Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Having made the difficult decision to place a loved one in a nursing home, you may make the shocking discovery that he or she has been abused or neglected by the people entrusted with his or her care. If you are in this situation, you should enlist an experienced injury lawyer who can help assert your rights against a facility in Decatur or elsewhere in Alabama. Founded in 1992, the law firm of Burney & Burney offers a free consultation to discuss your concerns and explore the details of your case.
People who are confined to nursing homes, assisted living centers, and other long-term care facilities are among the most vulnerable members of our society. Many residents are elderly, frail, and in need of assistance with both their medical and basic living needs. Unfortunately, it is increasingly common for nursing home residents to be neglected or abused physically, emotionally, or sexually. The reasons for this are numerous but can include inadequate staffing, a failure to properly supervise interactions between fellow residents, improperly trained medical personnel, or even intentional abuse. Common signs of neglect we often see are bed sores, urinary tract infections (UTI), infections, infected bed sores, sepsis, unexplained broken bones, malnutrition and dehydration.Holding Nursing Homes Liable for a Loved One’s Harm
Although it is sometimes possible to sue a nursing home for a breach of contract or an intentional tort, most lawsuits against these facilities are based on allegations of negligence. When someone is found negligent under the law, it means that the person or business failed to act in the way that a reasonable, prudent person or business would have acted under the same or similar circumstances. There are four parts to a negligence case: duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages.
To meet the duty requirement of a negligence case, a claimant must prove that the defendant had some type of a legal obligation to him or her (or, in wrongful death cases, to the claimant’s loved one). The second step is proving that the defendant breached this duty, which means that he or she failed to do what was required. The third step is to show that the claimant caused the harm that the victim suffered, which must have been a foreseeable result of the breach. Finally, actual damages must be identified that arose from the victim’s injuries.
If the four elements of negligence are met, both economic and non-economic damages may be available to the claimant. Factors to be taken into consideration often include medical costs necessitated by the defendant’s wrongdoing, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. In some cases, it may be worth considering punitive damages. These are damages designed to punish the defendant and deters others similarly situated from engaging in conduct that is especially egregious and reprehensible.
In Alabama claims against long term care facilities such as Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities are pursued as medical malpractice claims. These cases generally require the use of expert testimony regarding both the standard of care that the nursing facility, doctor, or other health care provider owed the resident and whether that duty was breached. At Burney & Burney we have a network of top-notch experts and legal-nurse consultants that we work with to prosecute your claim to make sure wrongdoers are held accountable for their negligent conduct.
Every type of personal injury case has a time limit for filing suit. This period is called the “statute of limitations,” and a failure to bring a claim within the allotted time usually bars the pursuit of compensation. Since the exact time period depends heavily upon the facts of a particular case, it is advisable to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible if you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect.Discuss Your Negligence Claim with a Decatur Lawyer
If your loved one has suffered harm because of careless or wrongful conduct at a nursing home in Decatur or the surrounding area, contact the negligence attorneys at Burney & Burney today. You can reach us at (256) 350-9988 or through our online form to schedule a free initial consultation. We also have represented individuals and families in Huntsville and other Alabama communities.