within or away from the facility
Some of the issues associated with mistreatment in nursing homes may be signs of neglect, abuse, or a combination of the two. For example, physical injuries such as scrapes, bruises, and lacerations can be caused by neglect (i.e., residents may fall because staff members fail to assist them) or abuse (i.e., a staff member physically assaults a resident and causes injury).
Similarly, declining physical health and changes in mental state can occur because residents are ignored or improperly cared for by nursing home staff. These issues may also be the result of abuse perpetrated against the resident.
What Are My Options for a Nursing Home Claim?
Nursing home residents and their families may be entitled to compensation for their losses stemming from instances of nursing home abuse and neglect. To recover damages, you must be able to prove negligence on the part of one or more caretakers. Generally, the nursing home itself is liable for negligence or wrongdoing on the part of its employees.
Proving negligence in a nursing home neglect case can be complicated. An experienced attorney can investigate the staff, conditions at the facility, and records of your loved one’s injuries – as well as identify state and federal nursing home regulations that may have been violated – to determine if you have a case.
Common examples of negligence in nursing homes include:
- Inadequate staffing: It is not uncommon for nursing homes to hire an insufficient number of caretakers and other staff for the number of residents.
- Improperly trained staff: Employees at the facility may not have the experience or training to care for the elderly, increasing the risk of serious errors.
- Failure to implement health and safety policies: Nursing homes have an obligation to keep the facility clean and the premises safe. When they fail to adopt these policies and/or staff members fail to abide by them, residents may be at greater risk of illness and accidents.
- Lack of supervision of residents: The residents of nursing homes may face limitations in their ability to care for themselves. Some residents require constant attention and care to avoid falls, wandering from the premises, medical emergencies, and other serious issues. If a nursing home is negligent in supervising a resident or managing his or her care, the resident may suffer harm.
- Negligent supervision of employees: Improper supervision of nursing home staff significantly increases the risk of neglect and abuse. The facility may be liable for the negligence or wrongdoing of its employees.
You may be able to file a lawsuit if you or a loved one suffered harm as a result of one or more of these issues. An attorney can collect evidence on your behalf while you and your family focus on healing.
If your loved one is being subjected to abuse or neglect, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Getting qualified legal guidance can help you understand your legal options as well as the steps you can take to protect your loved one, such as removing them from the facility, calling the police, etc.
Contact a New Jersey Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Today
Nursing home neglect and abuse claims may be resolved through negotiations with one or more insurance companies or via a trial verdict in your favor. It is important to work with trial lawyers experienced in nursing home abuse cases who can represent you effectively in negotiating a settlement with the insurance company or presenting your case in court.
The attorneys at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi have extensive experience handling nursing home claims. We never hesitate to take cases to trial if that is the best option for recovering the compensation our clients deserve.
Please call (201) 585-9111 today for a free case review. Our nursing home abuse attorneys serve clients in Fort Lee and throughout New Jersey as well as in New York.