The 2010 U.S. Census recorded 40.3 million people at age 65 or older, at 13 percent of the U.S. population. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), this represents the greatest number and proportion of older people in the history of the census. The 65 and older age group is the fastest growing segment in America, expected to comprise 20 percent of the nation’s population by 2050.
Currently, an estimated 12 million people need long-term care, and 63 percent of these people are 65 or older. That number is expected to reach 27 million by 2050, because of the “Boomer Generation” effect, as stated by the Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA). With increasing numbers of elderly people needing long-term care, nursing home abuse is a growing problem and of serious national concern.
If your loved one has suffered abuse or neglect in a nursing home, you may be entitled to seek justice and compensation. At Morgan & Morgan, we represent elderly victims of nursing home abuse. Our goal is to recover the maximum compensation possible and to hold the responsible parties accountable. To learn more, complete our free, no-risk case evaluation form.
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Nursing homes can be held liable for residents’ injuries if negligence on the part of the facility or its employees can be established. Grounds for nursing home abuse claims may include:
- Understaffing: Residents may be neglected when a facility fails to employ enough staff. The existing staff may be overworked, which can lead to stress and a lack of compassion for residents. When a resident is injured because of inadequate staffing, the nursing home may be held liable.
- Negligent hiring: Nursing homes have a duty to hire qualified staff who meet the educational requirements for the position and have no record of violence or abuse. When facilities fail to properly screen prospective employees, it puts residents at risk, and nursing homes can be held liable when abuse occurs.
- Inadequate training: Nursing home employees who are not properly trained to handle disobedient and disabled people are not prepared to provide the level of care the residents deserve. When inadequate training leads to resident injury, nursing homes may be held accountable.
- Third-party responsibility: Nursing homes have a duty to provide a safe environment for residents. When adequate security is not provided and residents are injured by visitors or other residents, or can wander, the nursing home facility may be held liable.
- Medication errors: Elderly people often need blood pressure and other life-saving medications, administered in the right dosage and at the correct intervals of time. Responsible parties may be held accountable when medication errors occur.
- Breach of residents’ rights: Nursing home residents have certain rights, protected under the law, including the rights to privacy, dignity, and autonomy. When employees violate these basic rights, nursing homes may be held liable.
Nursing Home Abuse: Know the Signs and Symptoms
Nursing home abuse occurs in many forms – physical, emotional, sexual, financial, and neglect. Elderly people may suffer from dementia or fear retaliation and cannot always speak up about abuse and neglect. Family members need to be aware of the signs of abuse, which may include:
- Bruises or bleeding
- Broken eyeglasses or frames
- Signs of restraint (such as rope marks on the wrists)
- Weight loss or malnutrition
- Serious or frequent falls
- Emotional withdrawal
- Unwillingness to communicate around caretakers
- Physical discomfort
- Lack of hygiene
- Bruises on or around the genitalia
- Changes in the elder’s will or power of attorney
- Financial difficulties or bills left unpaid
St. Augustine Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
If you suspect your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, Morgan & Morgan can help. Contact us for a free case evaluation, with no obligation. We can review your claim to determine if you are entitled to file a lawsuit or claim against the facility. Damages you may be entitled to include:
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages (designed to punish the defendant)
Our St. Augustine attorneys have more than 20 years of experience handling nursing home abuse lawsuits. We have recovered substantial settlements and verdicts for our clients, including a $2.6 million settlement for the family of a resident who was attacked by a certified nursing assistant. Our seasoned trial lawyers can negotiate skillfully on your behalf, and will not hesitate to go further and take your case to court when necessary.