Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Moreno Valley Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyers

If your loved one resides in a long-term care facility, such as a nursing home, and you suspect that your loved one is being mistreated, it is critically important that you treat your suspicions with the respect that they deserve. While it is possible that changes in your loved one’s behavior, schedule, appearance, and/or overall condition are not linked to mistreatment, abuse, neglect, and exploitation occur frequently enough in these facilities that you shouldn’t dismiss your concerns outright. Instead, schedule a free, risk-free, confidential consultation with our experienced legal team.

Investing an hour or two of your time in taking this meeting won’t obligate you to take any action whatsoever. Speaking with our knowledgeable and dedicated legal team will simply ensure that you can receive personalized legal guidance tailored uniquely to your circumstances. There are no “strings attached” to this consultation opportunity. Our firm sincerely believes that if it’s possible that a long-term care resident is being mistreated, their loved ones and advocates deserve to understand their rights under the law, period. In the event that your loved one is being unlawfully mistreated, our firm will do our utmost to protect their rights, their wellbeing, and their ability to seek justice against those responsible.

Effective Representation for Victims of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Residents of long-term care facilities aren’t always in a position to advocate on their own behalf. Some, by virtue of age or disability, cannot be expected to advocate on behalf of their own interests. However, even those residents ordinarily capable of self-advocacy may be silenced – in the face of abuse, neglect, or exploitation – by fear or concern that they will worry their loved ones by speaking up. It is our firm’s great privilege to advocate on behalf of long-term care facility residents, who are too often placed in uniquely vulnerable positions by their facilities’ caregivers. If you suspect that your loved one is being harmed, know that we will do everything we can to uncover the truth, for better or for worse. If your loved one is being harmed, we will pursue justice on their behalf using the tenacious, client-focused, and time-tested approach to representation that has earned our firm a reputation for excellence.

Residents’ Rights

Most residents of California’s nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are protected by laws related to the Medicare system. This is because any facility that accepts patients whose care is paid for by Medicare is required to follow these laws. The vast majority of long-term care facilities are therefore bound to respect the following rights, per federal Medicare mandates:

  • The right to exercise – free from restraint, interference, reprisal, discrimination, and coercion – all rights enumerated by federal law. Additionally, residents are permitted to voice grievances (both to facility staff and others) free from these negative forces (42 CFR §483.10(j))
  • The right to remain unburdened by abuse (verbal, sexual, physical, and mental), neglect, exploitation, corporal punishment, involuntary seclusion, and misappropriation of personal resident property (42 CFR §483.12))
  • The right to remain unburdened by physical or chemical restraints, whether imposed for the sake of discipline or staff convenience, provided that said restraints are not required to treat the resident’s medical symptoms (42 CFR §483.12(a)(2))
  • The right to choose certain aspects of life in the facility significant to the resident. (42 CFR §483.10(f)(2)
  • The right to communicate with persons of one’s choice, whether those persons reside inside or outside of the facility. 22 CCR §72527(a)(14))
  • The right to private association and the right to make and receive phone calls in private – with persons of resident’s choice, whether those persons reside inside or outside the facility. (42 CFR §483.10(g)(2) 22 CCR §72527(a)(14))

If your loved one resides in a long-term care facility that doesn’t participate in the Medicare program, know that they are protected by similar state regulations that outlaw the abuse, neglect, and exploitation of residents. Again, if you are unsure of whether your loved one is being unlawfully mistreated but you suspect that they might be suffering as a result of abuse, neglect, or exploitation, please contact our team today for a free consultation. Treating your suspicions with the respect that they deserve now may prevent your loved one from weathering additional suffering. Conversely, if it turns out that there are reasonable explanations for the circumstances that are giving you pause, you’ll rest easier knowing that your loved one is genuinely safe and well cared for.

Abuse of Long-Term Care Residents

Unlike neglect, which is usually a passive form of mistreatment, abuse is an active harm. Meaning, abuse is an intentional act, whereas neglect can be unintentional. When physical, emotional/mental, or sexual abuse is inflicted on a long-term care facility resident, that resident may suffer physical trauma and/or mental and emotional injuries. Abuse can take many forms, however non-consensual sexual contact, threats, physical violence, and intimidation are some of the most common forms of abuse faced by long-term care facility residents. Changes in behavior and unusual marks on the body are common signs that a resident is being abused.

Neglect of Long-Term Care Residents

Neglect can be unintentional, although it can be intentional as well. Either way, neglect is a passive form of mistreatment in which a resident’s needs are not attended to and they suffer physical, mental, and/or emotional injuries as a result of this inadequate care. When a care provider negligently, recklessly, or intentionally fails to provide a resident with adequate medical care, nutrition, hygiene, access to emotional support, etc., the consequences of this inaction can be just as injurious as if they had actively abused the patient. With that said, the signs of neglect are too often overlooked, as they tend to – at least, in many cases – mirror the natural deterioration of the body and mind as a result of injury, illness, or advanced age. If you believe that your loved one is being neglected, speaking to an attorney about your concerns is not “overreaction.” Sometimes, the only way to know for sure whether your loved one’s condition has resulted from neglect or natural causes is to have an experienced lawyer work to uncover the truth.

Exploitation of Long-Term Care Residents

If your loved one is being exploited, their property, money, resources, reputation, and/or identifying information is being targeted for profit by those mistreating your loved one. If you’re noticing that strange charges are appearing on your loved one’s financial accounts, fraud alerts have been initiated related to their personal information, or their property has gone missing, your loved one may be the target of another’s exploitation-related efforts. Most of the time, exploitation occurs without a resident’s consent. However, it may also occur when consent is obtained under duress, coercion, undue influence, deception, or false pretenses. Therefore, you need to be wary of both those who would seek to exploit your loved one in a deceptively consensual way as well as those who would seek to exploit your loved one without their knowledge.

Choosing to File Legal Action

It isn’t always easy to know whether your loved one’s behavioral changes, changes in contact procedures, and even physical changes have resulted from abuse, neglect, or exploitation. However, our firm has extensive experience handling elder and long-term care resident abuse, neglect, and exploitation cases, so we are well-versed in identifying these kinds of unlawful mistreatment. That isn’t to say that our team won’t need to do some investigating before definitively determining what your loved one’s situation may be. However, when you arrive for a free, risk-free consultation, we’ll do our best to provide you with as much information as we can regarding both your legal options and our objective assessment of whether you have grounds for actionable concern.

In the event that your loved one is being mistreated and is suffering physical, mental, and/or emotional injuries as a result of this mistreatment, you may have cause to file legal action against the individual(s) and/or facility responsible for allowing your loved one’s mistreatment to occur. Generally speaking, we’ll need to prove that those who harmed your loved one were legally bound to treat them in a specific way, breached that “duty of care” through reckless, negligent, or intentionally dangerous conduct, and injured your loved one as a direct result of their approach. We will always be straight with you regarding what we believe are the potential strengths and weaknesses of your case – as well as the potential benefits and drawbacks of filing legal action – so that you can make informed choices about how you want to proceed.

Criminal vs. Civil Consequences

It’s important to understand that if your loved one is being abused, criminally neglected, or exploited, you may be able to hold those responsible for that mistreatment accountable via both the civil justice system and the criminal justice system. In California, those responsible for harming your loved one may be subject to both Penal Code 368 and the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act.

Penal Code 368 makes various abusive, neglectful, and exploitation actions either a misdemeanor or a felony. If prosecutors choose to pursue criminal charges, those responsible for harming your loved one may be fined, imprisoned, or both. By contrast, the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act protects your loved one’s right (and by extension, your right – as their advocate) to pursue civil justice for the mistreatment in question. Depending on your loved one’s circumstances, you may pursue financial damages from those responsible for violating their rights as a resident of a long-term care facility.

Note that California has a system in place to investigate allegations of mistreatment involving long-term care facility residents. If you choose to take action against a facility and/or individual, a formal investigation may need to be launched via California’s state processes. However, this does not mean that our experienced legal team will forgo an investigation and will simply take the state’s investigation “on face.” If your loved one is being harmed, we will take no detail for granted as we pursue justice on their behalf.

Contact Our Firm Today for a Free Case Evaluation

If you’re concerned that your loved one may be suffering as a result of abuse, neglect, or exploitation while residing in a long-term care facility, please schedule a confidential, risk-free, no-cost case evaluation with our dedicated legal team today. You might not know for sure that your loved one is being harmed and that’s okay. Signs of abuse, neglect, and exploitation can be subtle. If something in your gut is telling you that something’s wrong – listen to it. Your loved one may not be in a position to advocate for themselves. Speaking with our firm won’t obligate you to take action but it will allow you to advocate for your loved one in informed ways. Please don’t wait; connect with our knowledgeable legal team today. We look forward to speaking with you.