Nursing Home Abuse FAQ
Nursing Home Abuse: Frequently Asked Questions
What is elder abuse and neglect in nursing homes?
Elder abuse at a nursing home refers to neglect, abandonment, physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse, financial exploitation, or any other form of mistreatment. The National Center on Elder Abuse reports that one in 10 Americans over age 60 has been subject to elder abuse. Though millions of Americans have suffered from elder abuse, only one in 14 cases is actually reported, according to one study’s estimations.
How do I know if my loved one has been abused?
Families know their loved ones. Oftentimes, a gut instinct can indicate when something is wrong. Such inclinations are not evidence but should prompt close attention to the matter.
Here are a few common signs of nursing home abuse:
- Physical Abuse – the presence of bruises, cuts, burns, fractures or other unexplained abrasions, reports of confinement or being restrained for non-medical reasons, overmedication, sudden and unexplained death
- Emotional Abuse – withdrawal, sadness or depression, distrust of staff, post-traumatic stress disorder, lack of family visitation time slots
- Financial Abuse – unexplained withdrawals from bank account, talk of leaving estate to a nursing home employee
- Sexual Abuse – STDs, bloody or torn undergarments, anal or genital irritation or bleeding, new difficulties with mobility
- Neglect – bedsores, bad hygiene, weight loss, weakness, constant hunger and/or thirst
What happens after I file a nursing home abuse complaint against the facility?
After you report nursing home abuse to the authorities, they will conduct an investigation into the issue. This may include interviews with your loved one, the facility’s staff and other residents, inspections of the site, and any other actions necessary. If the authorities determine that elder abuse may have taken place, they may pursue legal action against the nursing home.
Who regulates nursing homes?
In addition to federal oversight by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, each state has its own governing body that oversees its adult care facilities. For example, New Jersey nursing homes are regulated by the New Jersey Department of Health.
What are my loved one’s rights as a nursing home resident?
Every resident of a Medicare-sanctioned nursing home has the legal right to be free from all forms of abuse and neglect.
Who can file a nursing home abuse lawsuit?
In most cases, either the resident or family members may file an abuse lawsuit against a nursing home.
How long do I have to file a nursing home lawsuit?
Usually, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the most recent abuse. This is the case in New Jersey.
What is a nursing home neglect or abuse case worth?
Because the types of nursing home abuse vary and the cases are unique, it is difficult to make an all-encompassing estimate. While some families do not receive any money, others have won millions of dollars through litigation against abusive nursing homes. An experienced attorney’s office can determine the potential worth of a case by considering the level of abuse that has been inflicted, and the amount of evidence that exists.
How much does it cost to hire a firm for a nursing home abuse case?
Costs vary based on the law firm. Some firms work on contingency, which means that clients only pay if the case is won. Other firms require that clients pay them an hourly rate.
How long does it usually take to resolve a nursing home case?
Once you report elder abuse to the authorities, the case may take between four months and two years. These parameters are by no means strict; some cases take less time and others take more. Oftentimes, the timeline of a case is based upon whether the nursing home is willing to settle or wishes to fight the allegations against it. Most nursing home abuse lawsuits are settled outside of court and do not extend for multiple years.
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For over two decades, we have stood up for the rights of individual victims of nursing home abuse and neglect, demanding all nursing home facilities treat their residents with respect and fairness. Our clients frequently pursue nursing home litigation so that others will not have to suffer the same way their loved ones have.