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Best Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers in Pittsburgh – Morgan & Morgan
Discovering that your loved one is the victim of egregious nursing home abuse can be shocking and upsetting. Nursing home abuse is a serious offense and can have tragic consequences for elderly and frail nursing home residents, potentially leading to life-changing injury or loss of life.
If your loved one suffered injuries and financial losses due to nursing home abuse, our nursing home abuse lawyers in Pittsburgh could help. Contact us today for free advice to determine whether you have a case against a nursing home and could recover compensation.
What Counts as Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing homes provide care for those who are unable to live on their own and rely on around-the-clock help. Neglecting a resident’s daily needs, such as nutrition and hydration or personal hygiene, constitutes nursing home neglect and abuse. Other types of unlawful abuse include:
- Physical abuse
- Verbal and emotional abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Financial exploitation
Signs of Abuse
Unfortunately, nursing home abuse can be hard to detect and may go unnoticed for some time. However, some warning signs pointing to abuse can include, among others:
- Unexplained bruising
- Burns and cuts
- Unexplained fractures
- Changes in character
- Dehydration and malnutrition
- Fear of caregivers
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Laws
One of the most important laws establishing the rights of nursing home residents is The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987, 42 U.S. Code § 1395i–3. According to this federal law, nursing homes must deliver quality care that promotes a resident’s highest physical and mental well-being and provides an environment free of abuse and neglect.
State laws in Pennsylvania further protect the rights of nursing home residents. Pennsylvania Code - Title 28 deals with health and safety and nursing home standards, including:
- Housekeeping and maintenance
- Equipment safety
- Operational responsibilities
If your loved one suffered injuries and damages due to egregious abuse or neglect in their nursing home in Pittsburgh, you do not have to stand for it. The law is generally on your side, and you could have legal recourse according to state and federal laws. One of our nursing home abuse lawyers in Pittsburgh can advise you of your options.
Who Is Liable for Nursing Home Abuse?
Neglect and abuse of residents in nursing homes is not always intentional. However, neglect and abuse cases tend to be more prevalent in nursing homes primarily focused on profits rather than on what is best for the residents.
A nursing home is generally responsible for the overall operations of the facility, including ensuring the security and safety of all residents. Therefore, you could have a case against the nursing home if you can prove that:
- The nursing home had a duty of care towards your loved one
- They breached the duty of care
- Your loved one suffered injuries and damages as a result
Breach of duty can occur in many ways. A nursing home could be negligent due to:
- Negligent hiring
- Lack of qualified and trained staff
- Negligent security at the property
While we often assume that nursing home staff are generally the perpetrators of abuse, this is not always the case. In reality, anyone who has access to the facility and residents could commit abuse, including caregivers, other residents, guests, and contractors working at the facility. It is important to note that the nursing home could still be liable for your loved one’s damages if a third party, such as a contractor, committed the abuse.
Damages Available in a Nursing Home Abuse Case
Nursing home abuse compensation can vary and depends on the extent of injuries and damages suffered by the resident. However, you could qualify for medical expenses and an award for future medical bills, including costs for:
- Medications and medical devices
- Doctor’s visits
- Hospital stays
- Physical therapy
- Psychological counseling
- Medical transportation
Other types of damages in nursing home abuse cases can include:
- Physical and emotional anguish
- Loss of life quality
- Punitive damages
Finding the Best Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in Pittsburgh
Finding the right attorney to fight for your loved one’s rights can be crucial. While there are many ways to find a personal injury lawyer, nursing home law is a specialized practice area requiring good knowledge of the applicable state and federal laws and a broad understanding of geriatric medicine.
Your first best step can be to ask people you trust, such as friends and family members, for recommendations. A simple online search will also bring up law firms and attorneys that handle nursing home abuse cases near you. You could also contact the Pennsylvania Bar Association for help with finding a nursing home abuse lawyer in Pittsburgh.
Why Hire Morgan & Morgan?
Not all personal injury lawyers have the resources, legal knowledge, and experience to successfully stand up against a nursing home and its teams of lawyers. As the largest personal injury firm in America, Morgan & Morgan can draw on the expertise of hundreds of attorneys, thousands of legal team members, and countless investigators and expert witnesses.
When we take on your case, our attorneys stand by your side from day one. We can help report the abuse and ensure that your loved one gets the medical help and support they need to go on with their life. Our tenacious attorneys can build a comprehensive case against the nursing home and fight for full and fair compensation.
Morgan & Morgan
Could I File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit if My Loved One Died Due to Nursing Home Abuse?
Yes, you could qualify for a wrongful death lawsuit if your loved one died due to abuse or neglect in the nursing home. A wrongful death lawsuit could help you recover any damages you incurred as a result of the abuse of your loved one, for example:
- Medical costs
- Transportation expenses
- Funeral and burial costs
- Emotional distress
In Pittsburgh, wrongful death suits are typically filed by the personal representative named in the will, which can include:
- The spouse of the deceased
- A child of the decedent
- An individual mentioned in the will
Is There a Time Limit for Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuits in Pittsburgh, PA?
Nursing home abuse cases fall under personal injury law. Therefore, according to the Statutes of Pennsylvania, Title 42, §552, the time limit for a nursing home abuse lawsuit is generally two years in Pennsylvania. The same timeline also applies for nursing home abuse leading to wrongful death. However, in rare cases, the statute could be paused. A tolling (pausing) of the statute could occur, for example, when you do not discover your loved one’s injuries until a much later date.
If your loved one experienced ill-treatment in their nursing home, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible to ensure you are not missing any filing deadlines. A nursing home abuse lawyer at Morgan & Morgan can analyze your case, help you learn about your rights and options, and move forward with legal action.
How Can I File a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit?
If your loved one got harmed due to nursing home abuse, filing a lawsuit may be the only way to get justice and compensation. Your next best steps can include:
Consulting with a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Trying to go it alone against a nursing home can be stressful and full of pitfalls. A dedicated nursing home attorney can advise you of your rights and walk you through your options. They can also handle all legal aspects of filing a lawsuit, such as preparing the necessary documents, gathering evidence, and negotiating with the facility and its attorneys.
Preparing the Case
In preparing your lawsuit, your nursing home abuse lawyer will review the relevant documents, such as:
- Physicians’ statements
- Medical records
- Witness testimony
- Nursing home records
- Your loved one’s contract with the home
Once the relevant evidence is collected and your attorney determines that you can move forward with your claim, they can prepare for formally filing the lawsuit.
Filing the Complaint
Filing the complaint is the first step of filing a suit against the nursing home. The complaint describes the incident, who is liable, and the compensation you are pursuing. After your attorney has filed the complaint in court, the defendant (the nursing home) will be served with the documents.
Once the defendant has received the complaint, they must answer within a certain time, and the legal process will take its course. If the nursing home is open to resolving the dispute, the case could be resolved with an out-of-court settlement before trial.
Which Nursing Home Negligence Cases Does Morgan & Morgan Handle?
Our experienced nursing home abuse attorneys have handled a variety of nursing home abuse cases resulting in injury and damages, including:
- General neglect
- Falls due to negligence
- Use of improper restraints
- Physical and emotional abuse
- Medication errors
- Malnutrition and dehydration
- Failure to control infectious diseases
The best way to find out whether you have a case is to contact us for a free consultation. We can analyze the facts of your loved one’s abuse incident and find out if you could sue the nursing home for compensation.
Should I Report Nursing Home Abuse?
We understand that when your loved one is the victim of abuse, your priority will be to ensure they are safe and receive the medical help they need. However, reporting nursing home abuse is crucially important for several reasons. Firstly, a report can be vital evidence if you later intend to hold the nursing home to account for your loved one’s injuries and financial losses. Secondly, reporting nursing home abuse could help other seniors in the same facility who may also suffer from abuse.
Only when abuse is reported adequately can the police and other agencies take action and hold the perpetrators to account. A report should include:
- The name and age of the victim
- The name and address of the nursing home
- The time and dates of incidents of abuse
- The name of the abuser, if known
- The names and contact details of any eyewitnesses
Where to Report Nursing Home Abuse in Pittsburgh
In Pittsburgh, you can report nursing home abuse to the Pennsylvania Department of Aging by calling their 24-hour hotline at 1-800-490-8505 or using an online form. If your loved one is in immediate danger, call 911 for medical help and contact law enforcement.
How Much Do Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Charge?
It is natural to be concerned about the financial implications of hiring a nursing home abuse lawyer. However, most attorneys practicing in this field work on a contingency fee basis. Therefore, attorney’s fees are generally only due once the case is resolved in your favor. Your attorney will then take a percentage of the settlement as their fee. If you lose, you do not have to pay any attorney’s fees.
However, contingency fees can vary from one law firm to another, and some charge clients upfront expenses for filing their case. Working with a nursing home attorney at Morgan & Morgan comes with peace of mind as there are no hidden fees or upfront costs for our clients. You will not pay a dime unless and until we have successfully helped you recover compensation.
Our Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Are Here to Help
Finding out that your relative was mistreated in their nursing home can be a devastating blow for the whole family. You may even wonder if there is anything you could have done to prevent this. However, you are not alone. Elder abuse is shockingly common. Moreover, abusers frequently target frail nursing home residents with dementia or other cognitive problems to try and cover their tracks. The best thing family members can do is to report nursing home abuse as soon as possible and hold those responsible accountable for their egregious acts.
Morgan & Morgan’s compassionate and determined nursing home abuse lawyers in Pittsburgh are ready to fight for victims of abuse and their families. Contact us now for help and advice by scheduling a free and confidential case review.