Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys
If you have an aging loved one who is living in a nursing facility, you have the right to expect that they will receive quality care while they are a patient or resident there. Sadly, this is not always the case. Aging demographics, industry consolidation and other factors have resulted in many of the nation’s nursing homes being severely understaffed. Staffing shortages, poorly trained staff and/or poorly vetted staff have resulted in a growing number of nursing home abuse and neglect cases.
Nursing home abuse is one of the most underreported types of personal injury. Seniors who are subjected to these conditions often live in isolation, and they typically depend heavily on their abusers to survive. When someone in this situation is mistreated, it is easy to understand why they would not want to report it to anyone. They may fear retribution, and they may also be afraid that no one will believe them. This is why it is very important for family members to pay close attention to the conditions their loved ones are living in when they are residing in a nursing facility.
At Burns, Cunningham & Mackey, P.C., we understand the outrage family members feel when they find out that a nursing home whom they entrusted to look after their aging loved one has violated that trust. We are committed to obtaining justice for our honored elders who have been abused or neglected in nursing homes. Our lawyers have extensive experience in this area of the law, and we work closely with our clients to provide strong legal guidance and moral support, and to help ensure that those responsible for this egregious behavior are held fully accountable.
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect in Alabama and Mississippi
Residents of nursing facilities are at risk for numerous types of injuries resulting from abuse and neglect, some of the most common include:
- Neglect-Related Health Conditions: Because of severe staffing shortages, seniors in nursing homes are susceptible to a wide range of conditions resulting from neglect. These may include bed sores, sepsis, and other severe infections. Another common issue is that residents may receive incompetent medical care, and/or they may not receive medical care for a condition until it is too late. This can result in misdiagnoses or delayed diagnoses, medication errors, breathing tube injuries, and similar hazards.
- Nutritional Deficiencies: Malnutrition and dehydration are common problems among residents of nursing homes. Many seniors are on special diets, and they do not always receive the proper food or drink to maintain their health. This may be due to understaffing or poorly trained staff who either do not know what food and drink the resident is supposed to receive, or they fail to take the time to ensure that the residents consume their entire meal.
- Life-Threatening Injuries: Elderly residents of nursing homes sometimes end up with life threatening injuries such as fractures from falls, severe burns, or injuries related to physical or sexual abuse. Seniors are more fragile and have more brittle bones, making them more susceptible to serious and catastrophic injuries from these types of incidents.
- Fear, Anxiety, and Depression: Nursing home abuse is not always physical. Sometimes, seniors in nursing homes are psychologically abused when staff members verbally harass them or deliberately ignore them. This can result in various types of emotional issues, such as fear and anxiety regarding certain employees or withdrawal and depression because they feel like there is no hope that the situation will change.
- Wrongful Death: Sadly, some nursing home residents who are subjected to abuse or neglect never end up recovering. In such cases, their loved ones deserve to be compensated.
Do You have a Nursing Home Abuse Case?
Deciding whether to take any case is a very serious matter for our firm. We turn down many more cases than we take. This is especially true in potential nursing home abuse cases. Oftentimes, the resident has died, and family members are in our office trying to get an explanation. They went to the nursing home and did not get answers. What happened to dad? He was there for rehabilitation and now he is dead. These family members cannot tell us what happened. We have to get the records to know.
There are some key factors to look for in determining whether we can take a case for the injury, abuse or death of a nursing home resident. What was the resident’s condition when she went in?
Why did she get worse? What kind of staff did the nursing home provide? Physical deterioration with pressure ulcers, dehydration, malnourishment, contractures, frequent falls, over sedation and infections are words we often hear from the family. Did the resident express concerns about how she was being treated? Were there unusual emotional or psychiatric changes?
Nobody outside the nursing home sees the injuries occur like they do in a car wreck. How the injury occurred has to be found in the medical records. Medical and nursing experts need to review those records to determine if there was a violation of the standard of care that caused the injury or death. We have on staff a physician and a nurse who know the issues to look for to determine if the injury, abuse or death was caused by the nursing home, or if it was a natural event.
We always look for arbitration agreements, because that may keep the resident and/or family from pursuing a lawsuit in court. Everyone should have a power of attorney that specifically states that your attorney-in-fact does not have the power to enter into any agreement with an arbitration clause in it. If there is an arbitration agreement in the admissions contract, a determination has to be made whether it can be enforced, and if so, whether the arbitration forum will provide a fair panel or arbitrator to hear the case.
Contact an Experienced Alabama Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
In Alabama and Mississippi, there are time limitations to bring a lawsuit. The sooner after an incident occurs (that the records can be reviewed, and witnesses contacted), the better it is for us and our experts to make a decision on whether a lawsuit is proper. If you would like to speak with one of the seasoned nursing home abuse lawyers at Burns, Cunningham & Mackey, P.C., contact our office today at 800-574-4332, or send us a message through our online contact form.