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Arizona Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
Most individuals are at their most vulnerable during two stages in their lives — at the beginning and the very end. Once our loved ones have reached their retirement age, it’s like they’ve finally, at long last, made it. During old age, they deserve some peace and quiet in a serene environment. That’s not too much to ask.
Thankfully, in many Arizona nursing homes, this is the reality.
Ideally, you shouldn’t have to worry about placing your loved one in a nursing home. These are facilities meant to better the lives of senior citizens. They offer our elderly relatives a place to spend their remaining years in comfort as nursing home staff care for their needs.
Unfortunately, there are exceptions to this perfect scenario. Medical negligence and other forms of nursing home abuse occur in assisted living facilities in Arizona. Exploring these cases and remaining alert to spot signs of abuse can help you take action and protect the well-being of your loved one.
If you suspect your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, you should contact a nursing home abuse attorney in Arizona who can help resolve the issue effectively and efficiently. You and your family shouldn’t go through this alone.
If you have a feeling that something is off, don’t disregard your intuition. Follow up on the matter to clear your doubts. At Gerber Injury Law, our lawyers can take on your case and fight for you to ensure it never happens again.
Call us now at 623-486-8300 to speak to our representatives. Gerber Injury Law will keep the details of your call confidential and begin investigating your case.
What Is Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?
Elder abuse in Arizona is very real, and regrettably, it may happen to someone you care about.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), elder abuse is the “intentional act or failure to act that causes or creates a risk of harm to an older adult.” The CDC defines an older adult as anyone aged 60 and above. This abuse typically happens at the hands of a person the elder trusts or a caregiver, such as a nursing home employee.
On the other hand, the Administration for Community Living describes elder abuse as “any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult.”
Nursing home abuse is any type of harm, be it physical, financial, sexual, or emotional, that elders in assisted living facilities experience. Abuse is understood to be any intentional act or omission that risks the well-being and health of elderly residents. This can come in many forms.
Different Types of Nursing Home Abuse
At Gerber Injury Law, our nursing home abuse lawyers in Arizona investigate potential lawsuits on behalf of elderly residents in nursing homes who’ve suffered abuse, such as:
Physical abuse is the easiest form of nursing home abuse that family and friends can detect. This form of abuse in Arizona nursing homes isn’t limited to battery, assault, or other forms of physical contact. It may include overmedication, force-feeding, or excessive physical restraints. Broken glasses, bruises, and black eyes may be telltale signs of physical abuse in a nursing home.
Verbal threats or degradation, sarcastic comments, isolation, and insults can amount to mental abuse in nursing homes. This type of abuse may also refer to emotional manipulation, which happens when a nursing home employee deceitfully influences the actions of a resident for their own gain.
For example, staff may manipulate residents to ignore forms of abuse for fear they won’t be bathed, fed, or groomed. Still, staff may threaten nursing home residents, forcing them to keep quiet about any form of abuse they are experiencing in the facility. Residents experiencing this type of abuse typically exhibit less obvious warning signs, such as mood swings and withdrawals.
Sexual abuse occurs when residents are tricked or forced into unwanted sexual contact. This may happen when an elderly resident is too ill or weak to consent. It can include any type of sexual contact, including penetration and physical touch. Some of the common sexual abuse perpetrators include:
- Staff members
- Other residents
- Family members
Another way your loved one may be abused in a nursing home is through financial exploitation or healthcare fraud. Always check their bank statements and receipts.
If you notice that your loved one is being charged for services or medical equipment that seem unnecessary or irrelevant, healthcare fraud could be the underlying issue. Telltale signs of this type of fraud include tricking a resident into signing a will or unexplained charges on a credit card bill.
Nursing home neglect happens when employees fail to offer a resident the degree of care expected for an individual in their position. Typical forms of nursing home neglect in Arizona include:
- Failing to administer medications to residents
- Isolating vulnerable nursing home residents
- Improper care for problems like dementia and diabetes
- Failure to provide assistive devices like canes to help with mobility
- Not cleaning a resident’s rooms
- Providing residents with inadequate or unsafe food and water
- Forgetting to move elders with mental or mobility problems
- Failing to bathe or change a senior’s clothes regularly
If you have noticed signs of elder abuse or neglect and suspect the staff or nursing home may be to blame, consulting an experienced nursing home abuse attorney in Arizona, like our founding attorney, Ken Gerber, is a wise strategy. Make sure you discuss the nursing home environment with your loved one to better understand what they are going through. If your family member describes scenarios that indicate neglect or abuse, don’t brush them off. Take the matter seriously and seek qualified legal help.
Causes of Abuse and Neglect Occur in Arizona Nursing Homes
Not all nursing homes in Arizona provide the same standard of care to elderly residents. Some lack the necessary resources, including human resources, to ensure residents live in a conducive environment. At Gerber Injury Law, we understand that an assisted living facility lacking resources and professional oversight is challenging to run. These issues may affect residents’ quality of care and perpetuate nursing home abuse and neglect.
Here are some common causes of nursing home neglect and abuse in Arizona facilities:
- Staffing shortages
- Underpaid staff
- Individual caregiver problems
- Lack of training and experience
- Poor supervision and management
- Lack of consequences
Arizona Laws Protecting Nursing Home Residents
Both Arizona and the federal government, through Congress, have passed laws to protect elderly residents living in nursing homes. Arizona’s Adult Protective Services Act (APSA) addresses concerns regarding elder abuse and neglect in the state. Its goal is to protect Arizona’s vulnerable adults from abuse, including financial exploitation.
First enacted in 1980, APSA allows victims of nursing home abuse to file lawsuits seeking damages for injuries brought about by the negligent actions or failure to act of nursing home staff. This act provides a framework allowing nursing home victims, their loved ones, and their legal team to investigate allegations of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of vulnerable elders.
In the case between Delgado and Manor Care, a landmark ruling was made that re-defined the elements of an APSA claim in Arizona. To successfully secure compensation for damages under this act, your nursing home abuse attorney in Arizona must establish these four elements:
- A vulnerable adult
- Suffered an injury
- Caused by abuse
- From a nursing home caregiver
At Gerber Injury Law, our Arizona personal injury lawyers will interview your loved one to understand everything about the facility’s wrongful conduct. We will gather and analyze evidence, proving who is responsible for your loved one’s abuse. Our legal team will also review financial records to unearth any red flags that would establish financial exploitation.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse in Arizona
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, older adults aged 65 and above comprise 14.9% of the total U.S. population. The department estimates that at least 10% of these adults experience some form of abuse in a given year, with some experiencing more than one form of abuse.
In truth, it can be challenging to recognize the signs of nursing home abuse in Arizona. The reality is that most signs of nursing home abuse are also linked to common issues that arise as our loved ones grow older, particularly for those who rely on others for care, like dementia patients.
Still, never disregard any telltale signs of nursing home abuse or neglect. If your loved one voices their concern about any mistreatment in the assisted living facility, follow up with relevant authorities and the facility’s management.
Some of the common signs of abuse or neglect that our Arizona nursing home abuse lawyers witnessed include:
- Dirty rooms
- Unusual cuts and bruises
- Frequent diseases and infections, including urinary tract infections
- Sudden weight loss
- Malnutrition and dehydration
- Dirty clothes or bed linens
- Burn marks
- Unexplained bone fractures
- Excessive sleepiness
- Sudden financial difficulties
- Silence around caregivers
- Change in power of attorney
- Changes in their will
In most cases, residents are too ashamed to come forward and report their experiences. For this reason, family members should closely monitor their loved ones to spot any signs of abuse or neglect. If you suspect your dad or grandma is being abused or neglected in a nursing home, contact Gerber Injury Law’s personal injury lawyers in Arizona for sound legal counsel and representation.
Who Is Liable in a Nursing Home Abuse Claim in Arizona?
Abuse and neglect may take many forms in Arizona nursing home settings. When your loved one is admitted to such a facility, they’ll interact with staff members, residents, and visitors. If they experience neglect or abuse in nursing homes, it’s crucial to determine who is responsible for their ordeal. This may include:
Nurses or Caregivers
These staff members offer critical services to residents, including dietary assistance, general care, medical care, and helping them with their hygiene. Nurses and caregivers must at all times behave professionally when dealing with residents. They may be liable for injuries and damages if they intentionally harm residents.
Nursing homes require regular maintenance and upkeep. The maintenance staff must ensure these facilities are free of potential hazards, such as spills, that could lead to slip and fall accidents and cause back or neck injuries. They must also keep walkways, hallways, and stairways free of debris.
Nursing Home Residents
Your loved one will likely meet and interact with other residents — maybe even make friends — at the nursing home. This sense of community is one of the main benefits of elder care facilities. Regrettably, other residents’ intentionally harmful or careless actions may cause severe, catastrophic harm. Nursing home staff should always keep an eye out to protect vulnerable residents from harm as they interact with each other.
Visiting family members should be monitored and prohibited from harming residents. You have a right to expect nursing home staff to monitor any visitors, including friends, who meet your loved one.
Under the legal theory of vicarious liability, nursing homes can be held accountable for nursing home abuse that staff members commit. This rule makes employers liable for the negligent or wrongful acts that staff members commit in Arizona nursing homes. Vicarious liability may apply whether or not the facility owners were negligent.
In other instances, a nursing home may be liable for its own negligence. For example, take a facility that employs five staff when the optimal number to comfortably serve residents is 24. The facility is understaffed in this scenario, providing grounds for an Arizona nursing home abuse lawsuit.
Other incidents where a nursing home can be liable for abuse, neglect, or injury include:
- Negligent hiring practices
- Failure to provide security to residents
- Imposition of unreasonable physical restraints
- Failure to provide basic needs such as water and food
- Failure to address the residents’ medical needs
- Failure to monitor staff members
- Intentional abuse by staff
- Negligent staff training
To prove liability, your nursing home abuse lawyer in Arizona must prove that the defendant, be it a caregiver or the nursing home, owed you a duty of care. At Gerber Injury Law, our tenacious legal team will prove that they breached that duty, leading to your injury, illness, or damages.
What Sort of Damages Are Recoverable After a Nursing Home Abuse Claim in Arizona?
The Arizona personal injury attorneys at Gerber Injury Law will ensure you can recover maximum compensation for damages you or a loved one may have suffered due to nursing home abuse or neglect. Our legal team can assess your damages to determine the potential value of your abuse claim as we push for the best possible compensation.
Here are the types of damages you may recover in a nursing home abuse claim:
Also known as special or consequential damages, these damages cover the victim’s financial losses related to abuse, neglect, or injury. They include:
- Medical bills
- Property damage
- Stolen cash
- Prescription medications
- Doctor’s visits
- Travel expenses
- Counseling or therapy
According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), most residents of nursing homes live there permanently because of ongoing mental or physical conditions that require nursing care and 24-hour supervision. Since residents don’t typically work, they may not be eligible for lost wages when filing a lawsuit.
With the help of an experienced nursing home abuse attorney in Arizona, family members can figure out all the economic damages in an abuse or neglect claim. These damages are the easiest to calculate because they have specific dollar values. You can use bills, receipts, and records to prove these records.
Also known as general damages, these are abstract costs related to the victim’s quality of life. Non-economic damages are harder to calculate since they are subjective and non-monetary. These damages include:
- Mental anguish
- Fear, humiliation, or embarrassment
- Emotional or physical pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Your Arizona nursing home abuse attorney will use a standard formula to calculate these losses. They’ll likely opt for the multiplier method, which uses a value between one and five to calculate your non-economic damages. The more severe your injury and losses, the higher the multiplier. For this reason, it’s best to talk to an attorney before assuming the value of your general damages.
Arizona courts may award punitive damages to victims of abuse or neglect if the nursing home or a staff member maliciously neglected or abused a resident. These awards are meant to punish the wrongdoer and deter them and others from committing similar actions in the future.
Wrongful Death Damages
In some cases, nursing home abuse or neglect can result in the wrongful death of your loved one. If this is the case, you can file a wrongful death claim against the negligent parties. Parties that can file such claims in Arizona include:
- The spouse
The deceased’s personal representative, or “executor,” can also file a wrongful death claim on the estate’s behalf if no surviving members qualify to bring such an action. These claims seek death benefits on behalf of the deceased’s loved ones. They aim to recover the “full value” of the decedent’s life.
Wrongful death damages available in nursing home abuse claims include:
- Loss of companionship
- Pain and suffering your loved one experienced before they died
- Medical costs incurred due to your loved one’s injury or illness
- Funeral and burial expenses
If your loved one died in a nursing home, assisted living facility, or continuing care retirement community and you suspect abuse or neglect, don’t wait. Contact an Arizona personal injury law firm today to discuss your legal options.
Our team at Gerber Injury Law will help you understand your rights and legal options. We’ll compassionately listen and treat you like our family while building a solid nursing home abuse case. We promise to work hard to earn your trust and respect during the negotiation and trial phases.
How Can Gerber Injury Law Help With a Nursing Home Abuse Claim?
When neglect or abuse happens in an assisted living facility, it can be agonizing for the victim’s loved ones to handle. Thankfully, you don’t have to go through this process alone. You can work with a qualified Arizona nursing home abuse lawyer from Gerber Injury Law, who’ll help you navigate the legal process and reduce the stress of filing a suit.
Here’s how our legal team can help you with your nursing home abuse case:
Establish the Facts
First, our experienced attorneys will discuss the alleged mistreatment with the nursing home abuse victim or their family members. This will include the victim’s history at the nursing home as well as their physical and mental capacities.
The next step that our attorneys will take is to gather evidence to support your claim. This may include medical records, photographic evidence, and witness statements.
Navigate Federal and State Laws
In personal injury claims, such as nursing home abuse claims, different laws may affect how, where, and when someone can file a lawsuit. Experienced attorneys know how local, state, and federal nursing home laws can affect cases.
For instance, Arizona’s statute of limitations for nursing home abuse claims is usually two years from the date of the incident. A skilled attorney can determine the deadline for your abuse or neglect case and help you file your claim in time. This is critical because your case will likely be dismissed if you miss the deadline. You may be unable to recover any damages if that happens.
Your nursing home abuse attorney in Arizona will also help you understand how the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 may affect your claim. This federal law creates a set of national minimum standards of care for residents of certified nursing facilities. It establishes rights for nursing home residents, including:
- Right to privacy
- Right to communicate freely
- Right to be treated with dignity
- Right to freedom from physical restraints
- Right to voice complaints
- Right to accommodation
- Right to freedom from neglect, mistreatment, and abuse
File the Case
When filing a nursing home abuse case, the abused victim or their family becomes the claimant. When filing a suit against the defendants, you must follow the proper channels in the court system and notify the defendants with formal documents. An experienced attorney can ensure you don’t miss any steps here.
Investigate the Case
During the discovery phase, our legal teams will collect and analyze information to build a solid case to prove the defendant’s negligence led to your or your loved one’s injuries and damages. We will prove that you were abused or neglected in the nursing home. Gerber Injury Law may also call on witnesses to build the strongest case possible.
Negotiate a Settlement
Most personal injury cases are settled out of court. Both parties hold settlement talks and reach a financial payout agreement to close the case. Our experienced personal injury lawyers in Arizona will aggressively push for the highest settlement on your behalf.
Go to Trial
If an out-of-court agreement is unfeasible, our trial lawyers are ready to represent you in court. Here, a judge or jury will pronounce a ruling after hearing the facts presented by both sides. Our legal team will prepare a strong case, proving the defendant’s liability in your nursing home abuse lawsuit. Gerber Injury Law will also update you on the status of your case as your trial progresses.
How Much Does a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in Arizona Cost?
The top nursing home abuse lawyers at Gerber Injury Law operate on a contingency fee basis. This means our Arizona law firm doesn’t charge any upfront fees for our legal services. Simply put, we don’t get paid unless you win your nursing home neglect case.
In such arrangements, our legal team usually takes a small percentage of the settlement or verdict to cover our legal expenses if we win the case.
What To Do if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse in Arizona
It’s important to point out that nursing home abuse won’t stop on its own. Everyone has a critical role to play in curbing this vice in society. If you suspect your loved one is experiencing abuse or neglect in a nursing home, act fast to stop it and prevent others from potentially experiencing a similar ordeal.
If your loved one is in immediate danger, call 911 immediately to report the accident.
If you are unsure about what to do once you suspect nursing home abuse, the lawyers at Gerber Injury Law are here to help. First, we will evaluate your case and explain your options.
Then, our elder abuse lawyers will help you file claims with relevant state agencies, including the Arizona Adult Protective Services (APS), to report the abuse or neglect.
Get Legal Help From Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Near Me
In a perfect world, nursing homes should treat all residents with respect and care and give them the attention they deserve. Unfortunately, assisted living facility residents who fall victim to negligent acts such as sexual abuse and physical assault may carry physical and emotional scars for the little time they have left.
If you or someone you care about is experiencing such abuse or neglect, you don’t have to suffer in silence. Gerber Injury Law is here to discuss your options. Your proactive decision could help others facing similar issues.
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