Our elder abuse attorneys investigate cases on behalf of the families of nursing home residents who suspect that their love one is suffering from abuse.  Nursing home are responsible to provide the best possible care for your loved one, when they fail to do that, your loved one may suffer from nursing home abuse.

The Administration on Aging (AOA), states that each year hundreds of thousands of elderly citizens are abused, neglect and exploited.  Many times elderly are abused because they are older, weak, and defenseless and cannot help themselves.  Nursing homes are entrusted with the safety of their residents, yet they are abusing their trust by lashing out on them.  Many elderly residents seek the staff members to fulfill their most basic needs. When they do not meet these needs, nursing home abuse lawsuits in Michigan can help hold negligent facilities legally responsible for their harm.

Different Types of Elder Abuse

When a nursing home facility does not treat their elderly patients at a practical standard, which is expected, they are commenting elder abuse.  Elder abuse can cause patients to suffer dangerous injuries. Elder abuse can occur in many different ways. Below are the most common types of elder abuse.

  • Physical Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Neglect
  • Exploitation
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Abandonment
  • Self-neglect

Elder Abuse Warning Signs

If you suspect that the nursing home your loved one resides is abusing him or her, there are common warning signs you can look for.  A few of these warning sign are listed below.

  • Bruises
  • Pressure Marks
  • Broken Bones
  • Unexplained Withdrawal from normal activities and/or unusual depression
  • Bedsores
  • Poor hygiene
  • Unattended medical needs
  • Unusual weight loss

Elder Neglect in Nursing Home

There are four general classifications of elder neglect in nursing home. Below they are listed in detail.

  1. Harmful Neglect:

If a resident in a health care facility experiences bed sores, suspicious or questionable injuries or death, unexplained substantial weight loss or severe dehydration they may be a victim of harmful neglect.

  1. Assault and Battery:

If an employee of a nursing home or residential health care facility threatens or strikes a resident or uses unauthorized physical or chemical restraints assault and battery has been committed.

  1. Criminal Sexual Conduct:

If an employee of a nursing home or residential care facility engages in unlawful sexual contact with a patient criminal sexual conduct has occurred.

  1. Embezzlement and Theft

If an employee of a nursing home or residential care facility wrongfully removes funds from a resident’s account, improperly obtains a financial “loan” or “gift” from a resident, or an employee uses privileged/personal information illegally to obtain credit cards, etc., resulting in identity theft embezzlement has occurred.

Our Michigan elder abuse attorneys represent nursing home residents and their families in lawsuits against nursing homes and residential care facilities. When an elderly person moves into a nursing home, the family places a tremendous amount of trust in the facility and its staff. If the patient is injured or dies due to improper treatment and neglect, that person or his or her family should explore taking action against the facility.

When a lawsuit is sought against a Michigan nursing home for neglect or abuse, many of the claims in the lawsuit are for negligence by a licensed health care provider.  A licensed care provider can be a physician, nurse, physical therapist, speech therapist, would care specialist, or other licensed provider.  Other claims may be for different types of general negligence, like burn injury or food poisoning, and not for acts of negligence by medical personnel.

Resident’s Rights in Michigan Nursing Homes

Residents in Michigan nursing homes have the same rights as everyone else, the combination of an institutional setting and the disability that put the person in the facility in the first place can result in loss of dignity or lack of proper care.  The law gives the residents many explicit rights, and our Michigan nursing home abuse attorneys will represent you in a lawsuit if you feel that any of your rights have been violated.  These rights are listed below in detail.

It is important that as a nursing home patient you and your family members know your rights.  The Michigan Public Health Code statute, MCL 333 20201; MSA 14/15 (20201) found in a brochure printed by the Michigan Office of the Attorney General, states:

  1. An individual may obtain a copy of, or inspect his/her medical records, and a third party shall not be given a copy without authorization of the patient except as required by law and third party contract.
  2. A nursing home patient or resident is entitled to adequate and appropriate care and to receive information about his/her medical condition, proposed treatment and prospects for recovery, unless medically contraindicated by the physician in the medical record.
  3. A nursing home patient or resident is entitled to associate and have private communication with/her physician, attorney or any other person, and to send and receive personal mail unopened, unless medically contraindicated. A patient’s or resident’s civil and religious liberties shall not be infringed and the facility shall encourage and assist in the exercise of these rights.
  4. A nursing home patient or resident is entitled to be free from MENTAL and PHYSICAL ABUSE and, except as authorized by a physician, or as necessitated by an emergency to protect the patient, free from physical and chemical restraints.
  5. A nursing home, its owner, administrator, employee, or representative shall not discharge, harass, retaliate or discriminate against a patient because a patient has exercised rights protected by law.

We will represent you in your case under our NO FEE PROMISE. This means that you will not be charged any legal fees whatsoever unless we obtain a settlement or recovery for you. You have absolutely no obligation for legal fees unless we win your case. If we do not obtain a settlement for you, you owe us nothing!

How To Prevent Nursing Home Abuse

As a resource to our clients, the attorneys at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. have provided a few tips on what you can do to prevent patient abuse in a nursing home.  These tips include:

  1.  Report suspected mistreatment to the police.
  2. Keep in contact with the elderly (give them a chance to talk about any difficulties they may be go through).
  3. Be mindful of the likelihood of abuse.
  4. Contact your local Area Agency on Aging office to see what local programs are at your disposal.
  5. Volunteer at the Michigan nursing home in which your loved one is residing at.

What To Consider When Choosing a Michigan Nursing Home

When it comes to your loved ones, you want nothing but the best possible care for them, and when the time comes where they can no longer care for themselves, you will want to ensure you choose the best possible Michigan nursing home for them to reside in.  Always remember to research each facility thoroughly before making any decisions on where your loved one will be making their new home .  Always make sure that the facility your loved one will be residing at has no past or current violations against the Michigan nursing home for neglect or abuse. There are also many other factors you will want to consider when making this important decision. These factors include:

  1. Location: Will my loved one be close and convenient to where I live?
  2. Staffing: Is the staff approachable and caring? How many different staff members will be taking care of my family member? How many patients is one staff member assigned?
  3. Special Care for Special Needs: How will my loved ones special needs be handled?  Who will be administering medication?  How is bathing dealt with when my loved one is unable?  What if my loved one develops Alzheimer’s or another disease?
  4. Home Sweet Home: Will my loved one feel at home? Is the facility kept clean and tidy?  Is there security?
  5. Things to do: What type of activities can the residents get involved in?  Do they offer: movies, musical events, classes (educational and / or exercise), religious services? How accessible is the closest store?  Are there on staff people to transport residents?
  6.  Rooms: How are rooms distributed? Are private rooms available and what are the costs?  How are the rooms furnished?
  7. Care Plans:  How is individual care plans implemented? Is there a certain physician that must be used by all residents?  How often is the physical available?
  8. Mealtime: Are residents able to eat in a common room or in their own room if desired? Do residents have a way to reheat meals, if needed?
  9. Financial: What is considered an “extra” cost?  What is included in the cost of care?

How Much Time Does it Take for a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit in Michigan?

A Michigan nursing home abuse lawsuit can take several years from start to finish.  The first step in the process is for our legal and medical team to get all of the nursing home records and hospital records.  If there was a death involved, we need to get the Death Certificate and an Autopsy Report if an autopsy was performed.

After a careful review of the records, we determine if there is a basis for filing a lawsuit.  When there is case to be filed, a Notice of Intent To File Suit must be served on all potentially responsible nursing homes and medical providers.  This is required by Michigan statute.   The statute requires a 180 waiting period after the notice is served before a lawsuit can be filed.  During his period of time, we are putting together the case to ready for litigation.

Once the lawsuit is filed, a nursing home case generally takes one to two years to litigate depending on the county where the lawsuit was filed.  In some cases, the parties will agree to meet very early in the process to see if the case can be settled before spending too much time and money on litigation matters.  These meetings, or facilitations, are often productive and lead to excellent settlements. Call today to get started reviewing the details of your case.

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Please contact us today for answers to more complex questions or questions specific to your case. The initial consultation is FREE.

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