legal resources necessary to hold negligent facilities accountable.
San Francisco Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
For many families with disabled or elderly members, nursing homes are the best places where their loved ones can get the special care and attention they need. Unfortunately, not all nursing homes provide a safe, healthy, and peaceful environment for disabled and elderly residents.
Nursing home abuse is a growing public health issue across the US, and residents suffer unnecessary harm from the actions (or inaction) of another. Was your loved one the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect? The affiliate personal injury lawyers at Nursing Home Law Center, LLC could help you seek the justice your family deserves.
Contact our affiliate San Francisco nursing home abuse lawyers at (800-926-7565) for a free case evaluation. Our legal team can help your family recover fair financial compensation through litigation or out-of-court settlement.
San Francisco is the second-most densely populated city in the country and the fourth largest city in California. Approximately 23% of the population in San Francisco are aged 60 and above, according to San Francisco Human Services Agency (SFHSA).
The SFHSA also reports that 1 in 10 San Francisco residents has a disability. Almost half of disabled residents are under 65 years old.What is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse is the mistreatment of individuals in nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and other skilled nursing facilities. Mistreatment can take the form of an intentional or unintentional act, or lack of action from a caregiver, causing unnecessary harm or distress to a nursing home resident.
Nursing Home Neglect
Nursing home neglect involves a caregiver’s negligent failure to provide a patient’s basic needs, such as food, shelter, clothing, and medical treatment. It can be intentional or unintentional.
Most nursing home residents are 60 and above, making elder abuse the most common subtype of abuse in nursing homes. Elder neglect and abuse are defined by the infliction of unnecessary harm to a person aged 60 and above, causing injury, distress, or death.
Data gathered by the National Council on Aging (NCOA) shows that up to 5 million Americans are abused yearly. Nursing homes and long-term care facilities are some places where elder abuse rates are the highest.Types & Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Disabled or elderly patients living in nursing home facilities may be exposed to different types of abuse, including:
Physical abuse is the intentional use of physical force on a nursing home resident, causing pain or injury. It includes but is not limited to actions such as hitting, kicking, pushing, and forceful restraint.
Signs of Physical Abuse:
- Unexplained injuries (e.g., bruises, cuts, burns, abrasions)
- Broken bones
- Broken eyeglasses
- Sudden changes in behavior
- Signs of confinement (e.g., bruised wrists and ankles)
Mental or Emotional Abuse
Emotional or mental abuse is the infliction of psychological harm on an individual, resulting in distress and mental anguish. It includes actions like verbal assault, threatening, isolation, and intimidation.
Signs of Emotional or Mental Abuse
- Being extremely withdrawn or non-communicative
- Sudden changes in behavior or personality
- Loss of enjoyment in daily activities
Sexual abuse is any non-consensual sexual contact with another person, including touching, groping, verbal sexual harassment, and rape.
Signs of Sexual Abuse
- Unexplained injury around the breasts or genitals
- Unexplained anal or vaginal bleeding
- Torn or bloody clothing
- Sudden onset of genital infections or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
- Changes in personality or behavior
Financial abuse or exploitation is the illegal or unauthorized manipulation of a resident’s resources. It may involve coercion, fraudulent credit card transactions, forged checks, and theft of another person’s valuables.
Signs of Financial Abuse
- Unexplained disappearance of belongings
- Unexplained transactions on credit cards or bank accounts
- Fraudulent checks or other financial documents
Neglect is failing to provide a nursing facility resident’s basic needs, including food, water, clothing, personal hygiene, medical treatment, and a safe environment. It can be intentional (willful neglect), such as when nursing home staff members purposefully ignore a patient’s needs, or unintentional (passive neglect), as in cases where a lack of resources prevents staff members from providing proper care to all residents.
Signs of Neglect
- Poor hygiene
- Unsafe or unsanitary living conditions
- Malnutrition or dehydration
- Untreated medical conditions (e.g., pressure sores)
- Unsuitable clothing for the weather
- Lack of medical aids (e.g., walkers, hearing aids)
Common indicators of elder abuse may mimic dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other degenerative diseases. These signs may include rocking back and forth, sucking, or biting, which could be signs of psychological abuse. Consult a doctor if you are unsure if your loved one is exhibiting signs of elder abuse or disease.Who is Most at Risk?
There is always a certain level of risk in any nursing facility. However, these subgroups are the most vulnerable:
- Elderly residents
- Residents with physical or mental disabilities
- Women and children
- Residents in understaffed nursing home facilities
- Residents isolated from their families
According to experts, nursing home or assisted living facility with these problems is more prone to negligence and mistreatment among their residents:
- Unqualified or untrained staff
- Lack of physical resources (e.g., space, medication, mobility aids, etc.)
- Poor management
- Underpaid staff
Nursing home abuse and neglect put vulnerable residents and their families through unnecessary consequences, including but not limited to:
- Physical injuries and pain
- Psychological trauma
- Emotional distress
- Monetary losses
- Loss of quality of life
- Reduced social and family ties
- Untimely death
Abuse or neglect has more severe implications among the elderly population. Due to the increased physical and mental vulnerability of senior citizens, they have a higher risk of severe injury and untimely death due to mistreatment.Reporting Nursing Facility Abuse
If you suspect elder abuse or abuse of a disabled person in a nursing home, file a report to local San Francisco CA law enforcement. The police will investigate the facility and see if criminal charges against the abuser are necessary.
Local law enforcement may charge the at-fault party with a misdemeanor or a felony if the mistreatment is egregious. According to California law, perpetrators of elder abuse can face fines of up to $10,000 or imprisonment of up to 1 year in county jail or four years in state prison.
You can also file a complaint to the Licensing and Certification Division of the California Department of Public Health (DPH). The DPH enforces laws and regulations on California nursing homes.
Call emergency services if you think your loved one is in immediate danger in the nursing home. Otherwise, remove your loved one from the facility for the time being.Filing a Nursing Home Abuse Case in San Francisco
According to the Nursing Home Reform Act, nursing homes must maintain each patient's highest possible physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being in compliance with a written plan of care to receive Medicaid or Medicare. Some states have developed stricter laws to protect the welfare of nursing facility residents.
Regardless of location, any mistreatment in a nursing facility is unacceptable in the eyes of the law.
If your loved one suffered abuse or neglect in a nursing home, you have the legal right to hold the at-fault parties accountable. Moreover, your family deserves fair financial compensation for the damages the abuse has caused.
The perpetrators of nursing home negligence and mistreatment may include:
- Nursing home staff
- Other residents
The nursing home or assisted living facility owner may also be held liable if they fail to take reasonable measures to prevent the mistreatment.
The Role of Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
Handling a nursing home abuse case without legal representation is often unwise. You will likely need a personal injury attorney to help you:
- File a claim against the at-fault parties
- Assess the extent of your damages
- Gather evidence to support your claim
- Negotiate settlement values
The extent of your family’s losses will determine the value of your settlement. These losses may include:
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Punitive damages
- Wrongful death
A free consultation with a San Fransico nursing home abuse attorney can help determine the extent of your family’s losses.
Injured victims and their families can present the following forms of evidence to support their claim:
- Medical records, including psychological evaluations
- Photos and videos of physical injuries
- Video evidence of the abuse (e.g., security camera footage)
- Witness accounts from staff members, residents, or visitors
- Expert testimony
Victims of disabled or elder abuse may be unable to give a statement due to physical or mental limitations. In cases like these, nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers find other ways to strengthen the case, such as sourcing a medical expert to testify.
Filing a Civil Lawsuit
Most cases of mistreatment in nursing homes and assisted living facilities are settled out of court. If you file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party, the nursing home will likely offer you a settlement. From there, you can either accept or negotiate the value.
A San Francisco nursing home abuse attorney will help you fight for the settlement value that your family deserves by negotiating with the other party. However, if negotiations are unsuccessful or the nursing home denies responsibility, you could file a case in civil court.
The judge or jury will listen to both sides of the story and decide on a verdict. Your San Francisco nursing home attorney will be your legal representative during litigation.
The Statute of Limitations in California
According to California law, San Francisco residents have two years to file nursing home negligence or abuse cases in court. The “clock” starts after the injury or mistreatment is discovered. If the victim’s injuries show up later, they have one year from the date of discovery to file a case.
A San Francisco nursing home abuse attorney will help you file your case in a timely manner. We advise filing your case as soon as possible to avoid losing crucial evidence.Choosing a Quality Nursing Facility to Prevent Abuse and Neglect
Family members of disabled or elderly individuals can do their part in preventing abuse or neglect. If you need to admit your loved one to a nursing facility, looking for a good-quality one can make a significant difference.
The California Advocates For Nursing Home Reform (CANHR) can help you find quality nursing homes in the Bay Area. The organization also helps families file elder abuse complaints to appropriate California offices.Contact a San Francisco Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Today
Nursing homes are legally obligated to provide proper care to all residents. Seniors and people with disabilities living in nursing facilities have the right to be treated with respect and receive all the services necessary for their health and well-being.
If your loved one’s nursing facility or assisted living community fails to respect these rights, you could hold them accountable by filing a claim or lawsuit.
Nursing Home Law Center, LLC lawyers work tirelessly to recover fair compensation for victims of nursing home neglect and abuse. We handle cases against nursing homes, elder care facilities, and other skilled nursing facilities in the Bay Area.
Contact our San Francisco, CA nursing home abuse attorneys at (800-926-7565) to schedule a free legal consultation. Our legal team will answer your questions during your free consultation and review your legal options. All confidential or sensitive information with our law offices will remain protected under an attorney-client relationship.
Nursing Home Law Center, LLC accepts cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning our services are free unless we win your case.