Denver Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Nursing home abuse and elder neglect is a serious and far too common problem. According to a study conducted by the Special Investigations Division of the House Government Reform Committee, 30 percent of U.S. nursing homes have been cited for abuses.
It is beyond sad that thousands of our nation’s elderly are abused each year in the very facilities responsible for their care. Unfortunately, many institutions put profits over people by cutting back on staff or hiring less qualified employees to care for your loved one.
These choices can result in residents not receiving the attention they require which can lead to disastrous outcomes such as debilitating falls, untreated bedsores, inadequate medical care, malnutrition, dehydration, preventable accidents, and under the worst circumstances, death.
If someone you love has been abused or neglected in a nursing home in Denver, CO, you may be entitled to significant compensation. An experienced Denver nursing home abuse lawyer can help you fight to hold the responsible parties accountable.
Our team at Zaner Harden Law is well-equipped to help you fight for compensation for medical bills, humiliation, pain, suffering, and more.
Collectively, our lawyers have decades of experience fighting for injured clients and their families. We’ve used our skills to recover tens of millions of dollars to help families like yours get justice.
How Can Zaner Harden Law Help if My Loved One Has Been a Victim of Nursing Home Abuse in Denver, CO?
Trusting a nursing home to care for a family member can be extremely difficult, even if they can no longer care for themselves. If you see signs of abuse, it’s important to get help immediately.
Nursing home residents in Colorado have the right to be free from abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Colorado law also makes elder abuse a crime. Perpetrators of abuse face severe punishment. But what about your family’s costs and your personal losses?
While the criminal courts should impose punishment, an experienced Denver personal injury lawyer can help you fight for financial compensation. At Zaner Harden Law, our team has been listed by Super Lawyers and The National Trial Lawyers’ “Top 100.”
Hire us, and our attorneys will:
- Investigate and gather evidence to support your claim
- Identify any past safety violations and reports
- Evaluate the nursing home’s hiring practices
- Hire experts to help assign a dollar value to your non-financial losses
- Document the costs you’ve incurred due to the abuse
- Handle all negotiations with the insurance companies and defense teams
Hiring an experienced Denver personal injury attorney can be the best way to protect your loved one’s future. Contact us today to schedule a free case review to learn more about how we can help your family through this difficult time.
Our Attorneys Handle all Types of Nursing Home Abuse Cases in Denver
There are many forms of nursing home abuse. Each has the potential to cause severe long-term damage to both victims and their families.
At Zaner Harden Law, we handle all types of nursing home abuse and neglect claims, including those involving:
- Physical abuse, including hitting, kicking, slapping, or inappropriately using restraints
- Sexual abuse and sexual assault
- Emotional abuse, including belittling, threatening, or even intentionally isolating a resident
- Financial exploitation, including identity theft, fraud, and bullying a resident into changing beneficiary designations on financial accounts
- Nursing home negligence and neglect
Nursing home neglect can be active or passive. In some cases, staff members actively ignore their duties and deprive residents of their basic rights. In other cases, the nursing home may be understaffed and underfunded. In either case, the resident may lack basic access to food, water, and medications.
Any type of abuse can be devastating. If your loved one is suffering, contact our Denver nursing home abuse attorneys today. We offer a free case review, so there’s no risk.
What is My Denver Nursing Home Abuse Case Worth?
Some of the factors that our legal team will evaluate when we’re building your case include:
- The nature of the harm involved
- How your family has suffered due to the abuse
- Your financial costs, including medical care and the cost of a new nursing facility
- Whether you lost income to care for your loved one
- The nature of the abuse
- The identity of the at-fault party and their actions
Insurance companies and defense attorneys often try to focus on a victim’s current financial expenses–and ignore the rest of the story. As a victim of abuse and neglect, it’s possible that the ordeal could haunt your family for years to come. The personal losses you suffer could greatly exceed your financial costs.
Our team at Zaner Harden Law is here to help you hold those responsible for the abuse fully accountable. To learn more about your case value, call our law firm in Denver to discuss your case in detail.
What Types of Damages Are Available to Victims of Nursing Home Abuse and Their Families?
Examples of the types of damages your family may have suffered include:
- Medical expenses
- The cost of moving to a safe long-term care facility
- Physical therapy
- A caregiver’s lost wages
- Restitution in cases involving theft and financial abuse
- Pain and suffering
- Humiliation and shame
- Reduced life expectancy
You can also seek punitive damages from the abusive party. These damages are awarded solely to punish a defendant for intentional wrongdoing and shocking behavior.
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Can Have Severe Long-Term Consequences
Many nursing home residents are already vulnerable. Their physical or mental health is already compromised to the point where they require around-the-clock care. Nursing home abuse only makes matters worse–and can cause new and lasting conditions.
Some of the potential long-term consequences of nursing home abuse include:
- Broken bones
- Internal injuries
- Bed sores and pressure ulcers
- Pneumonia and respiratory problems
- Injuries caused by malnutrition and dehydration
- Financial instability
- Lasting personality changes and severe depression
- Fear and PTSD
- Reduced life expectancy
- Wrongful death
These and other effects of abuse can change your family’s life forever. For help recovering fair compensation, call our experienced attorneys in Denver today.
How Do I Know Whether My Loved One Has Been Abused?
Accidents do happen–and nursing home residents are in a compromised state to begin with. It isn’t always easy to know whether abuse is occurring.
Some signs of nursing home abuse and neglect include:
- Multiple unexplained injuries and fractures
- Unexplained weight loss
- Marks around the wrists and ankles
- Bed sores
- Poor hygiene
- Behavioral changes, including self-hugging, rocking, and thumb sucking
- Fear of being left alone with a caregiver
- Caregivers who refuse to leave you alone with your loved one
- Worsening medical conditions without explanation
- Frequent and unexplained slip and fall injuries
- Unexplained financial transactions
While it can be difficult to accuse a trusted caregiver of abuse, it’s important to take action quickly. Our Colorado nursing home abuse lawyers can help. If you suspect your loved one is being abused, call us today. We’ll help you report the abuse and get your loved one to a safe place.
Why Does Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Happen in Denver, Colorado?
Nursing home abuse and neglect happen for many different reasons.
Nursing home abuse often occurs due to:
- Negligent hiring, including the nursing home’s failure to properly screen caregivers and run background checks
- Failure to properly supervise nursing home staff
- Poor management and oversight
- Outdated medical equipment and technology
- Unsanitary conditions
- Failure to adequately supervise nursing home residents with memory conditions
- Failure to respond to visitors’ complaints
- Failure to order medical care when needed
- Medical malpractice
- Negligent security
Do you suspect your loved one is being abused in an assisted living facility? Contact Zaner Harden Law for a free consultation today. We’ll do everything we can to identify the root cause of the abuse and help you seek justice.
Who is Responsible for Paying My Damages if I Was a Victim of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect in Colorado?
Any party who directly caused the abuse or allowed the abuse to happen can be held financially accountable.
Examples of responsible parties may include:
- Nursing home staff members
- The nursing home facility
- A corporation that owns a group of nursing homes
- Government agencies responsible for oversight and licensing
- Doctors, nurses, and healthcare providers
- Certified nursing aides
Most nursing home abuse is perpetrated by nursing home employees. The abusive employee may face criminal charges for their acts of abuse. They can also be liable for damages in civil court.
As an employer, the nursing home itself can be held liable for staff members’ actions under state vicarious liability laws.
To recover compensation from the nursing home, our lawyers will work to establish:
- The nursing home’s legal duty to provide safe living conditions for residents
- A breach of duty occurred because of the nursing home’s acts or omissions
- The harm your loved one suffered as a result
Don’t worry if you don’t have the evidence to back up your personal injury claim. Our lawyers will conduct our own investigation to find out what really happened.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit Based on Nursing Home Abuse in Colorado?
The statute of limitations in most Colorado personal injury cases is two years. You’ll generally have two years from the date you discovered, or reasonably should have discovered, the abuse to take legal action.
However, it’s essential to note that there may be exceptions. That’s why it’s crucial to contact an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer as soon as possible.
DENVER & COLORADO ELDER ABUSE STATISTICS
In Colorado, during fiscal year 2007, Adult Protective Services received approximately 11,000 reports of adult mistreatment and self-neglect. Approximately 6,400 cases were active during fiscal year 2007. Just over half of Colorado’s adult protective services clients are age 75 and older. Reports of abuse are expected to increase by 15% a year, according to the Colorado Elder Abuse Task Force.
NATIONAL ELDER ABUSE STATISTICS
Approximately 1 in 10 Americans aged 60+ have experienced some form of elder abuse. Some estimates range as high as 5 million elders who are abused each year. One study estimated that only 1 in 14 cases of abuse are reported to authorities.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ELDER ABUSE AND WHY?
Abusers are both women and men. In almost 60% of elder abuse and neglect incidents, the perpetrator is a family member. Two-thirds of perpetrators are adult children or spouses.
Two factors that contribute to the elderly falling prey to elder abuse are social isolation and mental impairment (such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease). Recent studies show that nearly half of those with dementia experienced abuse or neglect. Interpersonal violence also occurs at disproportionately higher rates among adults with disabilities.
COMMON INDICATIONS OF ABUSE AND NEGLECT
Sadly, because instances of elder abuse and neglect are not always readily identifiable, it is not uncommon for these forms of abuse to go on for months or even years at a time. If you have witnessed elder abuse or neglect or suspect that it is occurring, you have a moral obligation to do what you can to make it stop. Common symptoms and indications of abuse and neglect include:
- Bedsores (pressures sores, decubitus ulcers)
- Open wounds
- Broken bones
- Bruise, cuts, welts, frozen joints
- Genital infections
- Assault and/or battery
- Sexual assault and/or sexual battery
- Unusual or unexplained injuries
- Injuries that require emergency treatment or hospitalization
- Unexplained or unexpected death
- Dehydration or poor hydration
- Significant weight loss
- Deprivation of food and drink
- Stranger behavior, such as rocking, biting and sucking
- Depression or anxiety
- Wandering and elopement
- Unusual and unexplained lethargy or sedation
- Chemical restraint or mind-altering medication not prescribed by doctor
- Significant changes in medication
- Medication errors or overdose
- Deprivation of medication
- Poor personal hygiene
- Torn, stained or dirty clothing
- Urine and fecal odors
- Infections and sepsis
- Illnesses or condition changes that are not promptly reported to the physician and family
- Bedrails or other physical restraints
Victims of elder abuse or neglect may not tell you what is happening for fear of retaliation, so it is critical that you know what to look for and that you are prepared to take action on their behalf.
What Does Abuse Look Like And Where Can It Occur?
The signs and symptoms of abuse or neglect are not always easy to identify, and it’s helpful to know what to look for. It is important to understand the common symptoms and indications of abuse and neglect to be vigilant and identify signs of abuse.
- Elder and nursing home abuse refers to the actions or inactions taken against a senior citizen, either directly or indirectly, by an individual or an institution which results in harm or potential harm to the elder person.
- The abuse or neglect experienced by your loved ones can be physical, emotional or financial.
- The abuse or neglect can take place in a care facility, hospital, or even a private home.
Below you will find details descriptions of the most common types of elder abuse to be aware of that happen every day under a number of circumstances.
What Does Physical Elder Abuse Look Like?
Physical elder abuse is the most common and obvious type of abuse and is typically the easiest to detect. It often includes mishandling or beatings that result in cuts; scratches; bruises; welts; discoloration; open wounds; broken bones; torn, stained or bloody clothing; or restraints.
Physical elder abuse may also include over-medication resulting in drowsiness or observed in unfocused blank stares. Most serious examples of physical elder abuse include sexual abuse or injuries that require emergency treatment, hospitalization, or that result in unexplained or unexpected death.
What Does Emotional Elder Abuse Look Like?
Emotional elder abuse often accompanies physical abuse. It is also often subtle and may be more difficult to recognize. Emotional abuse includes such things as name-calling and insulting; swearing; intimidating, threatening or harassing; ignoring, confining, or isolating; humiliation; or threats to them or their loved ones.
The results of this abuse may be observed in changes in your loved one’s behavior. For example, your loved one my begin acting unusually upset or agitated, nervous, anxious, depressed, withdrawn, or non-communicative. Uncharacteristic rocking or thumb-sucking may also be the result of serious emotional elder abuse.
What Does Financial Elder Abuse Look Like?
Financial abuse occurs when assets of the resident are improperly used or diverted by caregivers, conservators, trustees, financial planners, banks, or family and friends. Examples of financial abuse include illegally taking, misusing, or concealing funds, property or assets and identity theft.
ELDER ABUSE LAWS
Both federal and state laws address elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation, but state law is the primary source of sanctions, remedies and protections related to elder abuse. Some examples of federal and state laws applicable to elder abuse are summarized here.
- Elder Justice Act of 2009 was enacted in March 2010 as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590; P.L. 111-148). The Elder Justice Act coordinates federal elder abuse detection and prevention programs within the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The Act establishes an Elder Abuse Coordinating Council that has expertise in elder abuse prevention, detection, treatment, intervention or prosecution.
- The Older Americans Act (42 U.S.C. 3001 et seq.) contains definitions of elder abuse and authorizes federal funding for the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), a program of the U.S. Administration on Aging.
- Violence Against Women Act established federal domestic violence crimes that may be applied in cases of elder abuse.
- The Enhanced Training and Services to End Violence and Abuse of Women Later in Life Program (42 U.S.C. 14041a), is a section in the Violence Against Women Act of 2005.
- Elder Abuse Victims Act of 2009 (H.R. 448, S. 1821) would authorize federal grant funding for training state and local prosecutors, courts, and law enforcement personnel handling elder justice-related matters.
- States address elder abuse in multiple statutory areas, including adult protective services laws, criminal codes, probate and trusts and estates codes, family law, and civil remedies.
- Adult protective services. All states have adult protective services (APS) or elder protective services (EPS) statutes that authorize and regulate the provision of services in cases of elder abuse.
- Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program and institutional abuse laws. All states also have statutes establishing a Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. These programs advocate for the rights, safety and other interests of long-term care facility residents.
- All states have general criminal statutes on assault, battery, sexual assault, theft, fraud and other offenses that can be applied in cases of elder abuse.
- Civil remedies. Civil remedies for particular types of elder abuse are available in most states under statutory and case law. For example, all states provide civil remedies for domestic abuse.
- Most states address elder abuse and neglect under probate laws, trusts and estates laws, or both. These laws are designed to protect the safety and financial interests of elderly, disabled or vulnerable adults.
Contact a Respected Denver Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer for a Free Consultation
Nursing home abuse is never acceptable. That said, it can be difficult to prove. It’s important to have an experienced Denver nursing home abuse lawyer fighting to protect you. If your loved one was harmed, contact Zaner Harden Law to schedule a free consultation today.
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