Bucks County Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
When you place your elderly loved one into a nursing home, you expect they will receive quality medical care and be treated with dignity, compassion, and respect. Sadly, neglect and abuse are a serious problem in many care facilities in Bucks County, and throughout Pennsylvania and the United States. If you suspect your spouse, parent, or elderly relative is being mistreated or receiving poor quality care, you deserve to seek justice and fair compensation for the suffering your family has wrongfully endured.
Bucks County nursing home abuse lawyer Brent Wieand provides aggressive legal representation for abused and neglected elderly people and their family members, and serves communities throughout the county including but not limited to Bensalem, Doylestown, Langhorne, Newtown, Quakertown, and Yardley. To arrange for a completely free and private case evaluation, call The Nursing Home Injury Help Center at (800) 481-5206 today.
What Are the Signs of Nursing Home Neglect and Elder Abuse?
Abuse occurs when a facility staff member deliberately and intentionally inflicts cruel treatment upon a resident. Abuse may be physical, sexual, mental, or financial, or may be a combination of one or more forms. By contrast, neglect occurs when a facility fails to meet the accepted state and federal standards of care and provides sub-par, inadequate services which result in harm to a resident. While carelessness or negligence may not be deliberately malicious like abuse, the effects can be just as devastating.
Unfortunately, both nursing home neglect and abuse are known to be vastly under-reported by the people who experience them, for a variety of reasons. Seniors may fear the repercussions of speaking out, or may simply be too ill or heavily medicated to recognize or remember experiencing mistreatment or neglect. Therefore, it is critically important to be vigilant and proactive if you notice or suspect any signs of mistreatment. Even something as simple as a bad gut feeling is worth investigating for the sake of the safety and health of your loved one.
However, in order to recognize red flags for nursing home neglect and elder abuse, you need to know what to look for. Some of the more common forms of abuse and their warning signs might include:
- Falls — The CDC cites falls as the number one cause of death and nonfatal injury for people aged 65 and older. Falls can cause severe bruising, internal bleeding, and bone fractures, which oftentimes necessitate traumatic and invasive surgeries to repair. Nursing home residents who have difficulty walking must be provided with walkers, canes, and/or careful supervision.
- Bed Sores — Also known as pressure ulcers, bed sores form when care facility staff fail to take basic preventative measures such as regularly changing bed sheets and periodically shifting immobile residents to relieve and redistribute pressure. Bed sores typically develop on bony areas of the body, such as hips, heels, and ankles.
- Amputation — The American Diabetes Association reports that more than one quarter of the elderly population (aged 65 or older) has diabetes. Diabetes can cause extremely poor circulation, and if left untreated, can advance to the point of necessitating the amputation of a limb. If a facility is negligent in its monitoring of a diabetic resident and allows the disease to advance — or if facility staff commit medical malpractice and an amputation wound becomes infected — you should consult with a nursing home neglect lawyer immediately.
Wrongful Death Caused by Nursing Home Abuse
In extreme cases, abuse and neglect can cause or lead to wrongful death. Under Pennsylvania law, death may be considered wrongful if it was caused by “the wrongful act or neglect or unlawful violence or negligence of another,” and if that death also results in damages to the decedent’s survivors. In other words, in order for a legal claim to be successful, the death:
- Must have been caused by another party’s incompetence, recklessness, or criminal act.
- Must result in financial losses to the surviving spouse and/or family members.
If these elements are both present, you may have a strong legal claim to compensation. An experienced attorney can help examine the details of the situation and evaluate which steps you should take next. If you are alleging wrongful death, you may sue to recover losses including but not limited to:
- Loss of services, including the value of chores and tasks performed around the home.
- Loss of value as a parent, such as providing guidance and care services for dependent children.
- Costs related to funeral, burial, and medical care.
In addition to a wrongful death action, you may also wish to bring a survival action. A survival action seeks to compensate the pain and suffering of the decedent him- or herself, while wrongful death actions are used to compensate the decedent’s survivors, such as spouse and/or children.
However, it’s very important to remember that both wrongful death and survival actions are subject to a strict two-year time limit known as the statute of limitations. If you fail to file a claim within two years of the death (for wrongful death lawsuits) or two years of the date of injury (for survival actions), your case will not be heard and will not be able to proceed. Note that personal injury lawsuits not involving death are also subject to the same two-year time limit, though in some instances the discovery rule may be used to extend the normal deadline.
To arrange for a confidential legal consultation completely free of charge, call nursing home abuse attorney Brent Wieand right away at (800) 841-5206, or contact The Nursing Home Injury Help Center online to get started.
Disclosure: Attorney Brent Wieand’s office is located in Philadelphia, PA. We happily serve clients throughout all of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.