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April 15, 2016

I am a Victim of Nursing Home Abuse – What Claims Can I Bring?

Nursing Home Abuse Claims

Older people frequently opt to move into nursing homes or long-term care facilities to ensure that they are well cared for in the event that they experience deteriorating physical or mental conditions. These facilities normally provide a positive environment for their patients. However, older people are sometimes harmed by the negligent or intentional acts of their caregivers.

If you or someone you know was abused at a nursing home, it is critical to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible.  Below are some of the claims you can raise in your lawsuit.

Claims Against Nursing Homes

A nursing home owner or employees can be liable due to:

1.      Negligent personal supervision and care,

2.      Negligent hiring and retention of employees,

3.      Negligent maintenance of the premises, and

4.      Negligent selection or maintenance of equipment.

A nursing home can be held liable for negligence if the injured party can prove: 1) that the nursing home’s owner or employees breached a duty of care owed to the injured person; 2) that the person’s injury was caused by this breach; and, 3) that the nursing home owner’s or employee’s conduct caused the injury.

Negligence: Issues that Can Arise With Your Claim

1.      Proving Duty and Breach of Duty: A plaintiff suing a nursing home may need to offer expert medical testimony about what is or is not a proper practice, treatment or procedure in a given situation, unless the lack of care or skill by the nursing home is so apparent that the average person would comprehend it based on his or her common knowledge and experience.

2.      Statutory Standard of Care: Many states have enacted statutes or regulations that establish certain minimum standards of care for private nursing homes.  However, even if a nursing home can show it complied with minimum licensing standards, it may still be liable for a resident’s injuries. For these reasons, it is important to have an attorney research the applicable standard of care, licensing requirements, and other regulations in your area.

3.      Causation: Causation is a common issue that comes up frequently in nursing home litigation.  Essentially, causation means determining whether the resident’s injury was inevitable due to his or her preexisting poor health, medical complications, mental condition, or advanced age. Defendants often argue that a resident’s preexisting health condition, and not any negligence on the part of the nursing home, was the true cause of an injury alleged in a lawsuit. But this should not deter a resident who believes a nursing home caused his or her injury.  Thus, the fact that a resident’s injury may have been made worse, or harder to treat, because of a preexisting physical or mental condition does not relieve the defendant of liability.

4.       Defense Considerations: In negligence actions, nursing homes are entitled to assert the sorts of defenses that are available inmost negligence cases, such as the contributory negligence of the injured party, and assumption of a known risk. However, in some cases, such as where a person has placed him or herself into a nursing home specifically because he or she needed to be protected from the effects of certain medical conditions, the defense of contributory negligence may not be allowed.

Contact an Experienced Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

The personal injury attorneys at The Levin Firm understand that nursing home abuse cases require a team of lawyers, nurses and others trained to review the facts of these cases, including medical records.

At The Levin Firm, our Philadelphia, Pennsylvania nursing home abuse personal injury lawyers aggressively and zealously represent our clients and obtain the best possible results. We also work with highly-regarded nursing home abuse experts to determine the type of nursing home abuse and how and why it happened. At times, we will work with other law firms that have particular expertise to assure that our clients receive the most thorough and zealous representation.

When you need a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or New Jersey personal injury attorney to represent you, a family member, or friend in a nursing home abuse case, contact The Levin Firm at (215) 825-5183.  We represent every client zealously in order to obtain the best results possible in each case.

Sources

1.      http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/reporting-nursing-home-injuries-abuse.html

2.      http://injury.findlaw.com/torts-and-personal-injuries/nursing-home-abuse.html

3.      http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/how-to-recognize-and-act-upon-nursing-home-neglect-or-abuse

4.      http://injury.findlaw.com/torts-and-personal-injuries/nursing-home-abuse-claims.html

5.      http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/common-kinds-nursing-home-abuse.html

6.      http://injury.findlaw.com/torts-and-personal-injuries/legal-rights-of-nursing-home-residents.html

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April 11, 2016

Nursing Home Abuse: What To Do If You Suspect Someone Is Being Abused

Pennsylvania Nursing Home Lawyer

Unfortunately, a significant number of nursing home residents are abused.  This abuse can range from physical to stealing money, or illegally restricting activity.  If you are the relative or close friend of someone in a nursing home, pay attention to how that person is being treated.  Below are some of the common signs of elder abuse in nursing homes.

Types of Nursing Home Abuse

1.      Neglect. Neglect can become abuse if it results in serious actual or possible harm. For example, if an elderly resident needs assistance to eat and the staff does not provide such assistance, then the elderly person can become malnourished, which rises to the level of physical abuse.

2.      False imprisonment. False imprisonment occurs when the nursing home staff prevents the resident from leaving a certain area, such as their room or a wing of the facility. Typically, the person who imprisons the resident will disable the resident by leaving them without their wheelchair or crutches, or threaten the resident with harm or deprivation of food or water.

3.      Financial abuse. A staff member of a nursing home might steal a resident’s personal property or steal information in order to withdraw money from the resident’s bank account. A staff member might also pressure a resident to modify a will or trust. Financial abuse can also come in the form of false fees or charges that deprive a resident of a significant amount of their income or savings.

The Signs of Abuse

1.      Physical Abuse:

  • sudden weight loss
  • dehydration or malnutrition
  • bruising
  • bedsores
  • marks from restraints
  • broken bones
  • injuries resulting from falls, and
  • overmedication and oversedation.

2.      Sexual Abuse:

  • bleeding in genital areas
  • bruises in genital areas
  • torn or bloodied undergarments, and
  • contraction of sexually transmitted diseases.

3.      Verbal Abuse:

  • a showing of excessive fear or apprehension around certain persons
  • the elderly person blaming themselves for insignificant problems
  • visible depression or anger most of the time, and
  • rocking, sucking, or mumbling — called “false dementia.”

4.      Financial Abuse:

  • recent, frequent withdrawals from bank accounts
  • losses of personal property
  • new loans or mortgage contracts, and
  • recent revisions to wills, deeds, or trusts.

What to Do if You Suspect Elder Abuse

If you suspect that an elderly person has been abused or neglected by their nursing home, you should take action. Here’s what to do:

1.      Verify the story. Your first step should be to see if the elderly person is telling the truth. Get clear about what your relative or friend is saying by going over the problem with them. If you can, check with other residents of the nursing home who seem to be coherent. Also gather medical records, or take photos, of recent injuries or prescriptions.

2.      Consider removing the elderly person to another facility. If you are worried about the safety of a nursing home resident, assist them in leaving the nursing home immediately.

3.      Inform the authorities. Inform the police or district attorney. In some states, such as California, you are required to report elder abuse when you learn it has occurred. If the district attorney determines that the evidence that you present rises to the level of criminal behavior, the state will file charges against the nursing home.

4.      File a complaint with the appropriate agencies. File a complaint about the nursing home to your state’s department of social services, adult protective services, or elder protective services.

Contact an Experienced Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

The personal injury attorneys at The Levin Firm understand that nursing home abuse cases require a team of lawyers, nurses and others trained to review the facts of these cases, including medical records.

At The Levin Firm, our Philadelphia, Pennsylvania nursing home abuse personal injury lawyers aggressively and zealously represent our clients and obtain the best possible results. We also work with highly-regarded nursing home abuse experts to determine the type of nursing home abuse and how and why it happened. At times, we will work with other law firms that have particular expertise to assure that our clients receive the most thorough and zealous representation.

When you need a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or New Jersey personal injury attorney to represent you, a family member, or friend in a nursing home abuse case, contact The Levin Firm at (215) 825-5183.  We represent every client zealously in order to obtain the best results possible in each case.

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April 4, 2016

I Filed a Nursing Home Abuse Claim -What Damages Am I Entitled to?

Philadelphia Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

If you are considering filing a nursing home abuse claim, it is important to speak with an experienced attorney.  In the event that you file a complaint against a nursing home, you will need to present all evidence of the losses or suffering that resulted from the nursing home’s conduct.  Additionally, to strengthen your claim, you should provide as much information on the following types of damages:

1.      Necessary and reasonable medical expenses;

2.      Actual past expenses for physician, hospital, nursing and laboratory fees, medications, prosthetic devices, etc.;

3.      Anticipated future expenses;

4.      Harm from conditions caused by prolonged immobilization;

5.      Pain and suffering from physical injuries;

6.      Pain and suffering reasonably likely to occur in the future;

7.      “Phantom pain” and other subjective pain that may not be readily apparent to others;

8.      Mental anguish;

9.      Harm from loss of sleep;

10.  Past and future impairment of the ability to enjoy life.

Other Damages

1.      Mental Suffering: Monetary damages may be awarded for a nursing home residents or their survivors, for pain, suffering, disfigurement, and impaired enjoyment of life. These damages are awarded for both physical and mental pain. Mental suffering for which one may recover damages can include the following:

  • Fear of the consequences of an injury while awaiting help;
  • Fear experienced in the period between realizing an incident likely to cause injury was going to occur and the time of occurrence;
  • Fear experienced after an injury about what else could have happened;
  • Anxiety about one’s physical health and future well-being;
  • Fear of the need for future surgery as a result of one’s injuries;
  • Fear of increased vulnerability to future injury;
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder.

2.      Disfigurement: The elderly are entitled to damages for disfigurement caused by another. Disfigurement can include scars, amputation, hair loss, or any other injury that affects one’s appearance. The dignity of senior citizens should be respected and preserved whenever possible, and if it is affected by a disfiguring injury, an appropriate complaint against the nursing home for monetary damages should be made.

3.      Loss of enjoyment of life: The loss of the enjoyment of life is generally understood to mean one is deprived of the ordinary pleasures of living a full life. With an elderly client, this could mean the ability to play with one’s grandchildren, to walk and exercise as one did prior to an injury, to communicate meaningfully with others, or to engage in pastimes one previously enjoyed.

4.      Shortened Life Expectancy: Courts generally do not recognize shortened life expectancy as a separate injury, but it may be considered in determining the seriousness of an injury, decreased earning capacity, pain and suffering, and mental suffering from the knowledge that one’s life will be shorter. Jurors are typically told to determine a plaintiff’s future damages based on standard life expectancy tables; however, due to improvements in medical science and living conditions over the years, an attorney might argue that life expectancy was or is actually greater than the standard tables would indicate.

5.      Punitive Damages:  Punitive damages may be awarded in cases where it is shown that a nursing home engaged in malicious or reckless conduct. In such cases, it is sometimes argued that the nursing home resident was deprived of his or her statutory rights.

Contact an Experienced Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

The personal injury attorneys at The Levin Firm understand that nursing home abuse cases require a team of lawyers, nurses and others trained to review the facts of these cases, including medical records.

At The Levin Firm, our Philadelphia, Pennsylvania nursing home abuse personal injury lawyers aggressively and zealously represent our clients and obtain the best possible results. We also work with highly-regarded nursing home abuse experts to determine the type of nursing home abuse and how and why it happened. At times, we will work with other law firms that have particular expertise to assure that our clients receive the most thorough and zealous representation.

When you need a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or New Jersey personal injury attorney to represent you, a family member, or friend in a nursing home abuse case, contact The Levin Firm at (215) 825-5183.  We represent every client zealously in order to obtain the best results possible in each case.

Sources

1.      http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/reporting-nursing-home-injuries-abuse.html

2.      http://injury.findlaw.com/torts-and-personal-injuries/nursing-home-injuries-proof-of-loss.html

3.      http://injury.findlaw.com/torts-and-personal-injuries/legal-rights-of-nursing-home-residents.html

4.      http://injury.findlaw.com/torts-and-personal-injuries/nursing-home-abuse.html

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March 28, 2016

I am a Nursing Home Resident – What Legal Rights Do I Have?

Philadelphia Nursing Home Attorney

Federal guidelines require each nursing facility to develop and implement written policies and procedures prohibiting mistreatment, neglect, or abuse of residents. A resident in such a nursing facility is entitled to receive verbal and written notice of the rights and services to which he or she is entitled during their stay in the facility.

Below is a non-exhaustive list of the rights residents of nursing homes have.  However, as always, if you suspect that someone is being harmed in a nursing home, it is critical to contact an experienced nursing home abuse attorney.

Rights of Nursing Home Residents

  • Nursing home residents have the right to see family members, ombudspersons or other resident advocates, physicians, service providers, and representatives of the state and federal government.
  • Residents may keep and use their personal possessions and clothing unless doing so would endanger health and safety.
  • Residents have the right to apply for and receive Medicare and Medicaid benefits and cannot be asked to leave a home because they receive such benefits.
  • A nursing home must treat all individuals the same, regardless of whether they are private payers or Medicare or Medicaid recipients.
  • Residents have the right to keep their clinical and personal records confidential.
  • Residents are entitled to lists of what services are paid by Medicare and Medicaid and the additional services for which the residents will be charged, plus the fees for those services.
  • Nursing home residents have the right to choose their own personal physician.
  • Residents have the right to be fully informed about their medical care.
  • Residents have the right to participate in the planning of their care and treatment.
  • Nursing home residents have the right to refuse treatment.
  • Residents have the right to be free from mental and physical abuse.
  • Nursing home residents cannot be kept apart from other residents against their will.
  • Residents cannot be tied down or given drugs to restrain them if restraint is not necessary to treat their medical symptoms.
  • Residents have the right to raise grievances and have them resolved quickly.
  • Residents may participate in social, religious, and community activities to the extent that they do not interfere with the rights of other residents.
  • Residents cannot be required to deposit their personal funds with the nursing home, and if they request that the home manage their funds, the home must do so according to state and federal record-keeping requirements.
  • Residents have the right to privacy, including in their rooms, medical treatment, communications, visits, and meetings with family and resident groups.
  • Residents have the right to review their medical records within twenty-four hours of making a request.
  • Nursing home residents have the right to review the most recent state inspection report relating to the home.
  • Residents must be given notice before their room or roommate is changed, and residents can refuse the transfer if the purpose is to move them from a Medicare bed to a Medicaid bed or vice versa.
  • Residents have the right to stay in the nursing home and can only be removed if it is necessary for the resident’s welfare, the resident no longer needs the facility’s services, it is necessary to prevent harm to the health or safety of others in the facility, the resident fails to pay after reasonable notice, or the facility ceases to operate.
  • Residents must be informed of their rights upon admission, and must be given their rights in writing if so requested.

Contact an Experienced Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

The personal injury attorneys at The Levin Firm understand that nursing home abuse cases require a team of lawyers, nurses and others trained to review the facts of these cases, including medical records.

At The Levin Firm, our Philadelphia, Pennsylvania nursing home abuse personal injury lawyers aggressively and zealously represent our clients and obtain the best possible results. We also work with highly-regarded nursing home abuse experts to determine the type of nursing home abuse and how and why it happened. At times, we will work with other law firms that have particular expertise to assure that our clients receive the most thorough and zealous representation.
We represent every client zealously in order to obtain the best results possible in each case.

Sources

1.      http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/reporting-nursing-home-injuries-abuse.html

2.      http://injury.findlaw.com/torts-and-personal-injuries/legal-rights-of-nursing-home-residents.html

3.      http://injury.findlaw.com/torts-and-personal-injuries/nursing-home-abuse.html

4.      http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/how-to-recognize-and-act-upon-nursing-home-neglect-or-abuse

5.      http://injury.findlaw.com/torts-and-personal-injuries/nursing-home-abuse-claims.html

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December 4, 2014

Common Types of Nursing Home Abuse

nursing home abused womanNo person should ever have to be the victim of any type of abuse. Unfortunately, certain individuals are more vulnerable to abuse than others, including small children and people with special needs. One group of people who are particularly susceptible to different forms of abuse is elderly adults in nursing homes or similar assisted living facilities.

When an older adult pays to live in a nursing home, they and their families should be able to trust that they are in good hands. Sadly, this is not always the case, and the following forms of nursing home abuse affect over 2 million people [1] every year in the United States.

Physical abuse—Physical abuse against nursing home residents may include assaults and other rough contact that causes injury. Signs of such abuse include unexplained wounds or other injuries, fear of physical contact, and more.

Verbal abuse—Verbal abuse may involve threats, insults, or other language that makes a nursing home resident feel worthless or helpless. Such abuse can cause significant emotional trauma including depression, acting withdrawn from others, blaming themselves for everything, inability to trust others, and much more.

Financial abuse—This type of abuse involves a stranger, professional, caretaker, or even a family member wrongfully takes money from an elderly adult. This can involve fraudulent schemes, threats to receive money, or even blatantly stealing checks or cash out of their rooms. This type of abuse can often financially bankrupt a nursing home resident, causing complications for their housing arrangements and planned inheritances for their estate.

Neglect—Neglect occurs when nursing home staff or medical professionals fail to provide for a resident’s basic needs or necessary medical care. Neglect can cause poor hygiene, medication errors, unsanitary conditions and more. Common signs include bed sores, soiled or stained bedding or clothing, incorrect prescription counts, and more.

False Imprisonment—False imprisonment [2] involves a nursing home employee prohibiting a resident from leaving their room, a wing, or another area to which they do not need to be confined. False imprisonment may include leaving a resident without crutches or a wheelchair, threatening them if they leave the area, or even tying them to a bed or chair.

If you see signs of any type of nursing home abuse involving a loved one, they deserve to hold the abuser responsible for their losses. Call an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss a possible case today.

[1] http://www.statisticbrain.com/elderly-abuse-statistics/

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_imprisonment

 

 

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October 22, 2014

I suspect my loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse. What should I do?

elder woman in nursing homeWhen your loved one moves into a nursing home, they should be able to trust they will receive a high level of care from a trustworthy and experienced staff. Unfortunately, many nursing home employees earn low wages for hard work and, as a result, become disgruntled and act in a neglectful or hurtful manner toward residents. Nursing home abuse has become a serious problem in the United States, as almost six million cases were reported in 2010 alone. No elderly or disabled person should have to suffer abuse, however many feel helpless and do not know how to remedy the situation. Therefore, loved ones should always be aware of the signs that may indicate their loved one has been abused in a nursing home. If you suspect your loved one has suffered abuse, you should always contact an experienced personal injury attorney in Philadelphia for help as soon as possible.

Nursing home abuse can be physical, emotional, or in the form of neglect. The following are some common signs of nursing home abuse and/or neglect:

  • Unexplained injuries, such as contusions or bruises, often in different stages of healing
  • Drastic changes in mood, behavior, or demeanor
  • Acting fearful of human contact
  • Poor personal hygiene, soiled clothes or bed linens
  • Marks on wrists and legs or other signs they have been restrained
  • Being over or under medicated
  • Significant weight changes, hair loss, or other signs of malnutrition
  • Open sores or ulcers
  • Showing fear of certain members of the staff
  • Not being allowed to visit with your loved one alone

You should visit your loved one as much as possible and make sure they feel comfortable confiding in you if they are suffering from abuse.

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