When you contract with a nursing home to provide care for yourself or a family member, you’re placing an enormous amount of trust that the facility will deliver services in accordance with the highest degree of professionalism. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. The National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC) estimates that around 5 million are affected by elder abuse and neglect every year, though this number is probably a lot higher due to issues with reporting. Victims and their families suffer tremendously from physical, financial, and emotional implications.
Though this breach of trust is horrific, you may get some consolation knowing that New York law provides you with options to address nursing home abuse and neglect. You may be able to recover compensation for your losses through legal action, and our team at Powers & Santola, LLP can assist. Please contact our firm to schedule a consultation with a Rochester nursing home negligence lawyer, and read on for some important information about your claim.
Defining Nursing Home Negligence: The NCVC describes elder abuse as misconduct against a person aged 60 years or older, which may include physical force, sexual abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, and abandonment. When mistreatment occurs at the hands of the owners and employees at a nursing home, it qualifies as:
- Nursing home abuse, if employees intentionally mean to cause harm to the resident;
- Nursing home negligence, which is providing substandard care to residents through carelessness.
While there are many shocking instances of intentional abuse in nursing homes, negligence is the most common. It may occur when nursing home staff fails to live up to their legal obligation, which is to provide proper care. If the acts or omissions are reasonably expected to cause harm to the resident, and that person did actually suffer injuries, the facility can be held accountable in a claim for nursing home negligence.
Spot the Signs of Negligence in Nursing Home: In general, nursing home neglect is the failure to provide the resident with basic life necessities and living arrangements. As the resident who may be suffering from substandard conditions, you’re probably familiar with some of the signs of negligence. However, many family members must be the eyes, ears, and voice for a loved one who is being neglected in a nursing home. Examples of negligence that you should watch for include:
- Medical Negligence: The facility doesn’t attend to the health care needs of the resident, including administering essential medications, addressing medical conditions, and assisting with mobility.
- Neglect of Basic Needs: The nursing home fails to provide food or water, or doesn’t properly maintain the facility in a safe, secure, clean condition.
- Hygiene Negligence: The resident doesn’t get assistance with bathing, hair care, dental care, and related personal needs.
- Social and Emotional Neglect: Nursing home administration or staff ignore the social needs of the resident, such as by leaving them alone or refusing to allow visitors.
Your Legal Options in a Claim Against a Negligent Nursing Home: As a resident or a family member, you can report a situation of neglect to New York officials. The punishment for the offending nursing home may be fines, censure, or license suspension. However, these sanctions don’t cover the personal losses for the resident who was subjected to neglect. You may have rights through a civil cause of action, where you can obtain monetary damages. A Rochester nursing home negligence attorney can explain the legal process, but it’s possible to recover for:
- Any medical costs incurred for injuries that result from nursing home negligence;
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress and trauma; and,
- Many other types of monetary damages based upon your situation.
Initially, it’s likely that you’ll file a claim with the nursing home’s insurance company to recover compensation. You may encounter significant challenges through this process since insurers are looking out for their own financial interests. If the insurance company is unwilling to settle for a fair, reasonable amount, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit in civil court.
Contact A Rochester Nursing Home Negligence Attorney About Your Rights
If you or a loved one were subjected to mistreatment at a New York nursing home, please contact Powers & Santola, LLP to discuss your circumstances. We can assist with filing an insurance claim, but we’re also prepared to fight for your rights if it becomes necessary to take the matter to court. Our lawyers can provide more information on legal strategies after conducting a consultation at our offices in Albany, Rochester, or Syracuse, NY.