Edison Nursing Home Attorney
The experienced Edison area nursing home abuse attorneys of Jacoby & Meyers, LLP can help you hold negligent nursing homes and caregivers accountable so they cannot harm other elders. Contact us at (877) 565-2993 for a free case evaluation to discuss the negligent events that led to your loved one’s injury or illness.
As the ones we love age, they often need increasing amounts of care. For many families, a point comes where they must choose to put their elderly parents, grandparents, or other family members into a nursing home. This decision is almost never easy, but once we make the choice, we want our loved ones to receive the highest level of care.
Part of excellent nursing care includes treating residents with the respect and dignity they deserve. Outright abuse by caregivers can happen, but negligence physically and emotionally injures nursing home residents more often than abuse.
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If you know or suspect an elder you love is suffering from neglect in the nursing home where they reside, you must immediately report the neglect to the New Jersey Department of Health. You can file a report online or call 1-800-792-9770, 24 hours per day. Once the DOH receives the complaint, they will start an investigation.
Nursing home negligence not only causes physical injury and illness, but it can also cause emotional trauma. New Jersey law permits nursing home negligence victims, or another person on their behalf, to sue the facility for damages in civil court. Contact one of our experienced Edison personal injury lawyers at 1-800-792-9770 or you can start a live chat with one of our representatives for a free case evaluation.
Jacoby & Meyers, LLP’s Results in Nursing Home Negligence Cases
The skilled legal team at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP has advocated for those who have suffered injury and illness for four decades, including clients who have suffered injury or illness as a result of nursing home negligence. The firm’s passionate commitment to client service, professional exceptionalism, and commitment to seeking justice has led to the recovery of millions of dollars in settlements and jury awards for their clients.
Some recent nursing home negligence case examples include:
- A $5,000,000 verdict against a nursing home that ignored the medical needs of a resident, which led to brain damage that left him unresponsive and in a coma until he died six months later.
- A $500,000 settlement for our 81-year-old client who went into a diabetic coma and never recovered when the nursing home did not properly monitor her blood sugar.
- A $270,000 settlement for our client when a nursing home ignored her requests for dental care, resulting in an abscessed tooth and thrush that required hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics.
These cases are examples and do not guarantee a specific financial outcome for your nursing home negligence case. Each situation is unique, and involves factors that increase or decrease the value of the claim. The experienced Edison area nursing home negligence attorneys at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP have the resources to build a strong case against the nursing home that harmed your loved one, which can increase your chances of receiving maximum compensation for your claim.
Laws Protecting New Jersey Nursing Home Residents
New Jersey has several laws that require nursing homes to maintain a certain level of care for residents. Together these laws are intended to protect residents from abuse and neglect in New Jersey’s long-term care facilities by requiring a high standard of health care and providing residents with legally enforceable rights.
New Jersey’s primary laws related to nursing homes include:
- Standards for Long-term Care Facilities to Obtain a License;
- General Licensure Procedures and Enforcement of Associated Regulations; and
- New Jersey Nursing Home Residents’ Bill of Rights.
Several state agencies and private organizations, including the New Jersey Department of Health, oversee the state’s nursing care facilities and their compliance with federal and state laws prohibiting neglect. If you suspect that your loved one has been neglected, you should not wait for an audit from an agency to uncover the damage. Instead, file a complaint with the nursing home and the appropriate government agencies.
What Rights Do Residents in New Jersey Nursing Homes Have?
Like nursing home residents in many other states, New Jersey nursing home residents have a Bill of Rights to help ensure they get the best care possible. New Jersey’s Nursing Home Residents’ Bill of Rights covers rights in the following eleven broad areas:
Planning and Implementing Care
Residents have the right to actively participate in creating their own care plan and the right to designate another person to involve in the process. This includes establishing goals for care and making decisions about the type and frequency of care. Residents can also request meetings, request changes, sign off on changes, and include nursing assistants and dietary workers in developing their care plan.
New Jersey nursing home residents have the right to choose their own doctor, who will explain their medical conditions, treatments, and expected results. Additionally, they have the right to refuse medication and treatment and create an advanced directive. Residents have the right to receive help waking up, getting dressed, and participating in doctor-approved activities.
Freedom From Abuse and Restraints
Physical abuse, mental abuse, corporal punishment, and involuntary seclusion violate a nursing home resident’s rights. Under New Jersey law, residents also have the right to be free of chemical and physical restraints, and these cannot be used as punishment.
Edison area nursing home residents have the right to manage their own finances or choose who will help them with that task, and they must have access to their money and property. The nursing home must also provide written statements with itemized charges and quarterly statements of the resident’s financial and physical property the nursing home is keeping.
Physical and Personal Environment
Our loved ones who live in nursing homes have the right to live in a safe, clean, and comfortable space that feels like home and to be treated with dignity, respect, and courtesy. Nursing homes have the legal responsibility to provide personal grooming items for hygiene such as shampoo, combs, razors, dental supplies, body lotion, deodorant, and incontinence supplies. Residents also have the right to keep and use personal property and the nursing home has the duty to protect that property from theft and loss.
Privacy and Confidential Treatment
All nursing home residents have the right to physical privacy and to have their records kept confidential. Additionally, nursing homes must provide residents with reasonable opportunities to socially and physically interact with others.
New Jersey nursing home residents have the right to send and receive mail and can ask for help to read and write letters. Residents can also have a telephone in their room or must have access to a private telephone. Nursing homes must also provide reasonable access to the internet and email.
Visits and Activities
When an elder you love lives in a nursing home, they have the right to sleep as long as they want and have visitors at any time as long as they don’t impose on the rights of other residents. Additionally, residents have the right to leave the nursing home during the day, engage in social and religious activities and be protected against discrimination based on age, race, religion, sex, or nationality.
Food and Snacks
Proper nutrition is an essential part of nursing home residents’ rights in New Jersey. Nursing homes must provide healthy, nourishing, and palatable meals that align with a resident’s preferences. Residents must get at least three meals per day and have alternative meals or snacks outside of mealtimes if those are part of the resident’s care plan.
Discharges and Transfers
Nursing homes cannot transfer residents or change a resident’s roommates without written notification of the change and residents have the right to discharge themselves from a facility. Nursing homes can only discharge or transfer residents in an emergency, if the facility closes, for medical reasons, for nonpayment, or for an improvement in health that no longer requires living in a long-term care facility.
Protection of Rights
Nursing homes have to provide a written statement of rights to residents, as well as the nursing home’s complaint policy. Additionally, nursing homes must provide residents with information about how to file a complaint and how to report abuse or neglect.
Nursing Home Negligence in Edison NJ Nursing Homes
Although intentional abuse can and does occur in nursing homes, negligence occurs far more frequently. In fact, in a landmark study by the National Research Council (NRC) on elder abuse, focus groups of nursing assistants revealed that nursing home neglect is commonplace, especially when the proper level of staffing is not in place.
Nursing homes have the responsibility to ensure the well-being of their residents, which is closely tied to the rights discussed above. Negligent nursing homes fail to provide the care, items, or services that residents need to maintain their health and safety. The consequences of nursing home negligence are often physical, but it can lead to psychological harm, too.
Some specific examples of nursing home neglect that can give rise to a personal injury lawsuit include:
- Failure to provide proper nutrition and hydration;
- Failure to provide help to residents who need assistance with drinking and eating;
- Failure to help with range of motion exercises;
- Failure to reposition residents, leading to pressure sores;
- Failure to supervise residents, typically resulting in dangerous falls and injuries;
- Failure to properly administer or monitor medication;
- Poor hiring and training practices; and/or
- Failure to provide access to medical treatment.
The recent COVID-19 outbreak makes the following failures even more dangerous for elders who reside in nursing homes:
- Failure to maintain safe premises free of hazards, including preventing slip and fall accidents, preventing violence among residents, and keeping residents safe from infectious diseases
- Failure to maintain a clean and sanitary environment, which can lead to illness and disease.
New Jersey’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman
The state’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman (LTCO) operates several different programs to help elders who reside in nursing homes, but the LTCO’s role in investigations and advocacy for residents is the most important when nursing home negligence occurs. The official report from an LTCO investigation can provide evidence for criminal charges, if applicable, and also for a civil court if the resident or their representative chooses to take legal action against the nursing facility.
The LTCO and New Jersey’s Department of Health work together to protect residents. If you believe your loved one has been neglected, you should report your concerns to the LTCO to make sure you have all bases covered for your loved one. You can file a complaint online, and our New Jersey nursing home lawyers can help you do that.
The LTCO’s responsibilities associated with investigation and advocacy include:
- Accepting confidential and/or anonymous complaints via phone, email, fax, or online;
- Investigating nursing home complaints;
- Resolving complaints or referring them to the police or another agency for additional action; and
- Conducting necessary public or private hearings.
Once you or your loved one makes a complaint, the LCTO assigns an investigator who makes an unannounced visit to the nursing home to visit with the resident and gain their consent to proceed with the investigation. This includes interviewing the resident, caregivers, other employees, and possible witnesses. Once the investigator gathers all relevant evidence, they make a recommendation to resolve the situation. When nursing home neglect is involved, this typically means handing over the information to law enforcement.
Frequently Asked Questions about Edison Nursing Home Negligence
As the elders we love age, caring for them at home is impossible for many families due to work and other obligations. Many choose to move their parents, grandparents, or other loved ones into a nursing home to get the care they need. Many facilities go above and beyond to provide exceptional care to nursing home residents who call the facility home. However, some facilities and caregivers do not meet legal standards or come close to providing needed care.
If your parent or another elder you love suffered injuries because of nursing home negligence in New Jersey, you may bring a lawsuit on their behalf to seek compensation for damages. One of our skilled Edison nursing home negligence lawyers can advise you on the best course of action during a free case evaluation.
Until you have the opportunity to meet with an attorney or if you are gathering information, the answers to the following frequently asked questions provide preliminary information. We provide more details about Edison nursing home negligence, resident rights, and steps involved with taking legal action against a nursing home responsible for harming residents.
Edison Nursing Home FAQs
Nursing home negligence is a broad term that includes various actions and failures related to providing care to nursing home residents. In some cases, a nursing home or its employees are willfully negligent. Other times, negligence occurs passively when administrators, caregivers, and other employees fail to take action because of inattention.
Negligence often leads to physical injuries, but it can also lead to emotional trauma, especially when a caregiver verbally abuses a resident or intentionally isolates them as a form of punishment. Even unintentional neglect erodes a resident’s trust in caregivers and contributes to emotional trauma.
Some examples of negligent actions and inaction that qualify as nursing home negligence and might be grounds for a personal injury lawsuit include:
- Physical, mental, and sexual abuse
- Providing unhealthy meals or not enough food to residents
- Failing to provide enough water or other hydration to residents
- Failing to help residents with personal hygiene or provide necessary personal items
- Letting residents wear soiled clothes
- Failing to supervise residents adequately
- Letting others harm or neglect residents
- Stealing property from residents, such as money, jewelry
- Poor hiring and training practices
- Ignoring resident grievances
- Failing to provide dental or medical care to residents
- Improper cleaning
- Failing to follow proper safety protocols
The 1987 Nursing Home Reform Law protects residents’ rights on a national level, but New Jersey law also guarantees rights for nursing home residents.
The extensive list of New Jersey nursing home residents’ rights covers 11 different areas:
- Planning and Implementing Care. Residents have the right to be involved in creating their care plan and requesting changes to the plan. They also have the right to see, review, and sign off on changes the nursing home makes to their plan.
- Medical Care. Residents have the right to choose their doctor and receive a complete explanation of any conditions or treatment. They can also refuse medication once their doctor explains the consequences of refusal. Additionally, residents have the right to receive help waking, dressing, and participating in social activities.
- Freedom from Abuse and Restraints. New Jersey law protects residents from physical and emotional abuse, corporal punishment, forced seclusion, and the improper or abusive use of chemical and physical restraints.
- Finances. Nursing homes must provide a quarterly statement of funds and property at the facility. Residents have the right to manage their finances or choose someone to help them.
- Physical and Personal Environment. In New Jersey, nursing homes have the legal duty to provide a safe, clean, comfortable environment. Residents have the right to be treated with respect and courtesy, wear proper fitting, clean clothes, and receive routine personal hygiene items.
- Privacy and Confidential Treatment. Nursing home residents have the right to privacy during exams and personal grooming. Nursing homes must also provide reasonable opportunities for interaction between others and keep all residents’ records confidential.
- Communications. Residents may privately send and receive mail and request help to read and write mail. They also have the right to private telephone access and reasonable access to email, internet, and video communication.
- Visits and Activities. Residents have the right to schedule sleeping, visiting, and partaking in social, religious, and community activities as long as it does not violate the rights of other residents.
- Food and Snacks. Nursing homes must provide residents with a healthy, balanced, and palatable diet that considers their preferences and cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. Residents must receive at least three meals per day and have the opportunity for alternative meals and snacks outside of mealtimes.
- Discharges and Transfers. Residents may refuse transfer to another room or roommate transfers without written notification and an informal hearing.
- Protection of Rights. Nursing homes must provide residents with a written copy of their rights and the facility’s grievance policy. They must also give residents contact information to report abuse, neglect, exploitation, and other rights violations.
Violations of these rights can cause physical and/or emotional harm to residents, potentially giving them grounds for a lawsuit.
If nursing home negligence in an Edison long-term facility harmed a resident you love, you have two years to bring a lawsuit against the nursing home. If your loved one has passed because of nursing home negligence, the two-year statute of limitations also applies to filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
In rare cases, the courts might make an exception to the statute of limitation. However, it’s in your best interest to consult with an attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer will advise you on the timeline for your claim.
Sometimes nursing home residents cannot communicate pain, discomfort, or needs to their caregivers, family members, and nurses. They might have dementia or Alzheimer’s. Other times, residents fear retaliation or do not want to burden family members, so they do not report abuse or neglect.
Delayed discovery in nursing home negligence accounts for the fact that you might not discover a resident’s injuries immediately after they occur. In many cases, New Jersey courts will begin the statute of limitations time clock from when a caregiver, family member, or resident discovers injuries.
Although sometimes it’s difficult to notice the signs and symptoms of negligence, you may notice one or more things out of the ordinary. Signs and symptoms do not automatically prove your loved one has fallen victim to nursing home negligence. However, they should give you pause, inspire you to inspect the situation, and report your concerns to the nursing home administrator.
Common signs of nursing home neglect and abuse include:
- Startling weight loss
- Sunken eyes and cheeks
- Pale, ghostlike complexion
- Unexplained marks, bruises, and wounds
- Body odor, bad breath, soiled clothes, and other evidence of poor personal hygiene
- Depression, anxiety, and excessive worry
- Disorientation or confusion
- Withdrawal from daily social activities with other residents
- Hesitation to speak to you or other family members in front of nurses or caregivers
- Talk of suicide, self-harm, or dying
If your loved one is in immediate danger, you need to call 911 or the Edison Police Department.
If you suspect abuse, neglect, or other negligent behavior, you can report the nursing home to two different state offices:
- New Jersey Long-Term Care Ombudsman: The ombudsman advocates for nursing home residents and investigates complaints about crime, exploitation, neglect, abuse, and bodily harm. You can call them at 877-582-6995 or file a complaint online.
- New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH): The NJDOH regulates and licenses New Jersey nursing homes. You can call them at 800-792-9770 to file a complaint about the care and treatment your loved one has received.
If you help your loved one bring a lawsuit against the Edison nursing home responsible for their physical and/or emotional injuries, they could receive compensation for a wide range of economic and non-economic losses. If your loved one prevails with their claim, they could receive compensation from a settlement or court-awarded damages if the case goes to trial.
Each case is different, so damages vary.
Damages commonly awarded in nursing home negligence cases include compensation for:
- Medical expenses, including ambulance service, hospitalization, transitional care, radiology, lab tests, medication, and follow-up visits to the doctor
- Expenses for mental health services that assist victims of nursing home negligence to cope with the mental trauma they face
- Expenses related to transferring a resident to another nursing home in Edison or another area
- Estimated future medical treatment costs when a resident suffers a permanent condition or injury because of nursing home negligence
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Diminished quality of life
- Punitive damages when the law characterizes nursing home negligence as gross negligence or intentional harm
It depends. Some nursing home residents struggle with memory and their ability to communicate. Both sides have a strong incentive to avoid going to trial because litigation is expensive and time-consuming, so it’s unlikely your loved one will have to go to court even if they can physically testify. It’s more common for able victims of nursing home negligence to give a statement and participate in a deposition. However, negotiations do not always end in settlement, and a trial might be the only option.
Even if your loved one’s case goes to trial, they might not testify in court. Courts do not want to place additional stress on nursing home residents. Our firm puts the well-being of our clients first and protects them from scenarios that might negatively impact their health. Often, witness testimony from family members, doctors, and other relevant parties provides the evidence the court needs to render a verdict.
Only you know what’s best for the nursing home resident you love and whether you transfer facilities is highly dependent on the situation. If your loved one suffered injuries because one nursing assistant or another caregiver committed abuse or neglect, you might choose for your loved one to remain in the facility.
If the nursing home rectified the situation and fired the person responsible for the injuries, your loved one might prefer to stay where they are at. Deciding on a transfer requires you to weigh the emotional impact of your loved one having to settle in at a new facility versus the likelihood they might suffer further problems.
In many nursing home negligence situations, more than one resident has suffered. Negligence often occurs because of poor staffing and training practices. Those problems do not easily disappear, so you might decide it’s best to look for another facility.
Yes, you can. It’s not only crucial for your loved one to get justice, but it’s also essential to hold facilities accountable and prevent future negligence. Clients do not have to pay upfront retainers to hire a personal injury attorney as they would if they hire a divorce attorney, tax attorney, or real estate attorney.
Instead, you enter a contingency fee agreement with the firm when you hire an Edison nursing home negligence lawyer at Jacoby & Meyers LLP. If your lawyer wins your case, they deduct attorney fees only from any compensation your loved one receives.
Get the Legal Help You Need for Your Loved One from Jacoby & Meyers, LLP
Your loved one deserves exceptional care and treatment if they live at a nursing home. When trusted caregivers fail to uphold their responsibility and neglect our loved ones, we must hold them accountable for their negligence. New Jersey law permits you to sue a nursing home for damages when their negligence causes your loved one injury, as long as you take legal action before the two-year statute of limitations runs out.
By doing so you will not only help the elder you love, but you may prevent future residents from suffering the same fate.
If you know or suspect your family member has been neglected, contact one of our experienced nursing home negligence lawyers in Edison at (732) 287-6890 or you can start a live chat with one of our representatives for a free case evaluation. There you will learn about the viability of your case and get advice about the best course of action for you and your family.
Edison, NJ 08817
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