Des Moines Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys
Legal Protection for Vulnerable Victims
As medical science evolves, people are living longer than ever before. As a result, the population of nursing homes and care centers throughout the country are steadily increasing. Unfortunately, some of these institutions place profits over resident care and are therefore understaffed. This leads to dangerous conditions for residents, the most tragic being the neglect or abuse of residents by nursing home staff. Victims of this type of abuse and their families may be able to file a claim and seek damages for their injuries.
If one of your loved ones has suffered at the hands of nursing home staff, contact LaMarca Law Group, P.C. to enlist the help of an experienced Des Moines nursing home abuse lawyer. Our attorneys serve the Des Moines area and all of Iowa with exceptional legal representation and a dedication to protect the rights and dignity of the elderly.
Call (515) 705-0233 for more information.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse can take many forms, including physical, emotional, psychological, and financial.
Common acts and indications of nursing home abuse include:
- Improper care, poor hygiene, and skin care resulting in bedsores
- Malnutrition and dehydration
- Negligent acts or omissions resulting in falls or fractures
- Use of chemical or physical restraints beyond what is medically necessary
- Undue influence over the resident’s finances
- Intentional infliction of physical harm or unexplained injuries
Detecting and Reporting Nursing Home Abuse
Since many residents of nursing homes and care facilities are either too intimidated or physically impaired to report mistreatment, it is especially important for family members and friends to be vigilant in detecting and promptly investigating warning signs such as sudden changes in mental state, unexplained bruises or other injuries, bedsores, and unexplained weight loss. Visible injuries should be photographed and documented. At LaMarca Law Group, P.C., our Des Moines nursing home abuse attorneys have years of experience in nursing home litigation in Iowa. Contact us today at (515) 705-0233 to get the legal help you need.
Protecting Nursing Home Residents
Fortunately, there are many informational resources available to caring families to help make the best choices for long-term care of their loved ones. There are also organizations, as well as state and federal laws, devoted to preventing nursing home abuse.
Nursing Home Abuse Resource
The following websites contain information that can be helpful for families that are in need of long-term care or want to become better educated about the potential risks of placing a loved one in a nursing home or other type of care facility:
- The Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Resource Center
- National Citizens Coalition for Nursing Home Reform
- The National Center on Elder Abuse
- The Coalition to Protect America’s Elders
- Elder Life Planning
- Nursing Home Advocates
- The U.S. Administration on Aging
You can also speak to a lawyer to get answers to any specific questions you may have.
Regulatory Protection of Nursing Home Residents
Unfortunately, despite efforts to prevent abuses, many nursing home residents are at risk due to understaffing and budget cuts. Nursing home residents continue to suffer serious personal injury. Because of these abuses, the federal government has adopted, as part of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA), many regulations to protect nursing home residents. Additionally, both Iowa and Florida have adopted regulatory protections for nursing home residents, including the Older Iowans Act.
How to Prove a Nursing Home Abuse Case
When you are filing a lawsuit for abuse of a loved one living in a nursing home, you must be able to prove that the provider was negligent and caused your family member to be injured.
To be successful, you must prove 4 elements:
- Duty of care: The nursing home had a duty to care for your loved one and act in a reasonable manner.
- Breach of duty: The facility breached this duty in some way, such as by hitting your loved one, failing to provide them with food or water, or failing to monitor them, allowing them to fall.
- Causation: The nursing home provider’s negligence caused your family member’s injuries. Proving this element often requires examining medical records.
- Damages: The breach of duty caused significant damages to your family, including injuries, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more.
Our lawyers can build a solid negligence case using a variety of evidence, such as:
- Video surveillance
- Photographs of your loved one’s injuries
- Eyewitness interviews
- Nursing facility records
- Medical records
- Financial statements
- Mental or medical professionals that act as expert witnesses
When you hire a lawyer, they can take care of gathering all of this evidence while you focus on caring for your loved one.
If you have a loved one residing in a nursing home or care facility and you suspect abuse, contact our attorneys in Des Moines immediately.
We have provided the answers to some frequently asked questions about nursing home abuse below. Contact us today at (515) 705-0233 to get answers to any specific questions you may have about your case.
How can I ensure my loved one is being properly cared for?
A good way to make sure that your family member is being looked after properly is to make unannounced visits at the different times of the day, different days of the week, and at different intervals. You will be able to closely monitor the staff and have a good idea of how the residents are being taken care of as well as being able to observe your loved one’s mental and physical wellbeing.
How do I report the abuse of a loved one in a nursing home?
If you suspect abuse, notify the nursing home administrator immediately. The nursing home administrator is required to investigate and report any abuse to the state. After addressing your concerns, if you feel like nothing is being resolved, you need to seek outside assistance, such as the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman or Adult Protective Services to file a complaint. You may need to contact experienced nursing home abuse lawyers to schedule a consultation about your legal options.
What are the rights of nursing home residents?
All nursing home residents have the right to not suffer from any types of verbal, sexual, mental, and physical abuse. This includes chemical or physical restraints that are used inappropriately, unless restraints are necessary to ensure the safety of the resident. Your loved one has the right to quality health care and to be notified about their medical treatment. Your loved one also has the right to choose their own doctor. Lastly, your family member has the right file a complaint without the fear of being retaliated against in some form. If the nursing home facility has violated any of these rights, you can file a lawsuit on your loved one’s behalf.
Can a resident still sue for improper care if they do not have a contract with the facility?
Any relatives of nursing home abuse victims that die under a nursing home’s care can sue for negligence by filing a wrongful death claim, regardless of whether or not the victim had a contract with the facility.
Why Hire LaMarca Law Group, P.C.?
Nursing home abuse cases can be difficult. Many forms of abuse, such as emotional abuse or certain types of neglect, will not leave physical evidence. This can make it difficult to prove that your loved one was a victim and deserves compensation.
For this reason, it is essential to hire a lawyer with experience handling nursing home abuse claims. A lawyer will know what kinds of evidence will be required to prove your claims and can help gather that evidence and negotiate with insurance agents or lawyers on your behalf.
Over the years, LaMarca Law Group, P.C. has won millions of dollars in compensation for our neighbors in Des Moines. Our success on behalf of our clients has earned us numerous awards and accolades, including being repeatedly named among the Best Law Firms by U.S. News. We are standing by to help you and your family find justice after nursing home abuse.
No one deserves to be abused or neglected – especially not the elderly. If you believe that you or a loved one has suffered nursing home abuse, you need a lawyer.
Contact a Des Moines nursing home abuse lawyer at LaMarca Law Group, P.C. today at (515) 705-0233 to schedule a free initial case evaluation.
We have dedicated our lives to protecting the rights and futures of injured Iowans. We work to ensure that your case is handled while you focus on your recovery.