One of the most difficult decisions for any family is to move an aged loved one into a nursing home. In addition to concerns about preserving your relative’s independence and maintaining your relationship, ensuring their safety is a top priority.
Unfortunately, far too many nursing home residents suffer abuse and neglect at the hands of their caregivers. If you suspect that your loved one is being abused or neglected, it is important to take action.
Dreyer Boyajian LLP has been serving clients in Albany, Troy, Schenectady, Saratoga Springs, and throughout the Capital District for over 30 years. Please call (518) 463-7784 today for a free consultation with our nursing home abuse attorneys.
The residents of nursing homes in New York enjoy a number of rights and legal protections. The New York State Department of Health categorizes these rights as follows:
Nursing homes are required to post a summary of resident rights, visiting hours at the facility, information on applying for Medicare and Medicaid benefits, and other information in a prominent, accessible location for reference by residents and visitors. Violations of these rights may be grounds for a nursing home abuse or neglect claim.
The abuse and neglect residents suffer in nursing homes can take many different forms. Some types of mistreatment are relatively easy to identify, while others are more subtle (and insidious).
If your loved one is in a nursing home, watch out for the following:
Caregivers may subject residents to a wide range of physical abuse. Common examples include:
Physical abuse may also involve the improper or excessive use of restraints.
Residents who endure physical abuse from a caregiver don’t just suffer bodily injury. They may also suffer psychological trauma.
Most forms of emotional abuse involve a verbal component. Caregivers may subject residents to the following:
Caregivers may also emotionally abuse residents by isolating them from other residents, as well as visiting family and friends. In addition, residents may self-isolate as a coping mechanism if they are suffering mental, emotional, or verbal abuse.
There is a significant imbalance of power between caregivers and nursing home residents. Unwanted sexual contact is one of the most heinous ways caregivers may abuse their power.
Examples of nursing home sexual abuse include:
Seniors who have suffered sexual abuse or assault may become withdrawn. They may also experience mood swings and outbursts as a result of the trauma they have suffered.
Unscrupulous caregivers may attempt to profit financially from vulnerable nursing home residents in a number of ways. Common examples of nursing home financial abuse include:
Financial exploitation of the elderly doesn’t just affect the senior’s ability to pay bills. Depending on the circumstances, the abuser may rack up significant debts in your loved one’s name or deprive you and other family members of assets to which you have a legal claim.
Generally, neglect is the result of negligence on the part of one or more caregivers, rather than active malice or misconduct. However, as with the types of abuse discussed above, nursing home neglect can take a variety of forms.
Common examples of neglect in nursing homes include:
Nursing home staff and the facility itself may be liable for instances of neglect that cause elderly residents harm. An experienced lawyer can investigate negligence on the part of the nursing home and advise you of your options for filing a claim.
These can be signs of either physical or emotional abuse and require a skilled eye to track and expose those responsible.
The best way to ensure your loved one’s safety in a nursing home is to be a consistent presence. Visit often, and vary the days and times that you visit so you can see how residents are treated by different staff members.
If you notice any of the following signs, it may be time to start taking steps to protect your loved one:
If you are concerned about your loved one’s well-being in a nursing home, it is important to listen to your instincts. Timely action can prevent further suffering and avert a tragic outcome.
To file a claim against a nursing home, the facility must first owe you or your loved one a duty of care. This requirement is generally satisfied by the contract you and/or your loved one signed as part of the admissions process, which establishes the rights and responsibilities of both the resident and the nursing home. A caregiver and/or the facility must have breached that duty through abuse or neglect, causing you and/or your loved one injury. For your claim to be viable, these injuries must result in damages (financial and other losses).
Common issues in nursing home abuse and neglect claims include:
These are examples of institutional negligence, where the mismanagement of the nursing home exposes residents to harm. Individual caregivers may also be liable for neglect and abuse.
Get your free and confidential consultation with one of our medical negligence lawyers.
Ultimately, the damages you may be able to recover in a nursing home abuse claim will depend on the losses you and your family have suffered. You may be entitled to compensation for the following:
Nursing home residents who suffered abuse or neglect may be entitled to pain and suffering damages, as well as compensation for the embarrassment, humiliation, and inconvenience they suffer as a result of their injuries. In the event of a disabling injury, your loved one may also be entitled to damages for the loss of enjoyment of life.
If your loved one died as a result of abuse or neglect in a nursing home, your family can pursue compensation through a wrongful death claim. You and your surviving relatives may be able to recover compensation for medical and palliative care expenses, the cost of a funeral and burial or cremation, loss of consortium, and more.
You should report your concerns to the nursing home administrator immediately. You can also file a complaint with the facility and/or report suspected nursing home neglect or abuse to state authorities.
Allegations of nursing home abuse and neglect are investigated by the New York Department of Health, Nursing Homes and ICF/IID Surveillance. This investigation can determine if the facility has violated state and federal regulations.
If you think your loved one is in imminent danger, call 911. You should also speak to an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.
The statute of limitations in New York for personal injury claims resulting from negligence is 3 years. If your claim for nursing home abuse or neglect is rooted in issues of negligence, you will likely have to take action within 3 years.
However, the circumstances of the abuse or neglect may affect the time you have to file a claim against the nursing home. New York has instituted different statutes of limitations for different types of wrongdoing:
Given the conflicting time limits and the speed with which crucial evidence may be lost or destroyed, it is in your best interest to take action as soon as possible. Contact a nursing home abuse lawyer to get started.
Cases involving nursing home abuse and neglect are among the most heart-breaking claims our team handles. Our lawyers and staff recognize that seniors and families in these tragic situations need compassionate support as well as qualified legal guidance.
The attorneys at Dreyer Boyajian LLP have earned more than $100 million in verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients. We understand the complexities of claims involving nursing home abuse and neglect, and we passionately protect the rights of those who are often unable to defend themselves.
Please call (518) 463-7784 today for a free case review. Our nursing home abuse lawyers serve clients in Albany, Troy, Schenectady, Saratoga Springs, and throughout the Capital District of New York.