Finding out that your loved one got hurt at their nursing home can be upsetting. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), approximately 10% of U.S. seniors might be suffering from abuse. If your loved one suffered injuries and expenses due to physical or emotional mistreatment or neglect, you might be wondering how to hold a nursing home accountable for abuse.
You can potentially file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against the nursing home. Seeking justice by going after a nursing home can be intimidating and will require a good understanding of the laws and regulations that skilled nursing homes have to adhere to. You will also need compelling evidence proving your claim, which a nursing home abuse lawyer can help you get.
Collecting Evidence of Abuse
If you have suspicions that your loved one is suffering from abuse in their nursing home, you should start documenting any injuries and collect evidence. This will help with holding the nursing home accountable.
Document Signs of Abuse
Knowing signs of abuse is important. If you detect any signs, you should seek medical help immediately. You may also want to record details in a journal and take photographs of any injuries, if possible.
Signs and symptoms of abuse on your loved one can include:
- Extensive bruising
- Lacerations and cuts
- Unexplained fractures
- Drastic changes in mood and character
- Dehydrating and malnutrition
- Fear of caregivers
There may also be other, more general, signs of substandard care such as stained clothes, dirty bed linens, or a general lack of hygiene. If you come across any of these signs of neglect, you should document them with photographs and notes. Make sure to include dates and times with any notes and photographs.
Get Copies of Medical Records
Review your loved one’s medical records, if possible, with the help of a trusted doctor. Medical records should include all injuries, hospitalizations, and medications your loved one may have received as a result of abuse or neglect.
Finding notes of frequent infections or bedsores could also be an indication of neglect.
If your loved one suffered from abuse or neglect in their nursing home, there will most likely be witnesses. Talk to other residents or family members and find out if they noticed any substandard treatment of their loved one or your relative. Witnesses can also include employees of the nursing home.
Consider Working with a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Holding a nursing home accountable can be tough and may require a great deal of evidence. Your best course of action can be to speak to a nursing home lawyer as soon as you notice any signs of abuse. A lawyer can help you collect the necessary evidence and protect your legal rights.
The Nursing Home Is Responsible
Nursing homes are, by law, required to ensure that a facility is free from abuse and neglect under the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987. You can generally hold a nursing home accountable for abuse if you can prove the following elements of a lawsuit:
- The nursing home had a duty of care
- They breached their duty
- Your loved one suffered injuries and other damages as a direct result
Nursing homes can be negligent in a number of ways, for example, by not employing enough staff, hiring negligently, or failing to adhere to policies and procedures intended to keep their residents safe.
Call Bernstein & Poisson for Help Today
Trying to hold a nursing home to account on your own can be tricky and full of potential pitfalls. However, a nursing home lawyer can give you peace of mind and reassurance that your loved one’s rights are always protected. Moreover, letting your attorney deal with building a case and the necessary paperwork can leave you free to concentrate on your loved one, helping them move past this upsetting and stressful time in their lives.
Bernstein & Poisson is committed to looking out for your best interests and fighting for seniors’ rights to justice and compensation. We have been protecting people’s rights since 1997. Call us today at (702) 633-3333 for a free, no-obligation case review and find out if you have a case.