When you can’t be there yourself to provide day-to-day care for a loved one in old age, putting your faith in a nursing home is one of the few options that you have available. According to the most recent government data, there are over 15,000 nursing homes in the United States caring for approximately 1.4 million elderly residents. So, if you have put your trust in a nursing home, you are not alone. Unfortunately, you are also not alone if something has gone wrong.
Just how big is the problem? Consider these statistics:
- More than 90 percent of nursing homes in the United States do not have adequate staff to care for their patients.
- More than one-third of licensed nursing homes in the United States have been cited for violations of elder abuse laws.
- As many as half of all nursing homes admit to their patients experiencing abuse and neglect.
- Due to these issues, more than 40 percent of nursing home residents report seeing or experiencing abuse, and more than 90 percent report seeing or experiencing neglect.
If you suspect that you or a loved one may be a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, the injury law team of Abrahamson & Uiterwyk may be able to help. With more than 100 years of experience practicing personal injury law, our nursing home abuse lawyers are committed to doing what it takes to protect our clients. Nursing home abuse and neglect are not normal. They are not ok. If you have questions or concerns, the time to act is now.
What Constitutes Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?
It is a tragic reality of our society that some people choose to take advantage of others who are vulnerable. This includes targeting elderly residents of nursing homes. Abuse can take many forms, and the National Council on Aging (NCOA) has identified seven specific types of elder and nursing home abuse and neglect:
- Physical abuse – Intentionally inflicting pain or injury.
- Sexual abuse – Fondling, touching, intercourse, and all other forms of unwanted sexual contact or harassment.
- Emotional abuse – Verbal assaults, threats, harassment, and intimidation.
- Confinement – Restraint or isolation without consent and without medical necessity.
- Passive neglect – Failing to meet the basic needs of someone who is unable to care for himself or herself.
- Willful deprivation – Intentionally denying access to nutrition, hydration, medications, medical care, family, and other needs and desires without consent.
- Financial exploitation – Using coercion, fraud, or other means to gain access to a nursing home resident’s financial resources, or modify a resident’s estate plan.
What Are the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?
Due to the wide range of types of treatment that can be classified as abuse and neglect, the signs and symptoms of abuse and neglect are wide-ranging as well. However, some of the more common signs that an elderly nursing home resident may be a victim of abuse or experiencing neglect include:
- Bed sores (pressure ulcers)
- Emotional withdrawal
- Expenditures that are unaccounted for
- Loss of appetite
- Physical injuries consistent with a fall, physical assault, or sexual abuse
- Poor hygiene
- Sudden or unexplained weight loss
- Unexplained anger, anxiety, or depression
- Unused prescription medications
- Unwillingness to discuss the nursing home’s care
Aside from obvious physical injuries, this last sign can often be the most telling. In many cases, it has been discovered that nursing home staff members told patients not to talk about what they had endured, or even threatened them with worse treatment if they told their loved ones what was going on.
When is it Time to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?
When it comes to possible nursing home abuse or neglect, it is never too early to talk to an experienced elder law attorney. The sooner you take action, the sooner you can stop the abuse. At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we are available 24/7, and we can come meet with you in person (and in complete confidence) to discuss your situation.
Considerations for Hiring an Attorney to Address Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse
When you need help fighting back against nursing home abuse or neglect, it is critical that you put an experienced elderly abuse legal team on your side. At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we have been standing up for victims since 1988, and our entire practice is dedicated to personal injury representation. If you are trying to choose a law firm to represent you, here are some key considerations to keep in mind:
How much experience do the firm’s attorneys have – not just in practicing law, but in representing victims of nursing home abuse and neglect? Relevant experience matters, and you do not want to have to wait to secure help as a result of hiring an inexperienced attorney.
It’s worth repeating: In nursing home abuse and neglect cases, relevant experience matters. At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we focus our practice exclusively on personal injury cases, and we have represented numerous victims of nursing home abuse and neglect in the Tampa area.
When dealing with nursing home abuse or neglect, you need a legal team that is available to assist you right away. Our nursing home neglect attorneys make themselves available 24/7, and you can always expect a prompt response when you contact a member of our staff.
Will your lawyer do everything in his or her power to meet your needs? It’s a legitimate – and important – question, and the answer is not always the same. At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, you can rest assured that your case is a top priority, and our elderly abuse lawyers will do what it takes to help ensure that you and your loved one are safe and secure.
5. Contingency-Fee Representation
Taking legal action against an abusive nursing home isn’t easy. It takes time, in-depth knowledge, and substantial resources, and this can mean that it is expensive.
But, it doesn’t have to be. At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we handle all of our cases on a contingency-fee basis. We do this so that you do not have to come out of pocket to stand up for you and your loved one’s rights. We only charge legal fees if we succeed in helping you secure financial compensation.
How Can I Help Stop Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?
One of the best ways to stop nursing home abuse and neglect is to take aggressive legal action. If you do nothing, the situation will almost certainly get worse. An experienced nursing facility attorney will be able to use the legal system to help you and your loved one seek protection, and to fight to win compensation for your physical, financial, and emotional harm.
The NCOA also recommends:
- Having a cell phone instead of relying on a nursing home landline
- Helping nursing home residents stay active in their communities
- Knowing your rights when it comes to taking a stand against nursing home neglect and abuse
- Limiting those who have access to nursing home residents’ mail, checkbooks, credit cards, and financial information
- Making sure nursing home residents take care of their health
- Making sure nursing home residents seek independent advice before signing any documents
- Periodically reviewing nursing home residents’ estate plans for any unexpected modifications
- Preparing healthcare directives or appointing a healthcare surrogate or power of attorney
- Seeking professional help for drug or alcohol dependence or signs of depression – all of which may be symptomatic of abuse or neglect
The Abrahamson & Uiterwyk Guarantee: No Fees or Costs Unless We Win
With our contingency-fee representation, it costs you nothing to speak with one of our elderly abuse attorneys. If you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect, we urge you to contact us 24/7 to discuss your case. We are here to assist you, and we guarantee that you will not be asked to pay a retainer, hourly rates, or any fees during the course of our representation. Remember, we only retain a percentage of your recovery if we win compensation, so if we don’t win, you don’t pay.
Do Not Delay in Seeking Experienced Legal Representation
When you contact us, we will answer your questions about elder law, and discuss representing you against the nursing home that is responsible for you or your loved one’s inadequate care. While our first priority is making sure that you and your loved one is safe, we will also aggressively pursue financial compensation for the medical bills, pain and suffering, and other losses that your family has endured.
To start taking action, contact Abrahamson & Uiterwyk in Tampa, FL. We are available 24/7, and if necessary we can take action quickly to protect you or your loved one. Call (800) 753-5203, chat with a live representative, or submit a consultation request online now.