Nursing home abuse is a growing problem in the United States, but one that is increasingly difficult to detect. Lawyers testify to the growing number of concerned family members who sit in their offices, unsure of whether or not their suspicions are correct or justified, and very afraid to make an accusation that is wrong.
Those who are fearful of wrongfully accusing a nursing home of abuse are more afraid of damaging the reputation of their loved one than they are of damaging the reputation of the nursing home or the staff. Nursing home abuse lawyers recommend that any evidence of abuse should be forwarded both to a lawyer as well as the District Attorney’s office of that jurisdiction.
Hip fractures are one of the most obvious signs of abuse. Hip fractures often happen from falls, falls which are preventable with proper supervision. Improper supervision, or more respectfully, refraining from physical requests that the patient is incapable of completing, is a form of abuse. Any nursing home with three or more instances of hip fractures within a 30 day period is likely to be suspect of abuse. Hip fractures can also happen as a result of physical abuse.
Anytime abuse is suspected, documentation in the form of photographs, written observations, and any other evidence can in fact be very valuable, but it is always best if this evidence can be collected by either law enforcement or a lawyer.
Lawyers obviously specialize in presenting cases in lawsuits, and thus their ample experience and understanding of the law is necessary in order to proceed without making mistakes that can ultimately lose the case on behalf of the victim.
Family members of victims tend to be rather emotional, understandably so, as we have handed over a great deal of money to ensure our loved one received the very best care possible. To find out that they have become a victim of nursing home abuse is enraging. Struggling with the decision to place them in a nursing home was hard enough, and we trusted our own judgment and tried to make the right decision. This emotional connection can interfere with the progression of a lawsuit, which is why it is best to leave the investigations in the hands of a competent lawyer.
Lawsuits can be very difficult on the victims, and it is always recommended that nursing home abuse lawsuits be built around evidence that can avoid the victim’s testimony. While this may not always be possible, it is not uncommon for family members and even other nursing home staff to be able to offer valuable testimony in a lawsuit.
Lawsuits have brought much needed attention to the state of nursing homes over the past ten years. Nursing homes are held to a higher standard than they were even just a decade ago, but still their standards do not need to be even as high as subsidized child care standards. Lawyers are likely going to need to speak at least at one point to the victim.
Victims often resist even talking to a lawyer, either out of a misplaced feeling of guilt or a feeling of fear of retribution. Victims have been known to lie to the lawyer in order to prevent a lawsuit from continuing. This is normal, and by all means can be worked around. Most of us may not understand why the victim is so resistant to the notion of receiving justice. Yet anyone who lives with their abuser is not likely to speak out even when given the chance.
The important thing for family members, and even sometimes the lawyer, to remind the victim as the lawsuit moves forward, is that the victim did nothing wrong and they have nothing to feel guilty about. It is likely to take constant reminders for the victim of abuse to truly believe that at least those around him or her don’t believe that they are culpable. Any type of abuse, whether physical or neglectful in nature, is likely to also have a psychological effect.
Nick Johnson is lead counsel with Johnson Law Group. Johnson represents plaintiffs in many states and focuses on injury cases involving Fen-Phen and PPH, Paxil, Mesothelioma and Nursing Home Abuse. Call 1-888-311-5522 today or visit http://www.johnsonlawgroup.com