legal resources necessary to hold negligent facilities accountable.
Waterbury Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Waterbury is the second-largest city in New Haven County, Connecticut, home to 16,000 elderly individuals and 13,000 people under 65 living with disabilities. For many Waterbury families, admitting their disabled and elderly loved ones to nursing homes is their best option.
Unfortunately, nursing homes are not always safe for these vulnerable individuals. Not only is nursing home abuse a widespread problem across the US, but many of these injustices remain unresolved due to massive underreporting.
Nevertheless, families always have the option to seek justice for their abused or neglected loved ones. At Nursing Home Law Center, LLC, our affiliate Connecticut personal injury lawyers represent victims of nursing home abuse and advocate for their rights.
Contact our Waterbury nursing home abuse lawyers at (800) 926-7565 to schedule a free consultation. All sensitive information our clients share will remain confidential under an attorney-client relationship.What Is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse or neglect is a single or repeated act that causes a resident physical, psychological, or financial harm. It can result from negligence, carelessness, or malicious intent of nursing home workers, visitors, or other residents.The Rights of Nursing Home Residents
State and federal laws help protect the legal rights of elderly and disabled nursing home residents. These laws include:Federal Law
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 rights of nursing home residents, 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 Connecticut Department of Health State Regulations outlines the responsibilities of professionals in public nursing homes, including medical directors, medical staff, nurse supervisors, and others. These regulations also define reportable events, including incidents that have caused patient death or serious harm.
Public Act 19-89 (Senate Bill 375) requires that each nursing facility calculate the total number of nurses and nursing aides providing direct care to nursing home residents. This law also requires nursing facilities to post this information in a place readily accessible to residents, employees, and visitors.Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Injustices in nursing homes can occur in many ways, 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 without medical reasons.
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 involves verbal and non-verbal acts that cause residents psychological harm or emotional distress. These acts may include verbal assault, humiliation, intimidation, gaslighting, and geographical or social isolation.
Signs of Psychological 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 or fraud 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 debit or credit cards.
Signs of Financial Abuse or Fraud
- Sudden bank account changes
- Unexplained transactions on debit or credit cards
- Missing belongings
- Forged signatures on financial documents
- Inconsistencies in financial records
- Sudden changes in financial habits
Neglect occurs when caregivers fail to provide a resident’s basic needs, including food, medication, clothing, and health care, creating or increasing the risk of harm to a resident. Neglect can be intentional (active) or unintentional (passive) but can cause harm to residents either way.
Signs of Neglect
- Poor hygiene
- Bed sores
- Malnutrition or dehydration
- Unexplained 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
- Serious falls due to inadequate supervision
Family members may be unaware of the abuse or neglect due to victims' fear of what their abusers may do if they tell or due to mental illness or dementia.
With that in mind, families must visit their loved ones frequently and pay attention to strange injuries, behavioral changes, and other potential signs of maltreatment.
Once you notice indicators of maltreatment in your disabled or elderly loved one, investigate further. Ask your loved one and other residents about their experiences, and observe employees for abusive or neglectful behavior. Contact the police as soon as you have a reasonable suspicion of maltreatment.Who Is Most at Risk?
Any resident can become a victim of nursing home neglect. However, some residents are more vulnerable 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 residents
If your disabled or elderly family member belongs to these groups, pay close attention to their safety and well-being while in the nursing facility.Effects of Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
Nursing home negligence affects victims in different ways. Potential consequences include:
- Severe bodily injury
- Untreated medical conditions
- Psychological trauma
- Emotional distress
- Loss of personal property
- Monetary losses
- Loss of quality of life
- Reduced family or social ties
- Increased risk of illnesses
- Wrongful death
Physical injuries are the most common consequence of nursing home maltreatment. Typical injuries include:
- Bed sores due to neglect
- Head trauma or traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Broken bones, especially hip fractures
- Bruises and cuts
- Soft tissue injuries (e.g., sprains, strains)
- Spinal cord trauma
These injuries often have more severe consequences among the elderly population. Many nursing home negligence cases involving elderly people lead to severe injuries, disability, and even wrongful death.Causes of Mistreatment in Nursing Homes
Nursing home neglect and abuse often stem from the following root causes:
- Underqualified and Improperly Trained Staff: Nursing home staff need adequate education, training, and experience to care for the disabled or elderly. Without these prerequisites, employees may be more likely to commit medical mistakes, mistreatment, and neglect.
- Understaffing: A lack of employees creates incidences where there are not enough workers to provide adequate care to all patients, increasing the risk of harm. Unfortunately, staff shortages affect almost all nursing facilities in the country.
- Poor Management: An incompetent management team can create a lack of accountability, responsibility, and satisfaction among workers, directly affecting the level of care provided to residents.
- Underreporting: Although state and federal laws require nursing home staff to report incidences of patient harm, it is estimated that only 1 in 14 cases are forwarded to the authorities. As a result, many cases remain unresolved and negligent facilities continue to operate.
Take immediate action if you notice signs of maltreatment in your loved one—report known or suspected neglect or abuse to local law enforcement. But if you think your loved one or another resident is in immediate danger, call 911. Remove your loved one from the premises for the time being.
You can also contact the following agencies in Connecticut to report nursing home neglect:
- Department of Public Health (DPH)
- Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP)
- Adult Protective Services (APS)
- Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS)
Negligent Waterbury nursing facilities may lose government funding, licenses, and certifications if found guilty of non-compliance with Connecticut state or federal law. Additionally, perpetrators may face criminal charges (either a misdemeanor or felony) from law enforcement for egregious mistreatment of a disabled or elderly person.
After reporting nursing home neglect or abuse to the authorities, contact a Waterbury attorney to learn about your legal options.Filing a Waterbury Nursing Home Abuse Claim
Nursing homes are legally responsible for their residents’ health, safety, and well-being. Failure to uphold residents' rights--whether through negligence or malicious intent--is against the law and may be subject to significant repercussions.
Did you or a loved one suffer injuries, psychological harm, or financial losses due to nursing home negligence? If so, you could take legal action against the facility by filing a claim or lawsuit.The Role of Personal Injury Attorneys
Legal aid is often necessary for claims involving negligence. Your Waterbury lawyer 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
- File your case in civil court, if necessary
The first thing your attorney will do is investigate and determine who is directly responsible for your loved one’s injuries. Liable parties may include:
- Nursing home staff members
- Other nursing home residents
In addition to these individuals, your lawyer may also take legal action against the nursing home administrator for failing to protect your loved one from avoidable harm.Evidence
After determining who abused or neglected your loved one, you will need to prove their liability by collecting substantial evidence, such as:
- Photos of your loved one’s injuries
- Medical records, including psychological evaluations
- Incident and police reports
- Nursing home records
- Witness accounts from family members, employees, visitors, or other residents
- Expert testimony
By filing a claim, you and your loved ones could recover the following economic and non-economic damages:
- Medical Bills: Compensation for your loved one’s medical care, including hospitalization, medication, therapy, surgery, emergency transportation, etc.
- Disability: Payment for disability-related damages if your loved one becomes disabled. These damages may include loss of quality of life and medical equipment.
- Pain and Suffering: Compensation for physical and non-physical injuries, including physical pain, mental trauma, 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, decreased independence, reduced societal ties, etc.
- Wrongful Death: Payment for death-related damages if your loved one dies. Wrongful death damages typically include funeral and burial costs, pre-death medical treatment, and the grief of surviving loved ones.
- 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 lawyer will estimate the potential value of your settlement based on these damages and other circumstances. This estimation will give you a benchmark of how much your family deserves.Settlement
After filing a claim, you may receive a settlement offer from the negligent care facility. You can accept the offer at this point, but doing so will make you unable to sue for additional damages. Furthermore, initial offers are rarely enough to cover damages unless you negotiate.
Your New Haven attorney can negotiate the settlement offer for you. They can argue the extent of your loved one’s injuries and explain why you deserve a certain amount. More often than not, settlement negotiations pull through without going to court.Litigation
What if negotiations are unsuccessful or the care facility refuses to take responsibility for the incident? If this happens, your attorney could help you seek justice through a civil lawsuit. A judge or jury will hear evidence from both parties and determine a verdict.
However, not all cases need to go to trial. If possible, your lawyer could help you explore other legal options, such as mediation or arbitration, which are typically less lengthy and expensive.The Statute of Limitations in Connecticut
According to Connecticut law, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is two years (General Statutes of Connecticut section 52-584). The clock starts running on "the date when the injury is first sustained or discovered or in the exercise of reasonable care should have been discovered."
Take immediate action once you discover the abuse or neglect of your loved one. Missing the two-year deadline could mean the dismissal of your case unless exceptional circumstances apply.Schedule a Free Consultation With a Waterbury Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Is your disabled or elderly loved one a victim of nursing home negligence? If so, the skilled lawyers at Nursing Home Law Center, LLC are ready to fight for the financial compensation you deserve and help your family obtain justice.
Our attorneys seek justice for victims of neglect, assault, exploitation, medical malpractice, serious falls, and wrongful death through litigation or out-of-court settlements. Through our work, we help punish negligent nursing facilities to the fullest extent of the law and raise awareness of these injustices.
Contact our affiliate Waterbury personal injury lawyers at (800) 926-7565 or use the contact form on the website to discuss your legal issues. All sensitive information our clients share with our lawyers will remain confidential under an attorney-client relationship.
Our experienced New Haven nursing home abuse lawyers handle all accepted cases on a contingency basis, meaning you don’t have to pay for legal help unless our nursing home abuse lawyers
win your case.Resources: