When we want our elderly parents and grandparents to get skilled nursing care, around the clock, we trust nursing homes. Especially today, when people are living longer and requiring more and more medical attention and day-to-day nursing care, nursing homes are an excellent option to make sure our loved ones get the care they need.
Unfortunately, every year, so many people are betrayed by those they trusted to care for their family. Nursing home abuse is entirely too common, with some statistics saying that one in 10 elders will experience abuse. Not all nursing home abuse is physical, either, and so much of what happens is neglect, rather than flat-out abuse.
If your parents or grandparents have been abused in a nursing home or senior living facility in Baltimore, speak with an attorney about what happened. You may have routes to recovery for any expenses or harms, including pain and suffering, caused by the abuse. The lawyers at Bennett and Heyman, P.A., have been practicing in Baltimore for decades, helping their clients deal with injuries and hold the guilty parties responsible for the harm they have done.
Maryland Elder Abuse and Neglect Lawyers
Abuse and neglect are different, but both are still common – and they commonly occur together. Abuse usually refers to something that someone does against someone else, while neglect refers to something that someone does not do when they are supposed to.
For instance, nursing home abuse can cover some of the worst treatment, and it is shocking that nursing home staff would do these things. Pushing elders out of wheelchairs, insulting them, calling them names, and even hitting patients have all been the basis of various elder abuse cases.
On the other hand, neglect is when things are wrongly kept from patients. For instance, nursing home staff often give patients a call system, so they can press a button and ring for assistance. If a patient falls, needs help using the restroom, or needs immediate medical attention, they ring the bell. Sometimes, nursing home staff neglects patients by ignoring their calls for help, leaving them injured on the floor, sitting in soiled clothing, or suffering from medical emergencies without treatment. Even worse, some nursing home staff may leave patients in the dark, fail to feed or bathe them, or allow bed sores to form.
This kind of treatment is simply unacceptable, and the responsible parties deserve to be held accountable for their bad actions and inaction.
Nursing Home Abuse Cases Are Difficult
In any nursing home abuse case, or really any case of abuse that happens in a facility like a daycare, a hospital, or a mental institution, proving the case can be difficult.
Most nursing home abuse cases are the patient’s word against the staff’s. The victim in a nursing home abuse case, the elder, might not be completely sound, mentally. Many Americans in the generation that needs nursing homes suffer from dementia, Alzheimer’s, or simply the frailty of age. Their memories may not be very good any more, and they may not be believable witnesses at trial. Plus, even if they are intelligent and have excellent memories, the lawyers for the nursing home will do their best to discredit them as frail and senile.
All of the evidence of nursing home abuse is usually kept at the nursing home. Nursing and orderly duty logs, records of the patient’s emergency bell, and staff records of care are all entirely within the control of the nursing home staff. There is also a chance that nursing homes may protect their staff and coworkers by destroying, hiding, or altering this evidence. Automated systems like those that monitor patient call bells may even be disconnected, which would eliminate any reliable record that your loved one called for help.
In these kinds of cases, where evidence is totally within one party’s control, taking that party to court gives you some incredible options to help prove your case. First, any lawsuit has a step called “discovery,” where each side is ordered by the court to turn over documents, records, and other evidence. This means that taking your case to a lawyer and putting it before a judge can help you get the proof you need to expose the nursing home that harmed your loved one. That also includes subpoenaing staff to talk, even if they are reluctant or their employer forbids it. On top of that, any destruction or hiding of evidence is not tolerated by the courts. If the nursing home destroys or “loses” evidence, judges are often willing to give juries an order to assume that the evidence would have hurt the nursing home’s argument.
Many nursing home staffers are willing to do the right thing, and actually care for their patients. These staff members are excellent people to have caring for your loved ones, and may be willing to help with your case. Negligent and abusive staff members have no place in healthcare or nursing homes, and the honest staff members may be willing to testify against them at trial. In a case like this, we will pursue any leads that we can to get the evidence and testimony needed to prove your case.
At Bennett and Heyman, P.A., we want to help our clients recover. Our goal in any nursing home case is to ensure that the responsible parties are brought to justice for their terrible acts.
This means going after whatever evidence we can to prove the case, and pursuing any financial compensation our clients and their abused loved ones deserve. In many cases, this includes medical bills to care for the abuse your loved ones suffered. It may also include money to account for the physical pain and mental suffering your loved ones experienced.
Because an elder abuse complaint is a huge black mark on the record of any nursing home or other elder care institution, many are willing to settle these cases to avoid having their misdeeds go public. This is excellent news for our clients, because it can simplify the entire process and make recovery quicker.
If you want to speak to an experienced Baltimore attorney about the abuse your parent or grandparents suffered in a nursing home, call Bennett and Heyman, P.A. today. Our phone number is (410) 429-7856.