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Birmingham personal injury attorneys at Drake Injury Lawyers

Birmingham Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

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As repeated news stories and reports from various watchdog agencies make clear, life in many nursing homes is far from the safe, caring world that its residents expect and need. In exchange for large amounts of money from residents and their families, and even larger amounts from Medicaid and Medicare, many nursing home residents find themselves in understaffed facilities where the staff that does exist is too often underpaid, overworked, and undertrained. As a result, many nursing home residents suffer injuries, indignities, and adverse health consequences in the very places they are sent for protection.

All despite nominal protection from laws like the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA). That law applies to all nursing homes that get Medicare or Medicaid funds and specifies both the rights of nursing home residents and minimum standards for many aspects of care, including resident nutrition, use of restraints, and the prevention and care of bed sores.

The NHRA doesn’t provide nursing home residents with the right to sue the facility for violations, but an experienced Birmingham nursing home abuse lawyer at Drake Injury Lawyers can use any violations as evidence that the nursing home was negligent.

Why Choose Us?

  • We understand the nuances of nursing home abuse claims in Alabama and can navigate state and federal laws on your family’s behalf. We have over 25 years of experience.
  • Our attorneys are committed to bringing nursing homes and other wrongdoers to justice after they inflict significant harm against vulnerable nursing home residents.
  • Our lawyers have obtained over $500 million in financial recoveries for our clients. We are not afraid of taking a nursing home abuse case to trial, if necessary.
  • We operate on a contingency fee basis, which means we will only charge attorney’s fees for our services if we successfully secure financial compensation for the case.

      Why You Need a Birmingham Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

      Nursing home abuse or neglect can be difficult to prove. Elder care facilities often try to cover up mistakes made and crimes committed by their staff members – even in a case of blatant elder abuse. In addition, insurance companies can make it difficult to obtain fair and full financial compensation for a case involving nursing home abuse. Insurers are more concerned with their bottom lines than helping victims of abuse in Birmingham.

      The best way to protect your loved one’s rights during an injury claim is by hiring an experienced nursing home abuse attorney. A lawyer can conduct a comprehensive investigation of the nursing home and its staff members to search for evidence of abuse. Your lawyer will preserve and collect any evidence discovered, such as eyewitness statements, medical records, employment records and video footage.

      Then, highly qualified experts can be hired to testify and strengthen your case. A law firm will have the staff and resources to take over settlement negotiations with an insurance company or even take your case to trial, if necessary, on your behalf. You can trust your lawyer to do everything possible to win your case and hold a nursing home responsible for your loved one’s injury or death.

      What Are Common Causes of Nursing Home Abuse Cases?

      Nursing home abuse can refer to physical, mental, emotional, verbal, sexual or financial abuse of an elderly resident. If a staff member, nurse or caregiver intentionally inflicts harm against a nursing home resident who is in his or her care, it is elder abuse. Residents can also be harmed by negligence, or the failure to use a reasonable level of care. Common nursing home negligence resulting in injured elderly residents include:

      • Not enough staff members to perform the work needed to keep residents healthy and safe
      • Staff members with known or discoverable histories of violence and criminal behavior
      • Inadequately trained staff
      • Inadequately supervision, which allows management to prevent mistreatment, identifying staff that are incompetent, abusive, etc.
      • Inattentive staff who fail to detect, and/or report incidents of resident distress, neglect, etc.
      • Failure of management to create, distribute, and enforce adequate policies
      • Failure to follow up on reported abuse and neglect
      • Failure to keep the premises free of hazards to residents

      These acts of negligence can result in a lapse in proper care provided to a vulnerable nursing home resident – potentially causing physical and/or emotional harm. If a reasonable and prudent person would have done something different from what the staff member who injured your elderly loved one did, your family may have grounds to file a claim for nursing home abuse or neglect.

      Common Nursing Home Abuse Injuries

      No list of injuries from nursing home abuse and neglect could be exhaustive, but the following are among the most common:

      • Bedsores, also known as pressure sores
      • Infections
      • Falls
      • Malnutrition and dehydration
      • Physical and sexual abuse
      • Broken bones
      • Soft-tissue injuries
      • Head injuries and concussions
      • Back and spine injuries
      • Internal injuries
      • Various adverse consequences of medication errors
      • Emotional and psychological damage (especially anxiety, fear, withdrawal, loss of confidence or self-efficacy)

      If your loved one takes frequent trips to the hospital, has unexplained injuries or experiences a sudden overall decline in health, consider the possibility of nursing home abuse.

      Dangers of Malnutrition and Dehydration in Birmingham Nursing Homes

      Malnutrition and dehydration are dangerous conditions for people in nursing homes, but the conditions are repeatedly found by researchers to be rampant. Whatever the reason that residents end up this way, better monitoring by the staff would identify those who need help in time for the conditions to be corrected before damage is done.

      Nutrition deficits produce weakness and retard the healing process. In a nursing home, malnutrition puts residents at increased risk for many injuries and illnesses.

      Dehydration is associated with advanced age. Even mild cases are dangerous for residents with certain medical conditions, like cardiac or renal problems. It may result from a variety of causes in a nursing home setting. Some of those causes—such as residents’ inability to obtain drinks on their own—reflect staff negligence. As with malnutrition, the condition could be corrected before residents experience adverse consequences if the staff was alert.

      Nursing Home Fall Injuries

      The risk of nursing home falls is hardly surprising, given that many residents are in the nursing home precisely because they have balance, strength, or awareness problems. The risk is further increased if there is insufficient staff to help residents move or to answer calls for assistance.

      Our Birmingham slip and fall lawyers have experienced nursing homes often defending claims based on falls by asserting ignorance of the risk that a specific resident would fall. But there is considerable research available to show that residents are generally among the population likely to fall. There is also considerable research on:

      • The reasons that people fall
      • The kinds of injuries produced in falls
      • How older people react psychologically to having fallen
      • The kinds of efforts that may reduce or prevent falls

      An experienced Birmingham nursing home abuse lawyer can use this widely known information to establish that the nursing home facility either did know or should have known about the risk.

      Bed Sores From Nursing Home Negligence

      Bed sores are a well known risk for people who spend long times in bed or wheelchairs. Proper care could prevent them from forming—an easier task than treating them—and could catch them early enough to prevent serious harm when they do form. But that requires adequate numbers of adequately trained and adequately motivated staff.

      The facility’s failure to provide appropriate staffing can, in the worst cases, lead to amputations, blood poisoning (septicemia), and even death. Our Birmingham amputation injury lawyers have the experience to help with your claim if you or someone you love has experienced an amputation injury due to severe bed sores.

      Birmingham nursing home abuse attorney

      Nursing Home Injuries From Physical Abuse

      Our team of Birmingham nursing home abuse attorneys know that physical abuse of nursing home residents—both sexual and otherwise—occurs fairly frequently. The vulnerability of residents both makes it easier for them to be abused, and magnifies the psychological effects of the abuse.

      Common signs and symptoms of physical nursing home abuse include:

      • Physical injuries (especially in hidden places on the body)
      • Bone fractures
      • Cracked ribs
      • Dislocations
      • Bruising or contusions
      • Burn marks
      • Lacerations
      • Strap marks from restraints
      • Traumatic brain injuries
      • Asphyxiation
      • Emotional distress

      The most vulnerable residents are usually the ones targeted, often those with impaired cognitive abilities. They may not understand what’s happening and, if they do report the abuse, may not be believed. Communication impairments and physical disabilities also make residents targets.

      Both physical and sexual abuse cause considerable psychological injury and, in an old and relatively unhealthy population, may produce serious physical injuries as well.

      Negligent Nursing Home Medication Errors

      Most residents are on some medications; many are on several. Combined with frequent staff turnover, poor training, the usual problems with handwriting and memory lapses, and the possibility of medication changes not being adequately communicated, the risk of medication errors is high in the nursing home setting.

      Medication errors may involve:

      • Ordering errors (wrong med, wrong dose, adverse interactions, etc.)
      • Delivery errors (giving meds to wrong patient)
      • Failure to order monitoring of the resident appropriate to the circumstances

      While not technically a “medication error,” residents may also suffer injury from the staff’s failure to recognize signs that a resident is having a bad reaction to a drug, or failure to respond appropriately to the bad reaction. Working a Birmingham nursing home abuse lawyer can help you hold the negligent party responsible for the injuries of a loved one.

      What to Do if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect

      If you have reason to believe that your elderly loved one is being abused or suffering from neglect at a local nursing home in Birmingham, take the following actions:

      • Immediately move your loved one to a safe location.
      • Take your loved one to a hospital for medical care.
      • Report your suspicions of abuse to nursing home administrators.
      • Contact the police if it is an emergency or you believe a crime has been committed.
      • Take photographs of any physical injuries.
      • Collect evidence and documentation connected to your case.
      • Contact a nursing home abuse lawyer before filing a claim.

      An attorney from Drake Injury Lawyers can help you and your family with all of the steps to take to pursue justice and maximum financial compensation for nursing home abuse.

      What If I Signed a Nursing Home Arbitration Agreement in Birmingham, AL?

      It is not uncommon for the sponsor of a nursing home resident to be required to sign all manner of documents in order to get their loved one admitted. Frequently, one of the required documents contains an arbitration clause that bars future lawsuits alleging neglect or poor care by the facility. Don’t worry. The Birmingham nursing home abuse lawyers at Drake Injury Lawyers has years of experience in getting around these agreements, particularly when the resident suffers from dementia or some other mental disorder that prevents them from understanding the document.

      Get Help From a Birmingham Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

      Nursing home injury cases tend to be a battle of evidence. What did the nursing home do, what is the home saying it did, and what can you prove? All with a background of anger and stress over what happened to your friend or family member. In cases of the wrongful death of a loved one due to a nursing home facility’s negligence, our Birmingham wrongful death attorneys can help you file a claim and recover the compensation you deserve.

      Drake Injury Lawyers is a small Birmingham personal injury law firm with a big reputation. Our highly-rated Birmingham personal injury attorneys handle only injury cases through all stages: investigation, obtaining and organizing the medical records, negotiating with the nursing home or other defendant, filing the claim, and litigating the case through settlement or jury verdict.

      Get the benefit of our 25 years of experience and record of success. There’s no charge for getting our take on the case, so call (205) 970-0800 today to schedule an appointment to speak with our nursing home abuse attorneys in Birmingham. Contact us and let us know what’s been happening at the nursing home that has you concerned.

      Drake Injury Lawyers
      2 Perimeter Park S #510e
      Birmingham, AL 35243
      (205) 859-2236