Houston Nursing Home Abuse & Negligence Attorney
When our elderly parents or relatives need more assistance in their everyday life, we expect that assisted living facilities will responsibly and respectfully care for them. Chelsie King Garza provides legal representation to those who have been harmed or injured in a nursing home or assisted living center. Nursing home neglect is, unfortunately, a significant problem that affects elderly living in all different types of facilities. Whether the harm is intentional or neglectful, the abused individual and their family may have grounds to bring a lawsuit.
There Are Many Forms of Nursing Home Neglect
Nursing home abuse or neglect can cause both physical and emotional damage. The harm done by neglectful staff can cost the injured person their happiness. They can lose their quality of life. When nursing home staff neglect their duty to properly care for their residents, the injuries can be significant. Nursing home injuries can take precious years off of the life those hurt. There is no excuse for elder abuse, which can take many forms including:
- Physical and mental abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Wrongful death
- Failure to meet the medical needs of the patient
- Home health neglect
- Malnutrition and failure to meet the dietary needs of the patient
- Failure to monitor, or report medical illnesses, including urinary tract infections and pneumonia
- Lack of patient supervision
- Bed sores and failure to properly treat bed sores
- Falls and failure to follow fall precautions
- Medication errors and failure to administer prescribed medications
Anyone who causes harm to an elderly individual deserves to be held legally responsible for their actions.
What Should I Do If Suspect Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?
While families choose to home their aging relatives in nursing homes expecting that their loved ones will be cared for and kept safe, this often isn’t the case. As the elderly population continues to grow in Texas, cases of nursing home abuse and neglect are on the rise.
Understaffed facilities often fail to take care of their patients’ basic needs, leaving many of them malnourished, sick, and traumatized. Others allow their staff to get away with physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, a harrowing experience for patients in these problematic homes.
If your relative is staying at a nursing home, and you believe abuse or neglect is taking place, you may be wondering what you can do. Let’s take a look at some of the steps you could take:
- Document Your Concerns: Why did you initially suspect abuse or neglect was happening? Is your relative malnourished? Has he or she had a series of unexplained hospitalizations? Is your loved one agitated, withdrawn, or non-communicative? You should note your concerns and attempt to gather evidence and document signs of any issues. For instance, you may be able to use photographs, medical records, video footage, photographs, journal entries, and eyewitness testimony to prove that your loved one suffered abuse or neglect.
- Arrange New Accommodations: If you believe your relative’s life, safety, or health is at risk, you should relocate them as soon as you can. In many situations, you may be able to transfer someone between nursing homes immediately. However, if this isn’t possible, it may be best to bring your relative home and hire a caregiver until a vacancy opens up at another facility near you.
- Gather Evidence: Much of the evidence in a nursing home abuse case can be time sensitive. For instance, video footage can be erased, your relative’s injuries may heal, signs of malnourishment can go undocumented, and the facility could tamper with your loved one’s medical records. When you contact an attorney, he or she can assess your situation and take steps to obtain this evidence before it becomes unavailable. Additionally, your lawyer can take over all dialogue with the facility and their insurer so you don’t have to worry about saying something that could be used as evidence to dispute your case.
Who Is Liable For Nursing Home Neglect?
When nursing homes take in a new resident, they enter into a strict agreement known as a duty of care. As such, they must provide patients with a broad range of services, taking care of many needs such as food, hygiene, shelter, and medical care. Overlooking any of these requirements, or intentionally harming a resident, is considered a breach of the duty of care.
Typically, incidents of neglect, injury, or abuse for which a nursing home can be held liable fall into the following categories:
- Negligent hiring practices, such as failing to adequately vet new employees
- Inadequate training of staff
- Failing to monitor staff
- Failing to meet the resident’s basic needs
- Inadequate security
- Failing to take care of the resident’s medical needs, such as providing medication
- Use of dangerous physical restraints
- Failing to clear safety hazards
- Intentional abuse by staff members
If you can show that the facility was negligent, and that their breach of responsibility owed to your loved one resulted in his or her injury or abuse, then you may be able to recover compensation for the damages your relative suffered. Keep in mind that there are situations wherein another party may be liable for such losses. For instance, if a medical device malfunctioned and injured a resident, the manufacturer of the device may be liable for the resulting damages. Alternatively, if trespassers on the property harm a resident, the security contractor hired by the facility may be legally liable.
How Much Is My Nursing Home Neglect Claim Worth?
The value of a settlement or verdict in a nursing home neglect case can vary drastically from one case to a next. As such, it’s impossible for us to guarantee a specific outcome for your case. Nursing home neglect attorney Chelsie King Garza will first need to conduct an in-depth investigation and compile the available evidence before she can estimate the value of your loved one’s damages.
Let’s take a look at some of the factors that might affect the potential recovery in your case:
- Economic Damages: This category covers any financial losses resulting from the abuse, neglect, or injury. These damages can include hospital bills, the cost of transferring your loved one to a different facility, and the value of stolen money or personal property.
- Non-Economic Damages: This category refers to the pain, suffering, and humiliation resulting from neglect or abuse. For instance, if the resident was verbally abused, he or she may have suffered considerable emotional trauma. Unlike economic damages, there are no expense records for the psychological scars resulting from neglect or abuse. As such, an attorney may rely on a wide variety of evidence to help you recover compensation for these intangible losses, such as deposition from expert witnesses and psychiatric reports.
- Punitive Damages: If the facility acted oppressively, fraudulently, or maliciously, you might be able to make a case for punitive damages. Unlike the losses listed here, punitive damages are meant to punish the liable party for particularly egregious acts to dissuade others from engaging in similar behavior.
Hire a Houston Nursing Home Neglect Attorney
If you or a loved one has been harmed by neglectful nursing home staff, take action. Contact an experienced nursing home attorney. Contact Chelsie King Garza to discuss your legal rights and to move forward to hold the responsible parties accountable. Chelsie King Garza is here to help and is truly interested in your case.