Nursing home abuse and neglect are similar in many ways, but they are not the same. Abuse in a nursing home facility implies malicious intent to do harm to the elder. Nursing homes are regulated by both state and federal laws. Neglect is more of a breach of duty or failing to provide care that meets those legal standards. As result, the elder is harmed. A study published by the National Institutes of Health found that neglect was the most common form of abuse second only to financial abuse by a family member. The specifics of nursing home neglect cases may vary, but often come in one of four forms.
- Social and/or emotional neglect takes place when the elder and their requests are ignored repeatedly, they are left alone, or verbally abused by staff.
- Personal hygiene neglect occurs when residents of a facility don’t receive the help they need to do laundry, bathe, clean, or perform other hygienic practices.
- Basic needs neglect is when the facility’s staff does not provide a reasonable amount of food, water, or a clean, hazard free environment.
- Medical neglect occurs when the facility does not give residents adequate medical attention, prevention, or medication for concerns such as cuts, bed sores, infections or cognitive diseases.
Your Legal Recourse to Fight Nursing Home Neglect
So, what can you do if a loved one suffers from neglect in a senior care facility? First, you should consult with a nursing home abuse attorney in Vero Beach. Next, three questions must be asked before filing suit:
- Was the nursing home in a binding contract to provide care to the resident?
- Did the nursing home fail in their duty to provide that care?
- Are the damages stated in the lawsuit a result of a lack of care?
If all three questions can be answered in the affirmative, you can proceed with filing a suit.
- Launching an investigation is the first phase. This is where all relevant facts are gathered and correlated. Evidence can include observations from witnesses, medical records, and photos.
- Discovery is the second. Findings and evidence are placed before a judge. Witnesses provide their depositions and are cross-examined. The purpose of discovery is to acquire more facts about the case and streamline the process before going to trial.
- The third phase is pre-trial preparation. Evidence is reviewed by attorneys. They then determine their strategies for going to trial.
- The final phase is the actual trial. Witnesses testify before a judge and jury. A verdict is handed down that reflects the severity of the neglect. Depending on the jury, the case may be upheld or dismissed.
At any period before the verdict is given by the jury, the defendant or plaintiff may settle the case if both parties can agree to terms.
Contact Us Today for Help
Because resistance from the nursing home is likely, you should work with the experienced Vero Beach attorneys at Vocelle & Berg, LLP. A settlement without going to trial is a real possibility, but it’s necessary to have a qualified lawyer with you every step of the way.