Tim welcomes wonderful senior citizens with open arms. He understands that injuries to seniors often become a tipping point in their lives causing loss of independence and affecting family and friends. He also understands that insurance companies may attempt to pay less to seniors, claiming that senior injuries aren’t worth as much because the victim is older. Tim believes the exact opposite.
Tim understands the causes and signs of nursing home abuse. He will work hard to investigate and build strong cases for his clients. While Tim can never undo the harm, he will do everything he can to assist victims and their families receive answers along with full and fair compensation. He will simplify the complex process of filing an abuse suit against the nursing home or assisted care living facility.
Signs of nursing home abuse can include:
Four types of legal actions may be brought against nursing homes and their employees: regulatory; criminal and civil suits in tort or contract.
Regulatory Actions. Nursing homes are heavily regulated at the state and federal level. These regulations govern licensing and duties of care. Nursing homes and assisted care facilities zealously protect their licenses and on-line reputations. Failure to meet regulatory standards can result in harsh penalties, loss of license and reputation.
Criminal Actions. When a nursing home or its employees commit a crime, it may be prosecuted like any other. Examples include:
Victims of nursing home crime may seek restitution through the district attorney’s office.
Civil Tort Actions. Most nursing home abuse cases are founded in civil tort actions. Most Tort lawsuits are brought on the following basis:
Civil Contract Actions. When a person becomes a resident of a nursing home or assisted care facility, they or their representative sign a contract with the facility. If the contract doesn’t explicitly guarantee the residents’ health, safety, welfare and security, it makes these guarantees implicitly. No one intentionally places their loved one in a facility where they will face harm. If harm results, this is a breach of contract. A breach of contract lawsuit can help a nursing home resident recover the amount they paid to the nursing home. Compensation beyond what is tied to the contract will likely be limited for the practical reason that nursing home insurance carriers rarely cover breach of contract. In a breach of contract action, a nursing home abuse victim sues the nursing home directly – not its insurance carrier – to win only that money which the business, itself, could provide.
To win a breach of contract action, a plaintiff must prove:
Sometimes a medical condition will not manifest itself until time has passed following the incident. If a patient or family member thinks they or a loved one has been abused in a long-term care facility, they should seek a second medical opinion and contact Tim immediately. There is a better chance of developing their case while evidence and memory is still fresh.
Immediately following an accident, a victim and their loved ones, if able, SHOULD:
The victim of a nursing home abuse SHOULD NOT:
Nursing home neglect includes:
Nursing home neglect can have a significant impact on the health and well-being of residents. Physical health, mental health, and hygiene can all be directly affected. Signs of potential neglect or abuse can arise through a patient’s hygiene – skin color; dirty skin; unclean clothes, and ill-fitting or missing clothes. The patient may have potential health consequences:
Consequences of neglect or abuse may extend beyond the physical. The victim may also suffer social & emotional consequences which show up as:
In the most severe cases, mistreatment and neglect in nursing homes result in declining health and pre-mature death. The Boston Globe reported about a Vietnam veteran who died in a Massachusetts nursing home because his nurse spent the night playing video games instead of checking on him.
Q: What types of civil claims can be brought against nursing homes for abuse?
A: Tort and breach of contract. A tort is a ‘wrongful act’ or an ‘infringement of a right’ (other than under contract) leading to civil legal liability. Breach of contract is the failure to fulfill any aspect of a contract. Higher damages are available through tort.
Q: What are the legal options if nursing home abuse is suspected?
A: The most important option is filing a lawsuit. Lawsuits help families by:
Other than a lawsuit, an abuse victim can file a criminal report with local authorities, such as the local police department or the Adult Protective Services. These agencies catch abusers and bring them to justice. Nursing home residents and their families also have the option of reaching out to local long-term care ombudsman employed by the state and state regulators where licensing is involved.
Q: On what basis can compensation be awarded?
A: Nursing home abuse can cross the boundary between civil and criminal law. Compensation can be had through either forum. In criminal forums, victim advocates can seek compensation on behalf of the abused. In civil forums, compensation commonly arises from settlement before trial. While a negotiated settlement may achieve less than the amount potentially available through jury trial, the uncertainty of losing at trial is removed. Three factors generally influence compensation amounts:
Q: What are the grounds for compensation?
A: Grounds for financial compensation may be depend on the type of abuse suffered such as:
Q: How does compensation arise?
A: Compensation from nursing home abuse suit comes in the form of a dollar amount awarded by a judge, jury or settlement paid to the victim. A criminal action may also require the guilty party to pay restitution (ie: compensation someone charged with a crime must pay to their victim for losses suffered). This is especially true where financial abuse has been discovered.
Financial restitution is meant to:
(The forgoing list is not all inclusive.)
Other types of restitution arise from the criminal justice system. A defendant may be ordered by a criminal court to perform useful public service and other public duties as part of probation or parole.
Q: Are there time limits for filing a legal action?
A: Yes. The Statute of limitations restricts the time within which victims and their families may file a lawsuit. In Colorado, an auto accident victim or their family has two years within which to file a suit for negligence. Other claims may have different time limits. The statute of limitations begins to run when the victim or their family knew, or should have known, about the claim.