Although most people tend to think of nursing homes as a benevolent place where elders can go to retire and enjoy the rest of their days, the unfortunate truth is that these places can prove to be just as corrupt as any other institution. Elder abuses can and do happen, and Texarkana nursing home abuse attorneys must regularly step in to protect these people in nursing home abuse cases. If you’re not familiar with what goes on in these cases, or you simply think that someone you know may be the victim of such abuse, then this guide should help you stay informed on the issue and what steps you can take to end it.
Establishing a Complaint
If you think that you or someone you know has been suffering while staying at a nursing home, then the first step will be to notify the nursing home of any abuses with a comprehensive list of complaints. Although the complaints you list will be unique to the nursing home you’re dealing with, there are a few that are the most commonly listed. This includes physical abuse, emotional abuse, and sexual abuse. In addition to these complaints, the associated damages will need to be outlined.
The damages that can be awarded from these complaints include any associated medical expenses, past expenses for physician or prosthetic fees, potential future costs associated with the abuse, pain and suffering stemming from the abuse, mental anguish or any elements of phantom pain that might arise, and harm due to a lack of sleep. All of these different areas can entitle a person to damages, should their complaints be found valid in a court.
Proving Mental Suffering
If your case involves mental suffering, then you could be entitled to damages for a variety of situations which involve both physical and mental pain. This includes harm that was caused from immobilization, harm from the fear in between knowing abuse was about to occur and its occurrence, fear stemming from further potential abuse, anxiety about the future, fear of future surgeries stemming from the abuse, and post-traumatic stress disorder. If a case involves any of these situations, then the plaintiff could be entitled to damages.
Protecting the Dignity of the Elderly
If a situation could cause the elderly to suffer from disfigurement, including hair loss, the development of new scars, or an amputation, then this is considered especially damaging. In general, it is believed by the courts that the dignity of the elderly should be maintained at all times, and that they should not be put under undue stress that might cause their bodies to suffer any indignities or deprive them of a full life. If a person suffers so greatly from abuse in a nursing home that they begin to show physical signs of the abuse, then a complaint should absolutely be made in pursuit of damages. Of course, even if there aren’t physical signs, a complaint should still be made to prevent any further abuse.
Leading a Normal Life
Many states have additional laws that are designed to protect the elderly during their recovery time, so that they may properly live a normal life. If nursing home abuse leads to a person being unable to enjoy life normally, then it could qualify them for additional damages. The loss of enjoyment of life can apply to a variety of different circumstances, including some that aren’t commonly thought of. For instance, if a nursing home deprives its members from seeing their grandchildren, then this could be considered a form of abuse. Similarly, a nursing home that prevents its members from exercising or walking around could also be accused of treating its members poorly and depriving them of a normal life. If you know of someone who is suffering under these types of circumstances, then it’s important to document everything so that you can provide proof once the case begins to unfold.
Types of Payment
If a nursing home is found to be engaging in reckless or negligent behavior, then a case can be made against it for the plaintiff to seek punitive damages. During the course of these cases, the argument is then made the plaintiff was denied their basic statutory rights and is thus entitled to some form of punitive damages.
In other cases, a structured settlement might be awarded to the plaintiff. Unlike a lump sum payment, a structured settlement is designed to provide the plaintiff with a safe and secure method of yearly payments that aren’t as aggressively taxed. While the benefits of a structured settlement can be great for someone who doesn’t regularly deal with a lot of money, it does also mean that they might not reap the full benefits of it if they pass away before they’ve received the full settlement. In some cases though, a person can have it set up that any further payments from their structured settlement should go to their grandchildren, or some other beneficiary. In this way, the person can guarantee that their loved ones continue to receive payments from the settlement even after they die.
Cases Following a Death
In cases where the person who suffered the abuse from the nursing home has died, there are still some options. Survivors of the person’s estate can still press a claim against the nursing home. In these cases, the damages they seek from the nursing home can include damages for the loss of a relationship, loss of guidance or other advice from a mentor figure (such as a parent or grandparent), loss of companionship, mental anguish, and funeral costs. All of these cases are similar to ones involving the person who suffered the abuse, in that a link of negligence and abuse must still be proven for the nursing home in order for damages to be awarded.
Pursuing Nursing Home Damages
If you think that a nursing home has been abusing you or someone you know, then it’s essential that you not hesitate to file a complaint. Elders are one of the most vulnerable people in our society, and it’s our duty to ensure that they’re treated fairly with care and respect. If a nursing home is abusing its powers and mistreating its members, then it is our duty to ensure that they are deprived of that ability and forced to pay for the damages they have caused. As always, seek out respected and knowledgeable Texarkana nursing home abuse attorneys to help take on your case and make sure that it’s done the right way. These cases are simply too serious to let someone who is otherwise inexperienced handle them.