Minnesota Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Helping Clients and Their Families in Brainerd
You invest a significant amount of trust in a nursing home when making the difficult decision to place a family member in the care of someone else, so it can be devastating to find that your loved one is the victim of abuse. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is disturbingly common. The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) reports that 10 percent of nursing home residents suffer various forms of abuse, neglect, or exploitation. Worse, many of these victims are relegated to silence through incapacity or fear.
Fortunately, Minnesota and federal laws protect victims of nursing home abuse by providing a civil cause of action against the perpetrators. Our skilled nursing home abuse attorneys at the Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm can help navigate the process and will assist you in recovering compensation for your losses. Please contact our office to set up a free case assessment with a Brainerd, MN nursing home abuse lawyer, and see below for some important information.
Overview of Federal and Minnesota Nursing Home Abuse Laws
Both the federal Nursing Home Reform Act and the Minnesota Health Care Bill of Rights require nursing homes to recognize and protect the rights of patients, by establishing such legal requirements as:
- Proper staffing of physicians and healthcare providers, who must be available as necessary to meet resident needs.
- Ensuring there are sufficient nurse employees, including registered nurses and licensed practical nurses, on duty at all times;
- Manning all nurses’ stations, floors, and buildings when there is more than one housing structure; and,
- Complying with staffing regulations as they pertain to relief duty, weekends, and vacation time for regular personnel.
Unfortunately, there are many nursing homes in Minnesota that shirk these legal responsibilities and engage in unacceptable understaffing. However, there are also some that breach their duty of care through use of abusive tactics, putting the rights, health, and safety of residents are at risk. Generally, you have three legal remedies you can pursue to address nursing home abuse.
- Administrative Complaints: The Minnesota Adult Abuse Reporting Center is tasked with reviewing complaints, investigating, and taking legal action against assisted living centers and employees. If you observe any form of nursing home abuse, toward your own loved one or another resident, report it to the agency right away.
- Criminal Charges: Extreme forms of nursing home abuse may rise to the level of criminal acts, which means you should get law enforcement involved immediately by calling 911. State and federal officials will aggressively pursue criminal charges against an offender.
- Civil Lawsuits: While the above remedies may lead to punishing sanctions like revocation of the facility’s license or jail time, they cannot help victims get their lives back after suffering at the hands of their caretakers. The losses can be considerable, which is why you may want to consider filing a civil claim against an employee or the nursing home to recover compensation for the trauma your loved one has endured.
Brainerd, MN Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys Pursue Those That Break Your Trust
Many civil lawsuits for nursing home abuse are based upon negligence, which means you must prove the same elements that apply to other cases involving personal injury. They are:
- You must establish that the nursing home had a duty to provide care in a level that is reasonable. This standard may be based upon a contract for residential placement, but it may also be found in the federal and state statutes covering healthcare facilities.
- It is necessary to show that the nursing home or employees breached the duty of care through negligence.
- You must show a direct link between the breach and the nursing home abuse injuries; and,
- You have to prove losses due to the nursing home’s misconduct, for which you are entitled to compensation.
Under many circumstances of nursing home abuse, family members must pursue a claim in the name of their loved one due to a lack of legal capacity. In a worst case scenario, you may have to file a wrongful death claim for a victim who died from his or her injuries. Whether you are the victim, are seeking compensation for someone who cannot, the elements remain the same. If successful, you may be able to recover:
- Medical costs to treat the victim’s injuries;
- Expenses to move the victim to a safe environment;
- Pain and suffering damages;
- Losses related to emotional distress; and,
- Other damages that depend on your specific circumstances.
Common Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse takes many forms, so it is critical to be vigilant about the warning signs. Keep an eye out for such factors as:
- Physical Abuse: Any obvious injuries are cause for concern, including broken bones, sprains, strains, bruises, scars, ligature marks from restraints, and others. Other associated indications of nursing home abuse may include broken glasses or personal effects. In addition, be wary of any signs of sexual abuse, such as STDs, genital infections, or bleeding.
- Emotional Abuse: This category of trauma may be less visible, but there are signs. Carefully monitor changes in personality, emotional outbursts, rocking, symptoms that resemble dementia, and other manifestations.
- Caregiver Neglect: There are many ways a nursing home or employees can engage in acts of neglect, which is actionable under Minnesota law. Examples include leaving the resident alone, not dressing him or her for the weather, or errors in delivering key medications. More obvious problems may be unsafe or unsanitary conditions at the facility or in the resident’s living quarters. Take action right away if you spot bed sores, observe a significant weight loss, or detect foul odors.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney in Brainerd, MN Today
If you or a loved one suffered injuries due to nursing home abuse, you may have a cause of action to recover compensation for your losses. Federal and Minnesota law protect vulnerable victims who may not be able to protect themselves, but the process of filing a claim can be complicated.
Our nursing home abuse attorneys at Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm LLC know that there is no excuse for this type of misconduct, so we are committed to pursuing wrongdoers to the fullest extent of the law. We serve clients in Brainerd, MN, Crow Wing County, and throughout the Twin Cities, so please call us at (763) 225-2695 or visit us online to set up a free appointment.