Every day, many families must consider placing an elderly family member in a nursing home where their daily medical needs can be met. Such a heart wrenching decision can be made easier by the thought that the facility would be a safe environment with a high standard of care. Unfortunately, the reality is that at least one out of 10 people over the age of 60 who live in a nursing home or an assisted living facility are abused.
Our Sacramento nursing home abuse lawyers will protect your rights and advocate for you while fighting to recover compensation for your losses. Our attorneys have collected over $1 billion while fighting for injured clients, and have the necessary resources for investigating and proving your injuries in court. Our Sacramento personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning we will not charge a fee unless we recover compensation for you.
The attorneys at Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger have dealt with insurance companies for nearly 60 years and are proud to say we have a 98% success rate. Contact our law firm today if you or a loved one has experienced abuse while living in a nursing home. We can give you a free case evaluation to discuss your legal options.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse in Sacramento
These are common types of abuse that may occur in a nursing home, along with their warning signs:
- Emotional Abuse: Changes in personality or behavior, withdrawal, depression, nervousness, frequent arguments or tension between the resident and the caregiver.
- Physical Abuse: Unexplained cuts, sprains, fractures, bruises, bed sores, marks on wrists or signs of being restrained, resident over-medicated, under-medicated, or other unexplained injuries.
- Sexual Abuse: Unexplained genital infections or STDs, underclothing that is torn or bloody, vaginal or anal bleeding.
- Financial Abuse: Changes in regular banking habits, unusual and large withdrawals made from bank accounts, sudden changes in will or other financial documents, personal possessions disappearing without explanation.
- Neglect: Nursing home staff members do not allow resident to be alone with visitors or resident is banned from seeing visitors, drastic weight loss, malnutrition, dehydration, poor personal hygiene, pressure ulcers, medication errors or other improper medical care.
California Nursing Home Abuse Laws
In the state of California, every nursing home must meet the licensing requirements outlined in Title 22. This law covers topics on how nursing homes should handle resident life, such as:
- The food service provided to residents.
- The level of personal care that is provided.
- Providing arrangements for proper medical and dental care.
- Supervision and observation of residents.
- Having planned activities available.
- Safe and secure living accommodations.
When nursing homes fail to treat residents properly or if there is a concern of abuse or elder neglect, it is vital to speak to a Sacramento nursing home negligence attorney who specializes in nursing home abuse cases. Their knowledge and experience with the Title 22 law will be critical when filing a lawsuit.
Potential Signs of Psychological Nursing Home Abuse
Psychological abuse in a nursing home can be harder to detect than physical abuse. Some of the signs and symptoms family members and friends can be on the lookout for include the following:
- Emotional distress or withdrawal
- Rocking back and forth
- Mood swings
- Changes in personality
- Lack of appetite
- Anxiety or panic
- Weight changes
What Will an Attorney Do to Help This Case?
A nursing home abuse case can become incredibly complex. In most cases, family members who suspect abuse of their loved ones in a nursing home do not have the resources or experience to perform a thorough investigation and take on those responsible. A Sacramento nursing home abuse attorney will be responsible for:
- Obtaining all evidence related to the abuse, including:
- Video and photo surveillance
- Nursing home records and time logs
- History of the nursing home’s safety violations and inspections
- Your loved one’s medical records
- Eyewitness accounts of what happened
- Calculating the total damages that have occurred to your loved one, including medical expenses and their pain and suffering.
- Negotiating with the defendant’s insurer and legal team to secure the compensation your loved one deserves.
- Preparing the case for trial if the defendant refuses to offer a fair settlement for what has happened.
Is There a Time Frame to File a Nursing Home Abuse Case?
Generally, lawsuits involving nursing home abuse must be filed within two years of the resident’s injuries taking place or their wrongful death due to the injuries. There are some exceptions to this statute of limitations. For example, the period may be lengthened if the nursing home resident is legally incompetent and was unable to report the abuse.
Please note that if the nursing care facility is owned by a government agency, the length of time to file certain claims may be shorter. Please speak with a Sacramento County nursing home abuse attorney about these time frames.
What Questions Should I ask a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney?
1. Are there caps on damages in nursing home abuse cases?
In general, there are no caps in place on how much money a victim can receive for a nursing home abuse case. The exception to this is pain and suffering damages in medical malpractice cases. If the nursing home abuse case involves medical malpractice, then pain and suffering damages will be capped at $250,000.
2. Who can be held liable in a nursing home abuse case?
There may be various parties who can be held liable in a nursing home abuse case. This can include the individuals who abuse nursing home residents as well as the home itself.
Nursing home agencies are responsible for what happens under their watch. While they may not be directly responsible for the abuse, they are required to conduct background checks on employees and ensure each employee is properly trained.
In some cases, nursing home negligence and abuse is the result of systemic problems at a facility and not a single abuser. The nursing facility itself could be held liable in this case.
3. What to do if you suspect abuse is taking place
If you believe that your loved one has been the victim of nursing home neglect or abuse, remove them from the situation as soon as possible. You should contact local authorities, including the police, so they can open an investigation into what has happened.
The state of California has guidelines in place for reporting elder abuse in nursing homes and assisted living facilities that can be found by clicking here or by calling 1-800-510-2020. By reporting nursing home abuse, you may be helping not only your loved one, but also others in the facility who may be suffering from the same types of abuse.
As soon as you get your loved one to a safe place, you need to contact a Sacramento nursing home abuse attorney immediately. Your lawyer will get to work investigating what happened quickly so that no evidence of the abuse is destroyed.
How Much Does a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Cost?
When pursuing a civil lawsuit against a nursing home, a personal injury lawyer will oftentimes take a case based on a contingency agreement. A contingency fee means that all of the costs of your case will be covered by your lawyer, including the initial investigation, expert witnesses, filing fees, and more.
The costs associated with your case will then only be recouped in the event that your lawyer successfully wins the case. As a result, you will not have to pay any money up front and your lawyer’s fee will typically be an agreed upon percentage of the amount you were awarded. Contingency fee agreements pose little to no risk to clients, while also providing the peace of mind in knowing that your attorney is motivated and believes they will win.
Contact Us Today
In addition to taking cases on a contingency fee basis, our Sacramento nursing home abuse attorneys also offer free consultations with nursing home abuse victims in order to discuss your case. Call (415) 889-2919 or fill out our online contact form to schedule one today. Nursing facilities have a duty to take care of your loved ones. Whether it is physical abuse, financial exploitation, or any other type of elder abuse, we will fight for the justice and compensation of your loved ones.