Can I sue if my loved one was not adequately supervised in a nursing home?

Last updated on: February 3, 2023

Family members make the difficult decision to place loved ones in the care of a nursing home or long-term care facility, sometimes due to their own inability to adequately supervise their loved one and always expecting they will receive the utmost care and attention. It can be devastating to later learn that your loved one was injured due to insufficient supervision.

If your loved one was injured because of inadequate supervision in a nursing home, “Can I sue?” may be a question on your mind. If you feel your loved one’s injury was the result of neglect, you may wish to speak with a nursing home injury attorney and have your case evaluated. If your loved one has been injured or become ill due to nursing home neglect, call Zinda Law Group today at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free consultation with one of our nursing home injury lawyers.

What is Nursing Home Neglect?

Inadequate care in nursing home is, more often than not, a result of neglect. Neglect in nursing homes is a form of nursing home abuse. Neglect is a failure to act when needed and comes in two forms: active and passive.

Active neglect occurs when a caretaker intentionally fails to execute their responsibilities and take care of a resident. Examples of active neglect include withholding medical care, depriving a resident of food and water, or abandoning the resident entirely.

Passive neglect involves “non-willful failure” to perform caretaking responsibilities. Nursing homes are required to monitor residents regularly and provide necessary care, and passive neglect may occur when this monitoring system fails. Examples of passive neglect include failure to give a resident medicine in prescribed dosages, or failing to bathe a resident as needed.

When residents are admitted into nursing homes, their physical and mental health are evaluated so the facility can be sure they have the proper staff available to take proper care of the resident and their unique needs. For example, patients who are at a higher risk for falls are deemed to be so upon admittance to the facility so that everyone on their care team knows of the risk and can supervise accordingly.

Neglect in nursing homes may result from several causes; the facility may be understaffed, or certain staff members may not be qualified for their assigned responsibilities. The facility may have performed inadequate background checks on employees before hiring them. Further, the medical equipment in the facility may not be properly maintained, and the facility itself may be poorly maintained and unclean.

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It is possible that a resident’s loved ones are not aware that there is any sort of neglect or abuse happening. The resident’s condition, such as dementia, may prevent them from communicating what is happening, or it may be the case that the resident is hiding the abuse out of shame or fear of retribution if they report it. Knowing the signs of abuse or neglect can alert you to what may be happening.

What are Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?

Signs of abuse and neglect present as new or worsening injuries, such as those listed below, or can take a more subtle form. Unusual mood changes, such as agitation, depression, or withdrawal can be indicative of abuse, as can confusion and lack of energy. Poor personal hygiene, and lack of dentures, hearing aids, or eyeglasses can show a lack of adequate supervision.

Other indicators to look for include signs of malnourishment, dehydration, and weight loss. Be sure to pay attention to how your loved one reacts to staff and caregivers. Ambivalence towards caregivers is a subtle indicator of neglect.

What are Common Nursing Home Injuries?

The following is a list of injuries that commonly occur in nursing homes due to abuse of neglect. Two injuries—falls and bedsores—are most often seen in neglect cases, as the prevention of these injuries requires careful and near constant supervision of residents.

  • Bedsores
  • Falls
  • Cuts, lacerations, and scrapes
  • Emotional distress
  • Bruises, sprains, strains, and other soft tissue injuries
  • Broken bones resulting from falls or improper restraints
  • Head injuries
  • Back and neck Injuries
  • Internal bleeding and organ damage
  • Pneumonia and other respiratory illnesses
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Wrongful death

WHat to do if you suspect abuse or neglect

If you suspect your loved one has been the victim of abuse or neglect, the first thing you should do is talk to them, as they may be able to tell you what is going on. If you believe your loved one is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1. You can try to speak with the staff at the facility to make them aware of the situation and have them correct it; if nothing changes after reporting the abuse to the facility manager, supervisor, or owner, your next step should be to file a complaint with the appropriate state agency where you live, such as the Department of Health.

From the moment you suspect abuse you should document everything you can; take pictures of injuries and keep medical records regarding your loved one’s treatment. Keep copies of any accident reports that are filed as well as a written record of your recollections concerning events or abnormalities that have occurred which led you to suspect abuse or neglect. This information will likely prove useful later and can assist a nursing home injury lawyer in pursuing a claim against the responsible parties.

Can I Sue for Nursing Home Neglect?

You can bring a case for nursing home neglect in whichever state your loved one resides. Each state has their own specific procedures for nursing home abuse and neglect cases; some states make legal distinctions between abuse and neglect, giving them separate standards of proof and consequences. You should speak with a nursing home injury attorney to have your case evaluated and to find out what the procedures are for your state.

The sooner you speak with an attorney, the better chance you have at success when pursuing a claim. All types of claims, both civil and criminal, are subject to statutes of limitations; these statutes are effectively time limits on how long you have a right to make your claim before it is barred forever. A civil claim for nursing home neglect may overlap with criminal charges, and an experienced nursing home attorney will be able to help you navigate the legal issues related to the overlap of cases.

Where Can I Find a Lawyer?

Finding the right lawyer may seem difficult, but there are plenty of resources available to make the process easier. You can use search terms online to find a personal injury lawyer near you, or you can ask family and friends for recommendations. If those options do not work, you can always find personal injury lawyers through the American Bar Association online; you can also check websites of smaller bar associations within your state to find a lawyer closer to you.

You should choose a personal injury attorney who has the experience and skill needed to handle your case, and a track record of negotiating favorable settlements for clients in the pursuit of personal injury claims. Zinda Law Group’s nursing home injury lawyers  nationwide have experience with nursing home injury claims and an outstanding record of success in handling these matters for our clients.

What Can I Recover?

Typically, in a personal injury case, compensatory damages will be recovered. Compensatory damages comprise of both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are the actual monetary costs incurred because of an injury or illness, such as medical bills or lost wages; non-economic damages cover injuries whose values are not so easily calculated, such as pain and suffering and loss of consortium.

Economic damages can help you recover for any number of out-of-pocket costs you have incurred, including medical bills, mental health therapy, physical therapy, and the costs associated with changing nursing homes or facilities for your loved one. Nursing home neglect lawsuits do not typically make it to trial. They are often settled out of court before a jury has a chance to hear your case and give a verdict.

How Zinda Can Help You

If your loved one has suffered an injury or illness due to neglect in a nursing home, you may feel at a loss over what to do next. The experienced nursing home injury lawyers at Zinda Law Group can assist you with recovering the costs associated with your loved one’s injury or illness. Our team of nursing home lawyers will guide you through the often complex legal system to help file your claim and ensure you receive the maximum compensation you are entitled to.

We will take care of the legal work so you can focus on yourself and your family during this difficult time. You can worry less, for if we do not win your case, you will not pay any fees; this is our No Win, No Fee Guarantee. If you have lost a loved one after an accident in a nursing home and would like to pursue a wrongful death claim, call Zinda Law Group today at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our nursing home injury lawyers.

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