legal resources necessary to hold negligent facilities accountable.
Edmond Oklahoma Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
For many families, ensuring that their disabled and elderly loved ones receive proper care and attention means admittingthem into a nursing home.
Nursing homes should be places where vulnerable individuals receive high-quality care. Unfortunately, the situation is far from ideal for many nursing facilities across the country, including Edmond, Oklahoma.
According to the Families For Better Care Nursing Home Report Cards, Oklahoma nursing homes are among the worst, ranked 48th out of 50 states and Washington, DC. Thousands of Oklahomans suffer from abuse and neglect, mostly at the hands of caregivers.
Did you or a loved one suffer abuse or neglect in an Edmond nursing facility? If so, the affiliate Oklahoma personal injury attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center, LLC can help you demand justice from at-fault parties.
Call our Edmond nursing home abuse lawyers at (800) 926-7565 for a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team will remain private under an attorney-client relationship.What Is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse is a single or repeated act that causes physical, psychological, or financial harm to a resident. It can result from negligence, carelessness, or malicious intent of nursing home workers, visitors, or other residents.Elder Abuse
The law defines elder abuse as a single or repeated act that causes or increases the risk of harm to a patient aged 65 or above in a relationship with an expectation of trust (e.g., a caregiver-patient relationship).
Elder abuse is the most common type of abuse in nursing facilities, where over 90% of residents are seniors.The Rights of Nursing Home Residents
State and federal laws help protect the legal rights of nursing home residents. These laws include:Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987
The 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act defines what services nursing homes and other residential care facilities must provide residents and establishes standards for these services. This law aims to protect the legal rights of nursing home residents, including:
- Freedom from abuse, neglect, or mistreatment
- Freedom from physical restraints
- Accommodation of physical, psychological, medical, and social needs
- Participation in resident and family groups
- Be treated with dignity
- Exercise self-determination
- Communicate freely
- Participate in one’s care plan review and be fully informed in advance about any changes in care, treatment, or status change in the facility
- Voice grievances without discrimination or reprisal
The Nursing Home Care Act and Long-Term Care Security Act of Oklahoma define the minimum requirements for nursing homes and residents’ rights. These acts also outline the punishments for violations, standards for employee background checks, and the procedures for reporting abuse or neglect in a facility.Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Abuse in nursing facilities can take many forms, including:Physical Abuse
Physical abuse involves deliberately using force against a resident, causing injury, pain, or impairment. It includes but is not limited to actions such as slapping, striking, kicking, burning, and pinching.
Restraining a resident without medical reasons using physical or chemical means may also be considered physical abuse.
Signs of Physical Abuse
- Broken bones
- Unexplained injuries (e.g., cuts, burns, bruises)
- Restraint or grip marks on wrists or ankles
- Broken eyeglasses
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Psychological abuse, also known as mental or emotional abuse, involves verbal and non-verbal acts that cause psychological harm to a nursing home resident. Common examples of mental or emotional abuse include verbal abuse, humiliation, intimidation, gaslighting, and geographical or social isolation.
Signs of Mental or Emotional Abuse
- Personality or behavioral changes
- Depression or anxiety
- Being extremely withdrawn
- Loss of enjoyment in usual activities
- Difficulty sleeping
Sexual abuse is any non-consensual sexual contact with a nursing home resident. It can take many forms, including verbal sexual harassment, unwanted touching, explicit photography, sodomy, coerced nudity, and rape.
Additionally, consensual sexual contact may still be considered sexual abuse if the victim cannot give valid consent (e.g., a mentally-disabled person).
Signs of Sexual Abuse
- Reluctance or refusal to be touched
- Unexplained bruises around the breasts or genitals
- Genital infections
- Unexplained sexually transmitted diseases
- Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding
- Sudden changes in personality or behavior
- Refusal to be alone with specific individuals
Financial abuse is the illegal, unauthorized, or improper use of a resident’s personal property, including money and assets. It can take many forms, including manipulating bank accounts, stealing personal belongings, and unauthorized transactions on credit cards.
Signs of Financial Abuse
- Sudden bank account changes
- Unexplained transactions on debit or credit cards
- Missing belongings
- Forged signatures on financial documents
- Inconsistencies in resident’s financial records of the facility
- Sudden changes in financial habits
Neglect occurs when a facility fails to provide food, medication, personal hygiene, clothing, and medical care, creating or increasing the risk of harm to a nursing home resident. Both intentional (active) and unintentional (passive) neglect are considered abuse.
Signs of Neglect
- Poor hygiene
- Bed sores
- Malnutrition or dehydration
- Rapid weight loss
- Untreated medical conditions (e.g., recurring urinary tract infections)
- Soiled bedding
- Inadequate clothing for the weather
- Lack of medical aids (e.g., eyeglasses, walkers, hearing aids)
- Medication errors
- Being left alone for long periods
In some cases, elder abuse and dementia share similar signs, such as mood changes, aggression, memory loss, and self-neglect. Hence, elder abuse may sometimes be mistaken for something else, making dementia and abuse screenings crucial for elderly residents.
Consult a specialist if you are unsure whether your loved one is suffering from elder abuse or a degenerative disease.Effects of Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
Abuse or neglect can lead to the following consequences for victims and their families:
- Severe injuries
- Untreated medical conditions
- Psychological trauma
- Loss of personal property
- Monetary losses
- Loss of quality of life
- Reduced relationships with family members
- Wrongful death
Many nursing home abuse cases involve physical injuries, such as:
- Bed sores or pressure ulcers
- Head trauma or traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Broken bones, especially hip fractures
- Bruises and cuts
- Soft tissue injuries (e.g., sprains, strains)
- Spinal cord trauma
Some nursing home residents are more vulnerable to abuse and neglect than others. According to Adult Protective Services, these people include:
- Patients with physical or mental disabilities
- Patients with additional health care needs
- Patients with access to an abundance of wealth
- Dementia patients
- Bedridden patients
- Patients isolated from family members
Nursing home negligence is a multi-factorial problem. Experts believe that the following factors increase the risk of neglect and abuse in nursing facilities:
- Underqualified and Improperly Trained Staff: Nursing home staff require adequate training, education, and experience to care for disabled and elderly individuals. Without proper backgrounds, staff members may be unable to meet the standards of care these residents require.
- Understaffing: Chronic staffing shortages lead to multiple problems that directly affect the quality of patient care, including high-stress environments, deprioritization of critical processes, and inadequate direct care for all patients.
- Poor Management: A nursing facility with a substandard leadership team may experience a lack of accountability, responsibility, and adequate performance from staff members.
- Underreporting: Although it is required by Oklahoma law, only a small percentage of abuse and neglect cases are reported to the authorities. Consequently, many issues remain unresolved, and negligent nursing facilities continue to operate despite violations.
Report known or suspected abuse to the Edmond Police Department. Call 911 if you think your family member or another resident is in immediate danger or needs emergency assistance.
You can also report the abuse of a disabled or elderly person to:
- Oklahoma State Department of Health
- Adult Protective Services
- Long-Term Care Ombudsman
- Office of Attorney General
Regulatory bodies may revoke or suspend the licenses, certifications, and government funding of nursing homes that violate state or federal regulations. Facilities with widespread elderly abuse or neglect issues could also face permanent closure.
In addition, perpetrators of nursing home neglect or abuse (e.g., a staff member or visitor) may face criminal charges from local police. Depending on the severity of the crime, perpetrators could face either a misdemeanor or a felony charge. Punishments range from fines up to $10,000 to imprisonment or both.
After alerting the authorities, contact a nursing home abuse lawyer to discuss your legal options.Filing a Nursing Home Abuse Claim
Nursing facilities are legally required to take reasonable measures to protect residents from avoidable harm, including abuse and neglect. Any nursing home that fails to meet its legal obligations to residents could face legal repercussions under personal injury law.
Did you or a loved one suffer injuries, trauma, or other harm due to nursing home negligence? If so, you have the legal right to pursue damages by filing a legal claim.The Role of Your Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Aside from guiding you through the entire process of filing a personal injury case, the right lawyer can help you:
- Establish the liability of at-fault parties
- File your claim within the statute of limitations
- Collect evidence to support your claim
- Handle all claim-related paperwork
- Negotiate settlement values
- File your lawsuit in civil court, if necessary
Your nursing home abuse lawyer will discuss these responsibilities further during your free case evaluation.Liable Parties
Your nursing home abuse attorney will help you determine who is directly responsible for abusing or neglecting your loved one. Possible perpetrators may include:
- Nursing home staff members
- Other residents
Regardless of who is directly responsible for the abuse or neglect of your loved one, the negligent nursing facility may also be liable for failing to protect your loved one from avoidable harm.Evidence
Proving nursing home negligence requires substantial evidence. Your Oklahoma nursing home abuse lawyer will help you gather relevant documents to support your claim, such as:
- Photos of your loved one’s injuries
- Medical records, including psychological evaluations
- Incident and police reports
- Financial records, in case of financial exploitation
- Witness accounts from staff members, visitors, or other patients
- Expert testimony
- An autopsy report, in case of wrongful death
Some forms of evidence are more difficult to procure than others, especially without legal help. Your nursing home abuse lawyer will discuss the documents you need to collect during your free case review.Damages
Filing a nursing home abuse case against a negligent facility could help your family recover financial compensation for the following losses:
- Medical Bills: Compensation for your loved one’s treatment, including hospitalization, medication, therapy, surgery, emergency transportation, etc.
- Disability: Compensation for disability-related damages if your loved one becomes disabled from abuse or neglect. These damages may include loss of quality of life, disability services, and medical equipment.
- Pain and Suffering: Compensation for physical and non-physical injuries, including physical pain, mental anguish, emotional distress, etc.
- Loss of Quality of Life: Compensation for your loved one’s reduced quality of life, which may manifest in loss of enjoyment in daily activities, reduced independence, and reduced societal ties.
- Wrongful Death: Compensation for death-related damages if your loved one dies due to abuse or neglect. These damages typically include funeral and burial costs, pre-death medical treatment, and grief.
- Punitive Damages: Monetary awards on top of compensatory damages, aiming to punish negligent nursing homes for their actions and deter harmful behavior in the future.
Your Oklahoma nursing home abuse attorney will estimate the potential value of your settlement during your free case review. This estimation should give you an idea of what your family deserves and help you avoid accepting an unjust settlement.Settlement
After filing a legal claim against the negligent nursing home or long-term care facility, you may receive an initial offer from the facility’s insurance company. At this point, you can either accept the offer or have your elder abuse attorney negotiate for a better outcome.
Accepting the offer at any time will take away your opportunity to sue for additional damages, so tread carefully. Once you receive the payment, you can no longer sue for more money even if you discover more losses.
Consider having your attorney handle the entire process with the insurance company to ensure you receive fair compensation and avoid accepting a settlement too soon.Other Legal Options
What if negotiations are unsuccessful or the nursing facility refuses to take responsibility for the abuse? If this happens, your attorney could help you file a civil lawsuit.
Your case will go to civil court, where a judge or jury will hear evidence from both parties and determine a verdict. This process is called litigation and is often time-consuming, so many families tend to choose against it.
To avoid litigation, your nursing home abuse lawyer could also help you pursue other legal options, such as arbitration or mediation. These alternative dispute resolution methods are often less expensive and time-consuming than a court trial.The Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Oklahoma is two years from the date of the underlying incident or its discovery (Oklahoma Statutes section 12-95).
Have your Oklahoma attorney file a lawsuit as soon as possible to avoid missing the deadline or losing crucial evidence. Oklahoma courts do not grant extensions to the two-year deadline unless exceptional circumstances apply to your case. If you miss the deadline and still file a lawsuit, the court will likely dismiss your case or refuse to hear it entirely.Schedule a Free Consultation With an Oklahoma Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Today
Did you or a loved one suffer abuse or neglect in an Edmond nursing home? If so, the affiliate nursing home abuse lawyers at Nursing Home Law Center, LLC can help you seek compensation for your damages by any means necessary.
Our skilled nursing home abuse lawyers handle all sorts of abuse or neglect cases, helping countless victims and their families seek justice from negligent nursing facilities. In the process, the combined efforts of our lawyers and clients raise awareness for nursing home abuse and help other victims take a stand against such injustices.
Call our Oklahoma law offices at (800) 926-7565 or use the contact form for a free consultation with one of our nursing home abuse lawyers. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team will remain private under an attorney-client relationship.
Our nursing home abuse attorneys handle all accepted cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t have to pay legal fees unless we win your case.Resources: