Nursing homes exist to provide care for our loved ones when they are too ill or too old to care for themselves. It’s never an easy decision to admit an elderly or vulnerable family member to such a facility, and families do so with the hope that their loved one will be safe and well cared for. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and elder abuse is more common than one would think, according to statistics from the National Center on Elder Abuse.
If you suspect that your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse, you should have a lawyer on your side who specializes in nursing home abuse. A Los Angeles nursing home abuse lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm might be able to help. Call us today for a no-obligation review of your case.
Common Types of Nursing Home Abuse
According to the National Institute on Aging, abuse in nursing homes can take many different forms, including:
- Emotional abuse. This can include intimidation, humiliation, mocking, and other unkind treatment toward your elderly loved one by nursing home staff. Your loved one might start to show anger, anxiety, depression, withdrawal, or other unusual behaviors.
- Physical abuse. These signs are often the easiest to spot—especially when there are unexplained bruises, cuts, or broken bones.
- Sexual abuse. Signs that your loved one has been sexually abused include sexually transmitted disease, bleeding around the genitals, bloody underclothing, and bruises, or other injuries around the breast or genital areas.
- Financial exploitation. Signs include missing checks or new credit card accounts opened in your loved one’s name, as well as lost personal property, unauthorized withdrawals of funds, money transfers, and identity theft.
- Neglect. If your loved one is sleeping on soiled bed linens or is living in unsanitary conditions, this could be a sign that nursing home staff are being negligent. Bedsores and unexpected weight loss are also red flags.
What to Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse
The Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act, WIC § 15630, holds California nursing homes to a high standard of care. It states that a nursing home that is caring for your loved one but whose negligence contributes to causing harm can be held legally responsible for injuries. This can include nursing home staff and nursing home administrators.
If you complain to the nursing home administrators but are unsatisfied with their actions—or lack thereof—you can file a complaint of suspected nursing home abuse with the Licensing and Certification Division of the California Department of Public Health.
This agency is responsible for ensuring that nursing homes meet state requirements. You can also contact the ombudsman in your county, which is a government-appointed official who might be able to help resolve your concerns.
You can also obtain legal representation by contacting a Los Angeles nursing home abuse lawyer. At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, we can review the details of your case with a free evaluation. Call us to learn more about your family and your loved one’s rights.
For a free legal consultation with a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer serving Los Angeles, call (800) 794-0444
Proving a Nursing Home Abuse Case
Nursing home abuse cases can be difficult to prove because the victim may be unable to speak for themselves if they are mentally or physically incapacitated. It is up to the family of elder abuse victims to bring offenders to justice, but they will have to provide evidence to substantiate their claim.
Sometimes injuries happen in nursing homes because there is not enough staff to provide proper care for patients. Understaffing can lead to neglect when employees feel overworked. Working at a nursing home is difficult work, and staff members are often undertrained. There can also be a high turnover among staff. But it is still up to the facility to conduct the appropriate criminal and background checks on applicants to try to keep from hiring people who will be prone to abuse patients.
Nursing home abuse cases are also highly emotional for both victim and family members, which is another reason to consider hiring a lawyer when dealing with this situation.
Other steps you can take if you suspect nursing home abuse include the following:
- Talk to your loved one, if possible, and try to get details on the way staff at the nursing home treats them on a daily basis. Try to find out if there is one particular staff member who is abusive.
- Get copies of your loved one’s medical records.
- Talk to caregivers about any injuries or other signs of abuse or neglect. Find out what they have to say about it. Get names and contact information from any staff who might have witnessed the abuse.
- If there are physical injuries, be sure to take pictures. If your loved one is living in an unsanitary environment, document this with pictures as well.
- Arrange for your loved one to be screened by a physician to document injuries.
- Consider moving your loved one to a different facility while you make a case against the current nursing home.
- Contact the appropriate authorities, including the police and district attorney.
- File a complaint with the state.
After you complete these steps, you can call the office of a Los Angeles nursing home abuse lawyer to review your case. They can discuss potential legal options to help your loved one and prevent further abuse.
Los Angeles Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Near Me (800) 794-0444
Los Angeles Nursing Home Injury Lawyer
Injuries in a nursing home setting may indicate abuse or neglect by staff and your loved one may be eligible for damages related to these injuries. A Los Angeles nursing home injury lawyer may be able to help you recover damages, including compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. A legal claim also can help you hold nursing homes responsible for abuse that occurred on their watch.
Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 842-6336 and get the help you need. We only charge fees when we get you a settlement or jury award, so you do not pay unless you win. We can handle your legal issues while you focus on the needs of your family following injuries.
Nursing Home Abuse and Injuries
Nursing home abuse is a common phenomenon throughout the world, and is one cause of injuries in nursing homes. The World Health Organization estimates that as many as two in three staff members have committed abuse in the last year in nursing homes or long-term care facilities. Sadly, residents, family members, or friends report only about one in 24 cases of elder abuse in these settings. These facts indicate that nursing home residents are at a high risk of abuse, including types of abuse that can lead to physical injuries.
Even if the injuries were not intentional, a nursing home may still bear liability for injuries. Neglect can occur intentionally or accidentally, and a resident can suffer and wind up with injuries. Even a failure to follow protocol can lead to the physical harm of residents.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
The National Institute on Aging identifies several different forms of nursing home abuse. Two common types of abuse are physical abuse and emotional or psychological abuse. Physical abuse occurs when someone causes physical harm to a nursing home resident, such as by hitting them. Sexual abuse can include exposing or involving a nursing home resident in sexual acts. Sexual abuse can also cause physical injuries to nursing home residents.
Emotional abuse occurs when someone threatens or says hurtful things to a nursing home resident. Nursing home residents may experience financial abuse if caregivers take money or personal property from them or if caregivers convince or manipulate them into giving money to the caregivers. Although these forms of abuse do not cause physical harm, residents are still vulnerable to these actions in addition to physical or sexual abuse.
Neglect is also a form of nursing home abuse that can result in injuries. Nursing home employees may fail to properly care for residents, such as giving them medicine, food, or water, or otherwise responding to their calls for assistance.
Recognizing the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
Family members and friends often are in a position to recognize signs of abuse in nursing home residents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, checking in regularly on loved ones living in nursing homes can be vital in identifying potential abuse. If nursing home residents are suddenly behaving differently, acting fearful, or becoming withdrawn, abuse is a possible cause.
Common signs of nursing home abuse may include significant changes in mood and behavior, including rapid weight loss, bedsores, bruises, or other injuries, and overall weakness. Nursing home residents also may become uncharacteristically quiet, unwilling to discuss some subjects, and exhibit poor hygiene when they have become victims of abuse or neglect.
You also should listen to your loved ones if they are residing in nursing homes. Instead of assuming that their complaints are related to their medical condition, try to discover whether abuse or neglect is occurring. Share your concerns about your loved ones with nursing home administrators or Adult Protective Services.
You can also consider legal help. Physical injuries can be serious for older adults, and these injuries can lead to complications. If nursing home staff members do not treat injuries right away, your loved one can face additional issues.
If the neglect or abuse from a staff member caused injuries, your family can face costly medical bills and ongoing medical treatment or rehab, along with mental pain and suffering. Your family can fight to hold staff, doctors, or the institution liable for your loved one’s injuries, and you do not need to seek financial justice alone. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today to discuss your nursing home abuse case.
Available Damages in Nursing Home Abuse Cases
A Los Angeles nursing home injury lawyer may be able to help injured nursing home residents and their families seek compensation for their injuries. General and special damages both may be available in nursing home injury claims. CIV § 3333 permits injured persons to seek all damages necessary to compensate them for their injuries that the actions of others caused.
General damages compensate injured nursing home residents for their injuries. These damages do not always easily translate into a dollar amount. General damages can include compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, disfigurement, and permanent physical or mental impairment.
Special damages involve compensation for specific economic losses to injured nursing home residents. The most common type of special damages may be current and future medical bills stemming from the injuries that the persons suffered from abuse. Other special damages can include loss of earnings and damage to property.
Punitive or exemplary damages may be available in some nursing home injury cases. These types of damages are not applicable to all cases, but CIV § 3294 permits punitive damages depending on certain factors.
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Los Angeles Nursing Home Accident Lawyer
Nursing homes, sometimes referred to as “skilled nursing facilities” or other terms in the state of California, are essential places of residence for those who cannot care adequately for themselves. While state and federal regulations govern these facilities, laws may not prevent your loved one from becoming the victim of abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
If a suspicious accident leads you to believe that your loved one has been mistreated in their nursing home, you have the right to call a Los Angeles nursing home accident lawyer for advice or legal assistance. Call our team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 842-6336 for a free case review.
COVID-19 Shines Light on Nursing Homes’ Shortcomings
The global COVID-19 outbreak has put nursing homes the world over in the spotlight, as they house the most uniformly at-risk demographic. The Guardian reported on how not all of California’s nursing homes have fared well under such scrutiny:
- Nursing homes in California are, by and large, underregulated or poorly regulated.
- Issues related to chronic understaffing plague nursing homes in California.
- Nursing home staffers and administrators failed to communicate at critical junctures with the families of nursing home residents.
- Inexperience, lack of preparedness, and other issues relating to California’s nursing homes have put the public at greater risk of infection.
It would be unfair to assume that every nursing home in the Los Angeles area are hotspots for negligence and other shortcomings that may put your loved one at risk. However, coronavirus has served as a reminder that you must remain a vigilant guardian of your loved one’s safety, especially if they are in somebody else’s care.
When you spot a problem in a nursing home, there is always a chance that it may not be isolated and could instead be indicative of institutional failures. In other words, if your loved one has had an “accident” in their nursing home, it could be more than a mere accident.
A Nursing Home Accident Could Be Reason for You to Investigate Further
If your loved one suffered an accident in a nursing home, you may want to do the following:
- Speak with administrators at the nursing home where your loved one lives.
- Speak with any individual staffer who was, or should have been, present at the reported time of the incident.
- Ask questions until you receive answers that leave you feeling assured that wrongdoing did not account for your loved one’s injuries.
You deserve a valid explanation for why your loved one was injured and why a staffer did not prevent the accident from occurring. If you do not receive credible responses to your questions, you may want to proceed under the assumption that your loved one is not being cared for properly.
Some of the next steps that you could take include:
- Calling law enforcement to report any suspicions that you have about your loved one being mistreated.
- Contacting the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to alert them of your suspicions.
- Calling a law firm to inquire about any legal action that could help protect your loved one from future harm and obtain justice for past wrongdoing.
Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today and speak with a team member about how a Los Angeles nursing home accident lawyer could help you fight for your loved one’s rights.
Nursing Home Accidents May Be Grounds for Litigation
A nursing home accident could involve various forms of negligence. An investigation into a nursing home accident may reveal negligent acts by nursing home administrators, staffers, or residents.
If your loved one’s nursing home accident came as the result of a fall, then possible forms of contributory negligence include:
- Failure to monitor your loved one.
- Failure to physically assist your loved one.
- Shoving your loved one.
- Failing to provide mobility assistance, such as a walker or wheelchair, to your loved one.
- Tripping your loved one.
Some of the injuries that could happen when an elderly person falls include:
- Broken hips.
- Broken bones in the arms and hands.
- Head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries.
- Damage to internal organs.
- Internal bleeding, which could be deadly if it is not detected immediately.
If you determine that your loved one’s accident stemmed from one or more types of negligence, a lawyer and their team may be able to help you take legal action to pursue compensation.
How a Lawyer Can Contribute to Your Lawsuit
If your loved one is elderly, you might be able to initiate a lawsuit on their behalf. A nursing home lawyer can help you in several respects. Some of a lawyer’s duties might include:
- Documenting or obtaining documentation of your loved one’s injuries.
- Documenting negligence by employees of the nursing home.
- Organizing evidence into a case that your loved one is entitled to compensation.
- Handling all day-to-day legal aspects of your lawsuit.
- Hiring experts and investigators to help pursue your lawsuit.
- Defending your rights.
- Seeking justice for your loved one.
If your lawsuit results in a settlement or the court finds that negligence occurred and caused harm to your loved one, you could collect various awards. Such awards may include compensation for their pain and suffering, the cost of their stay at the nursing home, and any other losses stemming from mistreatment.
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Getting the Help of a Los Angeles Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
According to the World Health Organization, the number of people aged 60 years and older will more than double by the year 2050 when compared to the senior population in 2015. This is just one of the reasons why it is so crucial to resolve issues with elder care now before many more people experience nursing home abuse.
When a loved one is in a nursing home, they may not be able to speak up or do anything about the physical abuse they are experiencing. It is up to family members to put an end to the abuse. If your loved one is injured because of nursing home abuse, you and your loved one may be eligible for compensation for those injuries. Contact a Los Angeles nursing home abuse lawyer, Pintas & Mullins Law Firm. A member of our team will conduct a free, no-obligation review of your case. Call today.