legal resources necessary to hold negligent facilities accountable.
Rochester Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Families admit disabled and elderly loved ones to Rochester nursing homes so they can receive the care that they would otherwise not be able to receive at home. In a nursing home or assisted living facility, every resident must have the best standards of care possible without unnecessary risks to their health and safety.
Unfortunately, nursing home abuse in Rochester care institutions is far too common. Hundreds of vulnerable patients suffer injuries, mental trauma, and even wrongful death in negligent nursing homes. So, what do you do if you or an elderly loved one becomes another victim of nursing home abuse?
The affiliate New York personal injury attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center, LLC helps victims of negligent nursing homes and assisted living facilities seek justice. Our legal team will fight for your family in recovering fair financial compensation for your pain and suffering.
Contact our Rochester nursing home abuse lawyers for a free consultation at (800) 926-7565 (toll-free phone number). All information you disclose with your attorney will remain confidential 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 employees, visitors, or other residents.
Most nursing home residents are elderly individuals (aged 60 and over). Hence, elder abuse is the most common type of abuse in nursing homes.State and Federal Government Regulations
The New York state and federal governments enact laws to protect the welfare of patients in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other long-term care institutions. These include:The 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act
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 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
In 2021, the New York Senate passed a ‘safe staffing’ bill establishing standard nursing home staffing levels. The bill requires frequently understaffed care facilities to provide at least 3.5 hours of direct care to each resident per day.
Before the bill’s passing, on average, New York nursing homes were already providing 3.4 hours of direct care. However, this figure ranks only 32nd in the country. Moreover, some nursing facilities fall below the 3.4-hour average.Types and Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Abuse in Rochester nursing homes can take place in many ways, including:Physical Abuse
Physical abuse involves the deliberate use of force against a patient, causing pain, injury, or impairment. It includes but is not limited to actions like slapping, striking, kicking, burning, pinching, and restraining without medical reasons and physicians order.
Signs of Physical Abuse
- Broken bones
- Unexplained injuries (e.g., cuts, burns, bruises)
- Broken eyeglasses
- 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 assault, humiliation, intimidation, gaslighting, and geographical or social isolation.
Signs of Psychological Abuse
- Sudden changes in personality or behavior
- Poor mental health
- Being extremely withdrawn
- Loss of enjoyment in usual activities
- Bouts of anger
- Difficulty sleeping
Sexual assault or abuse is any non-consensual sexual act done to another person, including individuals who cannot give valid consent. It can take many forms, including verbal sexual harassment, unwanted touching, 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. Financial abuse occurs in different ways, such as forging checks, stealing valuables, and using credit cards without authorization.
Signs of Financial Abuse
- Unexplained withdrawals from bank accounts
- Unexplained transactions on credit cards
- Missing belongings
- Forged signatures on financial documents
- Inconsistencies in financial records of the facility
- Sudden changes in financial habits
Neglect occurs when nursing home staff fails to provide a patient’s basic needs, including food, medication, clothing, personal hygiene, and medical care, creating or increasing the risk of harm to a patient.
Signs of Neglect
- Poor hygiene
- Malnutrition or dehydration
- Unexplained weight loss
- Unsafe or unsanitary living conditions
- Inadequate clothing for the weather
- Lack of medical aids (e.g., eyeglasses, walkers, hearing aids)
- Medication errors
The signs of elder abuse may mimic those of early-stage dementia, such as mood and personality changes, sleep problems, and social withdrawal. Consult a specialist if you are unsure whether your loved one is exhibiting signs of abuse or dementia.
Some abuse victims also exhibit signs that mimic mental illness, such as depression, aggression, sudden weight loss, and poor hygiene due to self-neglect. Again, it’s best to consult a specialist if your loved one starts to manifest strange behaviors.Who Is Most at Risk?
Anyone can be a victim of nursing home abuse and neglect. However, these individuals are more susceptible due to their increased physical and mental vulnerability:
- Patients with disabilities
- Patients with special needs
- Patients with access to an abundance of wealth
- Dementia patients
- Women and children
Nursing home negligence makes way for severe consequences to residents’ lives and their families, such as:
- Severe injuries
- Psychological trauma
- Emotional distress
- Financial losses
- Loss of quality of life
- Reduced family or social ties
- Increased risk of illnesses
- Untimely death
Abuse, neglect, and negligence are more common in institutions with the following staff issues:
- Lack of Qualifications and Inadequate Training: Without proper qualifications, training, and experience, employees are more likely to commit mistakes and engage in abusive or neglectful behavior.
- Understaffing: A lack of employees leads to high-stress environments that can cause abusive behavior. Moreover, understaffed nursing homes often cannot provide enough direct care to each patient, increasing the risk of neglect.
- Poor Management: A disorganized or poorly-performing management team can lead to a lack of accountability and supervision. In turn, these insufficiencies can increase the risk of mistreatment.
Contact the Rochester Police Department to report known or suspected abuse. But if you think your loved one or another resident is in grave danger, call 911 immediately.
You can also contact the following agencies to report the abuse of your loved one:
- New York State Department of Health - Office for the Aging
- Department of Social Services - Adult Protective Services
- Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program
Local law enforcement may file criminal charges against perpetrators when there is substantial evidence. Similarly, state and local agencies may punish negligent nursing establishments for violating their legal obligations to residents.
After you ensure that your loved one is out of danger, call an attorney to discuss your case.Filing a Rochester Nursing Home Abuse Claim
All nursing home residents have the right to receive appropriate care and be free from abuse and neglect. If your loved one’s nursing facility has failed to respect these rights, our Rochester nursing home abuse lawyers could help you hold the administration responsible.The Role of Rochester Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
Personal injury law is complex and difficult to navigate for the average person. Hence, handling a claim without the help of an attorney may prevent you from obtaining a fair settlement.
Once you forward the case to your lawyer, they will handle the process of recovering financial compensation for your family, including:
- Establish the liability of at-fault parties
- File your claim in a timely manner
- Collect evidence to support your claim
- Negotiate settlement values
- File your case in civil court, if necessary
Our personal injury lawyers can also help you file a formal complaint to the proper authorities. In doing so, you may be able to bring adequate attention to a widespread problem in the facility.Liable Parties
Your Rochester nursing home abuse case may involve the following parties:
- Staff members
- Other residents
Nursing home administrators could be liable for abuse, neglect, or mistreatment in their facilities, even if only a single employee or resident is responsible. The main reason for this is that the law requires nursing institutions to ensure patients’ freedom from mistreatment, and failure to do so violates the law.Evidence
Substantial evidence is crucial for every personal injury claim. Our lawyers could prove the liability of the at-fault parties by presenting the following documents:
- Photos of your loved one’s injuries
- Medical or hospital records
- Psychological evaluations
- Police and incident reports
- Financial records, e.g., medical bills
- Witness accounts from facility employees, visitors, or other patients
- Expert testimony
Your Rochester attorney will help you collect relevant proof and other documents to support your personal injury case.Damages
Our skilled Rochester attorneys can help your family recover compensation for the following damages:
- Medical Expenses: Payment for the cost of treating your loved one’s bodily injuries and mental trauma, including hospitalization, medication, therapy, surgery, emergency transportation, etc.
- Disability: Compensation for disability-related damages if your family member becomes disabled from the abuse. These damages may include loss of quality of life and mobility aids.
- Pain and Suffering: Payment for non-economic damages, including bodily pain, emotional distress, and psychological trauma.
- 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, decreased independence, reduced societal ties, etc.
- Wrongful Death: Payment for death-related damages if your loved one dies as a result of the mistreatment. These damages typically include funeral and burial costs, pre-death medical treatment, grief, etc.
- Punitive Damages: Monetary awards on top of compensatory damages, aiming to punish negligent nursing homes for their actions or inaction.
Settlement values vary from case to case, depending on the circumstances. Our lawyers will give you a reasonable estimate of how much you deserve during your consultation.Personal Injury Litigation
After you file a personal injury claim against a Rochester nursing home, its insurance company may approach you with a settlement offer. You can accept this initial offer outright, but doing so will make you unable to pursue additional damages in the future.
Your attorney will help you negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company. However, if negotiations are unsuccessful (or the nursing home refuses to take responsibility), you could turn the case into a civil lawsuit.
If your case goes to court, a judge or jury will hear evidence from both parties before determining a verdict.
Our Rochester attorneys will guide you throughout the process if your case goes to court. Whatever the case, our experienced lawyers will help you seek justice, whether it’s through litigation or an out-of-court settlement.The Statute of Limitations
Three years is the standard time limit for personal injury lawsuits in New York (New York Civil Practice Law & Rules section 214). The “clock” starts on the date of the underlying incident.
Our lawyers recommend filing a personal injury lawsuit as soon as possible. If you miss the deadline, the Rochester court may refuse to hear your case, and you will be unable to recover payment for your damages.
However, certain circumstances may change the statute of limitations (e.g., if your family member is a minor at the time of the incident). Our legal team will assist you if notable exceptions apply to your lawsuit.How Lawyers Help Prevent Nursing Home Negligence
Unfortunately, many negligent Rochester nursing institutions will not abide by the law unless they experience financial repercussions. When victims or family members hold negligent institutions or staff members accountable for their harmful actions, it could force them to improve future conditions for other patients.
Exposing the abusive or neglectful actions of a nursing home could help other victims seek justice of their own.
Aside from seeking justice for clients, our nursing home abuse lawyers aim to improve nursing home conditions for everyone.Hire a Skilled Rochester Nursing Home Abuse Attorney to Handle Your Case
Every nursing home and assisted living facility must comply with federal and state regulations protecting residents' health and well-being. Failing to meet the standards of care, including preventing mistreatment, is against the law.
If you or a loved one suffered abuse or substandard care in a Rochester nursing home, our nursing home abuse lawyers will help you seek justice.
The Rochester nursing home abuse lawyers at Nursing Home Law Center, LLC defend the legal rights of victims of nursing home negligence. Our affiliate attorneys serve clients in Rochester nursing homes, assisted living establishments, adult daycare centers, dementia centers, and more.
Contact our Rochester law offices at (800) 926-7565 or use this form to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced lawyers. All information you share with your nursing home abuse lawyer will remain confidential under an attorney-client relationship.
Our attorneys handle all accepted cases on a contingency basis, meaning our clients do not have to pay unless our attorneys make the negligent facility provide compensation. Prior results from other lawyers do not guarantee a similar outcome from our lawyers.Resources: