If your loved one is facing nursing home abuse or neglect and you’re ready to take legal action, it’s important to be prepared. Filing nursing home abuse claims correctly and providing accurate information will help investigators determine the best way to protect your loved one and seek justice.
People enter nursing homes hoping to receive compassionate care and treatment. However, many facilities fail to provide this. If a nursing home is not adhering to certain standards of care, loved ones can take legal action by filing a claim or complaint. Learning about the claim process can help you take action to get the help you need.
Tips for Filing Nursing Home Abuse Claims
Nursing home abuse cases can be complicated. Cover all of your bases by compiling the documents and records you need to support your case. Your complaint could eventually turn into a criminal or civil case, so it’s essential to collect accurate information right from the start.
Follow these four tips to ensure you’re adequately prepared.
Determine the Specific Legal Claim You’re Filing
There are several forms of nursing home abuse, including general neglect, violence, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and financial exploitation. As a result, there are different ways nursing homes can violate regulations or laws.
Some examples of claims you may be able to pursue include:
- Breach of contract
- Wrongful death
- Medical malpractice
It’s important to determine the specific legal claim you’re making before you file a report—your complaint may be dismissed if you list the wrong claims. Working with an experienced attorney can help you decide on the best legal approach for your case.
Document All Signs of Abuse and Neglect
Collect as much information as possible about the abuse or neglect that is going on. Take statements from your loved one and talk to witnesses. Nursing home staff, other residents and medical providers can give you additional insight into the problem. Asking for emails and letters from these individuals is a good way to collect this information.
Note down any warning signs of nursing home abuse that you’ve observed in your loved one, such as:
- Broken bones
- Bruises and scrapes
- Broken possessions
- Social withdrawal
- Displaying unease
Write down a timeline of events that includes what happened, where and who was involved. If possible, take pictures of your loved one’s injuries. Also, save records of their finances if you suspect that your loved one is a victim of financial exploitation.
Report Your Case
There are several ways to report your case. First, it’s a good idea to get the incident on record with your local police station or the Adult Protective Services (APS). Many APS agencies run a 24-hour hotline so people can report abuse at any time. Contacting the police or APS will launch an investigation into the issue. People are also encouraged to report elder abuse to their state attorney general.
Your state’s Long-Term Care (LTC) Ombudsperson Program can also help you out. LTC Ombudsperson programs work on issues related to the rights and welfare of people living in LTC facilities. An ombudsperson will act as an advocate for your loved one, listening to their concerns and protecting their rights.
Of course, always call 911 first if your loved one is in immediate danger.
Hire a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
Consider hiring a nursing home abuse attorney for assistance filing your nursing home abuse claim. An attorney can help you interpret signs of abuse or neglect and make recommendations on the best course of legal action to take. For example, if your loved one suffered injuries, you may be able to pursue financial compensation.
As an experienced lawyer, a nursing home abuse attorney will review relevant documents and medical records to help you set up your legal claim.
Choose an Attorney Experienced in Nursing Home Abuse Cases
Victims of nursing home abuse and neglect are often unable to take action themselves, so it’s up to their loved ones to intervene. It’s crucial that we hold people accountable for their wrongful actions and stop the tragic cycle of nursing home abuse.
Nursing home abuse and neglect are tricky legal situations since they can be particularly time-sensitive and complex. Nursing home abuse claims require special expertise when it comes to investigating and navigating the claim process. Contact the Nursing Home Abuse Justice team for a free legal case review if you would like to move forward with your claim.