Proving Nursing Home Injuries

Elder abuse, otherwise known as nursing home abuse, entails some form of damages incurred by an elderly individual, or patient, while under the complete or partial care and supervision of nursing home staff or medical professionals involved in elderly care.  Unfortunately, the relevancy of elder abuse stems from the great risks faced by elderly individuals, who may no longer be able to sufficiently care for themselves and rely on the assistance of nursing homes and other assisted living facilities. 

Types of Damages Associated with Nursing Home Injuries

These patient relationships, in which elderly and vulnerable patients are under the duty of care of a relatively underpaid, under-trained and overworked group of workers, leads to numerous instances of abuse, including criminal assault and abuse, neglect, failure to maintain a reasonable level of care, and other forms of abuse of varying degrees of severity.  A brief list of damages associated with neglect, abuse, and other failures of elderly care facilities and employees, include:

Medical/Health Complications

Medical complications, including worsening conditions experienced by elderly patients or medical issues onset following abuse or neglect.  Common injuries noted in abuse cases, including bed sores, rashes, malnutrition, dehydration, infectious disease, bacterial infections, and other forms of injuries, such as fractures and strains from abusive treatment.

Emotional Damages

Emotional, mental, and psychological damages, resultant from the vulnerable position faced by the elderly, who are still very aware of the pain, suffering, and abuse they are experiencing.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse, which can lead to both medical damages, as well as the aforementioned psychological trauma

Financial Abuse

Financial abuse, which may include actions by nursing home staff to misuse, misappropriate, or steal money and other financial valuable items from nursing home patients via theft or through other means, such as abuse of power, fraud, or other schemes preying on the vulnerability of the elderly patient

Wrongful Death

Death, which is often the result of prolonged neglect, physical abuse, or forms of medical malpractice, such as prescription drug errors or failure to address existing medical issues as they arise, contrary to a patient’s wishes

Determining Nursing Home Neglect

Determining nursing home neglect requires initially statements from patients noting the conditions and situations they face while under the care of medical or nursing home employees.  Injuries, damages, financial transaction records, witness statements, videotape footage, and other medical issues can corroborate these claims outright, or prove indicative of existing neglect or abuse. 

For example, a common issue noted in nursing home neglect cases involve medical injuries, such as bed sores, unhealed injuries, and protracted medical conditions that are easily resolved through a reasonable level of care, which if present, all may show some form of neglect has occurred.  Aside from physical evidence of medical trauma, other forms of abuse, such as financial abuse, require investigation into personal financial records and other documents.  The main problem with determining nursing home abuse, however, is with the victims themselves in many cases. 

Many elderly individuals fail to report abuse or neglect, due to a variety of reasons, including avoiding future and further reprisal abuse, avoiding placing additional burden on family members, or simply accepting the abuse as part of their elderly and aging condition.  Furthermore, relatives and family members may simply not be around to witness or hear claims indicative of ongoing abuse.  However, once a claim of abuse has been made, the process of establishing the veracity of these claims, procuring evidence against abusers or neglectors, and prosecuting these individuals is relatively easy with the assistance of an attorney.      

Claims Stemming from Nursing Home Abuse

Not only can attorney assist with filing criminal charges against abusive nursing home facilities and employees, but also, damage awards may be obtained for injuries and losses sustained through the civil courts.  Following abuse incidents and other forms of nursing home abuse resulting in damages, an attorney on behalf of an elderly victim can file suit against responsible parties and hold them financially accountable for their abusive actions or neglect. 

If you are a family member concerned about an elderly loved one, who may be the victim of elder abuse, neglect, or financial fraud, there are legal remedies outside of the criminal court system, which can result in large financial settlements for victims.  These settlements not only provide compensation to victims, but almost as importantly, can be used effectively to hinder the future operations of nursing home facilities or staffers engaged in abusive or neglectful practices.