Nursing Home Abuse
The caring nursing home abuse attorneys at Burke, Schultz, Harman & Jenkinson are dedicated to holding negligent parties liable for elder abuse. We have successfully represented individual patients and family members irreparably harmed by nursing home abuse. Our firm provides compassionate representation to clients across West Virginia.
Throughout the Eastern Panhandle and other areas of West Virginia, we entrust nursing homes with the care of our elders. With shrinking budgets and limited time, some families just cannot provide their elders with around-the-clock care, which is why we rely on nursing homes to give them the treatment, medication, and attention they need. These facilities have a legal duty to protect their charges from unreasonable harm, but they breach this duty by subjecting patients to abuse or neglect. Abuse is common among this particularly vulnerable population. Even if the patient reports the abuse, perpetrators often blame the symptoms on the patient’s weakened state or the side effects of medication. In some cases, patients outlive their friends and family, and are defenseless against such abuse and neglect.
Different examples of nursing home abuse include:
- Intentional infliction of physical injury
- Unnecessary restraint or imprisonment
- Neglect, abandonment, or substandard care
- Deprivation of food and basic necessities
- Isolation of patients from family or friends
- Identity theft
- Predatory lending
- Telemarketing fraud
- Estate planning schemes
- Lottery and insurance scams
Perpetrators of nursing home abuse often evade liability because we choose to ignore the elderly. They are reminders of what could happen to us all, and for this very reason, friends and family should be particularly vigilant about signs of abuse to any patient. It is imperative to report elder abuse and prevent it from happening. Common signs of abuse are easy to identify: any unexplained cuts, bruises, burns, or fractures are suspect; bedsores and poor skin or hygiene are signs of neglect; sudden weight loss, dehydration, and lack of energy should also be suspicious. Sudden changes in the patient’s behavior, like withdrawal, lack of eye contact, or isolation may signal that something is wrong, but more difficult to identify are signs of financial fraud or undue duress. As such, sudden changes in a patient’s bank accounts, will, or bequests merit closer inspection.
In West Virginia, nursing home abuse is strictly prohibited by state and federal law. The Older Americans Act is a federal statute protecting vulnerable adults under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. It provides for elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation prevention programs and legal assistance to enforce elder rights. In West Virginia, the Department of Health and Human Resources is responsible for implementing adult protective services. State law requires that the Department investigate reports of suspected abuse or neglect of incapacitated adults and nursing home residents. It must provide assistance, eliminate the offending conduct, and prevent such harm from reoccurring. Nursing home visitors can do their part by getting to know the staff and reporting any suspicion of abuse. Consulting a qualified attorney can also be helpful to further investigate an elder abuse case.
If you or someone you know is the victim of elder abuse, the experienced nursing home abuse lawyers at Burke, Schultz, Harman & Jenkinson can help. We have over 100 years of combined experience litigating cases involving personal injury and wrongful death. Our seasoned attorneys and highly-trained staff employ innovative research tools and the best medical experts to present the most persuasive case. Our lawyers have obtained million-dollar verdicts and settlements for elder abuse victims in Martinsburg, Charles Town, Shepherdstown, Hedgesville, Inwood, and throughout West Virginia. At Burke, Schultz, Harman & Jenkinson, we understand that you want the best for your elders and family members. We are dedicated to helping you obtain the compensation you deserve. Call (304) 263-0900 or (800) 903-0901 for a free consultation or contact us online.