West Virginia Nursing Home Abuse attorneys
Protecting the elderly for 40+ Years
For over 40 years, the Fitzsimmons Law Firm has provided the highest quality legal representation to victims of nursing home abuse. When an elderly loved one can no longer care for themselves, either through physical disabilities, medical problems, or loss of cognitive abilities, it can be difficult to come to decide that they be cared for professionally. Usually after much thought and evaluation of various options, many entrust their care into the hands of the professionals in a nursing home.
Loving families fully believe that their loved one will be cared for with compassion and respect, and that this will help them stay healthy and safe. In recent years, as the population ages, there has been an increase in the number of nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities that serve the community and offer to care for the elderly. Tragically, there has also been a frightening increase in the numbers of cases of abuse, neglect and loss of life through nursing home abuse throughout the state.
Common Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
More and more senior citizens in the area are living in nursing homes or assisted living communities and when this is the case, they deserve to have their rights and dignity respected by those whom they depend on for daily care. The majority of health care professionals and staff in nursing homes are helpful and well-intentioned individuals who do their jobs, but in an alarming number of cases, elderly people are victimized.
If you are concerned about abuse, keep an eye out for:
- Emotional detachment
- Unexplained bruises or sores
- Emergency hospital visits for injuries
- Sudden and unexplained shifts in mood
- Financial transactions that are out of the ordinary
When a nursing home resident is subjected to emotional, physical or sexual abuse at the hands of facility staff, that facility and the individuals who perpetrated the abuse can be held accountable for their acts, even to the point of filing a wrongful death lawsuit. While many cases of this type are based on violence towards the victim, in a large number of cases the claim is based on the fact of negligence, where the victim is left in isolated or unclean quarters. A dedicated West Virginia nursing home abuse lawyer can speak with you about the case and help you get started on a strategy for recovering damages.
Types of Nursing Home Injuries
Bed Sores and Bruises
Bed sores and bruises are often as a result of an individual being neglected or abandoned by a nursing home attendant. Proper care, attention, regular walks and even basic movement, can all prevent bed sores and bruises from forming. No access to a bathroom, clean sheets, medical care, or general inactivity could cause circulation to be cut off and bed sores and bruises to form.
When a resident, with limited mobility, is left unattended or abandoned, they may attempt to try and get around on their own. Improper or no railings, wet floors, and other factors could cause the person to fall and break a bone. Malnutrition and dehydration can also contribute to loss of bone density making it easier for a person to have a bone broken, even from a seemingly simply activity.
Nursing home residents are there for a reason. Most of them require a certain level of care and attention in order to eat, get around and maintain a relatively decent quality of life. Head injuries are often seen when residents have been abandoned or their requests for help go unanswered, and they attempt to accomplish tasks all on their own.
A common responsibility of a nursing home attendant is giving residents their prescribed medication. Medication errors and potentially life-threatening circumstances can arise when staff is inexperienced, negligent or do not have proper procedures in place to ensure residents are given the correct medication at the correct time.
Hygiene is a fundamental concern of most individuals. In nursing homes, the staff is responsible for ensuring the residents maintain a certain level of cleanliness and hygiene. Poor hygiene leaves individuals susceptible to infections, injuries and illness which could have been avoided had proper hygiene basics been observed.
Many residents of nursing homes are also under the care of doctors due to specific medical or physical conditions. When a doctor is negligent or fails to follow through with their nursing home patient, they can commit serious errors resulting in potentially life-threatening injuries or illnesses. A mistaken prescription, wrong dosage and more can all have catastrophic effects.
Nursing errors can also prove to be catastrophic and even life-threatening. A missed dosage, an improperly set up and monitored IV, an unchanged wound dressing, and other nurse errors could mean the difference between life and death of a resident. Many times nursing errors are blamed on improper training or insufficient staff.
Abandonment, neglect and inattention to a resident's needs can all be forms of abuse. One of the worse types of nursing home abuse is blatant physical abuse. Intentionally causing pain and suffering to an already vulnerable individual, who has been entrusted to your care, is inexcusable and should not go unpunished.
There is very little more tragic than the wrongful death of a family member or loved one. When a loved one dies as a result of some form of nursing home abuse, at the hands of an individual entrusted to care for them, it is an extremely painful and emotional experience.
Fighting For Compensation For Your Loved One
Being compensated for injuries caused by a negligent nursing home is important when in the process of healing from damages.
You can fight to recover compensation for any or all of the following injuries:
- Complex injuries
- Severe illness
- Severe disability
- Prescription errors
- Medical mistakes
- Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose
If your family member has endured any of these damages or has been a victim of wrongful death due to nursing home abuse, seek assistance from a personal injury attorney from our firm and fight for compensation. Your loved one can be compensated for their pain and suffering as well as any emotional or psychological trauma that the neglect has caused. There can also be punitive damages charged to the nursing home as a way to punish their actions and that can further reimburse you and your loved one for the wrongdoing your family has suffered from.
Nursing Home Abuse Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What can you do if a loved one has complained of nursing home abuse?
It is important to understand that no amount of nursing home abuse is acceptable. If you suspect or nursing home abuse, the state of West Virginia has systems in place for reporting abuse, neglect, abandonment or exploitation of the elderly. In many cases, investigations will be done and should the allegations of abuse be founded, adult protective services will step in to remedy the situation and prevent its recurrence. If injuries, ranging from bed sores & bruises, to broken bones or head injuries were sustained as a result of nursing home abuse, you would be advised to consult with a nursing home abuse attorney immediately.
What are some of the more common types of nursing home abuse?
Nursing home abuse does not necessarily mean blatant physical abuse of a resident. Nursing home abuse can also come in the form of abandonment, wherein a resident is left without access to basic life necessities or care. Lack of proper food, water or medical attention could result in malnutrition & dehydration. When expected precautions are not taken, residents may end up being severely injured in fall accidents. It is important to remember, that while accidents do happen, if a so-called accident occurs as a result of negligence or abuse, you would be advised to consult with an attorney knowledgeable in all aspects of nursing home abuse.
Is there a reason abuse or neglect are common in nursing home facilities?
Not all nursing homes experience cases of abuse or neglect of those individuals in their care. Where neglect and abuse are found, it is often because of poorly qualified or untrained caregivers, inadequate staffing, staff with a history of abuse, or residents being unwilling to report instances of abuse due to being embarrassed or afraid of what will happen if they do. Any suspected or observed nursing home abuse should be reported immediately.
How are cases of nursing home abuse addressed in legal proceedings?
There are different legal proceedings which can be brought about due to nursing home abuse, depending on the types of injuries sustained. In most instances, a report and subsequent investigation by adult protective services will provide immediate help and relief to the victim and their family. Should the nursing home abuse continue, or if the abuse was severe enough to warrant legal action, a civil lawsuit could be filed to obtain compensation for damages and injuries caused. A criminal prosecution could also take place in order to punish those responsible for the abuse.
Secure Trusted Legal Counsel Today
If you or a loved one has suffered abuse or neglect in a nursing home, you should meet with a West Virginia personal injury attorney from the Fitzsimmons Law Firm PLLC as soon as possible to learn more about what you can expect in a lawsuit against the care provider. Bob Fitzsimmons from the firm has widely been recognized as being among the top plaintiff attorneys in the nation and the firm has recovered over a billion in personal injury verdicts and settlements, many of which were in excess of a million dollars for their clients.
Contact a nursing home abuse lawyer from the firm to receive dedicated representation when you or a loved one has suffered negligence or abuse from a caretaker.