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Alabama Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

Protecting the rights of vulnerable adults

When you entrust your loved ones to the care of a nursing home because they need more care than you can provide for them, you expect that they will be kept safe and cared for properly. At Mezrano Law Firm, we are committed to bringing to justice those who abuse and neglect our elders. You can trust our compassionate Alabama nursing home abuse lawyers to fight for the rights and the protection of your loved ones.

How a nursing home abuse lawyer can help you?

Law firms that specialize in nursing home abuse and neglect claims have the experience you need to take action fast. They know what steps to take, how to gather evidence, where you can get support and resources, and how to claim compensation for the damages caused by the nursing home’s negligence.

  • Our team of nursing home neglect lawyers will assist you with:
  • Hiring investigators
  • Obtaining residents medical records
  • Requesting any police reports
  • Hiring expert nurses and doctors to testify
  • Speaking to the nursing home’s insurance company regarding a settlement
  • Locating and interviewing potential witnesses
  • Filing your case in court
  • Represent your family at trial

While it is always distressing to see a loved one injured due to the negligence of a nursing home, rehabilitation facility, or assisted living facility, there is help available. If you want to file a personal injury lawsuit to hold the nursing home accountable and obtain a settlement for your loved one’s injuries, you will need proper legal representation.

Our nursing home abuse lawyers will evaluate your nursing home neglect case for FREE. Call 1-205-206-6300 or submit details of your case in our form and we’ll contact you as soon as possible.

Nursing home residents’ Bill of Rights

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is the federal agency with oversight for federal healthcare services for the elderly have established a bill of rights for nursing home residents, which is supposed to be posted in the facility, and each resident must be given a copy. These resident rights include, but aren't limited to:

  • The right to be treated with dignity and respect.
  • The right to be informed in writing about services and fees before you enter the nursing home.
  • The right to manage your own money or to choose someone else you trust to do this for you.
  • The right to privacy, and to keep and use your personal belongings and property as long as it doesn't interfere with the rights, health, or safety of others.
  • The right to be informed about your medical condition, medications, and to see your own doctor. You also have the right to refuse medications and treatments.
  • The right to have a choice over your schedule (for example, when you get up and go to sleep), your activities and other preferences that are important to you.
  • The right to an environment more like a home that maximizes your comfort and provides you with assistance to be as independent as possible.

Did You Know?

Out of the 228 nursing homes in Alabama, only 27 earned a Top Performing rating. Four of those facilities are located in the greater Birmingham area. – U.S. News & World Report

What is elder abuse?

The U.S. Department of Justice reports that at least 10% of adults over age 65 will experience some form of abuse in a given year. The DOJ has identified five general categories of elder abuse: caregiver neglect, financial fraud and exploitation, psychological abuse, sexual abuse and physical abuse. The trauma of elder abuse can cause deteriorating health, hospitalization, increased mortality, depression and suicide, disrupted relationships and financial loss all of which can lead to a diminished quality of life for an individual and increased social isolation.

Those who are charged with caring for the elderly and other vulnerable adults are most often the ones who abuse and neglect them, including children, family members, spouses, nursing home and assisted living staff members and others. Some examples of the different types of elder abuse include:

  • Physical abuse includes intentional infliction of harm to an elder
  • Sexual abuse includes unwanted sexual contact with an elder or vulnerable adult who is unable or unwilling to content, is threatened or physically forced to participate
  • Emotional abuse includes verbally abusive threats, verbal assaults, threats of abuse, harassment or intimidation
  • Confinement is restraining the movement of an elder or isolating them other than for medical reasons
  • Passive neglect is the failure of the caregiver to provide necessary food, water, clothing, shelter or medical care
  • Willful deprivation is denying an elder the medication, medical care, shelter, food, a therapeutic device, physical assistance or exposing them to the risk of harm
  • Financial exploitation is the misuse or withholding of an elder's own resource by someone else

What is the difference between elder abuse and neglect?

Abuse is an overt act that is inflicted on another person who may or may not be able to defend themselves. Elder abuse can include physical, emotional, sexual abuse or financial exploitation.
Nursing home neglect can be equally as harmful but tends to be more passive in nature. An overworked caregiver neglects to address the physical hygiene needs of a resident, a resident is not receiving the care they need, and it precipitates a downward cycle of neglect.

Whether overt abuse or passive neglect, both inflict physical and emotional harm on nursing home residents who have the right to live in a safe, nurturing environment and have their needs addressed.

What constitutes nursing home abuse?

If you have a loved one who lives in a nursing home, and you are concerned that he or she is not receiving proper care, here are some of the warning signs of nursing home neglect you can keep watch for:

  • Bedsores or decubitus ulcers, which should never occur and are preventable with proper care
  • Unexplained bruises or broken bones could be a clue that they are being mistreated
  • Changes in consciousness or mental state
  • Displaying fear of the nursing home staff members
  • Poor hygiene and unsanitary conditions
  • They look malnourished or dehydrated
  • Loss of mobility
  • They appear agitated or withdrawn from activities

If they cannot be attributed to a health condition, any of these could be a warning sign that your loved one is not receiving adequate care, and they might be suffering from abuse or neglect.

What is considered nursing home abuse?

Many of us think of physical injuries when we hear the term “abuse.” However, several types of abuse can happen in a nursing home or assisted living facility, such as:

  • Physical abuse
  • Emotion abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Financial abuse
  • Neglect or abandonment

When nursing home neglect occurs, some older adults are unable or unwilling to communicate the details of what happened. Some may feel helpless and ashamed about the abuse, while others lack the ability to fully understand the situation. This is why it’s vital to look for signs that your family member could be the victim of abuse or neglect.

According to the National Institute on Aging1, warning signs of nursing home abuse and elder abuse may include:

  • Disinterest in activities they used to enjoy
  • Messy or unkempt appearance
  • Weight loss due to malnutrition or dehydration
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Becoming withdrawn
  • Suddenly reacts with agitation or violence
  • Unexplained injuries such as bruises, cuts, burns, or scars
  • Rocking back and forth or other signs of trauma
  • Signs of physical retrains like marks on the wrists
  • No longer has medical aids, including walkers, dentures, hearing aids, or glasses
  • Development of preventable conditions, including bedsores
  • Sudden financial problems

Warning signs of abuse or neglect can often be subtle or not apparent right away. You should try to talk to your family member to understand what might be going on and how you can help.

When Is a Nursing Home Liable for Abuse or Neglect of Residents?

When long-term care facilities and their staff members are responsible for a resident’s abuse or neglect, they should be held accountable. Reasons a nursing home may be liable for neglect or abuse of elders include:

Inadequate staff training – There should be a proper process to train staff to do their jobs using a reasonable standard of care for their position.
Negligent hiring process – All staff members should be qualified for their position. Facilities should conduct a thorough background check, consult references, or have another process in place to ensure new hires are qualified.
Understaffing of the facility – A nursing home should employ a reasonable number of staff members to care for residents and meet their needs.
Errors with medication – When staff members do not give the proper dosage of medicine at the right time or fail to provide the medication at all, the results can be devastating.
Breach of a resident’s statutory or regulatory rights – Nursing home employees are required to give residents the dignity, privacy, and respect to which they are legally entitled.
Inadequate security – Nursing homes have a duty to provide a safe environment for those living in the facility. When a visitor or third party harms a resident due to lack of security, the nursing home can be liable for damages.

If one or more of these situations led to your family member’s abuse or neglect while living in the nursing home facility, you may have grounds to bring a civil claim for compensation. You must prove your loved one was harmed due to the negligence of the nursing home staff. In many cases, the nursing home has a well-documented history of abuse, which makes it easier to prove, especially if there is physical evidence of your loved one’s injuries.

However, it can be more difficult in these nursing home neglect cases because the nurses and staff do not write down what they have done wrong. It takes a skilled personal injury attorney to figure out what is missing from the medical records in order to prove that negligence caused the injuries, suffering, or wrongful death.

Contact our nursing home abuse attorneys today for a free and confidential case evaluation to see if you qualify and what your claim may be worth.

nursing home abuse lawyer

What Should I Do If My Loved One Is a Victim of Abuse or Neglect?

Nursing homes are required by law to provide a certain standard of care. Remember, nursing home residents have rights, including:

  • The right to a safe and decent living environment, free from abuse and neglect
  • The right to access healthcare
  • The right to information
  • The right to dignity
  • The right to financial information

Additional nursing home residents rights

If you notice risk factors and warning signs that your family member is experiencing abuse or neglect while living in a nursing home, it’s time to take action. You should:

  • Remove your loved one from the facility immediately
  • Find alternative care – local adult protective service agencies can help
  • Report the abuse or neglect to authorities
  • Bring a legal claim against the responsible party

While nothing can erase the trauma of abuse or neglect, obtaining a monetary settlement can provide the financial resources to help your loved one move forward in life with a new, safer long-term care facility. Bringing a claim will also deter these nursing homes and nurses from injuring others in the future.

How to sue a nursing home for neglect in Alabama

If you have become aware that a loved one who is a nursing home resident has been neglected or abused and has sustained injuries because of it, you may have grounds to file a claim for nursing home neglect, which would be a civil action. Depending on the nature of the injury, you might file a criminal complaint if your loved one was physically abused, but for nursing home neglect cases, you would likely file a nursing home neglect lawsuit for the injuries.

Aside from the human decency perspective, nursing homes owe a duty of care to their residents to keep them safe and well cared for. Most nursing homes receive a significant amount of federal funding, so if they are falling below the accepted standard of care and people are injured and loved one’s file complaints, they can lose valuable funding. Holding the nursing home and its staff accountable for substandard care is a way to obtain justice for the resident who was injured, but it may also help to make sure that other residents do not suffer the same fate.

How to report elder abuse in Alabama

If you see an elder being abused or neglected, you are obligated to report it. If someone has been physically harmed, you can call law enforcement if you suspect physical or sexual assault. For other forms of abuse or neglect, the Alabama Department of Senior Services along with the Alabama Department Public Health are responsible for investigating allegations of elder abuse. You can report anonymously.

To report elder abuse, call the Adult Abuse Hotline at 800-458-7214.

To report elder abuse to the Alabama Department of Public Health:

In nursing homes: 800-356-9596

In an assisted living facility: 800-873-0366

What Damages Can a Victim Recover in a Nursing Home Abuse Claim?

Victims of nursing home abuse or neglect suffer in so many ways. Apart from the physical damages that occur, many deal with pain, suffering, and emotional anguish resulting from the abuse and are at a higher risk for suicide. These victims deserve compensation in all the ways they suffer.

When bringing a personal injury claim for compensation, victims can recover for both economic and non-economic damages, including:

  • Hospitalization bills
  • Prescription drug costs
  • Physical therapy
  • Mental healthcare such as therapy or counseling
  • Other medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Mental Anguish
  • Punitive damages (in some cases)

You are not alone. Let our nursing home neglect lawyers help you get justice through the legal system. Contact us now to schedule your free case review.

What can an Alabama nursing home neglect attorney do to help my case?

The experienced Alabama nursing home abuse lawyers at Mezrano Law Firm are here to help you learn and understand what your loved one’s rights are and inform you of your legal options in pursuing justice. We can assist you in filing a complaint against the facility, and we will officially inform the nursing home of the abuse and neglect allegations.

We will work with medical experts who can testify about your loved one's injuries and the accepted standard of care for a nursing facility and work with you to get a settlement for your loved one's injuries. You can be confident that we will make sure those who should be held responsible, are.

The Alabama nursing home abuse lawyers you can trust

At Mezrano Law Firm, we are here to fight for your loved one’s rights when they have been subject to nursing home abuse or neglect. With offices in Birmingham, Mobile, Montgomery, Florence, Gadsden, and Tuscaloosa, we are here to serve you. You can call 205-206-6300 or fill out our contact form and schedule your free initial consultation with a compassionate Alabama nursing home abuse lawyer.

If you have a case, you have a lawyer. Call us now to learn more about what we can do for you.

Contact our nursing home abuse attorneys today for a free and confidential case evaluation to see if you qualify and what your claim may be worth.

Resources:
1National Institute on Aging (NIA). (29 July 2020). Spotting the Signs of Elder Abuse. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Retrieved 26 January 2022.
2Bailey, Melissa and Aleccia, JoNel. (9 April 2019). Lethal Plans: When Seniors Turn To Suicide In Long-Term Care.Kaiser Family Foundation. Retrieved 26 January 2022.
3National Institute on Aging (NIA). (29 July 2020). Elder Abuse. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Retrieved 26 January 2022.

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