Nursing home abuse can occur in many ways and is unfortunately not uncommon in and around the Palo Alto area. At Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger, we are standing by to help if you suspect that your loved one has been abused by a nursing home employee. Our Palo Alto nursing home abuse attorneys can use their resources to investigate every aspect of your claim and work to obtain any compensation your loved one may be entitled to.
Why Choose Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger for Your Nursing Home Abuse Case?
If your loved one has been abused inside of a nursing home in Palo Alto, you can count on the trusted team at Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger to help secure justice and closure.
- We have more than 60 years of experience helping Palo Alto injury and abuse victims obtain compensation for their losses.
- The team at Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger have help shaped personal injury law in California and secured millions of dollars in financial compensation for injured clients.
- We take Palo Alto nursing home abuse cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that our clients will not pay any legal fees until after we obtain the compensation they deserve.
What Will an Attorney Do to Help This Case?
If your loved one has been abused in a nursing home, do not try to handle this case on your own. A Palo Alto nursing home abuse lawyer will have the resources to:
- Obtain any evidence needed to prove liability, including video or photo surveillance, statements from eyewitnesses, nursing home employee and safety records, and more.
- Work with law enforcement officials and state regulatory agencies to fully investigate the nursing home in question.
- Ensure your loved one is treated by a trusted medical professional who can help evaluate the causes of their injuries or illness.
- Negotiate with every party involved to obtain a fair settlement on behalf of your loved one.
Common Types of Palo Alto Nursing Home Abuse
At Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger, we understand that nursing home abuse can happen in a variety of ways. The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) states that the following types of abuse are not uncommon in nursing homes:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Passive neglect of necessities
- Willful neglect of necessities
- Financial exploitation
- Emotional and psychological abuse
Data from the National Council on Aging suggests that 10% of all Americans over the age of 60 have experienced some form of elder abuse. Unfortunately, data also shows that only around one in every 14 cases of abuse are reported to authorities.
Signs Your Loved One Is Being Abused
When we look at information available from the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), we can see that there are various signs and symptoms that family members and friends need to be aware of to help them recognize nursing home abuse. Some of the signs and symptoms of nursing home abuse are physical, while others are not.
Physical Signs of Elder Abuse
The physical and sexual abuse of nursing home residents happens far too often across this country. In some cases, there may be obvious signs that physical or sexual abuse has occurred. However, these signs that we discuss here may also match what many people consider injuries that occur as a result of the aging process, making abuse harder to spot. Some of the main signs and symptoms of physical and sexual abuse include:
- Broken or dislocated bones
- Open wounds, punctures, or untreated injuries
- Sprains or strains
- Bruises, welts, black eyes, or rope marks
- Burn injuries
- Torn skin
- Bruising around the breast or genital area
- Unexplained venereal diseases or genital infections
- Unexplained anal or vaginal bleeding
- Torn, body, or stained underclothing
Emotional and Psychological Signs of Elder Abuse
Not all signs and symptoms of nursing home abuse are necessarily physical. Physical and sexual abuse can also result in emotional and psychological trauma. Additionally, non-physical abuse can also occur in a nursing home as a result of humiliation, harassment, intimidation, insults, and verbal assaults by an abuser. Some of the main signs of emotional and psychological abuse include the resident:
- Being emotionally agitated or upset
- Becoming extremely withdrawn, noncommunicative, or non-responsive
- Exhibiting new or unusual behavior, such as sucking, rocking, or biting
- Being withdrawn around various staff members
- Dirty rooms, bathrooms, linens, or clothing
- Poor personal hygiene
- Untreated medical issues
Financial or Material Signs of Elder Abuse
In some cases, a nursing home staff member or nursing home administration will abuse a resident’s finances. Some of the main signs of elder financial abuse include:
- Sudden changes in a bank account or banking practices
- The inclusion of additional names on an elderly person’s thanks signature card
- Unauthorized withdrawals from an account
- Abrupt changes in purchases
- Change to or the addition of a power of attorney
How Long Do You Have to File a Nursing Home Abuse Case in Palo Alto?
If you suspect that your loved one has been abused in a nursing home, there is a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit on their behalf. The California personal injury statute of limitations is two years from the date of the injury occurs. This means that nursing home abuse victims and their families have a two-year window with which to file a lawsuit against the alleged negligent party. Our Palo Alto personal injury attorneys can make sure you file within the time limit.
How Do I Get Medical Records from a Nursing Home Where My Loved One Was Injured?
Medical records will play a large role in all nursing home abuse cases. Usually, nursing home abuse goes hand-in-hand with inadequate medical care or a cover-up by medical officials. Thus, medical records must be obtained in order to prove what happened.
Often, family members struggle to recover medical records from nursing homes due to privacy policies. Specifically, your loved one’s medical records will be governed by HIPAA. Even though this can impact family member’s access to these records, it is not impossible.
Family members and personal representatives of the nursing home abuse victim will have to follow certain procedures to recover medical records. They must be an authorized representative for the nursing home abuse victim in order to request these records in the first place. As long as family members and the personal representative comply with HIPAA rules, the nursing home will be required to release the records as quickly as possible. However, we strongly encourage you to work with a skilled attorney who can help you handle difficult nursing home administrators to gather these records.
How Long Does it Take to Settle a Nursing Home Lawsuit?
There is no set amount of time for how long it takes for a nursing home abuse claim in Palo Alto to settle. The vast majority of these cases will be resolved through a settlement with insurance carriers. Even though insurance settlements may not take as long to occur, this may not be the best route towards recovering justice for an abused elderly nursing home resident. All too often, insurance carriers throw low settlements at families to make them drop the case before it goes to trial.
If a Palo Alto nursing home abuse case does end up going to trial, it could take a few years to reach a conclusion. However, the threat of going to trial is often the best way to ensure that insurance carriers and nursing homes surrender maximum compensation to nursing home abuse victims.
Will My Nursing Home Lawsuit Go to Trial?
As we mentioned above, most of these claims will be resolved through settlement with an insurance carrier. However, that is not always the case. If an insurance carrier refuses to offer a fair settlement or if they deny a claim altogether, it may be necessary for a nursing home abuse victim and their representative to file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court.
Even after a civil lawsuit is filed, most claims are resolved before they go all the way to trial. Usually, either the plaintiff or the defendant will gather enough information during the discovery process to decide to settle the case. However, if neither side is able to reach an agreement about adequate compensation, the claim will go to a personal injury trial.
Who Is Entitled to The Money In A Nursing Home Abuse Case?
This is a common question individuals ask about nursing home abuse cases. This is a reasonable inquiry because, in many instances, the actual victim will not be the individual responsible for determining how compensation money is allocated. Often, nursing home abuse victims are elderly and disabled, and there may be other individuals in charge of their assets.
The reality is that no matter who receives compensation after a successful nursing home abuse claim, the money needs to be focused on enhancing the life of the abuse victim. This can include ensuring that the nursing home abuse victim receives adequate medical care for the remainder of their life, that they are in a nursing home that meets their needs, and that they are able to live their life in comfort and with dignity.
What Types of Damages Are Recoverable?
There may be various types of compensation available to Palo Alto nursing home abuse victims. Our lawyers strive to recover both economic and non-economic compensation on behalf of every client and their representatives.
- Economic compensation. This is referred to as special damages and involves the calculable expenses surrounding these cases. This means that we can add up the receipts and bills to obtain an amount for:
- Medical bills associated with the nursing home abuse
- The cost of relocation to a new facility
- The cost of stay at the current facility
- Ambulance transportation expenses
- Loss of various assets for financial abuse
- Lost wages if a family member has to take time off of work
- Non-economic compensation. This is referred to as general damages and revolves around more immeasurable losses that are harder to calculate in a Palo Alto nursing home abuse claim. There are no bills or receipts that we can gather to calculate a nursing home abuse victim’s:
- Physical pain and suffering losses
- Emotional and psychological distress
- Loss of quality of life
The total amount of compensation available in these claims will vary depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding each particular nursing home abuse case.
How Do I File a Nursing Home Abuse Claim In Palo Alto?
Filing a nursing home abuse claim in Palo Alto and throughout California is challenging. The reality is that this is not like filing something like a vehicle accident claim where you simply call your insurance carrier. Nursing home abuse claims must be filed in civil court. If you need to file a nursing home abuse claim, you should contact a skilled attorney who has extensive experience handling these types of cases.
An attorney will use their resources to handle every aspect of your claim. This includes investigating the incident and making sure that your case is filed appropriately through the civil court system. Additionally, an attorney will be aware of the timeframes involved with these claims. The California personal injury statute of limitations is two years from the date an injury occurs. If a nursing home abuse victim or their representative fails to file a lawsuit within this two-year time frame, they will likely not be able to recover the compensation they are entitled to.
If your nursing home abuse claim revolves around other types of abuse, including financial abuse or fraud, the various statute of limitations may differ. We strongly encourage you to contact a nursing home abuse lawyer in Palo Alto who can help you handle every aspect of your claim.
Contact Our Palo Alto Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Today
If you suspect that your loved one has been abused inside of a nursing home in Palo Alto, contact the team at Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger for help with your case today. We will not hesitate to use our resources to investigate your claim, negotiate with every party involved, and secure the compensation your loved one is entitled to. When you need a Palo Alto nursing home abuse lawyer, you can contact us for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or calling (415) 981-7210.