legal resources necessary to hold negligent facilities accountable.
Sacramento Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Unfortunately, not all nursing homes provide the standard duty of care they owe to all residents. Some nursing home patients experience abuse from staff, visitors, and even other residents. Others suffer from neglect, intentional and otherwise.
If your loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse, seek the justice your family deserves with the help of a Sacramento nursing home abuse lawyer.
Our California nursing home abuse attorneys fight tirelessly to ensure our elderly and disabled populations maintain the right to receive the respect and quality treatment they deserve when being cared for at nursing facilities throughout the state.
Call our affiliate nursing home abuse attorneys at (800) 926-7565 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today for immediate legal advice and schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information our clients share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
Sacramento is the capital of California and the center of the fourth largest metropolitan area in the state. It is home to the most diverse population in the country, including hundreds of thousands of senior citizens and people with disabilities.
Elders and disabled individuals require a certain level of care that they may be unable to receive at home. For this reason, many families admit their elderly or disabled loved ones to nursing homes where patients can get the care and attention they need.
What is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse is the mistreatment of an individual residing in a nursing home, resulting in physical, emotional, mental, or financial harm. It is often intentional, as in physical abuse or sexual assault cases. However, it can also be unintentional, such as in cases of negligence and medical malpractice.
The majority of nursing facility residents are 60 years of age and older. The law defines elder abuse as the action or inaction of an individual that causes harm to an older individual. Due to their increased vulnerability, many elders in nursing homes experience abuse or neglect from their supposed caretakers.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 1 in 6 people aged 60 and above have experienced some form of elder abuse in community settings in 2022. Rates of elder abuse are high in institutions such as nursing homes, with 2 out of every 3 caregivers admitting to committing abuse.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse comes in many forms. The following are the most common types of abuse that nursing home residents experience:
- Physical Abuse: The intentional use of force against a nursing home patient, resulting in bodily injury, pain, acute or chronic illness, distress, or death. Physical abuse may include but is not limited to acts of violence such as hitting, slapping, kicking, biting, scratching, and burning.
- Physical Restraint: A form of physical abuse wherein an individual is bound against their will, usually without medical reasons. It is a common type of elder abuse among patients that require additional care and supervision, such as dementia patients.
- Mental and Emotional Abuse: Verbal or non-verbal actions that cause anguish, distress, or fear. Examples of mental and emotional abuse include verbal assault, threats, and isolation.
- Sexual Abuse: Forced or non-consensual sexual contact with a nursing home resident. Sexual abuse may be verbal harassment, touching, or intercourse.
- Neglect: The failure of nursing home employees to meet the needs of a resident, including food, water, clothing, personal hygiene, medical treatment, a clean environment, and social interaction. Nursing home neglect usually results in patients’ compromised health and safety. Whether intentional (active) or unintentional (passive), nursing home neglect is considered a form of abuse.
- Financial Exploitation: The unauthorized or improper use of a resident’s resources. Common examples of financial abuse in nursing homes include forging checks, using bank accounts or credit cards, and stealing valuables.
Causes of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse is typically a multi-factorial issue. The following are common factors that lead to nursing home abuse and neglect:
- Untrained and unqualified staff
- Underpaid staff
- Poor management
Who is Most at Risk?
Although most residents have a certain degree of risk of nursing home abuse, certain groups are most at risk. They are:
- Older Residents: People of advanced ages (80 and above) are typical victims of elderly abuse in community and institutional settings. As a person ages, the risk of suffering elder abuse increases due to reduced independence, lack of strength to fight back, and inability to seek help. Elder abuse among older nursing home residents is also significantly more dangerous because they are more prone to severe illnesses and injuries.
- Individuals With Disabilities: People with disabilities, young or old, are more prone to nursing home abuse. The main reason for this is they are less capable of preventing the abuse from happening. For patients with mental disabilities, it may be very difficult or impossible to seek help.
- Women: Females experience higher rates of abuse than males. It is no different in a nursing home. Women in nursing homes are more vulnerable to abuse in nursing care facilities, especially sexual abuse.
- Isolated Residents: Patients with little to no contact with their families may be at a higher risk of abuse and neglect. When no family members can spot the warning signs, abuse and neglect may go undetected for long periods.
- Patients in Understaffed Facilities: When there are not enough nursing home staff members in a facility, some residents may not receive adequate care and attention. In cases of understaffed nursing homes, neglect is often unintentional. However, understaffing also creates high-stress environments, potentially leading to abuse.
Consequences of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse and neglect can cause physical, psychological, and financial harm to victims and their families. Common effects of nursing home abuse include:
- Physical harm
- Mental health disorders
- Acute or chronic diseases
- Physical or mental health decline
- Loss of quality of life
- Reduced independence
- Monetary losses
- Wrongful death
Elder neglect and mistreatment cause significantly more negative consequences for victims. Due to their advanced age, older individuals are more prone to severe injuries and death from nursing home neglect and mistreatment.
Warning Signs of Nursing Home Mistreatment
Nursing home abuse or neglect can manifest through several signs, including:
- Unexplained injuries (burns, cuts, bruises, marks on wrists and ankles)
- Broken bones
- Laboratory findings of overdosing or underdosing
- Broken eyeglasses
- Sudden change in behavior
- Bruises around the breasts or genital area
- Unexplained genital infections
- Sexually transmitted diseases
Mental or Emotional Abuse
- Unusual changes in behavior or personality
- Being extremely withdrawn
- Unusual behavior usually associated with dementia (e.g., rocking, biting)
- Fear or nervousness around specific individuals
- Sudden weight loss
- Poor hygiene
- Untreated health conditions
- Unsanitary or unsafe living conditions
- Unexplained transactions on credit cards or bank accounts
- Providing unnecessary services
- Forged financial documents
- Unexplained disappearance of valuables
Elder neglect and mistreatment may mimic the signs of dementia and other degenerative diseases. If you suspect your elderly loved one is not receiving proper care or is suffering from mistreatment from a staff member, take them to the doctor for evaluation.
How to Report Nursing Home Abuse
Do you suspect your disabled or elderly loved one is receiving substandard care in their nursing home? Are there signs that they have suffered intentional harm at the hands of staff members, residents, or visitors? Even if your suspicions are not yet confirmed, quick action is crucial.
Pay a visit to the nursing home and ask your loved one about their experiences. If you think multiple residents are experiencing abuse or neglect, try to talk to them. Once you gather enough information, alert local law enforcement or call Adult Protective Services (APS) to report nursing home abuse.
You can also report Sacramento nursing home abuse to the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department’s SEAB (Sexual Assault And Elder Abuse Bureau).
Call 911 if you believe your loved one or another resident is in immediate danger.
Filing a Sacramento Nursing Home Abuse Case
A personal injury attorney can help you seek compensation for the damages the mistreatment has caused your family.
The nursing home abuse lawyers at Nursing Home Law Center, LLC help victims and their families recover fair compensation from abusive staff members or the large corporations that run nursing homes in Sacramento County.
Who is Liable?
A nursing home abuse attorney can help determine who is at fault and prove liability. Generally, you must show that:
- The at-fault party failed to provide the standard duty of care that they owe to your loved one
- That failure resulted in your loved one’s injuries and losses
In some cases, an individual caregiver at the nursing home is responsible for the abuse or neglect. Regardless, the nursing home or long-term care facility owner will be held accountable for failing to screen, train, and monitor its employees.
Sometimes, a visitor or another resident in the nursing home commits the mistreatment. Victims may file personal injury claims against the perpetrator in cases like these. However, the nursing home may also be liable for failing to protect its residents from visitors and other residents.
Perpetrators of intentionally malicious nursing home mistreatment may also face criminal charges if law enforcement finds enough evidence against them.
Who Can File a Case?
Usually, a victim’s immediate family member files a claim on their behalf, especially in cases of elderly abuse where victims are unable to speak or attend court. If immediate family members are unavailable, the extended family might also be able to file a case, including siblings and cousins.
Statute of Limitations
California law states that plaintiffs have two years to file a case in court. If the victim’s injuries appear later, plaintiffs have one year from when the injuries are discovered.
Filing a personal injury claim against the at-fault parties can help your family recover compensation for:
- Medical Bills: The costs of medical care for your loved one’s injuries, including hospitalization, medication, emergency transport, therapy, etc.
- Disability: The expenses associated with living with a disability if your loved one becomes disabled from abuse or neglect. These costs may include mobility aids, physical therapy, and loss of quality of life.
- Pain and Suffering: Compensation for your loved one’s physical pain, mental anguish, and distress.
- Loss of Quality of Life: Compensation for your loved one’s reduced independence, enjoyment of daily activities, or will to live resulting from the neglect or abuse.
- Financial Losses: Monetary losses from your loved one and the rest of the family. These losses may include medical bills, stolen money, lost income from caring for your loved one, and legal fees.
- Wrongful Death: Compensation for your loved one’s wrongful death caused by the nursing facility, including funeral and burial costs, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and loss of the deceased’s financial contributions.
- Punitive Damages: Legal recompense to punish at-fault parties for their misconduct.
Factors Affecting Settlement or Verdict Values
The settlement value of your Sacramento nursing home abuse claim will depend on several factors aside from the damages mentioned above. These factors may include:
- The Victim’s Age: Some juries or insurance companies may reward larger values to younger victims. For example, a 60-year-old victim may receive more compensation than a 90-year-old victim because the abuse will affect a more significant part of their lifespan. Nevertheless, all victims of elder abuse deserve fair compensation regardless of age.
- Jurisdiction: Where the lawsuit is filed can affect the value of your claim. Different cities or counties in California may place a more significant value on certain damages, such as pain and suffering. The law that governs nursing homes may also differ in certain areas.
- Evidence: How much evidence is available can also affect your settlement. The more evidence you have, the higher your chances of receiving adequate financial compensation.
- Insurance Companies: Many personal injury claims are resolved through settlements with insurance companies. If the nursing home’s insurance limits do not cover all of your losses, you may have to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation from the defendant’s assets. Furthermore, how you deal with the defendant’s insurance company also matters. It may be challenging to receive a fair settlement if you provide recorded statements or sign over medical documents to an insurance adjuster.
- Precedence: If similar cases exist in other Sacramento nursing homes, past verdicts may influence a judge or jury’s decisions.
It may be challenging to determine how much financial compensation your family deserves. Fortunately, our affiliate Sacramento nursing home abuse lawyers at Nursing Home Law Center, LLC can give you a free case evaluation to estimate how much you may be able to receive.
The following forms of evidence can help you build a strong case:
- Medical records
- Photos and videos of the victim’s injuries
- Psychological evaluations
- Documentation of hazardous living conditions
- Video evidence of the abuse
- Financial records, in case of financial abuse (e.g., forged checks, bank statements showing fraudulent transactions)
- Witness accounts from nursing home staff members or other residents
- Autopsy reports, in case of wrongful death
- Expert testimony
In many cases of elderly abuse, the victim cannot testify in court due to physical or mental limitations. Hence, it is crucial to have a skilled nursing home abuse attorney to ensure that you can build a strong case without testimony from the victim.
Dealing With Insurance Companies
After you file a claim, an insurance adjuster will likely reach out to you to offer a settlement. If you choose to accept the offer at this time, you can no longer pursue them for additional damages. Hence, it is best to contact a lawyer before communicating with the other party’s insurance company.
Many insurance companies offer lowball settlements to protect their interests and that of their clients. If the offer is not enough to cover your family’s losses, do not accept it and do not feel pressured to do so. Your lawyer can help you negotiate the settlement to ensure you receive fair financial compensation.
Filing a Nursing Home Neglect or Mistreatment Lawsuit
Most nursing home neglect and mistreatment cases settle out of court. With an experienced nursing home abuse attorney, it may be possible to receive fair financial compensation without litigation. Choosing this route will also help save a lot of time and money.
However, if settlement negotiations are unsuccessful or the defendant denies responsibility, your lawyer could file a case in civil court. The judge or jury will then hear evidence from both sides and decide on a verdict.
Our affiliate nursing home abuse lawyer is ready to help all clients through the legal process, whether or not litigation is necessary.
Experienced Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers in Sacramento
Did your loved one suffer mistreatment in a Sacramento nursing home? If so, contact a Sacramento nursing home abuse lawyer to discuss your family’s legal options.
Nursing Home Law Center, LLC is an award-winning attorney network that defends the legal rights of those injured due to negligence, mistreatment, and neglect. Our Sacramento nursing home abuse attorneys have helped thousands of nursing home residents across Sacramento County find the justice that they deserve.
Our affiliate lawyers hold at-fault parties accountable to the fullest extent of the law. For immediate legal advice and to learn more about how we can assist you, contact our affiliate law firms at (800) 926-7565 to schedule a free consultation and case review.
Our Sacramento County elder abuse attorneys will review your legal options with you and conduct a thorough investigation to determine whether your loved one is being mistreated.
Since we work on a contingency basis, we can assure you that our services are free unless we can recover financial compensation for your family. All personal information you share with our office will remain confidential.Resources: