Riverside Nursing Home Negligence Lawyers
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Riverside Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys
As our parents and grandparents age, it is often difficult to handle their needs at home. When it becomes impossible to manage home care, we often must place them into skilled nursing facilities.
Once you’ve found a suitable nursing home in Riverside and placed your loved one in its care, you expect the facility staff to care for your loved one in a dignified, caring, and responsible manner. Unfortunately, nursing home negligence is far more prevalent than we care to think, and that means our loved ones are at risk.
If you or a loved one suffered abuse or neglect at a nursing home, please call the Riverside nursing home negligence lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys today. We have recovered more than $500 million for our clients over the years, an indication of how hard we work on behalf of the injured that we represent. Nobody should mistreat you or a loved one in a Riverside nursing home. If they have, calling our Riverside personal injury lawyers could empower you to hold them accountable.
AGING WILL BRING MORE NURSING HOME CASESAcross the United States, the number of people who were over the age of 65 in the late 2010s was 16 percent of the overall population. This number is expected to grow to nearly 20 percent by the year 2025. In fact, the prediction is that by 2035, there will be more senior citizens than children living in the United States. Recent statistics show that around 15 percent of California’s population is over the age of 65. California is home to more than 1,200 licensed long-term nursing facilities, which serve as homes for more than 400,000 residents. Approximately 58 percent of all residents are women, which makes sense since women tend to live longer than men. While statistics show numbers, remember that these numbers represent our families and friends. Riverside contains 50 licensed long-term nursing homes. As medical care improves and technology expands, there is an anticipated increase in life expectancy, meaning we can expect more, not fewer, residents in nursing homes in California. This also means that we may see an increase in instances of nursing home negligence.
WHAT CONSTITUTES RIVERSIDE NURSING HOME NEGLIGENCE?In California, a medical practitioner is “negligent” if he or she “fails to use the level of skill, knowledge, and care in diagnosis and treatment that other reasonably careful medical practitioners of his/her specialty would use in the same or similar circumstances.” (CACI 501.) When a nursing home fails to provide appropriate care, the result is negligence. Furthermore, California’s Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act defines “neglect” as the failure to “use the degree of care that a reasonable person in the same situation would have use in providing for [the patient’s] basic needs.” (CACI 3103; Welf. & Inst. Code, section 15610.57.) While definitions ar quite similar, it is important to remember that negligence in a nursing home setting may vary in both the type of negligence and the scope of the negligence. Some examples of negligence include:
- Failure to address the medication needs of a patient
- Failure to address the personal hygiene needs of a patient
- Failure to see to the medical needs of a patient
ENSURING LOVED ONES’ SAFETY IN RIVERSIDE NURSING HOMESWhen you have no options left, you may have to decide to place your loved one in a skilled nursing facility to ensure that he or she gets proper care and remains safe. Because negligence is a serious problem in such facilities, you should be aware of potential signs that your loved one may be suffering from neglect. One of the reasons your loved one may be a victim of negligence is understaffing. While California’s Patient Care Policies and Procedures clarifies the standard of care that all facilities must meet, the code also has minimum staffing requirements. These requirements are often unmet due to various waivers that may have been issued, or because some staff members may have called out sick during a shift. Since the fact is that not all nursing homes live up to the legal standards that bind them, family members should make it a priority to ensure that their loved ones are not victims of negligence. Some signs to watch for include:
- Signs of poor nutrition, including unexplained weight loss
- Untreated health conditions, such as infections
- Bedsores, which may be a sign your loved one is not being moved often enough
- Bruising or broken bones from falls
- Poor personal hygiene, including dirty hair, uncut nails, or dirty clothing
- Insufficient lighting
- Signs of poor upkeep or sanitation, like rodents or bugs
- Inconsistent room temperatures (too hot, too cold)
- Lack of assistive devices, such as walkers, hearing aids or other items
- Signs of dehydration
HOW CAN NEGLIGENCE LEAD TO ABUSE IN RIVERSIDE NURSING HOMES?The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines elder abuse. This definition states that elder abuse is an “intentional act, or failure to act, by a caregiver or another person in a relationship involving an expectation of trust that causes or creates a risk of harm to an older adult.” Unfortunately, elder abuse is one of the least studied types of abuse due to the various issues surrounding obtaining solid information. However, the CDC does categorize elder abuse in all types of settings, including private homes, long-term care facilities, and nursing homes, as:
- Physical – Any type of abuse that results in pain to the subject of the abuse. Warning signs may include torn skin, bruising, cuts, wounds that are not healing, or other signs of physical trauma.
- Emotional – While often more difficult to identify than physical abuse, patients can suffer emotional trauma as a result of being insulted, yelled at, or threatened with losing their rights to interact with other patients. Emotional distress can result in unusual changes to someone’s personality, depression, anxiety, fear, and unexplained weight loss.
- Neglect – Signs of neglect include bedsores, pain due to a lack of medication, poor or neglected personal hygiene, and more.
- Sexual – This type of abuse is one of the most challenging for families to deal with. Patients who are sexually abused may initially show signs of emotional abuse, which can confuse the issue. In addition to the signs of other forms of abuse, you should ensure that your loved one is not showing signs of genital infections, bleeding, or bruising on the arms, chest, or groin. Torn clothing or underwear may also be evident in these cases.
- Financial – Because seniors are often vulnerable to financial exploitation, family members should always be attentive to the financial status of their loved ones. Even when someone is a resident of a nursing home, he or she can still fall prey to financial abuse. Be wary of sudden increases in fees, drastic changes in services performed, and for items missing from their personal belongings. From time to time, you should verify that your loved one’s finances are not showing signs of missing funds, lost or stolen ATM cards, or missing checkbooks, and be wary if you are suddenly asked to help your loved one modify his or her will.
INFECTIOUS DISEASES AND NURSING HOMES, INCLUDING COVID-19When the COVID-19 (coronavirus) was first identified in the United States, it appeared in a nursing home in Seattle, Washington. Since this outbreak, California nursing homes have confirmed that more than 2,100 residents and staff members have lost their lives to the virus. Unfortunately, this number may actually constitute an underestimate, and we currently do not know how many patients or staff members may be carrying the virus and remain asymptomatic. One of the challenges that this pandemic has forced us to reckon with is limited face-to-face visitations with our loved ones. The CDC has continued to recommend that nursing homes not allow family and friends to visit their loved ones to help protect the most vulnerable population. Not only has this placed an unprecedented amount of stress on family members, but it may also result in more abuse or neglect, since many facilities are working short-staffed due to staff illness and loved ones can’t monitor their work. This is a time when family members should be more vigilant than ever about communicating either via cell phone or video conference with their loved ones. Currently, it is impossible to determine the long-term impact of COVID-19 on our loved ones, but if you recently lost a loved one and believe it was related to poor infection control, you should consider speaking with an experienced nursing home attorney to determine if there are steps you can take to recover any losses that you may have experienced.
FILING COMPLAINTS AFTER IDENTIFYING NEGLIGENCE OR ABUSEWhenever you believe that your loved one has been a victim of any type of abuse, you should take the necessary steps to have the facility and staff member investigated. Initially, you may wish to contact the facility and file a formal complaint. However, if you feel you are not getting truthful answers, you should take the necessary steps to report your concerns. Should your loved one undergo bodily or sexual assault, or you believe that he or she is missing property, you can report this to law enforcement for an investigation. Do not hesitate to document dangerous conditions that may indicate negligence. You should also make sure you document issues like poor hygiene, cuts and bruises, and other signs of mistreatment, while using care to protect your loved one’s dignity. Depending on how open your loved one is with you, you may photograph instances of abuse, but at the very least, you should make notes pertaining to anything you see that raises concern, including the dates of such incidents. Also, remember that other parties are responsible for reporting signs or suspicions of senior neglect or abuse. Indeed, under California law, “[a]ny person who has assumed full or intermittent responsibility for care or custody of an elder or dependent adult, whether or not that person receives compensation, including administrators, supervisors, and any licensed staff of a public or private facility that provides care or services for elder or dependent adults, or any elder or dependent adult care custodian, health practitioner, or employee of a county adult protective services agency or local law enforcement agency is a mandated reporter.” The Welfare and Institutions Code further clarifies this information.
STEPS YOU SHOULD TAKE AFTER REPORTING ABUSE OR NEGLECTIf your loved one is not in immediate danger, physically or emotionally, you should seek the guidance of a lawyer who has experience handling nursing home abuse and negligence cases. Some ways in which an attorney can help include:
- Making sure your loved one’s rights are protected
- Ensuring the proper parties are notified of a potential problem
- Putting the facility on notice that it is under investigation
YOUR RIVERSIDE NURSING HOME NEGLIGENCE QUESTIONS ANSWEREDAs we age, so do our elderly loved ones. Whether it’s your parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or another relative, at some point, your family might decide that it is best to move your loved one to a nursing home so that he or she can receive full-time care. This decision may prove gut-wrenching for families. You want the best for your elderly loved ones, and often that means finding nursing homes for them. It’s not fair to you to put your life on hold to care for an elderly loved one around the clock, but finding the right nursing home can present challenges. We have all read stories about bad apples in nursing homes who abuse and neglect residents. Over 1,000 licensed nursing homes exist in California. The vast majority of nursing home workers truly care for their residents and do what they can to ensure the safety of and proper care for each of them. When you decide to place your elderly loved one in a nursing home, your journey doesn’t end there. As you care for and visit your loved one, you need to keep an eye out for certain warning signs that might suggest abuse or neglect. You owe it to your loved one to remain vigilant. If you do suspect abuse or neglect, then you should speak with an experienced Riverside nursing home negligence lawyer as soon as possible. If your loved one is suffering from neglect, the longer you delay, the more that he or she will suffer.
WHAT IS NURSING HOME NEGLIGENCE?Nursing home negligence comes in many forms; essentially, it is the failure to provide proper care to a resident. Most nursing home employees treat residents with respect and provide them with proper care; these employees wouldn’t even think of abusing residents. However, some employees do take advantage of residents, and some nursing home facilities fail to properly screen employees for prior bad acts. Not only could a nursing home employee be liable for the neglect of your loved one, so too could the facility. It’s important to uncover the details surrounding the neglect and abuse of your elderly loved one so that your Riverside nursing home negligence attorney can use that information to support your case. There are three main categories of nursing home abuse: (1) emotional; (2) sexual; and (3) physical. Some instances of abuse are easier to notice than others; that’s why you should always keep a close eye on your elderly loved one’s physical and mental condition. Once you discover abuse or neglect, you should take steps to change your loved one’s circumstances. Reach out to our Riverside nursing home lawyers as soon as you suspect anything; he or she can explain recommended steps and all of the options for dealing with:
- Emotional abuse. Emotional abuse occurs when nursing home staff members degrade residents, including threatening them and treating them in a less than humane manner. Emotional abuse often causes residents to socially distance themselves from family members and appear uncomfortable when they visit.
- Sexual abuse. Sexual abuse occurs in nursing homes when staff members take advantage of residents who lack mental capacity or otherwise do not fully understand what is happening. Oftentimes, sexual abuse coincides with theft.
- Physical abuse. Physical abuse may seem like the easiest type of abuse to spot, but that does not prevent some nursing home staff from misbehaving. Physical abuse can result from frustrated or overworked staff members, and it often coincides with emotional abuse.
WHAT ARE THE COMMON SIGNS OF RIVERSIDE NURSING HOME NEGLIGENCE?There are many signs of nursing home negligence. Abusive staff members will try their best to cover up any visible signs that family members may notice during a visit. Staff might also insist on being present during a family visit. This is a key sign to watch out for when you visit your loved one. If any staff member refuses to leave you alone or answers many of the questions that you direct to your loved one, you should suspect nursing home negligence. Other signs of potential abuse or neglect include:
- Sudden weight loss
- Poor hygiene
- Torn clothes
- Dirty clothes
- Dirty living area
- Broken bones
- Missing items
- Unexplained checks or cash withdrawals
- Behavioral changes
WHY WOULD SOMEONE ABUSE MY ELDERLY LOVED ONE?Over one million people in the United States reside in nursing homes. The vast majority of these residents receive proper medical care and regular attention, but if you suspect that your elderly loved one is the victim of nursing home negligence, you should take action. If you confirm any abuse, you should focus on getting your loved one out of his or her current facility and into a more supportive and caring situation. Nursing home negligence occurs for myriad reasons. Sometimes, through no fault of their own, elderly residents may act a certain way that frustrates staff members, who then retaliate. There is no excuse for abusing an elderly person. In such instances, abusers should be reported and held accountable. Another example of negligence involves poor nursing home management. Before hiring new staff members, facilities should run thorough background checks. They should also provide clear training and hold bad apples accountable. Poor management often results in staff members not understanding the full scope of their duties. It can also result in bad hires, leading to inexperienced staff feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, resulting in abuse and neglect of residents.
HOW CAN I PROVE RIVERSIDE NURSING HOME NEGLIGENCE?Hire us to investigate. Proving your loved one has suffered abuse or neglect at the hands of a nursing home facility or a specific staff member can present challenges. The facility and staff member might try to cover up any wrongdoing. They may falsify documents and records. They may even create a situation where your loved one feels threatened and thus will not speak up against them. No matter what the negligent parties do, you must charge ahead. Your loved one is depending on you for help. You can help the most by working with a trusted nursing home negligence lawyer in Riverside, who can prove that your loved one suffered abuse at a nursing home. When you work an experienced nursing home negligence attorney, you can work together to review the evidence and build a case using some of the following examples of valuable evidence:
- Resident records
- Witness testimony
- Video footage
WHAT OUTCOME SHOULD WE EXPECT FROM OUR RIVERSIDE NURSING HOME NEGLIGENCE CASE?The outcome for your loved one will depend on who contributed to the nursing home negligence and what all it entailed. Individual staff members may face liability for your loved one’s suffering if they acted in such a way to physically, sexually, or financially abuse your loved one. This abuse is most often intentional, which means the state may also choose to file criminal charges. While criminal charges will help to remove the bad employee from the nursing home, they will not help your loved one recover from his or her injuries. Filing a negligence claim against an individual employee and a nursing home facility is your best bet to help your loved one recover completely. It’s possible that the facility knew or should have known of the dangers posed to your loved one, and because it failed to take appropriate action, it could face liability for your loved one’s suffering and damages. An attorney can help you hold nursing home facilities liable for the following:
- Negligent hiring
- Improper or inadequate training of staff
- Failure to provide security for residents
- Failure to monitor staff
- Failure to provide proper medical care and attention to residents
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- False imprisonment
- Financial loss
- Medical bills
WHAT DOES A NURSING HOME ABUSE LAWYER DO FOR ME?Your lawyer’s top priority is the best interests of your elderly loved one, which may include removing him or her from a toxic and harmful situation. At Gomez Trial Attorneys, we can help you hold the negligent parties liable for your loved one’s suffering and also help to collect damages to cover the costs of the care needed to get your loved one back to normal. Many nursing homes are run by large corporations, with big teams of lawyers and insurance companies ready to mount a defense. These companies are not focused on protecting your loved one. When it comes to light that nursing home abuse has occurred and that your loved one has suffered, the insurance company will likely contact you and offer you a quick settlement. It does this hoping that you accept the offer, which will conclude your case. Unfortunately, this quick offer is not usually in your loved one’s best interest. The insurance company just hopes that you take it regardless, but in reality, the settlement offer likely will not include enough money to give your loved one the care he or she needs to make a complete recovery. If you take the settlement offer and later realize the funds were not enough to cover all the costs, you won’t have the option to seek additional compensation from the insurance company. Most settlement offers contain language that prohibits claimants from bringing any future claims. This is a terrible situation, but one that can be avoided by using the right Riverside nursing home abuse lawyer. Negotiating a settlement presents unique challenges, especially with elderly nursing home residents. By working with an experienced Riverside nursing home negligence attorney, you can rest assured knowing that you have protected your loved one’s best interests. If you suspect your loved one has been the victim of nursing home negligence, speak with our skilled Riverside nursing home negligence lawyers today.
CALL OUR RIVERSIDE NURSING HOME LAWYERS TODAYSadly, elder abuse is a serious concern in Riverside, and one that nobody should take lightly. Statistics pertaining to elder neglect and abuse are sobering. If you fear that your loved one is being neglected or abused by the staff of a skilled nursing facility, contact Gomez Trial Attorneys immediately, let us review the information you have, and allow us to help you hold the facility accountable. You can reach us by calling (619) 237-3490, or contact us online, and we will review your case and help you determine the best way to move forward. We understand in some cases, moving your loved one to another facility is the fastest way for you to protect him or her. Should this become necessary, you should not bear the financial costs associated with such a move, and we will try to help you seek compensation for the pain and suffering of your loved one and the costs associated with getting them to a safe location.
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