Long Island Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
If your elderly family member has been abused or neglected in a home, your family deserves compensation from those responsible. Find out how to handle your claim by working with a Long Island nursing home abuse lawyer.
When you move a loved one into an assisted living facility, you expect him or her to receive even better care than if you had kept your elderly family member in your own home. Sometimes this isn’t the case, unfortunately, and your loved one may be exposed to all forms of abuse, from neglect due to inattention to intentional physical or emotional trauma. In extreme cases, this can even lead to death.
The first step on the path to recovery, justice, and full compensation is having a discussion with a Long Island nursing home abuse lawyer from Siler & Ingber, LLP. We will provide you with guidance in the tough decisions that you will have to make so that you can recover full damages for what your family has been through.
Nursing Home Abuse Statistics
As people live longer, the need for long-term healthcare at nursing homes have significantly increased. In January 2017, there were 15,600 for-profit, nonprofit and government-run nursing homes across the country serving 1.4 million nursing home patients. Of those nursing homes, 633 were located in New York state and 79 of those nursing homes are in the metropolitan area of Long Island, according to 2014 statistics from the New York State Department of Health. These nursing homes are mostly for-profit organizations as 105,000 elderly patients are in these care facilities in New York state.
With the increase of nursing home patients, there has been an uptick in reported nursing home abuse complaints. In 2015, there were 1,644 reported allegations to the New York Attorney General’s Office. This increase in reported allegations has been attributed to better reporting methods of nursing homes.
In addition, there are more options for third-party complaints from friends, family members and the residents themselves. In 2014, about 70% of people were using the Nursing Home Complaint Hotline through the New York State Department of Health. Around 23% of people used the online Nursing Home Complaint form while only 7% of people used the standard mail, or other form of communication, to lodge an abuse complaint.
When moving your elderly parent or relative from a hospital or private home setting to a nursing care facility, you will need to do your research regarding the number of abuse complaints and allegations that were completed at each nursing home. This information will help you select the right place for your elderly family member
Types of Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
Nursing home neglect can lead to painful bedsores, inaccurate or insufficient medications, malnutrition, and inadequate slip-and-fall avoidance systems.
Along with incidental and immediate damages from casual neglect, there are even times that there is active and malicious abuse occurring. There are several signs of elderly abuse that you can look for:
- Physical abuse can include slapping, tripping, pulling hair, forcibly or roughly feeding, and unnecessary restraints.
- Emotional abuse may involve yelling, threatening, frightening, and lying.
- Dementia and Alzheimer’s abuse are anything that take advantage of someone’s condition to the abuser’s own benefit, such as convincing the disabled individual to change his or her will to include the abuser.
- Financial abuse can include identity theft, cash or property theft, or check forgery.
- Sexual abuse covers everything from unwanted touching and advances to actual rape and sexual assault.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
Those who are in a nursing home may be unable for some reason to tell anyone if they are suffering from abuse or neglect. Others may be afraid if they tell about what is happening to them, it will only make the abuse and neglect worse when those who are responsible for it retaliate against them for “tattling.”
This behooves loved ones or friends to watch for signs that the person confined to the nursing home may be the victim of abuse or neglect, either physical or emotional. Some common signs to watch for include:
- Crying or withdrawing from you when you visit.
- Unexplained injuries, like bruises, broken bones, sprains, welts or scars.
- Marks on the wrists or ankles that indicate the use of restraints.
- Broken eyeglasses.
- The caregiver tries to prevent you from being alone with the patient.
- Unexplained and unusual loss of weight.
- Any unusual behavior, like mumbling, rocking, or what may appear to be new signs of dementia.
- Observing the caregiver belittle the patient, or exhibit controlling or threatening behavior.
- Unexplained sexually transmitted disease or genital infection.
- Torn clothes.
- Not being dressed appropriately for the weather.
- Body odor due to not bathing and being left in dirty clothes or with soiled bed linen.
- Finding your loved one unattended in a public area.
You should take seriously any complaints you hear from your loved one that indicate he or she is the victim of nursing home abuse.
How to Report Nursing Home Abuse
If you experience a problem in a nursing home or you witness nursing home abuse, there are steps you can take to resolve the issue.
The first thing you should do when you identify nursing home abuse is to talk to the staff. They may not be aware of the problem. If this doesn’t resolve the issue, ask to speak with the supervisor, director of nursing, social worker, or administrator. Your doctor can also be a valuable ally.
Health care professionals, including doctors and nurses, as well as social workers, are mandated by law to report nursing home abuse. If you bring the abuse to their attention, they must report it or risk facing strict penalties.
Most nursing homes, particularly those that are Medicaid/Medicare certified, are required to have a grievance procedure to address problems and complaints. If nothing changes even after talking to the facility’s staff and administrators, then your next step is to follow that facility’s grievance process.
If you feel that the problem has not been adequately resolved after these actions, you should contact the Long Term Care Ombudsman for your state as well as your State Survey Agency. Other resources that may be able to help you report and address nursing home abuse include:
- State Licensure Office
- Protection and Advocacy Network
- Medicaid Fraud Control Unit
These organizations are state specific, if you have to search for the contact information you will need to find the contacts for the state where the nursing home is located. Many nursing homes have this information publicly posted in their facilities or available upon request. These agencies can help you take action against the abuse or direct you to resources that can help.
Nursing Home Neglect Lawsuits and Settlements
Nursing home neglect can occur for various reasons including poor day to day care, mental or physical abuses, or poor nutrition and care. Individuals who suffer abuse at the hands of any type of nursing home facility may be able to file a lawsuit or obtain a settlement for their losses.
What Factors Contribute to Settlements?
Because abuse in nursing homes can occur for a long time without being noticed, settlements for neglect can be rather large. This depends on the circumstances of the case. The worst outcome is that a resident dies due to the neglect he or she receives at the nursing home through criminal acts committed by staff or gross negligence that allows an individual to suffer. Even when death does not occur, there is physical, emotional, mental, and even sexual abuse factors to consider.
Key factors in determining settlement amounts may include:
- Any actual economic losses, such as from medical care or specialist fees for the neglect suffered
- Compensation for pain, suffering, and trauma
- Compensation for the loss of a loved one
- Damages for other losses incurred by the individual or his or her family
Every case is very different. Offenders, including staff members who neglect seniors, may also face criminal charges in some situations. Even if this does not occur, civil lawsuits and settlements are often necessary not only to compensate for the losses of an individual but also to deter others from committing such crimes of neglect and abuse on seniors.
Compensation for Elder Abuse
The damages your loved one suffered might be very difficult to put into numbers, and that’s part of why retaining a thorough and knowledgeable Long Island nursing home abuse lawyer is so important. Much of the damage may be emotional or otherwise difficult to notice, so we will work closely with your physician to determine the full extent and likely cost of your loved one’s injuries.
You can demand compensation for all financial expenses and non-economic damages caused by the abuse or neglect:
- Medical expenses due to injury, investigating injury, and any future related costs
- Loss of enjoyment of the later years of your loved one’s life
- Any new disability related to the abuse or neglect
- Costs for relocating your loved one to a new facility
- Wrongful death damages if your loved one passed away due to what happened
Connect with a Long Island Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Whether or not the abuse was intentional, we will not hesitate to take the case to court for justice and full compensation. We will not accept a settlement offer simply to close the case quickly. With our help, not only will your loved one be compensated and taken care of better in the future, but those responsible will also be held accountable so that they cannot hurt anyone in the future.
Whether your loved one suffered minor problems due to inadequate attention or was repeatedly abused over a long period of time, you need to speak with a Long Island nursing home abuse lawyer from Siler & Ingber, LLP. Together, we will build a case that ends with full compensation for your family’s losses. Call us now at 1-516-294-2666 or fill out the form on this page to schedule a free consultation.