Receiving Compensation for Your New Jersey Nursing Home Abuse Case
As we age, we may find ourselves in need of rehabilitation to restore us to previous levels of functioning, and we may even find that we are no longer able to properly care for ourselves in the private home setting. Nursing and rehabilitation facilities are intended to provide services to those vulnerable members of our society who are elderly and disabled, requiring daily or constant nursing care, medical evaluations, and provider supervision. Rehabilitation patients may be expected to reside at a nursing home for weeks and long-term residents, potentially, for the rest of their lives. As more of our relatives and loved ones are placed in nursing and rehabilitation facilities, the risk for abuse and neglect increases. Abuse is the willful infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, exploitation, intimidation, or punishment with resulting physical harm, pain, mental anguish, and even death. Abuse includes verbal abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, and mental abuse.
If you think that you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, be sure to contact a New Jersey nursing home attorney right away.
Parker Waichman LLP Represents Victims of Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse Throughout New Jersey
Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are required under law to treat each resident with respect and dignity, caring for each resident in a manner and in an environment that promotes maintenance or enhancement of his or her quality of life. These facilities must protect and promote the rights of their residents. Despite these requirements, abuse and neglect still occur. If you or your loved one has had the misfortune of sustaining injuries due to abuse and neglect, please know that there are actions you can take to hold those responsible for the harm caused accountable. If you, your parent or one of your loved ones has been the unfortunate victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, be sure to call a New Jersey nursing home attorney at Parker Waichman LLP today at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) to discuss your case.
Nursing Home Abuse in New Jersey
In New Jersey, there are more than three hundred and fifty certified nursing homes and other long-term care facilities that are capable of housing and caring for more than fifty thousand residents and patients. Under New Jersey state law, these facilities require a number of different licenses and certifications to operate.
Nursing home abuse or neglect cases involve a complicated area of the law. It is imperative that you seek the advice and consult of experienced New Jersey nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys who can help you bring those who have harmed you or your loved ones to justice.
State and Federal Laws Are in Place to Protect the Vulnerable Residents at Nursing Home Care Facilities
In addition to state laws, nursing home facilities are governed by various federal laws that ensure that residents of nursing homes are protected against abuse and neglect and that their security and privacy is maintained. Many of these laws were enacted in 1987 as part of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, also known as the Nursing Home Reform Act, which was a response to increased reports of abuse and neglect in nursing homes. Nursing homes are required to abide by the standards of care that are outlined in the Act and must provide activities and services that maintain or attain the highest practicable physical, psychosocial, and mental well-being of residents according to a written care plan. As a prerequisite to receiving funding from Medicaid and Medicare programs, nursing homes must comply with these federal requirements.
Federal law requires that nursing homes adhere to rules and regulations enacted to promote safety and the well-being of residents including the following:
- Facilities must make sure that an adequate nursing staff is maintained
- Facilities must conduct initial, accurate and comprehensive assessments of every resident’s functional capacity and accordingly must complete comprehensive care plans
- Facilities must take affirmative steps to make sure residents do not develop avoidable pressure sores, and should a pressure sore develop, the facility must ensure that all steps are taken to promote its healing
- Facilities must ensure that its residents receive appropriate nursing and medical care
- Residents must receive proper assistive devices and supervision so as to prevent accidents
- Facilities must provide appropriate medication
- Facilities must allow residents the right to choose schedules, activities and health care
- Residents must be provided with proper nutrition, oral hygiene, and grooming
- Facilities must promote every resident’s quality of life and must make efforts to prevent the deterioration of every resident’s ability to take care of themselves and to communicate
When nursing home facilities fail to comply with federal and state laws and residents and patients are harmed as a result, then the facility can be liable for the injuries and other damages caused by its statutory violations.
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Statistics
In 2001, a report from Congress revealed that approximately one in three nursing homes in the United States received citations for at least one abuse or neglect violation over a two-year period. In nearly 1,600 of these nursing homes with cited violations, the abuse was severe enough to cause actual harm to residents or to place them in immediate threat of serious injury or death.
The American Psychological Association has estimated that more than two million elderly Americans become victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. Alarmingly, these statistics do not even account for the countless number of nursing home residents and patients who do not report their abuse or neglect. Moreover, the neglected and abused elderly, even those not suffering from life-threatening illness, are much more likely to die earlier than those residents or patients who were not abused or neglected.
These statistics are disconcerting considering that millions of Americans currently reside in long-term care facilities, making them vulnerable and susceptible to neglect and abuse. If you, your parent or your loved one has been a victim of abuse or neglect as a resident or patient in a nursing home, it is imperative that those responsible for your injuries are held accountable.
Common Sign of Nursing Home Abuse
Unfortunately, so often nursing home abuse and neglect goes unnoticed. Abusive treatment and neglect can be the result of a variety of reasons, including undertrained or unqualified staff, poorly run facilities, understaffed facilities, or staff that is just intentionally abusive or neglectful.
While the presence of physical injuries on your loved one’s person may be the most common and readily apparent sign that abuse or neglect is occurring, there are many other signs to look out for which may indicate that your loved one is the victim of abuse, neglect, or mistreatment. The following are some of the common signs to look out for:
- Emotional withdrawal or failing to share with you any details of what’s going on can be the result of psychological abuse such as yelling, intimidation, humiliation, threats, isolation, neglect, mocking, and terrorizing
- Malnourishment and dehydration, chronic infections, uncontrolled rashes, failure to administer medication or order consults when there is a change in the resident’s condition
- Unkempt physical appearance, especially ungroomed hair, long and dirty fingernails, excessively dry skin, and body odor
- Odor of urine and feces
- Dirty sheets, clothing, and living conditions can all be possible signs of neglect
- Blood in genital areas, unexplained venereal disease, bloody clothing and undergarments, and genital bruising can all represent potential signs of sexual abuse
- Dirty, torn, or bloody clothing may be indicative of physical or sexual abuse or neglect
- Open wounds, bed sores, and unexplained or unexpected injuries like broken bones, cuts, and bruises, which may be a sign of physical abuse or neglect
- Unexplained death
If you have experienced abuse or neglect at a nursing home facility, or you suspect that your family member or loved one has been a victim of abuse, you should contact an experienced New Jersey nursing home abuse lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case.
Filing a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit in New Jersey
Filing a complaint with law enforcement officers or with state and local government agencies can be a frustrating and daunting task, particularly if your complaints are not resolved right away or your worries and issues are not addressed.
Determining who may be at fault in a nursing home abuse case can be similarly frustrating, mainly because facilities may be run by larger companies operating under different names, which can cause confusion to those who wish to pursue legal action against them. Understanding the many different federal, state, and local laws involved that are intended to protect you or your loved one can also pose complex challenges.
At Parker Waichman LLP, our lawyers have been fighting on behalf of nursing home abuse and neglect victims for many years, and we understand the laws that protect nursing home residents as well as the nursing home industry as a whole. If you or a loved one has been a victim of abuse or neglect, a New Jersey nursing home attorney from Parker Waichman LLP can help you identify the responsible parties, and help you obtain the compensation you or your loved one needs and deserves in light of the injuries and other damages sustained.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Nursing Home Abuse in New Jersey
What is Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?
Nursing home abuse typically refers to the neglect, physical, emotional, verbal, or sexual abuse, financial exploitation, and any other form of abuse or mistreatment of elderly residents and patients of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. The National Center on Elder Abuse has reported that nearly one in ten Americans who are over the age of sixty have been subjected to abuse or neglect. Unfortunately, only one in fourteen cases is actually reported.
If My Family Member or Loved One Has Been a Victim of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect, Who Can I Sue for Damages?
Determining who might be liable in a nursing home abuse case can be complicated, which is why it’s always a good idea to speak with a New Jersey nursing home abuse attorney. It will usually depend on various factors.
Some typical defendants in these types of cases can include:
- Any companies that own or operate the nursing home;
- Any supervisors who may have been aware of the harm that was being caused or who were involved in the hiring and supervising of the offending individual; and
- Any individuals who were the actual cause of the injuries or other damages;
How Do I Know if my Loved One Has Been a Victim of Nursing Home Abuse?
You likely know your loved one or family member so well that sometimes just a gut instinct can tell you when something might be wrong. However, there are also times when the abuse is not so obvious.
Some common signs of nursing home abuse include:
- Emotional Abuse: If your loved one seems depressed, sad, or withdrawn, or if they appear distrustful of nursing home staff, they may be victims of emotional abuse.
- Financial Abuse: If your loved one has unexplained withdrawals from their bank accounts or they talk about leaving their estate to a nursing home employee, they may be victims of financial abuse.
- Neglect: Your loved one may be neglected if they have bed sores, skin lesions, poor hygiene, dirty bedding, insect bites, bruising, weakness, unexplainable weight loss, or are dehydrated or always hungry.
- Sexual Abuse: If your loved one is suddenly diagnosed with an STD, or if they experience genital irritation or bleeding, they could be victims of sexual abuse.
- Physical Abuse: If your loved one has bumps, bruises, fractures, cuts, burns, or other unexplained injuries, or has been overmedicated, has been restrained for non-medical reasons, or has an unexplained death, they may be victims of physical abuse.
What Happens After a Complaint is Filed Against a Nursing Home Facility?
It is not necessary to have law enforcement or other governmental authorities bring an action against a nursing home in order for you to bring civil proceedings to protect your loved one. However, once the abuse or neglect is reported to the appropriate authorities, they may begin an investigation which can include interviews and inspections of the facility. If it is concluded that abuse has occurred, then the authorities will seek to punish the nursing home for violations of the resident’s rights.
How Long Do I Have to File a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit in New Jersey?
Every state has laws called statute of limitations or laws that govern the deadlines for filing different types of lawsuits. In other words, the statute of limitations are regulations that prescribe a specific period of time in which you must file a lawsuit before you lose your right to sue. In New Jersey, the statute of limitations for nursing home abuse cases and other personal injury cases is two years, meaning you have two years from the date of injury or other damage to file a New Jersey nursing home lawsuit. However, it is very important for you to understand that in some circumstances, the statute of limitations can also be two years from the date you discovered or were expected to discover your injury. If you fail to file your case by this two-year deadline, you can lose your right to compensation. While two years may seem like a lengthy period of time, the sooner you file the better. Accordingly, if you or a loved one has suffered harm at a nursing home facility, you should consider consulting with an experienced New Jersey nursing home abuse lawyer right away in order to protect and preserve your rights to compensation. Call the lawyers at Parker Waichman LLP today at 1-800-BEDSORE(1-800-233-7673).
How Much Might My Nursing Home Abuse Case Be Worth?
The value of a nursing home abuse case will depend on the facts and circumstances of your case, including the type of harm that was inflicted, the extent of your injuries, whether death occurred, or whether you will require ongoing medical treatment as a result of your injuries. There is not a way to accurately forecast the actual dollar amount that your case might be worth, but by hiring an experienced New Jersey nursing home abuse lawyer to represent you in your case, your chances of obtaining successful and favorable results increase.
What Can I Expect to Happen After I File my Nursing Home Abuse Case With the Court?
Not all nursing home abuse lawsuits, claims or settlements are alike, so what happens in your particular case will depend on the matters and circumstances and the manner in which you or your loved one has been injured. Because no two nursing home cases have the same facts and circumstances, if you or your loved one has received injuries as a result of nursing home abuse, it is important that you communicate with an experienced nursing home abuse and neglect attorney in New Jersey to investigate your claim and learn more about your options.
How Long Does It Usually Take to Settle or Resolve a Nursing Home Abuse Case?
It is important to remember that settlements or a verdict in your favor are not guaranteed, but we will certainly do everything we can to achieve the outcome you deserve. In terms of timing, it is quite difficult to determine how quickly a case will progress. Even when we feel very confident, we can never be completely sure how the defense will respond.
Upon filing a case, we will usually receive a scheduling order that will give us an idea of the timeline we will work under. However, this schedule is also subject to change based on the issues that can arise in a case and the potential for conflicts in the court’s docket. That said, your New Jersey nursing home abuse attorney will always strive to keep you updated on your case and to discuss the next steps with you. Your peace of mind is greatly important to us.
What Types of Damages Might I Be Able to Recover in a Nursing Home Abuse Case?
When you or a loved one has been injured as a result of the abusive or neglectful actions of a nursing home facility or staff, you have a right to seek compensation from the individuals or entities that caused you harm. The damages that you might be able to recover can include both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages typically include costs associated with medical rehabilitation and treatment while non-economic damages might include compensation for pain and suffering or lost enjoyment of life and the best way to find out what you deserve is by speaking with a nursing home abuse attorney. In New Jersey, injured individuals may also be able to receive punitive damages which are damages that are designed to deter and punish outrageous conduct. However, punitive damages in New Jersey are limited to $350,000 or five times your compensatory damages, whichever is greater.
What Happens if my Loved One Dies Due to Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect? Can I File a Claim on Their Behalf?
If your family member dies as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect, you could be entitled to file a wrongful death action lawsuit on their behalf with the assistance of a New Jersey nursing home abuse lawyer. However, your right to file a suit will usually depend on your relationship with the decedent. Typically, in wrongful death situations, if you are the decedent’s spouse, child, parent, or sibling, you will be entitled to file a lawsuit. The damages that you might be to recover in a wrongful death lawsuit can include medical and funeral expenses, loss of companionship and love, and the lost prospect of an inheritance.
How Much Might it Cost Me to Hire an Experienced New Jersey Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer?
In the state of New Jersey, a NJ nursing home attorney will typically take a nursing home abuse case on what is called a contingency fee basis. What this usually means is that you do not owe your lawyer anything, either up front or throughout the duration of your case. However, if you obtain favorable results either via winning verdict at trial or settlement, then your lawyer will be compensated by a percentage of your total recovery. If you are not successful and you do not obtain any damages, you generally do not have to reimburse your lawyer, meaning, your lawyer will not receive legal fees unless and until you are compensated.
At Parker Waichman LLP, our lawyers have many years of experience handling cases for victims of nursing home and other care facility abuse and neglect. Our firm has earned a reputation for success having obtained a total amount of one billion dollars in jury awards, settlements and verdicts over the years. In addition, we have achieved a number of accolades and honors due to the ability to recover favorable and significant awards for our clients.
These Awards, Accolades and Honors include:
- Lawdragon’s highest ranking of “5 Dragons” based on peer review
- An outstanding rating of 9.8 on AVVO.com
- A listing in Extensive Peer Review’s Best Lawyers Publication
- Recognition as “Preeminent Lawyers” by the AV Peer Review Rating
Our Promise to You
If you choose a nursing home abuse lawyer in New Jersey from Parker Waichman LLP to take on your nursing home abuse case, you can be sure that your knowledgeable and dedicated lawyer will zealously advocate on your behalf to bring those who abused or neglect you or your loved one to justice.
Talk With One of Our Compassionate and Experienced New Jersey Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
At Parker Waichman LLP, our lawyers have extensive experience assisting victims of nursing home abuse, whether the abuse is physical, emotional, sexual, or financial, whether they are neglected or even fatally injured. The injuries and other harm that a nursing home resident may suffer in an abuse or neglect case can range from minor to serious, can often require medical treatment on a continuous or ongoing basis, and in some instances, can even be fatal.
At Parker Waichman LLP, our lawyers strive to make sure that our injured, abused or neglected nursing home clientele recover damages to the fullest extent possible. If you or your loved one has sustained an injury or other harm due to nursing home abuse or neglect, you may have a right to compensation and should speak with a nursing home neglect attorney in New Jersey.
Be sure to contact one of the experienced and knowledgeable New Jersey nursing home abuse lawyers at Parker Waichman LLP today by calling 1-800-BEDSORE (1-800-233-7673) or fill out our contact form online to schedule your free, confidential, and no-obligation consultation.
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