As the population in the United States ages, nursing home abuse and neglect has become a prominent issue. According to the National Council on Aging, nearly one in 10 seniors experience some form of elder abuse, and about a mere 7%of senior abuse is reported to relevant authorities.
Fortunately, victims have options. New Jersey gives victims of nursing home abuse and neglect the right to secure compensation for the wrongs that have been committed against them. As the landscape of such litigation can be a bit confusing for unfamiliar plaintiffs, let’s explore some of the basics.
Seniors Are Uniquely Vulnerable to Abuse & Neglect
In New Jersey and elsewhere, nursing home residents are uniquely vulnerable to the abuse and neglect of others. Some nursing home residents are isolated from their family and friends who would be able to provide assistance to them. Due to physical or psychological problems, others may be unable to challenge or report the abuse perpetrated against them. This fundamental vulnerability is what nursing home abuse and neglect violators prey on, as they either explicitly or implicitly believe that it will be easier for them to “get away with” such misconduct.
New Jersey nursing homes must adhere to a number of regulations governing elder care and related facilities, such as the Nursing Home Reform Act and the Nursing Home Responsibilities and Rights of Residents Act. These establish baseline standards, and if violated, may give rise to an actionable claim.
Common acts of nursing home abuse and neglect include, but are not necessarily limited, to the following:
• Sexual molestation, assault, and rape
• Physical abuse
• Psychological abuse
• Further isolating the resident from friends and family
• Withholding food, beverages, and medicine from the resident
• Failing to provide a sanitary environment
• Manipulating the resident financially (i.e., convincing them to transfer assets for personal gain)
• Stealing the resident’s belongings
• And more
The type of nursing home abuse and neglect perpetrated against the resident can vary significantly, necessitating a dynamic approach to litigation.
Suppose that the resident was sexually assaulted by a nursing home caregiver (and an investigation leads to the discovery that the nursing home knew of the assault and shielded the caregiver from the consequences). Given the circumstances, the lawsuit could potentially give rise to an award of punitive damages.
By contrast, a lawsuit involving financial abuse (in which a beloved caregiver slowly ingratiates themselves with the resident and secures substantial monetary “gifts”) may be more nuanced and require a wildly different set of strategies.
Identifying Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect
Signs of nursing home abuse and neglect include:
• Sudden weight loss
• Memory loss
• Rapid shifts in emotional state
• Personality changes
• Bedsores, hygiene issues
• Cuts, bruises, and other indications of physical trauma
• Anxiety, fear, and general agitation
• And more
In New Jersey, family members may have a right to bring an action on behalf of their loved one if they can secure a guardianship (assuming their loved one is not mentally competent to file a claim on their own).
Contact Folkman Law to Setup a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one has been subjected to nursing home abuse or neglect, then you may be entitled to bring a right of action against the defendant for damages under New Jersey law. We can help.
At Folkman Law, our attorneys have decades of experience representing those who are most vulnerable to the abuse and neglect of others, such as nursing home patients. Our compassionate, client-oriented approach to legal advocacy is particularly well-suited to the representation of the victims of such misconduct, as we take the time to fully investigate the claims and to personalize our strategy to suit the goals, concerns, and opportunities relevant to each client.
If you’d like to speak with a skilled Cherry Hill personal injury lawyer, please call 856-354-9444 or contact us online to schedule a free, confidential, and no-obligation consultation. We make ourselves available 24/7 to respond to any and all inquiries.