Martinsburg Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
If you or a loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse that led to damages such as physical injuries or emotional distress, please contact the Martinsburg nursing home lawyers at Manchin Ferretti Injury Law for a free consultation about your options.
No one expects their elderly loved one to suffer a crime as heinous as nursing home abuse. Yet every year, thousands of innocent senior citizens suffer serious injuries, illnesses and emotional damages due to nursing home abuse and neglect.
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Why Choose Our Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers?
- We commit to obtaining the maximum possible compensation for clients, even if that means taking a nursing home abuse case to court. Our personal injury attorneys in Martinsburg have recovered millions of dollars in settlements and judgment awards for past clients.
- We never try passing clients off to junior associates or paralegals. Our firm gives you the one-on-one attention from a lead lawyer you deserve and always engage in transparent communication.
- We take nursing home abuse cases in Martinsburg on a contingency fee basis, with no upfront fees or retainers and no costs at all if we do not win a financial award on your behalf.
Why Do You Need a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer?
Nursing home abuse is something most people do not think about until it has already happened. During a claim, the nursing home may deny everything and refute liability for you or a loved one’s damages. Insurance companies may also ask for evidence you did not collect. Navigating these difficult elements of a nursing home abuse lawsuit in West Virginia can be easier with help from a nursing home abuse lawyer.
A Martinsburg nursing home lawyer can strengthen your case, collect evidence against the nursing home, accurately evaluate your family’s damages and work hard to obtain maximum compensation for losses. You can focus on a safer and happier future for you or your relative while a nursing home abuse attorney takes care of the legal work in Martinsburg, WV.
What are the Different Types of Nursing Home Abuse?
It can be difficult to imagine any type of abuse against a defenseless senior citizen in a nursing home or caretaking setting. Yet older adults suffer forms of physical, emotional, sexual and financial abuse daily that can cause serious personal injuries and mental health issues. Identifying the signs of nursing home abuse is imperative for putting a stop to this tragedy.
- Physical abuse. Slapping, hitting, punching, biting, scratching, kicking and burning nursing home residents are examples of physical abuse. Look for red flags such as unexplained physical injuries and excessive trips to the hospital.
- Sexual abuse. Engaging in sexual activities with a resident without consent or against his or her will is abuse. Sexual contact with a resident who is mentally unfit to give his or her consent is also abuse. Look for physical and emotional signs of this type of abuse.
- Mental abuse. Harassing, threatening, intimidating, verbally abusing, blackmailing, isolating or excessively restraining a nursing home resident is mental abuse. Common signs include withdrawal, depression, fear, and anxiety.
- Financial abuse. Financially exploiting senior citizens through ploys, scams, abuse, intimidation, coercion or deceit is financial abuse. Keep an eye on your loved one’s bank account to spot unusual activity.
If you notice signs of any type of nursing home abuse, get your loved one to a safe place. Then, call 911 to report your suspicions. The police can investigate the nursing home for evidence of resident abuse or neglect. Report the issue to nursing home administrators as well. Then, contact an attorney from Manchin Ferretti Injury Law. We will discuss the option of filing a personal injury claim in Martinsburg.
Nursing Home Laws in West Virginia
In the state of West Virginia, every nursing home facility has to adhere to various state and federal standards when it comes to caring for residents. If a nursing home or assisted living facility fails to exercise reasonable care and compliance with these standards, they could be held liable in the event a nursing home resident suffers from an injury. In some cases, these injuries are caused by various types of abuse.
In West Virginia, some of the most important regulations regarding nursing homes include the following:
- Various professionals in this state have to report instances of abuse to the Department of Health and Human Services within 48 hours of identifying such abuse. Individuals that are mandatory reporters include medical professionals, mental health professionals, dental professionals, nursing home employees, social workers, law enforcement officials, and religious healers.
- Nursing homes must maintain a valid license issued by the state of West Virginia in order to operate.
- Nursing homes are required to provide every resident in their facility with an accurate and complete list of the costs associated with their care. These facilities are required to give a 30-day notice if the terms of billing change at all. Nursing home residents will not be on the line for paying any undisclosed costs.
- Nursing home directors are required to create and use a set of rules to investigate complaints and take action if they find that there have been instances of negligence or abuse in the facility.
- Nursing home residents maintain human rights, including the right to be treated with respect, received information about their medical care and medications, manage their own finances, and have privacy in a comfortable, home-like environment.
- Individuals can report instances of suspected nursing home abuse by calling a 24-hour hotline in West Virginia. The phone number to make a report is (800) 352-6513. To make a report of financial abuse, West Virginia nursing home residents could call (866) 241-5062.
Causes of Nursing Home Abuse
As instances of nursing home abuse increase across the country, it is important to understand why this is happening. Nursing home abuse and neglect occur for a wide variety of reasons. In some cases, the abuse is relegated to a single employee at a nursing home facility who has ill intentions. However, it is not uncommon to discover that nursing home abuse occurs due to a systemic failure inside of a nursing home facility.
Some of the most common reasons that nursing home abuse occurs include the following:
- Staff shortages. It can be hard to find qualified medical workers in the U.S., regardless of the industry. This is particularly true for nursing homes. Nursing homes can only provide the highest standard of care when they have staff members in sufficient numbers to support quality care. When a nursing home faces staff shortages, responsibilities often fall to the wayside, which means the standard of care begins to fall.
- A lack of staff training or experience. Often as a direct result of staff shortages, nursing homes may rely on less qualified staff members or have less time to train them before they start working with residents. Without adequate training, there will inevitably be staff members who do not perform their jobs appropriately.
Poor supervision, management, and accountability of staff. Nursing homes have to have adequate management to oversee all staff members. Nursing home abuse goes undetected when management fails to oversee the day-to-day operations of a facility.
- Underpaid staff members. Nursing homes often have problems finding quality staff members because they do not pay very much. Lower pay often attracts a lower quality of employees because the best employees go to where they are making more money. Additionally, lower pay often demoralizes a workforce, which can lead to apathy on the job.
- Staff burnout. For the staff members who do work hard, they can become burnt out very easily. When there is a staff shortage, the rest of the staff has to work extra hours and often have to perform extra duties. This can lead to caregiver burnout, which in turn leads to a higher chance of abuse.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
There are various signs of nursing home abuse that friends and family members need to be aware of at all times. While physical signs may be easier to identify, there are often emotional and psychological signs of abuse that are harder to detect.
Physical Abuse Signs
Some of the most common physical abuse or neglect warning signs include:
- Bedsores or pressure ulcers
- Broken and dislocated bones
- Dehydration and malnutrition
- Fatigue, insomnia, or other sleep disorders
- Head, facial, and dental injuries
- Bruises, burns, and welts on the skin
- Cuts, lacerations, and skin tears
- Illnesses or infections (often recurring)
- Lack of personal hygiene (clothes, bed, room)
- Unexplained or sudden weight loss
It is also important to be on the lookout for signs of sexual abuse, which can include bruises or welts around the genitals and unexplained sexually transmitted diseases.
Emotional Abuse Signs
Not all types of nursing home abuse are directly physical. Emotional and psychological abuse is very common in nursing homes, and this revolves around non-physical actions that are nonetheless detrimental to a nursing home resident. Additionally, physical abuse also has an emotional abuse component. Some of the most common warning signs of emotional abuse in a nursing home include:
- Anxiety and depression
- The onset of violent or aggressive behavior
- New substance abuse
- Signs of PTSD
- Lowered confidence and self-worth
- Suicidal thoughts or actions
- Withdrawn behavior
- Fear around certain caregivers
Financial Abuse Signs
Finally, it is crucial to keep a close eye on a nursing home resident’s financial status. Individual caregivers or a nursing home could financially abuse their residents, and the signs of this type of abuse include the following:
- Any new changes to the power of attorney
- Sudden purchases of gifts for nursing home residents
- Opening new credit cards or bank accounts
- Strange transactions or charges
- The sale of existing assets
You and your family can take action against a nursing home in Martinsburg for alleged abuse and/or neglect. With help from the Martinsburg nursing home abuse lawyers at Manchin Ferretti Injury Law, you may be able to hold the at-fault party accountable and recover compensation for damages such as emotional distress, medical costs, health declines, lost quality of living and wrongful death. Learn more about your nursing home abuse case today. Contact us online or call (304) 264-8505 today.