Nursing Home Abuse
There are roughly 1.4 million Americans living in nursing homes. Roughly 2/3 of nursing homes are owned by for-profit companies, and 1/3 are run by non-profits.
The elderly and their loving families entrust nursing homes greatly. They trust and expect their elderly family member will be given the highest level of care and compassion. They trust they are placing their loved one in a peaceful and safe environment. That unfortunately does not always happen.
Sadly, and disturbingly, those entrusted with this responsibility sometimes unintentionally, as well as intentionally, fail to protect the safety of their elderly patients. When this happens, serious personal injuries to innocent elders can result.
As Boston nursing home abuse lawyers, our job is to make sure all people responsible for the abuse are held fully accountable for their conduct. We are a law office dedicated to helping your family during this trying and confusing time.
This type of abuse happens to both men and women, but is more commonly experienced by women. Oftentimes, the victim is unable, or unwilling to report the abuse to staff or to family members.
There are sadly many nursing home residents that silently suffer, out of fear of any consequences their reporting would cause. This only serves to allow the abuse to continue and possibly worsen.What Are Some Common Types of Abuse and Neglect on the Elderly?
This reprehensible and disgusting conduct comes in many different forms. Nursing home abuse and neglect can result in both obvious physical harm, as well as less obvious harm such as psychological or emotional injury.
The types of abuse and neglect that can occur at nursing homes and other assisted living facilities include:
- Verbal abuse
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Financial abuse
- Slips, trips and falls
- Inadequate hygiene
- Improper restraints
- Withholding medication or overmedicating
- Wrongful death
- Back injuries
- Ankle injuries
- Neck injuries
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Broken bones
- Emotional withdraw
- Brain injuries (TBI)
- Dwindling finances
- Withdrawal around caretakers
- Burn injuries
- Facial injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Catastrophic injuries
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy)
- Infections and disease
- Disc herniations
- Scarring, disfigurement or lacerations
- Food poisoning
Establishing how the abuse happened is done in many different ways. A thorough and complete investigation is necessary. This includes:
- Asking the victim about all abuse that occurred, and who did it
- Comparing pre and post abuse records
- Obtaining any incident reports of documented abuse at a given location
- Obtaining any video of the abuse that may exist
- Finding any photos that evidence abuse
- Taking statements from other possible abuse victims at the facility
- Taking depositions of anyone involved in the abuse, or who knew about the abuse
As your attorneys, we investigate exactly what happened to your loved one. We also investigate to target all available people and companies that were at all involved in the abuse, or knew about it, and did nothing to stop it. All potential parties are brought into the case. We also investigate to find any photos, video, reports, and other documentation of what happened.
We find out if there are any witnesses to the abuse. We put all of this together and then seek to resolve the case out-of-court with the insurance company for the nursing home. If an out-of-court settlement cannot be reached, then we file a lawsuit seeking full financial compensation for all the damages the abuse caused to your loved one.
Civil damages that can be pursued include payment of medical bills, pain and suffering, and any type of scarring or disfigurement that results.
If it is discovered criminal charges are warranted, the wrongdoers may be charged accordingly. Assault and battery are common criminal charges filed by prosecutors in elder abuse and neglect cases.Ways of Preventing Nursing Abuse of the Elderly
- Stay in touch with your loved one(s) in nursing facilities by frequently checking on how they are doing
- Establish relationships with the staff involved in the care of your loved one
- During visits check to see how he/she looks, and behaves. Any signs of unusual physical distress or anxiety could be indicators of a problem
- Be aware of your loved one’s finances and any sudden changes to his/her financial picture
- Keep in eye in actual, or proposed changes to a will as that can be a sign of potential financial abuse and/or manipulation
We pursue all possible damages including:
- Past and future medical expenses relating to the abuse
- Payment for scarring or disfigurement
- Payment for pain and suffering
- Funeral expenses in the event of death
- Punitive damages (in specific situations)
Litigation of these cases is common when the parties cannot work out an amicable out-of-court resolution. Some of that parties that are sued in these cases can include:
- Nursing home owners and supervisors
- Nurse assistants
- Physical therapists
A lawsuit is begun by the filing of a complaint in court. In the complaint, all potential parties involved in the abuse are named in the complaint. Once all parties are served with the complaint, then the defense attorneys brought in by the insurance companies file their answer.
Next comes the discovery process which involves each side exchanging written questions (interrogatories), documents (request for production of documents, and depositions (out-of-court testimony under oath). After discovery there will be a pre-trial conference, a final trial conference, and then, if the case still does not settle, a jury trial. Keep in mind the vast majority of these cases do settle. However, from time to time they do need to be tried in front of juries in court. Almost always the Massachusetts Superior Court is the proper courthouse for these cases.What Are Some Common Injuries From Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?
There are many types of injuries and harm that can flow from abuse on the elderly, and they include:
- Strains and sprains
- Broken Bones
- Wrongful Death
- Brain injuries
- Scarring and Disfigurement
For employees of nursing home that are injured during the course and scope of their employment at a nursing home, they may be entitled to workers compensation benefits.
These are no-fault benefits that can pay for any medical treatment, lost wages, scarring, or loss of function caused by the work injury.Are There Time Limits to Filing These Claims?
It is always wise not to wait if you are considering taking legal action. These cases have very specific and inflexible statutes of limitations. Generally in Massachusetts, the statute of limitations for these cases is three years from the date of the abuse. Taking swift legal action is important because oftentimes witnesses disappear and critical documents go missing. It is important that all evidence is preserved, which will increase the likelihood of a successful outcome for the case.Boston Attorney for the Abuse and Neglect of the Elderly
The Law Office of Christopher Earley is committed to helping the elderly and their loved ones when abuse at nursing home and assisted living facilities occurs. Call today for help. When this type of conduct occurs, those responsible must be held legally accountable.