We’ve all seen examples of nursing home abuse and neglect in the movies or even on the news, but it’s difficult to believe that it really happens with any regularity. Studies repeatedly show, however, that neglect is a fact of life for far too many nursing home residents across the United States.
There is a lot to know about nursing home and elder abuse. As with so many other legal areas, knowledge really is power. The law in this area can be complicated, given the number of state and federal statutes and regulations that may come into play. Understanding how abuse happens — and how you can stop it — makes all the difference.
That’s why we’ve put together a series of nursing home & elder abuse FAQs. The Law Offices of James C. DeZao, P.A. is an experienced New Jersey medical malpractice law firm, and we are dedicated to helping patients and their families throughout The Garden State. If you need help, you can count on a Parsippany-Troy Hills medical malpractice attorney in our firm.
What is Elder Abuse?
The Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Aging defines elder abuse as “any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult.” It is estimated that approximately 90% of elder abuse is inflicted by relatives or loved ones.
What is Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?
Nursing home abuse can take many forms, including the kind of elder abuse described above. In the assisted living context, however, the abuse may come from care providers rather than family members. Nursing home abuse may also involve medical malpractice, medication mistakes, and simple neglect. Even a single instance of careless inattentiveness could constitute abuse or neglect.
What are the common signs of nursing home abuse?
It can be difficult to tell whether your loved one is being mistreated or abused. Often, they may feel stigmatized or confused, feelings that lead to many cases going unreported until a family member notices unusual behavior and steps in. You may want to take action if you notice any of the following:
- Signs of malnutrition
- Unexplained bruising or injury
- Balding spots, thinning hair, or bedsores
- Unsanitary living conditions
- Expressions of distrust regarding the nursing home staff
- Odd changes in behavior or personality.
Who Can Sue a Nursing Home in New Jersey?
Subject to the facts and circumstances of the case, either the resident or his/her family can file a lawsuit against a nursing home. Depending on the resident’s mental state, the family may be able to allege medical malpractice or personal injury on the patient’s behalf.
In the event that a resident dies as a result of nursing home negligence, a Parsippany-Troy Hills medical malpractice attorney can also help your family bring a wrongful death action to recover for monetary and emotional loss.
What Is the Statute of Limitations on Nursing Home Lawsuits in NJ?
In New Jersey, personal injury lawsuits (including most lawsuits for nursing home malpractice, abuse, or neglect) must be filed within two years of the date of the injury. The time limit is referred to as a “statute of limitations.” Failure to bring the lawsuit within the two-year period can forever bar you from seeking justice for your claim in the courts.
Do You Offer Free Consultation and/or Contingency Fees?
Yes! If you or a loved one has incurred injury, expense, or distress as a result of elder abuse or nursing home negligence in New Jersey, The Law Offices of James C. DeZao, P.A. can help.
To schedule a free consultation with a Parsippany-Troy Hills medical malpractice attorney in our office today, just call 1-855-432-2489 or use the quick connect form online.
We provide legal representation for the residents of Parsippany, Troy Hills, Morris County, Essex County, and the entire state of NJ.