Placing your loved one into a nursing facility is an extremely stressful and difficult experience. In doing so, you trust that your loved one will be treated with care and compassion. Finding out later that the nursing home staff has abused or neglected your family member is absolutely devastating for you and your family member.
The attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP understand that you are suffering and trying to make the best choices for your family, and we want to help you move forward.
Parker Waichman LLP Represents Victims of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect Throughout New York
Unfortunately, the elderly and ill are particularly vulnerable to abuse and neglect. These acts of injustice jeopardize the physical safety, mental health, productivity, and dignity of those in need of the most assistance. Incidents in nursing facilities can cause tremendous setbacks for patients and residents, as well as cause serious physical injury.
Parker Waichman’s attorneys fight against nursing home abuse by standing up for the rights of people without a voice and representing families whose loved ones have been injured. Our firm is dedicated to ensuring that people in our New York community receive compensation for injuries arising out of the deprivation of rights afforded residents under both Federal and State Law. It is our hope that the process serves as a deterrent to improper conduct and promotes appropriate and compassionate care at nursing facilities. We advocate for compensation and justice in the face of nursing home failures.
Nursing Home Regulations and Responsibilities
Skilled nursing facilities provide elderly and ill people a residence and medical care when they are unable to care for themselves. They are required to care for people with ethical, compassionate, safe, and dignified treatment. Nursing home facilities are required by law to follow certain federal regulations housed in the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) of 1987. In order to maintain Medicare and Medicaid funding, nursing facilities must meet minimum standards of treatment and care. These standards should be viewed as a foundation upon which to build in order to achieve optimal patient well-being.
When enacted, OBRA dramatically changed the landscape of requirements for nursing homes. It emphasized that residents should not only receive quality medical care but also achieve a high quality of life while residing at the nursing facility. Some of OBRA’s most important provisions include:
- New expectations regarding residents’ development and maintenance of abilities to independently carry out activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, eating, etc.);
- Stronger resident assessments and development of individualized care plans for residents;
- Longer mandatory training for facility nursing staff;
- Additional regulations to care for and protect nursing home residents with mental disabilities; and
- Express resident rights, including a right to be free of unnecessary physical or chemical restraints, the right to safely maintain personal funds, the right to return to the nursing facility following a hospital stay, the right to choose a physician and access medical records, and the right to remain in the nursing home absent specific harmful behaviors.
Under federal law, nursing homes must also take action to do the following (among many other regulations):
- Maintain a sufficient number of qualified staff;
- Provide residents necessary devices to assist with hearing and vision;
- Prevent residents from developing pressure sores and where residents have pressures sores that the facilities provide all care necessary to promote their healing, prevent infection and prevent new sores from developing;
- Provide residents with appropriate devices and supervision to prevent them from falling (walkers, canes, etc.);
- Ensure that residents maintain healthy nutrition and hygiene and provide them with services necessary to do so;
- Assist residents in maintenance or improvement of bladder and bowel control;
- Take appropriate steps to prevent deterioration of residents’ abilities to perform their own activities of daily living.
Beyond federal regulations, New York State has enacted similar codes, rules and regulations which these facilities must follow. Furthermore, New York State has enacted Public Health Law 2801-d and related legislation for the purpose of providing residents greater access to recovering compensation for injuries caused by nursing home abuse and neglect which in turn is intended to serve as an incentive for nursing home to do the right thing. Furthermore, New York State monitors nursing facilities to ensure that the quality of care, services, supervision and treatment is and that the facility has taken steps to educate the public about the rights people have when they are residents of a nursing home.
Understanding the Statutory framework along with the voluminous records required to be maintained by the nursing homes and the medicine associated with the injuries and the resident’s medical conditions is essential to recovering in these cases.
Frequently Asked Questions About Nursing Home Cases
Clients who call us about potential nursing home cases frequently have questions they would like to ask our attorneys about the nature of these claims. Below you will find a list of questions we hear most often, along with our answers.
What Kind of Injuries Result from Nursing Home Abuse?
Cases of nursing home abuse and neglect, unfortunately, often involve serious and tragic injuries. During our years litigating these cases, we have represented families and loved ones dealing with the following injuries from nursing home abuse or neglect:
- Bed Sores
- Broken or fractured bones
- Lacerations or bruises
- Worsening of existing medical conditions
- Ongoing infections
- Recurrent illness
- Reactions to medications
Often these cases involve a lack of attention to nursing home residents, such that they fail to receive consistent, timely and/or proper care, treatment and/or services during their admission which often results in the deterioration of the residents quality of life and dignity as well as significant injuries. Our attorneys investigate nursing home cases thoroughly, not only on an individual case level but also at a corporate level to uncover any potential patterns of abuse and neglect.
What are Some of the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?
In a situation of abuse or neglect, your family member might become withdrawn or show signs of depression. You might also notice strange markings on your family member or see your family member react to some of the nurses in ways that seem odd to you. Very often, bedsores are not observable by the family. You should watch to see your loved one’s facial expressions when they move – do they wince or grimace? Talk with your family member, and keep your eyes open to changes in health or disposition. All of these can be more subtle signs of abuse or neglect. You should also trust your instincts if you do not feel you are receiving appropriate answers about injuries or ailments your loved one develops. If you suspect your family member is in an abusive nursing home, contact our law firm immediately to begin taking action.
How Can I Protect My Family Member?
Protecting your family member starts with researching the facilities you are considering. Look at reviews online, check for disciplinary actions, visit the facilities, talk with residents. After placing your family member in a nursing home, the best thing you can do is visit often and stay attentive. Studies show residents with the fewest visitors are often most vulnerable to abuse and neglect because no one is checking in on them. When you visit, ask your family member questions, talk to the nursing staff, look out for any cues your family member isn’t thriving, and contact a skilled lawyer if you suspect an unsafe situation.
I Don’t Know the Name of the Nurse Who Abused My Family Member. Is That a Problem?
Nursing homes usually have a lot of staff members, alternating shifts, and high turnover. It is possible you will see a different nurse almost every time you visit your family member, and your family member might find it just as difficult to keep track of people’s names. If you have a nurse in mind but don’t know his or her name, or even if you have no idea who might be involved, you do not have to worry. The investigation is our job. We will request employment and shift records to find out who was working with your family member when an incident occurred, and we will conduct depositions to find out what happened. When you hire Parker Waichman LLP, you can leave the work to us.
How Long Will My Nursing Home Case Take to Settle?
It is important to remember that settlements 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. 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 inside. 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, we 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.
My Loved One Passed Away in a Nursing Home, and I Suspect Neglect. What Should I Do?
Losing a loved one is a tragic enough situation, and it is utterly devastating when you believe your loved one might have passed because of an abusive or neglectful situation in a nursing home. If you suspect this has occurred, try to remember these steps:
- Take notes. You likely have a few reasons why you think your loved one passed because of abuse or neglect. Write down things you remember seeing or hearing to keep your memories fresh.
- Consider an autopsy. As a family member, if you are not sure why your loved one died, you have the right to request an autopsy. This will help you understand what happened and can help your potential case.
- Request copies of records and the death certificate. It is a good idea to request a copy of your loved one’s death certificate and a copy of his or her nursing home records. Any information you are able to obtain will be helpful to your attorney.
- Look into opening an estate and/or locate copies of the Last Will. If you do proceed with a lawsuit, New York requires a personal representative to be the plaintiff in wrongful death claims. Your loved one might have designated a personal representative in his or her Last Will, so it is a good idea to track down a copy of that. You will also want to look into opening an estate and speak with family members about who should act as personal representative.
- Hire an experienced lawyer. During a time like this, there is only so much you will be able to do. This is because of legal barriers and also because of the emotional stress you are under. You need an empathetic and skilled nursing home lawyer to step in and investigate to obtain the answers you have been seeking. Contact Parker Waichman LLP today about your potential claim.
Statute of Limitations on New York Nursing Home Cases
Statutes of limitations are essentially deadlines on filing lawsuits that are set by state law. If you allow your statute of limitations to expire and do not file your case within the specified time limit set by New York law, you will never be able to file it in court. This is true no matter how strong a case you might have had.
That might appear to be an unfair consequence to such a deadline, but states enact time limits on cases to preserve the integrity of evidence and of the trial process. The sooner someone files a case, the more likely it is that their witnesses will have fresh memories of the occurrences, and the more likely it is that the plaintiff will have access to medical records and business documents. But if people delay, memories will fade, and documents will be lost.
Every state in the United States has its own statutes of limitations, and they vary depending on the type of claim and the damages involved. New York’s statute of limitations for nursing home cases is generally three years, which means you must file your complaint within three years of the negligent act. If the case involves a death, the statute of limitations is shorter than three years, and your complaint must be filed sooner. That said, it is not always clear when time started running because nursing home cases involve long periods of care and might entail several acts of negligence. This is one of the reasons you need to work with an experienced New York nursing home lawyer for your case.
Parker Waichman’s lawyers take statutes of limitations very seriously because we understand the repercussions of making a mistake in calculation. When you hire our nursing home abuse law firm, you can feel assured that we will perform a diligent review to make sure we have enough time to prepare a strong case for you and your family.
Nursing Home Abuse Case Process
We understand you and your family need timely answers regarding what happened in the nursing home, and our firm has a streamlined process for delivering you results. After signing your case with Parker Waichman LLP, your attorney will begin performing all of the following work on your behalf:
- Create a detailed summary of the acts of negligence from your perspective and/or the perspective of your family member;
- Contact any potential witnesses to the neglect or abuse;
- Order medical records that document the care rendered in the nursing home;
- Consult with medical and industry experts;
- Calculate the statute of limitations (deadline to file) on your case;
- Determine the appropriate court for filing your case;
- Contact any potential lien holders;
- Engage in written discovery and depositions to gather evidence for your case;
- Participate in mediation and/or settlement negotiations with defense;
- Take your case to trial.
Our attorneys are dedicated to uncovering the truth and to obtaining the compensation you and your family need to move forward. We know you have been through enough stress, and we want to do everything we can to ease that burden. Contact our New York nursing home law firm today to find out more about the services we can provide for you and your loved ones.
Building a Successful New York Nursing Home Case
In a New York nursing home case, we will usually allege negligence on the part of the facility. This will require that we establish four basic things in court or throughout the course of your case:
- The nursing home owed you or your loved one a duty to ensure that his/her rights under New York and Federal Law were not violated;
- The nursing home deprived your loved one of a right or benefit under the law;
- You or your loved one was injured as defined under the law; and
- The injury was caused by the nursing home’s failure to protect your loved one’s rights.
While proving the existence of a duty to use care is sometimes difficult in other cases, nursing homes clearly owe their residents a duty to use reasonable care. This duty sets in when people become residents and is ongoing throughout the time they remain in the nursing home. However, we will hire an expert to establish the particular standard of care required in your case. For example, if you or your loved one fell and broke a hip, we will consult with an expert to find out what the standard of care called for in the situation.
To prove breach of the duty of care, we will analyze what the nursing home did versus what it should have done. An expert will again testify about how the nursing home staff should have acted to establish a departure from the standard of care. If we are able to prove the standard of care and a breach of that standard, we have successfully established that the nursing home was legally negligent.
From there, we need to also present evidence as to the injuries suffered and the cause of those injuries. We must be able to link the injuries you or your loved one experienced back to the denial of your loved one’s right and/or benefits by the nursing home. Our lawyers can again look to a qualified expert to opine as to damages and causation.
If you believe you have a potential nursing home claim on behalf of yourself or a family member, do not delay in hiring a lawyer to begin an investigation. Time could be running, and our attorneys can protect your legal rights.
Parker Waichman LLP?
Our nursing home law firm in New York has achieved outstanding results for clients, and we approach every case with compassion, integrity, and dedication. Throughout our years of superior client advocacy, we have earned honors and accolades from the legal community, including:
- 8 (out of a perfect 10) Rating by AVVO (a service that rates every attorney in the United States)
- “Preeminent Lawyers” AV Peer Review Rating (Martindale-Hubbell® – a company that, for more than 100 years, has rated attorneys across the United States and the world based on feedback from judges and their peers)
- Highest Ranking of “5 Dragons,” based on peer review by Lawdragon
- Listing in Best Lawyers Publication, determined by Extensive Peer Review
Contact Parker Waichman LLP today to discuss your nursing home claim and to find out about your potential options for legal recourse. You do not have to deal with this alone, and you do not have to leave your loved one in an unsafe environment.
Talk with One of Our New York Nursing Home Attorneys Today
Parker Waichman LLP offers free case consultations on potential New York nursing home claims. We recognize you are likely already under financial strain related to your or your loved one’s nursing home condition. We want to make this situation as smooth as possible for you, so we do everything we can to take out the element of financial worry.
In addition to free consultations, we contract these cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning our recovery is dependent on yours. If you do not receive a settlement or verdict from your lawsuit, we will not get paid a fee or receive reimbursement for our expenses. Nursing home litigation is beyond the reach of what most people can afford, so we take on the financial risk ourselves. We want to maintain access to justice by breaking down as many barriers to the court system as possible.
With one step, you can begin a legal review of your claim. It takes only one simple phone call or clicking through our online form. You will soon be able to speak to a dedicated member of our staff, along with a seasoned nursing home lawyer in our New York office. We will guide you through the process and explain all your options for relief. We want to make sure your voice is heard and that you have the best chance to achieve the compensation you deserve. Contact our firm today to find out more about our claims process and why so many families choose our firm to represent them in their nursing home cases.
Contact Parker Waichman LLP For Your Free Consultation
When you have or a family member has become the victim of an unsafe nursing home environment, you need compassionate representation you can trust. The New York nursing home attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP are prepared to begin your abuse or neglect case investigation today. Contact our law firm today for a free consultation by filling out our easy online website content form or by calling 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
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