Parker Waichman LLP – Long Island Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyers
Long Island is home to tens of thousands of nursing home residents who rely on around-the-clock medical and personal care to make it through each day. Although some nursing home patients can eat and bathe themselves without any assistance, many others require aid for even these very basic and simple tasks. While it is true that there are reputable nursing homes known for providing quality care to residents, the truth remains that the nursing home and long-term care industry as a whole does not have the best reputation for ensuring residents are safe and free from harm. Such harm includes but is certainly not limited to physical and emotional abuse, general neglect, and failure to provide proper and adequate medical care.
When nursing home residents suffer from abuse, neglect and medical negligence, they should have recourse for holding the nursing home and any wrongdoers accountable for their actions. At Parker Waichman LLP, our Long Island Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorneys truly understand just how devastating nursing home injuries can be, whether physical or emotional. You can trust that our legal staff has the experience to handle your case and ensure you receive the legal representation you deserve
Many individuals may find themselves in nursing homes when they are no longer able to live alone and have no other home to turn to. As such, these individuals should feel safe and comfortable in their nursing home residence. Having to endure suffering caused by abuse and neglect in the nursing home setting is unacceptable and should not be tolerated. The nursing home population is one of the most, if not the most vulnerable population and they should be treated with respect, dignity and they should receive the care they were promised.
Two Long Island Nursing Homes Make the U.S. Senators’ List of 400 Nursing Homes Providing Poor Quality of Care in 2019
A group of senators has released a list of nursing homes that have been found to have ongoing issues with quality of care. These nursing homes have a pattern of poor care and have been recommended for added scrutiny from the federal government and the state governments where they are located. Two of the facilities on the list are on Long Island.
The Senate report shows that 400 nursing homes in the United States have been flagged as having persistently inadequate care. These nursing homes have been recommended for special scrutiny but have not qualified for heightened attention from the federal government. Two of the facilities, Medford Multicare Center and Townhouse Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing, are on Long Island
Both of these facilities have histories of poor ratings with the state and federal agencies. Several years ago, Medford entered into a settlement agreement for $28 million in a legal action regarding quality of care violations, $10 million of which was for reimbursement to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Nine Medford employees from the nursing home were also convicted of or pleaded guilty to criminal charges in connection with the death of a 72-year-old patient.
Medford and Townhouse are not on a shorter list of designated Special Focus Facilities, which receive double the inspections and stricter enforcements for violations. There are about 80 Special Focus Facilities in the U.S. The Senate report says all 400 of the other facilities qualify for Special Focus, but they are not part of the program due to resource limitations.
While patients and families can find out which facilities are in the Special Focus program by looking at the government website Nursing Home Compare, prior to the release of the Senate report, members of the public had no way of knowing which facilities had been recommended for the program.
Parker Waichman LLP Has Recovered More than $2 Billion in Compensation for Injured Clients
The Long Island Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorneys of Parker Waichman LLP are nationally-recognized for providing superior legal representation to injured clients from all across the United States. Our legal team focuses on a variety of injury cases that go beyond nursing home abuse and neglect. Whether a client has sustained injuries in a construction accident, a car accident, because of an act of medical malpractice, or because of a workplace accident, among others, our attorneys are standing by to advocate for their clients to the fullest extent possible. Parker Waichman LLP is honored to have received many positive peer-reviewed ratings, including the following:
- 8/10 Rating by AVVO (Rating Every Attorney in the U.S.);
- “Preeminent Lawyers” AV Peer Review Rating (Martindale-Hubbell®);
- Highest Ranking of “5 Dragons” Based on Peer Review by Lawdragon; and
- Listing in Best Lawyers Publication Determined by Extensive Peer Review.
It takes more than positive ratings to demonstrate a law firm is qualified to take on complicated injury cases including nursing home abuse and neglect cases. Therefore, we encourage all potential clients to speak with our legal team about what we do and why our law firm may be the right choice for your situation or that of a loved one.
Long Island Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawsuits and Settlements
Understanding Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect in Long Island
Under both New York and Federal law, individuals residing in nursing homes have rights that are referred to as “Residents’ Rights”. These rights are intended to ensure that each resident is treated with dignity and respect. The right to a dignified existence should not be mandated by law but given the long course of history regarding nursing homes and the abuse of its elderly and disabled populations, these laws are necessary. Residents’ Rights are quite expansive and include but are not limited to: the right to proper medical care, nursing care and rehabilitative care; the right to proper nutrition and hydration, the right to be free from injury causing neglect (or any neglect for that matter); and the right to be free from chemical or physical restraints. These are only a few of the many rights afforded to nursing home residents. The rights afforded to nursing home residents cover a wide range, but that is only because the are several ways in which a nursing home resident can be caused to suffer while residing in a nursing home.
Underlying administrative issues often contribute to the prevalence of nursing home abuse and neglect. Such issues include, among others, the following:
- Failure to provide adequately trained nursing home personnel, including nurses and nurse assistants;
- Failure to ensure that there are adequate staffing levels to provide for the needs of all nursing home residents; Understaffing of nursing home personnel;
- Failure to maintain accurate records of the care rendered to every nursing home resident;
- Failure to develop or update policies and procedures to promote the safety and well-being of nursing home residents; and
- Failure to allocate sufficient funds to ensure adequate resources are available to achieve optimal care and safety of nursing home residents.
Many nursing homes are for-profit institutions that intentionally keep facilities understaffed in an effort to save money and increase the profit margin at the expense of the needs of nursing home residents. This is unacceptable and should not be tolerated. While there are certainly nursing homes that place nursing home residents first, there are far too many that do not, and innocent individuals are the ones to suffer the consequences in the form of injuries that include but are not limited to, the following:
- Bed sores, also known as pressure ulcers that develop due to the facility’s failure to timely turn and rotate immobile residents while in bed; Being left in feces and urine; and/ or due to the facility’s failure to prevent malnourishment and dehydration;
- Nosocomial infections and diseases, which are acquired in the nursing home setting due to an unsanitary environment;
- Broken hips, legs, arms and other bones, due to preventable falls or improper care;
- Emotional distress caused by physical, mental and emotional abuse;
- Head trauma or traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) from avoidable falls or other accidents caused by negligence;
- Medication-related injuries (receiving the wrong medication or the wrong dose of a medication); and
- Bruises, cuts, gashes, and lacerations.
Because every situation is different, it may be true that many nursing home residents suffer from injuries not listed here. As such, it is critical that anyone who is suffering from nursing home abuse and neglect or knows someone who is suffering from such conduct speak with a qualified attorney right away to find out if they have an “actionable claim”.
What Are the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?
Many signs of nursing home abuse and neglect are the physical injuries themselves as described above. However, not all signs of nursing home abuse and neglect are visible to the naked eye. Non-physical signs of abuse and neglect include the following:
- Verbal complaints from the nursing home resident, staff members, or family members and friends;
- Emotional withdrawal;
- Smells and odors that suggest a resident has not been bathed, has gone to the bathroom in his/her own bed, or that a resident may be suffering from infection; and
- The behavior exhibited by the nursing home resident that is odd or out of the ordinary including but not limited to emotional withdrawal.
A significant number of nursing home residents may not have the ability to speak and therefore verbally communicate to others that they have been abused or neglected. In such cases, it is especially crucial that any person suspecting a nursing home resident has been abused or neglected spots the signs and reports suspected abuse to the nursing home’s management team, as well as family members and friends of the nursing home resident.
What are “Damages” in a Long Island Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawsuit?
The word “damages” describes the harms and injuries a person suffers. Damages can be physical, mental/emotional, and financial, and are measured by how severe the harm is. When a person suffers injuries because of abuse, neglect or medical malpractice in a nursing home, that person may be able to file a lawsuit to seek recovery of the damages he/she incurred because of negligent conduct. While it is impossible to undo abuse, neglect, and acts of medical malpractice, an injured person has the potential to receive compensation that is intended to fill a void that is left by the injuries and harm. If a nursing home patient suffers fatal injuries, family members may have the ability to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the deceased loved one’s estate.
The different types of damages that may be awarded in a lawsuit or settlement include the following:
- Compensatory Damages – This category includes actual out-of-pocket expenses associated with a nursing home injury or death, such as medical bills, housing costs, and funeral expenses, among others.
- General Damages – This category includes pain and suffering, and emotional harm or mental anguish, which are not as easy to measure as compensatory damages. Thus, these damages will be measured based on the severity of the injuries.
- Punitive Damages – If negligent conduct is so egregious to be considered reckless, willful or wanton, there is a possibility that an injured nursing home patient may be entitled to punitive damages which are intended to “punish” and deter similar conduct in the future. For example, if a nursing home staff member sexually abused a nursing home resident and the nursing home management team was aware of the abuse and took no steps to stop it, the injured and abused nursing home resident may be entitled to punitive damages. If a case goes to trial, it is ultimately up to the jury to decide whether punitive damages should be awarded.
Time Limitations for Filing a Long Island Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawsuit
Every state has laws that limit how much time a person has to file a lawsuit. Depending on the type of lawsuit, the limitation period will be different. The deadlines for filing a lawsuit in New York are called “statutes of limitations,” and these laws are extremely important to consider when seeking legal action. Once a deadline has passed to file a lawsuit, it may be too late to seek compensation for injuries.
When evaluating Long Island nursing home abuse and neglect cases, the following statutes of limitations must be evaluated to determine if there is still time to file a lawsuit in the state of New York:
- Personal Injury – A person injured because of nursing home abuse or neglect has three (3) years from the date of the personal injury to file a lawsuit. If a nursing home case involves allegations of abuse and neglect or any other injuries NOT related to medical malpractice, this three (3) year limitation will apply to the claims.
- Medical Malpractice – A person injured because of medical malpractice has two and a half (2 ½) years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit. Because many nursing home cases involve acts of medical malpractice, it is crucial to act quickly to speak with an attorney as it is possible that a deadline for filing medical malpractice cases may apply.
- Wrongful Death – When a person suffers fatal injuries, loved ones such as a surviving spouse or adult child may wish to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. To file the lawsuit, the representative of the deceased individual’s estate must file the lawsuit no later than two (2) years after the individual’s date of death.
- Exceptions to the General Rules – In rare cases, it may be possible to extend or “toll” the statute of limitation for a personal injury or medical malpractice case. However, even if a deadline can be extended, the time-period may still be relatively short. Because the date of a person’s death is indisputable, it is nearly impossible to extend the statute of limitation for a wrongful death case.
Given that exceptions to the statutes of limitations do not apply in every case, anyone considering legal action should rely on the standard rules set forth above and act quickly to speak with an attorney so that the right to sue does not vanish once a time limitation approaches.
What to Expect When Filing a Long Island Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawsuit
The legal process can be overwhelming and time-consuming. Waiting to find out if an injured person is entitled to compensation can seem like a million years. While the Long Island Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorneys of Parker Waichman LLP work as quickly as possible to help their clients receive the compensation they deserve, it can still take a very long time to resolve a case. The court system in New York can be slow given the volume of cases that are filed on a daily basis. As such, when pursuing legal action, a client can expect to go through the following process:
- Free Case Evaluation – The first step to pursuing any lawsuit is to speak with an attorney about the basic facts of a potential case, such as injury details, date of injury, the client’s current condition, and other general information about what went wrong.
- Attorney Decision to Move Forward – Once an attorney has evaluated all initial facts, he/she will decide whether to further investigate the case on behalf of the potential client. If a case is declined following this investigation, the attorney will provide a thorough explanation of why the case has been denied.
- The Lawsuit – If a case is accepted by the attorney, and both the attorney and client agree to move forward, a complaint will be filed with the court.
- Fact Investigation/Discovery Stage – The fact-gathering stage of any lawsuit is the most important as this process allows the parties to build their side of the case. After a lawsuit is filed, the parties will exchange documents (such as medical records and accident or incident reports), will take depositions of both fact witnesses and expert witnesses, and will exchange expert reports.
- Mediation– Once the discovery stage has begun, the parties may agree to mediate a case and discuss a potential settlement. Mediation occurs when a neutral third-party speaks with both sides and gathers more details on what the bottom line is – i.e., what the value of the case is and the amount of compensation an injured plaintiff may agree to accept if the case is settled.
- The Trial – Most cases are settled before going to trial, but when cases do go to trial, a jury will hear all of the evidence and make a decision as to whether an injured plaintiff is entitled to compensation. Some cases settle after a trial begins and before the case goes out to be deliberated by a jury
- The Appeal – The defeated party at trial will likely appeal the jury’s decision, and the case will go through the New York appellate courts. The entire process can take a very long time. As such, many injured individuals agree to settle cases before they go to trial to avoid the risk of losing at trial and/or winning and having to go through the appellate process, which can be quite lengthy.
At Parker Waichman LLP, we understand it can be stressful to go through the entire legal process. However, our legal team is well-equipped to handle the most difficult of cases, and we have a reputation for helping a significant number of our clients receive fair compensation for their injuries and suffering.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Long Island Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
I want to transfer my family member out of a nursing home and into another facility, but the nursing home is refusing to release my family member. What should I do?
Contact an attorney immediately. Depending on the specific circumstances, a nursing home may believe a resident should not be transferred due to the resident’s health or by direction of a doctor. However, nursing homes cannot always dictate when and how a nursing home resident should be released. As such, speak with a Long Island Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorney right away to discuss potential options for having your family member released from the nursing home, especially if you suspect abuse or neglect.
I have reported signs of abuse and neglect to nursing home staff members, but my loved one still is showing signs of abuse and neglect. Does my loved one have a potential legal claim?
Potentially. If a nursing home has become aware of abuse and neglect and has not addressed the issue, placing your loved one at greater risk, your loved one may very well have a potential legal claim against the nursing home and possibly some staff members. Contact Parker Waichman LLP immediately to discuss the details of the situation and options for moving forward.
How do I find the right nursing home for my loved one?
Long Island has many options to choose from when finding the right nursing home for your loved one. However, because many nursing homes do not have the best reputation, and many residents have suffered abuse and neglect, it is important to review each nursing home option thoroughly. You can vet the nursing homes by taking a tour of each facility, evaluating how clean the facilities are, how many staff members are on duty at each facility, and asking current residents what they think about the facilities. Feedback from current residents is a good resource to find out if a particular nursing home is a right fit for your loved one. It is important to remember that nursing home abuse and neglect can happen anywhere, regardless of how good or bad a nursing home’s reputation is.
Why are so many residents abused and neglected in nursing homes?
As we age, we become increasingly vulnerable and less able to fend for ourselves. As such, if a person finds him or herself in a nursing home, this person is at the mercy of the nursing home center staff regarding food, medical care, daily bathing, and other activities of daily living. In some cases, nursing home residents cannot fully speak on their own behalf, making them vulnerable to abuse and neglect. If you have a loved one living in a nursing home, it is a good idea to frequently check on the loved one to ensure he/she is well cared for.
Contact Parker Waichman LLP Today to Schedule Your Free Consultation
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries because of nursing home abuse or neglect in Long Island, you should consider speaking with a Long Island Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorney right away to find out what legal options may be available to you.
At Parker Waichman LLP, our nationally-recognized Long Island Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorneys utilize their experience and dedication to assist injured and abused clients day after day. If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys about your situation or a loved one’s situation, it is a good idea to contact our office as soon as possible.
To schedule your free consultation with one of our Long Island Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorneys, contact Parker Waichman LLP today by calling (800) YOUR-LAWYER (968-7529). We have a team of Spanish-speaking attorneys, paralegals, and staff members to assist our Spanish-speaking clients.
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