Did your loved one sustain injuries while living in a nursing home? Was it due to someone else’s abusive or negligent actions? If so, talk to a Santa Clarita personal injury attorney at OnderLaw to learn about your legal rights and options for seeking financial recovery from the responsible party. You shouldn’t be financially liable for the medical bills and other expenses resulting from an employee’s or facility’s misconduct.

When you move your loved one into a nursing home, you believe they will receive the best possible care. Administrators, nurses, caregivers, and other staff members are supposed to provide patients with the daily assistance they need to live a healthy and fulfilling life. Unfortunately, abuse and neglect can occur and lead to serious injuries or even death.

At OnderLaw, we know the emotional and financial toll abuse can take on a family. Learning about what happened is devastating. You want to hold the negligent party accountable for the harm they caused but might not know how to do it. We can provide the legal guidance and support your family needs at this difficult time. We’ll do everything we can to help your loved one recover and move forward.

Call us for a free consultation with one of our Santa Clarita nursing home abuse lawyers.

What Is Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?

Nursing home abuse refers to the harm an individual or facility inflicts on a patient living in a long-term care facility. Abuse comes in various forms and does not always cause physical injuries. The main types of nursing home abuse include:

  • Neglect: Neglect results from a caretaker failing to meet their patient’s needs. For example, they might not administer the necessary medication to treat an illness or provide water to keep them hydrated.
  • Physical abuse: Abuse is considered physical when a person uses physical force to cause someone else’s injury or death.
  • Sexual abuse: Sexual abuse happens when someone forces, threatens, or coerces another into unwanted sexual activity.
  • Abandonment: Abandonment and neglect are similar. This form of abuse occurs when a resident is deserted by those responsible for their care, such as when a caregiver ignores a resident’s request for help or when a resident confined to their bed isn’t turned frequently enough to prevent bedsores.
  • Financial abuse: Financial exploitation is another term used to refer to financial abuse. This results from a person taking or using someone else’s assets, money, or property without their permission or authorization.
  • Psychological/emotional abuse: Abuse is considered psychological or emotional when a caregiver inflicts mental or emotional harm on a patient. This can involve verbal and nonverbal acts.

All residents in nursing homes have rights under the Nursing Home Reform Act. The facility must provide the necessary care to enhance every patient’s quality of life and protect them from abuse. Staff is also responsible for providing activities and services that maintain each resident’s mental, physical, and psychosocial well-being.

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect

If you believe your loved one has become the victim of nursing home abuse, you should be on the lookout for warning signs. Some signs could indicate multiple forms of abuse, while others might only point to one type.

The most common warning signs of abuse or neglect include:

  • Unusual financial activity
  • Diagnosis of a new sexually transmitted disease (STD)
  • Exhibiting fear or distress around a specific person
  • Poor hygiene
  • Low self-esteem
  • Bedsores or pressure ulcers
  • Resident engaging in acts of self-harm
  • Pelvic injuries
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Dehydration and malnourishment
  • Unclean living space
  • Sudden loss of mobility
  • Lack of adequate care despite payment of all facility expenses
  • Asphyxiation
  • Soiled bedding or clothes
  • Withdrawal from friends, family, and social activities
  • Broken personal items, such as eyeglasses
  • Unexplained injuries
  • New or worsening depression, anxiety, or another mental illness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Cognitive decline
  • Changes in mood or behavior
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Lack of treatment of physical injuries
  • Infections
  • Appearing confused or disoriented

If you notice any signs of abuse, don’t hesitate to get the help you need to determine what steps you can take to protect your loved one.

What to Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect

There are multiple resources you can turn to if you believe your loved one has been abused. The following groups advocate for the rights of nursing home residents and investigate complaints of abuse or neglect to try to resolve the issue. Call 911 if you think your relative is in imminent danger. You can also report the incident to the local police department by calling (661) 255-1121.

Contact the California Department of Aging at (800) 510-2020 to locate a long-term care ombudsman in your county. Ombudsmen represent the interests of residents in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes. They will review and investigate the incident you report.

Adult Protective Services is another excellent resource. Call (833) 401-0832 and enter your zip code when prompted. The automated system will connect you to an agency in your county so you can report the abuse.

If you’re concerned for your loved one’s safety or well-being, don’t wait to remove them from their nursing home facility. They might need to stay with you or a trusted family member until you find a safe nursing home for them.

If they have suffered any injuries, seek medical treatment right away. If the physician recommends follow-up care, be sure to listen to them. Also make sure they attend all of their follow-up appointments until they recover.

If you have an opportunity, take pictures when you’re moving your family member out of the nursing home. Photographs of any visible injuries, environmental hazards, dangerous living conditions, damaged personal property, and other causes of concern could be used to support your case.

You should also hire a Santa Clarita nursing home abuse lawyer. OnderLaw could represent your relative and help pursue legal action against the negligent party. We will investigate the incident and obtain all available evidence to help prove liability.

In addition, maintain copies of every document associated with the case. If you receive doctor bills, imaging reports, and other records, be sure not to dispose of them. Medical records are essential in cases like this. You need to have proof that the facility or an individual caused your loved one’s injuries.

Compensation for Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Claims

In a nursing home abuse or neglect case, you can seek compensation to help cover the different expenses and losses your family member has suffered as a result of the harm they’ve endured. In these cases, there is a range of different parties who may be liable, such as:

  • Owners of the facility
  • Doctors
  • Administrative employees
  • Nurses
  • Manufacturers of defective medical devices and equipment
  • Physician’s assistants
  • Other patients
  • Maintenance workers
  • Contractor or subcontractor performing work at the nursing home

You can potentially pursue different types of compensation through an injury claim or lawsuit to compensate you and your loved one for past and future losses, such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Cost of counseling or therapy
  • Physical impairment or disfigurement
  • Damaged personal property
  • Emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Incidental expenses such as transportation costs

If you choose to file a lawsuit, you could potentially pursue exemplary damages from the at-fault party. Instead of compensating for the losses, it punishes the defendant for particularly egregious actions. To receive this financial award, there must be clear and convincing evidence of the defendant’s fraud, malice, or oppression.

A statute of limitations is the timeframe you’re given to take legal action in different types of cases. California follows a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury cases. That means you typically have to file your lawsuit in court within two years of the date of the abuse if you want to seek compensation on behalf of your loved one.

Nursing Home Abuse Statistics

According to the World Health Organization, elder abuse is prevalent in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes. Approximately one in six adults over 60 have experienced abuse in community settings. However, most incidents go unreported.

California has one of the highest rates of elder abuse in the country. With limited resources and protections, it’s a challenge to keep nursing home residents safe. According to one study, California ranked 49th in a list of the states with the best elder abuse protections.

Why Choose OnderLaw?

At OnderLaw, our Santa Clarita nursing home abuse lawyers have represented injured clients since 2002. We believe in fighting for the rights of individuals suffering from the wrongdoings of others. When you hire us, we will get to know you and the circumstances of the incident to determine the most effective legal strategy moving forward. We will work hard to meet your needs and try to reach your desired outcome.

We are well-known for the services we provide and the case results we achieve. Martindale-Hubbell gave us an AV® rating, the highest rating possible they offer. We also received recognition from prestigious organizations, such as the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, Super Lawyers, and The National Trial Lawyers. With our legal team in your corner, you can feel confident knowing you will receive quality representation.

Contact a Dedicated Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

If your loved one suffered injuries from abuse in a nursing home, contact OnderLaw right now to discuss your legal options. We can meet with you during a free consultation to review the facts of your case and advise how we can help. Call or contact us online today.