Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Serving Clients Throughout the State of California
Nursing home abuse cases are never simple. The legal team here at Cowdrey Jenkins, LLP is dedicated solely to cases involving elder abuse. We understand the intricacies associated with these cases, as we’ve handled them for decades. Nursing home claims are far more complex than standard personal injury or medical malpractice claims, which is why it is imperative that anyone dealing with an issue of elder abuse speak with a knowledgeable California elder abuse lawyer.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
At times, nursing home abuse can be hard to detect. However, this is not always the case, which is why it is so important for friends and relatives of those in nursing homes to keep an eye out for any potential warning signs. Some of the most common signs of neglect and abuse are:
- Falls: Nursing home staff is required to monitor residents at all times. Additionally, depending on the resident, nursing home staff may be required to help the person in and out of bed or while walking around the premises. If they do so negligently or fail to help them at all, the resident can fall and sustain serious injuries as a result.
- Bedsores: Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers, frequently occur when immobile and bedridden nursing home residents aren’t moved or turned in their beds for a significant period of time.
- Complaints of hunger or thirst: Though complaints of hunger or thirst aren’t always indicative of abuse or neglect, frequent complaints such as these, especially when malnutrition or dehydration starts to become evident (e.g. a resident loses a significant amount of weight) should be taken very seriously.
- Residents being left to wander the premises, or leave the premises altogether: Wandering, sometimes known as elopement, usually happens when nursing home staff isn’t attentive.
- Unexplained cuts, bruises, or fractures: Elderly people often bruise easier than others, so bruises aren’t always proof of abuse or neglect. That said, frequent and unexplained bruises, cuts, or other injuries should be investigated, as there is a strong chance they may be warning signs of abuse or neglect.
- Possessions mysteriously going missing: Nursing home residents often have nightstands and other places to store some of their favorite and important possessions. When these begin going missing, it may be indicative of theft occurring, usually on the part of the nursing home staff.
- Infections: Infections frequently occur either because of unclean nursing home conditions or medical conditions left untreated. The moment staff members notice an infection developing, they should ensure the nursing home resident receives immediate and appropriate treatment. When they fail to do so, infections can spread and may even have fatal consequences.
- Overmedication: Though the thought of a nursing home purposefully overmedicating a patient to sedate them, for example, is unthinkable, it does happen from time to time. That said, a nursing home may still be held accountable for the harm or death of a resident, regardless of whether a patient was purposefully overmedicated or it happened by accident.
Though an individual exhibiting any one of these symptoms isn’t always a sign of neglect, in many cases, it is.
Reporting Nursing Home Abuse
Allegations of abuse and neglect should be investigated as soon as possible. When someone suspects that some form of elder abuse or neglect has occurred, the first thing they should do is document the incident. They can also report, and in some instances are required to report, the suspected abuse or neglect to the Long-Term Care Ombudsman CRISISline at 1-800-231-4024 or the California Department of Public Health.
Statute of Limitations
In California, the statute of limitations for a nursing home abuse claim is, typically, two years. This means that a plaintiff must bring their claim against the defendant within two years of the date of the abuse/neglect. Waiting any longer than two years will most likely result in their claim being dismissed.
Contact a California Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Elder abuse claims are extremely complex matters, which is why they should not be handled by anyone other than an experienced California nursing home abuse lawyer. If you have a serious legal issue involving nursing home abuse, contact a lawyer at Cowdrey Jenkins, LLP today to schedule a consultation.