It’s possible that you or a loved one have been placed in a nursing home after a lengthy process of decision-making with your family. Generally speaking, many families choose to place their loved ones in the care of nursing homes because they believe that their loved one will receive optimal care and attention from nursing home staff.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case, and your loved one could be the victim of physical, verbal, or even sexual abuse at the hands of nursing home staff. While we would like to think that nursing homes are held to high standards and operate ethically on all levels, most nursing homes are independent businesses and aren’t held to universal standards, leaving a lot of room for interpretation and potential abuse/neglect.
If you or a loved one have been injured due to nursing home abuse or neglect in Santa Ana, you may be entitled to compensation.
Contact the Santa Ana personal injury lawyers of OnderLaw today. You can contact us online or call us to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. We can review your circumstances and advise you about the next best steps you should take, whether you hire us or not.
What is Nursing Home Abuse/Neglect?
Nursing home abuse/neglect is when nursing home residents are abused, neglected, or exploited by nursing home staff. There are several different types of nursing home abuse possible, such as physical, emotional, sexual, and financial abuse. Nursing home abuse can occur at a structural or individual level.
Structural abuse can occur for a variety of reasons. The most common include:
- Inadequately trained staff. Sometimes, hiring departments at nursing home facilities can be negligent in their hiring practices. As a result, residents in nursing home facilities may not receive adequate care and attention from new staff members who weren’t properly trained, which can ultimately lead to abuse and neglect. If background checks weren’t properly performed, staff may not have the proper certifications and knowledge to do the job properly.
- Inadequate / poor staff pay. Often, nursing home staff aren’t paid sufficiently for the work they perform. Unfortunately, this leads many employees to underperform or neglect their duties entirely, leading to the abuse and neglect of nursing home residents.
- Staffing shortages. Nursing homes generally have a high turnover rate. What this means is that employees frequently quit, and new ones are hired on. As a result, nursing home facilities may experience staff shortages frequently, which can lead to the abuse and neglect of nursing home staff because there aren’t enough employees to adequately care for each resident.
- Residents with special needs. Some nursing home residents may require additional care and attention if they have a disability or other special needs. Unfortunately, some staff members may feel overwhelmed, burdened, or simply unable to provide the care and attention the resident demands due to their needs. This can lead to the abuse or neglect of nursing home residents with additional needs.
Individual abuse occurs when a single staff member targets a specific or multiple residents to abuse or neglect out of a desire to cause them harm. Risks for individual abuse include circumstances such as:
- Wealth. Nursing home residents who are wealthy or have access to large amounts of money may be targeted by exploitative nursing home employees for extortion.
- Mental illness. Some nursing home residents may be affected by mental illness or are particularly troubled in some way. Additionally, some nursing home employees may have mental health issues and struggles of their own. Unfortunately, in either case, this can lead a corrupt nursing home staff member to seek out one or more nursing home residents to abuse or neglect, out of malicious intent or blatant disregard for the health and safety of the nursing home residents.
- Power / perceived weakness. Some nursing home employees may seek to abuse nursing home residents because they derive a sense of superiority and power over residents they perceive as being weaker than them.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse/Neglect
If you’re concerned that a loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse/neglect, watch out for these signs and symptoms:
- Fractured or broken bones
- Bruises, lacerations, and abrasions
- New or untreated medical conditions
- Personal hygiene issues
- Significant personality changes
- Other unexplained injuries
Additionally, you may want to keep an eye out for signs and symptoms of abuse in nursing home staff members such as:
- Having a generally negative attitude toward work or caregiving
- Giving incorrect or ineffective doses of medication purposefully
- Providing prescriptions with conflicting medications or excessive side effects
Of course, there are other signs and symptoms of abuse that you should keep an eye out for. For additional help determining whether or not nursing home abuse is occurring or collecting evidence to build your case, contact an experienced Santa Ana nursing home abuse attorney.
What To Do if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse/Neglect
Above all else, if you suspect your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse, it’s crucial that you document what you can and notify the correct authorities. Other steps you can take if you think nursing home abuse is occurring include:
- Question nursing home staff regarding the situation and any evidence of abuse
- Speak to your loved one about the situation and gather details and evidence
- Call the police if there’s an immediate threat of abuse, neglect, or exploitation
If you or a loved one have been a victim of nursing home abuse/neglect, the following resources may be helpful to you:
Compensation for Nursing Home Abuse/Neglect Claims
Compensation for nursing home abuse depends on the severity of the injuries sustained and the length of time it takes for you to recover. The most common types of damages obtained by those who are victims of nursing home abuse/neglect include:
- Medical expenses. If you or a loved one have experienced physical or sexual abuse, you’re likely to require immediate medical attention to assess and treat your injuries. Medical expenses include things like transportation by ambulance, rape kits, doctor, hospital, and emergency room visits, x-rays, MRIs, prescription medications, rehabilitation therapy, and more.
- Property damage. If you or a loved one have been a victim of financial abuse or exploitation or if you had personal belongings go missing or be destroyed by nursing home staff, you can seek to recover repair or replacement costs for the property that was damaged, lost, or stolen from you.
- Pain and suffering. During and after nursing home neglect or abuse, you may experience pain and suffering at the time of the event or as a direct result of your injuries. In either case, you may be entitled to seek compensation for the pain and suffering you’re forced to endure.
- Emotional distress. Being the victim of nursing home abuse can leave lasting effects on your psyche. Your experience can be so traumatic that you go on to develop emotional disturbances or mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Fortunately, you can seek to recover damages for the emotional distress you’ve been caused due to nursing home abuse.
- Loss of enjoyment. Following abuse or neglect by a nursing home staff member, you may experience a decline in your overall quality of life. Depending on the severity of abuse/neglect/exploitation done to you, you may be unable to return to your previous state of wellness or lose your independence due to physical disability or financial theft. However, you can seek to be compensated for the loss of enjoyment of life you’re forced to endure in the aftermath of abuse/neglect/exploitation.
- Exemplary damages. Exemplary damages are only awarded in cases where it’s clear that the damage done to you was caused by another person’s intent to cause you harm. You must prove that they acted with malice, the intent to oppress you or to perpetrate fraud upon you. These damages may only be awarded by the court.
Finally, we at OnderLaw want you to know that you don’t have to stress about paying us. The only way our firm profits is when we’ve obtained compensation for you. We’ll take our fee in an agreed-upon percentage of the money we’ve secured for you.
Nursing Home Abuse Statistics
While most nursing home facilities take great care of their residents, elder abuse still occurs in certain nursing homes. In order to have a fuller understanding of the gravity of this issue, we’ve collected a few statistics to convey the severity of this epidemic:
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 643,000 elders required a visit to the emergency room following an assault between 2002 and 2016.
- Data collected by the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) reveals that one in ten older adults has experienced some form of neglect or abuse.
- According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), 5.2 percent of all elder abuse is related to financial exploitation. Additionally, financial exploitation is the second most underreported form of elder abuse.
Why Choose OnderLaw?
For the past 19 years, the team at OnderLaw has sought to preserve client rights while working to secure the compensation owed to them following an accident. Collectively, we’ve recovered well over $3 billion in damages for victims of personal injury accidents of all types, and we will continue to pursue justice for those involved in accidents in Santa Ana and the greater U.S.
Some of the lawyers we’re proud to have on our team have been selected for exclusive membership with prestigious legal organizations such as Million Dollar Advocates Forum, Rue Ratings Best Attorneys of America, and Super Lawyers. Our firm and its attorneys have worked painstakingly over the years to provide top-notch legal representation to personal injury victims. Should you choose to select OnderLaw to fight on your behalf, you can feel confident in your decision and rest well knowing that you have some of the best lawyers in the nation going to bat for you.
Contact a Santa Ana Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
If you or a loved one have been hurt due to nursing home abuse in Santa Ana, contact OnderLaw today. Give us a call or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Remember, you won’t owe our firm a dime until we’ve obtained compensation for you.