Making the decision to put your loved one into a nursing home can be incredibly difficult. We know you do not want to do it, but it becomes necessary when we are no longer able to care for the person we love. We know that you want what is best for them.

But what happens if you find out that your loved one is being abused in a nursing home?

It can be shocking to discover and you will have many questions about what to do next. When you need a Philadelphia nursing home abuse attorney, you can count on the Weitz Firm to be by your side.

Growing Older

Lifespans in the United States have continued to rise thanks to medical advances. This means that many of us will be facing the decision to put out loved ones in nursing homes. There are nearly 16,000 nursing homes in the US, a number that will continue to rise. Unfortunately, elder abuse is underreported but prevalent.

Elder abuse, as defined by the CDC, is the intentional act, or failure to act, by a caregiver or another person in a relationship involving an expectation of trust the creates a risk of harm to an older adult.

The abuse takes many forms:

  • Physical Abuse – Any time nursing home staff intentionally uses force that causes harm to their residents, they are physically abusing them. This can include beating, hitting, slapping, choking, shoving, and more.
  • Sexual Abuse – Though unthinkable, it happens. Anytime there is unwanted or forced sexual interaction between nursing home staff and a resident, it is abuse. This includes ALL forms of sexual contact.
  • Financial Abuse – Nursing home staff has access to sensitive information on patients and often have control of their finances. If they abuse this access to steal money or their residents’ identities, they are financially abusing them. This can also include billing a resident’s insurance company for procedures or medications not given to the resident.
  • Emotional Abuse – This can include verbal and nonverbal behavior that results in residents’ anguish, mental pain, or distress. This includes threatening them, calling them names, isolating them, or punishing them.
  • Neglect – Caregiver neglect can include withholding food, medication, or shelter. It can also include not bathing or exercising residents regularly or taking care of any wounds they have.

Any abuse that someone suffers in a nursing home is wrong and should not be tolerated. If you suspect this is happening to your loved one, contact police immediately. Then, seek legal assistance.

FAQs for Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys Philadelphia

Nursing home and elder abuse are widespread problems in our society. Unfortunately, the number of incidents of elderly people being abused in nursing homes is so high that many people are discouraged from getting their parents and grandparents into nursing homes.

According to Nursing Home Abuse Guide, more than 2 million cases of elder abuse in the U.S. are reported each year. Other disheartening statistics show that one out of every ten elderly people has experienced some form of elder abuse.

In fact, ask any Philadelphia nursing home abuse attorney, and they will tell you that the vast majority of elder abuse incidents remain unreported.

While nursing homes are supposed to provide a home-like setting for elderly individuals, many of them contribute to the national epidemic of elder abuse in the U.S.

What Are the Rights of Nursing Home Residents?

Pennsylvania law prohibits any form of verbal, physical, sexual, financial, emotional, or mental abuse of elderly people, including those who live in a nursing home. A resident in a nursing home has the right to be free of any physical or chemical restraint used to discipline or comfort him or her.

Such restraints can be imposed by the nursing home only to treat a medical condition and must be used upon the written order of a qualified doctor. These restraints cannot be imposed unless the safety of the resident or other residents is at risk.

In fact, nursing home residents have their rights under both federal and state laws, which means an elderly individual is protected by law even if the care facility is not regulated by federal statute.

What is Considered ‘Neglect’ in Nursing Homes?

While nursing home abuse can be defined as engaging in actions that intentionally harm or create a risk of harm to an elderly resident of a nursing home, what qualifies as “neglect”?

In the nursing home setting, neglect is defined as a failure to provide an elderly individual with services and care that is essential to health and safety, including but not limited to food, medical care, supervision, shelter, and clothing.

Depending on whether such actions or inaction are intentional or careless, the nursing home and its staff members will be held responsible for neglect or abuse.

What Happens When an Elderly Person Complains of Nursing Home Abuse?

Although Pennsylvania has a system for reporting allegations and complaints of nursing home abuse, neglect, and exploitation, complaining through this system rarely results in a speedy investigation of the matter.

That is why elderly residents of nursing homes benefit from seeking the help of a Philadelphia nursing home abuse lawyer who can investigate the allegations right away and, if necessary, pursue legal action against the nursing home or another care facility.

When a lawyer representing an abused or neglected elderly individual gathers sufficient evidence proving that the complaints are founded, the lawyer can pursue compensation for the injury, humiliation, or indignity suffered by the elderly resident. In some cases, an elderly abuse case can turn into a criminal case.

How Will a Philadelphia Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Address Your Case?

Some families of elderly individuals who were abused or neglected in nursing homes wonder how their case would be addressed in legal proceedings.

Depending on the circumstances of your elder abuse case, a lawyer can launch an investigation in cooperation with an adult protective service agency, file a civil claim to recover damages or begin formal criminal proceedings to punish the harmful conduct.

Speak to our lawyers at The Weitz Firm, LLC, to figure out which legal proceedings are the most appropriate in your case.

WHAT PARTIES CAN BE HELD LIABLE FOR PHILADELPHIA NURSING HOME ABUSE?

There may be various parties that could be held liable as a result of a nursing home abuse or neglect case in Philadelphia. It can be tempting to only want to hold the person accused of nursing home abuse or neglect responsible for their actions. However, rarely does nursing home abuse or neglect happen in a vacuum. What we mean by this is that, though there are times when only one person is responsible for this abhorrent behavior, the reality is that nursing home abuse and neglect is often a systemic problem inside of a nursing home facility.

In most circumstances, a nursing home can be held accountable for the actions of its employees. Additionally, the nursing home facility could also be held liable for creating internal problems that led to the nursing home abuse or neglect in the first place. Incidents of nursing home negligence that could lead to the home being held liable include the following:

  • Negligent training of staff members
  • Negligent hiring of staff members, including failing to perform background checks
  • Failing to properly supervise staff members
  • Failing to provide adequate security at the nursing home
  • Failing to provide daily necessities, including food, water, medications, personal hygiene, and clean living conditions
  • Medical neglect cases, including failing to treat wounds or provide medications
  • Failing to prevent or treat bedsores
  • Using unreasonable or dangerous physical restraints for no reason
  • Intentional abuse on the part of staff members

WHAT TYPE OF COMPENSATION IS AVAILABLE FOR A PHILADELPHIA NURSING HOME ABUSE CASE?

If you discover that your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse in Philadelphia, there may be various types of compensation available. The types of compensation that we strive to recover for our clients include coverage for the abuse victim as well as compensation for family members if they incur any expenses as a result of the nursing home abuse. At the Weitz Firm, we are regularly able to help nursing home abuse victims and their family members recovered the following types of economic and non-economic compensation:

  • Coverage of any medical treatment caused by the nursing home abuse or neglect
  • Lost income if a family member cannot work while they care for their loved one
  • Compensation for transferring the abuse victim to a new facility
  • The cost of care and stay at the current facility
  • Pain and suffering damages
  • Loss of enjoyment of life damages
  • Possible punitive damages against a grossly negligent nursing home

WHAT IS THE TIME FRAME FOR FILING A NURSING HOME ABUSE WHILE SUIT IN PHILADELPHIA?

Family members of nursing home abuse victims need to be aware that they have a limited amount of time to file lawsuits in these cases. The Pennsylvania personal injury statute of limitations is two years from the date an injury occurs. Additionally, claims related to medical malpractice also have a two-year timeframe attached. If nursing home abuse victims or their family members fail to file a lawsuit within this two-year limit, they will likely lose the ability to recover any compensation for their losses, regardless of how egregious the abuse or neglect was.

What Can You Do Now?

Yes, you have options. At the Weitz Firm, we believe that the elderly deserve respect and will not stand for their abuse. We want to help you hold those responsible accountable. When you need a medical malpractice lawyer in Philadelphia, let us be there for you. Our knowledgeable and experienced team will work tirelessly to secure compensation for your loved one’s pain and suffering. You can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or calling 267-587-6240.

Click To Call