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 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 75+ years of combined legal experience
- We offer free, no-obligation consultations
- We've recovered millions of dollars for our clients
Get help with your case today. Contact our firm at (410) 698-1717 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your legal options for abuse or neglect suffered in a nursing home in Baltimore.
How Can a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Help My Case?
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
- Failed to act in a reasonable manner, and
- 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 is takes to successfully resolve these cases, what evidence is necessary, and, most importantly, what our clients need during this difficult 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, and/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 aspect of a nursing home abuse & neglect case is determing liability. Without proving liability, you cannot pursue compensatory damages for the injuries caused by the abuse or neglect. In nursing home 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.
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 ones 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.
Don't Wait to Get Started – Call (410) 698-1717
You should not wait to act in cases of nursing home abuse and neglect. Maryland law has time limits for personal injury and medical malpractice claims. As soon as you notice signs of abuse or neglect, contact a Baltimore nursing home attorney from our team, so we can begin an investigation, preserve evidence, interview witnesses, and prepare a strong case.
Q:What types of cases does Brown & Barron take?
A:Brown & Barron specializes in cases of nursing home abuse or neglect, leading to a serious permanent injury or death, in the state of Maryland and Washington, DC.
Q:What are the most common types of nursing home abuse/neglect cases?
A:There are many ways a person can be the victim of a serious injury or death at a nursing home due to abuse or neglect. However, if any of the following situations occurred, you should contact Brown & Barron immediately: Severe bed sores, A fall leading to a broken bone (or worse), A choking incident, Serious urinary tract infections (UTIs) , Severe malnourishment or dehydration, Sexual assault, Sepsis, Elopement (resident wanders off or leaves premises without supervision).
Q:How do I know if there has been abuse or neglect?
A:If a loved one is the victim of a serious injury or death, it can be difficult to get answers from the nursing home, especially if abuse or neglect was a factor. Choose a law firm that specializes in nursing home abuse/neglect cases, such as Brown & Barron, which can help you report your incident, find out what happened, and get justice for your loved one.
Q:Can I sue a nursing home if my loved one died in a nursing home due to coronavirus, also called COVID-19?
A:COVID-19 cases are complicated, and it remains to be seen if families will be able to file lawsuits successfully against nursing homes for the COVID-19 deaths of their loved ones. However, at Brown & Barron, we believe many COVID-related deaths in nursing homes were avoidable, and so we are actively working on these cases at this time. If your loved one died of COVID-19 in a nursing home in Maryland or D.C., please contact us to discuss your case.
Q:How long do I have to file a lawsuit in a case of nursing home abuse or neglect?
A:The statute of limitations in Maryland typically requires that the plaintiff file the lawsuit against a nursing home within three years from the date of the injuryor death.
Q:How common is nursing home abuse and neglect?
A:Sadly, nursing home abuse and neglect is far too common. It is difficult to say for certain how often it occurs because much of it goes unreported. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), roughly 95% of nursing home residents have been neglected or have witnessed neglect. The nursing home industry is a for-profit business, and many nursing homes are focused more on profits than the well-being of their residents. To increase profits, they cut back on resources that are vital to the safety and well being of elderly residents. The result is that many of the regulations set forth to protect residents are broken or ignored on a regular basis, leading to preventable injuries and death. You need to choose a law firm specializing in nursing home abuse and neglect, one that understands nursing home regulations and how to establish if they were followed in the case of your loved one.
Q:If I live in a different state than my loved one in a nursing home, in which state is the lawsuit filed?
A:The lawsuit is filed in the state where your loved one’s nursing home is located. Your loved one’s nursing home must be located in the state of Maryland or in Washington, D.C. for Brown & Barron to represent your case. We handle cases in every Maryland County, as well as in D.C.
Q:What types of facilities qualify as a “nursing home”?
A:We often refer to nursing homes, but we handle cases for long-term care nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and rehabilitation facilities located in Maryland or D.C.
Q:Who can file a lawsuit against a nursing home?
A:If the resident is still living, only the resident or the resident’s legal representative (guardian, power of attorney, etc.) can file suit. If your loved one has died due to abuse or negligence of the nursing home, the loved one’s estate may file a lawsuit for the deceased resident’s pain, suffering, and expenses (e.g., funeral expenses), and the deceased resident’s parents, spouse, and children can sue for wrongful death, including economic losses and non-economic losses (e.g., emotional damage).
Q:What if Brown & Barron cannot take my nursing home abuse or neglect case?
A:If you have a complaint against a nursing home, the Maryland Ombudsman Program is a valuable advocate for issues pertaining to long-term care (LTC) facilities, including nursing homes, board/care homes, and assisted-living facilities. The service is free. An ombudsman is a civil servant, who is trained to resolve problems related to the health, safety, welfare, and rights of individuals who live in LTC facilities. The services provided by the ombudsman are free and confidential. An ombudsman will help to investigate and resolve any LTC issue with the help of the resident or on their behalf.
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“Working with this law firm gave me confidence and comfort during an emotional and difficult time.”- AL