When your loved one is unable to care for themselves, you may need to turn to a nursing home or assisted living facility for their health. Unfortunately, the last thing you expect is for your family member to suffer neglect and abuse at the hands of their caregivers. Sadly, nursing home abuse and neglect continue to be an issue across the country.
If you suspect your loved one is being abused in a nursing home, you may have the opportunity to bring the liable party to justice. We have answered some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding nursing home abuse and neglect claims below. If you have additional questions that were not answered here, reach out to our office so we can discuss your individual concerns in greater detail.
Are There Different Types of Nursing Home Abuse?
Yes. Part of the reason why nursing home abuse can go undetected for so long is that there are several different ways nursing home abuse can occur. Some of the more common types of nursing home abuse include:
- Sexual abuse
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Financial abuse
These different forms of nursing home abuse impact a victim horribly. If you suspect that your loved one has been a victim of any of the aforementioned types of abuse or neglect, it is pertinent that you take action to get them to safety and prevent any further abuse from occurring.
What Are the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse?
Unfortunately, since there are many different types of nursing home abuse, the signs may not always be clear. However, if you notice any of the following signs or symptoms, it may be worthwhile to reach out to your loved one to discuss your concerns further.
Do not be surprised if your loved one brushes you off or denies the abuse. Some of the more common signs that individuals may be suffering from nursing home abuse or neglect include:
- Unexplained weight loss or gain
- Social isolation
- Missing money
- Unexplained bruises, scratches, broken bones, or other injuries
These are only a few of the signs that someone you love may be suffering from nursing home abuse or neglect. When you are unsure but have concerns, it is important to get a legal advocate on your side before you report your concerns to the facility. Remember, these facilities may stand by their own and fail to take your concerns seriously.
Who Is at Fault for Nursing Home Abuse?
You might be surprised to learn that there are many parties that could have facilitated the abuse your loved one endured. Of course, the abuser themselves should be named in your civil claim. However, there are other parties who could also be held accountable for nursing home abuse and neglect. These include:
- Nursing assistants
- Nursing home staff
- The nursing home facility
Will the Liable Party Face Criminal Charges?
It is possible that the liable party could face criminal charges for the nursing home abuse your loved one suffered. It will be up to the local or state police to determine whether they are going to make an arrest, and up to the state’s prosecuting attorney to file any criminal charges.
If the state elects to pursue criminal charges against the abuser or other liable parties, they will need to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to obtain a conviction. If convicted, the defendant will face criminal penalties such as restitution, community service, and jail or prison time, among other penalties.
This is much different from the civil claim you may have the opportunity to file. Here, with help from your attorney, you will need to prove liability based on a preponderance of the evidence. This means the evidence must show that the liable party is likely responsible for the abuse your loved one suffered. If found liable, the defendant will be ordered to compensate your family for the damages they caused.
What Should We Expect From the Nursing Home Abuse Claims Process?
The nursing home abuse claims process can initially be intimidating. However, once you have a better idea of what you can expect, you will feel more confident in your decision to seek justice. With that in mind, here is a basic idea of what you can expect when you decide to move forward with your nursing home abuse claim:
- Your attorney begins investigating the abuse your loved one suffered
- Your lawyer gathers the evidence needed to establish liability
- Your attorney files a claim with the insurer
- Your lawyer negotiates with the insurance company to secure a favorable insurance settlement
- If the insurance company is unwilling or unable to settle your claim fairly, you could bring your case to court
It is important to keep in mind that the nursing home abuse claims process can vary considerably on a case-by-case basis. If you are interested in learning more about what you can expect from your nursing home abuse case specifically, be sure to contact our office.
What Evidence Can Be Used to Support My Nursing Home Abuse Claim?
If you are hoping to prove liability in a nursing home abuse claim, you will need to provide proof of the other party’s neglect or abuse. While your attorney investigates, we will gather the evidence needed to support your case. Some of the most common types of evidence used to prove liability in a nursing home abuse claim include:
- Employment logs
- Medical records
- Video footage
- Injury photos
- Witness statements
- Expert testimony
- Police reports
- Inspection reports
What Is My Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit Worth?
Without having reviewed the circumstances of your case, it is difficult to determine what your nursing home abuse lawsuit could be worth. However, it is important to remember that you could recover every single loss in your claim. This includes economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are monetary in nature. They have a fixed financial value and can be proven via financial records. Non-economic damages are different. They do not have an immediately apparent financial value because they encompass the ways your life has been affected by your injuries.
With that being said, you have the right to recoup both types of losses.
Common Economic and Non-Economic Damages in Nursing Home Abuse Cases
Some of the more common types of economic or non-economic damages your family could seek to recover in your nursing home abuse lawsuit include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Costs of moving nursing home facilities
- Medical expenses and treatment
- Future medical care
- Diminished quality of life
- Loss of consortium
- Reputational damage
- Costs of increased insurance premiums
You can get a better idea of how much your nursing home abuse claim is worth after discussing your individual damages further with your nursing home abuse attorney.
How Long do We Have to File a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit?
The amount of time you have to file your nursing home abuse case can vary considerably depending on whether you are filing a personal injury or medical malpractice lawsuit.
Under Maryland law, the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is three years, while the statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits is five years.
The more time you have to build your case against the liable party, the more time your lawyers have to uncover evidence and investigate the nursing home. The exact date in which the statute of limitations will expire in your case can vary widely depending on when your loved one was diagnosed with injuries, when the nursing home abuse occurred, when the last incident occurred, and other factors.
An Attorney Can Help You Meet Important Deadlines
If you want to avoid losing your opportunity to recover compensation in your nursing home abuse case, it is important to get an attorney on your side. If you attempt to file your nursing home abuse case after the statute of limitations has expired, the defendant can file a motion to dismiss your case.
Unfortunately, the judge may have no other choice but to grant their request and dismiss your case with prejudice. Fortunately, a lawyer can help identify how much time you have left to act.
Will I Have to Go to Court?
The thought of bringing your case to court may be overwhelming, but it is always a possibility when pursuing a civil case. Although you may be able to secure an injury settlement through the insurance company, dealing with the insurance company comes with its own difficulties.
For example, insurance companies are only required to pay out of the limits of the policyholder’s policy. If your damages exceed the limit, the insurance company is not required to pay out beyond the limits of the policy.
If you hope to get the most out of your nursing home abuse claim and ensure the liable party is fully held accountable, bringing your case to court may be your best option. You can get the legal guidance and support you need to determine what your next steps should be when you connect with a nursing home abuse lawyer.
Can We Settle Outside of Court?
Yes, you may be able to settle your nursing home abuse claim outside of court. However, before you accept an offer from the insurance company, be sure to review it with your attorney. Insurance companies do not always offer sufficient compensation to injury victims and their families during their greatest time of need. They prioritize their own financial interest over that of their claimants.
If the insurance company makes you an offer, be sure to have your lawyer review it to determine whether it adequately meets your needs. If it doesn’t, consult your attorney who can then step in and renegotiate the terms.
Is Nursing Home Abuse Medical Malpractice?
Nursing home abuse and medical malpractice are technically two different things. Nursing home abuse refers to repeated behaviors of neglect or abuse, and this type of personal injury case can pursue damages from many individuals or parties. Medical malpractice typically refers to a specific medical error, and the liable parties typically only include the doctor or the hospital. Another important difference is the standard of care owed to the victim. However, it is easy to see how the two can be confused.
In some cases, it may be appropriate to file a nursing home abuse lawsuit and a medical malpractice lawsuit. You can find out what your options are when you discuss your case with your attorney.
How Can We Prove Nursing Home Abuse Occurred?
To prove nursing home abuse, your attorney will need to show that the defendant engaged in abusive behaviors. Although nursing home abuse can take many forms, the evidence used to support your case will need to prove liability based on a preponderance of the evidence.
For negligence to be proven in nursing home abuse claims, the four following elements will need to be met:
- Duty of care
- Breach of duty
Your nursing home abuse lawyer will be responsible for showing that the defendant in your case owed your loved one a duty of care, breached that duty of care through abuse, and caused them to suffer considerable damages because of this breach.
Get Help from a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Today
When your family member has been abused or neglected in their nursing home or assisted living facility, and you do not know where to turn for help, reach out to a dedicated nursing home abuse attorney at Brown & Barron.
Our firm is proud to offer no-cost, risk-free consultations to families in need. Take advantage of this opportunity when you call our office.