legal resources necessary to hold negligent facilities accountable.
Alabama Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
Your loved one has a right to receive proper medical treatment, care, and protection in an eldercare facility. An attorney can build a case, citing negligence, wrongful death, negligent hiring, lack of supervision, an intentional tort, loss of consortium, or a third-party responsibility claim.
Nursing home victims harmed through neglect or abuse should contact the Alabama nursing home abuse lawyers at the Nursing Home Law Center (800) 926-7565 today. Let’s discuss filing a compensation claim during an initial free case consultation.
Medicare and Medicaid investigators regularly inspect and survey every Alabama nursing home to identify violations, citations, and deficiencies. The investigators follow up on complaints filed by family members, friends, and concerned employees.
According to the federal agency's statistics, fifty-five (twenty-four percent) of the 228 caregiving facilities rated in Alabama have fallen below the national average because they provide substandard care.Nursing Center Abuse Injury FAQsWhy Is There Abuse In Nursing Homes?
Many eldercare facilities are inadequately staffed throughout the United States with sufficiently trained Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses, and Certified Nursing Assistants. Some abuse cases involve negligence, where the staff fails to provide personalized patient care.
According to the National Institutes of Health, nine out of every ten assisted-living facilities and nursing centers in America are understaffed where one aid might be responsible for providing care for thirty or more individuals.
Unfortunately, most cases involving nursing home abuse go unreported. Often, the abuser is a trusted individual like a nurse, nursing assistant, nursing home employee, another resident, family, visitor, or friend.What Are The 4 Types of Neglect?
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) identifies the four types of neglect to include:
- Physical neglect including depriving the patient of needs like food, shelter, medication, and clothing
- Medical neglect by the nursing staff repeatedly refusing to provide medical care to treat a patient's ongoing condition that could lead to severe injuries or death
- Supervisory neglect when the staff responsible for providing care do not supervise the patient to ensure they remain safe in their environment
- Emotional neglect where the staff deprives the resident of their emotional needs, including a positive attachment with others and forming relationships through social interaction
According to the National Institutes of Health, state and federal laws protect nursing home patients from improper transfers and unfair discharges from their facility. Medicare regulations restrict facilities transferring patients to other skilled nursing homes or discharging them from the facility unless:
- The assisted living center is closing
- The facility resident fails to pay their medical bills
- The discharge or transfer to another facility is required for the resident's well-being, safety, or health
- The nursing center patient's condition has declined, and the facility can no longer meet the resident's needs
- The nursing home resident's condition has improved significantly where care in the facility is no longer medically necessary
The U.S. National Library of Medicine defines patient neglect as "the failure of a designated caregiver to meet the needs of a dependent." In many cases, patient safety is compromised when the nursing home staff neglects the resident's needs and medical care. Other forms of patient neglect include:
- Leaving patients unattended at critical times
- Failing to provide patient's routine baths and showers on schedule or upon request
- Chronically failing to administer prescribed medications per the doctor's orders
- Keeping the resident's room cluttered and unclean
- Not reporting the patient's injuries, illness, or hazardous event to family, physicians, or medical staff
- Depriving the patient of the necessities of life, including sufficient water, food, shelter, and proper hygiene
- Allowing the patient to remain lying or sitting in their feces and urine
- Unexpected weight loss caused by neglect
- Ignoring or dismissing the patient's complaints
- Failing to answer the resident's call lights promptly
Victims of abuse could sue the caregiving facility or medical team if they acted negligently, recklessly, or with the intent to harm others. In some cases, the patient dies by the action or inaction of a Registered Nurse, Licensed Practical Nurse, or Certified Nursing Assistant.
Surviving family members who lost a loved one through a wrongful death could file a civil lawsuit seeking compensation for all damages, including hospitalization costs, medical expenses, pain, suffering, loss of companionship, funeral costs, and burial expenses.What Type of Abuse is The Hardest to Detect?
Physical assault and sexual abuse might leave evidence like bruises, cuts, and lacerations. However, emotional abuse signs are often less apparent when the damage involves rejection, threatening, insults, blaming, neglecting, isolating, manipulating, punishing, degrading, humiliating, or fear, shame, and guilt.
Emotional abusers are usually expert manipulators who intentionally neglect respectful boundaries. However, not all cruelty is easily identifiable by friends and family wanting to protect a loved one.
Emotional abuse might involve putting the victim down, calling them names, cutting off from access to others (social isolation), or limiting the victim's financial decision-making powers.Deficiencies Encountered in AL Nursing Homes
Unfortunately, many nursing homes have received public attention for the inadequate care provided in their nursing homes and deficiencies. There are about 24,885 caregiving facilities in operation, according to a 2008 University of California-San Francisco research study.
The study showed that in eighteen percent of all nursing homes in 2008, there was a deficiency in the quality of life and housekeeping for residents. Also, eighteen percent of all nursing homes in AL had deficiencies in the urinary or incontinence care provided for residents.
Over thirty-three percent of nursing homes in the study had hazards in the environment that potentially could harm residents more prone to accidents.
In Alabama, several statutes govern nursing home claims, including Chapter 20 of Title 34 for Nursing Home Administrators, Chapter 34 of Title 34 for Assisted Living Administrators, and the Adult Protective Services Act. Nursing homes must also abide by the strict requirements under the federal Nursing Home Reform Act.An Elder Abuse Attorney Can Help
Victims harmed while residing in an eldercare facility should contact the Alabama personal injury attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center at (800) 926-7565 to discuss filing a compensation claim during an initial free case consultation.The Nursing Home Reform Act Protecting Eldercare Residents
The Nursing Home Reform Act provides private causes of action if a nursing home resident's rights have been violated. These rights include the right to be free from physical or mental abuse, involuntary seclusion, and any consumption of chemicals not related to the resident's medical symptoms.
Patients also have the right to receive respect in their care and treatment, but unfortunately, this right is often violated in negligence cases.Professional Negligence Claims Against Physicians and Other Professionals
Under Alabama statutory authority, nursing home administrators must provide care that meets a strict standard of care. Nursing home administrators must have a license issued by the Board of Examiners of Nursing Home Administrators.
Also, nursing home employees and administrators are under the following duties of care:
- Check patients for skin breakdown
- Prevent malnutrition in patients
- Prevent dehydration in patients
- Protect patients from accidental falls
- Administer the proper medication at the appropriate times
- Maintain sanitary conditions in the nursing home
- Thoroughly screen prospective nursing home employees for any adverse history
Nursing home employees deviating from providing the established standard of care could face civil consequences. The victim might assert a claim of professional negligence against the staff, facility, or others.
Filing a claim or lawsuit against nursing home professionals based on negligence usually requires following the Alabama Medical Liability Act and providing expert witness testimony to support the accusation. A nursing home attorney can help build a case to show that a nursing home's violation of care was likely to cause the facility resident's injury or death.Nursing Home Negligence Claims & the Adult Protective Services Act Protecting Eldercare Facility Residents
In Alabama, Section 38-9-7 of the Adult Protective Services Act makes it unlawful for any person to "abuse, neglect, exploit or emotionally abuse" any protected person. The law defines protected persons as those living in senior living facilities, mental institutions, developmental centers, and other care facilities.
A crime of emotional abuse is considered a misdemeanor, while all other crimes involving physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, and exploitation might be felonies. A nursing home injury lawyer can help you file a complaint against the appropriate person today that might have caused you harm or injury.
The Alabama Department of Human Resources will then investigate any report made that involves elder abuse, neglect, exploitation, or other harm to protected adults in care facilities.Speak with an Alabama Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Today
A nursing home attorney can assist any victim of inadequate elder care. Feel free to call a lawyer to speak with them about your loved one's legal rights.
Our personal injury attorneys are here to help families and residents throughout the State of Alabama, including in:
The nursing staff must readjust every bedridden and wheelchair-bound patient every two hours to prevent the development of skin breakdown, skin ulcers, pressure wounds, pressure ulcers, and decubitus sores. Any prolonged pressure to a bony area will create noticeable fluid-filled blisters and red spots in the first stages of a developing pressure sore.
Untreated damaged skin could develop an infected open wound leading to severe life-threatening consequences.
Our affiliated attorneys have an unparalleled successful track record at resolving pressure sore lawsuits. Contact our firm for a free review of your case today.
Bedsores (skin ulcers, pressure wounds, pressure ulcers, or decubitus sores) quickly develop on the skin when an individual remains in the same position for too long. Constant pressure on bony prominences like the ankles, hip bones, shoulder blades, and buttocks, could cause the skin to reddened and become tender from inflammation.
Nursing home patients are most at risk for developing skin ulcers if staff members are negligent in providing the basic standard of care. The medical staff is responsible for ensuring that the patient does not remain in bed or seated for an extended time without repeated repositioning or turning to relieve the pressure.
Constant pressure on the skin restricts blood flow circulation, impeding necessary oxygen, and nourishment from reaching skin tissue. Without relieving the pressure, the sore could start developing in as little as two hours.
In some scenarios, nursing home patients have existing medical conditions and circulation problems, making skin breakdown inevitable. Even so, quality medical care by knowledgeable nursing home staff providing adequate attention and appropriate treatment could prevent a developing sore (Stage I) from advancing to a severe condition.
Severely advanced skin ulcers usually result from inattention and negligence when nursing staff fails to assist the patient when moisture from sweat, urine, or feces begins damaging the skin. A Stage I or Stage II could quickly advance to Stage III or Stage IV sore, where the wound becomes open, exposing muscle and bone and potential infection.
Family members placing a loved one in a nursing facility expect nurses to provide quality care around-the-clock to ensure the patient's health and well-being. In many incidences, the family is assured that loving, dedicated caregivers will continuously provide all necessities. Even with that assurance, pressure ulcer developments in eldercare facilities are an all-too-common occurrence.
Unfortunately, nursing home administrators often put profits ahead of providing quality care by cutting the staff member roster. Understaffing might cause a severe problem when the facility must meet the increasing demand for nursing home beds. The lack of quality nursing staff often leads to neglect by overworked nurses and nursing aides.Steps to Avoid Developing Pressure Wounds
Advanced infected skin ulcers might cause permanent damage to the area, resulting in a life-threatening infection. With proper care, severe pressure wounds could be avoided if the admitting nurse and staff members take specific steps that include:
- Correctly identify patients at risk for skin ulcer development when admitted to the facility
- Provide proper padding and appropriate bedding to alleviate pressure on the patient's skin
- Follow a strict schedule to turn or reposition bedridden residents or patients who use wheelchairs at least one time every two hours
- Debride or cut away dead tissue from the sore to stop it from advancing to a critical stage
The staff must be trained on the apparent warning signs of pressure wounds to avoid severe damage to the patient's skin and underlying tissue.Taking Legal Steps to Hold a Medical Facility Accountable
Nursing facility management and caregivers have an ethical and legal obligation to protect every patient in their care. If the staff fails in their duties, nursing home patients could suffer deadly pressure wounds.
Did you, a family member, or friend recognize the initial stages of a loved one's developing skin breakdown? Contact professionals now to ensure that they receive the best treatment for deadly wounds. Use the form here to contact a reputable AL bedsore lawyer from the list below to stop the neglect of your loved one in cities including:
Contacting an aggressive advocate for your loved one is essential to protect their health, dignity, and rights to quality health care. Skilled Alabama neglect law firms offer a free no-obligation initial consultation to discuss facts and describe all available legal options to pursue a case and stop neglect. Contact our law firm today or through the contact form to schedule a free consultation.
- 2 Years with Occurrence Rule. (Section 6-2-38 (l))
- Medical Malpractice – 2 years with Discovery Rule (if discovered after 2 years, then 6 months from discovery). Children under four have until their eighth birthday to file a claim, with a maximum of 4 years. (Section 6-5-482 (a))
- Punitive damages cap – capped at three times compensatory damages or $1,500,000, whichever is greater. (§6-11-21)
- 2 Years (Section 6-2-38-(a))
- None. All damages for wrongful death actions are considered punitive damages, not compensatory or actual damages. (§6-11-21)
- AL Department of Public Health
- Division of Health Care Facilities – AL regulatory agency responsible for licensing/certifying Nursing Homes
- Nursing Home Administrators (Title 34 (Professions and Businesses) – Chapter 20 (Nursing Home Administrators))
- Assisted Living Administrators (Title 34 (Professions and Businesses) – Chapter 34 (Assisted Living Administrators )