Nursing Home Negligence: What You Need To Know
When you need a nursing home lawyer Alexandria VA depends on, Cohen & Cohen is here to help. Our legal team understands that nursing home abuse and neglect might be extremely difficult for relatives to prove in court, and many families may not even realize that their relatives are the victims of abuse or neglect until it’s too late. We believe that local residents should never have to wonder if their elderly relatives are the victims of abuse — but if this situation should occur, it’s our mission to help make sure that the victims and their families have a chance to collect compensation.
Negligence and specific acts of neglect may be present in virtually any nursing home or assisted care facility setting. While it’s common for law firms to handle nursing home injury cases stemming from direct and intended abuse, it’s also common for a seasoned nursing home lawyer Alexandria VA trusts to encounter injuries stemming from negligence.
Many families understand that abuse in nursing homes is illegal, but they might not realize that neglect might justify the same legal actions. Here is a quick look at what a nursing home injury case might look like when negligence is involved:
Nursing Home Neglect: Recognizing the Signs
As a skilled nursing home lawyer Alexandria VA can provide might explain, the major difference between abuse and neglect in nursing homes is that abuse is an intentional act of harming a resident, whereas neglect is the unintentional harming of a resident. Just as staff members might not fully comprehend how much they are harming a resident, the injured victim and the victim’s family might miss the signs of neglect, too.
While each individual’s case will likely be different, some of the more common signs of neglect in a nursing home may include:
- Injuries from falls or trips
- Decrease in hygiene
- Smells of urine, feces, or excessive bodily odors
- Bedsores or ulcers
- Open wounds and/or wounds that are not regularly cleaned and dressed
- Disappearance of personal items
- Lack of clean clothes
- Dirty living space
- Withdrawal from social activities
- Other sudden changes in personality or behavior
- Sudden decrease in physical and/or mental health
- Increasingly hostile interactions with staff members and/or other residents
Even though neglect is an unintentional harmful act, it’s important to keep in mind that this type of behavior is not acceptable in a facility that cares for elderly individuals. When neglectful behavior of staff members leads to an injury in a resident, it may be advisable to seek legal counsel from a local nursing home lawyer Alexandria VA residents recommend. Injuries from negligence may justify a settlement or civil court lawsuit.
Regulations on the Standard of Care
Many Americans do not realize that nursing homes and assisted living facilities are legally required to abide by a certain standard of care. This standard is often determined by state legislation as well as policies developed by the facility. In most cases, individual facilities are required to provide residents (and their families) with a written policy that outlines the duties that may be provided to residents.
In addition to providing essential medical care and assistance with basic daily living needs, nursing homes are also required to make sure that residents are living in a clean and safe environment. As a top nursing home lawyer Alexandria VA can trust might attest, falls and slips are likely to occur in any nursing home or assisted care facility. Not all of these accidents can be prevented. However, nursing homes must take reasonable measures to reduce the risk of these accidents for residents. This might include anything from blocking off stairways to ensuring that outdoor sidewalks are smoothly paved (when applicable).
Nursing homes are also expected to provide a reasonable standard of care when it comes to keeping residents safely on the premises. Many elderly people, especially those with cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s, are likely to wander off the premises when there is a lack of supervision or a lack of environmental barriers (such as locked doors). If a resident has a history of wandering that the nursing home knows about, or if the resident has a cognitive condition that may increase the likelihood of wandering, then the staff is typically expected to provide reasonable care. Should the resident be injured off the premises in this type of situation, the nursing home might be considered negligent.
Nursing Home Negligence Claims
There are generally two ways that a personal injury claim — including injuries resulting from nursing home negligence — might be handled. These claims are intended to provide financial compensation to the injured victim and do not impose punitive damages on a defendant who is found guilty.
Most personal injury claims are handled through an informal out-of-court settlement process. As a Alexandria VA nursing home lawyer might explain, these discussions are often faster and less costly than lawsuits. However, it may be in the injured plaintiff’s best interest to pursue the matter in court, particularly when a fair settlement cannot be reached.
Contact a Nursing Home Lawyer Alexandria VA Depends On
If you’ve been searching for a nursing home lawyer Alexandria VA has to offer, it’s very likely that your family is going through a difficult time. Placing an elderly relative into a nursing home, and into the care of other strangers, may be a difficult thing to do. It’s even more heartbreaking to find out that your relative has been abused or neglected by the very people who are supposed to provide care.
At Cohen & Cohen, we understand that these cases may be very complex and might involve sensitive issues. Even if you aren’t sure how to prove that negligence is happening in a nursing home facility, a nursing home lawyer in Alexandria VA may be able to work with you — and with your elderly relative — to uncover the evidence necessary to make a successful injury case. Negligence, while perhaps not as obvious as physical abuse, may cause injuries and illnesses that are just as severe.