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Nursing Home

Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in Maryland

As the nursing home population has increased, unfortunately, the number of nursing home abuse cases has also escalated. Despite the oversight efforts of governmental agencies and the greater enforcement of state laws, more than one million people experience nursing home abuse every year. Our compassionate nursing home lawyers of SG Legal Group want to get justice for your loved ones and compensation for harm done to them.

Most nursing home cases are not registered because elders are often unable to comprehend the care to which they are entitled.  In some cases, they may be physically incapable of sharing information about how they have been harmed. As the current COVID-19 pandemic has revealed, seniors at nursing homes tragically constitute the most vulnerable population in the USA. 

Contact our skilled nursing home lawyers today, if you suspect your loved one is suffering any type of harm from abuse, including wrongful death. Our nursing home lawyers will always stand for victims who have been hurt by mistreatment from caretakers. Filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit with an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer can prevent a facility or staff member from harming others in the future.

If you or a loved one are in need of assistance, get in touch with a nursing home abuse lawyer, Call now at the following phone number 410-344-7100 for a free case evaluation right away. If you would prefer to use our live chat feature, look to the bottom right corner.

What Is Nursing Home Abuse? 

Nursing home abuse/elder abuse happens when people of long-term care facilities experience physical, emotional, sexual or financial harm because of the intentional or negligent acts of their caregivers. A seasoned nursing home lawyer in Maryland can hold the nursing home care facility liable for inappropriate care, negligence in screening employees, improper maintenance of the facilities, and inadequate supervision of employees.

The primary rights of assisted living facility residents rely on how the facility is regulated. A resident in a facility that participates in the federal Medicare program has the statutory right to be free from verbal, physical, sexual, mental abuse, and the use of restraints for punishment or convenience. 

The National Council of Aging (NCOA) states that nursing home abuse includes:

  • Physical: apparent by bruises or unexplained falls

  • Financial: such as missing personal belongings or forged financial documents 

  • Sexual: which includes any sexual activity without consent

  • Psychological: such as harassment and verbal threats

  • Neglect: indicated by dirty bedding, matted hair etc.

Image by Marisa Howenstine

Nursing Home Injury Law

Under Federal law your loved one has the primary right to be free from abuse, whether it is verbal, sexual, physical, or mental. Throughout the state, nursing home negligence is addressed by the Maryland statute on aging that safeguards the elderly residents from neglect and abuse.

A nursing home/long term care facility is required to implement specific policies to protect its residents from abuse. These policies mainly address adequate and proper supervision, training, and ways to identify, report, and investigate neglect or abuse. If you suspect any kind of nursing home neglect, you must report it to the facility administrator. The facility administrator is under a legal obligation to thoroughly investigate your allegations.

If you have serious concerns about what constitutes negligence in Maryland or have questions about your loved one’s facility, take the quick action to contact one of our nursing home injury lawyers at SG Legal Group, skilled in cases of nursing home malpractice. Getting legal advice is the right thing to do to protect your loved one, who is not able to protect herself or himself.

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Potential Signs Your Loved One is Being Abused

There are various critical warning signs to look for in abuse victims. These warning signs include but are not limited to:

1. Physical Abuse 

Physical nursing home abuse/elder abuse happens when a resident experiences bodily harm or injuries. Without appropriate medical attention, elder abuse can lead to severe physical injuries or even wrongful death. Following are some common signs of physical abuse:

  • Broken bones

  • Bed sores

  • Malnourishment and dehydration

  • Unexplained bruises, cuts, or burns

  • Bleeding around the genitalia

  • Use of physical restraints

  • Unhygienic surroundings

  • Odors of urine or feces

These signs of nursing home abuse/elder abuse are usually easy to detect with unannounced, frequent visits to your loved one’s facility.

​2. Emotional abuse or psychological abuse

Any type of action that disturbs an older person’s psychological well-being is considered psychological abuse. Instances of this type of harm include staff taunting or yelling at residents. Staff members may also try to isolate the resident from family or friends.

Emotional abuse can be just as harmful, while it may not leave apparent physical marks. Sufferers of this type of harm may experience depression and anxiety.

Indications of emotional and verbal abuse include:

  • Frequent aggression or agitation 

  • Swift changes in mood

  • A wish to withdraw from other residents

  • depression

3. Sexual Abuse 

This type of abuse happens when a person suffers any form of nonconsensual sexual contact, groping, or touching. Sexual elder abuse can lead to physical harm like scratches, bruises, or physically transmitted diseases (which can lead to wrongful death), and also emotional trauma.

4. Financial Abuse

Financial abuse at nursing homes/assisted living facilities occurs when someone uses manipulation and deceit to get money or property from an older person.

Common examples of financial abuse are:

  • Stealing a resident’s cash, credit cards, or valuables

  • Preventing the person from accessing their own bank accounts

  • Misusing power of attorney to change a resident’s will

  • Stealing a resident’s financial records or bank statements

Financial abuse can cause mental and emotional stress, as residents can lose income and savings required to pay for their long-term care. SG Legal Group's nursing home abuse lawyers can help.

The Impact of Nursing Home Neglect

When neglect has taken place in a nursing home, often the emotional damage is as lethal as the physical. Many elderly loved ones who have experienced abuse in nursing homes/assisted living facilities will face a lifetime of crippling emotional damages, including anxiety, depression and even the adoption of compulsive and strange behavior. Physical injuries may heal swiftly, or your loved one may suffer for years, depending on the severity of the injury.

Nursing home staff, the insurance companies and the companies that own or represent them may offer you a minor settlement when you notice neglect. These settlements may cover the cost of medical expenses or moving your loved one, but never take into account the emotional distress they have endured.

What Type Of Damages Can Be Compensable?

Whether the nursing home abuse/elder abuse consists of a single incident or recurrent negligence which causes injury, the victim possesses a right to damages. Additionally, by seeking accountability, filing a lawsuit, and partnering with an expert nursing home abuse lawyer, residents and their families can safeguard other residents from suffering the same fate.  

In many nursing home abuse cases, nursing homes may lose their certifications for failing to supply the required care, leading to a loss of funding.

2. Damages for Medical Expenses: 

The following types of damages may be compensable:

  • Reasonable and necessary medical expenditures;

  • Actual past expenses for medications, prosthetic devices, hospital, physician, nursing and laboratory fees, etc.;

  • Anticipated future medical expenses;

  • Pain and suffering from mental sufferings and physical injuries;

  • Pain and suffering reasonably anticipated in the future;

  • Harm from body conditions raised by prolonged immobilization;

  • “Phantom pain” that may not be readily apparent to others;

  • Harm from loss of sleep.

 

​3. Damages for Mental Suffering: 

Monetary damages may be given for nursing home elders or their survivors, for mental pain, suffering, disfigurement, and impaired enjoyment of life. These damages may be awarded for both physical and mental sufferings. Mental suffering for which one may recover damages can include the following:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder;

  • Anxiety about physical health and future well-being;

  • Fear of the outcomes of an injury while awaiting assistance;

  • Fear experienced after an injury about what else could have happened;

  • Fear of the need for surgery in the future as a consequence of one’s injuries;

  • Fear of high vulnerability to future injury;

  • Fear experienced in the time period between realizing an incident likely to cause serious injury was going to happen and the time of occurrence;

 

​4. Damages for Disfigurement: 

The nursing home residents are entitled to receive damages for disfigurement caused by nursing home staff. Disfigurement can include amputation, hair loss, scars, or any other injury that badly affects one’s appearance. The dignity of the elderly should be respected undoubtedly and preserved whenever possible, and if it is affected by a disfiguring injury, an adequate complaint should be made against the nursing home for monetary damages.

​5. Damages for Loss of Enjoyment of Life: 

The loss of the enjoyment of life is clearly understood to mean one is deprived of the pleasures of living a full ordinary life. With a senior citizen, this could mean the ability to walk and exercise as one did prior to an injury, to play with one’s grandchildren, to make communication meaningfully with others, or to engage in pastimes one earlier enjoyed.

​6. Shortened Life Expectancy: 

Courts usually do not consider shortened life expectancy as a separate injury, but it may be recognized in determining the severity of an injury, diminished earning capacity, mental suffering, and pain and suffering from the knowledge that one’s life will be decreased. Jurors are typically told to consider a plaintiff’s future damages based on ordinary life expectancy tables; however, due to high improvements in medical science and living conditions of people over the years, a lawyer might argue that life expectancy was or is actually higher than the standard tables would show.

​7. Punitive Damages:  

In Maryland, punitive damages are not available unless the plaintiff can show that the defendant acted with actual malice which is an extremely high burden.

The Impact of Nursing Home Neglect

When neglect has taken place in a nursing home, often the emotional damage is as lethal as the physical. Many elderly loved ones who have experienced abuse in nursing homes/assisted living facilities will face a lifetime of crippling emotional damages, including anxiety, depression and even the adoption of compulsive and strange behavior. Physical injuries may heal swiftly, or your loved one may suffer for years, depending on the severity of the injury.

Nursing home staff, the insurance companies and the companies that own or represent them may offer you a minor settlement when you notice neglect. These settlements may cover the cost of medical expenses or moving your loved one, but never take into account the emotional distress they have endured.

What Type Of Damages Can Be Compensable?

Whether the nursing home abuse/elder abuse consists of a single incident or recurrent negligence which causes injury, the victim possesses a right to damages. Additionally, by seeking accountability, filing a lawsuit, and partnering with an expert nursing home abuse lawyer, residents and their families can safeguard other residents from suffering the same fate.  

In many nursing home abuse cases, nursing homes may lose their certifications for failing to supply the required care, leading to a loss of funding.

1. Damages for Medical Expenses: 

The following types of damages may be compensable:

  • Reasonable and necessary medical expenditures;

  • Actual past expenses for medications, prosthetic devices, hospital, physician, nursing and laboratory fees, etc.;

  • Anticipated future medical expenses;

  • Pain and suffering from mental sufferings and physical injuries;

  • Pain and suffering reasonably anticipated in the future;

  • Harm from body conditions raised by prolonged immobilization;

  • “Phantom pain” that may not be readily apparent to others;

  • Harm from loss of sleep.

 

​2. Damages for Mental Suffering: 

Monetary damages may be given for nursing home elders or their survivors, for mental pain, suffering, disfigurement, and impaired enjoyment of life. These damages may be awarded for both physical and mental sufferings. Mental suffering for which one may recover damages can include the following:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder;

  • Anxiety about physical health and future well-being;

  • Fear of the outcomes of an injury while awaiting assistance;

  • Fear experienced after an injury about what else could have happened;

  • Fear of the need for surgery in the future as a consequence of one’s injuries;

  • Fear of high vulnerability to future injury;

  • Fear experienced in the time period between realizing an incident likely to cause serious injury was going to happen and the time of occurrence;

​3. Damages for Disfigurement: 

The nursing home residents are entitled to receive damages for disfigurement caused by nursing home staff. Disfigurement can include amputation, hair loss, scars, or any other injury that badly affects one’s appearance. The dignity of the elderly should be respected undoubtedly and preserved whenever possible, and if it is affected by a disfiguring injury, an adequate complaint should be made against the nursing home for monetary damages.

​4. Damages for Loss of Enjoyment of Life: 

The loss of the enjoyment of life is clearly understood to mean one is deprived of the pleasures of living a full ordinary life. With a senior citizen, this could mean the ability to walk and exercise as one did prior to an injury, to play with one’s grandchildren, to make communication meaningfully with others, or to engage in pastimes one earlier enjoyed.

​5. Shortened Life Expectancy: 

Courts usually do not consider shortened life expectancy as a separate injury, but it may be recognized in determining the severity of an injury, diminished earning capacity, mental suffering, and pain and suffering from the knowledge that one’s life will be decreased. Jurors are typically told to consider a plaintiff’s future damages based on ordinary life expectancy tables; however, due to high improvements in medical science and living conditions of people over the years, a lawyer might argue that life expectancy was or is actually higher than the standard tables would show.

​6.  Punitive Damages:  

In Maryland, punitive damages are not available unless the plaintiff can show that the defendant acted with actual malice which is an extremely high burden.

How Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers file a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Medical care, treatment and living assistance are provided by nursing homes. If a patient in a nursing home is injured while receiving medical care, the nursing home may be liable for medical malpractice. Malpractice claims are somewhat different from run of the mill negligence claims.  In Maryland medical malpractice or medical negligence means that a healthcare professional deviated from accepted norms and standards in providing medical care. To put it simply, medical malpractice shows that your doctor didn’t perform everything they were supposed to when diagnosing or treating you or overseeing your care. 

That being said, almost all nursing home negligence lawsuits in Maryland are medical malpractice cases.  Because a nursing home is deemed to be a health care provider, Maryland law requires that any lawsuit brought against a nursing home for negligence be brought under the Health Claims Act.  This requires extra steps procedurally, but it has little practical effect on the case, if done correctly by a competent nursing home lawyer.

Not all cases necessarily make it to trial in Maryland. But when they do, it is vital that plaintiffs closely work with an expert nursing home abuse lawyer who knows the system and can guide individuals through the process. A knowledgeable nursing home abuse attorney could assist a potential plaintiff to investigate the allegation thoroughly, demand adequate compensation through settlement, and take the case to trial if a settlement is not reached.

Proving Damages

There must be valid evidence, for the court to award damages, that the nursing home resident suffered injury. Usually, a case of injury caused by staff of nursing home will be the easiest to prove. Injuries lead to medical treatment, which leaves a trail of medical records related to the patient's filed complaints, and a history of the nursing home incident.

In many cases of nursing home injuries, the staff of nursing homes, as well as the resident must complete an injury incident report. This data, completed at the time of the injury, can be valid evidence in proving damages later on in court.

Unsurprisingly, in cases of neglect or abuse one rarely finds the extensive paper trails that accompany such instances making it harder to help victims of nursing home malfeasance. Evidence of abuse might be more hard to document, and is typically associated with the resident's physical or emotional condition. The types of evidence used to support a claim for damages in cases of abuse can be as varied as the individual causes of the abuse.

Regardless of the nature of the abuse or injury, or the cause, it is vital to document evidence as completely as possible. The documentation can later be used in pursuing any civil or criminal claims against the nursing home. Documentation that may prove helpful can take any number of forms, including but not limited to:

  • Any photos of a resident's injuries or bruises 

  • Any notes covering conversations with the resident or staff

  • Any diaries kept by the resident or a family member

  • Any pictures of medications prescribed or given to the resident, and

  • Any notes on personal observations of emotional or physical conditions kept by family members

Nursing home abuse attorneys at SG Legal Group are ready and willing to help.

Factors That Influence the Value of a Claim

At SG Legal Group, we believe in practicing law with integrity. Because of this, we will never guarantee a specific outcome of a case no matter how solid the evidence seems to be in favor of our client. Although we can never promise to secure a specific dollar figure, we can assist you in comprehending the factors that might impact the potential value of your case. They include:

  • The Nature of the Misconduct: 

    • Our nursing home negligence attorneys can perform a deep investigation to determine what damages are available based on the nature of the liable party’s misconduct.

  • The Extent of Non-Economic Damages: 

    • Nursing home abuse victims usually suffer extreme pain and suffering and other non-economic damages.

  • The Seriousness of Injuries: 

    • The seriousness of your loved one’s injuries will play an important role in considering the cost of care and the extent to which they will recover medically. As such, your family member’s diagnosis will likely have a significant effect on the amount of damages being awarded.

  • Other Factors: 

    • There are a lot of other factors that might impact the value of a nursing home neglect or abuse claim. Examples include the amount of insurance coverage available and the life expectancy of the victim. Our nursing home abuse lawyers at SG Legal Group will employ their proven expertise and experience to assist you pursues the highest recovery possible.

Our Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers know what to do if Abuse is Suspected

If abuse is suspected, family members should take quick action and contact a nursing home abuse lawyer who can thoroughly evaluate the situation and file a nursing home abuse case if required.

Our seasoned nursing home lawyers at SG Legal Group can assist by taking the following steps:

  • Investigating the situation, interviewing witnesses, and collecting financial and medical records and evidence such as videos and photographs 

  • Sending notices to the authorities of the abuse

  • Filing all necessary paperwork for a lawsuit and delivering notice of claim to defendants

  • Negotiating a settlement if possible

  • Building your case and taking it to trial if necessary

  • Filing appeals pertaining to any unfavorable decisions

Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Serving the Entire State of Maryland

We represent every client zealously in order to get the best possible results possible in each case. If you or a loved one are in need of assistance, call for an initial free consultation/case review please call at the following phone number 410-344-7100 right away and speak to one of our skilled nursing home abuse lawyers who can offer legal help. If you would prefer to use our live chat feature, look to the bottom right corner.

Our Maryland nursing home lawyers serve clients throughout the state, including the following counties: Allegany County, Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Baltimore City, Calvert County, Caroline County, Carroll County, Cecil County, Charles County, Dorchester County, Fredrick County, Garrett County, Harford County, Howard County, Kent County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Saint Mary’s County, Somerset County, Talbot County, Washington County, Wicomico County and Worcester County. 

 

FAQ

What Should I Watch Out For in a MD Nursing Home?

Consider visiting online government sites like Medicare to receive recently updated data on surveys, violations, citations, and monetary penalties.

Every nursing facility is listed on its website to be used as a comparative tool. Also, look close to home and conduct an in-person visit to see how well all the residents are groomed, fed, and assisted.

How do I remove a loved one from a negligent or abusive nursing home?

Before removing a loved one out of a home, it is important to make alternative arrangements for their care. Some options include moving the resident to another nursing home, finding a home-health service, or hiring a live-in nurse, if possible.

Who can file a lawsuit against a nursing home?

A lawsuit can be filed by either the resident or by a family member on their behalf. Often times, this will depend on the mental state and abilities of the resident.

Can I settle a Maryland nursing home abuse case outside of court?

Most Maryland nursing home abuse and neglect cases are settled outside of court. However, experienced nursing home abuse attorneys will be willing to take your case to trial if it is deemed necessary.

What is the difference between a nursing home facility and an assisted living facility?

Assisted living communities encourage and foster independence for people with a range of abilities. Nursing homes, by contrast, cater to people with complex and highly demanding health needs. In many cases, these health needs include conditions such as dementia or severe mobility impairments that mean independence is simply not possible. The focus is on meeting medical needs by administering medication, monitoring chronic conditions and, in many cases, supporting people who are bedridden. 

Who are the most common nursing home abuse and neglect victims?

Unfortunately, the most common nursing home abuse and neglect victims are residents with mental impairments like Alzheimer's disease or dementia.

Who is to blame for medication errors?

If a resident is injured by a prescription drug error, the physician, pharmacy, or pharmacist may be held accountable.

Why should I hire a law firm to handle my case?

Top nursing home abuse law firms have nursing home abuse lawyers well versed in elder abuse and elder neglect.

Does your law firm offer a free consultation?

Yes, our law firm offers free consultations on all injury cases.

How Much Does a Nursing Home Attorney Cost?

At SG Legal Group we handle all nursing home cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that we do not charge you anything, until, and if, we recover compensation on your behalf. If we are successful, our fee is a percentage of the recovery we secure. This percentage typically ranges from 33 & 1/3% to 40%.

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