When you suspect a nursing home is responsible for the abuse or neglect of a loved one, it can be difficult to get a straight answer. When nursing homes are at fault, they will do everything in their power to protect their business, making it nearly impossible for families to find out what happened.
A loved one may be placed in a nursing home for a number of reasons, such as after a surgery or major injury, a health condition, or the inability to care for themselves at home. Families trust nursing homes to properly care for their loved ones and meet their health and safety needs. However, sometimes that trust is misplaced, and the home is not providing the proper standard of care you expect, or your loved one deserves.
Why Should You Call Brown & Barron?
At Brown & Barron, we put a special focus on nursing home law, and we treat you like family. Our lawyers understand the complex set of rules that nursing homes must follow to ensure the well-being of their residents. The sad truth is that nursing homes often break these rules, resulting in preventable injuries and deaths. We have the experience and methods to uncover the truth.
When Brown & Barron gets involved, you get the answers and the justice your family deserves.
- We have 130+ years of combined legal experience
- We offer free, no-obligation consultations
- We’ve recovered millions of dollars for our clients
Discovering that a member of your family was abused in a nursing home is an extremely overwhelming feeling. You may be unsure of where to turn and what you can do when the people who were supposed to care for your loved one harmed them instead. Hiring an experienced attorney is essential in cases of nursing home abuse and neglect.
Our legal team can help you ensure your loved one is safe and that the negligent workers are held accountable for their actions. In addition to filing your claim, our lawyers can answer your questions about the legal process. Plus, we can help recover substantial evidence by accessing records and completing a thorough investigation of the nursing home’s actions.
If applicable, we can also help report the facility to regulatory agencies and other authorities.
How Do You Prove Liability of Nursing Facilities?
Problems in nursing homes often stem from understaffing, poor training, or failure to properly supervise staff and residents. In some places, there is a complete failure to provide appropriate medical treatment or nursing care. Safety hazards may result in falls and injuries, due to the facility failing to maintain proper safety policies and safe conditions.
The nursing home may be legally responsible for harm caused to a patient when negligence can be proven. In order to prevail in court, the plaintiff and their Baltimore nursing home abuse attorney must prove that:
- The nursing home had a duty to care for the resident
- It failed to act in a reasonable manner
- The failure to act resulted in harm, such as injury or death
The attorneys and staff at Brown & Barron have represented dozens of clients who are victims of nursing home abuse and neglect across Maryland. We know exactly what it takes to successfully resolve these cases–what evidence is necessary, and, most importantly, what our clients need during this challenging time.
Different Ways Elder Abuse Can Occur
Most nursing home residents rely on facility staff for nearly all their needs, unfortunately leaving them vulnerable to multiple types of abuse and neglect. Incidences of nursing home abuse and neglect are usually grouped into seven different categories:
- General: Caregivers who fail to provide their patients with daily care or assistance with tasks are guilty of general nursing home neglect. An example of general neglect is failing to help with hygiene. General neglect can result in infections, illnesses, or bedsores.
- Physical: Physical abuse involves incidences of hitting, kicking, pushing, restraining, or any actions that are meant to cause physical harm to a patient. Signs of physical abuse may include bruises, broken bones, or burns.
- Medical: Many elderly people are dependent on caregivers for medical attention. Nursing home staff who administer incorrect treatment or do not address injury and illness are neglecting their patients.
- Nutritional: Nursing home staff can endanger the patients’ health by not feeding them or providing water. Signs of malnutrition and dehydration may include illness, exhaustion, or confusion.
- Emotional: Emotional abuse may include yelling, insulting, threatening, controlling, or isolating a patient. A nursing home resident who is acting anxious, depressed, insecure, or irritable could be experiencing emotional abuse.
- Sexual: Signs of sexual abuse of a nursing home resident can include physical injuries or illnesses, as well as emotional distress.
- Financial: Financial abuse is when nursing home staff exert control over a resident’s finances by stealing, withholding funds, accessing bank information, or forging documents. Any unusual changes in an elderly person’s financial situation or power of attorney could be signs of financial abuse.
Determining Liability in Nursing Home Abuse Cases
One of the most important aspects of a nursing home abuse & neglect case is determining liability. Without proving liability, you cannot pursue compensatory damages for the injuries caused by the abuse or neglect. In nursing home abuse and neglect litigation, there are three possible liable parties.
Abusive or Negligent Staff
Typically, staff members are most commonly accused of elder abuse because they are the ones directly caring for the residents in the home. Staff members, such as caregivers, directly interact with patients on a daily basis.
When caregivers or other staff members fail to properly care for an elderly resident, they may cause significant harm. Holding a staff member accountable for abuse means showing that their actions—or inaction—led to the injury. It would be necessary to prove that they did not properly care for their resident in a manner designed to keep them safe.
Nursing Home Owners/Managers
Even if they do not directly work with the residents in the nursing home, owners and managers can be held responsible for abuse that occurs in their facility. This is because they are expected to provide training, perform background checks on new hires, and monitor the staff. They must also ensure that daily necessities are provided, security and safety measures are in place, and that they hire individuals who are properly and adequately trained to care for elderly residents.
While elder abuse in a nursing home is most often the fault of the nursing home and staff, there are instances in which a third party may be held accountable. This is when items used in the nursing home cause the injury; for instance, if a wheelchair or walker is not manufactured properly, causing the individual to fall, or medications are not properly supplied.
What is the most common abuse in nursing homes?
Abuse or neglect can cause serious injuries or death in a nursing home. Some common violations prevalent in nursing homes for which you can seek help from Brown and Barron are:
- A fall that breaks a bone (or worse)
- Severe starvation or dehydration
- Sexual assault
- Severe bed sores
- Elopement (a resident wanders off or leaves premises without supervision).
What is the definition of abuse in a nursing home?
A loved one may be moved to a nursing home for various reasons, after a surgery or significant accident, a medical condition, or the incapacity to care for themselves at home. Families trust nursing homes to provide their loved ones with health and safety. However, sometimes that reliance is abused, and the nursing home fails to deliver the level of care you or your loved one deserves.
Contact Brown & Barron online today to schedule a free case review with a with a nursing home abuse lawyer serving Baltimore.
How Long do I Have to File a Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect Lawsuit?
Your loved one does not have to pursue a civil lawsuit immediately following an act of neglect or abuse. However, the time they have is limited under the law. The statute of limitations is the deadline that applies to every nursing home negligence case, and the consequences of noncompliance are steep.
If your loved one files their lawsuit after the statutory period expires, they will not be able to pursue the compensation they deserve. The statute of limitations generally expires after three years in Baltimore, although exceptions could affect the deadline. However, if you file your negligence lawsuit after the deadline passes, the court will typically have little choice but to dismiss the case, barring you from pursuing compensation through the courts.
Get in touch with a nursing home abuse lawyer serving Baltimore, (410) 698-1717 for a free case evaluation.
How Much does a Nursing Home Negligence Attorney Cost?
The victims of nursing home abuse or neglect rarely have substantial assets available to hire an attorney. However, our firm understands that money can be tight, especially for victims of financial abuse. That is why we agree to take on nursing home abuse and neglect cases on a contingency basis.
When our firm works on a contingency fee, you will never owe us anything unless we recover damages in your case. We retain a portion of your settlement as our fee before forwarding the rest to you. This arrangement allows your loved one to pursue compensation for their abuse regardless of their financial means.
Ultimately, our firm carries the risk of pursuing an injury lawsuit. If we are successful, your loved one will recover a monetary award without ever paying any out-of-pocket legal fees to our firm. If we are unsuccessful, your loved one will not owe us any attorney’s fees. This approach is a win-win for victims of nursing home abuse and neglect.
What Compensation Is Available for Abuse and Neglect?
Your loved one could recover financial compensation in the aftermath of nursing home abuse and neglect. Whether you pursue legal action against the abuser or the facility that allowed it to happen, the compensation your loved one could recover will depend on the trauma they sustained. Some types of damages they could recover include:
- The cost of relocating to a different facility
- Medical expenses
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
An attorney from our firm will evaluate the facts of your loved one’s case, review their medical records, and gauge the extent of their emotional trauma. Then, we’ll advise you on what their case might be worth based on these factors. No attorney can promise a specific outcome in a nursing home negligence case, but we will work tirelessly to secure a fair outcome for your loved one.
5 Signs of Nursing Home Neglect & Abuse
Some signs of nursing home abuse and neglect are more obvious (such as in cases of physical injury), while other signs are more subtle, like the emotional effects of verbal abuse. Any change in appearance or strange behavior that makes you concerned about a loved one’s well-being should be monitored.
Here are five signs you should look for to determine if elderly abuse exists in your loved one’s nursing home.
- Physical Marks: Elderly abuse can occur in a number of ways, many of which cause physical pain such as bruises, abrasions, pressure marks, and more. Pay attention to some of the common areas of the body where these damages may appear such as the legs, arms, back, and head.
- Signs of Neglect: Nursing home staffs are expected to provide care and attention to the residents, but this doesn’t always happen. If you recognize dirty clothes, soiled sheets, bedsores, or unusual weight loss, these could be signs of neglect.
- Emotional Damage: Abuse doesn’t always have to be physical. If you notice that your loved one is acting indifferent to a staff member, nervous or fearful, exhibiting strange behavior, or showing signs of withdrawal, this could be due to emotional trauma.
- Lack of Assistance: As some individuals get older, it becomes more difficult for them to balance and walk, meaning they need assistance to complete certain tasks. When they don’t receive this, they may fall getting out of bed or struggle even going to the restroom.
- Financial Exploitation: There are some situations in which the abuse isn’t done in a physical or emotional manner; rather, it’s done financially. As a family member, it’s important to know the signs of financial exploitation in order to better protect your loved one. Signs include missing property, verbal complaints, and unexplained financial losses. Check to ensure bills are paid, credit cards don’t have unusual usage, or that the caregiver is not taking money for purchases that aren’t accounted for.
What Should I Do If I Suspect Nursing Home Abuse?
If you believe your family member is facing abuse and neglect in a nursing home, transfer them to a safe location as soon as possible. Then, contact our nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys in Baltimore. As we get started on your case, you should preserve any evidence of the abuse, including photographs, documents, and correspondence with the facility’s administration and staff.
How to Report Nursing Home Abuse?
Maryland has a number of state government agencies that you can contact to report the abuse. You will want to ensure the report as accurate as possible so the agency looking into the incident knows what to look for and their findings are properly documented. You can also use these reports to help build a case. The Maryland Department of Aging and Maryland Department of Health can investigate these claims to help hold the nursing home accountable for the damages.
You should not wait to act in cases of nursing home abuse and neglect. Maryland law has time limits for medical malpractice claims. As soon as you notice signs of abuse or neglect, contact a Baltimore nursing home attorney from our firm, so we can begin an investigation, preserve evidence, interview witnesses, and prepare a convincing case.
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The abuse and neglect incidents in nursing homes are classified into five types:
- General: Nursing home neglect happens when caregivers don’t give their patients the care they need or help them with tasks.
- Physical: Physical abuse includes hitting, kicking, pushing, restraining, and any other action that hurts the patient.
- Medical: When the caregivers in nursing homes give the wrong treatment or don’t take care of injuries or illnesses.
- Nutritional: The staff at a nursing home can put the patient’s health at risk by not feeding them or giving them water.
- Sexual: Physical injuries, illnesses, or emotional distress, are all signs of sexual abuse.