The NJ nursing home abuse attorneys at Davis & Brusca have extensive experience handling elder abuse lawsuits and have the resources needed to help victims of nursing home neglect and their families prosecute their injury claims. Our attorneys have achieved many substantial recoveries in nursing home cases, including a verdict in excess of $13 million – the largest such recovery in New Jersey history. We believe strongly that by the best way to deter other nursing homes from engaging in wrongful conduct is to prosecute these cases aggressively and hold the wrongdoers accountable. By doing so, the lawyers at Davis & Brusca are helping ensure the nursing home industry delivers quality care to nursing home residents as well as compensating our clients for the harms they have suffered.
Have you or your loved one been harmed by neglect or abuse in a nursing home? If so, please contact Davis & Brusca today to see how our New Jersey nursing home attorneys may be able to help you pursue a lawsuit against the facility which caused the harm.
How can a Nursing Home be held Liable for Elder Neglect and Abuse?
Nursing home claims are based upon the law of “negligence.” Where the facts show that the facility or its agents or employees have acted negligently (fallen below the “standard of care”), a lawsuit can be filed to seek compensation for harms and losses (a/k/a “damages”) caused by that negligent conduct.
What Damages Can be Recovered in a New Jersey Nursing Home Lawsuit?
The damages which can be recovered vary from case to case. Generally, claims seek compensation for:
Claims based on the New Jersey “Resident’s Rights” Act also include a provision to shift the burden of the attorneys’ fees associated with prosecuting the case to the nursing home. This creates a strong incentive for the facilities to settle when a strong claim of negligence has been prepared by a top New Jersey Nursing Home lawyer, like the lawyers at Davis & Brusca. Punitive damages are authorized by statute in New Jersey but are rarely awarded and generally don’t factor into most cases.
What Circumstances Will Support a Claim for Nursing Home Negligence?
There are a variety of facts which may give rise to a claim. Some of those most frequently seen by the NJ Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers at Davis & Brusca are:
Nursing homes have an obligation to provide enough staff to provide the highest practicable quality of care to their residents. When a nursing home fails to employ a reasonable amount of staff, the “per-employee” workload increases, and the quality of care suffers even if the workers who are present are doing their very best. In short, residents may be neglected simply because there are not enough workers to look after their needs.
While a variety of tools exist to help nursing homes staff to safe levels, such as the Medicare “expected rate” (a ratio setting an “expected” or target number of hours of care “per patient, per day”) and ratios to gauge the number of residents-to-staff (by category), these tools are frequently ignored by nursing homes which are seeking to maximize profits by cutting staff.
Low staff-to-resident ratios clearly endanger residents but can also cause other problems in the facility and frequently contribute to abuse. “Short” staffing increases the workload for the nursing home’s staff members, increasing workers’ stress and contributing to poor morale, which may manifest in a lack of compassion, patience and even abuse.
The lawyers at Davis & Brusca are at the top of their field and are experienced in looking for and developing claims for insufficient staffing. If you or a loved one has suffered harm or has died as a result of a nursing home’s failure to have an adequate number of caretakers, you can trust the top nursing home lawyers at Davis & Brusca to help. Contact our office today for a free, no obligation consultation.
2. Negligent Hiring:
Nursing homes have an obligation to hire qualified personnel and to screen all employees to verify they have no record of abuse or violence. If a nursing home is found to have hired unqualified personnel, or if residents are subjected to sexual or physical assaults because a facility has failed to screen predators through background checks, the nursing home can be held responsible for any harm or abuse which results from their wrongful conduct.
3. Inadequate Training:
It is not enough to simply hire people who hold a degree of certification. Providing quality care to nursing home residents requires specific training as well as a patient attitude and a gentle, caring manner. Unfortunately, not all nursing home employees receive proper training in how to handle persons with dementia, persons who are at risk for falls, or other similar medical condition and disabilities. When this results in harm, the nursing home can be held accountable for the training shortfalls of their staff.
4. Medication Errors:
Nursing Home residents typically require various medications on a daily basis. When they don’t’ receive their medications, or when dispensing errors lead to too little or too much medication, or conflicting mediations, the resident may be harmed or killed. When those injuries are caused by a drug error, the nursing home and potentially others (such as the prescribing physician, pharmacy, or pharmacist) may be held responsible.
5. Violation of Residents’ Rights:
All nursing home residents are granted certain “rights” by federal and state statute. New Jersey has one of the strongest “Residents’ Rights” statutes, empowering residents with the ability to sue for violation of their rights. Those rights include the right to a safe and decent living environment, the right to participate in their medical and life decision, the right to dignity, and to privacy. Outside of NJ, the scope of action which can be pursued varies from state to state.
6. Physical, Sexual and Emotional Abuse:
Physical abuse can be overt, such as with unwanted physical contact – including sexual abuse, or it can be more subtle. Examples also include excessive or unjustified use of restraints (both physical or chemical), and even force-feeding or overmedication. Emotional abuse relates to verbal insults or threats, use of isolation to control behavior, or various forms of emotional manipulation. Use of “fear” to control residents can spill over into larger problems. For example, fearful residents may hold back on asking for food or water which can contribute to malnutrition or dehydration.
Family members should look for changes in behavior, such as withdrawal, mood swings, unexplained confusion, anxiety or depression, as these may indicate a deeper problem with emotional abuse.
Neglect occurs when the nursing home fails to provide the expected level of care and attention to the needs of the resident. It can take a variety of forms. Some of the most common types of neglect the nursing home lawyers at Davis & Brusca see include failure to provide sanitary conditions, and failure to provide assistance necessary for good personal hygiene.
How Can the Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers at Davis & Brusca Help?
Our attorneys have more than 25 years of experience handling complex injury claims, including nursing home neglect and abuse. Our team will take the steps necessary to help ensure your rights are protected. We can help you identify and document the information necessary to prove what happened and why. Davis & Brusca is proud to be the nursing home attorney New Jersey turns to for help with their legal claims against negligent nursing homes and their employees.
The lawyers at Davis & Brusca are, at their core, trial lawyers. We are not afraid to take even big corporations to trial, and we have a well-deserved reputation as skilled advocates. These skills, and our ability to identify and explain what really happened, is essential in securing justice for our clients.
If you suspect your loved one is being abused or neglected in a nursing home, don’t settle for “any” injury lawyer. Contact the pros. Call Davis & Brusca today for a free consultation and put our experience to work for you. The law limits the time you have to take action, so don’t delay. Call Davis & Brusca, the nursing home lawyers New Jersey trusts, today.