Middletown nursing home negligencePlacing an aging family member in a nursing home or assisted living facility is often the last resort that’s only taken when it becomes necessary. In the best-case scenario, nursing homes are uniquely equipped to provide older adults with a safe environment, quality medical treatment, and responsible caregivers.

Unfortunately, nursing home residents may also suffer abuse or neglect, especially in facilities that are understaffed or don’t have properly trained employees. The worst part is that older adults often can’t advocate for themselves or speak up about neglect in time to avoid serious injuries, illnesses, or even premature death.

Realizing that your loved one is experiencing harm at the hands of the professionals you trusted is a devastating situation that many Middletown families have had to experience.

At Finkelstein & Partners, we’ve seen firsthand the heartbreaking consequences of elder abuse at long-term care facilities. Our team of Middletown nursing home negligence lawyers has decades of experience helping families navigate the legal system to protect their loved ones and hold neglectful caregivers accountable.

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Experienced Middletown Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers

Suffering a nursing home injury due to negligence comes with substantial costs for victims and their families, including medical bills, the expenses of relocating to a better facility, and non-economic damages like pain and suffering. The most tragic elder neglect cases may become fatal, leaving families with funeral and burial costs and the considerable emotional damages of losing a loved one.

When care facilities fail to fulfill their basic duties, they should be held responsible under New York State law. Legal action in a civil case against negligent nursing homes can be taken by the resident or their legal guardians, such as a spouse or adult child.

If you have reason to believe nursing home employees have abused your family member, the team at Finkelstein & Partners has the skills and resources to investigate what happened, gather solid evidence and help you recover compensation. We know that the stakes are very high in this situation, especially if your loved one is still at risk, and we’ll do everything possible to advocate for your family.

In some of our team’s past legal nursing home negligence victories, we recovered:

  • $2.25 million as compensation for the preventable death of a nursing home resident after her facility ignored medical instructions about her diet.
  • $400,000 as compensation for a bedridden resident that developed a severe bed sore because nursing home employees failed to reposition him regularly.
  • $205,000 settlement for a resident with dementia that became dangerously dehydrated and needed hospitalization due to caregiver neglect.
  • $200,000 for our 85-year-old patient whose understaffed facility failed to follow the proper protocol for avoiding bed sores.
  • $175,000 settlement for a 76-year-old nursing resident who was wheelchair bound and suffered an above-knee amputation due to preventable pressure sores.

What Counts as Nursing Home Negligence?

All human beings deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, especially when they’re as vulnerable as nursing home residents. New York State laws require elders care facilities to provide an adequate standard of care as described in the state’s Nursing Home Resident Bill of Rights, which includes a comfortable living environment and freedom from mental, physical, verbal, or sexual abuse.

There are many types of neglect that can happen when older adults don’t have responsible caregivers, the most common being “passive neglect .”This negligence may not be intentional and often happens due to underlying problems with the facility, such as not having enough employees to look after all the residents or not training employees with the skills to meet the physical and emotional needs of elderly adults.

While neglect in these facilities will often be passive, that doesn’t change the extreme harm nursing home residents suffer when they don’t receive adequate care. Any form of negligence can lead to serious injuries, a deterioration of the resident’s health, and even wrongful death. Abuse in nursing homes can include:

Physical Neglect

Physical abuse can include a wide range of harmful actions that affect the resident’s physical wellbeing, such as neglecting their basic personal care by not properly bathing them, not providing clean clothes, and not changing bandages or adult diapers often enough. Physical abuse also includes improperly restraining residents and any form of violence, such as hitting, punching, pinching, or force-feeding them.

Emotional Neglect

Providing positive social support is a major part of being a caregiver for older adults. Emotional abuse can include threats, ignoring the resident, yelling at them or speaking to them harshly, causing intentional embarrassment, or leaving them alone for an excessively long time. This type of abuse is harder to detect than physical neglect, but it can have a lasting, harmful impact on older adults, including emotional distress, anxiety, and poor mental health.

Overall Neglect

Nursing home residents have a range of needs that must be met round-the-clock for them to stay well. Caregivers can neglect older adults by not providing adequate meals, failing to administer medication properly, not monitoring for health problems that may need medical attention, or not providing proper supervision. Residents that suffer from dementia are at particular risk of hurting themselves by falling or wandering out of the facility.

Bed Sores

One of the most devastating forms of negligence is allowing bedridden or wheelchair-bound residents to develop bed sores, also known as pressure sores. This injury is so serious, painful, and potentially life-threatening that there’s a federally-mandated protocol to treat bed sores effectively and prevent them from becoming critical. Nursing homes can be liable for failing to provide proper bed sore care, including monitoring the skin of at-risk residents, repositioning them regularly, and keeping the resident as clean and dry as possible.

What to Do if You Suspect Your Loved One Is Being Abused

Nursing home negligenceDepending on the type of neglect your family member is suffering, the signs of nursing home abuse can be easy to miss. Some residents won’t be able to express themselves or won’t have the awareness that they’re experiencing abuse. The best advice for families is to trust your gut and become your loved one’s advocate whenever possible.

Pay attention to anything about the nursing home that doesn’t seem right to you, such as dirty or unsafe conditions and unprofessional staff behavior. Monitor your loved one for signs of abuse, such as excessive weight loss, unexplained bruises or discoloration, poor personal hygiene, and health problems that aren’t properly treated. Other signs include emotional or mental changes in their personality, such as being withdrawn, anxious, or depressed and having tense interactions with caregivers.

If you observe red flags that make you feel uneasy, don’t hesitate to do something about it, which can include:

  1. In an emergency, call 911: If you have reason to believe your family member is in danger, call emergency services immediately. Police and medical professionals will be able to provide any necessary interventions to help your loved one in an urgent situation. Also, the incident would be documented in an official report.
  2. Talk to the nursing home’s director: Share your concerns with authority figures in the facility that can take steps to improve your loved one’s care. Take detailed notes of everything discussed in the conversation, including the reasons you suspect neglect and any actions that will be taken by the nursing home to address these concerns. In general, you should begin documenting your observations of the abuse with notes, photos, and videos.
  3. Report the abuse: The New York Department of Health is in charge of regulating nursing homes and has an office dedicated to investigating complaints about negligence. You won’t have to prove the abuse at this stage of the process. You can make the report just to make sure that it’s investigated and that the investigation becomes part of your family member’s record. Make your report online or call the nursing home complaint hotline at 1-888-201-4563.
  4. Take your family member to a safer environment: If you’re worried about your family member remaining in the facility and you’re in a position to move them somewhere else, transfer your loved one to a better place, whether it’s another nursing home or under family care.
  5. Contact an experienced nursing home abuse attorney: To protect your family member’s legal rights, you may want to reach out to an attorney that understands nursing home negligence cases and can begin investigating the facility’s caregiving standards.

Nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other institutions for elder care have a legal obligation to provide residents with a specific standard of care. Failing to screen or train employees, maintain a safe environment or follow appropriate medical guidelines are all grounds for potential liability if a resident gets hurt.

While poorly run facilities can be held legally responsible, winning a nursing home negligence case can be complicated. Nursing homes and their insurance companies have plenty of resources to spend on their legal defense and a lot of different strategies to avoid or minimize liability for injured residents. Under the law, it’s not enough to prove that the victim suffered an injury at the facility or that their health deteriorated while in the nursing home’s care. After all, as defense lawyers will argue, older adults often have declining health.

Recovering compensation for the victim’s damages will require a skilled nursing home negligence attorney that can present solid evidence that the facility neglected the victim’s care, caused their injuries, and should be liable for the resulting damages.

The legal standard for nursing home negligence includes four elements that have to be met:

  1. The nursing home owed the victim a duty of care: The legal definition of negligence is based on the facility’s responsibility to provide residents with reasonable care according to accepted standards. Your personal injury lawyer can establish this element by using the nursing home’s contract outlining the promised care for residents and the guidelines in New York State’s nursing home resident’s bill of rights or referring to accepted practices in the nursing home industry.
  2. The nursing home breached this duty with negligence: The attorney has to show evidence of how the victim’s care deviated from appropriate standards, such as not following the bed sore protocol, having an inadequate staff-to-resident ratio, or allowing a resident with dementia to leave the facility and hurt themselves.
  3. The nursing home’s negligence caused the victim harm: Attorneys will often use the testimony of medical experts and other specialists to show a direct correlation between the liable facility’s actions and any injury or illness the patient suffered.
  4. The nursing home’s negligence caused the victim’s damages: A successful negligence case would have to prove specific harms the victim and their family suffered due to receiving substandard care, which the liable party would have to compensate. Damages can include the cost of necessary medical treatments that resulted from the injury as well as non-economic emotional damages like physical pain and suffering or emotional distress. In the case of a preventable death caused by nursing home abuse, the victim’s surviving family members can pursue compensation for wrongful death. New York State courts may also award punitive damages for the most egregious case of neglect.

How Do We Help Middletown Families Affected By Nursing Home Abuse?

Pursuing compensation from negligent nursing homes is about more than just compensating the affected family for the financial burden and emotional pain of their loved one’s abuse. Taking legal action also draws attention to the problems of substandard elder care, forcing facilities to make the necessary changes to improve treatment for their residents.

The New York personal injury team at Finkelstein & Partners is committed to fighting for Middletown families facing this heartbreaking situation. We’ll use every resource at our disposal to prove the nursing home’s negligence and recover the maximum compensation for the victim’s damages, whether by sitting down at the negotiation table with insurers or filing a lawsuit in civil court.

Contact us at (845) 344-4855 for your free consultation. We’re happy to discuss your case and your best legal options. Our nursing home abuse attorneys work on contingency, which means we only collect a fee after winning the case, so you need not fear racking up legal bills to help your loved one.