legal resources necessary to hold negligent facilities accountable.
Salt Lake City Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Many disabled and elderly individuals require high levels of care that most families cannot provide at home. As a result, many disabled and elderly people live in nursing homes, where there are facilities, equipment, and professional care to meet their specific needs.
Salt Lake City is home to over 20,000 seniors and people with disabilities, many of which reside in nursing homes. Utah nursing homes rank among the highest in terms of quality according to Families For Better Care (top 5 out of 50 states and Washington, DC), making Utah one of the safest places for nursing home residents.
However, nursing home abuse still occurs even in the best facilities. Thousands of vulnerable individuals become victims of violence, neglect, and exploitation behind closed doors. Many suffer injuries, some become disabled, while others even die from the actions and negligence of others.
Did you or a loved one suffer abuse in a Salt Lake City nursing facility? If so, the Utah personal injury lawyers at Nursing Home Law Center, LLC can serve as your legal advocates for justice.
Contact our affiliate local office at (800) 926-7565 for a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our Salt Lake City 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
Similar rights are outlined in the Utah Administrative Code 432-270-9. In addition, Utah residents have the rights to:
- Keep personal possessions and clothing as space permits
- Arrange for medical and personal care
- Leave the facility at any time and not be locked into any room, building, or on the facility premises.
- Manage and control personal funds
- Access within 24 hours records of the resident
- Refuse to perform work for the facility
Nursing home abuse can take many forms and manifest in different signs, including:Physical Abuse
Physical abuse involves deliberately using force against a resident, causing injury, pain, or impairment. It includes but is not limited to actions such as slapping, striking, kicking, burning, and pinching.
Physically or chemically restraining a resident without medical reasons is also considered physical abuse.
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)
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
- Unusual changes in behavior or personality
- 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 exploitation or 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 Exploitation or 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
Neglect 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 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
Victims often suffer significant and long-term consequences from abuse and neglect, including:
- Serious injuries
- Untreated medical conditions
- Psychological trauma
- Emotional distress
- Loss of personal property
- Monetary losses
- Loss of quality of life
- Reduced family or social ties
- Premature death
Physical injuries are the most common consequences of nursing home abuse. Typical abuse or neglect-related injuries include:
- 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
- Patients isolated from family members
Nursing home abuse cases often stem from multiple factors, such as:
- Underqualified and Improperly Trained Staff: Staff with inadequate qualifications and training may be more likely to commit negligence, medical malpractice, and abuse, putting residents’ health and well-being at risk.
- Understaffing: A nursing care 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 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 Salt Lake City Police if you suspect nursing home abuse in your loved one’s facility. The police will investigate your concerns and help remove your loved one from the premises, if necessary. Call 911 if you think your family member or another resident is in imminent danger.
You can also file a complaint to:
- Utah Adult Protective Services
- Utah Bureau of Health Facility Licensing, Certification, and Resident Assessment
- Utah Division of Aging and Adult Services
- Utah Long Term Care Ombudsman
- Utah Office of Attorney General Senior Abuse
You can also call the Elder Abuse Hotline at 1-800-371-7897 for urgent situations that require immediate attention. Otherwise, you can report non-emergency problems online.
Nursing homes that violate state or federal regulations could lose government funding, licenses, and certifications, depending on the sanctions of regulatory bodies. In addition, perpetrators 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.Filing a Salt Lake City Nursing Home Abuse Claim
When you admit you are disabled or elderly loved one to a nursing facility, you expect them to receive proper care and be treated with dignity and respect. But what if this doesn’t happen?
If you or a loved one suffers abuse, neglect, or mistreatment in a Salt Lake City nursing home, you have the legal right to pursue damages. With the help of a nursing home abuse lawyer, you could hold the negligent nursing facility accountable and recover compensation for your losses.The Role of Your Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Competent legal counsel is necessary for any personal injury claim. Find a skilled lawyer that 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
- Report your case to the proper authorities
- File your lawsuit in civil court, if necessary
Your attorney will help you determine who is responsible for the abuse or neglect. Possible perpetrators may include:
- Nursing home staff
- Other residents
According to state and federal laws, nursing facilities must take reasonable measures to protect residents from harm. Hence, a nursing home could also be liable if it fails to prevent abuse or neglect.Evidence
Substantial evidence will give you a firm fight for your case. Your attorney will help you gather relevant proof, such as:
- Photos of injuries sustained
- 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 personal injury claim, you could hold the nursing home or assisted living facility accountable for the following losses:
- Medical Bills: Compensation for your loved one’s medical expenses, 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 wrongful death-related damages if your 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 Salt Lake City nursing home abuse lawyer will estimate the value of your settlement based on these damages and other applicable factors during your free consultation.Settlement
After filing a claim, you may receive an initial settlement offer from the facility’s insurance company. At this point, you can accept the offer or have your nursing home abuse attorney negotiate for a better settlement.
Accepting the payment at any point throughout the wholeprocess will settle your case, meaning you can no longer sue for additional damages.Other Legal Options
Most personal injury claims settle out of court. However, this is not always the case.
Your lawyer can help you recover financial compensation through other means if:
- The facility refuses to take responsibility for the abuse, neglect, exploitation, or medical malpractice or;
- The insurance company refuses to make a better offer.
Your nursing home abuse attorney could help you file a civil court case if either scenario happens. A judge or jury will hear evidence from both parties and determine a verdict, with your lawyer serving as your legal representation.
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 Utah is four years from the date of the underlying incident or its discovery (Title 78, Ch. 12, Sec. 78-12-25 of the Utah Code).
While four years may seem like a lot of time, our Utah personal injury attorneys recommend filing a lawsuit as soon as possible is crucial to avoid losing critical evidence and missing the deadline. Courts do not grant extensions to the four-year deadline unless exceptional circumstances apply.How to Keep Your Loved One Safe in a Nursing Facility
Simple measures can help prevent your loved one from being abused or neglected in their nursing facility, such as:
- Visiting your loved one frequently
- Ensuring your loved one has a way to contact family members in emergencies
- Encouraging your loved ones to speak up if they are being mistreated
- Listening to your loved one’s complaints about the facility, employees, or other residents
- Learning the difference between signs of mistreatment and typical signs of aging, mental illness, or dementia
- Observing how employees treat patients; watching out for potentially abusive or neglectful behavior
- Getting to know your loved one’s primary caregivers
- Looking for less obvious signs of mistreatment in your loved one, such as pressure ulcers and unexplained falls
- Installing an electronic monitoring device in your loved one’s room
- Checking for violations of the facility (this information is usually available to the public on government websites)
Nursing facilities are legally required to provide adequate care to all patients and protect them from harm. Unfortunately, this does not always happen, and many are left to endure unnecessary pain and suffering.
Have you or a family member suffered abuse in a nursing home or other similar facility? If so, the nursing home abuse lawyers at Nursing Home Law Center, LLC can help you seek justice against responsible parties and recover maximum compensation for your losses.
Call our affiliate Salt Lake City law offices at (800) 926-7565 for a no-obligation consultation about your nursing home abuse claim. 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: