Brooklyn Nursing Home Lawyers
If your loved one has been neglected or abused at a Brooklyn nursing home, contact an experienced Brooklyn Nursing Home lawyer at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP for a free case evaluation to discuss the details of your situation. New York law permits your loved one to sue the facility for damages, or you can sue on their behalf.
Our aging family members often need a little extra help at some point. When families cannot provide that care because of busy schedules or because the amount of care is just too great, nursing homes are a common solution. This choice never comes easy because we want our loved ones to receive exceptional care and to be treated with the utmost dignity and respect.
It’s horrifying when our trust in the facility we chose for our loved one is shattered by nursing home negligence, which typically comes in the form of abuse or neglect. Residents can suffer injuries and illness as well as emotional trauma when this occurs, and the nursing home has broken the trust they received from victims and their families.
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If you know an elder you love is being neglected or abused in a Brooklyn nursing home, you must stop the behavior immediately. If the resident is in immediate danger, call 911. If you suspect neglect or abuse, or your loved one isn’t in immediate danger, you can file a complaint against the nursing home through New York’s Department of Health. You can file a report online or call the Nursing Home Complaint Hotline 24 hours per day at (888) 201-4563.
Nursing home residents who suffer injury or illness as a result of negligence often face physical pain as well as emotional trauma. Additionally, costs for medical treatment and transferring to another facility can add up quickly.
Contact one of the experienced Brooklyn personal injury attorneys at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP for a free case evaluation to discuss the details of your situation. New York law permits your loved one to sue the facility for damages, or you can sue on their behalf.
Jacoby & Meyers, LLP Holds Negligent Nursing Homes Accountable
The skilled legal team at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP has been helping injured clients for four decades, including victims of nursing home negligence. The firm’s commitment to client advocacy, professional excellence, and seeking justice has led to the recovery of tens of millions in settlements and jury awards for clients.
Recent examples include:
- A $5,000,000 verdict for our client who went into hypoglycemic shock because nursing home staff left him in his room for hours unattended. As a result, he suffered permanent brain damage and lived in a coma for six months before he passed away.
- A $500,000 settlement for the children of a client who died after nursing staff neglected to monitor her diabetes and she slipped into a diabetic coma from which she never recovered.
- A $270,000 settlement for a client who was hospitalized for a severe thrush infection after she developed a tooth abscess when nursing home staff denied her requests for dental care for a toothache.
These cases serve as examples, but they do not guarantee a specific outcome for your nursing home negligence case. Each claim involves different circumstances and facts that can increase or decrease its value. Yet, you can rest assured that the experienced nursing home negligence lawyers of Jacoby & Meyers, LLP have the resources and know-how to build a strong case against the nursing home and staff members who caused harm to your loved one. We aggressively pursue the maximum compensation possible for our clients to hold nursing homes accountable for their negligence.
Nursing Home Negligence Leads to Resident Abuse and Neglect
Nursing home negligence often includes a wide variety of actions, decisions, and failures at a facility’s administrative level, which puts residents at risk for illness and injury through abuse and neglect.
In fact, researchers agree on three general situations that lead to abuse or neglect in nursing care facilities:
- Nursing assistants or nurses aides, who serve as the primary caregivers in nursing homes, have highly stressful working conditions that sometimes lead them to take out their frustrations on residents.
- Many nursing homes are short-staffed. This means nursing assistants work extra hours and management often forces them to work overtime. The result is burned-out caretakers who sometimes actively or passively neglect residents or abuse them.
- Some nursing home residents, especially those who suffer from dementia or other memory-related conditions, are combative or aggressive. Nursing assistants do not always know how to deal with these situations, and they sometimes resort to forceful and abusive methods.
Nursing home administrators can address each of these situations in several ways, to provide the best care possible to their residents. Yet, these scenarios are all too common in Brooklyn, throughout New York, and across the nation. Nursing home negligence puts residents at risk for abuse and neglect.
Some specific examples of nursing home negligence include:
Poor Hiring Practices
New York’s Department of Health requires that all nursing assistants be certified by completing training and an examination. Once they pass, the state places them on the Nurse Aide Registry. Some nursing homes are desperate for aides so they don’t confirm the certification or they ONLY confirm certification. The registry does not offer any background information on aides such as their performance and experience in previous positions. Failure to do a complete background check on nurses aides and other employees who work near and with residents puts residents at risk for abuse and neglect.
Failure to Provide Adequate Training
Nursing assistants must go through clinical training and pass a clinical portion of their exam, but their training cannot prepare them for every situation they might encounter on-the-job. Nor do new aides remember everything they learned in their courses. Nursing homes have a responsibility to ensure their aides have the proper training and learn how to implement that training.
Improper Levels of Staffing
Residents in short-staffed nursing homes are at high risk for neglect and preventable injuries. Without enough staff, residents don’t receive proper supervision or the help they need. This can result in all types of issues from unintentional falls, choking, untreated medical emergencies, and much more. When staff is overworked and rushed, their inability to pay close attention to residents can lead to accidents.
Failure to Provide Staff With Adequate Rest
Providing proper care for nursing home residents means caregivers need to be well-rested and sharp to react appropriately to what is going on around them. Staff who are forced to work overtime and don’t get adequate rest can make critical mistakes or may choose to take shortcuts because they are too tired to do things the right way. Aides can injure residents when they are helping them with their daily tasks or cause residents to contract infections or illnesses because they don’t follow proper procedures.
Nursing homes need to ensure those who deal directly with residents aren’t consistently working double shifts and take enough time off to recharge and reboot.
Failure to Maintain a Clean Environment
These days a clean nursing home is more important than ever. Unclean environments lead to dangerous illnesses for residents. During the recent coronavirus outbreak, nursing homes in New York that didn’t maintain a clean facility were responsible for residents contracting the virus and dying.
Nursing homes have a responsibility to ensure infectious diseases do not spread throughout their facility, which means they must follow specific cleaning protocols to kill germs and bacteria. The same is true of nurse aides who help residents with using the bathroom, bathing, and grooming. Improper handwashing, cleaning, and sanitizing is negligent and can be deadly.
Failure to Provide Staff With Proper Equipment
Poorly managed nursing homes without proper equipment for their staff open themselves up to liability for negligence when residents suffer injuries or illness as a result of these deficits. Although other situations can lead to injury and illness, the coronavirus example once again applies. Nursing homes that didn’t supply masks to their staff helped facilitate the spread of the virus to residents, causing many to contract the virus and some to die.
Identifying Neglect and Abuse
Sometimes your loved one will tell you or someone else about abuse, neglect, and other dangerous practices they have suffered from. But many seniors who live in nursing homes keep this information to themselves because they don’t want to burden anyone or their condition doesn’t allow them to communicate.
In cases of intentional neglect and abuse, some residents also fear retaliation. This means you must diligently watch for signs and symptoms of abuse and neglect in your loved one. Illness and physical injuries are obvious but do not always indicate negligence. Other signs are more subtle.
Some common warning signs that should cause you to take pause and investigate further include:
- Repeated falls;
- Bedsores or pressure sores;
- Fear of speaking in front of nurse aides or other staff;
- Soiled and unkempt clothing;
- Poor hygiene and body odor;
- The appearance of too much or not enough medication;
- Sunken cheeks, extreme weight loss, pale skin, dry skin, and other signs of malnutrition or dehydration; and/or
- Genital bleeding or bruising.
Abuse and neglect also can have emotional consequences. You might notice the following in your loved one:
- Anxiety and excessive worry;
- Change in appetite;
- Sleep issues;
- Attempts at or talk about self-harm; and/or
- Withdrawal from activities and other residents.
Seeking Compensation for Nursing Home Negligence in Brooklyn
If a nursing home resident you love has fallen victim to illness, injury, abuse, or neglect because of nursing home negligence, New York law permits them, or someone on their behalf, to seek compensation for damages in civil court. Multiple parties can share liability in nursing home negligence cases; your Brooklyn nursing home negligence attorney will advise you on which parties to name in a lawsuit.
If the court rules in your loved one’s favor or you reach a settlement agreement, your loved one can receive some or all of the following damages:
- Costs of medical treatment including hospitalization, rehab, medication, X-rays, lab tests, doctor’s visits, and assistive devices such as wheelchairs, canes, and walkers;
- Cost of mental health services provided by a counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, or other specialists to help your loved one cope with the emotional trauma of their injury or illness;
- Estimated future medical expenses when the injury or illness requires ongoing care;
- The cost of transferring your loved one to another facility;
- Physical pain and suffering;
- Mental anguish; and/or
- Punitive damages in cases of gross negligence or willful harm.
Eligible surviving family members sometimes receive compensation for the loss of their loved one when nursing home negligence leads to death. Depending on your relationship with the deceased, you may be able to recover some of the above damages as well as funeral and burial costs in a wrongful death lawsuit. In some cases, courts also award non-economic damages based on your relationship with the deceased. Consult with a nursing home negligence attorney about the best way to hold the nursing home responsible for the loss of your loved one.
Brooklyn Nursing Home Negligence FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions
If you believe someone is experiencing nursing home negligence or abuse, after ensuring the victim’s health and safety, you need to contact the state’s Department of Health (DOH). To report instances of abuse contact you can contact the New York DOH at 1-888-201-4563. After making sure the victim is not experiencing further abuse and reporting the abuse to the state’s DOH, you should consider consulting with a qualified nursing home negligence attorney to ensure your legal rights are protected and learn about your options for moving forward.
Yes, nursing home residents have a right to a safe living environment that is free of abuse, mistreatment, and neglect. Unfortunately, many nursing homes outright fail to provide elderly residents with the respect, compassion, and safety they deserve. Instances of nursing home neglect and abuse are more common than one would care to believe, and caregiver negligence frequently causes residents serious injury and even death.
Nursing home residents’ rights are outlined in the Nursing Home Reform Act.
The Act provides that nursing home residents have the right to:
- Freedom from abuse, mistreatment, and neglect;
- Freedom from physical restraints;
- Accommodation of medical, physical, psychological, and social needs;
- Participate in resident and family groups;
- Be treated with dignity;
- Exercise self-determination;
- Communicate freely;
- Participate in the review of ones’ care plan and to be fully informed in advance about changes in care, treatment, and changes of status in the facility; and
- Voice grievances without discrimination or reprisal.
Nursing home neglect is the direct result of facility caregivers’ failure to provide adequate care to residents. Nursing home staff are legally obligated to provide residents with a high standard of care. If caregivers fail to meet the obligations required by the duty of care, their actions are negligent, constituting nursing home neglect.
Oftentimes, instances of nursing home neglect are more prevalent in facilities that are understaffed or have high staff turnover rates. Understaffing prevents caregivers from providing sufficient care to every resident. In facilities with high turnover rates, new employees typically receive inadequate training, which may prevent them from providing proper care. Nursing homes require individuals with particular skills to care for individuals with a variety of unique needs. Unqualified, improperly trained staff will not provide the level of care required of facility caregivers.
You should never blame yourself for the negligence of nursing home facility staff. Nursing homes are required to be safe living environments, managed by trained professionals that aim to facilitate fulfilling lives for aging loved ones. Nursing home staff owe a duty of care to residents, and families are entitled to expect staff to perform their job duties in a manner that meets the industry’s high standard of care. You cannot blame yourself for others’ negligence.
Yes, in severe cases, nursing home neglect may cause a degree of harm that is ultimately fatal. If a loved one lost their life as a direct result of nursing home mistreatment and neglect, certain surviving family members may be entitled to compensation in a wrongful death claim. Many experienced nursing home negligence attorneys also have experience handling wrongful death claims, as both claims are based on personal injury law. When consulting with attorneys, inquire whether they have experience pursuing wrongful death claims.
Instances of nursing home negligence may occur for a variety of reasons, including:
- Inadequate staff training: Improperly trained staff, especially in a facility with a high staff turnover rate can lead to residents receiving negligent care.
- Minimal or no patient monitoring: When facilities are understaffed, proper management and monitoring of residents may be impossible. A lack of monitoring created opportunities for residents to be accidentally injured or to inadvertently injure themselves.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) defines elder abuse as “the intentional act or failure to act by a caregiver…that causes or creates risk of harm to an older adult.”
Although abuse and neglect are separate concepts that differ in some respects, residents often experience both abuse and neglect simultaneously. Regardless of whether an elder faces abuse or neglect (or both), he or she will need legal support to ensure their health and safety are protected.
In nursing homes, physical abuse to residents can take many different forms. Some examples of physical abuse may include:
- Striking or hitting patients; or
- Depriving patients of food, medicine, or water.
Yes, residents of nursing homes often ensure emotional and psychological abuse. Mental abuse is particularly dangerous because it is often difficult for families to detect and for residents to explain. In the worst cases, abusive nursing home staff may cause residents to experience psychological trauma.
Emotional abuse can take many forms in a nursing home setting, and while symptoms often go unnoticed, below are a few to watch out for:
- Easily becoming agitated or upset;
- Acting withdrawn;
- Sudden changes in personality or behavior;
- Making reports of problematic activity, abuse, insults, and threats; and
- Displaying unusual behavior like thumb-sucking or biting.
Unfortunately, there are extreme cases of nursing home abuse that involve sexual misconduct or assault. If an elder you know has been sexually abused in a nursing home, consult with a skilled nursing home negligence attorney as soon as possible.
Residents may not display apparent symptoms or signs following every instance of nursing home neglect. It’s important to keep a watchful eye for unusual, problematic, or negligent behavior.
Some symptoms indicating caregiver neglect may include:
- Pressure sores or bed sores: Statistics suggest that over 5 percent of nursing home residents suffer from pressure ulcers and up to 70 percent of residents could be at risk for developing such sores.
- Rapid weight loss: Unfortunately, poor nutrition is not uncommon among nursing home residents. If a patient’s minimum nutritional requirements are not met, he or she could suffer from malnutrition and even death.
- Unexplained injuries
- Sudden changes in behavior
- Unclean and/or unsanitary conditions
- Poor personal hygiene
Yes, there are state and federal laws and regulations that require nursing homes to document assessments, care-provided, and treatment and care plans for each resident. The law mandates that records and documentation be complete and accurate. If you have questions about a nursing home’s documentation (or lack of it), a nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer may help.
If you have a loved one in a nursing home, you may already be familiar with assessment and care plans.
If not (or if you haven’t had to deal with nursing home documentation yet), here’s an overview:
- The Nursing Home Reform Act requires nursing facilities to create assessments and care plans for residents.
- Within 14 days of admission to a nursing home, a resident must have his or her interests, strengths, and needs assessed.
- The assessment must be completed within 7 days of admission is the resident is a Medicare resident.
- This assessment forms a blueprint showing the care and services required for the resident.
Individual resident assessments should be reviewed annually.
If a patient’s conditions change, requiring immediate attention, the assessment should be reviewed at that time.
- A resident care plan provides the individual treatment and care required by each resident.
- The plan should include information about who will complete tasks and when tasks will be completed.
- The specifics of the care plan are developed from the information gathered during patient assessments. The care plan must be completed within 7 days of completing the assessment.
Yes, the Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA) is federal legislation, and as such, it applies to nursing home facilities in Brooklyn. Most states, including New York, have enacted additional legislation to meet the requirements of the NHRA.
No, individual nursing homes are not required to have a specific number of caregivers and staff, depending on the number of residents at the facility. Although federal regulations do not mandate minimum staffing levels in nursing homes, Medicare assigns facility ratings, in part, based on the ratio of residents to staff. However, understaffed nursing homes can legally continue to operate.
Pressure sores are, unfortunately, common in many nursing homes. The good news is, they are preventable and treatable with the proper care.
Elderly people with restricted mobility may develop pressure sores when they can’t move from a bed for extended periods of time. Usually, our nerves tell our bodies when we need to move if we lay in one position for too long to help us relieve pressure on a specific area of the skin.
If an elderly person is in bed and cannot move, he or she may develop a pressure ulcer in just one or two hours.
- Pressure ulcers can develop from sitting in a chair or lying in a bed.
- Pressure ulcers from chairs can develop faster because the direct force on the skin is greater than on a bed.
Yes, malnutrition is one of many symptoms of nursing home neglect. In some cases, malnutrition may also be indicative of physical abuse, e.g., withholding food.
Some signs of malnutrition may include:
- Dry mucous membranes;
- Sunken eyes;
- Hair loss or dullness;
- Irritability or confusion; and
- Lethargy or muscle weakness.
Typically, all nursing home residents are either aging, disabled, or sick, which is the very reason that caregivers and staff have a duty to provide the highest standard of care. Neglect and abuse are never acceptable and they have nothing to do with aging or illness.
Trust your intuition—even if you’re wrong, it never hurts to make sure your loved one is safe. You know your own mother; you know your spouse; you know your sibling. If you suspect that they are suffering neglect, you should begin investigating immediately to ensure their health and safety are protected.
You can try to select a safe nursing home for your loved one. However, even the best nursing homes can mistakenly hire neglectful staff.
Some nursing homes may appear to be very safe and accommodating, but in reality, they may just be good at hiding problematic practices.
- Try to avoid private websites that valuate a nursing home; sites like these can feature incomplete or incorrect information. Often, they focus more on costs and services provided than the resident’s personal experiences or complaints.
- Try searching the New York Health Department’s database to research information about nursing home inspections and complaints.
If your loved one is currently residing in a nursing home, you can ask him or her questions about their care to try to decrease the chances of unnoticed neglect. Our loved ones may not always be honest when they experience neglect for a variety of reasons, e.g., fear of retaliation or embarrassment.
Beyond direct questioning, you must watch for other signs of neglect.
- Maintain positive relationships with your loved one’s caregivers, so it’s easier to see when things are out of place.
Yes, when nursing home staff fail to provide the required standard of care, there are legal consequences for their negligence.
- Nursing home residents have the legal right to file a lawsuit for compensatory damages for the violation of their rights.
- Family members and loved ones can also help nursing home residents with this process; consult with a lawyer for more information about pursuing a claim for damages.
Nursing home neglect may result in an investigation of the facility and the imposition of fines from an adult protective services agency. In some cases, involving intentional or malicious conduct, criminal proceedings against a facility or specific caregiver may be warranted.
Our Brooklyn nursing home neglect lawyers will provide you a free case consultation and if we take your case we will do so on a contingency fee basis, so you will pay us nothing. We will only collect a percentage of any judgment or settlement we help you to obtain.
Contact a Brooklyn Nursing Home Negligence Attorney for Your Loved One
Your loved one, or someone on their behalf, has two years to file a lawsuit against those who caused them harm under New York law. The nursing home resident you love deserves exceptional care in a safe environment as they continue their life in a nursing care facility. Negligent nursing homes and their staff have a legal responsibility to provide that care and must be held accountable if they do not meet this standard.
If you know or suspect your loved one has been neglected or abused in a Brooklyn nursing home, contact one of our experienced nursing home negligence lawyers at (877) 565-2993 or contact one of our live representatives for a free case evaluation to discuss the illness, injury, or other harm your loved one suffered.
We take nursing home negligence cases on a contingency fee basis, so you need not pay up front for anything. Instead, we deduct our attorney’s fees from any compensation we secure for you.
Call us today at (877)-565-2993 and make an appointment.
8701 3rd Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11209
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