Seattle Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
You may have had many reservations when your spouse, parent or grandparent had to move into a nursing home or other type of elder care facility. You may have worried most about their quality of life. Would they lose too much independence? Would they feel lonely? Would they receive enough care and attention?
Your worst fear may have come true when your loved one told you about or showed signs of being injured or harmed. After overcoming the shock and dismay of learning that your vulnerable loved one has been a victim of abuse or neglect, contact us at Menzer Law Firm, PLLC, in Seattle. You need to know your rights and what to do next.
At Menzer Law, we thoroughly review serious allegations of elder neglect or abuse and pursue civil damage claims when appropriate. We also work with your family to make sure that your loved one gets the medical care they need and a safe, alternative place to live.
To get legal advice about elder neglect or abuse, call us at 206-970-2685 or use our online form to schedule a free consultation.
Types Of Senior Care Facilities
At Menzer Law, we handle neglect and abuse claims occurring at all types of elder care facilities, including:
- Adult family homes: These are regular residences in which the owners and staff take responsibility for the residents’ well-being and safety. A resident may receive a room, meals, laundry services, supervision and different levels of health care depending on their needs and the resources available at the home. An adult family home can have between two and six residents, and some offer specialized care for adults with certain needs, such as dementia.
- Assisted living facilities: Most assisted living facilities provide a larger community setting than an adult family home, though residents obtain many similar services and varying levels of care. These facilities serve seven or more residents and may contract with Medicaid. They usually have one or more licenses to provide specialized services, such as adult residential care (ARC), enhanced adult residential care with or without specialized dementia care services (EARC) or more general assisted living care. Nursing care is sometimes offered in these settings as well.
- Nursing homes: Nursing homes in Washington state can provide 24-hour supervised nursing care along with room and board. They should offer personal care, therapies, nutrition management, medical care, social services and social activities. Senior citizens may live in nursing homes for a short period of time to receive intensive care or complete physical rehabilitation. Other seniors enter nursing homes for the long-term because they need a greater degree of care than they can receive at home or in an assisted living facility.
- Dementia care centers: The Specialized Dementia Care Program is appropriate for seniors who can no longer live at home due to Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. These Dementia Care Centers should provide 24-hour staff with specific dementia training as well as safe indoor and outdoor environments within a secured area.
What Is Nursing Home Negligence Or Abuse?
Elder abuse encompasses all types of mistreatment arising from intentional, malicious and reckless conduct, including physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological and emotional abuse, and financial exploitation against senior citizens. Abuse might cause serious physical and emotional injuries, or make a senior’s health get worse.
We have handled cases in which facility staff members and caretakers have assaulted, restrained or otherwise physically injured residents. But not all abuse is physical. We’ve also dealt with situations of psychological and emotional abuse.
Staff members might abuse residents by name-calling, shaming, blaming, harassing, demeaning, humiliating and ridiculing them. They might intimidate, terrorize and isolate seniors from family members and friends. This can be devastating to an abuse victim’s mental well-being and physical health.
We also have worked on cases concerning financial abuse, in which caretakers and other individuals stole from vulnerable adults, committed theft by deception or trick, and used their influence to steal seniors’ money or property.
What Is Nursing Home Negligence?
Unlike abuse, nursing home negligence or neglect isn’t intentional. Instead, your loved one may suffer due to careless, unreasonable or poor treatment at the facility. Neglect can happen when staff members aren’t properly trained or supervised. The facility might be understaffed. It also happens when properly trained staff are simply unmotivated or too busy to complete their duties.
Our nursing home negligence lawyers in Seattle have handled many cases in which substandard care at a facility caused a senior to suffer from dehydration, malnutrition, avoidable infections, bedsores, preventable falls and other serious injuries.
Nursing Home Residents’ Rights
Washington law defines nursing home residents’ rights. These rights include but aren’t limited to:
- Being free from discrimination
- Being free from abuse and neglect
- Having privacy
- Keeping personal property
- Managing their own money
- Communicating with friends and family
- Being involved in their own medical care
- Being informed of the facilities’ fees and costs
If you believe the facility violated your loved one’s rights under state law, you can talk with us. Oftentimes, the violation of resident rights is tied to harmful abuse and neglect. We’ll investigate whether one or more of your relative’s rights were violated, and if so, what type of legal action they can take against the facility.
What To Do If You Learn About Neglect Or Abuse
If you discover that your loved one has been neglected or abused at an elder care facility in Washington, there are several steps you can take. File a complaint with the facility administration. They might be able to resolve the issue right away.
The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) Aging and Long-Term Care Support Administration regulates nursing homes and similar facilities in the state. If you learn about a nursing home abuse case, file a complaint with DSHS by calling 1-800-562-6078. You also can file a complaint with the Washington State Long-Term Care Ombudsman.
If your relative was physically or sexually assaulted or the victim of fraud or theft, don’t hesitate to call the police. These are crimes in Washington. The police will investigate, and a prosecutor might move forward with charges against the perpetrator of the abuse.
Filing A Nursing Home Injury Claim
Once your loved one is safe and has received any medical care they need, we suggest contacting an attorney who specializes in these types of cases. Regardless of whether the other person committed a crime when they hurt your relative, they may have committed medical malpractice. Your loved one can pursue compensation by filing a lawsuit against the negligent or abusive party and the facility.
We’ll work closely with you to identify all the possible defendants, including any staff member who participated in the neglect or abuse, administrators who failed to protect the residents and the owner of the facility.
Through a personal injury/malpractice lawsuit, your relative can demand compensation for:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future physical pain and suffering
- Past and future emotional and mental distress
- Reduced quality of life
Did Your Loved One Pass Away?
If you believe nursing home negligence or abuse caused your relative’s death, talk with an experienced Seattle nursing home abuse attorney immediately. Your family might have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. You can demand compensation for your loved one’s personal injury damages, funeral and burial expenses, and the losses suffered by the close, surviving family members.
Are bedsores a sign of nursing home neglect?
Yes. Generally, new bedsores can be a sign of neglect. Many elderly individuals who aren’t mobile are at risk for bedsores, also known as pressure sores or pressure ulcers. But these injuries are preventable with the right type of care. Nursing homes and similar facilities are responsible for providing proper hydration, nutrition, hygiene and repositioning to avoid bedsores. Staff members should also be on the lookout for early signs of pressure sores, in which case they can take immediate steps to improve the resident’s care.
How can I protect my relative who is in a nursing home right now?
If someone committed a crime against your loved one, call the police. You also can ask for a Vulnerable Adult Protection Order in the Superior Court where your loved one lives. In Washington, certain seniors are considered vulnerable adults, including those living in nursing homes and similar facilities. The vulnerable adult or an interested person can file for a protection order on their behalf against the person perpetrating the neglect or abuse. If you believe your loved one needs medical care right now, ask for them to be transferred to a hospital.
Can I file a lawsuit after finding out about nursing home neglect?
Possibly, yes. If you believe our loved one suffered injuries because of nursing home neglect, talk with a lawyer. Your relative might have the right to file a personal injury or medical malpractice claim. When you file such a lawsuit, you need the support of expert witnesses to prove negligence and that your relative’s physical, emotional and financial injuries are the result of that negligence.
Can I file a nursing home abuse lawsuit on my elderly relative’s behalf?
In some circumstances, yes, you can file a lawsuit on behalf of an elderly relative. This might happen when your relative isn’t mentally incapable of understanding their rights and the legal process. Talk with attorney Matt Menzer about the steps you need to take to enforce your loved one’s legal rights.
Can I sue if my relative got COVID-19 while in a nursing home?
It depends on whether you can establish that the nursing home was negligent in providing care to your loved one. COVID-19 is a highly contagious virus. Once it became well-known in the U.S., nursing homes began taking steps to reduce the spread of the virus. However, in the early months, some facilities didn’t do everything they could. If your relative suffered injuries or passed away from the coronavirus, talk with attorney Menzer about your specific circumstances and the possibility of a lawsuit.
Call Us For Advice Today
Whether your loved one has told you that they are being harmed or you have noticed signs of neglect or abuse, you should talk with one of our experienced nursing home abuse attorneys in Seattle as soon as possible. We will investigate the situation and advise you and your loved one of your legal options, including pursuing compensation.
To schedule a free case evaluation with Menzer Law Firm, PLLC, contact us online or call 206-970-2685. We accept these types of cases on a contingency fee basis. You pay no fees unless we win your case.