Patients in nursing homes, and their families, entrust these facilities with their lives and well-being. Unfortunately, there are times when patients are not tended to or given the attention they need. Nursing homes are required by law to provide an adequate level of care. If you or a loved one is injured in an accident as a result of negligent care, you may be entitled to collect compensation. Find out your legal rights today in a free consultation with a Phoenix nursing home abuse attorney from Torgenson Law. Reach us through our contact form online, or call (602) 759-0012.
There are three common types of nursing home accidents that often result in serious injuries:
Millions of elderly individuals fall every year, and the injuries caused can be costly, debilitating, and sometimes fatal. Some of the factors that often increase the risk of a nursing home slip or trip and fall include:
A routine examination by a doctor may aid in the prevention of falls. A patient’s physician can ensure they are following a healthy eating plan, and that they are not suffering from any vitamin deficiencies that can lead to weakness and dizziness.
Bedsores, more formally known as pressure ulcers, develop when prolonged pressure is placed on the skin due to a patient remaining in one position for too long. Elderly patients require frequent help turning over or shifting positions if they are unable to move on their own. The development of bedsores may be an indication that the nursing home is understaffed, or that members of the staff are neglecting their duties or not appropriately attending to the patient. These sores occur most often on heels, ankles, hips, and tailbones.
Nursing home residents often require multiple medications throughout the day. The staff is required to monitor every patient’s prescriptions, and ensure they receive the proper medication and correct dose. Mistakes can easily happen when caregivers are too busy or inexperienced.
Most accidents in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities are preventable. If the necessary safety precautions were not taken and led to an injury, you may be entitled to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit for damages.
Depending on the circumstances, a nursing home can be held liable when a resident is injured in an accident caused by negligence. Nursing homes owe their residents a very strict “duty of care,” and may be considered negligent if they fail to provide treatment, care, goods, or services necessary to maintain a resident’s health to the best of its ability. Incidents of negligence that commonly prompt injury claims, include:
When a victim can demonstrate that negligence on behalf of a nursing home played a role in their injury, then the facility may be legally liable for all resulting damages. There are times when incidents may involve third-party liability, for example, if a wheelchair broke or malfunctioned. In that scenario, the wheelchair’s vendor or manufacturer may alone be liable, or as well, for the defective product.
There may be various types of compensation available to victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. Additionally, family members of abuse and neglect victims may be able to receive compensation for the out-of-pocket expenses they paid due to handling the abuse or neglect allegations.
In most situations, settlements related to nursing home abuse happen after a lawsuit has been filed by the plaintiff (the person who was the victim of the abuse) or their family members. When a settlement is offered, it will typically cover the following:
If the nursing home abuse or neglect in Phoenix resulted in the death of the victim, family members may be able to recover compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit filed in civil court.
The total amount of compensation available in these situations will vary depending on the facts and circumstances related to each particular claim. A skilled Phoenix nursing home abuse lawyer will be able to guide plaintiffs through every aspect of their case and work with trusted economic experts to properly calculate total losses.
It is not always easy to determine how common nursing home abuse is. If we pull back for a moment and look at the overall statistics related to nursing home abuse, we can see some alarming data. According to the National Council on Aging, around one out of every 10 Americans over the age of 60 have experienced some form of elder abuse. However, these numbers are likely much lower than what really occurs. Studies also show that only around one out of every 24 cases of elder abuse are actually reported to the appropriate authorities.
Now, consider the situation for those inside nursing homes. Residents are typically those who are older and/or vulnerable due to their age and disability. Nursing home residents are much more likely than elderly people in the general population to experience abuse.
The most current data from the National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC) shows that during a recent year, approximately 10,000 people filed nursing home abuse complaints. The NCVC further breaks down this data into the various types of abuse and shows the following:
Again, these numbers are likely vastly underreported. As the population continues to age, more and more people are relying on nursing homes as they reach later stages in life.
When researchers are looking at the data surrounding nursing home abuse, they have also pointed out the following:
Yes, there are plenty of nursing homes that do a good job at their mission of caring for the elderly and disabled. However, many nursing homes in Arizona and throughout the US provide less than stellar care. Nursing home residents often put forth official complaints about the care they receive, and some of the most common complaints include the following:
When we look at this list of complaints, we can see that not all of these issues will rise to the level of abuse or neglect. However, they can. In particular, poor service from staff, slow response times, low-quality food, and undertrained staff members are all common causes of nursing home abuse and neglect. Family members and friends of nursing home residents should take any complaints seriously and address these concerns with the nursing home administration.
It is crucial for victims of nursing home abuse in Phoenix (and their family members or guardians) to know that there is a limited amount of time to file these claims. The Arizona personal injury statute of limitations is the guiding force with these claims, and this limitation is two years. If a victim fails to file a claim within two years from the date the abuse or neglect occurs, they will lose the ability to recover any compensation.
Additionally, if nursing home abuse or neglect results in the death of the resident, then the Arizona wrongful death statute of limitations will apply. This is also two years, though the clock will start two years from the date the death occurred, not necessarily when the abuse occurred.
We strongly encourage family members and guardians of those who have been abused in a nursing home to work with an attorney as soon as possible to get their claim started. These cases can become incredibly complex, and at-fault parties will use various tactics to delay the filing of these cases in an effort to ensure the claim never gets filed.
Proving a nursing home’s negligence can be difficult and complex. Building a strong case will take experience and resources. We will protect your legal rights and fight to get you and your family the compensation you deserve. Call (602) 759-0012 for a free consultation with our nursing home negligence lawyers today.