legal resources necessary to hold negligent facilities accountable.
Oklahoma City Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Oklahoma City is the capital and largest city of Oklahoma, home to over 200,000 seniors and people with disabilities. Thousands of these individuals reside in nursing homes; unfortunately, many are victims of nursing home abuse, neglect, and even wrongful death.
Abuse in nursing facilities is nothing new, but as awareness of these atrocities grows, more and more people are taking a stand against it. At Nursing Home Law Center, LLC, our network of nursing home abuse lawyers works tirelessly to seek justice for abused and neglected nursing home residents.
Were you or a loved one a victim of nursing home abuse? If so, don’t be afraid to take legal action against those responsible.
Call our affiliate Oklahoma personal injury attorneys at (800) 926-7565 for a free consultation. Our Oklahoma nursing home abuse lawyers will guide you through the legal process and help you figure out the best course of action for your family.
All confidential or sensitive information you share with our nursing home abuse attorneys 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 National Center on Elder Abuse 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
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
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, abuse in nursing homes and assisted living facilities takes many forms, including:Physical Abuse
Physical abuse involves deliberately using force against a nursing home 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 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. 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 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
- 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
This type of abuse occurs when a nursing home 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)
- Unsafe or unsanitary living conditions
- Inadequate clothing for the weather
- Lack of medical aids (e.g., eyeglasses, walkers, hearing aids)
- Medication errors
In some nursing home abuse cases, elder abuse is mistaken for dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Elder abuse victims may exhibit warning signs similar to dementia, such as mood changes, aggression, difficulty sleeping, and memory loss.
With that in mind, family members must learn to distinguish the signs of abuse from indicators of degenerative diseases. Consulting a dementia specialist may be necessary.
Moreover, abuse can manifest in signs similar to mental illness, such as frequent crying, behavior and personality changes, and insomnia, among many others. Consult a mental health specialist if you are unsure whether your loved one is suffering from abuse or mental illness.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 family or social ties
- Wrongful death
Abuse or neglect often leads to significant injuries, such as:
- Bed sores
- 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
Although anyone can become a victim of nursing home abuse, some individuals are more vulnerable than others, including:
- Patients with physical or mental disabilities
- Patients with additional health care needs
- Patients with access to an abundance of wealth
- Dementia patients
- Women and children
- Bedridden patients
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: Staff members with inadequate qualifications and training may be more likely to commit negligence in a nursing home, putting residents’ health and well-being at risk.
- Understaffing: A nursing facility that experiences chronic staffing shortages may be less capable of providing proper medical care to all residents. As a result, residents lack direct care, proper supervision, and adequate social interactions.
- Poor Management: The poor performance of the leadership team directly affects the quality of patient care. Staff members are more likely to provide substandard care if management is disorganized, irresponsible, and reactive instead of proactive.
- Underreporting: Although it is required by Oklahoma law, only a small percentage of nursing home abuse cases are reported to the authorities. Consequently, many issues remain unresolved, and negligent nursing facilities continue to operate despite violations.
Call the Oklahoma City Police Department to report suspected abuse or neglect in an Oklahoma City nursing home. 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
The Oklahoma State Department of Health and other governing bodies may revoke or suspend the licenses, certifications, and government funding of nursing homes found guilty of violating state or federal regulations.
In addition, perpetrators of nursing home neglect or abuse (e.g., staff members or visitors) may face criminal charges from local law enforcement. 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.
After alerting the appropriate authorities, take your nursing home abuse case to an Oklahoma City nursing home abuse attorney.Filing an Oklahoma City Nursing Home Abuse Claim
According to state and federal laws governing nursing homes, the abuse, neglect, or mistreatment of a disabled or elderly person is illegal. Hence, any nursing home that fails to protect its residents from maltreatment could be held legally responsible for victims’ injuries, trauma, and other damages incurred.
Did you or a loved one suffer abuse or neglect in a nursing home? If so, our nursing home abuse lawyers could help you take proper legal action against responsible parties.The Role of Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
Legal representation is necessary to hold a nursing home liable for its negligence. Your nursing home abuse 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
- Handle all claim-related paperwork
- Negotiate settlement values
- File your lawsuit in civil court, if necessary
Victims or their proxies can file a personal injury claim against the negligent nursing home. Immediate family members (e.g., adult children or spouses) could file a claim on the victim’s behalf if the victim cannot do so. Extended family (e.g., cousins or siblings) may also file a claim if the immediate family is unavailable.Liable Parties
The first step to filing a nursing home negligence claim is determining who is responsible for the maltreatment of the victim. Possible perpetrators may include:
- Nursing home employees
- Other nursing home residents
Regardless of who is directly responsible for the abuse or neglect of your loved one, the negligent nursing home facility may also be liable for failing to protect your loved one from avoidable harm.Evidence
After identifying liable parties, you must present substantial evidence to prove their fault. An attorney from our law office will help you gather relevant proof, 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
By filing a claim, you could hold the nursing home accountable 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 the 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 elderly 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 nursing home abuse lawyer will estimate the value of your settlement based on these damages and other applicable factors during your free case review.Settlement
After filing a personal injury claim against the negligent nursing home, the facility’s insurance company may offer you a settlement. At this point, you have two options:
- Accept the settlement outright
- Negotiate for a better offer
Either way, you should consult with a nursing home abuse attorney first. Your attorney can help you negotiate for a better settlement value or help you determine if the initial offer is enough to compensate for your losses.Other Legal Options
What if negotiations or unsuccessful or the nursing home refuses to take responsibility for the abuse? If this happens, your lawyer could help you file a nursing home negligence lawsuit.
Your case will go to civil court, where a judge or jury will hear evidence from both parties and determine a verdict. Your nursing home neglect and abuse lawyer will serve as your legal representation during the litigation process.
To avoid litigation, your 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 (Oklahoma Statutes section 12-95). Usually, the clock starts running on the date of the underlying incident or its discovery.
Courts do not grant extensions to the two-year deadline unless exceptional circumstances apply. That said, file a lawsuit as soon as possible to avoid missing the deadline and losing critical evidence.Hire an Oklahoma City Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer to Resolve Your Case
Nursing homes are legally responsible for all nursing home residents' health, safety, and well-being. Failure to uphold these obligations could result in injuries, disability, and even wrongful death. Hence, a nursing home that puts your loved one in harm’s way should be held liable in a court of law.
The Oklahoma City nursing home abuse attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center, LLC have years of experience defending the legal rights of abuse, neglect, and wrongful death victims in nursing facilities. Our nursing home abuse attorneys help families recover financial compensation for their losses and, in the process, punish nursing homes for their negligence.
Call our Oklahoma City law office at (800) 926-7565 or use the contact form for a free consultation with one of our experienced nursing home abuse attorneys. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team will remain private under an attorney-client relationship.
Furthermore, our 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: