As the standard lifespan of Americans has continued to increase over the past couple of decades, so too has the need for more nursing home facilities in areas throughout the United States. Unfortunately, with this rapid expansion has come the development of an abundance of facilities that have been found falling short of the standards of care expected of them. As a result, unsettling acts of abuse and / or neglect have been identified in far too many facilities throughout the country.
If you or someone you love were victimized in an elder care facility in New York, then we urge you to contact our office today to speak with a New York City personal injury lawyer about the matter. Under the careful guidance of an experienced nursing home abuse attorney at our office, you can effectively take action to right the wrongs that were committed against you or someone you love in a New York nursing home facility.
Given the delicacy of claims of nursing home abuse / neglect, these are matters that must be addressed with both sensitivity and assertiveness by the personal injury attorney who represents your case. At Greenberg & Stein, P.C. we are prepared to do exactly that. We invite you to read through our question and answer section below to learn more about nursing home abuse laws in general, and what we can do for your case in particular.
If I suspect nursing home abuse, but I don’t know for sure that it’s happening, then can I do anything about it?
If you have reason to believe that nursing home abuse or neglect is affecting the health and well-being of your loved one, then you should immediately involve a personal injury attorney in the matter. Any legal action that is taken without evidentiary support stands a much lower chance of being successful. Unfortunately, suspicion alone is not enough to warrant a lawsuit. When a lawyer is involved, however, there is a much higher chance of pursuing the matter successfully.
An experienced attorney can actively investigate the situation that has left you suspicious, thus allowing for an actual determination to be made about whether or not abusive / neglectful behaviors are occurring. Additional actions can be taken with the help of an attorney; actions that are intended to effectively trigger a state investigation into the allegations of abuse as well.
Will the nursing home resident be kicked out or further mistreated if I issue a complaint or suspicion of abuse?
While there’s no way to know whether or not abusive or neglectful behaviors will continue after a formal complaint against a nursing home facility has been issued, it is still wise to voice your concerns. The same could be said about whether or not the resident will be kicked out of the facility in which he or she is residing. While these are valid concerns, they are also issues that could continue regardless of whether or not you choose to speak up. Therefore, it is often agreed to be more beneficial to make a report of complaint than to refrain from doing so at all.
In many cases, a report that is made to the nursing home’s administration and / or to the state will ignite a series of investigative matters, none of which will leave the nursing home facility free from watchful eyes. Accordingly, staff members might attempt to be on their “best behavior,” thus hoping to avoid any further claims or complaints that could otherwise be issued against them. In any case, it is always best to include an attorney in all proceedings that follow. In this way you can ensure that your complaint does not go unnoticed, nor does it solicit any additional mistreatment of your elderly loved one.
What are a nursing home resident’s legal rights in regard to their treatment?
All nursing home residents are provided with the right to fair and equal treatment under the care of facility staff members. Additionally, any resident of a facility that actively participates in the Medicare program will also be granted the statutory right to remain free of physical, verbal, sexual and mental abuse. Nursing home residents are also promised the right to humane treatment when being disciplined, i.e. nursing home staff members cannot enforce physical or chemical restraints in their disciplinary efforts to treat a medical condition.
The overarching philosophy behind all of the rights that are issued to nursing home patients in New York and every other state throughout the country is that of keeping the residents safe from harm. There are both federal and state laws to ensure that the proper care and safety measures are provided to the residents of nursing home facilities in the U.S., and if any of these regulations were violated, then the rights of the resident deserve to be addressed legally.
What would a legal proceeding for a nursing home abuse / neglect claim look like?
The legal address of nursing home abuse, neglect, or even exploitation, in a nursing home facility could involve any number of different proceedings, the most common of which are: 1) adult protective services conducting an investigation and finding; 2) filing a civil cause of action for damages, i.e. a lawsuit; and 3) criminal prosecution. Because each of these proceedings is conducted for a different purpose, one or all of them might be necessary.
The object of conducting an investigation by the adult protective services agency is to provide immediate relief for the victim who is suffering, while also preventing further harm from continuing. The objective of a civil action, or lawsuit, is to rectify damages. The objective of the criminal prosecution is to punish the perpetrator for his or her harmful conduct.
What will happen if my loved one decides to issue a complaint of nursing home abuse or neglect?
The state of New York has a system for reporting allegations of elderly abuse and / or neglect, as well as allegations of exploitation. When a complaint of this nature is issued, then an investigation will be brought underway, the intent of which is to meet with the resident who was victimized, as well as his or her family members and other nursing home care staff members / management. If the investigation’s results yield reasons to believe that the allegations were true, then adult protective services will step in to provide a remedy for the current problem and to provide a means for preventing a similar issue in the future.
If the help that is provided at this time does not seem to be satisfactory for the abusive or neglectful behaviors that ensued, then a nursing home abuse attorney should be involved in the matter as quickly as possible. In such instances, the idea of bringing civil action for damages against the nursing home should be considered. When you meet with a nursing home abuse attorney from Greenberg & Stein, P.C., we can discuss these options with you as they pertain to the circumstances involved in your case.
Can a resident sue for abuse or neglect even if they don’t have a formal contract with the nursing home?
Generally speaking, yes. The existence of a contract between the resident and the facility is not the only determining factor in whether or not a lawsuit can be made for nursing home abuse or neglect. However the resident or the person that makes decisions for the resident should be careful to examine the contract carefully. More and more Nursing Homes are trying to take advantage of families of residents when they are at their most vulnerable by forcing the resident or the person that makes decision for them to sign away their Constitutional right to sue in Court with forced arbitration clauses. Be sure to examine your family member’s agreement to see if this has been done to them. That does not necessarily mean that you cannot sue. Nor does it mean you’re your family member doesn’t have a right to recover money for the harm done to them. Matters of this nature can be addressed under several different legal theories, some of which include claims of negligence, assault, battery, violation of State Constitutional Rights and more. To figure out which type of claim would be best made on your behalf, speak with an attorney from our firm today.
In your search for an attorney for a nursing home abuse case in New York City, New York, you can rely on the professional legal services that can be provided to you under the representation of a personal injury lawyer at Greenberg & Stein, P.C . We make ourselves available to our clients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so don’t wait to call us today.