When Can You Sue a Nursing Home for Negligence?

When Can You Sue a Nursing Home for Negligence?2021-04-30T05:20:20+00:00

Filing an Elder Neglect Lawsuit in Sherman Oaks

When Can You Sue a Nursing Home for NegligenceIf your loved one has shown a rapid decline since being in a nursing home, it’s possible that they aren’t being cared for physically, emotionally, or intellectually. Suing a nursing home for negligence in Sherman Oaks can seem like a jump, but many are shocked to learn that about 36% of nursing home residents witness at least one instance of either psychological or physical abuse annually.

Nursing homes are paid to care for the elderly when their loved ones do not have the time or resources; that’s why it’s so egregious when nursing homes neglect their patients. Sadly, nursing home neglect is quite common, and it’s actually on the rise during the coronavirus pandemic. Even when we’re not in a pandemic, nursing homes are often understaffed, which leads to neglect and even physical abuse from frustrated employees towards residents.

While hearing the phrase “nursing home abuse” often makes people think of physical injuries, an elder abuse lawyer in Sherman Oaks will tell you neglect is actually a category of abuse. If staff members neglect their residents who are in need, then they are intentionally not taking care of them. The nursing home should be held accountable for their actions, which in most cases can lead to harm or death of the older individual.

Suing the nursing home for neglect is more proactive, and it can possibly save you and others from having to file a wrongful death suit in the future.

The sad and terrifying fact is that many geriatric residents of nursing homes cannot communicate well, whether it’s speech difficulties or a neurological comprehension problem, so it may not be obvious that they are being mistreated.

Signs of Neglect in Nursing Homes

If nursing home staff don’t care enough to properly look after residents, then they likely don’t care enough to try to cover it up. When you visit your loved one at their nursing home of residence, keep an eye out for red flags that may indicate neglect. Warning signs that your loved one may be experiencing neglect can be physical and behavioral.

Common physical indicators of nursing home neglect in Sherman Oaks are:

  • Bedsores (pressure ulcers/pressure sores)
  • Bruises, broken bones, and other unexplained injuries
  • Dehydration
  • Malnutrition
  • New or untreated medical conditions
  • Personal hygiene issues
  • Burns, often accidentally self-inflicted
  • Signs of restraint use on the elder’s wrists or ankles

You should also look out for behavioral signs of neglect from both your loved one and the nursing home staff. In nursing home patients, these can include:

  • Significant personality changes
  • Insomnia or sleep loss
  • Isolation and loneliness
  • Loss of trust in others
  • Personality changes (for example: depression, anxiety, or fear)
  • Substance use or abuse
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions
  • Unpaid bills or other debts

In nursing home staff members, these can include rude or callous comments towards or about the elderly or a slow response to get back to you when you call to ask about your loved one.

The first thing your Sherman Oaks personal injury attorney will look for after filing your neglect claim is sufficient evidence. The above signs that the older person is being neglected are helpful, but many civil lawsuits for elder abuse also include evidence you can gather from the environment.

Behavior That Gives Cause for a Civil Lawsuit

Neglectful behavior can be preventable accidents or intentional acts that can lead to injuries or preventable health problems. The behavior can be individual conduct from an employee or even a policy spelled out by the nursing home.

Similar to premises liability lawsuits, your Sherman Oaks attorney for elder abuse lawsuits will examine the facility to see if it’s reasonably safe and kept free of safety hazards. The home must be kept tidy to prevent slip and fall accidents, but the staff must also be vigilant enough to prevent residents from engaging in physical confrontations with each other. The CDC reports that the average nursing home resident falls around twice a year, which can cause broken bones or brain trauma. Despite this statistic, the nursing home should do everything it can to keep residents from falling and to safety-proof the area to make a potential fall less injurious.

The staff also have a duty to maintain a sanitary environment for the patients who are often too infirm to keep themselves and their surroundings clean. Regular cleaning of common areas and residents’ rooms is an essential part of a nursing home. They also must provide a reasonable standard of medical treatment. If the medical care your loved one received with sub-standard,  then your Sherman Oaks attorney has cause to file a malpractice suit.

Proving Your Claim

Every lawsuit requires a certain burden of proof before the case can be won. If you are seeing signs that the nursing home may be negligent, make sure to document these. When you speak with your nursing home neglect attorney in Sherman Oaks, they will also assist you in gathering evidence that the home is at fault in your situation.

Since you likely weren’t present when the incident occurred, it can be difficult to know if you can sue the nursing home for neglect. However, only 20% of nursing home neglect claims are actually filed, so the home may be relying on you giving them the benefit of the doubt.

In situations like these, the best thing to do is to discuss the situation with an injury lawyer who is well-versed in matters of liability and negligence.

About Okhovat Law

Hiring an attorney to take legal action may seem daunting, but the lawyers at Okhovat Law can carry your case to the finish line to ensure justice is served. Our multilingual law firm was created with the mission to provide legal counsel, support, and the highest level of care to our clients. Not only does this firm have a reputation for getting clients the results they need, but also for:

  • Having a proven track record
  • Providing one-on-one contact with clients
  • Not charging fees unless the case is won
  • Taking a personalized approach to every case

Schedule a free consultation to see how strong your case is. Give us a call at 310-362-6740 or email us at info@okhovatlawfirm.com.