legal resources necessary to hold negligent facilities accountable.
Phoenix Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Phoenix, the largest city in Arizona, houses over 60 nursing homes for the disabled and elderly. These nursing homes are where the vulnerable members of society go to receive the special care and attention they need. Due to the growing population of Phoenix, more and more families are entrusting the care of their disabled and elderly loved ones to the hands of those who are more capable.
But despite rules and regulations in action, many nursing home residents are still experiencing abuse in the place that is supposed to be their safe haven.
If your loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse, talk to one of the affiliates Arizona personal injury attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center, LLC, to discuss your legal options. Our nursing home abuse lawyers defend the legal rights of nursing home patients who have suffered mistreatment in Phoenix nursing care facilities.
Apart from punishing those at fault, we can help your family recover the financial compensation your loved one deserves. Call our Phoenix nursing home abuse lawyers at (800) 926-7565 for a free consultation on your nursing home abuse claim.What is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse is a single or repeated act that causes physical or psychological harm to a nursing home patient. It can also stem from the lack of action from a caregiver, resulting in injury or an increased risk of harm to a patient.
Elder abuse is the mistreatment of a person aged 60 and older. Over 90% of nursing home residents are senior citizens, making elder abuse the most common type of nursing home abuse.Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Mistreatment in nursing homes and long-term care facilities can occur in many ways, including:
Physical abuse is any deliberate act that causes injury or trauma to another person. It includes but is not limited to actions like kicking, slapping, burning, pinching, and shoving. Often, vulnerable patients who suffer physical abuse in nursing facilities sustain severe injuries from the mistreatment.
Signs of Physical Abuse
- Unexplained physical injuries (e.g., bruises, cuts, burns, sprains)
- Broken bones
- Physical signs of restraint (e.g., bruised wrists or ankles)
- Broken eyeglasses
Mental or emotional abuse involves verbal or non-verbal acts to inflict psychological harm on another person. Perpetrators commit emotional or mental abuse to control the thoughts and actions of a vulnerable person; strip their dignity, or undermine their feelings of independence and self-worth.
Emotional or mental abuse can involve intimidation, constant criticism, humiliation, gaslighting, and verbal assault.
Signs of Psychological Abuse
- Sudden changes in behavior or personality
- Being withdrawn or non-communicative
- Strange behavior around certain people
- Loss of self-esteem
- Depression or anxiety
- Unexplained weight loss
Sexual abuse involves non-consensual sexual contact with another person through physical force or intimidation. It includes but is not limited to unwanted touching, verbal sexual harassment, forced nudity, sodomy, and rape.
Signs of Sexual Abuse
- Unusual bruises around the breasts or genitals
- Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding
- Genital infections or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
- Sudden changes in behavior or personality
Neglect occurs when a caregiver fails to provide a patient’s basic needs, such as food, water, clothing, and medical care, resulting in harm to the neglected person. Nursing home neglect can be intentional (e.g., when a staff member refuses to provide food to a difficult patient) or unintentional (e.g., when a patient is not bathed enough due to a lack of employees).
Signs of Neglect
- Malnutrition or dehydration
- Poor hygiene
- Unsafe or unsanitary living conditions
- Inappropriate clothing for the weather
- Poor physical appearance
- Untreated medical conditions (e.g., bed sores)
- Untaken medication
- Unexplained weight loss
Financial abuse is the misuse or theft of another person’s money, assets, or belongings through intimidation, coercion, or deception. Financial exploitation may involve manipulating bank account information, making unauthorized transactions on credit cards, and stealing valuables from a patient’s room.
Signs of Financial Abuse
- Unexplained transactions on bank accounts or credit cards
- Sudden changes in financial habits
- Missing belongings
- Fraudulent signatures on financial documents
- Lack of financial records in the facility
Phoenix is home to many care facilities that accept disabled and elderly individuals. Unfortunately, mistreatment can occur in all of them, even the high-quality facilities.
Abuse or neglect can occur at:
- Nursing homes
- Assisted living facilities
- Adult rehabilitation facilities
- Adult daycares
- Continuing care retirement communities
- Residential care homes
- Independent living communities
- Dementia facilities
Anyone can become a victim of nursing home mistreatment. However, these groups are more vulnerable than others:
- Elderly people who are entirely dependent on others for care
- People with physical or mental disabilities
- Women and young children
- Patients who do not get frequent visits from family
Not all abuse signs, such as pressure sores or fractures, are easily noticeable. Sometimes, abuse and neglect manifest through changes in behavior or personality, which may be mistaken for a mental health problem.
That said, look for verbal or non-verbal red flags in your loved one aside from the common signs of mistreatment. For instance, your loved one’s sudden withdrawn demeanor may signify that they are being emotionally abused in their nursing home.
The indicators of elder abuse may also mimic the signs of dementia in an elderly person. Behaviors such as rocking back and forth, aggressive outbursts, and depression are common indicators of dementia, but they can also point to nursing home abuse. Call a specialist if your elderly loved one is exhibiting signs that may either be dementia or elderly abuse.Causes of Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
In most cases, nursing home abuse does not just happen. It is often the result of multiple factors, including:
- Understaffing: When there are not enough staff members to care for all residents, abuse and neglect are more likely to occur due to high-stress environments and a lack of workforce.
- Poorly Trained or Underqualified Staff: Nursing home staff who are not properly trained may be unable to care for residents with special needs (e.g., a disabled, elderly person).
- Poor Management: A lack of organization or proper management can lead to nursing home abuse or neglect due to disgruntled employees and inadequate supervision.
- Lack of Background Checks: Nursing facilities that don’t conduct proper research on the people they hire may risk their residents suffering from abuse or neglect.
Nursing home abuse and neglect puts residents in dangerous and potentially fatal situations. Furthermore, their families also bear the consequences of their loved ones suffering harm in their nursing facilities.
The effects of mistreatment on nursing home facility residents include:
- Physical injuries
- Psychological trauma
- Loss of family and societal ties
- Loss of quality of life
- Monetary losses
- Wrongful death
Elderly residents are more prone to severe consequences of nursing home mistreatment due to their vulnerable conditions. Elderly abuse resulting in physical injuries or worsened health conditions can lead to severe complications and even death.Reporting Phoenix Nursing Home Abuse
If you suspect the nursing home is abusing your loved one or another resident, notify the Phoenix Police Department immediately. Call 911 if you think your loved one is in immediate danger. If possible, remove them from the premises until you can investigate further.
You can also file a report to:
- Arizona Department of Health Services
- Arizona Adult Protective Services (APS)
- Area Agency on Aging
- Attorney General’s Task Force Against Senior Abuse (TASA)
The police may file criminal charges against a perpetrator who commits egregious mistreatment of a disabled or elderly person in a nursing facility. The local government could remove the facility’s licenses and certifications if the abuse is widespread.Filing a Nursing Home Abuse Case
Abuse victims and their family members can hold negligent nursing facilities accountable for their actions (or inaction) by filing a personal injury claim. In doing so, your family could recover financial compensation for your loved one’s pain and suffering.
First, you must prove that:
- Based on the contract, the facility owed a duty of care to your loved one.
- The facility breached that duty of care by not providing the care promised in the contract.
- The facility’s breach of duty of care caused injury or suffering to your loved one.
Call a nursing home abuse attorney to discuss legal issues if your loved one suffered abuse or neglect in their nursing facility.
Before filing a personal injury claim, you must show the nursing home's liability for your loved one’s injuries. Liable parties may include:
- Nursing Home Staff Members: Employees are the most common perpetrators of nursing facility mistreatment. Their action or inaction resulting in your loved one’s injuries may be considered a breach of the duty they owe to all patients.
- Visitors: Nursing facilities must have security policies to prevent visitors from taking advantage of patients. Otherwise, a visitor may attempt to exploit your loved one for the money, physically abuse them, or commit other forms of mistreatment.
- Other Residents: Another patient in the nursing facility may injure your loved one, either wilfully or due to a mental illness. Nursing facilities must have measures to protect patients from potentially dangerous patients.
In most abuse and neglect cases, the nursing home or long-term care facility will be held liable even if only one staff member or a visitor is responsible for the mistreatment. All nursing facilities must ensure the safety and health of their residents, and failing to prevent mistreatment may serve as grounds for a claim or lawsuit.
The following forms of evidence may be necessary to prove the liability of responsible parties:
- Photos and videos of your loved one’s injuries
- Medical records
- Psychological evaluation
- Financial records, in case of financial exploitation
- Video evidence of the abuse, if available
- Witness accounts from staff members or other residents
- Expert testimony
Your nursing home abuse attorney will tell you what evidence you need to collect during your free case evaluation.
The value of your settlement will depend on several factors, including the type and extent of your family’s losses.
Your personal injury claim may include:
- Medical Bills: Compensation for treatment of the trauma or injuries caused by the abuse, including hospitalization, medication, surgery, therapy, and emergency transportation.
- Disability: Compensation for disability-related costs if your loved one becomes disabled from the mistreatment. These costs may include mobility aids, physical therapy, rehabilitation, etc.
- Pain and Suffering: Legal compensation for your loved one’s physical pain and mental anguish.
- Loss of Quality of Life: Compensation for decreasing your loved one’s enjoyment of life after the mistreatment.
- Wrongful Death: Legal recompense for funeral and burial costs, medical treatment, pain and suffering, and your family’s grief from your loved one’s passing.
- Punitive Damages: Payment in addition to compensatory damages used to punish defendants for their harmful behavior.
Civil Legal Action
After you file a claim against the nursing home, their insurance company may offer you a settlement. Your nursing home abuse lawyer can negotiate the value of your settlement to get maximum compensation for your damages.
However, if negotiations are unsuccessful (or the nursing home denies responsibility for the mistreatment), your lawyer could file a civil claim. Afterward, a judge or jury will hear evidence from both sides and determine a verdict. If you win the case, the ruling will serve as financial compensation.
The Statute of Limitations in Arizona
Unless there are extraordinary circumstances in your case, you have two years from when the abuse or injuries are discovered to file a claim. If injuries appear later, residents have one year from the date of discovery to file a claim. (ARS 12-542)
The Role of Your Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
Filing a case against a nursing home or long-term care facility often requires knowledge of the law. Hiring a nursing home abuse lawyer is necessary to ensure you receive fair compensation for your family’s losses.
Your nursing home abuse attorney can help you:
- Prove the liability of at-fault parties
- Gather evidence to support your claim
- File your claim within the statute of limitations
- Negotiate settlement values
- Handle legal paperwork
- Take your case to civil court, if necessary
Sadly, nursing home abuse claims do not stop mistreatment from happening. Nevertheless, here’s what family members can do to protect their loved ones from abuse in their care facility:
- Observe how staff members treat patients; get to know their primary caregivers
- Visit your loved one as frequently as possible
- Ensure your loved one has a way to contact a family member in case of emergencies
- Watch for signs of mistreatment
- Report nursing home mistreatment as soon as possible
- Encourage your loved one to socialize with others to prevent isolation
- Consider adding a surveillance camera in your loved one’s room (if they have no roommates and are in a private room), especially if they are extremely disabled or non-verbal.
AZ-Care Check can also check if your loved one’s nursing home has any federal or state violations. It is an online database managed by the Arizona Department of Health Services that contains deficiencies found against facilities or providers.Hire a Phoenix Nursing Home Abuse Attorney For Legal Help
Nursing homes should provide safe and healthy environments to their patients, not subject them to pain and suffering.
Nursing Home Law Center, LLC, has been seeking justice for nursing home abuse victims for years. Our affiliate attorneys defend the legal rights of disabled and elderly patients who have suffered harm from the abuse, neglect, or negligence of nursing homes in Arizona.
Contact our Phoenix, AZ legal team at (800) 926-7565 or through an online contact form to schedule a free consultation. Our super lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis, so you don't have to pay us unless we win your case.
All sensitive information you share with our attorneys will remain confidential under an attorney-client relationship.