Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys In Dothan

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    Our Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Can Help You

    What do you do when someone you love dearly is being abused or neglected by the very people who have promised to take care of them? This is the situation many people face in Alabama each year when they are forced to place their aging relatives in nursing homes.

    a caregiver mistreating an elder womanWe rightfully hope and believe that the people hired and paid to protect our loved ones will take their responsibilities seriously. Unfortunately, many residents are given very poor care in Alabama nursing homes – while corporate owners continue to make unbelievable profits.

    Gartlan Injury Law is committed to helping those who’ve suffered traumatic injuries or been subjected to abuse in Alabama nursing home facilities. If you suspect abuse or neglect, call our elder abuse law firm today.

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    What to Do If You Suspect Your Family Member Is Being Abused

    If you suspect that a loved one is being abused or neglected in an Alabama nursing home, you need to contact us immediately.

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    Talk to your loved one immediately and privately

    The next time you are visiting your loved one, take note of the conditions, staffing, and the general demeanor of your loved one. When you are alone, discuss your concerns and ask your loved one for permission to look into the problem. If the person is suffering from diminished mental capacity due to dementia or other cognitive deficits, this may not be an option. However, you should always do your best to respect the autonomy and dignity of your loved one. Aging does not automatically equal impairment. Many seniors will appreciate being kept involved in the decision.

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    Take lots of notes

    This can be tricky, but you should try to keep notes about everything you see, hear, smell, and discover during visits to the facility. Here are a few examples of things you should consider:

    • Are there unusual odors?
    • What medications is your loved one taking?
    • Are there problem staff members?
    • Is the resident afraid of certain staff members?
    • How does the resident’s appearance and demeanor change from day to day?
    • Note the dates and times of any injuries.

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    Take photographs

    If applicable, you may want to take photos. Some injuries, such as bed sores or wounds, may be difficult to prove if nursing staff falsify records. Taking a photograph when able can forever document the existence of these painful wounds.

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    Call the Alabama Department of Public Health

    You can reach the ADPH by going online or by calling the ElderCare Hotline at 1-800-356-9596.

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    Call Gartlan Injury Law right away

    Nursing home abuse cases can take a long time to develop and investigate. The sooner you hire an attorney, the sooner we can begin helping your loved one and fighting for justice. Call today to schedule a private consultation with an attorney.

    Have a Question About Your Case? Call Us Today:

    How a Lawyer Can Help in a Nursing Home Abuse Case

    The nursing home industry has become increasingly corporate, with multimillion-dollar healthcare corporations operating facilities all over the country. Many of the small, rural, and poorly funded nursing homes in our state are actually owned by corporate conglomerates in New York, California, or other distant locations. These foreign and off-site owners control everything through a web of secretive corporations and limited liability companies.

    Suing a nursing home is far more difficult than simply naming the facility. Many cases involve third-party real estate holding companies that shelter profits, leaving the actual facility financially operating in the red. With an experienced nursing home abuse and neglect attorney working on your case, you can be confident that the people responsible for your loved one’s injuries will be called on to answer for their actions.

    At Gartlan Injury Law, we will tirelessly pursue justice for abused and neglected seniors. This includes:

    Who Could Be Held Responsible for Nursing Home Abuse?

    There may be a number of potential defendants in a case or nursing home abuse. These might include:

    • Negligent nurses
    • Physicians
    • Medical directors
    • Advance practice nurses
    • Wound care specialists
    • Corporate owners
    • Facility license holders
    • Real estate holding companies
    • Physical therapists
    • Primary care physicians
    • Hospitals and other outside providers
    • Nurse’s assistants and other staff members
    • Facility administrators and directors of nursing

    Common Injuries Experienced Due To Nursing Home Neglect

    Nursing home abuse and neglect often result in painful and catastrophic injuries, including:

    • Bed sores
    • Falls
    • Fractures
    • Head traumas
    • Infections
    • Medication errors
    • Malnutrition
    • Dehydration
    • Physical or sexual assault
    • Death

    Compensation Available In Nursing Home Abuse Claims

    Daughter comforting her sad mother.Depending on the nature and extent of the injuries, there may be a host of potential forms of compensation that you and your loved one can recover. Under federal law, nursing home residents have certain enumerated rights, known as the Nursing Home Residents Bill of Rights.

    Under Alabama Administrative Code § 420-5-10, many of these rights have been formatted into regulations that require compliance on the part of nursing homes. When nursing homes and their employees and staff violate these fundamental rules and regulations, injured residents have a right to seek compensation.

    Compensation can include:

    • Medical expenses incurred due to negligence
    • Psychological treatment resulting from abuse or assaults
    • Compensation for pain and suffering
    • Loss of enjoyment of life
    • Wrongful death
    • Punitive damages

    What If My Loved One Died Due to Abuse or Neglect in a Nursing Home?

    If a loved one dies from neglect, the heirs and next-of-kin may also be entitled to compensation through an action that seeks compensation on behalf of the estate. In these cases, families may seek payment for:

    • Funeral bills
    • Burial costs
    • Final medical expenses
    • Loss of love and affection
    • Loss of familial support

    Sick senior man laying in hospital bed.Sadly, many big nursing home companies and their insurance carriers try to argue that the lives of seniors are not worth anything. These careless and aggressive corporations tend to focus on whether the injured person had an income that was lost and whether they had high medical costs relating to the injury. This completely ignores the sanctity and value of human life.

    At Gartlan Injury Law, we understand that it’s difficult to put a price on human life. When someone you love dearly passes away before their time, it can be frustrating, upsetting, and unfair. If your loved one’s death was preventable and caused by a negligent or even abusive nursing home, call us today to speak with an attorney who can fight for the justice your family deserves.

    Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect

    It can be difficult to know whether a loved one is being abused or neglected while living in a residential skilled nursing facility. This can be due to a few reasons. For instance, many vulnerable seniors are afraid to speak up for fear of retaliation. Victims may have limited cognitive ability due to Alzheimer’s or certain medications. There are rarely any witnesses to the abuse who are willing to come forward.

    Despite these challenges, there are signs you can watch for. Here are just a few examples of some warning signs you should keep an eye open for when visiting a loved one in a nursing home:

    • Does your loved one have open sores of any kind on their body? Look at areas near bony prominences, like elbows, tailbone, hip bones, or heels. Bed sores can start quickly and progress into deadly injuries.
    • Is the facility well-staffed? If you always seem to struggle to find a staff member who can help, there may be insufficient staff. If call lights go unanswered or bed alarms sound for a long time before anyone responds, this can be a sign of poor staffing levels too.
    • Do you smell unusual odors? Feces and urine are unfortunately common odors in nursing homes. After all, there may be residents who are incontinent. That said, these odors should not linger. If these odors seem to always be there and never go away, it may indicate that the staff simply cannot keep up or is failing to provide adequate hygiene. This can lead to deadly infections.
    • Observe your loved one. Does your loved one seem shy or become nervous around a certain employee? Is there a noticeable change in your loved one’s behavior? Beware, as this could be a sign of physical or even sexual abuse. Many seniors emotionally retreat and become withdrawn when victimized by abusers.

    There are many other things to look for when visiting a nursing home, but these are certainly some of the more common things family members should watch for. If you suspect abuse or have concerns about the care your loved one is receiving, you should report it to the State of Alabama and contact Gartlan Injury Law right away.

    Difference Between Abuse and Neglect

    Abuse and neglect are often used interchangeably, but they are different. In the context of a nursing home injury, these are the two ways that residents are generally injured.

    What Is Nursing Home Neglect?

    Side view of depressed senior woman sitting on bench with head in hand against nursing home.Neglect can be passive or active. Active neglect occurs when someone knowingly chooses not to provide care. This is sadly not as rare as you might imagine. Stressed-out caregivers, low staffing ratios, and poor pay all contribute to healthcare workers simply giving up and choosing not to provide care. Passive neglect, on the other hand, is far more common. It involves poor training or simply not having time to get to a task. Here are some examples of each:

    Active Nursing Home Neglect

    • Choosing not to check on a resident who is demanding or in pain
    • Willfully not responding to bed alarms or call lights

    Passive Nursing Home Neglect

    • Forgetting to give proper medications
    • Miscalculating fall risks or skin problems
    • Failing to check vital signs

    What Is Nursing Home Abuse?

    Abuse, on the other hand is an intentional act of harm against a resident. Whether it is a physical assault, sexual abuse, or verbal abuse, it is wrong. Residents in a nursing home are to be treated as though it is their own home. They should be given privacy, dignity, and respect. Sadly, many vulnerable seniors are raped and assaulted each year. Nursing homes are required to perform background checks to weed out potentially predatory workers. When nursing homes fail to do so, they leave innocent seniors completely defenseless.

    Alabama Nursing Home Abuse Statistics

    According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), nearly 6 percent of all nursing home surveys in Alabama resulted in a finding of immediate harm. Consider that in the same year, only 6.3 percent of all nursing home surveys performed in the state resulted in a finding of zero deficiencies. To understand that better, it means that almost 94 percent of the time, when a nursing home is surveyed, it results in some sort of deficiency.

    Nurse helping elder patient in hospital garden. The National Center on Elder Abuse reports that the average annual cost of abuse and neglect result in approximately $5.3 billion nationwide and the cost to Medicare each year, due to providing corrective medical care for injuries in nursing homes, is an amazing $2.8 billion each and every year.

    Therefore, elder abuse and neglect, especially in healthcare settings, is a large problem. But for the families who are faced with the realities of watching a beloved parent, sibling, or spouse suffer at the hands of those charged with providing care, it can be too much to tolerate. When this happens, call an attorney who will aggressively hold the wrongdoers accountable and seek justice.

    Fighting for Justice for Neglected Dothan Seniors

    If you have a loved one who suffered abuse or neglect in a Dothan nursing home or in the surrounding areas of the state of Alabama, call Gartlan Injury Law today.

    Our efforts start with a free initial case consultation, during which we will go over the various laws that apply and try to understand what happened and who should be held responsible. We can begin gathering evidence, such as medical records, bills, photos, witness statements, and anything else that may help us make sense of your loved one’s injuries.

    In many cases, we carefully work with highly skilled medical experts who analyze the records to build a case. Ultimately, our goal is to make sure that those responsible are held accountable. We will never charge you or your family a consultation fee, and we only collect a fee for our work if we succeed at getting compensation for your case. In Dothan and the surrounding areas, call us to schedule a free consultation with attorney Aaron Gartlan today.

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