It can be difficult to decide whether or not to put your loved one in a nursing home, but many people don’t have any other options. Anyone who puts their loved one in a nursing home places a great deal of trust in the facility’s employees. But unfortunately, some nursing home employees cannot be trusted.
Nursing home abuse is a major problem, but unfortunately many cases go unreported. Victims may be too scared or intimidated to speak out about the abuse. In some cases, the victims are physically unable to seek help or may not even realize that they are being abused. Because of this, it’s often up to family members to recognize when their loved one is being abused.
If your loved one is being abused, a personal injury attorney can help you recover compensation on their behalf. But, how can you tell if you have a valid reason to take legal action on behalf of your loved one? Follow these steps:
Look For Signs of Abuse
Before going any further, it’s a good idea to start by looking for signs of abuse. If you notice scratches, bite marks, bruises, burns, or open wounds on your loved one’s body, this indicates that they are being physically abused. If the marks on near your loved one’s genitals, this could indicate physical or sexual abuse. A single bruise or scratch does not necessarily indicate abuse, but if there are multiple marks that your loved one cannot explain, this is a sign of mistreatment.
Nursing home residents that are being physically abused could suffer more serious injuries, too. For example, if your loved one has a broken bone and cannot explain what happened, this could indicate that there is severe physical abuse taking place.
If your loved one’s mood has drastically changed, this could be a sign of emotional abuse. Nursing home residents who are emotionally abused may not want to talk, or may experience unexplained mood swings. They may also begin to talk badly about themselves or avoid eye contact when speaking to others. If you notice your loved one is isolating themselves, you could have a valid claim for nursing home abuse.
Finally, be on the lookout for signs of financial abuse. If your loved one keeps valuables at the nursing home, check them every time you are there to make sure nothing is missing. If possible, review your loved one’s bank account and credit card statements to look for fraudulent activity. Unexplained transfers, charges, or cashed checks are all signs of financial abuse.
Talk to Your Loved One
If you spot any of the signs of abuse, it’s important to talk to your loved one about your concerns before going any further. This is a very sensitive subject, so approach it gently. Don’t immediately start pointing out the signs of abuse that you have noticed. Instead, ask your loved one about how they feel about the employees that take care of them. Nursing home residents who are being abused may appear nervous or hesitant to answer questions about the employees, so watch their reaction closely.
Once you are able to get your loved one to open up, be honest about your concerns. If you see signs of physical abuse, ask them what happened. If money is missing from your loved one’s account, ask them if they gave anyone access to the account. Reassure your loved one that you will not allow them to be treated poorly any longer so they know it is safe to confide in you about what is going on.
Getting more information from your loved one is important, but it can be difficult if they suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia. In this case, it’s best to gather evidence on your own and seek help from an attorney.
Contact An Attorney
Finally, get in touch with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Be sure to look for an attorney who has experience handling nursing home abuse cases. These cases are unique and can be quite complex, which is why it’s so important to work with an attorney who has handled them in the past.
Give all of the evidence of abuse to your attorney, such as medical records, bank statements, and photos of the injuries. You should also give your attorney a summary of what your loved one has told you about the conditions at the nursing home. After reviewing the evidence, an attorney will be able to tell you if you have a valid nursing home abuse claim. At this point, your priority should be removing your loved one from the nursing home to put an end to the mistreatment.
While you focus on caring for your loved one, your attorney will immediately get to work on your case. There are two things that must be proven in order to recover compensation in a nursing home abuse case. First, it must be proven that the nursing home facility breached their duty of care to the victim, meaning they did something they should not have done. Next, it must be clear that the victim’s injuries occurred as a result of the nursing home’s breach of duty. This can typically be proven with surveillance footage, medical records, witness testimony, and relevant records from the nursing home facility. Your attorney will gather all of this evidence and begin building your case.
It can be hard to imagine that anyone would want to intentionally hurt an elderly adult, but it happens far too often. If you believe your loved one is being abused in a nursing home, contact Trial Lawyers for Justice today to schedule a consultation regarding your case. Our skilled personal injury attorneys will fight tirelessly to seek justice on behalf of your loved one.