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New York Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

When you place your elderly family member in a nursing home, you’re putting a large amount of trust in the establishment and its staff to care for and respect them. When that trust is broken in the form of elder abuse and neglect, it can lead to serious illness, severe injury, psychological damage, and even death.
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At Dalli & Marino, we understand how stressful it can be to watch your loved ones face any form of trauma, pain, or distress. We’re a group of successful nursing home lawyers whose verdicts and settlements have recovered millions of dollars for our clients since 1996. Our team of highly skilled trial attorneys approaches each case on an individual basis, and we’re dedicated to fighting for the rights of those facing any form of exploitation and disregard. If you believe that a member of your family is caught up in a harmful or neglectful situation, contact the trusted attorneys at Dalli & Marino.

Dalli & Marino LLP – New York City
5 Penn Plaza, 19th Floor
New York, NY 10001
(212) 796-5311

EXPERIENCED NURSING HOME ABUSE LAWYERS IN NEW YORK CITY

It’s an unfortunate reality that not all nursing homes represent the best interests of their residents. If you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, we’re dedicated to representing you and your family and working to recover damages associated with the pain and suffering you or your loved one endured as a result of poor care.

Our seasoned New York trial attorneys have experience aggressively advocating for victims of nursing abuse and can represent you and your family in New York, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Queens, Staten Island, or Westchester County. We strive to build strong relationships with our clients through trust and communication to ensure that we fully understand your needs. Our highly skilled team approaches each case on an individual basis and is dedicated to helping you recover the money necessary to compensate for any abuse or neglect.

If you or a loved one has suffered any of the following issues, please contact us immediately for a free consultation.

UNDERSTANDING NURSING HOME FALLS

Every year, elderly individuals suffer from negligence and abuse at nursing home facilities. Falls are one sign that your loved one is not being properly cared for. Data from the CDC states that falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among adults over 65. 

Twenty percent of these falls cause serious injuries, such as broken bones or head injuries, and some 2.8 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries each year. Adverse consequences of such a fall may include: 

  • Reduced quality of life
  • Increased fear of falling and restriction of activities
  • Decreased ability to function
  • Serious injuries
  • Increased risk of death

There are a number of reasons why elderly nursing home residents fall, including:

  • Lack of monitoring by staff
  • Lack of assistance to complete a task (e.g., go to the bathroom)
  • Unsafe environment (e.g., bad lighting, uneven floors, faulty equipment or furniture)
  • Medication side effects, including improperly administered medicine

If a fall was caused by a lack of attention or care by the nursing home staff—whether it was because of improper monitoring or a hazard in the facility that was not taken care of—the nursing home could be liable for the injuries their negligence caused. If your loved one has fallen at a nursing home facility and you suspect that the fall occurred because of negligent care or the negligent maintenance of the facility, please don’t hesitate to contact the law firm of Dalli & Marino today.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PREVENT NURSING HOME FALLS IN NEW YORK CITY NURSING HOMES?

It’s important that you and your loved one ask the nursing home management staff about their fall prevention practices. Aging and illness may not be avoidable, but it can be managed, and environmental factors that increase the risk of nursing home falls can be addressed. Here are a few general strategies that may apply to reducing your loved one’s risk of falling:

Preventing Fainting

Falls are often a result of an elderly resident standing up too quickly, which suddenly drops their blood pressure and causes them to faint. Medications can help prevent something like this from occurring, though it’s not foolproof. If a patient is prone to blacking out, the management care staff should be advised and take relevant measures.

Staying Active

Though elderly nursing home residents tend to remain sedentary, it’s important that they still find time to move their body, even if that means just moving around their room or sitting up in bed and stretching. However, residents who need assistance should be aided by staff. Likewise, caretakers should make sure immobile residents remain comfortable and engaged so they don’t have to get up unnecessarily.

Ensuring Proper Footwear and Clean Floors

Elderly nursing home residents—and especially the nursing home staff—should create and maintain safe surfaces. This includes making sure the floor space is clear of all potential hazards. Likewise, the nursing home staff should ensure that residents are not walking around in slippery socks, moccasins, or shoes that are too big for them.

Other measures that may be taken include increased staff assistance at high-risk times, more frequent bathroom breaks with staff assistance, protective clothing, and adjustments to bed and wheelchair seat heights. Likewise, the nursing home should have proper lighting and useful grab bars and handrails. If your elderly loved one suffers a fall as a result of a lack of any of the above systems, they may be a victim of neglect. Perhaps their risk of falling was not properly assessed or protective measures were not taken. In any case, securing the help of a nursing home abuse lawyer would be in your best interest.

PROVING NURSING HOME NEGLIGENCE IN NEW YORK

If your loved one was injured because of negligent or abusive behavior, you may choose to hold that facility responsible. New York has special laws and regulations that govern resident care in nursing homes, and if the nursing home violated these rules and your loved one was injured, you may have a viable claim. In New York, there are several ways to approach this type of case that will depend on the facts and circumstances of the case.

Negligence

One legal theory that can be used to establish liability for a fall is negligence, which is defined by the following terms in Black’s Law Dictionary 1133 (9th ed. 2009):

“Failure to exercise the standard of care that a reasonably prudent person would have exercised in a similar situation.”

For example, let’s say a nursing home staff member is told about a spill but doesn’t place a warning sign around the spill or clean it up within a reasonable amount of time. If a resident then slips and falls on the wet floor and injures their hip, the nursing home facility may be held liable for that resident’s injury because the staff failed to clean up the spill in a timely manner or warn residents of the danger.

In New York, to prove negligence, you must establish that there was a duty owed to the plaintiff by the defendant, a breach of that duty, and that the injury was caused by that breach. In this case, the nursing home staff owed a duty to its residents to keep the facility free of hazards, the staff breached this duty by failing to clean up the spill, and the plaintiff suffered damages because of the fall. Thus, the elderly resident could most likely hold the nursing home liable for their injuries.

2801-D CLAIMS

Another liability theory available in certain nursing home cases is the Public Health Law, section 2801-d. Under New York law, patients in nursing homes have certain rights requiring that they be treated with dignity and respect. This statute was designed to protect nursing home residents and, “through private litigation brought by patients either in individual or class action lawsuits, provide a supplemental mechanism for the enforcement of existing standards of care,” according to Morissett v. Cooke Health Ctr., 8 Misc.3d 506, 512 (N.Y. Misc. 2005).

If a nursing home facility violates a patient’s rights, the patient can bring a claim for damages under section 2801-d of the Public Health Law. This claim may be brought in addition to any other common law claims that the patient may have, such as negligence or medical malpractice. If a facility is found to have violated a patient’s rights, the statute establishes a certain amount of minimum damages that may be awarded. It also permits punitive damages and attorney fees.

STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR NURSING HOME ABUSE LAWSUITS

One of the first things you’ll want to consider when you file a lawsuit on behalf of your injured loved one is the limited amount of time you have to act. This deadline is called the statute of limitations and varies depending on the claim. 

For a personal injury claim in New York, you generally have three years to file a negligence lawsuit in accordance with N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 214(5). However, there are exceptions to this rule that can extend or reduce the amount of time you have to bring a claim. The time to file a lawsuit will depend on the facts and circumstances of your case.

THE PROCESS OF A NURSING HOME ABUSE LAWSUIT IN NEW YORK

While every lawsuit is different and involves its own unique set of facts and circumstances, they generally tend to progress in a similar manner.

Initial Case Evaluation and Investigation

The nursing home lawsuit process begins with a consultation and an investigation of the claim. Once your lawyer accepts your case, they’ll begin a more in-depth investigation to determine if the claim involves mistakes in medical care that rise to the level of medical negligence. 

Initial Complaint

The plaintiff will then file a complaint in the court with jurisdiction over the case. The “complaint,” as defined by Black’s Law Dictionary, is “[t]he initial pleading that starts a civil action and states the basis for the court’s jurisdiction, the basis for the plaintiff’s claim, and the demand for relief.” 

This document is then served to the defendant in the case, who will have an opportunity to respond by filing what’s referred to as an Answer. An Answer, in this case, is a “defendant’s first pleading that addresses the merits of the case, usually by denying the plaintiff’s allegations.” Once these documents have been submitted and exchanged, the case moves forward to the discovery phase.

A defendant may choose to take another path in lieu of filing an Answer, which involves choosing to file a “Motion to Dismiss” in response to the Complaint instead. In this case, the plaintiff will have the opportunity to file a response to this motion and a subsequent hearing will be held. At the hearing, each party will argue as to why the case should or should not be dismissed and the judge will decide if the case will continue. If the judge continues the case, the defendant will file their Answer and the case will move to the discovery phase.

The Discovery Phase

During this phase of litigation, each party will build their case and learn information from the other side using various discovery tools. Some of the most common discovery methods include interrogatories, requests for production, requests for admission, and depositions. 

The discovery phase takes time. How long this phase lasts will depend on a number of factors, including the complexity of the case and whether there are disputes over evidence or witnesses. For instance, if the plaintiff requests a document or photo and the defense objects to producing it, the parties may have to go before a judge in a hearing to settle the matter.

Once the discovery phase is complete, the case may then proceed to trial.

Nursing Home Negligence Lawsuit Settlements

Most people aren’t aware that many cases of this nature aren’t decided at trial by a judge or jury. Instead, a majority of civil cases end in a settlement agreement. This arrangement is reached through a settlement discussion that can occur throughout the litigation process. A settlement agreement can be extended through negotiations between parties or through another method, such as mediation.

Mediation is a process where a neutral third party—the mediator—is brought in to hear arguments from both the plaintiff and defendant and help the parties voluntarily resolve the case. The mediator doesn’t propose a solution or rule on the case. Instead, the mediator will review the case, evaluate the claims on both sides, and help the parties negotiate between themselves in order to resolve the case. If the mediator is unable to get both sides to come to an agreement, the lawsuit will move forward to trial.

Trial

In general, trials follow a similar format. The plaintiff goes first, making their case to the judge or jury by presenting the evidence that they’ve collected and questioning various witnesses who know pertinent information. The plaintiff will try to show, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant should be held liable for the plaintiff’s injuries.

After the plaintiff has completed their presentation of the evidence, it’s the defendant’s turn to make their case. They’ll present evidence and question witnesses who show why they’re not responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries. Once both sides rest, each party has the opportunity to make a closing argument.

The case then goes to the trier of fact—either a judge or a jury—who will deliberate and render a verdict.

Nursing Home Abuse and Negligence Damages

If those responsible for the care of your loved one are deemed negligent in their duties, you may wonder what type of compensation your loved one can recover in a personal injury case. Can your loved one recover damages for the extensive medical bills that have been piling up? Can your loved one recover compensation for the pain and suffering endured? Can you make the person or entity pay damages because their behavior was egregious?

It depends. The damages that are recoverable in a particular personal injury lawsuit will be contingent on the unique facts and circumstances of that case.

Generally, damages can be split into two categories: compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages are designed to reimburse the plaintiff for the harm they suffered and losses they incurred as a result of any negligent actions. This category can include medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Punitive damages, by contrast, are not meant to compensate the plaintiff but rather to punish the defendant for their reprehensible behavior and deter any similar behavior in others in the future.

It’s important to note that punitive damages are only available in certain instances when a defendant’s behavior was particularly willful or egregious.

Financial Disbursement

The financial disbursement process can vary on a case-by-case basis. The settlement agreement will determine the amount of time a defendant has to submit payments. If the nursing home abuse lawsuit includes multiple defendants, the defendants may also settle their claims at different points throughout the case. If there are any outstanding bills or liens, the attorney is responsible for making sure those are paid off before disbursing money to the client.

Dalli & Marino – New York Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers

Dalli & Marino LLP is a premier nursing home negligence and elder abuse law firm in New York City, Long Island, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Our team of attorneys is familiar with all major nursing home facilities in the New York metropolitan area and has been fighting for the rights of nursing home residents for over 20 years. The New York Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers at Dalli & Marino have won millions of dollars for victims of nursing home negligence.

Lawyers Not Screeners

In addition to speaking to a live person whenever you call Dalli & Marino to discuss a nursing home abuse or negligence case, you’ll find that every case is screened by a lawyer, not a receptionist. Contact us and speak to a lawyer who can tell you if you have a case.

Focus

A firm must be experienced in the particulars of nursing home operations and applicable state and federal law to be successful at trial. Dalli & Marino is that law firm.

Evidence Gathering

Gathering evidence in today’s environment requires a clear understanding of the rules, plus the possible role of electronic medical records/electronic health records (EMR/EHR) and expert witnesses.

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