legal resources necessary to hold negligent facilities accountable.
Grand Rapids Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Many of Grand Rapids’ seniors and disabled live in nursing homes with equipment, facilities, and professional care to meet their specific health needs. But while most of the city’s nursing homes are rated average to above average, nursing home abuse is a persisting problem in some facilities.
Did you or a loved one suffer abuse or neglect in a Grand Rapids nursing home? At Nursing Home Law Center, LLC, our affiliate Michigan personal injury attorneys can defend your legal rights and prosecute the parties at fault.
Contact our Grand Rapids nursing home abuse lawyers at (800) 926-7565 for a free consultation. We serve clients in Grand Rapids, MI, and other Kent County localities.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).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 patients, 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
Michigan nursing home residents' rights mirror those outlined in the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 (Michigan Compiled Laws Annotated §§ 400.11 through 400.11f). In addition, Michigan residents have the rights to:
- Inspect or receive a copy of one’s medical records
- Refuse treatment to the extent provided by law and be informed of the consequences of that refusal
- Receive information regarding experimental procedures
- Examine and receive an explanation for one’s medical bill
- Be notified of who is responsible for and giving direct care
- Receive adequate and appropriate pain and symptom management
You can find more details about residents’ rights under state law in the Michigan Public Act 368 of 1978 Section 333.20201 (2).Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Abuse in nursing homes 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, pinching, and restraining a resident without medical reasons.
Signs of Physical Abuse
- Broken bones
- Unexplained injuries (e.g., cuts, burns, bruises)
- Restraint or grip marks
- 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 resident. These acts may 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 assault or abuse is any non-consensual sexual contact with a resident, including those who cannot give valid consent (e.g., a mentally disabled person). It can take many forms, including verbal sexual harassment, unwanted touching, explicit photography, sodomy, coerced nudity, and rape.
Signs of Sexual Abuse
- Reluctance or refusal to be touched
- Unexplained bruises around the breasts or genitals
- Genital infections
- 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 Exploitation
- Sudden bank account changes
- Unexplained transactions on debit or credit cards
- Missing belongings
- Forged signatures on financial documents
- Inconsistencies in financial records of the facility
- Sudden changes in financial habits
Neglect occurs when a nursing home fails to provide a resident’s basic needs, including proper nutrition, medication, clothing, medical care, and a safe environment, creating or increasing the risk of harm to a patient.
Signs of Neglect
- Poor hygiene
- Malnutrition or dehydration
- Unexplained weight loss
- Untreated medical conditions (e.g., recurring urinary tract infections)
- Unsafe or unsanitary living conditions
- Inadequate clothing for the weather
- Lack of medical aids (e.g., eyeglasses, walkers, hearing aids)
Nursing home neglect and abuse can lead to victims and their families suffering the following consequences:
- Severe injuries
- Untreated health issues
- Psychological trauma
- Loss of personal property
- Monetary losses
- Loss of quality of life
- Reduced family or social ties
- Increased risk of health conditions and future injuries
- Wrongful death
The following are the most common factors that contribute to maltreatment and lack of proper care in nursing facilities:
- Underqualified staff members
- Inadequate training
- Lack of background checks
- Inadequate security
- Poor management
Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional deviates from the standard of care, causing harm to a patient. On the other hand, nursing home negligence or elder abuse is a single or repeated act that causes injury to a resident in a relationship with an expectation of trust (i.e., a caregiver relationship).
A nursing home abuse case requires a caregiver relationship between the perpetrator and victim. Hence, you cannot file a nursing home abuse claim against staff members with no caregiver relationship with your loved one, such as their doctor. Instead, you can file a medical malpractice claim.How to Report Nursing Home Abuse in Grand Rapids, MI
Contact the Grand Rapids Police to report known or suspected maltreatment of a resident. But if you think your loved one or another resident is in immediate danger, call 911.
You can also contact the following Michigan agencies:
- Bureau of Health Services Abuse Hotline
- Adult Protective Services
- Department of Human Services - Abuse & Neglect
- Office of Attorney General
- Department of Community Health
- Long-Term Care Ombudsman
- Protection and Advocacy Services
After filing a complaint to the authorities, contact a Grand Rapids nursing home negligence attorney for legal help.Filing a Grand Rapids Nursing Home Abuse Claim
Abusing, neglecting, or mistreating a nursing facility resident is against the law. Any Michigan nursing home that fails to protect its residents from avoidable harm could be held liable for injuries, disabilities, and other damages caused by its actions or inaction.
You can seek compensation for your family’s damages by filing a personal injury claim with the help of a nursing home abuse attorney.The Role of Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
Your Kent County attorney can help you:
- Establish the liability of at-fault parties
- File your claim within the statute of limitations
- Collect evidence to support your claim
- Negotiate settlement values
- File your lawsuit in civil court, if necessary
Most nursing home neglect and abuse cases involve one or more of the following parties:
- Staff members
- Other patients
The following forms of evidence could help you prove nursing home negligence:
- Photos of your loved one’s injuries
- Medical records, including psychological evaluations
- Incident and police reports
- Witness accounts from family members, staff members, visitors, or other residents
- Expert testimony
You can include the following economic and non-economic losses in your nursing home negligence claim:
- Medical Bills: Compensation for your loved one’s medical treatment, including hospitalization, medication, therapy, surgery, emergency transportation, etc.
- Disability: Compensation for disability-related damages if your family member becomes disabled from physical violence or neglect. These damages may include loss of quality of life, rehabilitation, and medical equipment.
- Pain and Suffering: Compensation for physical and non-physical injuries, including physical pain, mental trauma, emotional distress, etc.
- Loss of Quality of Life: Compensation for your loved one’s reduced quality of life following the maltreatment or neglect.
- Wrongful Death: Compensation for death-related damages if your loved one dies. These damages typically include funeral and burial costs, pre-death medical treatment, and the grief of surviving family members.
- 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.
Our Kent County attorneys help families obtain fair financial compensation for their losses by estimating a reasonable value. Your lawyer will calculate the potential value of your settlement during your free consultation.Settlement vs. Litigation
Most medical malpractice and nursing home neglect cases settle out of court. An experienced attorney can help you negotiate a fair settlement with the facility’s insurance company to ensure you recover the value you deserve.
However, this is not always possible. If negotiations are unsuccessful or the facility denies its responsibility for your damages, you could file a civil lawsuit.The Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits in Michigan is three years (Michigan Compiled Laws section 600.5805). The clock starts running on the date of the underlying incident or its discovery.Hire an Experienced Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in Grand Rapids, MI
Nursing homes are legally obligated to provide proper care and protection from mistreatment to all residents. But what if your loved one’s nursing facility fails to uphold these responsibilities?
You have the legal right to hold a negligent nursing facility accountable for any injury, trauma, or financial loss suffered by your family due to its actions (or inaction). The elder abuse attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center, LLC work tirelessly to help families recover fair financial compensation by any means necessary, whether through litigation or an out-of-court settlement.
Contact our Kent County offices at (800) 926-7565 or use the contact form on the website for a free consultation with an attorney. Aside from Grand Rapids, MI, we serve clients in the following localities in Michigan:
- Ann Arbor
- Grand Rapids
- Sterling Heights
Our Michigan nursing home negligence lawyers handle all accepted cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t have to pay unless we win.
All confidential or sensitive information our clients share with our legal team will remain private under an attorney-client relationship.Resources: