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California Nursing Home Negligence Attorneys

California Nursing Home Negligence Attorneys

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California Nursing Home Negligence Attorneys

The experienced California nursing home negligence lawyers of Gomez Trial Attorneys represent victims of nursing home negligence and their families in holding nursing homes legally accountable for a resident’s injuries. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

As the elders we love go through their golden years, they often need assistance with their daily routines. At some point, many families must choose the best way to provide this help. One common solution is to move a senior citizen into a nursing home.

Nursing home residents and their families rightfully expect nursing homes to deliver exceptional care. Sadly, that does not always happen. Some facilities and caregivers fail to provide a standard of care that meets minimum requirements under California law. Whether intentional or accidental on the part of the nursing home staff and management, this negligence can harm residents, and can even leave them severely or fatally injured.

Nursing home negligence devastates victims and their families physically, emotionally, and financially. California law offers victims a pathway to hold negligent facilities and caregivers accountable for their actions.

About Gomez Trial Attorneys’ California Nursing Home Lawyers

Gomez Trial Attorneys is a law firm that represents people who have suffered harm because of someone else’s wrongful decisions or actions. With offices throughout Southern California, our team fights to hold individual, corporate, and government wrongdoers accountable for the injuries and losses they inflict on innocent victims.

One of the most significant parts of our legal practice involves representing nursing home residents and their families who have suffered because of a facility’s negligent actions. We firmly believe that no nursing home resident should ever endure the profound and devastating harm that flows from neglect. Our team has the experience, resources, and know-how to act quickly to protect nursing home residents’ health and safety, and to make negligent nursing facilities pay fair compensation for their misdeeds.

The results show—we have recovered more than $500 million on behalf of injured clients since award-winning attorney John Gomez founded Gomez Trial Attorneys in 2005. Now we would like to help you.

About California Nursing Home Negligence

Nursing homes take on an important responsibility in providing assisted living and medical services for vulnerable residents. A critical component of that responsibility consists of ensuring that residents receive appropriate care and attention for their circumstances. Residents and their families have every right to expect—and, in fact, to demand—that a nursing home will deliver this care and attention 24/7/365.

As lawyers, we say a nursing home has acted negligently when it fails in its fundamental duty to deliver reasonable care and attention to a resident. Failure can take a variety of forms, but it is often the result of nursing homes under budgetary strain cutting corners on equipment, upkeep, staffing, or staff training.

Examples of nursing home negligence that can harm a resident include the failure to:

  • Provide adequate nutrition and hydration;
  • Assist residents who need help eating and drinking;
  • Conduct necessary physical therapy exercises;
  • Reposition residents in beds and wheelchairs, to prevent bedsores;
  • Supervise and assist residents in their daily activities, including (when necessary) when residents need to use restrooms or bathe, need help getting in and out of bed or wheelchairs, and when residents interact with each other;
  • Administer and monitor prescription and over-the-counter medications;
  • Follow best practices for hiring caregivers;
  • Provide adequate, consistent, and regular training to staff;
  • Provide access to medical and dental treatment when needed;
  • Repair broken or aging equipment, fixtures, and facilities;
  • Take reasonable steps to prevent the introduction of infectious diseases, such as COVID-19 and Legionnaires’ disease, into the facility; and
  • To clean and (when necessary) sterilize facilities.

These are just some examples of potentially negligent conduct, of course. Virtually any type of conduct could constitute negligence on the part of a nursing home if it fails to live up to a reasonable standard of care and results in harm to a resident. Contact the team at Gomez Trial Attorneys today to discuss whether an incident or situation at a California nursing home constituted negligence.

Signs of Nursing Home Negligence

It is not always easy to tell when a nursing home has engaged in negligent conduct that harmed a resident. Nursing facilities often care for ill patients. Elderly people, generally, face higher risks of deteriorating health, falls, and other medical complications. Even the most on-the-ball California nursing home cannot keep residents completely healthy all of the time.

Still, there is a big difference between an elderly nursing home resident’s health declining because of natural causes, and harm coming to that resident because of preventable, careless action (or inaction) on the part of the nursing home.

Signs that a nursing home resident may have suffered harm due to negligence can include:

  • Unexplained injuries such as bruises and cuts, especially when suffered in a fall;
  • Bedsores and other physical deterioration related to lack of physical movement;
  • Marked psychological decline that does not have an obvious medical explanation, such as sudden anxiety, depression, or self-isolation;
  • Worsening health conditions that are treatable with medication, therapy, or other care;
  • A resident’s lack of personal hygiene;
  • Dirty or unsafe living conditions, including unswept floors, unpleasant smells, extreme ambient temperatures, missing handrails, and broken equipment;
  • Complaints from a resident about the absence of staff, or lack of activity;
  • Inconsistent, vague, or non-existent communication from staff about a resident’s condition; and
  • Multiple residents sickened with the same illness, such as COVID-19.

At Gomez Trial Attorneys, we encourage residents and family members to trust their gut when it comes to suspecting nursing home negligence. If something seems off about the care delivered or attention paid to a resident at a California nursing facility, then family members have every right to question what is going on. The experienced nursing home injury lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys have the resources and know-how to help.

What to Do if You Suspect Nursing Home Negligence

If you suspect a California nursing home resident is in immediate danger because of negligence, then make it your priority to take all appropriate actions to ensure the resident’s health and safety. That may include calling 911 or the California Long-Term Care Ombudsman’s crisis line at 1-800-231-4024.

In a situation in which you do not suspect immediate danger to a California nursing home resident, we strongly encourage you to make calling an experienced California nursing home abuse attorney your first step.

Here’s why.

The actions you take when you suspect nursing home negligence can bring significant legal consequences to the at-risk resident, the nursing home, and even for you personally. California laws may require you to report suspected harmful nursing home negligence in a specific way. They may also dictate how authorities who receive a report of suspected negligence must respond. And, there is often no telling how nursing homes will respond to a report. They operate subject to strict regulatory guidelines, and a report could jeopardize their license. Will they cover up the abuse or neglect, or do the right thing?

The guidance of an experienced, knowledgeable California nursing home negligence attorney can help to ensure that when people report their suspicions about California nursing home negligence, they do so at a time and in a manner that serves the resident’s best interests while complying with California law.

Lawyers with years of experience representing victims of California nursing home negligence, like the team at Gomez Trial Attorneys, can act quickly (in hours, if need be) to develop a safe, sound, and effective legal strategy for revealing your suspicions of nursing home neglect. Skilled California nursing home abuse lawyers know they have no time to lose, but can also steer clients away from potential mistakes that could impair a resident’s legal rights or make it likely for a nursing home to start covering its tracks and destroying evidence.

Of course, that does not mean you have nothing to do until you speak with a lawyer. To help the lawyer plot a course forward when you meet, you can:

  • Keep meticulous records of conversations with your loved one, caregivers, nursing home administrators, and other staff. You may need them for legal purposes.
  • Take photos of any visible injuries or unsafe conditions you observe at the facility.
  • Keep medical bills related to injuries or illness caused by neglect or abuse, including hospitalization, mental health services, and costs for transferring your loved one to another facility if applicable. These serve as proof of economic loss in the event of a lawsuit.
  • Locate another facility where you could transfer your loved one, if needed. Spend some time researching and visiting other options for your loved one.

Compensation for Nursing Home Negligence

One option a lawyer may recommend in a case of suspected nursing home negligence is for the resident or resident’s legal guardian to take legal action seeking damages from the negligent parties. Nursing home negligence that harms a resident can result in legal liability for the nursing home operator and staff, and for contractors the nursing home hires to provide resident services. Gomez Trial Attorneys has years of experience representing residents in seeking financial compensation in California nursing home negligence cases.

Every matter involving California nursing home negligence that we handle has its own unique facts that affect how much compensation a resident might have the right to receive for negligence-related harm.

However, as a general matter, by taking legal action, residents and their families may have the ability to seek compensation for:

  • Medical treatment costs related to any injury or health complication associated with the negligence, including ambulance and emergency services, hospitalization, diagnostic scans and tests, rehabilitation, pain medication, followup visits, surgery, and aftercare;
  • Estimated future medical treatment costs when nursing home negligence leads to a chronic condition or permanent injury requiring ongoing care and treatment;
  • Costs for assistive devices to help after injury or illness including canes, walkers, and wheelchairs;
  • Costs for mental health services to cope with the emotional trauma of severe illness or injury in a nursing home;
  • Costs of transferring a resident to another nursing home to receive better care, and any difference in cost between the negligent home and the new one;
  • The resident’s pain and suffering; and
  • In some cases, punitive damages when nursing home negligence involves fraud, intentional harm, or gross negligence.

If California nursing home negligence results in the death of a resident, then the resident’s surviving spouse, family members, or legal estate may have the right to seek compensation through a wrongful death action. The damages recoverable in that kind of lawsuit are similar to those above, and in addiction typically cover the victim’s funeral and burial expenses.

Speak with the compassionate, knowledgeable California nursing home injury lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys today to learn about your family’s right to seek compensation through a wrongful death action.

California Nursing Home Negligence FAQ

Choosing to place a loved one in a nursing home is a big, emotionally difficult decision for many California families. Their top priority is to make sure a loved one receives exceptional care and feels safe and comfortable in the California nursing home they select.

Many California nursing facilities provide outstanding care and treat their residents with dignity, respect, and kindness. Unfortunately, other nursing homes do not live up to that standard. Poor administration, strained budgets, and overworked, underpaid caregivers combine to put residents at risk of suffering harm from neglect.

Nursing homes have a responsibility to their residents, which includes protecting them from caregivers who cause harm, regardless of intention. If you suspect or know an elder or vulnerable person you love has suffered harm as a result of a California nursing home’s negligence, then take steps to stop the behavior and contact an experienced California nursing home negligence lawyer at Gomez Trial Attorneys right away.

In the meantime, below we answer some frequently asked questions about California nursing home negligence matters.

What actions constitute nursing home negligence?

Nursing home negligence refers to an array of behaviors or failures that harm nursing home residents, sometimes resulting in death. These failures and behaviors can involve the action or inaction of nursing home staff or administration.

Examples of California nursing home negligence that could harm a resident include:

  • Physical, verbal, and emotional abuse;
  • Failure to provide proper nutrition or hydration for residents;
  • Failure to provide grooming items, clean clothes, and other items related to personal hygiene;
  • Failure to supervise nursing home residents;
  • Failing to intervene or act when caregivers abuse or neglect residents;
  • Poor hiring practices, especially the lack of adequate screening and background checks;
  • Inadequate or incomplete training;
  • Failure to take action related to resident complaints;
  • Failure to provide medical or dental care to residents; and
  • Failure to maintain a clean facility, exposing residents to dangerous and deadly illness and disease.

What rights do California nursing home residents have?

Federal law, California statutes, and California’s Health and Safety Code provide a variety of rights to California nursing home residents.

Under these laws, nursing homes must:

  • Keep residents’ medical records confidential
  • Protect residents’ personal property and money
  • Allow residents to choose their doctor and participate in decisions about treatment
  • Adequately staff the facility
  • Provide residents with good personal hygiene
  • Maintain the facility’s call system
  • Provide the proper quantity of healthy food
  • Reduce cases of incontinence and bedsores
  • Develop an activity program that meets the needs of each resident

How much time do I have to bring a nursing home negligence lawsuit?

California law provides a time limit to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for harm inflicted by California nursing home negligence. The time limit can vary depending on the circumstances, but in most cases, this statute of limitations is two years from the date of the injury. The same time limit generally applies when nursing home negligence leads to the wrongful death of a resident.

Failing to take legal action within the time period set by the statute of limitations usually results in the loss of the legal right to seek compensation. To ensure you do not jeopardize your or your loved one’s legal rights, speak with an experienced California nursing home negligence attorney right away.

What if harm from nursing home negligence is hidden or covered up?

Not all nursing home residents can communicate their illness or injury to nurses, caregivers, or family members, and it is not always obvious that negligence is the cause. In these situations, a California court may make an exception to the time limit for taking legal action under the legal principle of delayed discovery. So, even if nursing home neglect harmed you or your loved one more than two years ago, you may still have significant rights to recover compensation. Speak with an experienced nursing home negligence attorney today to learn more.

How common is harm to residents resulting from nursing home negligence?

Industry experts, academics, and those responsible for federal and state policies and laws related to nursing homes agree that many abused and neglected nursing home residents do not report their situation for fear of retaliation or their inability to communicate. This presents challenges in studying nursing home abuse and neglect. The National Research Council (NRC) completed one large-scale, influential study on elder abuse, which hones-in on long-term care facilities in a portion of their research.

Some key findings that speak to the prevalence of neglect and abuse in nursing homes include:

  • Nursing home residents are more vulnerable than elders who live at home because they must completely depend on the nursing home and their staff to provide care.
  • The more dependent a nursing home resident is on caregivers, the higher risk he or she has for abuse or neglect. Residents who suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease have the greatest likelihood of suffering abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation.
  • In the study, registered nurses (RNs) and certified nursing assistants (CNAs) gave interviews and participated in focus groups. They admitted to yelling at residents, insulting them, using foul language, threatening physical harm, slapping, hitting, pushing, and shoving nursing home residents. Both groups also confessed to excessive use of bed restraints.
  • Focus groups also shared that neglect regularly occurs when nursing homes aren’t properly staffed. The most common neglectful behaviors include failure to carry out physical therapy, such as range of motion exercises, failure to reposition residents in bed or in their wheelchairs, failure to provide water to residents, and failure to assist residents during mealtimes.

What are the common signs and symptoms of abuse and neglect?

As mentioned above, many nursing home residents do not report abuse or neglect out of fear for retaliation from their abuser or the inability to communicate their injuries. If a parent, grandparent, or other vulnerable person you love lives in a California nursing home, watch for common signs and symptoms of abuse and neglect. Noticing signs and symptoms does not automatically mean the resident you love has been abused or neglected. Yet, if you notice any of the following signs, consider further investigation:

Physical signs of abuse and neglect. Physical signs of harm constitute one of the most noticeable signs that your loved one may have suffered harm from negligence in a California nursing home.

The following symptoms often indicate that the resident your love has not received adequate care and attention from nursing home staff:

  • Bedsores can indicate that the staff isn’t repositioning a resident as they should.
  • Abnormal skin color, excessive weight loss, and sunken cheeks and eyes can indicate dehydration and malnourishment.
  • Unexplained bruises, wounds, cuts, and welts often indicate physical abuse and/or the improper use of restraints
  • Body odor consistent with not having bathed, and soiled clothing, indicate poor personal hygiene, often a result of neglect by nursing home caregivers

Behavioral signs of abuse and neglect. Sometimes the physical signs of abuse and neglect stay hidden underneath clothing. Other times, the principal harm the resident suffers is emotional, rather than physical. In either case, nursing home residents trust and rely on their caregivers to help them live in comfort and with dignity. Nurses and nursing assistants who break that trust and abuse them residents cause significant emotional trauma. This sometimes results in noticeable changes in behavior.

The following signs can indicate your loved one has suffered some type of abuse or neglect in the nursing home:

  • Depression;
  • Anxiety and excessive worry;
  • Confusion and disorientation;
  • Withdrawal from social activities that the resident normally takes part in;
  • Fear or hesitation when speaking to you in front of nurses, nursing assistants, and other staff;
  • Commenting about death or suicide;

Signs of financial abuse. Nursing home residents can also suffer financial harm because of wrongdoing at a nursing home.

Signs that can indicate financial harm resulting from California nursing home negligence include:

  • Missing checks or cash if typically kept with resident
  • Missing valuables, such as jewelry and keepsakes
  • Strange charges on debit or credit cards
  • Unauthorized changes of address on bank accounts or brokerage accounts
  • New accounts that you did not open

How do I report nursing home negligence in California?

Report suspected nursing home negligence in California immediately if you believe your loved one is in immediate danger.

To do so, call the police or any of the state agencies below:

  • The California Long-term Care Ombudsman assists nursing home residents with problems and issues related to their care and safety. You can contact them online or call their crisis line at (800) 231-4024.
  • The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) accepts online complaints about healthcare facilities, including those relating to care and cleanliness. You can file a complaint by phone at (800) 822-6222.
  • Adult Protective Services (APS) recommends you call (833) 401-0832 to report nursing home abuse. You will be prompted for your zip code, and they will transfer you to your county APS.

In a case in which you do not believe California nursing home negligence puts your loved one in immediate danger, you can also call the numbers above to report the suspected abuse. However, the team at Gomez Trial Attorneys strongly encourages you to contact an experienced California nursing home abuse and neglect attorney before doing so. Reporting suspected abuse to the authorities has legal consequences for the nursing home and the resident you love. Sometimes, the timing and nature of your report can affect your loved one’s legal rights.

Rather than file a report immediately in that situation, contact a lawyer with years of experience representing victims of California nursing home neglect. The lawyer can act quickly to develop a plan for reporting the abuse that keeps your loved one safe while also protecting your loved one’s rights to the maximum compensation under California law.

Who can bring a lawsuit against the nursing home?

As a general proposition, anyone who suffers harm because of California nursing home negligence can seek compensation for their injuries by taking legal action. In some cases, the victim does not have the capacity to file the lawsuit, and instead, the victim’s legal representative must do so. In the case of a California nursing home resident who dies because of negligence in the facility, the legal right to take action may belong to the victim’s surviving spouse, family members, or a legal representative of the victim’s estate.

Speak with the experienced nursing home negligence injury attorney as soon as possible to learn about your or your family’s right to take action for compensation.

What types of compensation can my loved one receive for injuries from nursing home negligence?

The type and amount of compensation a person might recover through a legal action arising from California nursing home abuse can vary widely depending upon the circumstances.

However, as a general matter, victims of California nursing home negligence may seek compensation to pay for:

  • Medical expenses and the cost of mental health services related to suffering injuries from abuse or neglect, including hospital stays, physical therapy, diagnostic tests, and medication;
  • Expenses related to transferring to another nursing facility, as well as any cost difference if the new facility is more expensive;
  • Estimated future medical expenses when nursing home negligence causes permanent illness or injury;
  • Damages for physical pain and suffering;
  • Damages for emotional pain and suffering; and
  • Punitive damages when abuse or neglect occurs out of malice or recklessness.

The most reliable way to determine the types and amount of compensation you or your loved one may have the right to recover in a California lawsuit seeking damages for nursing home negligence is to speak with an experienced nursing home neglect and abuse attorney as soon as possible.

If the negligence of the staff, management, or contractors at a California nursing home has caused you or a loved one physical, emotional, and/or financial injury, then you likely have rights to significant compensation. Contact an experienced California nursing home negligence lawyer at Gomez Trial Attorneys right away to learn more about the steps to take to ensure the nursing home resident’s safety and to enforce the resident’s legal rights.

Experienced, Knowledgeable, Responsive California Nursing Home Negligence Lawyers

A nursing home is not a place where we put our loved ones to finish out their life. It is a place for the most vulnerable members of our families and communities to receive the care and attention they need and deserve.

We trust California nursing homes and their management, staff, and contractors to provide reasonable, appropriate, and necessary treatment to the residents in their care. Homes that break that trust commit not just a moral wrong, but also a serious legal wrong for which they have an obligation to answer to the resident directly.

Holding negligent California nursing homes and long-term care facilities accountable for their negligent conduct constitutes a core part of our legal practice at Gomez Trial Attorneys. It is a task that requires skill and legal knowledge that many lawyers lack because of their inexperience or unfamiliarity with California nursing home laws and regulations.

If you suspect that negligence in a California nursing home has harmed you or a loved one, then contact our California personal injury lawyers at Gomez Trial Lawyers as soon as possible. We have the know-how and resources to act quickly to assess the situation and advise nursing home residents and their families on the best, most effective, course of action for their circumstances. Reach out to us online or at (619) 237-3490 for a free, confidential, no-obligation case consultation with a knowledgeable, caring California nursing home negligence attorney.

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