Disclaimer: The contents of this article should not be taken as legal advice and should only be used as a resource to provide information about nursing home abuse. You should always seek the services of a lawyer specializing in nursing home abuse to give you a more in-depth view of this matter.
If only you had the choice, you would want to take care of your senior parents in your own home. You want to give back for all the things they’ve done for you. However, since you’re working in another state and you have your own family to take care of now, looking after your senior parents might be too taxing for you. Sure, you can always have them live in your home, but since you’re away most of the time, no one will be there to check if they’ve been taking their medicines on schedule, if their meals are prepared well and if they’re able to get enough exercise. Because of these reasons, you decided that a nursing home will work out for the best since you’re able to work and your parents are taken care of by professionals. But after months of staying in the nursing home, you’ve been suspecting that your parents have been abused. They’ve been acting very strange, and you know something is wrong. To know the legal things involved in nursing home abuse, this article will be helpful for you.
What are the signs of nursing home abuse?
There are a lot of signs of nursing home abuse. And even if you’re not working in the facility or you’re not a medical practitioner in any way, you can still determine these signs.
- Physical abuse: This can include seeing bruises or scars on the body, inability to take medications properly and the refusal of the caregiver to let you be alone with the senior. For example, you might notice that your parents are stooping because of severe back injuries.
- Emotional abuse: Signs of emotional abuse can be detected from the unusual behaviors of the senior which look like symptoms of dementia and can include mumbling, rocking and sucking one’s thumb.
- Sexual abuse: This can include stained or torn underwear, vaginal or anal bleeding which are unrelated to a medical condition, and bruises near the genitals or around the breasts.
- Caregiver neglect: This can be manifested in a lot of ways, namely the senior person being unsuitably dressed for the weather, left alone at a public location, or not bathed regularly.
- Financial exploitation of the senior: Signs of financial abuse include lack of medical care in spite of having money to afford it, unexplained withdrawals from the senior’s bank account and missing cash from the senior’s room.
- Healthcare fraud: This is usually made by the healthcare personnel and can include lack of adequate training for the staff, evidence of inadequate care even when the services are paid in full and having duplicate bills for the same services or medical devices.
Now that you’re aware of the types of nursing home abuse, spend time with your parents and check how they’re doing inside the nursing home. Sure, you’ve noticed that they might have been acting strange lately but dig in deeper. You might discover that, unfortunately, severe abuse has been inflicted on your parents. And you know that letting all of this slide will never do. You’re determined to take legal action.
What happens in nursing home abuse lawsuit?
Once you’re certain that abuse is taking place in the nursing home your parents are residing, it’s time to know what happens in a nursing home abuse lawsuit. This will create a clearer picture of what is needed throughout the entire duration of the lawsuit. You’ll also be given an idea on what to do to win the case. When you or someone you know appears to be neglected or abused in a nursing home, it might be a recommended idea to seek the assistance of a legal professional. This is especially if you want to determine as to whether or not certain activities in the nursing home are within the confines of legal activity.
Step One: Getting the facts
You’ll be required to give out facts which will be helpful for the lawsuit. If you’re working with an attorney, they will ask questions about your parents which will include your parents’ medical history. The facts needed in this process can be gathered through:
- Family members and friends
- Co-workers and volunteers your parents have worked with in the past
- Medical records from doctors and hospital
- Other research sources
Step Two: Starting the case
To formally begin a nursing home abuse and neglect case, the case is filed in court. This is then served to the nursing home and other defendants involved in the lawsuit. The time as to when a nursing home abuse lawsuit is filed would depend on your goals, availability of key facts, and the statute of limitations.
Step Three: Discovery
Once the lawsuit is filed, the parties will be subpoenaed (legally summoned or required) to court to testify. Aside from the facts gathered at the earlier phase of the lawsuit, both parties, the plaintiff, and the defendant, are asked about their testimonies regarding what took place. Most of the time, there are facts which are only revealed during this stage.
Step Four: Trial and appeal
The trial will then take place. The jury or judges will be asked to decide whether the allegations are proven and to what degree the defendant should be held responsible. The amount to be paid by the defendant will be decided by the court based upon the severity of the abuse incurred by the plaintiff.
Once your parents are hurt in any way, it’s normal to feel furious and to sue whoever is responsible. You want these people to pay for the damages they’ve caused to your parents because you know that this abuse will not only include physical harm but also, your parents’ psychological health is affected in the long run. And for you have to have a strong chance of winning the lawsuit involved in nursing home abuse, it’s best that you take the time to know what is involved legally. This information will give you an idea of what to expect, who can help in the process and what the possible outcome may be.
Jean Clark is a professional writer and loves anything to do with law in business or in the public. She is family oriented, and she loves spending her free time with her family.
Updated: February 12, 2018