New York Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Attorneys
When a family is unable to provide round-the-clock care for an aging parent, placing their loved one in a New York State nursing home is often a last resort. Entrusting your family member’s well-being to a group of professionals requires a great deal of confidence in the medical and nursing staff who will be looking after their well-being, and most families hope that a nursing facility will provide them with a decent quality of life. They never expect to learn their loved one has suffered abuse or neglect after admittance to a nursing home.
As the U.S. population ages, 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. 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 and deficiencies with state reporting, the vast majority of abuse nationwide likely goes unreported.
If you suspect your loved is one being abused or neglected in a New York State nursing home, you should contact an experienced New York nursing home abuse and neglect attorney to get help in investigating your concerns today.The Prevalence of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect in New York
New York City is not only the most populous city in the nation, it’s the financial capital of the world and one of its most important cities. As the historic gateway through which most legal immigrants have migrated and continue to migrate into the country, it is also home to an incredibly diverse population. This means that immigrants make up a significant portion of the city’s senior population: Out of nearly one million residents aged 65 or older, 463,000 are immigrants. Many tend to have only half the income of U.S.-born seniors and are twice as likely to be ineligible for Social Security benefits.
Many immigrant nursing care patients are supported by their children or other relatives, who have the right to demand accountability when negligent care results in an injury or death. Since nursing care is so costly, it is only right that nursing home residents be treated with respect and dignity.
While federal and state laws exist to protect nursing home residents, some nursing facility operators disregard the law in pursuit of profits and remain continually understaffed or staffed with low-paid, medically untrained caregivers, putting elders at risk. Sadly, New York State nursing homes are not an exception to this national trend. An investigation by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found that 195 (almost one-third) of the state’s 619 nursing homes had serious violations and deficiencies that led to substandard care.
According to a comprehensive Nursing Home Resident Abuse and Complaint Investigation Report published by the state Department of Health, the department investigated 12,343 allegations against New York nursing homes in 2016, an eight percent increase over 2015. Of those cases, 11,217 (91 percent) alleged violations of federal or state regulation by the provider, and 1,126, (9 percent) alleged resident abuse, neglect, or mistreatment by an individual.
You do not want your loved one to become part of any of these statistics. The New York nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys of Nursing Home Law Center LLC are committed to ensuring that all seniors are treated with dignity and respect regardless of their history or way of life. If your family member was abused, neglected, mistreated, or died unexpectedly at a New York nursing facility, we urge you to contact the Nursing Home Law Center to discuss your claim for compensation during a free case evaluation.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 well-being, as well as outline 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.
Nursing home care in New York State is governed by several state laws:
- The Adult Protective Services chapter of the Social Services Law (§473), which provides for protective services for physically or mentally “impaired” adults at risk for abuse, which include investigation of complaints, arranging for medical or psychiatric intervention, removing adults from an unsafe situation, arranging protective placement if necessary, and pursuing judicial remedies.
The law contains the following definitions of elder abuse and neglect:
- Physical abuse: Non-accidental use of force that results in bodily injury, pain or impairment, including but not limited to being slapped, burned, cut, bruised or improperly restrained.
- Sexual abuse: Non-consensual contact of any kind, including but not limited to, forcing sexual contact or forcing sex with a third party.
- Emotional abuse: The willful infliction of mental or emotional anguish by threat, humiliation, intimidation or other abusive conduct, including but not limited to, frightening or intimidating an adult.
- Active neglect: Willful failure by the caregiver to fulfill the caretaking function and responsibilities assumed by the caregiver, including but not limited to, abandonment, willful deprivation of food, water, heat, clean clothing and bedding, eyeglasses or dentures, or health-related services.
- Passive neglect: Non-willful failure of a caregiver to fulfill caretaking functions and responsibilities assumed by the caregiver, including but not limited to, abandonment or denial of food or health-related services because of inadequate caregiver knowledge, infirmity, or disputing the value of prescribed services.
- The Patient Abuse Reporting Law (Public Health Law §2803-d) was enacted in 1977 to protect persons living in nursing homes from abuse, neglect, and mistreatment. The law requires every nursing home employee—including administrators, operators, and all licensed professionals whether or not employed directly by the nursing home—to report instances of alleged abuse, neglect, or mistreatment to the state health department, and also provides sanctions against individuals who are found guilty of these acts and anyone who is required to report but fails to do so.
The New York State Department of Health is responsible for investigating complaints and incidents for nursing homes in New York related to state and/or federal regulatory violation.
In addition, nursing homes in New York are required to post a residents’ bill of rights in an accessible location in the facility and also inform newly admitted residents of these rights.
If you believe nursing home staff has violated any of these state or federal laws, it is vital that you take action and consult a New York nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer as soon as you can. Nursing home administrators have a tendency to downplay suspicions of abuse and dismiss families’ concerns as overreacting. You should trust your gut instinct about any situation in which you feel a loved one has been harmed, because it’s likely there is a pattern of abuse or neglect behind your fears.New York Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Serve Victims of Bed Sores, Falls, and Medication Errors
Each residential nursing facility is responsible for providing every patient a professional level of care at all times, and when it deviates from that standard it can result in numerous health hazards. Due to the growing demand for nursing home care, the number of qualified nurses and nurse’s aides available for hire is limited. Consequently, many nursing homes are forced to hire unskilled and untrained caregivers, which places the welfare of residents at risk. As a result, the patient’s quality of life is often diminished and their risk of developing serious health complications rises.
Following are some of the most common and preventable consequences of neglect in nursing homes, 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 progress to 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, raising the chances they will experience an adverse drug interaction or be injured by a medication error as a result of staff negligence or inattention. Their caregiver may administer medications at the wrong times or frequency, or their doctor may prescribe drugs without verifying their safety.
- Deliberate abuse. As much as we don’t like to think about it, elderly nursing home residents are easy targets for all manner of abuse. They are dependent, vulnerable, and incapable of fighting back. Their victimizers may be fellow residents, outside visitors, or even the very caregivers who are paid to look out for their welfare. Many victims remain silent out of shame or fear, so it is important to 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 settlements and verdicts obtained in New York bed sore lawsuits 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 who rely on staff to help them move from place to place 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, or 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 2010 national study reported by NCEA, more than half of nursing home staff surveyed admitted to having inflicted physical violence, mental abuse, or neglect on patients, with neglect accounting for two-thirds of those incidents. The most commonly complained of abuse in nursing homes was physical abuse by staff, followed by resident-on-resident incidents and psychological abuse.
If your loved one is physically or sexually assaulted by an employee or another resident with a history of abusive behavior, the facility can be held liable for their actions.
If your loved one has suffered any of these forms of abuse or neglect, the New York nursing home injury attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center LLC are committed to protecting their legal rights and holding facilities accountable. We can help you recover damages for medical expenses or special care associated with the injury, pain caused by the injury, or wrongful death if a patient dies from related complications. Contact our office for a free review of your case so we can advise you of your legal options.Pursuing a Wrongful Death Action for Nursing Home Abuse in New York
Preventable death from an infected bed sore, fall, or other product of negligence occurs when nursing home 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 family members 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 New York State nursing home staff, contact the attorneys at the Nursing Home Law Center today for a free case review.How To Spot Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
The signs of abuse and neglect are not always readily apparent. While the serious lapses in safety and care described above obviously put elders at risk for injury, there are more subtle indicators of maltreatment that family members of New York nursing home residents should be on the lookout for, so they can promptly report issues and get legal help.
Potential red flags of abuse and neglect to watch out for include the following:
- Changes in behavior such as outbursts of anger, depression, or emotional withdrawal.
- Unexplained weight loss or symptoms of dehydration such as dark urine, confusion, lightheadedness, and faintness.
- Unexplained bruises, scratches, cuts, infections, genital injuries and other physical wounds.
- Fear of caregivers or other residents, which may be manifested by remaining silent in their presence or changes in behavior that occur immediately following their arrival or departure.
- Poorly kept surroundings, including unclean living space and soiled or unchanged bedding or clothing.
- Missing or stolen belongings.
Nursing Home Law Center LLC has helped victims of nursing home abuse and neglect across the nation and we are confident that our award winning New York nursing home abuse attorneys can do the same for you. If you believe that your loved one is being neglected or abused in a New York nursing care facility, contact us today and we will review your case free of charge so you know what legal options are available and whether you should proceed with a lawsuit. If we are unable to collect compensation on your behalf, our services will be free.Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Throughout New York State Are Available To Protect Your Loved One
Knowing how to recognize the warning signs of abuse, you should get in touch with a nursing home injury lawyer whenever you suspect abuse or neglect. To get help in safeguarding the rights of your loved one, call one of our New York State nursing home abuse lawyers now.
Our nursing home lawyers are here to help people throughout the state of New York in these locations:
Your loved one may be eligible to receive compensation for his or her injuries. Allow our New York nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers to provide you with the help you need in this difficult time.Statutes of Limitations and Damages in New York Nursing Home Negligence Actions
There is a limited period of time in which you can bring a legal action for negligence against a nursing home in New York State.
- A person with a cause of action has 3 years from the date of the event to bring a suit for personal injury (N.Y. C.P.L.R. §214).
- For wrongful death, the statute of limitations to bring an action is 2 years from the date of death (N.Y. Est. Powers & Trusts Law §5-4.1).
- Claims for medical malpractice must be brought within two-and-a-half years from the act or omission or from the end of a continuous period of treatment during which the act or omission took place (N.Y. C.P.L.R. §214-a).
Our nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys have compiled data from reported settlements and jury verdicts across New York State to give you an idea of what your case may be worth in a civil law context. We have broken down these case valuations according to case type and patient injury. Learn more about these nursing home lawsuits below:
- New York nursing home medication error case valuations
- New York nursing home inadequate care case valuations
- New York nursing home abuse case valuations
- New York nursing home pressure sore case valuations
- New York nursing home fall case valuations
- Adult Protective Services
- Office for the Aging
- Dept. of Health, Nursing Home Information
- New York State Coalition on Elder Abuse
- Long Term Care Ombudsman