Aurora Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
The decision to place an elderly loved one in a nursing home is never easy, and family members usually try hard to place their relative in the best available facility they can afford. Tragically, even upscale private facilities may not give their elderly residents the tender and respectful care they deserve.
If you suspect your loved one was a victim of nursing home neglect or abuse, there are immediate actions you should take. If physical or sexual abuse occurred, it is important to notify the police. If the condition does not seem to be criminal but indicates substandard care, document it in as much detail as possible and submit the report to both the facility administrator and the Health Facilities and Emergency Medical Division at the state’s Department of Health and Environment.
It is also important to consult an Aurora nursing home abuse lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can listen to your story and advise you about whether you or your loved one has grounds for a civil suit against the facility. Hitting the nursing home where it hurts—in the pocketbook—is a deterrent against future wrongdoing at the facility.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing homes are there because they are elderly and physically frail, medically fragile, or experiencing cognitive decline. Many residents have more than one of these conditions. Since they are vulnerable, it is expected that the patient’s condition may deteriorate during their stay at a nursing home.
However, some incidents or conditions bear deep scrutiny since they can be indicators of neglect or abuse. Ask pointed questions and demand reasonable answers if a nursing home patient:
- Suffers frequent falls
- Fractures bones
- Develops bedsores
- Becomes fearful, agitated, or silent, especially around staff
- Is carelessly groomed or exhibits poor hygiene
- Exhibits rapid weight loss or a sudden change in eating habits
An attorney familiar with nursing homes within the nearby area could offer advice about the best way to handle concerns that the potential abuse at a nursing home.
Proving Nursing Home Negligence
If a nursing home resident or their loved one brings a lawsuit seeking damages for neglect or abuse of the resident, the suit could allege that the facility was negligent in providing them proper care. To show negligence, the plaintiff (the resident or family member) must prove the defendant (the nursing home) breached a duty to the resident, and the resident suffered harm because of the breach.
Nursing homes have a contract with the resident obligating them to provide proper care, so the facility clearly had a duty to the resident. The plaintiff must show that the care the resident received was inadequate to meet the standards set forth in the contract. Since nursing home residents are often already in poor condition, proving actual harm caused by poor care might be difficult.
Damages in Nursing Home Abuse Cases
When a plaintiff wins a case alleging abuse against a defendant nursing home, the judge or jury will award money damages. These are meant to make the plaintiff whole again.
Damages may include costs of medical care, costs associated with moving to another facility, if necessary, and any other expenses the plaintiff incurred as a result of the defendant’s negligence. The plaintiff also may receive an award of damages for their pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Sometimes the evidence in a nursing home abuse or neglect case demonstrates that the facility or its employees acted with malicious indifference or disregard for the resident’s wellbeing, or intentionally harmed them. In these extreme cases, Colorado law C.R.S. §13-21-102 allows a judge or jury to award exemplary damages. A seasoned nursing home abuse lawyer could analyze the facts of a particular case to determine whether asking for exemplary damages is appropriate.
Rely on the Help of an Aurora Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
Nursing home abuse is heartbreaking, devastating, and may elicit guilty feelings in family members. Do not try to cope with the situation alone. A seasoned attorney could support family members and the resident as they try to move forward after an experience of nursing home abuse or neglect.
If your family is dealing with suspected misconduct by a nursing home, contact a skilled Aurora nursing home abuse lawyer for a free consultation.