If your loved one suffered abuse or neglect in a nursing home, contact the Orange County personal injury lawyers of OnderLaw immediately. They might be entitled to financial compensation for the losses they suffered, and you can be their advocate and fight for their rights.

It can be challenging to imagine why anyone would want to hurt an older adult, especially someone living in a nursing home or assisted living facility. The doctors and nurses are responsible for providing necessary medical treatment and helping them with daily tasks and activities. To think that they would abuse someone they’re supposed to keep safe and healthy is incredibly upsetting.

Unfortunately, elder abuse is more prevalent than people realize. Approximately one in ten people at least 60 years of age have experienced abuse in their lifetime. You might think you can trust the caretaker overseeing your loved one’s physical and emotional well-being, but if they take advantage of their position, they could cause serious injuries.

At OnderLaw, our Orange County nursing home abuse lawyers are ready to help you hold the negligent party responsible for their actions and pursue the maximum available compensation your loved one deserves. Call us for a free consultation to discuss your case with us.

What Is Nursing Home Abuse/Neglect?

Nursing home abuse occurs when a staff member intentionally or unintentionally harms a patient. Neglect is the failure of a caretaker to provide proper care to a person they’re responsible for.

Different scenarios can lead to abuse, and most of the time, someone you trust is the perpetrator. Common defendants in nursing home abuse cases are:

  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Physician’s assistants
  • Another resident
  • Administrative staff
  • Facility owners
  • Maintenance workers

The most common types of nursing home abuse are:

Physical abuse – When someone uses physical force to cause physical pain, bodily harm, or another type of impairment, it’s considered physical abuse. Common examples include:

  • Kicking
  • Slapping
  • Beating
  • Pushing
  • Punching
  • Unnecessarily using physical restraints

Sexual abuse – Sexual abuse is unwanted or forced sexual acts without receiving the victim’s consent. Different types of sexual abuse can involve:

  • Rape
  • Forced or coerced nudity
  • Showing pornographic images or videos
  • Unwanted touching
  • Sodomy

Emotional abuse – Psychological or emotional abuse occurs when someone inflicts emotional pain, distress, or anguish by using verbal or nonverbal acts. Examples are:

  • Preventing participation in social activity
  • Threatening
  • Humiliation
  • Verbal assaults
  • Intimidation

Neglect – Neglect is the failure to provide a resident with the care they need to live comfortably. Nursing home staff must assist immobile patients with going to the bathroom, administer medications for residents with illnesses, and allow them to socialize with others and see friends and family whenever they want. Common examples of neglect include:

  • Failing to turn an immobile patient in bed
  • Leaving someone unattended in their wheelchair for hours
  • Withholding food or water
  • Failing to maintain a clean and tidy living area
  • Refusing to administer necessary medication or providing the wrong medication

Financial exploitation – Financial abuse involves the improper or illegal use of another person’s finances. Some caretakers might notice a patient’s wealth and take advantage of them. Examples can include:

  • Forging signatures on financial documents
  • Withdrawing large amounts of cash without permission
  • Stealing possession’s from the patient’s room
  • Using deceptive tactics to gain control of bank accounts
  • Forcing the patient to sign over a will, power of attorney, or another legal document

If you suspect your loved one was the victim of abuse, you should take immediate action. They should not be forced to suffer further harm at the hands of an incompetent or violent caretaker.

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse/Neglect

The warning signs of some forms of abuse are apparent. Physical abuse is the most obvious because it typically leaves visible injuries. However, emotional abuse isn’t as easy to notice. It’s up to you to be your loved one’s advocate and pay attention to any unusual behaviors or symptoms you might see.

The red flags will depend on the type of abuse, but the most common are:

  • Bedsores
  • Financial activity lacking appropriate documentation
  • Unexplained cuts, bruises, or broken bones
  • Damaged personal property
  • Dirty bedroom
  • Unkempt physical appearance
  • Malnutrition
  • Dehydration
  • Torn or bloody clothes
  • Sudden loss of mobility
  • Agitation or mood changes
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Diagnosis of an STD
  • Difficulty walking or sitting down
  • Declining cognitive functioning
  • Withdrawal from friends, family, and activities
  • Infections
  • Asphyxiation
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Fear of a specific staff member

Some nursing home residents can’t speak for themselves. They might have Alzheimer’s and don’t remember what happened. It’s your job to be their voice and stand up for them in their time of need. If you notice any of these warnings signs, contact OnderLaw so we can investigate and determine if your loved one’s injury is from abuse.

What to Do if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse/Neglect

If you believe your loved one has been abused, remove them from the facility immediately. Make sure you take them to the hospital for treatment of any physical injuries they suffered. If the doctor recommends follow-up care, listen to their instructions. You should move your family member to a different nursing home or move them in with someone you trust. Letting them continue to live where they were before puts them at risk of continued abuse.

Hire a lawyer to help you build your case. Trying to handle it alone will be a challenge, especially when you’re already taking care of your relative. OnderLaw will investigate the incident, speak to anyone who saw what happened, and collect evidence. We can review the nursing home’s insurance policy to determine the available coverage and file a claim. Multiple people could be liable for the injury. If a nurse was the abuser, but the facility owner knew about the abuse and did nothing to stop it, they could also be held accountable.

You can report the abuse to the local police department. The Orange County sheriff’s office’s non-emergency number is (407) 836-4357. You could also report the abuse to any number of organizations that advocate for the abused, such as:

Compensation for Nursing Home Abuse/Neglect Claims

You can seek compensation for the losses your loved one suffered through an insurance claim. When you file the claim, you might be eligible to obtain money for:

  • Medical bills
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Damaged personal property
  • Emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering
  • Physical impairment or disfigurement

Unfortunately, some instances of abuse lead to the victim’s death. If your family member died from abuse or neglect, you could file a wrongful death lawsuit. The losses you may be able to gain compensation for are:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of guidance
  • The reasonable dollar value of household services provided by the deceased
  • Loss of gifts or benefits the deceased could have given to family if they were still alive
  • Lost financial support
  • Lost love, comfort, companionship, support, assistance, or protection

If you choose to file a lawsuit, you must comply with the statute of limitations for personal injury cases. California has a two-year statute of limitations. That means you must file your lawsuit within two years of the injury date if you want to hold the at-fault party liable.

Nursing Home Abuse Statistics

Most abuse of older adults happens where they reside. The perpetrator is someone they know, such as a family member, in around 90 percent of cases. Two out of every three incidents of abuse involve a spouse or adult child. According to statistics, an abused elder has a 300 percent higher chance of dying in the three following years than someone who hasn’t been abused.

In California, elder abuse occurs at a higher rate than in most states in the country. That’s because there are fewer protections and limited resources to prevent abuse. California ranked 49 on a list of States with the Best Elder-Abuse Protections.

Two factors that place older adults at higher risk of abuse are lack of social connections and cognitive decline. Estimates show that over 50 percent of the abused have at least one of these risk factors.

Why Choose OnderLaw?

The Orange County nursing home abuse lawyers of OnderLaw have been representing abuse victims and their families since 2002. We provide the personalized services and attention our clients need. You don’t have to worry about paying us upfront to help you hold the negligent party liable for your loved one’s injuries. We take cases on contingency, so there are no fees or costs for you to pay unless we secure compensation for you.

With our 24/7 availability, you can reach us whenever you need us, day or night. We’re proud of the dependable customer service we provide and aim to be there for our clients from start to finish of their cases. You won’t have to chase us down or wait weeks for a return call. We will be there for you during this traumatic ordeal, no matter what.

Contact OnderLaw Today

You don’t have to stand by and watch your loved one suffer. They deserve justice for what they’ve been through, and we can help.

If your loved one was the victim of abuse in a nursing home, call us immediately. One of our Orange County nursing home abuse lawyers can discuss the facts of the case during a free consultation and determine the available options for pursuing compensation.