Serving Elderly Victims and Their Families in Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse Claims

One of the most difficult decisions any family can make is to entrust the care of an elderly loved one to someone else. Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are governed by extensive regulations. When the facility breaks these regulations and your loved one suffers harm as a result, you need an attorney who can hold them accountable.

If your loved one suffered serious injury, illness, or other harm due to nursing home abuse or neglect, Studinski Law, LLC can help. We take on complex claims many other law firms don’t, and we investigate thoroughly to identify all of the liable parties in your case and to account for every dollar of compensation you deserve.

Contact Studinski Law, LLC for a free consultation by calling (715) 343-2850 today. Our Wisconsin nursing home abuse lawyers serve clients in Stevens Point, Wausau, Wisconsin Rapids, Plover, Marshfield, and throughout the state.

Common Places Where Elder Abuse and Neglect Occur

Many people use the term “nursing home abuse” to refer to mistreatment in any facility. However, there are a number of different care facilities where neglect and abuse of the elderly can take place. Each of these facilities differs in its responsibilities to residents and the applicable laws and regulations:

  • Nursing homes
  • Skilled nursing facilities
  • Assisted living facilities, including adult daycare, adult family homes, community-based residential facilities, and residential apartment complexes
  • Memory care facilities
  • Retirement homes and retirement communities

Elder abuse and neglect doesn’t only occur in outside facilities. In cases of home care abuse, a caregiver who comes to your loved one’s home or your home can mistreat them in a place where they should be able to feel safe.

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Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

One of the most complicated aspects of abuse and neglect in nursing homes and other facilities is how difficult it can be to identify. Seniors are sometimes understandably reluctant to identify their abusers, or have limited ability to do so, so it is often up to caring family members to look for signs of trouble.

These signs may include:

  • Bedsores and pressure sores: These ulcerations on the skin form due to the uninterrupted pressure of sitting or lying on a surface for too long.
  • Bruises and lacerations: Cuts and bruises can be the result of a fall or other accident, which should have been immediately reported to you. However, if you consistently see that your loved one is injured – especially if the injuries appear localized to the head, face, neck, and wrists – then this is cause for concern.
  • Broken bones: May occur due to physical abuse, falls, and/or use of restraints.
  • Malnutrition and dehydration: Your loved one may appear weak or confused if he or she has been denied meals and proper hydration.
  • Rapid weight loss or weight gain: Significant changes in weight may signal neglect on the part of staff at the facility.
  • Frequent illness: A decline in health is sadly not uncommon in old age. However, if your loved one keeps getting sick, it is worth speaking to a physician to rule out possible neglect, withholding of medication, or other issues at the facility.
  • Unsanitary conditions: An unclean or poorly maintained facility presents a health risk to your loved one. Staff may also fail to perform individual hygiene tasks such as bathing and grooming residents and laundering their clothes.
  • Depression: Abuse and neglect don’t just have physical effects. Ongoing mistreatment can cause your loved one to become depressed.
  • Changes in behavior: If your loved one often seems agitated or confused, this could be a sign that something is wrong at the facility.
  • Withdrawal or non-communicative behavior: One of the most common responses to abuse is silence. Your loved one may feel ashamed and try to limit communication in order to conceal the truth. They might also exhibit behaviors like rocking, self-harm, or fear of being touched.
  • Reluctance to speak in caregivers’ presence: If one or more staff members insists on being in the room with you and your loved one, this is a red flag. It suggests the staff is trying to monitor your loved one or intimidate them into silence about mistreatment.
  • Unexplained spending of money: If your loved one consistently can’t pay for necessities or account for unusual purchases, this may signal that someone is stealing from them or abusing their finances.
  • Excessive gifts given to caregiver: Manipulative staff at the facility may try to curry favor with your loved one so they can benefit financially. If you find that your loved one is giving expensive gifts to a caregiver, this could signal an abusive relationship.

Nursing homes and other facilities have a duty to uphold quality of care standards. Failure to do so constitutes nursing home negligence, for which the facility and its staff can be held legally accountable. 

Types of Nursing Home Abuse

Sadly, abuse in nursing homes can take many different forms. These include:

  • Physical abuse
  • Mental and emotional abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Financial abuse and exploitation

Each of these types of abuse may involve various forms of abhorrent behavior on the part of a caregiver.

Physical Abuse in Nursing Homes

Everybody tends to lose physical strength as they age. In addition, some elders become frail due to osteoporosis and other conditions. As a result, physical abuse by a caretaker can lead to serious injuries and even death.

As you might expect, physical abuse includes pushing, hitting, shoving, choking, and other violence. It may also involve the unnecessary use of restraints, which can cause physical injury and result in neglect. A restrained individual may also suffer from positional asphyxia, where the senior is deprived of oxygen due to the location of the restraints or the positioning of their body.

In addition to physical restraints, abusive staff members may misuse medications as a form of “chemical restraint” to control residents. This is a dangerous practice, as it often involves giving too much of a prescribed medication or using medications that aren’t prescribed to the elderly individual.

Mental and Emotional Abuse in Nursing Homes

Not all forms of abuse leave a visible mark. Elders may be subjected to verbal abuse such as:

  • Insults
  • Yelling
  • Degrading comments
  • Threats
  • Ageist, racial, and ethnic slurs

Seniors who suffer from mental and emotional abuse may experience depression, anxiety, paranoia, and more. They may also withdraw from friends and loved ones.

Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes

Elderly individuals are at risk for sexual assault because they may have limited mobility, muscle weakness, and decreased mental functioning or communication abilities. All of these issues enable a physically capable person to take advantage of residents who are unable to fight back and may be unable to communicate to other staff what has happened to them.

Financial Abuse in Nursing Homes

Seniors often live on a fixed income. However, this does not prevent unscrupulous caregivers from trying to take advantage of an elderly person’s retirement benefits, savings, and other financial assets.

Financial abuse and exploitation in nursing homes can take a variety of different forms, from theft of money and personal property to fraudulent use of credit and debit cards. Some cases even involve manipulation of a senior who is mentally or cognitively vulnerable to sign over assets to the caregiver or name them as a beneficiary in their will.

Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Attorneys

Compensation in Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Cases

If you or a loved one has been injured due to abuse or neglect in a nursing home or other facility, you and your family may be entitled to compensation for the damages you have suffered. The attorneys at Studinski Law, LLC will aggressively pursue your claim to recover damages such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Financial losses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress and mental anguish
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Property damage
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of companionship
  • Punitive damages

The compensation you may be able to pursue in your claim will depend on the damages incurred. It is important to contact a Wisconsin nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case. Your lawyer will thoroughly analyze the losses you have sustained and advise you of the best course of action.

Read about How to File a Nursing Home Abuse Claim.

Compensation in a Nursing Home Wrongful Death Claim

Tragically, some cases of abuse and neglect in a nursing home, assisted living center, or other facility can result in the death of a resident. You may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim if your elderly loved one’s passing was the result of an individual or business’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional wrongdoing.

You may have the right to file a wrongful death claim if you were the elderly individual’s spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent. If you were not one of these relatives, then you may not have the right to file this type of suit.

Family members and/or the representative of the deceased’s estate can pursue compensation for the following damages in a wrongful death claim:

  • Medical expenses
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of financial contributions
  • Loss of inheritance
  • Loss of society and companionship

If your loved one left behind a spouse and children, then the compensation recovered may be divided among these individuals. If you were the person’s spouse and the deceased had no children, then you may be entitled to all the compensation. If your loved one had children but no living spouse, then each child may bring a wrongful death claim and must prove their damages individually.

Elder Abuse Laws

The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 established national standards for the quality of care nursing homes are required to provide. It also created rights and protections for the residents of nursing homes, including:

  • The right to freedom from abuse, mistreatment, and neglect
  • The right to freedom from physical restraints
  • The right to privacy
  • The right to accommodation of medical, physical, psychological, and social needs
  • The right to participate in resident and family groups
  • The right to be treated with dignity
  • The right to exercise self-determination
  • The right to communicate freely
  • The right to participate in the review of one’s care plan, and to be fully informed in advance about any changes in care, treatment, or change in the facility
  • The right to voice grievances without discrimination or reprisal

Wisconsin has also instituted extensive regulations for nursing homes and other care facilities. It is worth noting, however, that Wisconsin does not have statutes that specifically cover elder abuse. Nonetheless, criminal penalties may apply and civil actions may be brought for cases of elder abuse in the home and elder abuse by a spouse.

It is crucial to choose an attorney who has experience and knowledge of the state laws and federal regulations for nursing homes and other facilities. In addition, it is important to act quickly if your elderly loved one is the victim of abuse or neglect; the statute of limitations in Wisconsin for personal injury claims, including those involving nursing home neglect and abuse, is just 3 years.

Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit in Wisconsin

Why Choose Studinski Law, LLC for Your Nursing Home Abuse Case?

Our founding attorney, Jason Studinski, is an authority on nursing home neglect and abuse law. In addition to representing numerous families in litigation against nursing homes and other facilities, he wrote the book on compassionate care for seniors – literally. “How to Keep Your Loved One Safe in a Wisconsin Nursing Home” is a celebrated educational tool that helps families identify signs of abuse and neglect and take action to protect their elderly loved ones.

When you hire Studinski Law, LLC, our team prepares a comprehensive plan of approach for your case. This plan outlines our strategy for winning your case and our expected timeline so you have a clear idea of how we will work toward a favorable resolution.

Next, we thoroughly investigate your claim. Investigating negligence in a nursing home is difficult and time-intensive, but our law firm has the knowledge and resources to gather the necessary evidence. We have strong relationships with leading investigators and experts who can help us build your claim.

Thorough investigation of your case will enable our team to:

01

Determine how the abuse or neglect occurred
02

Assess the extent of injuries
03

Calculate total damages
04

Identify all of the liable parties

An individual caregiver may be responsible for abusing or neglecting a senior, or the facility itself may be negligent in its hiring practices, supervision of workers, staffing, maintenance of the property, and more. If negligence on the part of the facility was a factor in the abuse or neglect, you may be able to file a claim against both the facility and individual employees.

Nursing Home Abuse FAQs

What is Elder Abuse?

Elder abuse involves intentional actions to harm an elderly individual. An elderly person is someone who is advanced in age and who requires significant medical care to carry out their activities of daily living, such as bathing, cooking, and taking medications. Abuse may be physical, mental, emotional, or financial. Many specific action can constitute abuse. If you are concerned that your loved one is facing elderly abuse, contact a lawyer right away.

What Are the Rights of Nursing Home Residents?

The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 gives nursing home residents rights while in long-term care facilities. If your loved one’s rights have been violated, they may have suffered abuse or neglect. We can help you determine if someone harmed your loved one and if you are entitled to compensation for losses as a result.

Who is Liable for Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?

Often, abuse and neglect occur because the long term care facility fails to properly staff its facility or train those staff members who it employs. It may not have enough employees to provide proper care for all of its residents, resulting in neglect. Staff members may not be properly trained in how to move residents to prevent bedsores, resulting in a failure to provide proper care. However, sometimes independent medical providers or product suppliers cause harm to individuals in nursing homes. In those cases, an outside party may be liable. We can help you understand your case and navigate the nursing home abuse and neglect claims process.

Contact Our Wisconsin Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Today

We trust nursing homes and other facilities to provide proper care for our loved ones when they can no longer care for themselves. When staff and management at the facility violate this trust and mistreat our loved ones, the individual employees and owners must be held accountable.

At Studinski Law, LLC, we have successfully pursued compensation on behalf of clients in nursing home abuse and neglect cases. When you hire our team, all of our experience and compassion is at your disposal, and we will fight hard to win the compensation you and your family deserve.

Please call (715) 343-2850 today for a free consultation. Our nursing home abuse lawyers serve clients in Wisconsin Rapids, Stevens Point, Wausau, Plover, Marshfield, and throughout Wisconsin.

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