Laguna Hills Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

For most people, caring for loved ones represents an important priority in daily life. Choosing to place a family member in a nursing home is a profoundly difficult choice to make because family members want to make sure that elderly relatives get the type of care and support that they would be given by family, if only it could be managed.

While many people would like to think it does not exist, or that cases of nursing home abuse are few and far between, the statistics say otherwise. According to the State of California’s Department of Justice, a 2009 California Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes report stated that 13 percent of all complaints to the Long Term Care Ombudsman of California involved abuse, gross neglect, or exploitation. Even more revealing is the fact that this figure is more than double the national rate of five percent.

If you or a loved one suspect negligence of a nursing home or their representative, contact a distinguished personal injury lawyer who can help you collect witnesses and evidence for your case. A Laguna Hills nursing home abuse lawyer can guide you through the claim filing process and how to proceed with seeking damages.

Risk of Negligence

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that as of 2014, there are about 15,600 nursing homes in the United States, but a total of 1.4 million residents. With the rise of for-profit nursing home ownership, this could spell overcrowding and neglect in prone facilities.

There are several risk factors that people can look for to determine whether their loved one is at risk for nursing home abuse:

  • Low social support such as lack of family and friends that are able to regularly visit
  • Dementia, a type of disease that accelerates memory loss and the deterioration of other mental functions
  • A history of post-traumatic events  such as service in a war, involvement in a serious accident
  • Poor physical health, with dependence on others for basic human functions like eating, drinking, moving
  • Lack of spouse or partner, widowed

Uncovering Potential Abuse

The abuse of a nursing home resident can take various forms, including physical/verbal mistreatment, forging signatures, leaving the victim unattended for extended periods as a form of intimidation or extortion, forcibly changing a will, denying access to funds or people, and isolation (financial, social, emotional). It is critical to contact a Laguna Hills nursing home abuse lawyer as soon as an individual or loved one begins to see signs of neglect.

If family members think that there might be a potential case of nursing home abuse, they should speak to their loved one. This person might be a potential victim. If they fail to speak up right away, do not hold it against them. Elder abuse can take many different forms, be it psychological, emotional, financial, or physical.

The fact that an abuse is taking place can be embarrassing. Their vulnerability might make it more difficult for them to open up about a case of abuse. Individuals should pay special attention to body language by looking for subtle cues that may suggest concealment, such as moving away from others while they are speaking, crossing limbs, covering their mouth, avoiding eye contact, or scratching uncharacteristically.

Contacting a Lawyer

If you suspect that a family member is the victim of nursing home abuse, contact a Laguna Hills nursing home abuse lawyer to discuss your rights and responsibilities. According to California’s Code of Civil Procedure, a plaintiff has two years from the date of the negligent or intentional act to file a suit against a nursing home for abuse.

While a case could potentially be dismissed on statute of limitations grounds for failing to adhere to this strict time requirement, a narrow category of exceptions have been made based upon mental or physical incapacitation following the injury, so contact an attorney even if the two years has expired to determine whether your claim can still be heard in a California state court.