When you make the difficult decision to place your loved one in a nursing home, you expect the caregivers and the facility to treat your loved one as you would treat them. Most elder care professionals care about their residents and treat them with respect. Unfortunately, there are some bad apples. If your loved one has suffered abuse or neglect in a New York nursing home or elder care facility, their injuries and suffering may entitle them to recover damages.
If you suspect your loved one is suffering at the hands of an abusive caregiver or nursing home facility, do not delay any longer. To pursue compensation for your loved one, you will need to speak with an experienced New York Nursing Home Lawyer. You owe it to your loved one to help them recover from their injuries, both physical and mental.
Contact a New York nursing home abuse lawyer at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, today.
Our New York Nursing Home Lawyers Can Help
Nursing homes must care properly for all of their residents. They must provide adequate and safe living conditions as well as physical, mental, and medical support. If they fail to provide these things and your loved one suffers an injury, the caregiver and facility could be to blame.
When you find a nursing home lawyer in New York you trust, they can help you and your loved one recover compensation for their suffering. With years of experience helping clients just like you, we welcome your questions and stand by ready to help.
If you choose to work with us, we may be able to help by:
- Gathering and reviewing medical records, witness statements, and other evidence
- Filing your case with the court
- Ensuring compliance with New York and federal laws
- Negotiating with insurance companies
- Protecting your loved one’s rights at trial
While it’s true that most nursing home abuse and neglect claims settle out of court, you should hire a lawyer who can take your case to trial if necessary. Not every law firm has the resources to work with expert witnesses, take depositions, negotiate with insurance companies, and protect your loved one’s right at trial. We do, and we pride ourselves on standing up to the biggest insurance companies all to help abuse and neglect victims recover and maximize their compensation.
What is Nursing Home Negligence, in a Legal Sense?
Nursing home negligence consists of the failure of staff or administration at a nursing home to take reasonable actions to maintain the health and safety of its residents. Federal regulations require New York nursing home facilities to care for their residents “in a manner and in an environment that promotes maintenance or enhancement of each resident’s quality of life” and that “maintains or enhances each resident’s dignity and respect in full recognition of his or her individuality.”
This often requires:
- Ensuring that the resident chooses when he or she wants to wake up or go to bed, when he or she is bathed, and also has a choice in the medical care he or she receives.
- Ensuring that the resident can have his or her own belongings whenever possible, and that he or she has a safe place to store those belongings.
- Making sure that the resident has physical privacy and keeps his or her personal records confidential.
- Allowing the resident and his or her family members to participate in the development of a care plan.
- Ensuring that the facility can meet the physical, medical, and emotional needs of the resident.
- Providing the resident and his or her family members with a written copy of the facility’s requirements, a list of the costs of services the facility can provide, and information about how to file a grievance.
- Ensuring that the resident is properly notified in advance of a pending transfer to another facility or a room change.
- Contacting family members when there is a change in the resident’s medical or emotional condition.
- Providing vaccinations against infectious diseases and developing protocol that will further protect the resident from becoming ill due to contagious illnesses.
- Providing the resident with living conditions that are safe, clean, and contain the necessary elements for living such as clean water, food, and heat.
- Ensuring that the staff that is hired to provide care to residents has undergone a criminal background check and has obtained the proper education and training to adequately perform the job for which they are hired.
Any failure to live up to these standards can constitute negligence that leads to harm to a resident.
You can help prevent your loved one from suffering by researching potential facilities before placing them in a nursing home. New York even has a website to help you with this process. But even if you take the right steps, your loved one might suffer injuries at a nursing home. When that happens, you can seek compensation for their suffering by holding the at-fault parties liable.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Five million nursing home residents suffer from some form of abuse each year. This statistic is staggering. But not all nursing home residents are elderly. In fact, about 15 percent of nursing home residents are under the age of 65. So it’s not just senior citizens who are suffering from abuse and neglect.
Abuse and neglect victims all suffer differently. Some suffer physical pain, others suffer mental anguish, and still others suffer financially. But most victims suffer some combination of these types of abuses.
Physical abuse often happens when a caregiver handles a resident too roughly. But it can also occur when a caregiver does not provide proper assistance to the resident with bathroom trips, food, and medication. All of these behaviors put your loved one at risk of great physical harm. Any evidence you see that your loved one is being handled too roughly or not being provided with adequate assistance should not be ignored.
While physical abuse can be easy to spot, emotional abuse is often more difficult to detect.
Mental and emotional abuse often comes in the form of:
- Degrading comments
Caregivers who do not have your loved one’s best interests at heart might try to manipulate them and others in their care so that they do not have to do as much work. This reprehensible behavior can result in your loved one feeling disconnected and not cared for, which is the exact opposite of the purpose of an elder care facility. Residents are not supposed to feel less than human or that they are an inconvenience to a caregiver. If you suspect your loved one is suffering emotionally, you should take action right away.
Financial abuse can occur when a caregiver steals money from your loved one or forces them to pay them extra for certain assistance. This type of exploitation is against the law. It can also damage your loved one’s physical well being. If a caregiver or facility is financially abusing your loved one, they may be unable to pay for medical care, prescriptions, or other necessary items.
Sexual abuse in nursing homes occurs when a caregiver coerces or forces a resident into sexual behavior. Other residents can also sexually abuse their fellow nursing home residents. When visiting your loved one, look for signs of bruising or scarring as well as torn or lost clothing.
Warning Signs of Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse
Often, people dismiss signs of nursing home abuse or neglect as something related to the elder person’s mental state or health conditions. But it’s important to understand and recognize certain signs so you can help ensure your loved one receives proper care.
If you notice any of the following, ask your loved one and the care facility for more information and an explanation:
- Sudden weight loss
- Sudden change in attitude
- Timidity around caregivers
- Unexplained diseases or infections
- Sudden financial difficulties
- Changes to a will or power of attorney
Elder people have enjoyed a long life and may feel ashamed of their inability to protect themselves as they age. They often do not come forward, even to loved ones, with information about abuse or neglect. They may even feel they are somewhat to blame. That’s why it’s so important for you to recognize signs of abuse or neglect and take swift action. Your loved one depends on you.
Nursing Facility Abuse and Neglect
While a particular caregiver may be primarily responsible for abuse and neglect of your loved one, the nursing home facility may also be liable. If you can show that the facility acted negligently, you can hold them liable and collect damages from them instead of or in addition to the individual caregiver.
A nursing home has an obligation to residents to hire only the best staff and caregivers. The nursing home must thoroughly review the applicant’s background and qualifications, including conducting a criminal background check to discover if a candidate has any history of abuse or violence. It is the nursing home facility’s legal duty to hire qualified staff and take every precaution possible to ensure your loved one is cared for properly.
When a nursing home does not employ enough staff to adequately care for its residents, the facility may be held liable for any injuries to residents. Many facilities find it difficult to retain adequate staff, and this is particularly true right now during the COVID-19 pandemic. When a facility becomes understaffed, your loved one may not receive proper care or possibly even no care at all. When this happens, holding the facility liable for your loved one’s suffering is often the best way to help them recover but to also ensure this tragedy does not happen to anyone else.
Caregivers should have certain qualifications when they come to work at a nursing home. But they should also receive adequate training, regardless of their previous experience. Certain residents might require a different level of care than the caregiver is used to providing. Improperly caring for any resident can lead to injuries for which the nursing home might be liable if the facility failed to provide staff with adequate training.
Nursing home residents often receive daily doses of medication. While most caregivers and facilities take appropriate steps to ensure the right medication is given in the right doses to the right patients, sometimes mistakes happen. Unfortunately, the results can be deadly. If your loved one is injured because they received too much medication or the wrong medication, the nursing home may be liable for their injuries.
Types of Damages Injured Nursing Home Residents Can Receive
Abuse at a nursing home can forever change your loved one’s life. They may suffer physically, emotionally, and financially.
Because abuse can impact their entire life, your loved one may be eligible to pursue damages for the following:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation costs
Focus, in particular, on the medical bills your loved one faces as a result of their abuse. Depending on the severity of their injuries, they may need to undergo extended hospital stays, multiple surgeries and doctor’s visits, rehabilitation, and other life-altering medical treatment. All of this may require substantial medical intervention, which is expensive.
In the face of medical bills resulting from abuse, your loved one could face financial ruin. That’s why it’s so important to make sure the at-fault party is held accountable for the medical bills. But not just past medical bills for your loved one’s care, also any future medical bills.
Your loved one did not cause their injuries and they should not have to bear responsibility for paying them. That’s why it’s important to work with a trusted New York nursing home abuse lawyer, especially if you start to receive communications from the other party’s insurance company.
Insurance Company Settlement Offers
When your loved one suffers injuries in a nursing home, you just want them to get better. One way to help is to collect damages from the at-fault party. These often come in the form of settlement offers. But be cautious of quick, low-ball settlement offers from an insurance company.
The first offer from an insurance company is never their best offer. They almost always start with a low-ball settlement offer in the hopes that you take it quickly and without thinking about all of the future expenses your loved one may face. If you fail to account for those future needs, you may be excited about the idea of a quick settlement. The problem is that when you sign a low-ball offer, you may waive your right to bring any future claims against the insurance company for the abuse. That means that if you later realize there were not enough funds to cover your loved one’s future medical expenses, it’s too late.
This is a tragic situation. We cannot stress enough the importance of working with our skilled nursing home and abuse and neglect attorneys in New York. We can help protect your loved one’s rights and maximize their compensation.
What to Do When You Suspect Abuse
If you suspect your loved one has been subject to abuse or neglect, immediately report your concerns to the facility management and to the state of New York. The state has departments that can help investigate your concerns and make sure your loved one and other residents receive the care and attention they deserve. Many nursing home abuse and neglect cases go unreported. That’s why it’s important to keep a close eye on your loved one and monitor their well being. You may be the voice they and their fellow residents need.
After you alert the facility’s management to your concerns, make sure they take action. If they do not take any action or conduct an investigation, you may need to alert the police and file a police report. This can help ensure your loved one receives proper medical attention and care for their injuries.
Finally, you should also speak with a New York nursing home abuse and neglect attorney. The right lawyer can help guide you through the complex and time-consuming process of filing a claim, reporting the incident to the state, and communicating your concerns to the nursing home. Your loved one’s health and safety may depend on you taking prompt legal action.
New York Nursing Home Negligence FAQ
Nursing homes in New York must adhere to regulatory guidelines designed to protect resident health and safety. Failing to adhere to these guidelines represents one of many ways nursing homes may act negligently and cause harm to their residents.
Below, we answer some common questions our clients have about nursing home negligence in New York. For answers to your specific questions about suspected negligence at an Empire State nursing facility, contact an experienced nursing home negligence lawyer at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, right away.
New York Nursing Home Negligence FAQ
They’re similar, but have differences. Although people often use the terms abuse and negligence interchangeably, technically negligence consists of actions that are unreasonably dangerous but not necessarily intended to harm a resident, while abuse consists of actions aimed at harming someone.
However, as far as the law is concerned, victims of negligence or abuse deserve compensation for the injuries they suffer because of it. Both abuse and negligence can also constitute crimes. If you suspect your loved one has sustained physical, emotional, sexual, or financial injuries at a nursing home, then take appropriate steps to ensure your loved one’s safety, and call an experienced nursing home injury attorney right away.
Yes. Falls represent an extremely common risk factor for injuries in elderly people. Nursing facilities can prevent virtually all falls. New York nursing facilities must train staff in fall prevention, and must follow appropriate fall-prevention practices at all times. If your mother fell, then chances are the nursing home did not do an adequate job of keeping her safe. That’s negligence.
Not always, but often. Nursing home residents constitute a population especially vulnerable to outbreaks of contagious illnesses, because of their advanced age, relatively poor health, and communal (or congregate care) living situation. Nursing facilities in New York must therefore take reasonable measures to protect against disease outbreaks by following best practices and adapting to emerging threats.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, some New York nursing homes became disease hotspots. Many other infections can quickly spread if a New York nursing home fails to fulfill its responsibilities to its residents, including Legionnaires.
If nursing home staff and administrators were aware of the risks, and did not take reasonable, responsible steps to prevent the spread in their facilities, then that may have constituted a particularly deadly form of negligence. Speak with an experienced a New York nursing home attorney today to learn more.
The facility must provide you with a copy of the most recent nursing home inspection upon request. Additionally, if your loved one’s facility is Medicare/ Medicaid certified (the majority are), then you can find a copy of the most recent safety and fire inspection reports online. The same online resources enable you to compare the facility’s staffing and other quality of care measures with other facilities in your region.
It depends. One of the many functions of a nursing home is to provide medical care to residents. If a resident suffers harm because of a failure to provide an appropriate medical standard of care on the part of the nursing home staff or medical contractors, then that may constitute an instance of medical malpractice.
However, nursing home residents can also suffer injuries because of negligence that has nothing to do with receiving medical care. In those instances, nursing home negligence is just plain-old negligence.
The most reliable way to obtain compensation for the injuries suffered by your loved one because of New York nursing home negligence is to hire an experienced nursing home injury attorney who can advise you on the best course of action for your and your loved one’s circumstances and represent you in any legal action you and your loved one take. Frequently, obtaining compensation requires filing a lawsuit in New York courts seeking damages from the party with legal liability for the harm your loved one suffered.
Either or both of them could have legal liability. It can depend on the legal relationship between the staff member and the facility, and between the facility and its residents. An experienced nursing home negligence attorney’s job, in part, is often to evaluate the circumstances of a nursing home resident’s injuries to identify all individuals and corporate entities who may have a legal liability to the resident for damages. Oftentimes, more than one party may have liability.
First, if you believe your loved one is at immediate risk of harm, take any action you believe is appropriate to ensure your loved one’s safety. This may include calling 911 or moving your loved one to a different facility. The health and safety of the New York nursing home resident you love take top priority.
Then, call an experienced nursing home negligence attorney right away. We strongly urge you to contact our experienced New York nursing home negligence lawyers before you file an official complaint, raise your concerns with nursing home staff, or call any authorities. The steps you take in reporting your suspicions of nursing home negligence can have a significant impact on your loved one’s legal rights. Official complaints and calls to regulators can trigger lengthy investigations. Informal discussions with staff can lead to the destruction of evidence and cover-ups. Your loved one’s legal rights can get caught in the middle of these developments.
Experienced nursing home negligence attorneys can advise you quickly—within hours if necessary—about the most effective course of action to take when you suspect negligence has harmed your loved one at a New York nursing home. A quick conversation with a skilled New York nursing home lawyer can help to ensure that your loved one’s safety and rights to compensation stay protected.
Contact an Experienced Nursing Home Attorney Today
Nursing homes must provide the highest care possible to their patients, but many people suffer serious, even life-threatening injuries because of nursing home neglect and abuse. If you suffered serious injuries or suspect your loved one is suffering because of a nursing home facility’s negligence or a caregiver’s abuse, you should not delay in getting the help you need to hold the responsible parties accountable.
The experienced New York nursing home abuse lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, are here for you and your family. You can schedule a free consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers by calling us at (877) 565-2993 or using our online contact form. Don’t wait to begin receiving the legal representation you need and contact us today.
“If it were not for the integral legal team of experts at Jacoby & Meyers I would not be where I am today with my recovery. I highly recommend hiring Jacoby & Meyers should you ever find yourself injured in an accident, and an individual or company needs to be held accountable for their negligence.” -C.J.
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