Louisville Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
While any number of newspaper articles detail individual instances of abuse, it’s far more difficult finding articles that detail why that abuse persists.
Much of this has to do with the way in which the nursing home is structured as a corporation. The nursing home may appear on paper to be its own separate company, but it pays exorbitant “rental” fees to a parent company that holds it as a chain LLC. In this manner, much of the revenue that the nursing home generates goes to the parent corporation. It appears that the nursing home runs at a very modest profit margin or struggling to break even.
Meanwhile, these nursing homes are woefully understaffed, leading to a substandard quality of patient care. More often than not, nursing home patients aren’t outright abused (although that does happen). It’s simple neglect that results in serious injuries and sometimes death. While these stories aren’t as prone to generating headlines, they are becoming an increasing problem in every state.
If you suspect that your elderly loved one is abused in a nursing home, contact our office today to schedule a free consultation.
Your Rights as a Victim or Family Member in Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect Cases
If you or a loved one suffered mistreatment in an assisted living center, you would certainly report an incident or conduct to appropriate officials. Adult Protective Services and Kentucky Attorney General’s Office handles complaints of nursing home abuse or neglect. Upon receiving a report, officials will conduct an investigation and apply sanctions as appropriate for the circumstances.
However, reporting your situation to federal, state, or local authorities does nothing to help you or your loved one recover for the devastating damages resulting from abuse or neglect. Therefore, Kentucky law also allows you to file a lawsuit similar to other types of personal injury cases. As such, victims of nursing home misconduct have many of the same rights as other individuals who are hurt by the negligent, careless, or intentional acts of other people.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
There are different forms of nursing home misconduct that may give rise to a claim for damage. They include:
- Physical abuse, such as rough handling of a resident, causing injuries, or unnecessarily restraining the victim;
- Emotional mistreatment, which may include intimidation, humiliation, offensive comments, insults, and yelling;
- Financial exploitation, including stealing or misappropriating the resident’s assets.
Neglect is also a type of nursing home misconduct, but it does not typically involve intentionally abusive acts. Rather, neglect is failing to provide appropriate care to the nursing home resident, based upon the circumstances, personal needs, and medical requirements.
Signs of Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
Because victims of nursing home mistreatment are elderly, often suffering from medical conditions that affect their cognitive abilities, it is up to their loved ones to keep an eye out for indications of abuse or neglect. You should contact an experienced nursing home abuse attorney immediately if you observe:
- Bruises, broken bones, or unexplained injuries;
- Changes in the resident’s behavior, demeanor, mood, or habits;
- Signs that the person is fearful or withdrawn around certain caretakers at the nursing home;
- Sexually transmitted diseases, urinary infections, or genital issues that could indicate sexual abuse;
- Indications of physical restraints, such as ligature marks on wrists or ankles;
- Bedsores or welts;
- Dirty clothing or linens;
- Strong odors of feces, vomit, or urine throughout the facility;
- Allowing a resident to wander;
- General disorganization or filth in the facility;
- Assets or personal property disappearing;
- Changes to bank account ownership or beneficiary;
- Modifications to a will, trust, life insurance, or estate plan; and,
- Any other signs that give you reason to believe that your loved one is suffering abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
Compensation You Can Recover in a Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect Case
You may be able to recover compensation for yourself or on behalf of a loved one in a nursing home lawsuit. Depending on the specifics of your case, you can seek:
- Medical costs for treatment of injuries, such as surgery, physical therapy, and ongoing care;
- Losses for pain and suffering;
- Damages related to emotional distress and anguish; and,
- Other forms of compensation.
Negligence and Medical Negligence
There is a difference between medical malpractice lawsuits and other kinds of negligence claims.
Generally speaking, medical malpractice lawsuits require the use of expert witnesses and may, in some cases, be more difficult to litigate. Negligence lawsuits require folks to use a basic kind of common sense in order to determine who is at fault. Not all cases that involve nursing homes rise to the standard of medical malpractice. Some are basic negligence cases.
What Constitutes Medical Negligence?
Nursing homes are where critical care patients go to get better.
The nursing staff is responsible for helping patients bathe themselves, ensuring they get the proper medical care, and ensuring that their daily nutritional needs are met. When a lapse in that standard of care involves a medical decision, then the question becomes: was that a mistake that a competent doctor or medical staffer would have made in the same situation? When it isn’t, that constitutes medical negligence.
Examples of medical negligence include:
- Failure to diagnose,
- Failure to respond in time to a crisis,
- Surgical errors,
- Medication errors,
- Treatment errors,
- And performing unnecessary tests.
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What is Basic Negligence?
Basic negligence can happen in any number of situations.
Often involves the nursing staff neglecting their patients, allowing them to wander around the facilities, or not paying attention to what they’re doing. This kind of negligence does not require a medical decision and the majority of people can render a decision on whether something constitutes medical negligence without the aid of expert testimony.
Ordinary negligence (in the context of a nursing home) includes:
- Dementia patients wandering around the facilities,
- Physical, mental, emotional, or sexual abuse by staffers,
- The use of restraints,
- Slip, trip, and fall injuries,
- And the presence of dehydration, malnutrition, and bed sores.
The would all be examples that one could file under a theory of simple negligence and not medical negligence.
Talk to a Louisville, KY Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
The lawyers at Harville Law have successfully recovered millions of dollars in damages for our clients. It’s important to understand that by pursuing a case like this, you are shining a light on a serious problem that may otherwise go unchecked. Families need to send a strong message to nursing homes to take care of their loved ones properly and work on a functional operating budget.
If your loved one sustains injuries in a nursing home, please give the attorneys at Harville Law Office a call or talk to us online to set up an appointment.
Source: Nursing Home Abuse Center