Every senior deserves to live comfortably without the fear of abuse or neglect. Unfortunately, many nursing home residents face severe abuse daily. Many are also neglected, putting them at risk for serious and even life-threatening injuries.
If you believe your loved one has experienced nursing home abuse, call our experienced nursing home abuse lawyers in Las Vegas to learn more about your legal options.
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How Do I Know if I Have a Case?
If you suspect a loved one was a victim of nursing home abuse, it would be in your best interest to speak with one of our licensed attorneys to help determine whether you have a valid case. These situations need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Many instances of nursing home abuse involve physical harm or injuries. This includes any type of physical assault, including punching kicking, slapping, or biting a resident.
Not all abuse involves physical injury, however. Emotional abuse is another common problem for nursing home residents. This type of abuse involves spoken or unspoken communication that is mentally harmful to a nursing home resident.
Residents may also suffer from neglect, which is the failure or refusal of a caretaker to meet a nursing home resident’s basic needs. This could include failing to bathe or feed a resident. Neglect could also involve the failure to meet medical needs or to allow a resident to become dehydrated. Bedsores are a common sign of neglect.
While neglect may be intentional, it might also result from a nursing home administrator’s failure to always maintain appropriate staffing levels.
How Can a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Help My Family?
An attorney may play a pivotal role in your family’s nursing home abuse case in some of the following ways:
Investigating the Allegations
Every successful nursing home abuse or neglect claim begins with a comprehensive investigation. An attorney may be able to investigate your loved one’s medical records to identify possible injuries. The investigation will also focus on the circumstances surrounding your loved one’s abuse or neglect.
Developing a Theory of Negligence
At the end of the investigation, an attorney might be able to advise you regarding their theory of liability. This includes the potential civil liability not only for the abuser but also for the facility.
Negotiating a Settlement
Many nursing home abuse or neglect claims are resolved through a mutual settlement agreement. Your attorney may be able to negotiate a settlement on your loved one’s behalf. A strong understanding of the law and the facts of your loved one’s case could substantially strengthen your attorney’s position.
Filing a Lawsuit
When these cases do not settle, a lawsuit becomes necessary. An attorney may be able to draft and file a lawsuit based on the nursing home’s negligence.
Trying the Case
Your attorney may be able to take the case to trial to obtain a judgment in your loved one’s favor.
How Much Might a Nursing Home Abuse Case Be Worth?
If your loved one has suffered serious physical or emotional injuries due to nursing home abuse or neglect, there may not be enough money in the world to right this wrong. However, our attorneys are prepared to help you pursue compensation for any medical bills you incurred, pain and suffering for the physical and emotional injuries your loved one endured and other damages to help your family get closure after a traumatic event.
Our attorneys may be able to help you pursue economic damages, including some of the following:
- Bills for any hospital stays
- Emergency transport to the hospital
- Medical diagnostic testing
- Physical therapy sessions
- Costs of doctor’s visits
- Medical equipment like wheelchairs, canes or crutches
- Prescription drugs
- Repairing or replacing damaged personal property
Additionally, you may be able to pursue compensation for non-economic damages such as:
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Physical pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- And more
Punitive damages may also be awarded in some rare cases where the actions of the negligent party were particularly egregious. These types of damages are not considered compensation to you, but rather as a form of punishment toward the negligent party to help prevent others from acting in the same manner.
What are Your Loved One’s Rights as a Nursing Home Resident?
Federal and state law grant numerous rights to nursing home residents to help ensure they are not mistreated and that their needs are being met.
Nevada has a bill of rights for long term care residents that is much like the list of rights residents have under federal law. The bill of rights includes the right to:
- Live free of interference, coercion, discrimination or reprisal for exercising rights
- Live free of unreasonable restraint
- Voice complaints
- Take part in discussions about treatment, care and access to records
- Communicate with others, including having reasonable access to a telephone
- Manage financial affairs
- And more
Federal law also grants residents the right to live free from abuse and neglect. This includes verbal, sexual, physical or mental abuse. Residents have the right to be treated with respect and dignity.
Who May Be Liable for my Damages?
Generally, those responsible for the abuse and neglect of your loved one may be held financially liable for your damages. If the facility where your loved one suffered the emotional or physical injuries acted negligently it may also be held financially liable. For example, failing to properly train staff or maintain proper staffing levels could be considered negligence.
There are several ways you may be able to hold a nursing home accountable for abuse, such as notifying law enforcement of your suspicions. If the police investigate and determine that a crime occurred, your loved one’s abuser could face arrest.
There are also administrative actions that could be taken against the nursing home. Nursing homes are subject to regulation, and abuse allegations may hurt a facility’s ability to maintain a license.
Can a Nursing Home Be Held Liable for Falls?
Nursing homes may be liable for injuries to residents who fall because staff members did not take proactive steps to prevent falls. It is not enough for nursing home caregivers to rush to the aid of a resident that has fallen.
The problem is that many nursing homes fail to take these precautions.
The main way to prevent residents from falling is to ensure there are enough staff members at the facility. Residents often fall after trying to move on their own, which could potentially be avoided if there are enough staff members observing residents.
The footwear that residents use can make falls more or less likely. Proper footwear can help residents’ feet grip slippery surfaces. A small slip could be all it takes to cause a resident to fall and break a bone or even suffer or head or brain injury.
Many falls occur when nursing home residents faint. Ensuring they stay hydrated is one way to avoid these falls.
Some falls occur due to diminished balance or muscle strength. Regular exercise could improve mobility among residents and reduce falls.
Who Can File a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit?
There are various ways you may be able to file a nursing home abuse lawsuit. The right to file suit rests with the victim of the abuse. If you suffered abuse while residing in a nursing home, your next step would be to discuss your options with one of our licensed attorneys to discuss your claim.
If you are not the victim of abuse, you might not have the right to file a lawsuit on the victim’s behalf. However, you may be able to pursue legal action on a loved one’s behalf if you hold guardianship or power of attorney that explicitly gives you the right to pursue legal action. Our attorneys are prepared to discuss your legal options if your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse.
Regardless of who is looking to file the lawsuit, it is important to speak to our attorneys as soon as possible, as the statute of limitations for a nursing home abuse lawsuit in Nevada is only one year from the date the victim’s injuries were discovered. These cases fall under the medical malpractice statute of limitations.
What Are the Different Types of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?
Understanding the nature of nursing home abuse could help in your pursuit of compensation and justice on your loved one’s behalf.
Physical abuse is one of the most common problems in nursing homes, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA). Any act that causes unlawful physical injury is a form of physical abuse. Often, this form of abuse is akin to an assault.
It may involve a caretaker kicking, biting, slapping, or punching a nursing home resident. Physical abuse could also involve the unnecessary use of physical or chemical restraints.
Any form of nonconsensual sexual contact is sexual abuse. There have been countless allegations of sexual abuse within nursing homes. Abusers often prey on those who lack the mental capacity to give consent or the physical capacity to resist an assaulter. Some nursing home residents are not lucid enough to report an attack or understand what has happened to them.
It is possible to abuse a nursing home resident without ever leaving a mark on his or her body. Emotional abuse occurs when a person’s words or actions cause a nursing home resident to experience fear, angst, or shame. Emotional abuse could involve threats, harassment, or isolation, among other things.
Neglect is the failure to provide for a resident’s basic needs. Neglect commonly occurs in a nursing home when the caretakers are overwhelmed or poorly trained. Many times facilities are understaffed, and staff members cannot provide
How Do I Report Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse may result in civil, criminal and administrative consequences. For that reason, there could be multiple paths for you to report nursing home abuse. The specific method of reporting nursing home abuse will vary from one state to another, as different jurisdictions have different regulatory authorities.
In general, the options for reporting nursing home abuse include the following:
Contact State Regulators
Every state has some form of adult protective services. While each state is different, these regulators may be able to take action against the nursing home that allowed the abuse to occur. Some states also keep records of abuse allegations against nurses and caretakers.
In Nevada, you can report suspected elder abuse by contacting the Adult Protective Services of Nevada’s Aging and Disability Services in Clark County at 702-486-6930 or statewide at 888-729-0571.
Call the Police
If your loved one faces imminent danger, you should call 9-1-1. In some cases, the abuse may be criminal in nature and law enforcement may be able to get involved to help keep your loved one safe.
Seek Medical Care
Seeking the assistance of medical professionals unaffiliated with the nursing home could not only address your loved one’s injuries but also notify the state of potential abuse.
How Can I Help Prevent Nursing Home Abuse?
There are many ways you may be able to help prevent nursing home abuse.
Check in Regularly
The more you check in on a loved one living in a nursing home, the more likely you are to notice signs of abuse. This could include anything from subtle changes in personality to visible bruises. Regular visits from family could deter caretakers that are prone to abuse.
Get to Know the Caretakers
It can help to know as much about the people caring for your loved one as possible. If you notice concerning behavior, do not hesitate to dig deeper. This could involve research of complaints that have been filed against the specific caretaker.
Sometimes, the signs of abuse are subtle. Pay careful attention to your loved one’s demeanor. Some residents will show signs of fear or become closed off when they are suffering abuse. By paying attention, one could also spot signs of neglect like weight loss or dehydration.
Increase Social Interaction
Isolated residents are more likely to face abuse. By helping your loved one increase social interaction, you could help prevent abuse before it starts.
What Are the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse?
There are different types of nursing home abuse. For that reason, the signs of nursing home abuse or neglect can vary tremendously. Some of these signs are physical injuries, while others involve changes to your loved one’s personality or demeanor.
While accidents can happen, any unexpected injuries suffered by a nursing home resident could be a sign of abuse. Cuts, bruises, or broken bones could be a sign of physical abuse. Other injuries could be evidence that sexual abuse has occurred.
In some cases, the victims of nursing home abuse will become withdrawn. This is true of residents that are naturally outgoing, as well as those who were already shy. This withdrawal is often based on fear of continuing abuse.
When nursing home residents suffer abuse, their fear is often significant. This is especially true of victims of nursing home abuse when they are near their abusers.
Staff Will Not Leave You Alone with Your Loved One
In some cases, the abuser will attempt to remain present whenever you are with your loved one. This could be a sign of abuse.
Discuss Your Options with a Las Vegas Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
If your loved one is the victim of neglect or abuse in a nursing home, you may be able to recover compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Since 2007, our knowledgeable attorneys in Las Vegas have been working hard on behalf injury victims and their loved ones to secure the maximum compensation for their damages and have successfully recovered millions on their behalf.
Founding partners Jack Bernstein and Scott Poisson are both personally involved in every case the firm takes on. We understand the helplessness and anger injury victims experience and are here to support and fight for them throughout the legal process.