When your loved one is a resident at a nursing home, they may be at a higher risk of experiencing elder abuse. Residents of nursing homes typically have medical problems that prevent them from living independently, making them susceptible to physical, psychological, and financial abuse.
Elder abuse is a crime in New Jersey, and victims are entitled to pursue civil damages against the perpetrator of abuse. If your loved one suffered elder abuse at a nursing home, a Jersey City nursing home abuse attorney from Morelli Law Firm may be able to pursue damages against the nursing home and other liable parties.
Personal Injury Claims for Nursing Home Abuse
While many nursing homes meet the needs of their residents, 85% of nursing home facilities have dealt with at least one allegation of abuse, and 33% of nursing home residents experience adverse or temporary harm events.
Elder abuse is considered criminal and tortious, meaning the offender can be criminally charged and face a personal injury claim for the same act. Elder abuse can include behaviors such as:
- Assault and battery
- Financial abuse, such as theft and unauthorized use of bank cards
- Verbal abuse, such as yelling or making demeaning statements
To pursue a personal injury claim, the injuries you sustained must be the direct result of tortious conduct. Tortious conduct is either the result of intentional or unintentional conduct.
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Intentional torts involve behaviors that are intended to cause harm. Many intentional torts are also considered crimes. Physical abuse, such as a staff member striking, grabbing, or kicking your loved one, is considered an intentional tort.
In nursing home settings, physical abuse is the most commonly reported form of elder abuse, accounting for 29% of nursing home complaints. Signs of physical abuse can include marks, bruises, and scratches, which can indicate staff used force against your loved one. Checking for signs of physical abuse is important when you visit your loved one at a nursing home.
Certain forms of psychological abuse are also considered intentional torts if the tortfeasor intended to inflict emotional distress. If your loved one has experienced fear or acts nervous around staff, it can indicate they are the victim of elder abuse.
Nursing home residents have the right to be treated with dignity, and nursing homes are precluded from allowing staff to verbally abuse and harass residents.
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Negligence is the most common unintentional tort. Up to 95% of nursing home residents have experienced or witnessed neglect, making it widespread in many nursing home facilities. Neglect occurs when an individual is injured because a duty to care was violated. Nursing homes have a duty to care for residents and to meet their medical and emotional needs.
Negligence can include unsafe conditions in a nursing home. Poor maintenance or sanitation at a nursing home can be considered negligence, as residents can become sick or injured if the facility is not maintained properly.
Bedsores are another indication of neglect, as they develop when individuals are bedridden. Nursing homes must ensure that residents exercise when possible to prevent conditions like bedsores and blood clots.
If your loved one is the victim of elder abuse at a nursing home, a Jersey City nursing home abuse attorney from Morelli Law Firm may be able to represent your case.
Damages in a Nursing Home Abuse Case
When you file a personal injury claim against the nursing home and other responsible parties, you may be able to recover economic and non-economic damages.
When you are injured because of tortious conduct, the costs you incur as a result of the injuries are considered economic losses. If your loved one is abused by a staff member at a nursing home, economic losses can include the cost of medical treatment associated with the injuries.
Economic damages are awarded to compensate you for the financial losses your injuries caused and can be proven by submitting receipts, invoices, and bank statements.
New Jersey does not cap economic damages, which ensures you are not financially liable for the tortious conduct that caused your injuries.
Non-economic damages are awarded to compensate you for things like pain and suffering.
Injuries can cause physical and emotional harm, which can negatively affect your quality of life. Injuries may also cause mental health problems, like depression, anxiety, and trauma, as well as chronic pain. Non-economic losses consider how the injuries limit your life, even if they do not directly cause a financial loss.
New Jersey does not limit the amount of non-economic damages a victim can recover during a personal injury claim.
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When Abuse in a Jersey City Nursing Home Leads to Death
In some cases, you may discover that your loved one was being abused after they pass away in suspicious circumstances. For example, physical abuse, neglect that leads to bedsores and other complications, failing to provide necessary medication, and other actions can lead to a nursing home resident’s death.
Surviving family members may be able to sue the nursing home or individual nursing home staff for abuse that led to their loved one’s death. This is called a wrongful death claim. Damages in these cases can be limited, but typically fall into the following categories:
- Funeral expenses
- Costs of care resulting from injuries sustained due to the abuse, prior to death
- Compensation for the deceased loved one’s pain and suffering
The Statute of Limitations in Nursing Home Abuse Cases
The statute of limitations in New Jersey for personal injury claims is generally two years, per New Jersey Revised Statute § 2A:14-2. If your loved one died as a result of nursing home abuse and you are pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit, the statute of limitations is generally two years, per New Jersey Revised Statute § 2A:31-3.
Failing to file a complaint before the statute of limitations expires can bar you from collecting compensation via a lawsuit. Your nursing home abuse lawyer in Jersey City can ensure all legal paperwork is filed on time.
Who Can Sue for Abuse in Jersey City Nursing Homes?
If a resident of a nursing home suffers abuse or neglect, they can bring a lawsuit against the nursing home or the individual who abused them, or both. However, sometimes, residents of nursing homes have conditions which diminish their capacity to sue, such as dementia.
When victims of abuse are unable to bring a lawsuit themselves, family members can step in. People able to sue on behalf of the nursing home resident in Jersey City include:
- The spouse of the abused person
- The victim’s children
- The nursing home resident’s siblings
- Anyone who has been granted power of attorney for the nursing home resident
If you suspect that your loved one is being abused in a nursing home, speak with one of our Jersey City nursing home abuse attorneys. We can go over your situation and help you better understand your legal options.
A Jersey City Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer From Our Firm May Be Able to Represent You
If your loved one suffered abuse at a nursing home, they could have long-term medical and psychological problems as a result. Severe injuries can lead to prolonged hospitalization or a shorter life expectancy.
Your family does not need to face nursing home abuse alone. A Jersey City nursing home abuse lawyer from Morelli Law Firm may be able to help you recover financial compensation for your injuries.
Call us or contact us online today to schedule a free case evaluation to discuss your legal options.