These sentences and dollar values reflect previous results and do not guarantee or suggest that your matter will have a similar outcome. The facts that led to your injury or arrest are likely different than these lawsuits. A lawyer can only provide specific guidance after engaging in a fact-intensive analysis of your individual claims. In order to find out the viability or your claim, you need to contact the Law Practice of Ken Kieklak as soon as possible.
In the United States, there are 15,700 licensed nursing homes with 1.4 million residents.
Many of these nursing home facilities offer excellent care to the elderly population. That being said, some form of abuse and neglect inside these long-term care facilities still occurs each and every day. Many of these neglectful and abusive actions go undetected, which is why it is of the utmost importance to continue to remain aware of how your loved one is being treated.
Nursing home abuse is an especially heinous crime because the abuse and neglect in the underlying offense is taken against a population that is unable to protect and fight for its own rights. Similar to minors, society needs to protect the elderly population from exploitation, abuse, neglect, and violence. If you or a loved one has potentially encountered nursing home abuse, continue reading this article so that you can learn more about these despicable crimes and how much your claim may potentially be worth.
What is Nursing Home Abuse?
As the baby-boomers and elderly population continue to increase in age and size, nursing homes continue to expand and hire more employees. Many of these employees are untrained or not given the tools necessary in order to adequately care for elderly residents. Furthermore, many nursing homes fail to conduct background checks of employees or take the steps necessary to ensure the safety of its residents.
Nursing home abuse covers a wide variety of neglect and mistreatment taken against the elderly population. Very generally, it is defined as “an intentional infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation, care/service deprivation or punishment that results in physical harm, pain or mental anguish.”
A second form of abuse, called nursing home neglect, is defined as a failure, whether it be intentional or not, to provide an individual with the necessary services and care to ensure protection and independence in a long-term care facility. This failure by long-term facilities to provide adequate services to its elderly population is what constitutes the “neglectful act.”
There are many different types of elder abuse, including, but not limited to: Physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect/abandonment by caregivers, failure to give adequate nutrition, failure to administer medication, and financial exploitation. Each of these abuses results in different types of claims and litigation. In this article, we will discuss the forms of nursing home and long-term facility abuse. After an outline of each form of abuse, we will discuss the possible worth of those cases.
What are the Forms of Nursing Home Abuse?
There are plenty of different forms of nursing home abuse and neglect that occur in the United States today. This misconduct includes physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, financial exploitation, and elderly neglect.
Some general warning signs of these forms of abuse include, but are not limited to:
- Tension and arguments between caregivers and nursing home residents. These arguments typically exceed the usual, “You need to take your medicine” type of showdown. A sign of abuse might include shouting matches and anger by both the resident and the caregiver, which are typically drawn out and occur frequently.
- Unexplained changes in the personality characteristics or behavior of a resident while nursing home employees and caregivers are present. This may include anything from sudden introversion to extreme impassivity.
Some common signs of physical abuse in longer-term care facilities include, but are not limited to:
- Unexplained bruises, scars and welts.
- Dislocation of arms, shoulders, and knees, and other traumatic limb injuries.
- A facility that fails to report or disclose injuries of a resident to family or medical staff.
- Constant signs of restraint, such as belt marks and other unexplained body bruises.
- Refusal of visitation for a long-term facility resident or a controlled visitation period.
Emotional abuse is one of the hardest nursing home abuses to spot. Although these indicators may be minor, it is important to spot them so that you and your loved ones are protected. These emotional abuses include, but are not limited to:
- Extreme change in the behavior (similar to bipolarism) of a resident.
- Change in mood when a long-term facility employee or caregiver enters the room, such as a sudden onset of fear.
- Shouting, threatening and controlling behavior or tactics by the caregiver.
Sexual abuse resulting from a long-term care facility is one of the most serious crimes involving the elderly population. It is especially serious where the elderly person is incapacitated, which would heighten both the criminal charges and civil liability. It is extremely important to stay vigilant in order to protect you and your loved ones from potential nursing home employees and caregivers who might be sexual offenders. Some examples of sexual abuse include the following:
- Bruises near or around breasts, genitalia, or other private parts of the body.
- Unexplained genital infections.
- Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding.
- Inexplicable removal of clothing.
- Fear of human contact by the resident
- Torn, stained, or bloody clothing.
Nursing home neglect involves the breach of safety of an elderly long-term care resident. This systematic failure to provide an individual with the necessary services and care to ensure his or her health and safety is one of the more common forms of elderly abuse. In order to protect loved ones from neglect, it is important to understand the warning signs surrounding this form of continuous misconduct. The warning signs of nursing home neglect include, but are not limited to:
- Severe weight-loss, malnutrition, paleness, dehydration, and unexplained frailty.
- Perpetually untreated physical problems, such as constant unsanitary living conditions, rancid or unexplained smells, skin infections, and untreated staph infections.
- Frequent infections, such as pneumonia and influenza.
Financial exploitation is far and away the most common form of elderly abuse occurring in nursing home facilities today. Financial exploitation includes anything from crimes involving stealing money to forgery.
Increasingly, many nursing homes require full access to an elderly individual’s financial accounts, which gives way to more possibilities of financial abuse. A survey by the NAAPSA (the National Association of Adult Protective Services Administrators) conducted in the year 2000 found that financial exploitation comprised 13% of the mistreatment allegations.
The reason that financial exploitation is just as important to keep track of as the other elderly abuses is because an elderly resident may never realize that the financial crimes are even occurring. In order to protect against possible financial exploitation of you and your loved ones, be sure to keep adequate records of an elder’s account balances, and question any unnecessary services or outrageous charges.
How Much is Your Nursing Home Case Worth in Arkansas?
Here are some examples of compensation awards in nursing home abuse and neglect cases in Arkansas. Each of these cases involves an elderly resident of a nursing home and the subsequent failure of the nursing home to provide adequate care.
- In a wrongful death action, a jury awarded plaintiffs $5.2 million dollars. The wrongful death and injuries resulted from the defendant nursing home’s negligence in reporting decedent’s failing health condition. Specifically, defendant failed to provide timely nursing and medical intervention as required by the decedent’s significant change of condition, and furthermore failed to follow decedent’s physician’s orders to transfer her to the emergency room.
- In an abuse claim, a 97-year-old male died from congestive heart failure after he was abused by an employee of defendant nursing home. Defendant nursing home was found to be negligent for hiring an uncertified and untrained nursing assistant and for failing to report the abuse in a timely matter. The jury verdict in this case was $1.25 million.
- A 94-year-old female died while in the care of defendant nursing home as a result of its mistreatment, abuse, and neglect of decedent. She died as a result of her malnourishment, broken bones, and infections leading to bilateral leg amputations. Defendant failed to notify family members and physicians immediately when decedent’s condition deteriorated and failed to provide the proper standard of care. A jury verdict resulted in a $3,000,000 damage recovery for decedent’s injuries.
- A 45-year old female died at defendant’s nursing home from a pulmonary embolism after she was improperly restrained in a straight jacket. Plaintiffs alleged that this form of restraint occurred more than once during decedent’s four-month stay at the nursing home. A jury awarded plaintiffs $2 million in punitive damages and $2,029,855.
- A 72-year-old female resident of a nursing home suffered a toe and below the knee amputation while in the care of defendant nursing home facility. Plaintiff contended that she was placed in a room and not properly monitored or given adequate supervision or care. Defendants were aware that plaintiff had injured herself while outside the facility, yet failed to provider he with adequate medical care. An out of court settlement resulted in Plaintiff receiving damages in excess of $200,000.
- An 84-year-old man received $250,000 from a jury verdict after defendant nursing home failed to provide staff employees with the skill and knowledge necessary to properly monitor and supervise his care. Defendant failed to prevent plaintiff’s bedsores and circulatory problems in both legs. These injuries were the result of defendant’s neglect in caring for plaintiff.
- A 70-year-old man suffered multiple ulcers, facial contusions, black eyes, and multiple body lacerations while in the care of defendant nursing home facility. Plaintiff contended that defendant failed to properly hire, train, and supervise its employees. Defendant also failed to provide adequate monitoring and supervision of its residents, which resulted in a failure to provide the standard level of care for nursing home facilities. Plaintiff received a jury award of $750,000.
- An 85-year-old male patient of a nursing home suffered a femur fracture of his right hip as a result of a fall from his bed. He required internal faxationi surgery, which resulted in ulcers, a pulmonary embolism, and acute aspiration pneumonia. As a result, plaintiff claimed he suffered mental anguish and a loss of independence. Defendant nursing home failed to recognize his fractured hip and did not x-ray it until 12 hours after his fall. Plaintiff received a jury award of $265,746.00 as a result of his injuries.
- A 94-year-old female with a disability suffered trochanteric bursitis of the left hip after she fell out of a wheelchair after defendant nursing home employee lost control of her wheelchair. Plaintiff argued that defendant nursing home was negligent in its treatment of plaintiff and attempted to hide the fact that plaintiff had fallen. Plaintiff received $39,000 as a result of the nursing home’s negligence.
To reiterate what was said earlier in this article, each of these recoveries is related to individual claims. Even if you see a similarity in your case to one of the damage awards above, your case may not have a similar outcome of success. Each and every case is different because the facts of each case are always different. Therefore, if you believe you or a loved one has suffered nursing home abuse or neglect, you need to call the Law Practice of Ken Kieklak today. The only way to find out if your case is eligible for a damages award is to contact our attorneys today.
Your Family Needs Knowledgeable and Skilled Representation
If your wife, husband, mother, father, son or daughter was involved in a nursing home negligence and or abuse case, contact the Law Practice of Ken Kieklak immediately to talk to a nursing home abuse lawyer. You need legal representation that will protect your family’s rights while vigorously fighting on your behalf.
For more than 20 years, Fayetteville AR personal injury lawyer Ken Kieklak has stood-up for Arkansas families who have suffered terrible injuries. For your free and confidential consultation, contact the Law Practice of Ken Kieklak by calling (479) 316-0438 or contact us online today.