Nursing Home Abuse in Waldorf, MD
What Is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse affects vulnerable elderly residents in long-term care facilities. It is a severe and often hidden problem where victims fear speaking out against their abusers. The types of mistreatment can include physical, emotional, sexual, financial, or neglectful abuse.
The prevalence of nursing home abuse is unacceptable. According to some studies, as many as 1 in 6 over 60 experience it. Do not hesitate to speak up if you suspect a loved one has suffered. Your action could stop others from suffering as well. Furthermore, as you will read below, you should consider hiring a lawyer.
Federal Laws Protecting Against Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing Home Reform Act (1987)
The Nursing Home Reform Act established a strict set of guidelines for facilities in Waldorf, Maryland. Its adoption was the result of a study conducted by the Institute of Medicine. They revealed widespread mistreatment and disregard for the elderly. As per this legislation, nursing home facilities in Waldorf must do the following:
- Ensure appropriate monitoring and utilize equipment to avoid accidents.
- Offer appropriate nourishment and hygiene care.
- Ensure sufficient staffing levels to provide proper patient care and prevent neglect.
- Maintain precise health documentation for every individual residing in the facility.
- Help residents to sustain an engaged way of life.
- Develop a written plan of action for each resident.
- Record and evaluate the health condition and unique requirements of the residents.
Nursing Home Resident’s Bill of Rights
A Bill of Rights for nursing home residents is a component of the Nursing Home Reform Act. This legislation specifies the privileges that you or your loved one can expect to receive in Waldorf, MD. Some of the aspects it covers include the following:
- Adequate healthcare and medical attention
- Freedom to express grievances or concerns without facing retaliation or harassment.
- Capacity to make personal decisions (if mentally competent)
- Confidentiality and discretion regarding health-related matters.
Elder Justice Act
- 60-Day Closure Window – Nursing homes cannot close without prior notice to the state government. Additionally, the staff must relocate all residents to appropriate facilities.
- Elder Justice Coordinating Council – This group convenes biannually. They explore novel approaches to prevent elder mistreatment and negligence. They also send reports with proposals to Congress.
- Employee Background Check Database – Access prevents abuse by examining employees for past incidents.
State Laws Protecting Against Elder Abuse and Neglect
Each state has its own regulations related to this issue. The federal laws mentioned earlier provide guidance. But it is entirely up to each state to enact further legislation. Places with a greater proportion of nursing home occupants typically have more safeguards than others.
Maryland has strict laws in place to protect seniors from abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Any action or inaction that results in harm, injury, or risk of harm to someone 60 or older may qualify. If you suspect abuse in Waldorf, report it to Adult Protective Services (APS) agency or the police. APS has a 24-hour hotline at 1-800-917-7383 and you can file a report here. If there is a threat of immediate danger, call 911.
Can You File a Lawsuit in Waldorf, Maryland For Nursing Home Abuse?
Certainly, it is appropriate to pursue the highest possible compensation. Individuals who have suffered from mistreatment or negligence can take action by filing a lawsuit. Their reporting could also result in criminal charges.
It is feasible to obtain a settlement and financial compensation before initiating a lawsuit. Nonetheless, if there is a dispute over fair compensation or liability, a lawsuit may be necessary.
State legislation requires nursing homes to maintain staffing, provide adequate care, and prevent abuse. If a facility in Waldorf fails to meet these standards, the resident or their family may file a lawsuit. Additionally, Maryland law allows for punitive damages in cases of gross negligence or willful misconduct.
How Can You Receive Compensation Through a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit?
You can pursue compensation through the civil court system. A few of the avenues available to victims are:
- Restitution – In criminal cases, victims may receive compensation through compensation from the guilty party.
- Settlement – An attorney can assist you in avoiding expensive errors in settling the case. During the settlement process, both parties reach an agreement on an amount without a jury. All parties sign a legally binding document that precludes further legal action. If the plaintiff signs this document, it concludes a trial if it has already begun.
- Verdict – In this scenario, a trial jury listens to the evidence presented and decides whether the defendant is responsible. If the jury holds the nursing home accountable, they also determine the amount of the damages.
The compensation granted through a lawsuit can aid in covering the victims’ expenses. Medical expenses, physical therapy, psychotherapy, and other expenses are often included. Additionally, there are considerations for transferring to a new nursing home and physical and emotional anguish.
Civil and Criminal Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuits
The majority of nursing home mistreatment cases go through a civil court. Nevertheless, there are instances where victims can file both civil and criminal complaints. For instance, if a nursing home staff member pushes a resident, they face charges. Subsequently, they may face a civil lawsuit for the same offense.
In Waldorf, nursing home abuse lawsuits mostly go to the Circuit Court for Charles County. This is the main trial court in the county and has jurisdiction over civil cases.
What Types of Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuits Exist?
The majority of nursing home abuse lawsuits in Waldorf, MD fall into two categories: tort and breach of contract. Among these, tort lawsuits are more prevalent since the plaintiffs seek damages for actual harm. Breach of contract lawsuits can result in limited compensation amounts.
Tort Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuits
Tort lawsuits involve the victim seeking compensation for physical and emotional pain. There are various types of tort lawsuits that correspond to different types of offenses:
- Wrongful death – In the event of a patient’s demise, the surviving family members may file a lawsuit against the facility.
- Neglect – This legal element applies when the nursing home fails to fulfill its responsibility of providing care. It usually involves apathetic, careless, or uninterested conduct toward the patient’s care.
- Medical malpractice – The healthcare professionals could have acted beyond the usual protocols and caused harm.
- Abuse – Victims suffer intentional harm that may result in significant bodily harm or emotional trauma.
Work with an Experienced Local Lawyer in Waldorf, Maryland.
If you intend to take legal action, schedule a consultation with an experienced attorney in Waldorf. Nursing home abuse lawyers can assist with the most pressing needs. For instance, they can obtain information, find witnesses, and go to trial if necessary.