Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in Burlington

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Burlington, VT 05401
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How Should I Handle Nursing Home Abuse in Burlington, Vermont - nurse and senior patient

Burlington, VT Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

When you trust a professional to take care of your loved one at a nursing home in Burlington, VT, the last thing you expect is to receive complaints about abuse. It is even worse when you discover that the very people you trust to take care of your loved one are the abusers. While there are many great nursing homes in Burlington, a few bad ones spoil the collective reputation of the good ones. If you or your loved one has experienced nursing home abuse in Burlington or anywhere else across the state, you might need to speak with a Morgan & Morgan nursing home abuse lawyer.

But first things first, let’s discuss nursing home abuse in detail.

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Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

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  • What Is Nursing Home Abuse?

    Nursing home abuse refers to the mistreatment of older adults in assisted living facilities by caregivers, healthcare providers, nursing home providers, etc.

  • Common Types of Nursing Home Abuse You Need to Know

    There are at least seven different types of nursing home abuse. Here is an overview of each one of these cases. 


    Abandonment refers to when a caregiver deserts an older adult when they have assumed responsibility for the individual. For example, the caregiver might leave the older adult stranded at a shopping mall without any arrangement on who should care for the senior. 

    Abandonment can also occur at the healthcare facility. This happens if the caregiver or any other party responsible for the older adult deserts them without creating and implementing a care plan for the older adult when the caregiver is not at the facility. Some common signs of abandonment include depression, poor hygiene, dehydration, loneliness, etc. 


    Neglect in nursing homes is when a caregiver or any other responsible party fails to provide care to an older adult or protect them from danger. For example, if an older adult slips and falls while heading to the bathroom, this could be a case of neglect, especially if the older adult requires help moving around, but no such assistance is provided. In most cases, neglect occurs due to carelessness.

    Watch out for these signs of neglect in a nursing home:

    • Constantly dismissing the client’s needs
    • Leaving the client will soiled clothes
    • Failing to provide the required medication, food, water, and other needs


    Most older adults decide to join nursing homes because they can no longer care for themselves. However, some caregivers take advantage of the situation to exploit the residents. Although financial exploitation is the most common form of exploitation in some adult family homes, there are other forms of exploitation, such as material exploitation people need to know about. Some common examples of financial exploitation in nursing homes include:

    • Cashing or signing an elder’s check without appropriate permission
    • Coercing the older adult into signing a document for financial or material gain 
    • Stealing money, jewelry, clothing, and other personal possession from older adults

    Emotional Abuse

    This is usually one of the worst forms of abuse because it takes a long time to manifest itself. This is because some older adults may be unable to communicate when experiencing emotional abuse. So instead, they release their pain, anger, fears, anguish, or stress in many different ways, such as constantly crying, locking themselves in their rooms, etc.

    If you notice any of the following signs, it could be a case of emotional abuse:

    • The senior adult avoids eye contact
    • Random, unexpected crying 
    • Low self-esteem
    • Isolation forms staff, friends, and family members
    • Signs of anxiety and stress, especially around the abuser

    Sexual Abuse

    Sexual abuse occurs when a caregiver or any other party violates the resident sexually. Abusers target older adults because some may not be able to make decisions on their own or report such violations. Common examples of sexual abuse in nursing homes include sexual assault, rape, unwanted touching, kissing, etc. 

    Here are some signs of sexual abuse in a nursing home to watch out for: 

    • Marks and bruises around sexual organs 
    • Pain while urinating or walking
    • Bloody or torn underwear
    • Unexplained bleeding through the anus or vagina
    • Unexplained sexually transmitted infections or diseases

    Physical Abuse

    Physical abuse involves the intentional use of force against an individual. This form of abuse can lead to bodily injuries, permanent or partial impairment, pain, or even death in extreme cases. Examples of physical abuse in nursing homes include punching, kicking, shoving, burning, etc. 

    The following are some of the most common signs of physical abuse in nursing homes:

    • Constant hospitalization
    • Self-treated injuries 
    • Lack of clear explanation of elder’s injuries
    • Broken bones and teeth 
    • Unexplained marks 

    And so on.

    Not all forms of physical abuse leave body injuries or marks that could be traced back to the abuser. Some could occur for an extended period without detection. Forceful feeding is a good example of this kind of abuse.

  • How to Handle Nursing Home Abuse in Burlington, Vermont

    Now back to the big question—what should you do if you or a loved one has experienced nursing home abuse? Here are some critical steps to take:

    Document the Abuse

    Whether you are a resident at a nursing home or a guardian of a resident, you must document every form of abuse experienced. You do not want to give the other party a chance to deny their actions. And if they do, you can always use the evidence against them.

    When documenting the abuse, make sure you take pictures and record witness statements, including the date, time, and description of the incident. 

    Report the Abuse

    Each state has its own procedures for reporting abuse in nursing homes. Regardless of the state, nursing home facilities must provide information or resources for individuals who wish to file a complaint or report abuse in nursing homes. For example, the care provider must attach a list of important phone numbers to call to report this kind of abuse. The list of contacts should be visible and easy to access. 

    In Vermont, you can report nursing home abuse via the Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living Division of Licensing and Protection. This state agency handles nursing home abuse complaints through Adult Protective Services. 

    The APS recommends that you provide as much information as possible about the nursing home abuse incident. This is because a lack of adequate information makes it difficult for the agency to conduct the required investigations. 

    When filing a report, remember to include:

    • Details of the abused individual
    • Date and location of the abuse
    • How you discovered the abuse
    • Whether the older adult is still at risk of being abused even further at that particular moment
    • How to contact the victim or if reaching out could put them at further risk of abuse
    • The abuser’s identity, their relation to the victim, and how to contact them
    • Whether there are any risks investigators should be concerned about, such as dogs at the resident’s home, aggressive individuals, etc.

    You can either file the abuse report online or by emailing APS via Alternatively, you can call APS at 800-564-1612 Monday through Friday from 8 am to 4:30 pm. 

    Protect Your Loved One

    Remove the loved one from the facility if possible. When the abuser discovers that their conduct is being investigated, they might decide to retaliate against the victim of abuse. This could put the victim in more danger, something you can avoid by removing your loved one from the facility. 

    Try to be tactful about the removal process. For example, you may request your loved one visit you and stay for a while. The main goal of this process is to ensure that your loved one is safe even as the authorities continue to investigate the abuse.

  • Consult a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney in Burlington

    Filing a complaint or report with the relevant government agency is not the end of the road in such a situation. Instead, you can file a civil case against the nursing home facility for the abuse you or a loved one has been subjected to under their watch. To do this, you will need the help of a nursing home abuse attorney. 

    Here is how such an attorney can help.

    Case Evaluation

    Your attorney will review your case to determine whether you have a valid reason to file a lawsuit against the nursing home. If you have a valid case, the attorney will instruct you on what you can or cannot do throughout the legal battle with the party. In other words, the attorney will prepare you or your loved one for what is to come.

    Determine the Best Course of Action

    After establishing that you have a valid reason to take legal action against the abuser, the attorney will also determine the best course of action to take. This is because such lawsuits are usually complicated. It is not a matter of bringing a case to court. Instead, it takes careful consideration of all legal pathways available before settling for one with a higher chance of winning. 

    For example, did the nursing home breach its contract by failing to guarantee security for its residents despite being paid to do so? Also, where did the abuse occur? Was any other party other than the nursing home responsible for the abuse? These are just some of the many legal scenarios an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer in Burlington considers when choosing the best legal pathway. 

    Examine Damages

    The attorney will also examine the kind and severity of damages suffered due to abuse. The damages could either be economic, non-economic, or both. Each one of these damages has a value. An experienced attorney can help examine the injuries to determine what the abused individual may be entitled to as compensation.

    Determine Settlement

    The amount you or your loved one may be entitled to as compensation following nursing home abuse varies depending on different factors. For instance, if your loved one suffered severe injuries requiring hospitalization or surgery, this could significantly increase settlement value.

    Collect Evidence

    It is always difficult to pursue a claim without evidence. Although you do not need to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the abuse occurred, you still need to provide some form of evidence to support your claim. In most cases, you only need to convince the court that there is at least a 51% possibility that the abuse occurred. 

    And since the abuser usually has control and access to the nursing home even before the arrival of the state’s investigators, they might tamper with evidence. They might do this because they know that nursing home abuse cases are serious. Depending on the severity of the abuse, the providers could lose their licenses and pay hefty fines, among other penalties. 

    Your attorney can help you collect relevant evidence to prove your case to the other party. And if they are not willing to cooperate, the lawyer will file a lawsuit on your behalf. 

    Negotiate Settlement

    After determining the settlement amount, the attorney will engage the other party to settle the claim. Chances are, they will be willing to cooperate by reaching an out-of-court settlement. But if they do not cooperate, the attorney can decide to file a lawsuit against the nursing home, requiring them to appear in court for further hearing.

  • Contact Morgan & Morgan Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers in Burlington, VT

    Although hiring a nursing home abuse lawyer is a great idea, not every attorney you come across will fight for your best interests. These cases require a lot of resources, experience, and legal understanding of various laws both at the state and federal levels. There is no better law firm to contact than Morgan & Morgan when you need an experienced, dedicated, and knowledgeable nursing home abuse attorney in Burlington.

    We are always ready to review your case when you contact us online for a free case evaluation. You can also call us at 802-557-6300 if you need to speak with an expert about your case.

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