I believe my mother received abuse in her nursing home. What can I do?
Filing a legal claim for abuse against a nursing home can be a complicated issue from the very beginning. The abuse could have been happening for a significant amount of time before the victim or their family realizes the problem. To compound the issue, in many instances, the abuse is often difficult to identify until family members find documented evidence of the abuse when it occurs without witnesses.
Likewise, many individuals who do witness the abuse do not want to get involved, especially if they have family members in the same facility. However, one primary component of a potential nursing home abuse case is that sometimes abuse does not necessarily involve action, but can occur because of bad nursing home operational policy and a lack of qualified staff.
After supporting documentation of material case facts is found, there are multiple issues that could justify legal grounds for a specific valid claim against the nursing home. The truth about nursing home abuse is that it is similar to any other legal cases of physical abuse and handled in much the same way. On the other hand, all cases are unique in some fashion, and nursing home abuse cases are always very emotional claims. That is why it is important to retain an experienced nursing home and elder abuse attorney who knows how to craft a nursing home abuse case in a manner that will provide positive results.
Finding Supporting Evidence of a Claim
It is important to have as much documented evidence as possible when making the initial consultation appointment with an elder abuse attorney. The attorneys or intake specialists will be asking questions concerning the abuses and assessing general legal issues. After you have retained an official legal representative, your legal counsel can begin the process of identifying reasonable care negligence issues that can be provable valid claims within an elder abuse filing. Personal injury to the victim may not always be as necessary in a nursing home claim as many people think.
A solid nursing home abuse attorney will know where to look for information that the family of the victim would not understand. It is also a good decision in some cases to appoint a "power of attorney" legal status for one particular family member, usually the next-of-kin. This will allow the actual attorney to communicate with one specific family member concerning the claim and eliminate confusion.
Contending with Management and Malpractice
A nursing home abuse case is essentially a personal injury claim, and will always be defended vigorously. Nursing homes contend with legal claims on a regular basis and will always have a dedicated legal team rebuking personal injury claims. It is the responsibility of the victim's legal counsel to prove that an injury has occurred or that there is an ongoing abusive or negligent care situation that the management staff is not correcting.
While there may be criminal issues for the individual committing the abuse in egregious micro cases, it is also important to establish that the nursing home is negligent in stopping the abuse. This means that the insurance adjusters will also always have legal input in the claim approval process, so having an experienced and effective professional claim negotiator representing your case is vital to winning a case. Never attempt to deal with the negligent parties without legal counsel, including a separate claim against a negligent physician.
Alarming Nursing Home Statistics
Statistics from nursing home abuse polls are highly subjective in most assessments, but there are some general numbers that can be applied from large research sample sizes. In 2000, a survey of 2,000 nursing home residents revealed that 44% of those interviewed said they were abused at some point, and an overwhelming 95% claimed negligence concerning some care procedures or failure to act by the facility.
Always remember that nursing home abuse includes the failure to provide reasonable care, and this is also claimable as nursing home negligence. In addition, those who experience nursing home abuse are 300% more likely to die; so, many times, a nursing home neglect case can become a wrongful death claim as well, which greatly enhances the value of a nursing facility legal claim.
Nursing home abuse is much more common than most people think, as the nursing home staff can act very friendly when the family is present, but less professional during the actual aspects of care. Always retain an experienced attorney with a solid track record of winning nursing home abuse claims for their clients. These can be complicated claims that are difficult to pinpoint and a legal professional is always necessary.