legal resources necessary to hold negligent facilities accountable.
Tulsa Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Nursing home abuse is a growing public health issue that puts thousands of people’s lives at risk. Victims suffer injuries, illnesses, disability, and even death due to the actions of the very people entrusted to care for them. Unfortunately, many have yet to obtain justice.
Were you or a loved one abused or neglected in a nursing facility? At Nursing Home Law Center, LLC, our affiliate Oklahoma personal injury lawyers dedicate their work to helping victims recover compensation and punishing nursing homes for failing to fulfill their obligations.
Contact our Tulsa nursing home abuse lawyers at (800) 926-7565 for a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team 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 law defines elder abuse as a single or repeated act that causes or increases the risk of harm to an elderly person 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
The Nursing Home Care Act and Long-Term Care Security Act of Oklahoma define the minimum requirements for nursing homes and residents’ rights. These acts also outline the punishments for violations, standards for employee background checks, and the procedures for reporting abuse or neglect in a facility.Types of Abuse in Nursing Facilities
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, abuse in nursing homes and assisted living facilities takes many forms, 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, pinching, and restraining a resident without medical reasons.
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)
Psychological abuse, also known as 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
- Personality or behavioral changes
- 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
- 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. It can take many forms, including manipulating bank accounts, stealing personal belongings, and unauthorized transactions on credit cards.
Signs of Financial 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
This type of abuse occurs when a nursing home fails to provide a resident’s basic needs, including proper nutrition, medication, clothing, medical care, and a safe environment, creating or increasing the risk of harm to a patient.
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
Nursing home abuse or neglect may manifest in apparent signs, such as broken bones, bruises, or other physical injuries. However, other signs may be less noticeable and mimic dementia or mental illness indicators.
That said, families must pay close attention to the less obvious signs of abuse, such as changes in personality or behavior.Effects of Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
A nursing home resident may suffer the following consequences from abuse or negligent care:
- Severe injuries
- Untreated medical conditions
- Psychological trauma
- Loss of personal property
- Monetary losses
- Loss of quality of life
- Reduced family or social ties
- Wrongful death
Abuse or neglect often leads to significant injuries, such as:
- Pressure ulcers
- 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
Some individuals are more likely to become victims of nursing home neglect and abuse than others, including:
- Patients with physical or mental disabilities
- Patients with additional care needs
- Patients with access to an abundance of wealth
- Dementia patients
- Women and children
- Bedridden patients
Nursing home negligence is a multi-factorial problem. Experts believe that the following factors increase the risk of neglect and abuse in nursing facilities:
- Underqualified and Improperly Trained Staff: Employees need proper qualifications, training, and experience to meet the needs of disabled and elderly patients. Without the right background, employees may be incapable of caring for these vulnerable individuals, increasing the risk of abuse and substandard care.
- Understaffing: A lack of employees increases the risk of abuse and neglect due to high-stress work environments, overburdened workers, and an imbalanced caregiver-to-patient ratio.
- Poor Management: The poor performance of the leadership team directly affects the quality of patient care. Employees are more likely to provide substandard care if management is disorganized, irresponsible, and reactive instead of proactive.
- Underreporting: The law requires nursing facilities to report abuse and neglect, but only a small percentage of cases are reported. Thus, many cases remain unresolved, allowing negligent nursing homes to remain operational despite violations.
Report known or suspected abuse to the Tulsa Police. If you think your elderly loved one or another resident is in immediate danger, call 911.
You can also report elder abuse or abuse of a disabled person to:
- Adult Protective Services
- Oklahoma Aging Services Division
- Long-Term Care Ombudsman
- Office of Attorney General
State agencies may revoke or suspend the licenses, certifications, and government funding of Oklahoma nursing homes found guilty of non-compliance with state or federal regulations.
Additionally, individuals responsible for abusing residents may face criminal charges from local law enforcement. Depending on the severity of the crime, the charge can be either a misdemeanor or a felony.
Remove your loved one from the facility while you explore your legal options. Ask the police for assistance if needed.Filing a Tulsa Nursing Home Abuse Claim
The law requires nursing homes and long-term care facilities to enforce reasonable measures protecting disabled and elderly residents from avoidable harm. A nursing facility that fails to meet this legal duty could face significant repercussions from victims and governing bodies.
Were you or an elderly loved one a victim of nursing home negligence? If so, you have the legal right to seek financial compensation through a personal injury claim.The Role of Your Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer
You need proper legal counsel to successfully file a nursing home abuse case. Aside from serving as your legal counsel, your attorney will 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
- File your lawsuit in civil court, if necessary
Your attorney will discuss these responsibilities further during your free consultation.Liable Parties
Possible perpetrators of abuse include:
- Staff members
- Other patients
Regardless of who is directly responsible for the abuse or neglect of your loved one, the negligent nursing home facility may also be liable for failing to protect your loved one from avoidable harm.Evidence
Nursing home abuse cases require substantial evidence to prove the nursing home's liability. Your nursing home abuse attorney will help you gather proof to support your claim, such as:
- Photos of your loved one’s injuries
- Medical records, including psychological evaluations
- Incident and police reports
- Witness accounts from family members, staff members, visitors, or other patients
- Expert testimony
Ask your lawyer about what documents you need to start collecting during your free evaluation. You may also want to take a statement from your disabled or elderly loved one as soon as possible to keep their accounts of the incidents accurate.Damages
Filing a personal injury claim could help you and your family recover compensation for the following:
- 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 family member 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 death-related damages if your elderly 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 Tulsa attorney will discuss these damages further during your free evaluation. They will also give you an estimate of the settlement value you deserve based on your losses and other applicable factors.Settlement
After filing a personal injury claim against your loved one’s facility, its insurance company may offer you a settlement. Accepting the offer would mean you can no longer sue for additional damages, so it’s best to consult your elder abuse lawyer first.Other Legal Options
Initial offers for personal injury settlements are not always fair. Your attorney could help you negotiate for a better outcome, but not all negotiations are successful.
Your attorney could help you file a civil lawsuit if the insurance company refuses to make a better settlement offer (or the nursing home denies responsibility for the maltreatment). Mediation or arbitration may be another viable option to avoid litigation.The Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Oklahoma is two years (Oklahoma Statutes section 12-95). Usually, the clock starts running on the date of the underlying incident or its discovery.
Courts do not grant extensions to the two-year deadline unless exceptional circumstances apply. That said, file a lawsuit as soon as possible to avoid missing the deadline and losing critical evidence.Hire an Experienced Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyer Today
Abusing or neglecting a disabled or elderly person is against the law. More specifically, it violates the residents’ rights outlined in state and federal nursing home regulations.
Were you or a loved one a victim of abuse or neglect? If so, the nursing home abuse lawyers at Nursing Home Law Center, LLC could serve as your legal representation. Our experienced nursing home abuse attorneys help disabled and elderly individuals seek justice from abusive nursing homes and recover compensation for their losses.
Call our Tulsa law offices at (800) 926-7565 or use the contact form for a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share will remain private under an attorney-client relationship.
Our nursing home abuse attorneys handle all accepted cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning our services are free unless we win your case.Resources: