For those who are unable to adequately care for themselves, a nursing home may be an option to receive the daily assistance and medical care that is needed. While a nursing home's primary purpose is to provide the requisite care for those who are unable to do so on their own, some patients fall victim to abuse inside the very walls of the facility which is supposed to be providing care. If your loved one has suffered physical abuse while a resident of a Philadelphia nursing home, legal recourse may be available to compensate your loved one for the abuse which he or she suffered. The Brod Law Firm is committed to providing the legal help that victims of nursing home abuse need. Don't take our word for it. See what our many past clients' testimonials about us who know us best, as well as top ratings by respected lawyer ratings and consumer organizations including AVVO.
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Common Perpetrators of Physical Abuse in Nursing Homes
Although anyone who comes into contact with a resident of a nursing home can be a potential abuser, nursing home abuse is most often carried out by a person who fits into one of the following categories.
Nursing Home Staff
Physical abuse suffered in a nursing home is commonly caused by the staff of the nursing home facility itself. Staff members, who often work long hours and care for a large number of patients, sometimes lose their temper and take out their anger and frustration on residents of the nursing home.
Staff members aren't the only individuals in a nursing home who can abuse a resident--your loved one may have also suffered abuse at the hands of a fellow resident.
Guests and Family Members
Although we would like to think that those who visit our loved ones do so out of kindness, physical abuse is sometimes suffered at the hands of a nursing home resident's own guests or family members.
Responsibilities of Pennsylvania Nursing Homes
Like all nursing homes around the country, Pennsylvania nursing home facilities maintain a very high level of responsibility to their patients, which is known as a "duty of care." A nursing home facility may be liable for the physical abuse suffered by your loved one if the nursing home management knew of the abuse but refused to investigate into the matter or take proper action against a known abuser. Nursing homes can also face responsibility for your loved one's abuse if the nursing home:
- Failed to take precautionary measures in hiring nursing home staff, such as conducting a background check;
- Fails to provide reasonable security measures; or
- Refuses to take the proper recourse against a staff member who is known to have abused your loved one.
Signs of Physical Abuse in Nursing Homes
Although some cases of physical abuse in nursing homes are well-hidden, several indicators can serve as clues for such abuse. Your loved one may be suffering silently if you notice any of these common risk factors for abuse:
- Inexplicable falls or fractures;
- Emotional withdrawal of a usually outgoing loved one;
- Unusual changes in behavior, such as agitation or upset;
- Unexplained injuries such as bruises or cuts;
- Indications of restraint, such as bruises around the wrist; and
- Fear of nursing home staff.
Legal Remedies for Nursing Home Abuse
If your loved one has fallen victim to physical abuse while he or she is a resident of a Pennsylvania nursing home, there is no amount of money which can take away the pain and fear that was suffered. Although you can't put a dollar amount on the abuse that your loved one suffered, legal action may nevertheless lead to financial compensation to attempt to provide restitution to your loved one. A successful nursing home abuse lawsuit can provide compensation, otherwise known as "damages," for the following:
- Medical bills incurred as a result of the abuse, such as hospital treatment, surgical costs, and rehabilitation;
- Physical pain which your loved one faced at the hands of his or her abuser; and
- Emotional trauma that stemmed from the abuse, such as depression, anxiety, and an inability to sleep.
In extreme cases of abuse, your loved one's abuser--or the nursing home facility itself--may be required to pay additional "punitive" damages. These damages are not meant to compensate your loved one for a specific injury suffered; rather, punitive damages are meant to punish the person or entity responsible for your loved one's abuse and serve as a warning for what punishments could come to abusers in the future.
Statutes of Limitations for Nursing Home Abuse
If you suspect that your loved one is the victim of physical abuse in his or her nursing home facility, it's critical to seek legal representation from a seasoned personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Like other personal injury claims, nursing home abuse cases have a two year "statute of limitations," meaning that a person who has suffered physical abuse or knows a loved one who has suffered such abuse has two years from the date in which the abuse occurred in order to bring legal action against those who may be liable. Once the two-year statute of limitations has expired, it can be extremely difficult--if not impossible--to bring a lawsuit to hold the abuser or nursing home liable for your loved one's abuse.
While two years may seem like a long time, it's still important to act quickly once you find out your loved one has faced physical abuse in his or her nursing home facility. Nursing home abuse cases can take a significant amount of time to prepare, and waiting too long to bring legal action can negatively impact your chances of a successful outcome.
Seek the Justice Your Loved One Deserves--Call Today
If your loved one has suffered physical abuse in a Philadelphia nursing home, the legal team at the Brod Law Firm is standing by to provide the legal representation you need. Gary Brod is proud to have established a reputation for competent and compassionate representation for his clients and is dedicated to helping victims of nursing home abuse obtain the compensation to which they are entitled. Don't wait until it is too late to help your loved one receive the justice they deserve for the abuse they never should have faced--to schedule a consultation to discuss the legal avenues available for your loved one, fill out an online case evaluation form or call 1-888-435-7946 (888-HELPWIN) today.