Millions of American families trust nursing homes to care for their elderly loved ones. Unfortunately, some nursing homes fail to meet the needs of their residents. Nursing home negligence is a nationwide problem and can have serious consequences on the health and well-being of residents. In some cases, such negligence can even be fatal.
When a nursing home resident suffers a preventable injury or illness because of negligence by the facility or staff, that resident and their family have legal rights. Negligent nursing homes can be liable for damages related to the injury or illness if the family files a personal injury claim.
At the Cottle Firm, our personal injury lawyers are proud to represent families who have suffered due to nursing home negligence. Contact us today at 866-755-9111 to learn more about your family’s legal options in a free consultation.
What Is Negligence?
Negligence is a legal principle that applies when one party is injured due to the carelessness or recklessness of another party. Individuals, businesses, and other entities often owe a duty of care to others, meaning that they are legally obligated to conduct themselves in a way that does not put others at risk of preventable harm. When one party breaches this duty of care and another gets injured as a result, the first party may be considered negligent.
Most personal injury lawsuits are filed based on negligence. Nursing homes owe a legal duty to provide each resident with everything they need and to ensure a safe environment that minimizes the risk of preventable injuries and illnesses. If a nursing home fails to meet this duty of care and residents suffer harm as a result, the resident and their families may have grounds for a lawsuit against the facility based on negligence.
Common Forms of Negligence in Las Vegas Nursing Homes
Nursing home negligence encompasses a range of issues, including physical, emotional, and medical neglect, as well as financial exploitation.
Physical Neglect and Abuse
Physical neglect and abuse occur in nursing homes when residents suffer injuries due to inadequate care or intentional harm. Such injuries often result from understaffing, inadequate training, or harm caused by abusive individuals (either other residents or staff members).
Families who suspect physical neglect or abuse should consider speaking with an experienced Las Vegas nursing home negligence lawyer.
Emotional and Psychological Neglect and Abuse
Emotional harm caused by negligence can be just as damaging as physical neglect and abuse. Mistreatment by staff members can cause severe emotional suffering, which can manifest as nervousness, fear, depression, social isolation, withdrawal, sudden behavioral changes, and unexplained emotional distress.
Emotional abuse and neglect can significantly diminish a resident’s quality of life and lead to serious mental health issues. Families of residents should be aware of the signs of emotional and psychological neglect and abuse, as many residents may not be able to vocalize what they’ve been through.
Medical Negligence and Malpractice
Nursing homes have a critical legal duty to meet the medical needs of all residents. Medical negligence and malpractice can lead to severe health complications and even deaths among residents.
Common forms of medical negligence in nursing homes include:
- Medication errors
- Inadequate monitoring of health conditions
- Delays in providing necessary medical care
Residents depend on nursing home staff for proper medical care, and any lapses in this duty can result in irreversible harm. Families who suspect medical negligence in a loved one’s nursing home should consult with an experienced nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer.
Warning Signs of Nursing Home Negligence
Recognizing the warning signs of nursing home neglect and abuse is vital for ensuring the safety and well-being of vulnerable residents. Certain red flags often indicate potential issues that require immediate attention. By being aware of these warning signs, families can take the necessary action to protect their loved ones and seek legal assistance when needed.
Unexplained Injuries and Bruises
Unexplained bruises, cuts, or fractures are often indicators of physical abuse or neglect, especially if the nursing home is unable to provide a reasonable explanation for these injuries.
Sudden Changes in Behavior
Abrupt shifts in behavior, such as withdrawal, depression, anger, or anxiety, could signify emotional or psychological neglect. Families who notice such changes should further investigate the living conditions and treatment of their loved ones.
Poor Hygiene and Unsanitary Living Conditions
Neglected nursing home residents often exhibit poor personal hygiene, live in unclean environments, and suffer from bedsores. All of these signs suggest a lack of proper care and attention from the nursing home staff.
Social Isolation and Withdrawal
Nursing home residents deserve to live in a supportive and nurturing environment. Those who live in negligent or abusive environments often struggle with social isolation, lack of interaction, and limited engagement with other residents or staff members, all of which are signs of emotional neglect.
Unexplained Weight Loss
Unexplained weight loss and signs of malnutrition or dehydration are typically clear indications of neglect. Residents who exhibit these warning signs require immediate attention to ensure that their nutrition and hydration needs are met.
Legal Recourse For Families Affected by Nursing Home Negligence
When nursing home negligence leads to harm or injury to residents, families have the right to seek legal recourse. Understanding the legal options available is critical for families looking to protect their loved ones and hold negligent facilities accountable for the harm they’ve caused.
Seeking Legal Assistance
Families who have been affected by nursing home negligence should strongly consider discussing their case with a personal injury firm that handles nursing home negligence cases. At the Cottle Firm, our Las Vegas nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers are proud to provide the necessary guidance and support to navigate the complex legal system and ensure that the rights of nursing home negligence victims are protected.
Compensation for nursing home negligence may include reimbursement for all economic and noneconomic damages related to the harm suffered.
Damages commonly awarded in nursing home negligence lawsuits include:
- Medical expenses
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages in some cases, to punish the facility
Holding Nursing Homes Accountable
Taking legal action against negligent nursing homes does not just help the families affected by it directly; it also holds these facilities accountable for their actions. A lawsuit can raise awareness and serve as a way of advocating for improved standards of care, which contributes to the overall well-being of nursing home residents in other Las Vegas facilities.
What Are the Legal Rights of Nursing Home Residents?
Nursing home residents are entitled to several rights under a law called the Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA), a congressional law passed in 1987 as part of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA). The NHRA includes a provision called the Bill of Rights for nursing home residents, which establishes that all residents must be guaranteed the following rights:
- All necessary medical, psychological, physical, and social care
- The right to privacy
- Freedom from neglect, abuse, and mistreatment
- Freedom from physical restraints
- The right to choose their doctor
- Participation in resident and family groups
- Dignified treatment
- Free communication
- Participation in care plans, including the right to be notified in advance of any changes
- The right to raise concerns without fear of reprisal or discrimination
What Should I Do If I Suspect Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse?
If you believe that your loved one is a victim of nursing home neglect or abuse, consider taking the following steps:
- Have a conversation with your loved one and sensitively inquire about any potential harm, abuse, or neglect.
- Initiate a dialogue with the nursing home Administrator to address any apprehensions regarding the safety and well-being of your loved one.
- File a formal elder abuse complaint with Nevada’s Aging and Disability Services Division (ADSD) of Adult Protective Services.
- Gather all relevant evidence, including photographs of injuries, medical reports, incident reports, and all other pertinent information.
- Consider consulting with an experienced Las Vegas elder abuse lawyer.
Contact Our Las Vegas Nursing Home Negligence Lawyers
If you believe a loved one is suffering from nursing home neglect or abuse, it’s important to take action. Get in touch with the experienced Las Vegas nursing home negligence lawyers at the Cottle Firm today at 866-755-9111 to learn more about seeking justice for your elderly loved one.