Senior Man in Wheelchair Looking Out Window

Has Your Loved One Suffered From Nursing Home Abuse?

No one should have to suffer harm at the hands of their care facility. Our attorneys will fight for the justice your loved one deserves!

Many people don’t realize how common elders are subjected to abuse or neglect by their caregiver in a nursing home facility. Unfortunately, understaffing, poor training, and low funding leads to elder mistreatment every day. If your elderly loved one suffered abuse or neglect in their nursing home, you have rights.

Our Charleston, WV, nursing home abuse lawyers are fierce advocates and have been protecting the rights of abused or neglected seniors in CharlestonDunbarHuntington, and cities across the state for over 30 years. We have the knowledge and resources to seek justice for your loved one. Don’t wait to call us today for help.

Getting Help
Is Easy

We strive to make things as easy as possible for our clients. If you need help, all you have to do is call us and we’ll take it from there.

We’ll Fight for What You Deserve

Your family deserves compensation for the pain your elderly loved one was forced to endure. Our tough trial lawyers will fight for every penny you’re owed.

No Fees Unless
We Win

Our attorneys work on a contingency-fee basis, meaning we don’t get paid unless we win your case! This way, you never have to worry about expensive hourly legal fees or upfront costs.

We Understand Your Pain. We’re Here to Help

When the unthinkable happens and your elderly parent, grandparent, loved one, or friend are mistreated in their nursing home, you will likely be overcome with a range of emotions.

Many of our clients find it difficult to face the reality of what has happened. To learn a loved one was forced to endure mental, physical, or any type of abuse or neglect can be hard to come to terms with, especially when it was on the watch of a facility you trusted.

We understand you may be feeling angry, hurt, and even disgusted. We want you to know we’re here to help you through this difficult time in every way we can. Our Charleston, WV, nursing home abuse lawyers are passionate about protecting the elderly and holding negligent nursing home facilities accountable for their unacceptable actions. That’s why we give these cases everything we have. When you call us, you’ll get a partner in seeking justice for your loved one.

Do I Have a Case?

While the specific circumstances of abuse vary, elder abuse involves an elderly person experiencing some form of abuse caused by a caregiver, such as nursing home staff.

 

There are several types of abuse an elderly person could suffer at the hands of a caregiver, some of which are:

  • Emotional abuse
  • Neglect
  • Physical abuse
  • Involuntary seclusion
  • Misappropriation of property

If a caregiver doesn’t give the elderly person the care they need or fails to protect them from possible harm, this is neglect. Neglect may include a failure to provide:

  • Medications or medical treatment
  • Hygiene care
  • Clothing
  • Nutrition and hydration
  • Safety
  • Access to daily activities

The statute of limitations is the time frame for filing a lawsuit. In West Virginia, the statute of limitations on elder abuse is two years after the date the abuse occurred or was discovered. If the abuse occurred over time, the case can be challenging. If you miss the deadline, you may lose your right to file a lawsuit or seek compensation. It’s best to consult an attorney like the experienced Charleston, WV, nursing home abuse lawyers at Stewart Bell, PLLC, if you’re concerned about the statute of limitations. Our attorneys will keep track of all the deadlines and ensure your case stays on track.

What Compensation Is My Loved One Entitled To Receive?

Elderly individuals who experience nursing home abuse are entitled to compensation. This compensation may cover:

  • Medical bills: If your loved one was injured, they may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, such as medications, emergency visits, hospitalization, surgeries, therapy, specialist visits, and transportation to appointments.
  • Punitive damages: This money can be included to punish the abuser for their harmful acts or behavior and discourage others from behaving similarly.
  • Noneconomic losses: In some cases, your loved one may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering or “quality of life” losses that impact their ability to enjoy past hobbies or interests.

Did Your Loved One Suffer in Their Nursing Home?

Call our Charleston, WV, nursing home abuse lawyers to find out how we can help. Don’t wait to protect the rights of your loved one!

Let’s Seek Justice Together.

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Has Your Loved One Suffered Signs of Abuse?

Empty Bed in the room hospitalUnfortunately, nursing home abuse is a largely hidden issue because many of the victims are too weak or sickly to warn anyone they’re being mistreated.

That’s why it’s vitally important to visit your loved one on a regular basis and be aware of any signs of abuse or neglect. There are a number of signs that can potentially mean your loved one is a victim. If you notice any of these signs or symptoms and believe your loved one is being abused, please call us.

Also called pressure sores, these skin injuries occur when a person is left to lie in bed in the same position for extended periods of time. When this happens, blood flow to the body’s pressure points is diminished, allowing painful sores to develop. This is a common sign of neglect.

If you notice a change in your loved one’s behavior, such as crying, trembling, unusual frustration, fear, or anxiety, they may have experienced psychological or emotional trauma. Staff members can take their anger out on residents verbally by screaming at them in a degrading or embarrassing manner that can cause the victim to become depressed.

Some facilities are notorious for neglecting the basic needs of elderly residents, depriving them of necessities such as food and water. Many seniors require assistance with daily activities, like eating. When caregivers fail to provide daily help, it can severely impact an elder’s physical health and cause dehydration and malnutrition.

Physical signs of harm or distress, like bruises and cuts, are more obvious indications that your elderly loved one is possibly being mistreated. Always take note of any new and unusual injuries and ask your family member how they occurred.

How Do I Prove My Loved One Was Abused?

According to the laws surrounding elder abuse, a breach of duty takes place if the elderly individual’s guardian isn’t acting in the elder person’s best interest and fails to provide proper care. The evidence needed to prove abuse varies according to the type of abuse.

In an abuse claim, you need to prove that:

  • The caregiver had a duty of care to the elderly individual
  • The caregiver breached their duty of care by harming or neglecting the elderly individual
  • The elderly individual was harmed or neglected by their caregiver
  • The caretaker’s actions resulted in specific injuries

According to the Nursing Home Resident Bill of Rights, residents of a nursing home have rights that include:

  • The right to be free from abuse
  • The right to privacy
  • The right to make complaints against the home without facing retaliation
  • The right to be treated with dignity

If your loved one was abused or neglected in a nursing home, our Charleston, WV, nursing home abuse lawyers will do everything we can to bring their abuser to justice and seek the compensation your loved one deserves.

How to Report Nursing Home Abuse

The Elder Justice Act of 2009 made reporting and combating elder abuse easier. As a result, elder abuse is taken more seriously, and elderly individuals and their families have more resources for reporting.

  • In cases of imminent physical harm, dial 911 to report the abuse. Include detailed descriptions of the senior and the caregiver.
  • All types of elder abuse can be reported to Adult Protective Services (APS), which has trained professionals to investigate claims. You can call the national elder abuse hotline at 800-222-8000 to get in touch with your local office.

Nursing home abuse cases can be challenging. Even if you notice the signs of abuse, the elderly individual may not want to cooperate with an investigation or may not remember the abuse or the details. Elderly individuals may also feel guilty for accusing their caregiver of abuse.

  • Photographs of the elderly individual and exposed wounds
  • Photographs of the environment
  • Written documentation from a responding investigator
  • Statements from the elderly individual and suspected abuser
  • Medical records
  • Statements from witnesses, such as family members, physicians, nurses, neighbors, and social workers
  • Prior reports from the police or Adult Protective Services
  • Financial statements

  • Drugs or drug paraphernalia
  • Damaged property
  • Alcoholic beverage containers
  • Restraints
  • Daily calendar of caretaker visits
  • Calls, texts, voicemails, and social media posts
  • Prior protective orders
  • Items that have bodily fluid stains
  • Records of prescription and over-the-counter medications
  • 911 calls in the past or present
  • The suspect’s phone records
  • Family court records
  • Protective orders
  • Will or power of attorney
  • Medical directives

In many cases, elder abuse investigation involves a multidisciplinary team that may include the police, forensic teams, adult protective services, a public guardian, the district attorney, the coroner, or an ombudsman.

Generally, any person who is legally charged with caring for an elderly individual may be held liable for abuse or neglect. This may include the nursing home staff and caregivers, and medical professionals. Witnesses of elder abuse have a duty to report the abuse to the appropriate agency. This may include law enforcement officers, long-term care facility employees, health care professionals, and human services professionals. Failure to report elder abuse or neglect is considered a misdemeanor crime in most states.

Why Does Abuse and Neglect Happen in Nursing Homes?

You put your trust in a facility to care for your loved one and that trust was betrayed in the foulest way.

Nursing home abuse and neglect are, sadly, common occurrences. According to the National Council on Aging, “Approximately 1 in 10 Americans aged 60+ have experienced some form of elder abuse.”

Many inadequate facilities actively participate in hiring or sanitation practices that increase the likelihood of abuse and neglect. Listed below are some of the most common practices seen in elder care facilities with increasing incidents of resident mistreatment. If you witness any of these poor methods in your loved one’s care facility and believe it is affecting the health and well-being of your loved one, don’t hesitate contact our Charleston, WV, nursing home abuse lawyers.

Federal law only requires one registered nurse to be on duty at any given time at a nursing facility. Similarly, there are no minimum staffing requirements for nurse’s aides (the workers who provide the most direct, day-to-day care). Many nursing homes use this law as an excuse to staff their facilities with the least number of employees necessary in order to cut overhead expenses and collect more profit. Understaffed facilities are a major reason that many elderly nursing home residents do not receive the level of care and attention they need.

Due to stressful and unfavorable working conditions, many nursing home facilities are in constant need of new employees. Therefore, important employee credential checks and criminal background investigations go unfinished as nursing homes try to fill vacancies quickly.

Many elder care facilities offer free training courses to potential employees as a way to entice them to work for their facility. However, these training courses are often poorly structured and designed to meet the minimum amount of training required by law. These inadequate methods, oftentimes, result in insufficient employees who don’t know how to properly care for the elderly.

Serious health issues can develop when staff members fail to maintain adequate facility sanitation or resident hygiene. Additionally, life-threatening germs and bacteria can spread throughout nursing homes when staff members ignore important hygienic precautions themselves, such as regular handwashing.

When nursing home staff administer medication in a manner that contradicts the doctor’s orders, the manufacturer’s suggested dosage, or accepted professional medical standards, they put elderly residents at risk of serious complications or death. Many times, older individuals have a tender state of health and cannot withstand the adverse side effects caused by medication errors. When medication is administered carelessly, patients can suffer unnecessarily.

What Happens Next?

Contact us for your free consultation to discuss your case. If you have a case, we’ll get started on it as soon as possible.

Your attorney will compile evidence and documentation to build a strong case on your behalf.

Your attorney will field calls from the defense attorney and negotiate a fair settlement offer.

Most abuse cases are settled out of court, but if we need to go to court to seek the compensation your family deserves, your lawyer will advocate for you and handle everything on your behalf.

If you receive a settlement offer, your attorney will discuss your options with you. If you accept the offer, we’ll get you a check as soon as we can.

Nursing Home Abuse FAQs

Nursing home abuse can take several different forms. Any time an employee of a nursing home or assisted living facility inflicts physical, emotional, sexual, or financial harm upon a resident, it may be considered nursing home abuse.

If you believe your loved one has suffered any form of abuse, it’s important to know that you have options. Residents of nursing home facilities are protected by the law and have a right to be free from verbal, sexual, physical, and mental abuse.

If your loved one is living in a nursing home facility, they always have the right to be free from verbal, sexual, mental, and physical abuse. Elderly citizens should be treated with respect and care. Chemical or physical restraints should never be used for discipline or convenience purposes.

Sadly, it can be difficult to know if your loved one has been a victim of abuse at the hands of their care facility. Nursing home abuse is a largely hidden and unreported problem because many seniors are too weak, sickly, or afraid to warn someone.

If you’re concerned that your loved one is being mistreated, look out for and document these common signs of abuse:

  • Bruises, broken bones, cuts, burns, etc.
  • Marks on their wrists from restraints
  • Nervous or scared behavior around a certain employee
  • Withdrawal, depression, or anxiety
  • Bed sores
  • Soiled bedding or clothes
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Sudden loss of weight, signaling malnourishment
  • Dehydration

Take action immediately. If you have any reason to believe that your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, it’s vitally important that you notify the proper authorities. Here are several entities dedicated to helping family members address possible cases of elder mistreatment:

Local Law Enforcement: If your loved one is in immediate danger, call 911 right away. The local authorities will be able to help you remove your loved one from the dangerous situation.

West Virginia Adult Protective Services: If you suspect possible abuse or neglect at your loved one’s nursing home facility, you can file a report with APS. A representative will then review your report, conduct an investigation, and provide the appropriate services and support based on their findings.

Stewart Bell, PLLC: After you have notified the proper authorities and ensured your loved one is safe, contact our Charleston, WV, nursing home abuse lawyers. Navigating the legal process in these situations can be incredibly difficult. Our team can help you fight against the facility responsible for your loved one’s suffering and give you the best chance of obtaining the justice and compensation your family deserves.

Usually, when there is a report of abuse, an investigation will be held and residents, family members, and staff will be interviewed. If the accusations are found to be true, Adult Protective Services will work with the resident to try and fix the problem and prevent further harm.

If you are not satisfied with the actions of Adult Protective Services, call our office. Our Charleston, WV, nursing home abuse lawyers will be able to help you understand your rights and figure out next steps.

If your loved one has been a victim of abuse, neglect, or exploitation due to the careless actions of their nursing home facility, you may be able to take legal action. Our nursing home abuse lawyers have years of experience helping families in Charleston, Huntington, and surrounding West Virginia communities take civil action against elder care facilities in order to recover damages associated with the abuse.

If you’re in this situation and aren’t sure about your legal options, please don’t hesitate to give our office a call. We can review your case, help you determine the best course of action, and do everything in our power to demand justice for the wrongdoing committed against your elderly loved one.

At Stewart Bell, PLLC, we work on a contingency-fee basis. This means we don’t get paid unless we win your case. This way, you never have to worry about upfront costs or expensive hourly legal fees. We want you to focus on the health and safety of your loved one while we take care of your case!

A nursing home abuse attorney comes with years of expertise that can help you navigate your case. Feel free to ask your attorney:

  • Do I have a strong case?
  • How long will the legal process for my case take?
  • What will the legal process look like?

Your appointed expert can answer all of these questions and more.

Nursing home abuse cases are a form of medical malpractice. While the harm may be extremely obvious to those involved, the court system often takes things a bit slower to make sure that everything is handled properly. This process can involve notifying the nursing home of pending charges, gathering records, and building a case — all before the case is even heard!

Because of all the intricacies involved, reaching a verdict can often take over a year. While this may not be the swift justice you’re looking for, it ensures that the ruling will be able to hold up should it be challenged. Your best bet is to get a strong attorney on your side right away so that all the filing processes can begin.

Navigating an abuse claim can be painful and complicated. A Charleston, WV, nursing home abuse attorney has the skills and resources necessary to ease your burden. Facing stumbling blocks on your own is a waste of your time and money. Lawyers will make the process speedier and seamless.

We’ll take the time to get to know your family and your case. We understand that facing nursing home abuse is an incredibly unpleasant experience, and we’re ready to meet you with compassion and the tools you need to get justice.

You have two years from the incident or from the discovery of the incident to file your claim in West Virginia. If your report is delayed too long, the statute of limitations can come into play and your case may be dismissed.

It is always a best practice to pursue legal action as soon as you become aware of abuse. This will reduce the risk of losing track of witnesses or key accounts. It will also be your swiftest path to the justice you deserve.

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For more than 30 years, the lawyers of Stewart Bell, PLLC have helped the people and businesses of West Virginia protect their interests and rights. We understand the issues that injured people and their families face after an accident and work quickly to obtain the MAXIMUM amount of compensation for every case we handle.

We have recovered MILLIONS of dollars for clients injured because of nursing home abuse, motor vehicle accidents or medical malpractice.