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Long Island Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
No one expects to live out their last years in a nursing home, but it is an unavoidable reality for so many people in Long Island. Making the decision to place a loved one in a nursing home is extremely difficult. When a person’s worst fears are confirmed and they learn that their family member has been subjected to neglect or abuse, it is devastating.
Nursing home residents who have been the victim of abuse or neglect, or their family members, can file a claim to recover medical bills, lost income, and other losses they sustained as a result. An experienced Long Island nursing home abuse lawyer from Silberstein, Awad & Miklos, P.C. can help families through the process and ensure they receive the maximum damages they deserve.
Common Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Physical abuse is often the first thing that comes to mind when a person hears about nursing home abuse. Physical abuse can take many forms, including but not limited to hitting, kicking, and pushing a nursing home resident. Unfortunately, this is not the only type of abuse that occurs in nursing homes. The most common types of abuse include:
- Emotional abuse: Caregivers may emotionally abuse residents by belittling them, humiliating them, or forcing them to avoid social activities they once enjoyed.
- Sexual abuse: Sexual abuse happens more often in nursing homes than people think. Sexual abuse involves any form of forced sexual interaction without the resident’s consent, or when a resident is unable to give consent.
- Financial abuse: Financial abuse occurs when a caregiver or other person steals money or other property from a resident, or when they trick a resident into signing financial documents, such as a will.
- Neglect: Not all abuse that occurs within a nursing home is intentional. A careless or negligent act can also cause residents harm and the nursing home can be held liable for it.
- Self-neglect: Sometimes, residents cannot care for themselves, or they may refuse to. Still, nursing home staff members are expected to ensure residents are caring for themselves when possible, or providing that support for them.
- Abandonment: Any time a nursing home staff member leaves a resident alone for long periods of time, or allows the resident to wander around unsupervised, it is a form of neglect.
According to the National Council on Aging, financial exploitation is the most common form of abuse in nursing homes, with neglect being the second most common type.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Family members may notice several different signs of nursing home abuse. The most common of these include:
- Changes in weight that happen rapidly
- Signs of dehydration, including chapped lips and severely dry skin
- Frequent illnesses
- Bruises or cuts that are not easily explained
- Behavioral changes
- Becoming angry or quiet around certain staff members
- Unsanitary conditions
- Obvious understaffing in the facility
- Sleep disorders, such as insomnia
- Substance abuse
- Unexplained STDs
- Unexplained financial transactions
- Sudden and unexplained changes in a resident’s will or power of attorney
Sadly, these are just a few of the most common signs of nursing home abuse. Any time they are spotted, it is important to contact a Long Island nursing home abuse attorney. A lawyer will investigate the incident to determine if abuse or neglect is occurring, determine who is liable for the wrongful act, and hold them accountable for paying the damages you and your family deserve.
When to File a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit
Any time a resident’s rights are not upheld and a senior citizen is hurt due to the negligence or intentional wrongdoing in a nursing home, the injured party or their family member can file a lawsuit against the facility or a specific staff member. When filing a lawsuit, you must show:
- The facility, or its staff members, owed the senior citizen a duty of care
- The facility, or its staff members, breached that duty of care by acting negligently or intentionally
- The negligent or intentional act resulted in injuries or death to the resident
Proving these elements of a claim is not always easy. A Long Island nursing home abuse lawyer can help elderly individuals and their loved ones prove their claim. It is important to speak to a lawyer as soon as neglect or abuse is suspected. In New York, individuals have only 2.5 years to file a claim under the statute of limitations. In the event that a resident did not survive the abuse or neglect, their loved ones have only two years to file a wrongful death claim.
Who Can File a Lawsuit?
When residents have the mental capacity to understand the abuse or neglect, as well as the injuries they suffered as a result, they can file a lawsuit on their own. In the event that a senior citizen does not have this capacity, a family member, power of attorney, or executor can file a lawsuit on their behalf.
In the most tragic cases, when a resident has not survived the abuse or neglect, certain family members can file a wrongful death claim. Individuals that may file wrongful death lawsuits include the spouse, parent, or child of the deceased. Typically, these individuals are named as a personal or court-appointed representative of the deceased. In some instances, another blood relative, such as a sibling, may file a claim. However, there must be no surviving spouse, parent, or child that can file a claim on the resident’s behalf.
Get Legal Help Today
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries or other losses due to nursing home abuse or neglect, our Long Island nursing home abuse attorneys are here to assist with your case. At Silberstein, Awad & Miklos, our experienced attorneys know how to determine who was liable for the abuse or neglect, and how to help your family recover the maximum damages you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help.