Have you or someone you love suffered abuse or injury in a nursing home in San Jose? Did this injury cause you severe pain or financial strain? If so, you may be able to obtain compensation for your injuries through an injury claim or lawsuit.

Contact the San Jose personal injury attorneys of OnderLaw today, and we can help you through this difficult time by assisting you in filing a personal injury claim to get the restitution you deserve. Call us for a free consultation, and get on the road to recovery.

What Is Nursing Home Abuse/Neglect?

Nursing home abuse occurs when residents of nursing homes suffer physical, emotional, financial. or psychological harm because of the actions or inactions of their caregivers. Nursing home abuse can take many forms, and unfortunately, it is a very common problem in America.

The aging population in this country is growing quickly. Data from the National Center on Elder Abuse states that there are around 52.4 million people over the age of 65 in America right now, with the number expected to climb to 80 million by 2040. People ages 85 and older are expected to triple in number by 2060. There are currently around 16,000 nursing homes in the country with a population of around 1.7 million residents, and this number grows every year.

This increasing population means nursing homes have to hire new staff to keep up with demand, and this can heighten the chance for abuse inside elder care facilities. Nursing home staff and administrators are charged with protecting one of the most vulnerable portions of our population, but nursing homes are for-profit businesses. With the workload always increasing, cutting corners becomes commonplace.

Hard statistics on the number of people abused inside nursing homes are hard to come by because most abuse is not reported, but according to the WHO, two in three nursing home staff members reported abusing a resident in the last year. These are staggering numbers and show the extent of the problem.

There are several different kinds of nursing home abuse, such as:

Physical abuse. Physical abuse can range from pulling on a resident’s arm too roughly to actual physical assault. Around 15% of residents reported experiencing some form of physical abuse.

Psychological abuse. This can be threats, humiliation, mocking, or other forms of verbal or nonverbal abuse, lying to a resident, or withholding objects like mail or food. This is the most common form of reported abuse. Thirty-three percent of residents reported psychological abuse in some form in the past year.

Sexual abuse. Though not as common as other forms of abuse, sexual abuse does occur in nursing homes. Approximately two percent of reported cases of nursing home abuse are sexual in nature.

Neglect. Neglect is almost another category by itself. Neglecting a resident’s basic needs can take many forms, such as denying help with personal hygiene, ignoring requests for help, denying medication, or denying basic necessities like food and water.

Financial abuse. This type of abuse refers to nursing home staff taking advantage of a resident’s trust or mental incompetence to steal their money, personal belongings, identity, or even convincing them to change their will to include the malefactor.

Confinement. Confinement is just that: confining a nursing home resident to their room or physically restraining them.

Abandonment. Abandonment in this context is defined as the physical desertion of an elder.

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse/Neglect

Be on the lookout for these signs that your family member may be suffering from abuse or neglect in a nursing home:

  • Unexplained physical injuries
  • Unsanitary living conditions
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Anxiety or fearfulness
  • Loss of mobility
  • Withdrawal from social interaction
  • Fear of staff or administrators
  • Dehydration or unexplained weight loss
  • Isolation
  • Changes in behavior
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Depression
  • Lack of self-esteem

Steps to Take if You Spot Signs of Abuse or Neglect

If you’ve seen signs that your loved one may be suffering abuse or neglect, talk to your attorney right away. In dangerous circumstances, you may wish to remove your family member right away. If not, here are some steps you can take to stop the abuse from happening now and prevent it in the future:

  1. Report the abuse to staff and administrators. Gather evidence and take it to the administrators of the facility to give them a chance to correct the problem. There’s a good chance the abuse was not intentional, and if this is the first time you’ve noticed it, it may just be an oversight.
  2. Speak to the Ombudsman or Family Council. If the problem is not corrected, most nursing homes have an Ombudsman either on staff or volunteering on-site. An ombudsman acts as an advocate for residents and is a liaison between residents and the facility administrators. They can help with bringing the reports of abuse to the right people. A Family Council is a group of concerned family members of residents that regularly meet to discuss issues or problems and present them to the administration with a unified voice. If you’ve seen signs of abuse, chances are someone else in the Family Council has seen it too and can help report it.
  3. Remove your loved one from the facility and contact the authorities. If the problem is still not handled after taking these steps, it may be time to remove your family member from the facility and contact the relevant authorities. Contact your local California Adult Protective Services Office at 1-833-401-0832 and report the abuse. This is their emergency hotline, and someone is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also file a complaint on their website.
  4. Retain legal counsel. After reporting the abuse, it’s imperative to retain legal counsel and file a claim for compensation. A lawyer with experience in nursing home abuse and neglect cases, such as one from OnderLaw, can assist you in moving forward.

What Kind of Compensation Is Available for Nursing Home Abuse Claims?

It’s nearly impossible to estimate the exact amount of compensation you might be able to obtain because each nursing home abuse case is unique, with differing circumstances and injuries. An attorney can help you review past cases for reference, but in general, the more severe the injury, the more you should demand in compensation.

There are several different losses or damages for which you can be compensated. Economic damages are any actual financial losses your or your family suffered, such as medical bills or lost wages, and non-economic damages refer to any immaterial losses you suffered, such as mental distress or loss of enjoyment of life.

Types of economic damages include the following:

  • Medical bills. If your nursing home abuse ends in hospitalization or multiple trips to a doctor, you can recover compensation for the money spent. This can be for emergency room care, doctor’s visits, prescription medication, medical devices, rehabilitation, therapy, or surgery costs, among others.
  • Lost wages. If your nursing home abuse case leads to you having to miss work to care for a loved one, you may be able to recover compensation for the lost wages. You can be compensated for wages you have lost in the past or for wages that you will lose in the future.
  • Household expenses. If your nursing home abuse case results in the need to hire outside help with chores around the house, you might be eligible for compensation for the additional cost.
  • Increased living expenses. You can be compensated for the costs of altering your living space to accommodate your elderly family member, including moving expenses or upgrading existing rooms.

Examples of non-economic damages include:

  • Loss of enjoyment of life. If the nursing home abuse results in someone you love having to sacrifice the activities they once enjoyed, compensation may be available for this loss.
  • Pain and suffering. Losses due to pain and suffering refer to any emotional or psychological strain caused by the abuse, such as worry, insomnia, grief, anger, depression, or anxiety.
  • Loss of consortium. If the abuse causes damage to your relationship with your elderly family member, you can recover compensation for this loss.

Why Choose OnderLaw For My Nursing Home Abuse?

OnderLaw believes in treating all our clients with compassion and dignity, as we’ve been doing for almost 20 years. We’ve helped thousands of clients in San Jose and across the country get compensation for nursing home abuse injuries, and we’ve seen personal injury claims of all types, from defective product cases to wrongful death claims. We have the experience and skills to get you the help and money you need after a nursing home abuse case.

We believe in giving back to our communities through regular charitable donations to organizations like Toys for Tots, Lupus Foundation of America, and MADD.

But most importantly, we have been very successful in helping our clients. How successful? We’ve obtained over $3 billion in settlements and awards. We can’t guarantee a positive outcome for your nursing home abuse case, but we will represent you with the same vigor and tenacity we used to help our previous clients. You can hear from some of them on our Testimonials page.

Contact Us Today

Don’t let nursing home abuse determine the course of your loved one’s life. Contact OnderLaw today for a free, no-obligation consultation, and let us help you help them get their life back on track. Call now.