Colorado Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Attorneys
Placing a loved one in a Colorado nursing home is often a last resort for families who are unable to provide round-the-clock care for an aging parent. When you have to take that step, you expect that the staff members of a residential facility will provide the professional care and support your loved one needs. You never expect to learn that they have suffered abuse or neglect after admittance to a nursing home.
As the U.S. population ages, substandard care and poor treatment of residents in nursing facilities continues to be a largely hidden problem in our society. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), more than three million Americans reside in nursing homes, with nearly a million more in some sort of assisted living facility. Nearly one in three of these homes fails to meet federal standards for safety and quality of care.
While the actual prevalence of nursing home abuse and neglect remains unknown, experts believe it to be quite pervasive. NCEA and the Centers for Disease Control have concluded that due to challenges involved in gathering accurate data, the vast majority of abuse nationwide likely goes unreported.
Was your loved one injured, abused, neglected, or did they die unexpectedly from mistreatment while living at a Colorado nursing home? If so, we encourage you to contact the Colorado nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers at Nursing Home Law Center today. Let us begin the process of obtaining financial compensation on your behalf during a free case evaluation.Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect in Colorado
Sadly, Colorado nursing facilities are not an exception to the national trend. Despite state and federal laws created to protect nursing home residents, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reported serious violations and deficiencies at 53 (23 percent) of the state’s 229 nursing care facilities, which put elderly residents at risk for serious harm and premature death.
You do not want your loved one to become part of these statistics. People with family members in Colorado nursing homes need to be aware of the abuse and neglect that often occur in these facilities, so they can make sure their elder relatives are being properly cared for.
We urge you to contact the Colorado nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center for a free initial case evaluation. Our nursing home lawyers will investigate your report and if necessary, get started in filing a lawsuit against those responsible for your loved one’s injuries.Federal Laws Governing Nursing Home Care
The U.S. Congress has enacted several laws designed to protect vulnerable elderly patients, which apply to all long-term care facilities in the United States.
- The Nursing Home Reform Act was passed in 1987 to establish basic standards of care for nursing home residents that promote their physical, psychological, and social health, as well as set forth fundamental rights. These include, among others, the right to be free from abuse, mistreatment and neglect; to be granted privacy; to be treated with dignity; and to make certain decisions.
- The Long-Term Care Ombudsman program created a network of advocates for nursing home residents in each state who investigate and attempt to resolve specific complaints involving abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a resident.
Colorado law also provides specific protections for vulnerable elderly patients. Nursing home residents are considered “at-risk adults” under Title 26, Section 3.1 of the state code, Protective Services for Adults at Risk of Mistreatment or Self-Neglect (C.R.S. 26-3.1-101, 26-3.1-102), which defines specific instances of abuse and neglect for which parties may be liable and sets forth requirements and procedures for reporting and investigating abuse claims.
The section provides that abuse can occur when an at-risk adult experiences:
- Skin bruising or bleeding
- Bone fractures
- Subdural hematoma (brain bleed)
- Swelling of soft tissue
- Unreasonable confinement or restraint
- Subjection to criminal sexual conduct or contact
Further, the statute maintains that neglect occurs when an at-risk adult does not receive proper food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or psychological care in a timely manner.
The law establishes a comprehensive list of responsible parties who have a duty to report observed or suspected abuse or neglect of an at-risk adult to Adult Protective Services (APS) within 24 hours. A partial list of these parties includes:
- Health care providers and other medical/hospital personnel
- First responders including hospital emergency staff, fire and police personnel
- Medical examiners and coroners
- Law enforcement officers
- Psychologists and other types of therapists and counselors
- Social workers
- Professional caretakers and home health staff
- Staff of senior centers and state human services providers
- Court appointed guardians
Once a report is made, APS will investigate the allegations and provide for protective services if necessary.
If family members suspect Colorado nursing home facilities of violating this law, they should speak with a Colorado nursing home abuse lawyer about possible courses of action.Colorado Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Serve Victims of Bed Sores, Falls, and Medication Errors
The staff at a nursing facility is responsible for providing every patient a professional level of care at all times, and when they deviate from that standard it can result in numerous dangers to the patient. Following are some of the most common and preventable consequences of neglect in nursing homes in Colorado and nationwide, which can all lead to potentially life-threatening injury:
- Pressure sores. Physically disabled or immobile patients in nursing homes may be prone to developing pressure sores (also known as bed sores and pressure ulcers) in areas of the body where the patient’s own weight on a mattress or wheelchair goes unrelieved for an extended period. If not treated promptly, these sores can rapidly deteriorate into a painful open wound, predisposing the patient to bacteria that can infect vital organs. In some situations, the complications related to pressure sores may be fatal.
- Falls. Elderly patients are at risk of sustaining serious injuries from falling as a result of the aging process, which may be aggravated by medical conditions affecting bone density, motor function, or balance. Falls are the leading cause of death among patients over the age of 65. Residents of nursing homes are at greater risk for falls than are elderly persons living on their own.
- Medication errors. Patients are often placed on increasingly more medications as they age. This raises the chances they will experience an adverse drug interaction or be injured by a medication error as the result of negligence or inattention. Their caregiver may administer medications at the wrong times or frequency, or the doctor may prescribe drugs without verifying their safety.
- Deliberate abuse. As disturbing as it is to think about, elderly nursing home residents are uniquely susceptible to abuse of all kinds. They are dependent, vulnerable, and incapable of defending themselves. Their victimizers may be fellow residents, outside visitors, or even their own caregivers. Victims often remain silent out of shame or fear, so it is important that you recognize the signs of abuse in order to protect those you hold dear.
When a patient develops a bed sore, it is usually because nursing staff were not attending to their needs. Given the fact that pressure sores are easily preventable with proper training, most cases can be traced to staff negligence.
A comprehensive discussion of Colorado bed sore settlements and verdicts can be found here.
Nursing care facilities need to ensure the risk of falls is not compounded by negligence and disregard for safety. Lack of adequate supervision, environmental hazards such as wet floors, and failure to properly assist a patient getting in and out of a bed or wheelchair are common causes of serious falls in nursing homes. Immobile patients rely on staff to help them safely move from place to place. Nursing home patients are most often dropped during routine transfers, a consequence of overworked or poorly trained staff not following safety protocol or using bad judgment.
Patients may sustain bone fractures, brain damage, and other internal injuries as a result of these falls. Our nursing home negligence lawyers have found that these injuries can impair the victims’ quality of life in their final years.
While the resulting injuries are usually not serious, some patients can suffer catastrophic harm simply because those responsible for their care failed to do their due diligence. There should be a multi-layered system in place to prevent these errors. Our nursing home injury lawyers examine the chain of responsibility to determine where things went wrong and which parties along the way failed to prevent the wrong medication or dose from being administered to the patient.
According to a national study reported by NCEA, over 50 percent of nursing home staff admitted to inflicting physical violence, mental abuse, or neglect on patients within the prior year, with neglect accounting for two-thirds of those incidents. However, experts believe that resident-on-resident incidents account for most of the abuse occurring in nursing homes. If your loved one is physically or sexually assaulted by a fellow resident or employee with a history of abusive behavior, the facility can be held liable.
If your loved one has suffered from any of these forms of abuse or neglect, the Colorado nursing home injury attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center LLC are committed to holding the facility accountable. A skilled nursing home lawyer can take steps to stop the abuse immediately, recommend specialized medical care to ensure proper healing of your loved one’s injuries, and help you seek financial compensation.
We have recovered millions for families impacted by pressure sores, falls, medical errors and abuse. Allow us to do the same for you. Contact our office for a free review of your case with a Colorado nursing home lawyer who can advise you of your legal options.When You Should Pursue a Wrongful Death Action
Preventable death from an infected bed sore, fall, or other consequence of nursing home negligence occurs when residents are not properly cared for. Many victims of nursing home neglect are vulnerable individuals who are unable to complain to anyone about the improper healthcare they are receiving. In many cases, the patient suffers severe pain and discomfort before their demise.
No patient should ever die from a preventable injury. When negligence is involved, the surviving spouse, child, or grandchild of the deceased resident are entitled to take legal action including filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible facility. A successful lawsuit often results in a monetary award at trial or settlement out of court.
If you believe your family member died as a result of the negligent acts of nursing home staff, contact the Colorado nursing home attorneys at the Nursing Home Law Center today for a free case review.How to Recognize the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
The signs of abuse and neglect are not always readily apparent. Families of Colorado nursing home residents should always try to remain vigilant about spotting these signs to make it easier to promptly report the abuse to the appropriate authority.
The following are some signs that your loved one may be the victim or emotional, physical, or sexual abuse:
- Bruising or bleeding
- Fractured bones
- Unwashed clothing or bedding
- Spoiled or rotten food
- Unexplained hair loss
- Unexplained weight loss
- Torn or stained clothing
- Unusual lethargy or fatigue
- Depression or anxiety
- Discomfort or silence in the presence of staff
In addition to notifying the proper state authorities, it is critical that you reach out to a Colorado nursing home attorney as soon as you suspect a loved one may be the victim of abuse or neglect. A Colorado nursing home attorney will serve as a support system during this difficult time and will also investigate any suspicions you have reported. You can feel confident in knowing that a Colorado nursing home lawyer will assert the rights of your loved one to receive proper treatment and obtain compensation for their injuries.
Our attorneys are available to help families throughout Colorado in such locations as:
- Colorado Springs
- Fort Collins
- Northeastern Jefferson County
If you discover your loved one has been the victim of abuse or neglect, a Colorado nursing home injury lawyer in one of the above locations can assist you. Contact an experienced Colorado nursing home abuse and neglect attorney to safeguard your family member’s rights today.Statute of Limitations and Damages Caps in Colorado Nursing Home Negligence Actions
In Colorado, there is a limited period of time in which you can bring a negligence or wrongful death action against a nursing home or else forever lose your right to seek compensation.
- A person with a cause of action against a nursing home has 2 years from the date of the injury to bring a lawsuit for personal injury or wrongful death (C.R.S. 13-80-102).
- In personal injury actions other than medical malpractice, noneconomic damages are limited to $468,000 (C.R.S. 13-21-102.5) as adjusted for inflation, unless the court finds justification by clear and convincing evidence to increase damages. Noneconomic damages generally encompass pain and suffering, emotional stress, loss of normal life or quality of life, and other damages for nonmonetary harm.
- Total damages for medical malpractice are capped at $1 million (of which no more than $300,000 may be allocated to noneconomic damages), unless the court finds such limitation unfair (C.R.S. 13-64-302).
Our nursing home attorneys have compiled data from settlements and jury verdicts across Colorado to give you an idea as to how different nursing home negligence cases are valued.
Learn more about the cases below:
- Colorado Nursing Home Medical Error Lawsuits
- Colorado Nursing Home Inadequate Care Lawsuits
- Colorado Nursing Home Fall Settlements
- Colorado Nursing Home Bed Sore Lawsuits
- Colorado Nursing Home Abuse Settlements