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What to Do if Nursing Home Abuse Leads to a Spinal Injury

All nursing homes have a duty of care to their residents that they will keep them safe and care for them, both medically and physically. This duty of care is based on two fundamental concepts, which are that nursing homes must comply with all federal guidelines to ensure the safety of their residents, and secondly, that the facility must provide medical care to the standard of a prudent home.

For example, residents could potentially suffer a spinal injury if an abusive employee pushes them or if the resident trips and falls. These cases of nursing home abuse and injury can be the subject of nursing home malpractice. If you or a loved one have been the victim of nursing home abuse, contact Dalli & Marino, LLP today. 

What Constitutes Nursing Home Abuse?

The Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act defines nursing home abuse as wrongful death, emotional abuse, bodily injury, sexual assault, broken bones, or assault with deadly force. Nursing home residents are not spared from financial exploitation or psychological abuse either. Elder abuse also includes malnutrition, dehydration, failure to assist in personal hygiene, as well as not treating and preventing bed sores.

Despite state and federal laws in place to protect vulnerable residents in long-term care facilities, understaffing causes many homes to fail to provide adequate care. The result is that loved ones become victims of abuse and could be at risk of gross negligence. Families of a loved one receiving long-term care at an assisted living facility should be vigilant to spot signs of nursing home abuse.

A National Council on Aging study reports that only 1 in 24 elder abuse cases are reported to authorities. There are numerous reasons for this, but mainly because most residents lack the verbal and cognitive ability to speak up due to illnesses such as dementia. 

What Should I Do If Nursing Home Abuse Leads to a Spinal Injury?

The first thing to do is get your loved one out of harm’s way and into the hospital to avoid aggravating the spinal injury further. If not addressed, spinal cord injuries in the elderly can cause diseases like pneumonia, leading to death. Spinal cord trauma, also known as Central Cord Syndrome, is characterized by impairment in the extremities. This is due to the brain’s inability to send signals to the arms or legs, which may lead to long-term health issues like:

  • Partial or total paralysis (quadriplegia)
  • Loss of bowel control, often leading to urinary tract infections
  • Respiratory distress, which increases choking and suffocation risks
  • Bed sores, also called decubitus ulcers, which are injuries to the skin tissue caused by prolonged immobility and subsequent pressure on the skin

Once your loved one is in a safe environment, document the evidence of the injury. The attending hospital staff can help you take photographs and notes of pertinent details you and your loved one can remember about the alleged abuse. 

Next, talk to a nursing home abuse lawyer to determine if your case is within the state’s statute of limitation. Do not give a recorded or signed statement to the care facility without running it by your lawyer, either, as they will advise you on how to go about giving the nursing home a written notice.

How Can a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Help?

Assisted living facilities are required by law to maintain minimum standards of care to avoid malpractice claims. If they do not uphold these standards of care, they may be liable to give compensation, which a nursing home abuse lawyer can help with. These lawyers are trained in fighting for the elderly who suffer from abuse while living in the homes.

Additionally, nursing facilities use extensive resources for their defense strategy and involve large corporate law firms hired by powerful insurance companies. Hiring a seasoned nursing home abuse lawyer who specializes in elder abuse can significantly help level the playing field. Your attorney can assist in legally documenting the case details to determine the authority of the claim.

To prove liability and secure compensation, your lawyer will use resources that could demonstrate violations, including: 

  • Slow response time due to understaffing
  • Refusing to take an injured resident to the hospital to avoid a malpractice suit
  • Not reporting falls and related issues which could have led to significant disability and mortality rates
  • Use of chemical restraints to keep injured residents quiet or unable to ask for help
  • Physical therapy inadequacies and deviating from the care plan for sustained spinal injury
  • Chronicled failure to administer prescribed drugs, which further exacerbates spinal injuries

Your loved one has the right to be treated with dignity and respect. If they have suffered a spinal injury due to the nursing home’s malpractice, you likely have many questions and concerns about what to do next. Scheduling a free consultation with a nursing home abuse lawyer is the best way to address all your questions and concerns.

Hire a New York Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer at Dalli & Marino, LLP to Represent You

The nursing home abuse lawyers at Dalli & Marino, LLP have years of experience handling multiple assisted living abuse claims, as shown in our case portfolio. We can fight for you if you believe your loved one has suffered a spinal injury due to nursing home abuse. Our legal team understands that nursing home negligence can occur in various ways, including malnutrition, falls, and bed sores. We also have Spanish-speaking lawyers to make sure we can communicate with as many clients as possible.

If you have any questions about your loved one’s spinal injury due to nursing home malpractice, give us a call at (888) 465-8790 or fill out our online contact form to schedule an appointment today.


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