The elderly and disabled who require nursing home care are the most vulnerable and in need of competent, compassionate and coordinated care. Unfortunately, they are the most likely persons in need of care to become victims of the very health care system that they need. The betrayal that is felt when you discover that your vulnerable loved one is the victim of abuse in a nursing home or long term care facility can be emotionally devastating, especially when you entrusted their care to that facility and its staff.
Many times your loved one cannot tell you or are afraid to say that they are abused and mistreated. There may be no visible evidence of the abuse. Whether you have suspicions or concrete evidence, if you believe your loved one has suffered from nursing home abuse, you need to speak with an experienced legal advocate. Contact a Long Island nursing home abuse attorney at Sullivan Papain Block McGrath Coffinas & Cannavo, P.C. to schedule a free consultation.
There are many forms of nursing home abuse and neglect, and some types are much less obvious than others. Neglect and abuse such as physical, verbal, and sexual abuse are, unfortunately, common in nursing homes. Other forms of neglect includes isolating patients, neglecting their needs, and failing to provide adequate medical care. Physical injuries can include bed sores, injury from falls, and malnourishment.
Not only are nursing homes subject to negligence standards, but residents of nursing homes are further protected by New York and Federal laws, including Public Health Law §2801-d, which gives residents of residential health care facilities the right to bring an action against the facility due to violations of that resident’s rights.
There are many types of abuse and neglect that regularly occur at nursing home and care facilities, and some types are much less apparent than others. Unfortunately, nursing home residents are often mistreated for extended periods of time before their family members recognize what has been happening to their loved ones. Caretakers are in a unique position of being responsible for those who are unable to take care of themselves. When they take advantage of their place of power, they can cause immense harm to innocent elderly victims and their family members.
Sadly, neglect is widespread in nursing homes, especially when it comes to patients who are physically reliant on caretakers because they are not mobile on their own. Those who are wheelchair and bed bound are at the mercy of their caretakers for everyday tasks and activities, such as using the restroom, bathing, and eating. Forms of neglect include the following:
Nursing home residents are often subject to physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, especially those who have diminished cognitive function. Residents can be abused by nursing home employees, medical professionals, nursing home visitors, and other residents of the same care facility.
It is often revealed that those closest to elderly individuals, including those who are charged with caring for nursing home residents, take advantage of them for personal financial gain. Unfortunately, it can be easy to manipulate residents with cognitive impairment, and financial abuse frequently goes on for a long time before it is discovered. See below for common types of financial abuse suffered by nursing home residents.
Elderly nursing home residents often require regular and ongoing health and medical care. When they do not receive the quality of care that they need, the consequences can be devastating. They also often require ongoing rehabilitation and physical therapy. When they do not get the care and therapy they need, they can develop serious injuries such as the following:
If you or a loved one has suffered nursing home injuries, there are several different types of legal claims for remedies that may be appropriate, depending on the circumstances of your case. Your case may involve one or more defendants, including the nursing home, medical professionals, and individuals responsible for the injuries and damages your loved one has sustained.
You may have a medical malpractice claim against medical professionals who provided substandard care resulting in injuries. Common types of medical negligence include failure to diagnose, unnecessary treatment, failure to treat, errors in treatment and procedures, and misdiagnosis.
Nursing home institutions may be held responsible under premises liability claims when resident injuries were caused by unsafe property conditions, such as negligent security, wet floors leading to falls, and fire code violations. Institutions may also be accountable for negligent hiring practices, negligent nursing home operation, and other types of wrongful care and conduct.
If your loved one died as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect, you might have a wrongful death claim against responsible parties. Wrongful death claims are meant to compensate surviving family members for the losses they suffered as a result of their loved one’s death. Survivors may not collect compensation for their own emotional losses, such as pain and suffering, but they may be entitled to compensation for economic losses such as loss of financial support, medical expenses, and funeral costs.
If your loved one suffered losses before he or she died due to negligent and abusive nursing home care, the estate representative may file a survival action for the benefit of the deceased’s estate. Compensation for emotional damages such as pain and suffering, may be available, as well as other costs, such as medical and rehabilitation expenses.
Nursing home residents are protected by federal and state laws, including Public Health Law 2801-d, which provides for a private right of action against residential living facilities for violating their residents’ rights and benefits. This private right of action is separate and distinct from medical malpractice and negligence claims. In order to bring a 2801-d claim, the plaintiff must show that the nursing home violated a statutory, regulatory, or contractual obligation that resulted in the plaintiff suffering injuries.
There are federal and state laws and regulations that provide for nursing home resident rights. Nursing homes are required to make notice of those rights available to residents. New York nursing home residents have the following minimum rights to:
Residents who are injured due to a violation of these or other resident rights may have a claim to compensation under 2801-d and other remedies. In some cases, plaintiffs may file a 2801-d claim along with other claims such as negligence or wrongful death. In addition to other damages, 2801-d permits plaintiffs to recover punitive damages against facilities that violate their rights.
In addition to punitive damages, other compensation that may be available to those who have been mistreated in a nursing home, includes medical expenses, future medical expenses, other financial expenses and losses, and pain and suffering. If nursing home mistreatment resulted in death, as previously noted, recovery may also include compensation for surviving family members, such as loss of financial support and burial expenses.
Plaintiffs in nursing home mistreatment cases often wonder if their cases will settle or go to trial. Our nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys settle the majority of their cases before trial. They always make sure that their cases are trial-ready, however, so that they can take their cases to court when it is in our clients’ best interests.
Nursing home patients may be unable to report abuse and misconduct. Limited faculties may prevent them from being able to communicate effectively, or they may not be aware of the abuse. They may also be afraid of retaliation for reporting abuse. Nursing home patients need to be protected from those who prey on their vulnerabilities.
Protecting your loved one from suffering further abuse is our priority. If you believe your loved one is being abused at their living facility, we will help by conducting an investigation. We will listen to your concerns and help you find evidence of abuse. We can also help you file an abuse report with the state.
We will pursue your loved one’s personal injury claim and participate in settlement negotiations with defendants and their insurance companies. Our attorneys are skilled trial attorneys, and they will be ready to take your case to trial if settlement negotiations are unsuccessful.
We cannot erase your loved one’s abuse. We can, however, help to make sure that wrongful conduct is exposed, and responsible parties are held accountable. Contact a Long Island personal injury attorney at Sullivan Papain Block McGrath Coffinas & Cannavo, P.C. for a free case evaluation. We will go over the facts of your case and discuss your financial recovery options.