Choose a Top Rated New Jersey Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
We Understand What You Are Going Through
Putting your loved one in a nursing home is far from an easy decision to make. When the time comes to take this difficult but necessary step, the idea that your loved one could be abused or neglected by the very individuals who you have trusted to protect and care for them may be the farthest thing from your mind.
The unfortunate reality is that nursing home abuse happens far more often than you might expect. It can happen to your parent, grandparent or other loved one, and if it does, you will need someone on your side to guide and support you through the legal process and to help you investigate to uncover what really happened.
At Sugarman Law, we’re committed to fighting for nursing home residents’ rights throughout the state of New Jersey. It’s important to choose the best nursing home abuse lawyer in New Jersey you can to get the justice you and your family deserves. You can view our long history of successful outcomes on the verdicts and settlements section of our site and you may also find our testimonials section helpful. Contact us online or call 1-866-657-5660 today for your free consultation.
How Common is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nationwide statistics indicate that as many as 5 million elders suffer from abuse each year. Even scarier for families with a loved one in a nursing home, approximately 44 percent of nursing home residents reported that they were abused at least once during their stay, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse.
Sugarman Law takes these statistics seriously – just as you are undoubtedly doing, if you suspect that a loved one is suffering from nursing home abuse. Stop wondering what injuries and injustices your family member is enduring at the hands of caregivers and start getting answers. Our nursing home abuse attorneys are here to evaluate your case and fight for justice.
Why Does Nursing Abuse Happen?
When you had to move your loved one into a nursing home, you made the best decisions you could with the knowledge that you had. Unfortunately, what nursing home representatives won’t tell you is that residents may not be in the most capable hands.
Nursing home staff members may not care for your family member the way you expected them to because they are often:
These personnel may have both the motive and the opportunity to take advantage of vulnerable nursing home residents.
What is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse extends well beyond physical abuse. In fact, it can take many forms.
Types of nursing home abuse include:
Physical abuse. You might expect physical abuse to be one of the most easily identifiable forms of abuse, but the reality is that family members don’t always recognize that abuse is taking place. You may believe – or be told – that bruising or other physical injuries resulted from a number of perfectly logical reasons, often relating to the medical conditions that resulted in your loved one being in a nursing home in the first place.
Neglect. Although nursing home staff members have a duty to ensure that your loved one is receiving proper care, the company’s desire to make a profit often places nursing home residents at risk. It’s not uncommon for underpaid and overworked staff members to fail to give your loved one the attention he or she deserves. Make no mistake, neglect is a form of abuse – and you don’t have to tolerate it.
Emotional or mental abuse. Nursing home residents deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Anytime nursing home staff members mock, intimidate or humiliate your loved one, this is a form of abuse for which they can and should be held accountable.
Isolation. Humans are social by nature, and that need for companionship doesn’t disappear just because a person gets older. By isolating or ignoring a nursing home resident, staff members engage in a type of emotional abuse that can cause significant emotional and mental damage to the resident.
Sexual abuse. Nursing home residents are often in a vulnerable position, which makes it much easier for the horrifying crime of sexual abuse to occur. Sexual abuse in a nursing home can come in various forms and may be either physical or emotional. For example, if a staff member forces the resident to watch pornographic material, this is a form of sexual abuse – and it must be stopped.
Hazardous conditions. Your loved one is in a nursing home for his or her own safety – but these facilities may not be as safe as you think. Overcrowding, failure to properly maintain the nursing home facility and failure to sanitize medical equipment properly are all examples of conditions that can create health hazards for nursing home residents. Your loved one could suffer a life-threatening fall injury or infection as a result of these conditions.
Financial exploitation. Staff members are in a unique position to coerce a resident into providing them with financial information that they can use for their own personal gain. Misuse of the resident’s financial accounts or credit cards, forging signatures, identity theft and outright theft of the resident’s money or belongings are all examples of punishable financial abuse.
Resident-on-resident abuse. In some cases, nursing home residents may actually abuse other residents. Even a minor physical confrontation can have substantial consequences for an elderly nursing home resident. Even if staff members don’t initiate the abuse, they should put a stop to it. When staff members are not properly trained to respond to these situations, the nursing home may be held responsible.
What Rights Do Nursing Home Residents Have?
Under New Jersey law (NJSA 30:13-3-5), nursing home staff members have a legal duty to, among other duties, provide reasonable care to residents, and to only admit the number of residents for whom the home can safely and adequately provide care.
New Jersey’s nursing home bill of rights (NJSA 30:13-5) also enumerates certain specific rights that all nursing home residents should expect in addition to their basic rights to be free from physical and mental abuse and neglect, including each resident’s right to:
Safe and decent living accommodations
Manage his or her own finances unless written authorization has been provided to allow otherwise
Wear their own clothing and retain their own possessions unless unsafe
Send and receive unopened mail, unless they request assistance to read or write any correspondence,
Maintain a private telephone at their own expense or obtain private telephone access through the nursing home, at reasonable hours
Retain his or her own physician, whether at the resident’s own expense or under a health plan, and to receive information concerning his or her medical diagnosis, recommended course of treatment, etc., unless the physician deems it best to notify the resident’s next of kin or guardian
Unrestricted communication, including visitation with loved ones at reasonable hours
A reasonable expectation of privacy
According to this statute, your loved one should never be denied access to his or her own finances, possessions or medical information without cause.
He or she should not be denied the opportunity to use the telephone. Written correspondence addressed to your family member should not be opened without his or her consent.
Your loved one should never be denied visitors during established visiting hours without cause. If you’re told that you can’t see your family member and are getting only vague explanations as to why, that may be a red flag that abuse is going on.
How to Report Nursing Home Abuse
You’re afraid that your loved one is being abused – but what can you do about it? How do you prove that abuse is happening? How can you get your loved one out of this dangerous situation and get justice for what he or she has been through?
When a loved one is receiving care in a nursing home, it is critical to remain vigilant to ensure that he or she is protected. Be aware of the many possible forms of nursing home abuse. Ask for explanations from the nursing home staff if you notice repeated injuries or changes in the behavior or demeanor of your loved one. Learn more about how to file a complaint for nursing home abuse in NJ.
Some important warning signs that may indicate nursing home abuse is taking place include:
Refusals by nursing home staff to allow visitation
Changes in behavior, or mood swings
Unexplained financial transactions
Changes to the resident’s will or authorized account signatories
Unexplained and sudden death
What Do You Do Now?
Don’t blame yourself for not seeing the warning signs of nursing home abuse sooner. Recognizing abuse is difficult, especially if your loved one suffers from dementia, Alzheimer’s or other diseases that can leave them particularly vulnerable to abuse.
Depending on your loved one’s health, he or she may be unable to call your attention to the abuse. Further complicating things, nursing home residents may be afraid of retribution from staff members if they report abuse.
The best things you can do for your loved one, after you become aware that abuse is taking place, are:
Reporting the abuse
Removing your loved one from the situation
Hold the staff members or facility accountable
Perhaps you don’t know where to start. Our nursing home abuse attorneys can handle these challenges for you.
DO I NEED A LAWYER FOR NURSING HOME ABUSE?
When you’re not sure where to turn, let us guide your family. Sugarman law fights to hold perpetrators of nursing home abuse financially responsible for their actions.
We know that, in many cases, nursing home residents are simply unable to stand up for themselves because of underlying medical conditions. They may feel trapped and helpless, with no way out. Their only rescue may be through the actions of their family and loved ones.
When you start suspecting nursing home abuse, it can be difficult to know where to begin to stop the problem on your own. The experienced nursing home abuse lawyers at Sugarman Law are here to advocate on behalf of you and your loved one.
WHAT SUGARMAN LAW WILL DO TO HELP YOUR LOVED ONE
Nursing home abuse cases can be complicated by two facts:
It is not always immediately apparent who is responsible for perpetuating the abuse
It may not be clear who can be held legally and financially accountable for that abuse
At Sugarman Law, our first step is to begin investigating the case to uncover evidence to support your case. Many nursing home abuse cases will proceed on a negligence theory, meaning that we will work to show:
The nursing home had a legal duty to care for your loved one,
The nursing home breached this legal duty through intentional actions, omissions or negligence, and
As a direct result of that breach of duty, your loved one was abused (harmed).
Under New Jersey and federal law, nursing home staff members have a legal duty to take certain continuing steps to make sure your loved one is properly cared for, and to prevent abuse. To uncover evidence to support your claim for nursing home abuse, Sugarman Law’s team of experienced nursing home abuse lawyers will work tirelessly to evaluate your suspicions of abuse:
First and foremost, we will report the suspicions of abuse to the nursing home to prevent further abuse.
We will speak with your loved one, if they are able, to gather evidence of the abuse.
Our investigative staff will gather and analyze medical records and witness statements.
We will consult with experts to determine the likely cause of any physical or emotional injuries.
Our attorneys will obtain documents from the nursing home itself, including training records and hiring policies.
Because past lawsuits or reports of abuse or neglect can indicate a pattern of negligence, we will find out whether any other incidents of abuse have occurred in the facility.
To quantify the damage that the abuse has caused, we will work with experts to assess the actual physical and emotional harm to your loved one.
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN FILING A NURSING HOME ABUSE LAWSUIT
Your family has been through enough. You can count on your attorneys to:
Complete and file all paperwork necessary to be legal action
Negotiate with the nursing home and other responsible parties to reach a favorable settlement
Begin a trial by judge or jury if a full and fair settlement agreement cannot be reached
Keep you apprised of your case progress every step of the way to ensure full transparency
WILL MY LOVED ONE HAVE TO GO THROUGH A TRIAL?
Every case is different. Depending upon the evidence, your nursing home abuse claim may settle well before trial.
At Sugarman Law, we take the goals of our clients seriously. We know that some victims of nursing home abuse are reluctant to face their abusers in a courtroom, while others want that opportunity to finally stand up to the people who hurt them. We will work with you every step of the way to obtain the best possible results in your case.
Our experienced nursing home abuse lawyers are frequently able to obtain an advantageous settlement package without going to trial, but we stand ready and willing to fight for your rights in the courtroom if necessary.
WHAT CAN YOU SUE A NURSING HOME FOR?
Most nursing homes are owned by large corporations that profit substantially from underpaid and under-trained nursing home staff. The corporations that employ these individuals can be held financially accountable for the actions of their employees under a legal theory known as respondeat superior, or vicarious liability.
At Sugarman Law, our experienced team of nursing home abuse lawyers and investigative staff are dedicated to both stopping nursing home abuse and holding perpetrators of nursing home abuse responsible for their actions.
We fight to obtain compensation for:
Medical expenses necessary to treat your loved one’s injuries caused or exacerbated by abuse
Psychological counseling to help your loved one recover emotionally
Restitution, or reimbursement, especially in the case of financial abuse
Payment for lost interest on investments
Pain and suffering
Wrongful death, if you lost your loved one because of the abuse
Punitive damages, which punish the nursing home for their actions
Attorneys’ fees and court costs
The attorneys at Sugarman Law have decades of experience standing up to nursing homes and the corporations that own and profit from them. We will attend to every detail in making sure that the parties responsible for nursing home abuse are held responsible to the fullest extent of the law.
HOW LONG DO YOU HAVE TO SUE A NURSING HOME FOR ABUSE?
The consequences of nursing home abuse can have a long-lasting impact on your family, but in New Jersey, the nursing home statute of limitations is short. If you don’t file a lawsuit against the nursing home by this deadline, you will lose the chance to get justice and compensation for your loved one.
HOW MUCH DOES A NURSING HOME ABUSE LAWYER COST?
Sugarman Law handles nursing home abuse claims on a contingency basis, which means that instead of high hourly fees, you will pay only a portion of the compensation we recover for your family – and nothing in the meantime for our legal services. For too many families, finances play a role in what nursing home a loved one must go to. Don’t let your fears of the cost of pursuing a lawsuit keep your loved one trapped in an abusive environment.
SUSPECT NURSING HOME ABUSE? SCHEDULE A FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION WITH OUR EXPERIENCED NURSING HOME ABUSE LAWYERS TODAY
When you suspect that a family member or loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, you need a lawyer who you can trust by your side so that you can focus on helping your loved one recover. Let Barry Sugarman and his dedicated team of nursing home abuse lawyers be your advocates.
Don’t wait to schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer. We have two convenient locations at 80 East Main Street, Somerville, NJ 08876 and 8000 Sagemore Drive, Marlton, NJ 08053 to make things easier for you. Call toll-free at 1-866-657-5660 or fill out our online contact form to get the help your loved one needs now.
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