Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Cleveland OH
As a Cleveland, Ohio nursing home abuse lawyer, I can share with you that elder abuse and neglect are all too common in our state. The root cause of virtually all elder neglect and abuse is understaffing and poorly trained staff. The reason for this problem is simple: greed. Large for-profit corporations run many long-term care, rehabilitation, and skilled nursing facilities in the United States. To maximize profits, these corporations routinely fail to meet elderly patients’ needs. When your loved one suffers personal injury or wrongful death as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect, please call Mishkind Kulwicki Law Co., L.P.A., for advice.
Our nursing home abuse lawyer in Cleveland OH shares that nursing home negligence cases are similar to hospital negligence and medical malpractice cases, but there are some critical differences. In all healthcare negligence cases, three core elements have to be proven to prevail in a lawsuit: (1) negligence; (2) proximate cause; and (3) damages. Nursing home negligence is established by proving that one or more providers failed to comply with accepted standards of nursing home care. Examples would include failure to prevent pressure sores (also known as decubitus ulcers), failure to timely seek treatment when a medical emergency arises, failure to undertake appropriate fall precautions in patients who are at high risk for a fall, and medication errors. Cleveland OH nursing home abuse lawyers know that any abuse, such as striking, verbally assaulting, pinching, pushing, or otherwise physically or mentally punishing a resident, is far below any standard of human decency.
To prove “proximate cause,” a nursing home abuse lawyer must ask whether the injury or death was preventable with proper care. For example, when a post-surgery patient who is undergoing rehabilitation develops an infection, a negligent delay in diagnosis and treatment can lead to sepsis, septic shock, and death. If timely treatment with antibiotics would have prevented the progression of the infection, proximate cause is established.
Finally, your Cleveland, Ohio nursing home abuse lawyer must establish the harms and losses caused by the nursing home’s abuse, neglect, or negligence. Lawyers refer to harms and losses as “damages.” Some damages are apparent, such as personal injuries sustained from a fall like a fracture or head injury resulting in hemorrhage. All of the medical costs associated with the treatment of these injuries are recoverable, as is the pain, suffering, and mental anguish endured by the injury victim. Other damages are not as visible. Consider the example of a fall that our Cleveland OH nursing home abuse lawyer shares. Various medical studies have established that many elderly patients who sustain significant injuries from falling will pass away during the six months following the fall. It is crucial to obtain qualified medical expert testimony to determine whether a resident’s fall was a substantial contributing factor in their subsequent death.
There are also some crucial differences between nursing home negligence cases and hospital negligence or medical malpractice cases. For example, the State of Ohio has enacted statutes and regulations pertaining to the operation of nursing homes and residential care facilities. These laws dictate time limits for filing a lawsuit arising out of nursing home abuse or neglect, set standards of care for long-term care facilities, and enumerate what damages are recoverable. Cleveland OH nursing home abuse lawyers will tell you that punitive damages are a consideration in every lawsuit against a nursing home. Punitive damages are awarded by a jury in addition to compensatory damages to punish a nursing home that engages in egregious misconduct. For example, when a nursing home fraudulently misrepresented that it provides specialized care to residents with dementia in a dedicated Alzheimer’s unit, but in reality, the unit is frequently understaffed or staffed by the newest and least qualified employees, punitive damages may be recoverable.
If you have questions for a Cleveland, Ohio nursing home abuse lawyer, please give us a call. We are experienced, qualified, and caring. Mishkind Kulwicki Law Co., L.P.A., can answer all of your questions.
Elder Abuse vs. Neglect
Over 3.2 million Americans currently reside in nursing homes. Many of these residents require constant and trustworthy care to maintain their previous quality of life as their age increases and health declines. If you currently have a loved one in one of the 17,000 nursing homes across the country, our nursing home abuse lawyer in Cleveland OH knows that you want to ensure they are receiving safe and secure care. Yet, every day, more stories arise of elder abuse, financial exploitation, psychological torment and negligence within the nursing home halls. If you believe your loved one has been abused or neglected, there are steps you can take to keep them protected. First, you need to determine if the actions against your loved one are qualified as abuse or neglect. A nursing home abuse lawyer in Cleveland, OH can help.
The Center for Disease Control places nursing home abuse in the following categories:
- Emotional abuse
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Financial abuse
Unfortunately, many victims of nursing home abuse are too frightened to report the crimes as they fear vindication from the abuser. Sometimes the signs of physical abuse can be visualized as many violent actions can cause bruising or lacerations. However, symptoms of other kinds of abuse are harder to prove. Your loved one may withdraw from affection or questions, asking to be left alone as much as possible. If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from elder abuse, ask tons of gentle questions, check all financial records, and encourage them to open up to you. Then contact a Cleveland, OH nursing home abuse lawyer.
Injuries Elder Abuse Causes
Physical abuse is going to be rough handling or violence which may or may not result in personal injury, physical discomfort or pain. Often times includes cooking, shoving or shaking, hitting, slapping, poking or pushing, and biting attention, and appropriate restraint, not providing appropriate Orangemen, failure to provide proper assistance, failure to provide appropriate protection regarding falls. Some of the most obvious signs of physical abuse are going to be unexplained bruises, broken bones, cuts, bumps and grip marks. Common injuries are sprains, dislocations, internal injuries, bedsores, signs of her state is marks on the restaurant angles, broken eyeglasses or dentures, signs of malnutrition such as unexplained weight loss, broken bones often the femur or the hip.
When it comes to distress, in order to force the effects on overall well-being, blood-pressure problems, breathing problems and panic attacks. So if you are caretaker of somebody who is elderly, or your lovely lives in a nursing home when you visit, keep an eye out for the various signs that may appear to indicate abuse.
Elderly people can be abused emotionally and psychologically. Oftentimes caretakers use tactics by intimidation, mental blaming, or humiliating the patient. If you are a caretaker of anyone in an extremely vulnerable place, then you have a unique and powerful position in your patient’s lives. It’s likely that your patient depends on you for a lot of things that they used to be able to do for themselves. And yes, of course they’re humiliated, it’s humiliating without having your input on it, so tearing your patient down only further cements that shame even though the fact they require extra care is not their fault. Oftentimes when nonverbal forms of emotional abuse such as neglect, isolation and terrorism is a center used it gets messed. Those who suffer this type of abuse are going to become withdrawn and are going to suffer from low self-esteem because somebody is constantly tearing them down. Here in this type of abuse situation may become fearful, tearful and reluctant to speak openly with friends and family members, they may experience insomnia and helplessness and may experience memory loss.
Memory loss is not associated with amnesia, and that is purely because the person is trying to hide their being abused by someone who should be caring for them, not hurting them.
Furthermore, sexual injuries are always going to involve sexual contact of some kind with an elderly person who cannot actually consent. It’s different if it’s two elderly people with similar disorders (such as Alzheimer’s), in that instance they are consenting adults. However if you are in a position of power and you choose to engage in sexual contact with your patient, then you are automatically at fault. Those patients who experience sexual abuse may have trouble walking, sitting, they may have bruising on their breasts, inner thighs or genitals, and may have sexually transmitted diseases or unexplained infections.
Nursing home negligence is legally defined as the failure of the facility or staff members in providing fundamental rights and necessities. These rights were outlined in the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act and require nursing home residents the following:
- Freedom from negligence and abuse
- Communication without fear of retaliation
- Knowledge of care and medications
- Advance notice of any medication or treatment changes
- Dignity and self-determination
If a nursing home, or the staff, fails to comply with these legal rights, they could be subject to civil or criminal consequences, depending on the severity of the action. Our Cleveland OH nursing home abuse lawyer shares that usually, in cases of nursing home neglect, the organization will receive civil penalties such as fines, removal of management, or denial of Medicaid payments. On the other hand, perpetrators of elder abuse could receive up to seven years in prison for their crimes.
Contact a Cleveland, OH Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
In many cases, nursing home abuse and negligence continue because the victims are too afraid to report the crimes. If you observe any potential signs of abuse or neglect, immediately intervene and speak to the nursing home manager or other high-level employees. Then reach out to a nursing home abuse lawyer Cleveland, OH families trust who can help ensure your loved one receives the care they deserve. Call Mishkind Kulwicki Law Co., L.P.A. today.
What to Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
If you suspect nursing home abuse, our nursing home abuse lawyer serving Cleveland, Ohio, knows that the time to come can be incredibly challenging. You might find yourself caught between two places. Should you stir the pot by taking action? Has your loved one truly been injured? These are two questions that those who are suspecting abuse stand to sit with. However, we share that brushing off prospective abuse isn’t recommended. Here is what you should do should you expect nursing home abuse or neglect:
#1: Take Action Now
If you suspect nursing home abuse, you must take action now. The safety and well being of your loved one depends on it. If you suspect that there is a problem, our Cleveland, OH nursing home abuse lawyer shares that speaking with the administrators of the nursing home and voicing your concerns. If that doesn’t work, move forward with contacting law enforcement and even removing them from the care facility if necessary.
#2: Be Inquisitive, Ask Questions, Gather Information
Gather as much information as possible about the care that your loved one is receiving, ask questions of nursing home staff and administration. This can help you to not only obtain answers but determine whether there is a problem. Additionally, any information that is gathered may serve as key evidence in your case.
#3. File a Report to Adult Protective Services
If you suspect nursing home abuse, you should consider filing a report with adult protective services. Although this may not secure the safety of your loved one, it creates a paper trail. It could prompt an investigation based on your report. The more information you provide, the better.
#4. Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in Cleveland OH
Contacting our law firm can assist by providing you with the legal support you need during this challenging time. We can help you to understand your options and best way to move forward fully.
Kulwicki Law Co., L.P.A.
Our nursing home abuse lawyer in Cleveland, OH, knows that nursing home abuse can be incredibly impactful. You will be left sitting in one of the most stressful experiences of your life. We want you to know that even if you are unsure whether nursing home abuse is present, taking action is essential to the protection of your loved one. Suspected abuse calls for swift action on the part of the person who suspects or has witnessed violence. Kulwicki Law Co., L.P.A. is prepared to assist you by:
- Answering the many questions you have
- Providing you with the guidance that you need
- Making sure that your loved one’s rights are kept at the forefront
- Negotiating the best possible outcome for you and your family
- Being prepared to take your case to court if necessary
- Providing you with peace of mind knowing that you have a skilled and experienced nursing home abuse lawyer in Cleveland, OH by your side
The last thing any person wants is to find themselves facing a legal case without the guidance and support that a Cleveland OH nursing home abuse lawyer can provide. At Kulwicki Law Co., L.P.A., we are fully prepared to support you in taking action. We know that during this sensitive and trying time, you deserve the experience of our legal team. Don’t hesitate to take action, contact Kulwicki Law Co., L.P.A., as soon as possible.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Whether you suspect your aging loved one is being abused or neglected, or you just want to be vigilant and cautious, there are signs that something may be wrong.
Signs of Physical Abuse
Physical abuse in nursing homes can manifest in numerous ways. While obvious forms of assault involve hitting, pushing, and kicking, there are additional actions that constitute physical abuse. These include unnecessary use of restraints, inappropriate confinement, and improper use of medications. A consultation with a nursing home abuse lawyer in Cleveland, OH can provide clarification on what actions are considered abusive.
The following things may signal the presence of abuse:
- Common or suspicious bruises or cuts
- Unexplained injuries like dislocations or fractures
- Broken or missing medical devices like hearing aids or glasses
- Uneasiness around or dislike for a particular nursing employee
- Changes in cognition or mood
A nursing home caregiver that insists they monitor your visits may also be a red flag. If your loved one is showing signs of physical abuse, act quickly to ensure their safety, and then reach out to Kulwicki Law Co., L.P.A.
Signs of Neglect
While often more difficult to notice than physical abuse, neglect is common among nursing home residents. This type of mistreatment can be unintentional or malicious but it is damaging either way. A nursing home abuse lawyer in Cleveland, OH may be able to help you identify and prove the neglect of your elderly loved one.
Neglect is often overlooked as a type of abuse because it does not include an action per se. However, the inaction that classifies cases of neglect does qualify as abusive behavior. Examples include a lack of adequate social interaction, slow incident response time, and poor facility upkeep.
When you visit your loved one at the facility, look for these signs of nursing home neglect:
- Declining personal hygiene
- Weight fluctuations
- Changes in mood
- Inattentive staff behavior
You are right to expect a high level of care and consideration from the people who have been tasked with the safekeeping of your family member. When those people fail to uphold their duty, legal action may be a necessary step.
Kulwicki Law Co., L.P.A. takes elder abuse and neglect seriously and will treat your case with the utmost diligence and respect. If you think you would benefit from a consultation with a nursing home abuse lawyer in Cleveland, OH, reach out to us today.
Common Myths About Nursing Home Abuse
As hard as it may be to believe, nursing home abuse still occurs in this day and age. The thought of your loved one being mistreated is difficult to bear. Here are some common myths you should not believe about nursing home abuse.
- Nursing home residents always report abuse. Unfortunately, this is not true. The fact is that many nursing home residents do not tell someone that they’re being mistreated. Some of these residents may suffer from dementia and not even remember that the abuse has occurred. Other residents may be afraid to report the abuse out of fear of retaliation.
- Nursing home abuse occurs because staff members are stressed. There is no denying nursing home staff members work long hours and are under a lot of pressure. However, that is no excuse to mistreat residents. Staff members who are overwhelmed should still take good care of residents.
- Nursing home abuse has obvious signs. Not all forms of nursing home abuse have obvious signs, like bruises and broken bones. If a nursing home resident is not getting the proper nutrition or is getting sexually abused, for example, it is not so easy to spot.
- Abuse only happens in nursing homes. Although abuse occurs most frequently in nursing homes, it can occur in other places. Abuse may also happen in assisted living facilities and in a senior’s own home.
- Elder abuse will not happen to your family members. It can be difficult to imagine your elderly loved one suffering abuse in a nursing home. You might assume that your family member is too smart to allow that to happen. However, elder abuse can affect just about anyone, including very smart and strong individuals.
- Elder abuse is strictly about violence. It is true that physical abuse is a common type of nursing home abuse. However, it is not the only type of abuse nursing home residents can suffer. Some residents may be neglected or emotionally abused. Others may be subject to financial exploitation.
- You don’t need to hire a lawyer. If you believe your family member has suffered abuse in a nursing home, it is important to have a skilled nursing home abuse lawyer in Cleveland, OH on your side. Nursing home abuse can be difficult to prove, so it’s wise to work with someone knowledgeable and experienced.
4 Reasons Nursing Home Abuse Victims May Not Speak Up
Nursing home abuse can happen to anyone in any kind of facility, so if you have a loved one living in a nursing home, it is important to be vigilant. Many people make the mistake of assuming all is well because their loved one has never mentioned otherwise. It is important to know that not all victims of elder abuse speak up about it. There are many possible reasons for this.
1. Communication Difficulties
Some elderly people living in nursing homes have physical or cognitive disabilities that affect their speech. If this is the case, the person may be unable to explain the abuse that is occurring. If your loved one has difficulty communicating, it is very important to maintain frequent contact, keep a close eye on their care, and contact Mishkind Kulwicki Law Co., L.P.A., to speak with a nursing home abuse lawyer in Cleveland, OH, at the first sign of any mistreatment.
2. Memory Issues
Memory loss is common for elderly people, and it can make it difficult for people who are being abused or neglected to report it. The person may not remember the abuse occurring or may not be able to keep all of the details straight. This is why family members need to watch for signs of abuse. A nursing home abuse lawyer in Cleveland, OH, can help you build a case against the facility even if the victim does not remember the abuse.
3. Shame and Self-Blame
Sadly, many people who experience abuse and neglect do not report it due to shame or embarrassment. Someone who has experienced nursing home abuse may feel embarrassed or weak for not having been able to stop the abuse. Some abusers even attempt to blame the victim for the abuse. If your loved one has experienced nursing home abuse, reassure the person that the abuse was not their fault, and contact Mishkind Kulwicki Law Co., L.P.A., without delay.
4. Fear of Consequences
Nursing home abuse can be a terrifying experience for the victim, as the abuser is usually someone they depend on for daily care. A person who has experienced abuse in a nursing home may worry that the abuse will get worse if they speak up. They may also think no one will believe them, especially if the abuse leaves no marks. If your loved one reveals that they are being abused, it is important to believe them, remove them from the situation as quickly as possible and contact a nursing home abuse lawyer in Cleveland, OH, to determine what to do next.
Benefits of Hiring a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
If your family member is the victim of nursing home abuse, it’s important to work with an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer in Cleveland, OH. A lawyer can improve the chances of a successful outcome. Here are a few benefits of hiring a nursing home abuse lawyer.
- Help you gather crucial evidence. A nursing home abuse case is only as strong as its evidence. The evidence for the case will probably be in the nursing home’s possession and they may not be so willing to give it up. That’s one good reason to have an assertive lawyer on your side who will conduct an immediate investigation. If the nursing home attempts to withhold evidence, your lawyer can file a subpoena. Your lawyer may obtain several types of evidence for your family member’s case, such as medical records, eyewitness deposition and the facility’s hiring and training procedures.
- Make you aware of all the possible damages. You likely know that nursing home abuse victims have the right to seek compensation for medical expenses that result from their abuse. However, you might not realize that your family member may be entitled to additional damages. For example, if your loved one has suffered depression and anxiety after the mistreatment, he or she may be able to claim emotional suffering damages. A skilled lawyer will make you aware of all the damages your family member is entitled to.
- Handle communication with the insurance company. If you file a claim against a nursing home for abuse, you will have to deal with their insurance company at some point. Insurance companies care about the bottom line first and may do anything to get out of paying you what you deserve. That’s why it’s important to have an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer on your side. He or she has experience negotiating with insurance companies and won’t let them take advantage of you.
- Argue your case at trial. The majority of nursing home abuse cases get settled out of court. However, if the insurance company is refusing to offer your family member a fair settlement, it may be necessary to go to court. In this situation, it becomes critical to have a skilled lawyer on your side. He or she will argue the case at trial and improve the chances of a successful outcome.
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