When an elderly family member can no longer care for themselves or live independently, it can be a difficult decision to move into a nursing home. However, they often choose this to meet their physical needs and ensure their safety. Sadly, nursing home abuse and neglect are prevalent in New Jersey, which may lead to serious or even fatal injuries. Federal and state laws protect residents from this type of harm.
If you or a family member has experienced this, Harrell Law Firm is ready to advocate for you. You put experience on your side with a nursing home abuse lawyer and send a message to the facility and their insurance company that this will not be tolerated. Contact us for a free consultation. It offers a no-obligation opportunity to ask questions and determine whether you have a valid claim for compensation.
Nursing Home Abuse vs. Nursing Home Neglect
While nursing home abuse and neglect are harmful, they are different. Abuse is the intentional infliction of harm to the victim. Nursing home neglect is defined as the caretakers’ failure to meet the residents’ needs.
Examples of nursing home abuse include the following:
- Physical abuse may involve hitting, slapping, pushing, or kicking.
- Emotional abuse may include humiliation, threats, isolation, harassment, or bullying.
- Verbal abuse, which may consist of screaming, insults, or degradation.
- Sexual abuse, such as sexual assault, forced nudity, or any sexual activity with a victim who either does not consent or is not cognitively capable of consenting.
- Financial abuse can include stealing property or money, identity theft, forging the victim’s name on a blank check, or coercing the victim to transfer funds to the abuser.
Examples of nursing home neglect include the following:
- Lack of proper nourishment or hydration.
- Mistakes in medication, such as improper timing, giving the wrong drug, and over or under-medicating.
- Failure to regularly turn a bedridden or wheelchair-ridden patient.
- Failure to maintain proper hygiene.
- Failure to take reasonable precautions to prevent the patient from falling.
- Inadequate lighting in areas where the patient walks.
- Failure to regularly monitor the resident.
How Do I Spot Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?
You can make frequent unannounced visits to your loved one. The more often you are there, the less likely the staff is to abuse or neglect them, and the more likely you are to notice any potential signs of abuse or neglect.
Here are some common signs of elder abuse or neglect at nursing homes in New Jersey:
- Unexplained injuries such as broken bones, concussions, or cuts and lacerations
- Unexplained swelling or black and blue body parts
- Malnutrition or dehydration
- Sudden weight loss
- Unsanitary linens or bathroom
- The staff refuses to allow you to visit
- Staff shortages
- Signs of sexual abuse
- Unexplained changes in your loved one’s behavior, such as crying, depression, becoming withdrawn, or refusing to talk
Types of Damages That May Be Available
If your loved one has been injured due to nursing home violations in Monmouth County or other parts of New Jersey, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit to recover financial compensation. Generally, there are three types of damages: economic, non-economic, and punitive.
Examples of economic damages that your loved one may be able to recover include:
- Past, present, and future medical costs related to the injury
- Physical or psychological therapy
- Assistive devices
- Prescription drugs
Non-economic damages would include the following:
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of quality of life
Punitive damages are rare but awarded in cases where the defendant’s actions were particularly egregious. They are meant to deter that particular defendant and society from engaging in similar conduct.
How an Elder Abuse Attorney Can Help
While you have legal recourse if your family member is being abused in a nursing home, remember the facility will be represented by attorneys who will dispute your claims. With that in mind, our nursing home neglect attorneys suggest you consult with us.
We can immediately begin investigating and building a case, identifying the responsible parties, gathering the necessary documentation, and hiring experts who may be able to testify on behalf of your family member. We handle all communications with opposing counsel and will aggressively seek to negotiate a fair settlement. While most cases are settled out of court, we are fully prepared to go to trial–if that is what it takes to achieve justice.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation
If a family member has been a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, the legal representation you choose can make all the difference. Harrell Law Firm is dedicated to pursuing maximum financial compensation. For client-focused advocacy, trust our team of proactive, compassionate lawyers. Call us today to schedule a free consultation with a New Jersey medical malpractice lawyer. We work on a contingency basis, so there are no upfront legal fees.