How You Can Help
You do not remember the first time that you noticed that your mother needed help getting off the couch or your father forgot that he had to take his blood pressure medication. However, you do know that everyday things began to get harder for your parents to manage on their own. At some point, you realized that they would need more assistance than you could provide, so you began to talk with them about alternatives. You finally selected a nursing home that you believed would meet all of their medical and physical needs, while providing a welcoming social environment. Due to the care and consideration that you put into the selection of the right home, you were devastated to learn about the harm suffered by one of your loved ones. Now, you want to know how this could have happened.
Nursing home residents suffer many different injuries, including physical harm and mental distress, as a result of the negligence of nursing home administrators and the neglect and abuse of staff members. Despite attempts to create safer environments through state and federal regulations, there are dangers that continue to exist. You are now faced with the tragic outcome that arose from the wrongdoing of third parties. As you search for the answers, you may find yourself hitting obstacles put in place by the people who want to protect their jobs and nursing home profits. Stern Law, PLLC can help you circumvent these barriers and learn the truth about what happened to your parent. We know how to get justice for elderly victims harmed at the hands of those who were supposed to care for them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Although there are numerous questions that you may be asking yourself, we have listed here some of the most common questions. We are happy to discuss any of your questions directly, but wanted to provide some basic information to start.
Questions & Answers (10)
Nursing Home Abuse
If you suspect neglect or abuse, you should act immediately. Speak with the person in charge of the administration of the nursing home and report your suspicions, clearly presenting the reasons why you believe more than the consequences of aging are causing the harm. Make sure you document your reasons on paper, including the date of the incidents, the type of harm or behavior exhibited, who was on duty on the day that the injury happened (to the best of your recollection), and anything that your parent may have said about the injury and what caused it. You also should report the suspected wrongdoing to the social worker at the nursing home. If the administrator does not take prompt action, you should report the suspected abuse to the police. In addition, you should notify the agency that oversees nursing home operations in your state.
The fact is that as your loved ones age, they will be more susceptible to accidents based on loss of muscle tone and issues with balance, among other conditions. However, there are things that you can ask to help make a determination about whether neglect or abuse was the underlying cause of the fall, including:
- Does you parent remember what happened before or after the fall?
- Did anyone else see the fall? Do not hesitate to ask staff members, other residents, and regular visitors.
- What did the nursing home tell you happened?
- At what time of day did the fall occur?
- Was there an object, obstruction, restraint, spill, or equipment that caused or contributed to the fall?
- What fall prevention protocols did the nursing home have in place prior to the fall?
- What fall prevention protocols were put into place after the fall?
- What were the nature and extent of the injuries, if any, suffered by your loved one?
- What documents, including reports, were created as a result of this fall? You should request a copy of any relevant documents, either through the resident or with power of attorney.
A resident may move from one nursing home to another if he or she is not happy or does not feel safe in the present home. The nursing home social worker can assist with the relocation paperwork and logistics of the move. The only restriction is that the facility into which your loved one wishes to move must have a bed open. If it does not have any openings, you will have to add your parent to the waiting list or select a different nursing home.
Yes. Under federal regulations, a nursing home resident, or his representative authorized to act on his behalf through a power of attorney, has the right to all records relating to his residence in the nursing home. Upon written or oral request, the nursing home has two days to produce the records. The resident likely will have to pay the cost of copying these records.
Although it may be difficult to see the benefit as you are struggling to deal with the immediate consequences of the harm, there are significant reasons to pursue litigation. The harm done to your parent may result in increased medical expenses, both now and in the future, as well as pain and suffering, disability, and the loss of the relationship between you and your parent. If the nursing home neglect or abuse led to the death of your loved one, there are funeral expenses. It is important to hold the nursing home accountable for all the harm that it caused by failing to provide quality care in a safe environment. Although this will not undo what was done to your loved one, it may prevent others from suffering the same fate in the future.
As your loved one’s representative, you may have been approached by the nursing home with a quick offer of settlement. The attorneys for the nursing home may have told you that you would not get more money if you pursued litigation and that this money was being offered now while it might take years for a court award. Do not let them pressure you into agreeing to anything. It is in their best interests to make this go away quickly, not yours. They have experienced attorneys working on their behalf, do not make any decisions until you have the opportunity to consult attorneys like those at Stern Law, PLLC who have you and your loved one’s best interests in mind.
No. As an alternative to a settlement agreement, the nursing home may ask you to sign a document agreeing to arbitration. The nursing home representatives may attempt to push this option by talking about a quick resolution without the costs and delays of a trial. However, there is a reason why they want you to choose this option. In arbitration, there are limitations on the types of claims that can be brought. In addition, you will not be able to pursue a claim for punitive damages, no matter how egregious the actions of the nursing home staff and administrators were. You also will not have the opportunity for your loved one’s tragic circumstances to be heard by a jury. All of these rights are too important to be signed away at the prompting of a nursing home representative.
Although this is one of the most common questions, it is one without an answer that applies to all cases. There are many factors that go into the award of compensation, including the severity of the harm, the long-term impact, resulting disability or cognitive impairment, loss of a relationship, and pain and suffering. If your loved one died as a result of the harm, then there are additional considerations. Our attorneys will sit down with you and discuss the harm that befell your loved one. Based on our extensive experience, we will be able to provide an estimated range of compensation that might be awarded if you decide to pursue litigation.
The length of a case varies based on a number of circumstances, including the complexity of the evidence, the willingness of the nursing home and its insurance provider to settle the case, and you and your loved one’s acceptable outcomes. It is best to go into the process with patience and long-term goals. Stern Law, PLLC is committed to pursuing the case until we reach the resolution that works best for you.
Stern Law, PLLC does not charge you to retain our firm. We work on a contingency basis, which means that we will receive a portion of the settlement or jury award. During the case, we will pay the costs that are associated with pursuing the case. These will be reimbursed separate from the contingency fee. If there is no recovery, then there is not obligation on your part to pay anything.
Stern Law, PLLC: Our Lawyers Make a Difference
One of the most difficult decisions that you ever had to make involved talking to your parents about going into a nursing home. This was not a sudden decision. You tried to accommodate the increasing number of doctor visits for which your parents needed a ride and the errands that had to be run. You reacted as quickly as possible when there was an emergency. Finally, you realized that you simply could not keep up with their mounting needs and they agreed. You carefully considered everything that was required in a nursing home, including qualified staff, programs and activities, medical experts, and proximity to family. When you made your selection and moved your parents into their new home, you thought that you had made the choice that was the right one for everyone. Tragically, one of your loved ones was then seriously harmed and now you are wondering what went wrong. Do not blame yourself. Nursing home injuries as a result of neglect or abuse are all-too-common. The experienced and dedicated attorneys at Stern Law, PLLC know how to cut through the bureaucracy and obstructionist tactics to get you the answers that you need and the justice that your parent deserves.
As an attorney who has dedicated more decades to the pursuit of justice for victims of other people’s negligence and bad acts, I, Ken Stern, am saddened that terrible tragedies like the one that befell your parent continue to occur. I founded Stern Law, PLLC to provide answers to victims and their families. My goal was to provide a place for answers, where those wondering what to do next could find support from those who understood what they were feeling. I, personally, want to be one of your resources. To discuss your parent’s situation, without charge, please call our team at 1-877-469-7273 (1-877-4MYPARENT). We are available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week to help you decide what strategy is best for you and your loved one.