Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect FAQ
Our attorneys answer your questions
If your loved one was injured or became ill in a nursing home, it’s only natural to have questions. Braswell Murphy, LLC can help. Our nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys have extensive experience helping families who struggle with these questions and more:
- What is nursing home abuse?
- What is nursing home neglect?
- How can I find out what happened to my loved one?
- What is negligence and how does it apply to nursing homes?
- What are my legal rights if my loved one was abused or neglected?
- Why should I contact Braswell Murphy, LLC to handle a nursing home abuse case?
Do you have a question that’s not on this list? No problem. Contact us today to speak with an experienced attorney about your case. We’re here to help.
Abuse is an intentional act that inflicts physical or emotional harm on another person. Some common forms of abuse in nursing homes include:
- Physical abuse: such as hitting, kicking, beating.
- Emotional abuse: such as name-calling, yelling, mocking, isolation.
- Sexual abuse: such as rape or sexual assault.
- Financial exploitation: such as double-billing, billing for services not rendered, buying things with residents’ money.
Acts of abuse may be committed by nursing home staff, residents, visitors or trespassers. The nursing home has a responsibility to maintain a safe environment and protect residents from abuse. When nursing home abuse occurs, the nursing home can be held liable (legally responsible) for any injuries sustained.
Nursing homes have a responsibility to take care of their residents. Unfortunately, some Alabama nursing homes fail to meet that responsibility. When that happens, residents can be injured or get seriously ill. Some examples of neglect include:
- Basic needs neglect: not making sure residents are eating and drinking, for example.
- Personal hygiene: not bathing residents, not changing clothes or diapers.
- Medication errors: not giving all medications as prescribed, failing to prevent overdoses or interactions.
- Medical neglect: failing to provide proper care for infections, bedsores or broken bones.
- Negligent supervision: allowing residents to leave the premises unsupervised or fall down while not properly supervised.
- Not turning residents in bed, which can cause pressure sores (bedsores).
Because of the extent and complexity of services they are expected to provide, nursing homes are held to high legal standards. They can be held legally responsible when residents become sick or injured due to neglect.
There are several steps you can take to report suspected abuse in Alabama. Talking to the nursing home administration is an important move, but remember that they want to protect their own interests, which may mean concealing or trying to explain away abuse or neglect. Various state agencies investigate claims of abuse or neglect, and if you suspect a crime was committed, you need to call the police. It’s important to note that these government agencies are primarily focused on dealing with the perpetrators of abuse and neglect, not the victims.
That’s why it’s critically important that you contact a nursing home abuse and neglect attorney who can advocate for your loved one’s rights. We know how to investigate negligent nursing homes and fight for the compensation your family needs and deserves.
“Negligence” is a legal term that refers to conduct that does not meet established standards of care. Nursing homes are held to high legal standards because they care for incredibly vulnerable people. Some common examples of negligence in nursing home abuse and neglect cases include:
- Negligent hiring and retention: Unfortunately, nursing homes often have high staff turnover. That means they sometimes hire people with red flags or fail to conduct background checks that could reveal a history of abuse or neglect – this is called negligent hiring. Negligent retention is a related problem in which the nursing home keeps someone employed despite a history of abuse or neglect, perhaps because it’s understaffed.
- Negligent training and supervision of staff: Nursing homes are often the first stop for people pursuing careers in the medical field, meaning they have a high percentage of inexperienced, entry-level employees. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it means the nursing home has a responsibility to provide those employees with sufficient training and supervision so that they can take care of residents. Poor supervision can allow neglect and abuse to fester for a long time.
- Negligent supervision of residents: Most people who are in nursing homes are there in part because they can’t live safely on their own. When residents are not closely supervised when going about their daily activities, falls or other incidents that can lead to injury often occur. Unsupervised residents may even wander out of the residence, which can be very dangerous.
- Negligent security: Like any other business, a nursing home has a responsibility to keep its premises safe and secure, including video camera footage and an efficient system for visitors to sign in and out. Without adequate security, residents may be abused by visitors, trespassers or other residents.
Again, nursing homes can be held liable (legally responsible) for injuries sustained as a result of negligence. You can take legal action against the nursing home for damages (financial compensation) for losses such as:
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost quality and enjoyment of life
Depending on the circumstances – for example, if the nursing home’s conduct was particularly reckless or intentional – you may also be able to seek punitive damages.
Taking legal action against the nursing home not only helps your family rebuild, but also sends a strong message that will help to stop other families from suffering as yours has. That’s why it’s so important to speak with an experienced nursing home abuse and neglect attorney who can investigate and take legal action on your behalf.
Finding out what happened in a nursing home is a complex and difficult process. Negligent nursing homes are notoriously good at hiding information or explaining away abuse and neglect. They may argue that your loved one was in failing health anyway and there was nothing they can do. Because your loved one and other residents may have difficulty remembering or talking about what happened, it can be particularly difficult to uncover the truth.
We know how to overcome those problems. When you hire us, we’ll get to the bottom of what happened to your loved one – and we’ll tell you what you can do about it. We know how to build a strong case that the nursing home and their insurance company can’t ignore. Furthermore, we work on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay us a cent until and unless we successfully resolve the case.
We would be honored to meet with you for a free consultation to talk about what happened to your loved one. There’s absolutely no cost and no obligation, but it is important to act quickly so we can start investigating right away. Contact us today to tell your story to a nursing home abuse and neglect attorney who cares.