Arizona

Phoenix Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

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.

Phoenix Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers

Why Choose Our Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers?

  • We have been representing Arizona patients who have suffered injuries while confined to nursing homes for over 20 years.
  • As a full-service Arizona personal injury law firm, our first and foremost goal is to put your mind at ease.
  • We will work with your best interests in mind while remaining in constant communication with you regarding your case until the matter is resolved.

Pheonix Nursing Home Abuse Resources & FAQs

Common Types of Nursing Home Accidents in Phoenix

There are three common types of nursing home accidents that often result in serious injuries:

Falls

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:

  • Wet floors
  • Unsecured carpeting
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Patient suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease
  • History of wandering off (elopement)
  • Frailty or muscle weakness
  • Problems with vision or eyesight
  • Taking medications that induce confusion, disorientation, blurred vision or impaired motor function
  • Poor patient monitoring practices

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

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.

Overdose or Improper Medication

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.

When is the Nursing Home Liable?

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:

  • Negligent training of staff
  • Negligent hiring of staff, such as failing to perform background checks
  • Failing to properly monitor staff
  • Failing to provide adequate security
  • Failing to provide daily necessities, such as food, water, personal hygiene, and clean living conditions
  • Medical neglect, such as failing to provide medication or preventing regular visits to a physician
  • Failing to provide appropriate supervision and assistive devices to prevent accidents
  • Failing to prevent or treat bedsores
  • Forcing unreasonable or dangerous physical restraints
  • Intentional abuse by staff members

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.

Compensation Available in Nursing Home Lawsuits

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:

  • Any medical bills that arise due to the abuse or neglect
  • Compensation for the victim’s pain and suffering
  • Loss of quality of life damages
  • The cost to relocate to a new facility
  • Punitive damages against the alleged abuser or nursing home

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.

How Common is Nursing Home Abuse

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.

Nursing Home Abuse Statistics

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:

  • 4% – Physical abuse
  • 1% – Resident-on-resident abuse (physical or sexual)
  • 4% – Psychological abuse
  • 3% – Gross neglect
  • 9% – Sexual abuse
  • 9% – Financial exploitation

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:

  • Women in nursing homes are more likely to be abused than men.
  • Those who come from a lower socioeconomic background are more likely to be abused in nursing homes.
  • Nursing home victims on Medicaid are more likely to be abused.
  • Those who have been nursing home abuse victims in the past are more likely to become abuse victims again.
  • Residents in poor mental or physical health face an increased risk of abuse in a nursing home setting. This is particularly true for those who have Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.

Top Complaints in Nursing Homes

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:

  • Poor service from staff. One of the number one complaints from nursing home residents relates to poor service from nursing home staff members. Nursing home residents rely on staff members for just about every aspect of their daily lives. Residents should feel confident that their needs will be met in a timely and empathetic manner by staff members.
  • Slow response time. This complaint piggybacks off of poor service from staff. Often, the response time to a nursing home resident’s concerns is much longer than it should be. Nursing home staff members should be cognizant that the needs of residents often relate to time-sensitive issues, including the need to use the restroom, medical treatment, and general discomfort.
  • Lack of social stimulation. Nursing homes can be isolating environments, particularly when family members or friends cannot visit on a regular basis. Nursing home residents regularly report feeling isolated. Nursing homes can compound this isolation if they fail to provide regular social activities for residents.
  • Poor food quality. The quality of food is a constant concern for nursing home residents. All nursing homes and assisted living facilities should help foster healthy and homelike environments. This includes providing residents with food that tastes good and is healthy.
  • Undertrained staff. Nursing home residents who lack proper training can be a danger to everybody around them, including residents and other staff members. Unfortunately, far too many nursing homes across Arizona are understaffed. This can result in a lack of care for each resident, errors when medication is being dispensed, a lack of hygiene treatment, and more.
  • Nursing home cleanliness. A common complaint of nursing home residents and their family members revolves around the cleanliness of the nursing home. There are various reasons why nursing home facilities or individual rooms may not be clean, and the reality is that this is never acceptable. Properly staffed nursing homes should be able to provide continuously clean common areas and resident rooms.
  • Failure to provide prompt medical care. Anytime a nursing home resident raises complaints about a medical condition, the staff of the nursing home should forward the concerns to the required medical professional on staff. This may include a nurse, or it may include a doctor. In some cases, it may be necessary for the nursing home to transfer a resident to a skilled medical facility such as a hospital or emergency clinic.
  • Complaints about other residents. There are frequent complaints from nursing home residents about other residents at the facility. This can include being disturbed by loud TV’s, loud conversations between other residents, and even abusive neighbors.
  • Sleep disruptions. Adequate care never really stops inside a nursing home. These facilities provide 24-hour care to residents, and there are times when sleep interruptions are necessary. However, there are also times when disruptions are unnecessary, and these disruptions can be caused by staff members as well as other residents.

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.

Statute of Limitations on Nursing Home Abuse in Arizona

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.

Contact Our Phoenix Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers

John Torgenson Managing Personal Injury Attorney

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.