Was your loved one a victim of elder abuse or neglect?
Texas is one of the most dangerous states in the country to be a nursing home resident. From 2015 to 2020, more than 1,800 dangerous incidents—categorized as “serious deficiencies”—were reported to federal regulators from Texas—more than in any other state, according to the Texas Observer.
For starters, understaffing is a chronic issue in many of Texas’ senior care facilities. Nearly all of the for-profit corporations operate nursing homes well below the thresholds for adequate staffing as determined by federal regulators. Texas has, on average, the lowest staff-to-patient ratio in the country. This puts nursing home residents in the state at higher risk to suffer from lack of care or negligence.
What’s more, Texas lawmakers have repeatedly moved to protect nursing homes and senior care facilities from lawsuits by lowering penalty fines and making it more difficult for claimants to seek civil damages, thereby allowing negligent caregivers to operate without fear of reprisal. A 2003 lawsuit reform bill capped damages for families seeking justice through the courts to $250,000 for noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering. This cap unfairly targets the elderly and the poor since they often have less earning power and other economic damages.
The devastation of nursing home abuse can compromise the physical and mental health of its survivors, not to mention also cause significant financial strain on a victim and their family. Families of elderly loved ones who are neglected or taken advantage of by those whom they trusted to provide care often wish to seek justice so those responsible do not walk away unpunished.
At Williams & Brown, our empathetic and experienced Waco, TX personal injury attorneys have committed themselves to protect the rights of our clients. Whether you suspect abuse and would like help reporting a nursing home facility, or you know that negligence has occurred and would like to pursue a personal injury claim, our team is standing by to listen to you and offer our expertise and knowledge.
To find out how we may be able to help your family, we invite you to schedule your free consultation.
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As upsetting as the effects of nursing home neglect are, it may be helpful for families to be proactive in getting as much legal information as possible regarding their loved one’s rights and options.
Common types of nursing home and elder abuse
Unfortunately, abuse takes many shapes and forms. If you have made the difficult decision to rely on a nursing home to care for your loved one, it’s important that you continually and carefully monitor how well he or she is treated.
Some of the most frequent types of elder abuse to watch for include:
- Physical abuse. Unexplained injuries, bruises or cuts are telltale signs of physical abuse, as well as signs of physical restraint, such as rope marks or bedsores. If an elderly resident is kept in an over-medicated state in order to keep him or her sedate, this is also considered physical abuse.
- Emotional/verbal abuse. Aggressive or manipulative treatment can have a serious impact on an elderly resident’s mental well-being. If he or she shows a change in personality or behavior, it may be the result of emotional or verbal abuse.
- Financial abuse. Some elderly residents may allow caretakers and nursing home staff to help manage their financial accounts. Whether or not this is the case for your loved one, keep an eye out for the signs of financial abuse such as irregular banking habits, unexplained withdrawals or sudden changes to financial documents.
- Sexual abuse. Sexual assault and rape is a particularly troubling form of nursing home abuse that occurs. Women and residents with dementia are more likely to be victims of sexual abuse. Many victims of elder sexual abuse are unable to communicate well enough to identify what they suffered or who abused them, which is why it’s important to identify certain signs such as difficulty walking, pelvic injury, being diagnosed with an STD, bruises or irritation around the genital area, emotional or social withdrawal, panic attacks and suicide attempts.
- Negligence. Not only do harmful actions and words constitute elder abuse, but so does a healthcare provider’s failure to provide reasonable and appropriate care. It can be difficult to determine whether your loved one is the victim of neglect. Some examples include dehydration, sudden weight loss, not rotating a patient in bed to prevent bedsores, failing to provide adequate food and water, not cleaning linens and more. Whether the failure in care is a result of understaffing, intentional malice and mistreatment, or any other reason, negligence is a serious problem in U.S. nursing homes and senior care facilities.
Whether your loved one has been afflicted by a slip and fall, trip and fall, bedsores, infection, failure to provide treatment, misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, improper training, understaffing, physical abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse, or another calamity, you may have a valid case.
What compensation is available for elder abuse victims and their families?
In many cases of nursing home abuse, the elderly patient requires long-term medical care and treatment to recover from injury and/or illness. If negligence or abuse occurs while in the care of a nursing home or senior care provider and results in hospitalization, medication, surgery, physical therapy, psychotherapy or other medical expenses, then the negligent individual and/or facility may be liable for paying these associated medical costs through a claim or lawsuit.
Financial compensation can help relieve families of stress regarding how they will pay for the treatment their loved one needs in the short or long term due to nursing home abuse or negligence.
“Damages” may also be obtained for various forms of emotional distress for the elderly individual as well as family members. These are frequently the most challenging consequences of elder abuse and neglect to overcome and include pain and suffering.
For families whose loved one suffered wrongful death at a nursing home, facility, or hospital, they may receive compensation for the pain and suffering their loved one endured in addition to what they have and may continue to go through emotionally.
Lastly, financial compensation is a way for individuals and families to seek justice for the harm they’ve suffered.
Why consult our Waco, TX nursing home abuse attorneys?
For some, pursuing compensation can be a crucial part of the healing process and a way to seek closure. Wherever you find yourself, our attorneys can help you understand the technicalities of the law to evaluate the best course of action for your specific circumstances.
Elder abuse is not something negligent caregivers, or the facilities they work for, are quick to confess. By helping our clients level the playing field when going up against large insurance companies and major corporations, we apply the crafted skills and thorough knowledge acquired over the years of obtaining successful case results.
We are diligent when it comes to building cases to prove negligence and recklessness that have resulted in harm befalling the elderly. Share your story with the Waco, TX injury lawyers at Williams & Brown by filling out a contact form or giving our office a call.