Nursing Home Abuse FAQs
A law firm that protects the rights of the elderly
At Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC, we are fierce advocates for the rights of nursing home residents. Horror stories of physical abuse or sexual abuse and reports of malnutrition and dehydration are appalling. Nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other residential facilities in West Virginia that do not live up to their obligations to provide humane and diligent care-resulting in injury or death-must be brought to justice. Our nursing home abuse lawyers fight for victims and their families.
A case of nursing home abuse and neglect is traumatic for the victim and for family members. Our attorneys understand this; that's why we take the time to give our clients the individual attention they deserve in such a time of need. Our entire staff is committed to providing the utmost in client care and service. We believe in what we do and are proud to be chosen as the law firm to represent your case.
A nursing home is expected to be a place where our elderly loved ones can receive personalized attention, care and any medical treatment they require in their later years of life. If you suspect a relative is being abused or neglected in a nursing home, you may be wondering what to do. Read some frequently asked questions and answers about nursing home abuse and neglect. Then contact us for a free consultation with one of our attorneys
Frequently Asked Questions
What are my legal options if a loved one is suffering abuse or neglect at a nursing home?
Nursing home residents have certain rights in long term care facilities, which are protected by the South Carolina Long Term Care Ombudsman Program and the federal Older Americans Act. If your loved one's rights have been violated in a nursing home, and has been the victim of abuse or neglect, your legal options include:
- Reporting the abuse or neglect to the authorities
- Contacting your local Agency on Aging to get assistance advocating for your loved one's rights
- Hiring an experienced attorney to help you file a claim to pursue financial compensation for injuries and losses
- Filing a lawsuit with the help of an attorney to pursue damages on your loved one's behalf.
In cases of criminal activity (theft, assault, battery), criminal charges are appropriate, and your report to the authorities will be an important part of the criminal justice process. Bear in mind that any civil action you may take against the nursing home is distinct from criminal charges that may be pursued by the State of West Virginia.
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How long will it take to get a settlement, and what could be expected in compensation?
As each personal injury case is unique, the length of time to settle a case varies. The injuries suffered will have a significant impact on the value of the damages pursued. The timeframe will also be impacted by whether the compensation is sought through an out-of-court settlement, or whether the case should be taken to civil court for resolution. In many cases, victims of nursing home abuse will be eligible to seek economic and non-economic damages as compensation for the physical and emotional suffering they have been forced to endure. Some instances of nursing home abuse may warrant the pursuit of punitive damages (monies awarded as punishment).
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What is needed to prove a case of nursing home abuse or neglect?
To prove a case of nursing home abuse or neglect, you first must be able to prove negligence or intent to harm by the individual or facility entrusted with your loved one's care. If you have evidence of negligent hiring, inadequate training, lack of proper employee screening, breach of obligations, medication errors or evidence of any criminal activity was responsible for the abuse or neglect, the responsible party is likely to be held liable for what happened. A skilled nursing home abuse lawyer can help you with the investigation into the facts.
Proving nursing home abuse, elder mistreatment or neglect requires you provide evidence showing:
- The nursing home owed your relative or loved one a duty of care
- The nursing home breached the duty of care, and
- Your relative or loved one suffered harm as a direct result.
Additional documentation may be required in cases when the abuse was intentionally caused by a member of the nursing home staff.
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Why is it important to hire a law firm with experience protecting victims of nursing home abuse or neglect?
In instances when nursing home abuse, neglect or elder mistreatment is suspected, it is important to hire a law firm that focuses on protecting the rights of victims. These lawyers are well-versed on the laws protecting residents' rights, and can take action to fight for the rights of victims and their families. By hiring an experienced nursing home abuse attorney, you will gain a dedicated advocate for justice. Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC has been helping victims of nursing home abuse and neglect since 2007. We know how to get justice for victims.
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What is the Nursing Home Reform Act?
The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 was the result of decades of effort on the part of elders' rights activists, concerned members of the religious community and medical professionals who took their concerns to Washington. Nursing homes must ensure that residents are provided with:
- An individual comprehensive care plan
- An individual periodic assessment
- Dietary services
- Pharmaceutical services
- Nursing services
- Social services
- Rehabilitation services
In addition, the law ensures that every facility observes the Resident's Bill of Rights which, among other things, states that residents have the right to be treated with dignity and respect, not be neglected, mistreated or abused and may participate in their care plan. While immense improvements in the level of care have been made, it's important for every resident and family member to observe conditions and report and signs of abuse or neglect.
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What should I look for in a good nursing home or assisted living facility?
Use the Medicare.gov "Nursing Home Checklist," a guide for what to look for in a nursing home or assisted living facility. In addition, it is recommended you evaluate the points that are most important to you with regard to the care of your loved one, such as:
- Proper licensing from state and local agencies
- The quality of life provided by the facility
- Privacy and respect
- The availability of personal care services
- A certain level of freedom
- Professional quality of care
- Very little history of abuse or neglect
- Adequate number of qualified, certified staff
- Sufficient security
- Preventive care measures
- Arrangement with nearby hospital
- High level of resident satisfaction
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