Minnesota Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Helping Clients and Their Families in Cambridge
It is incomprehensible to think that someone could cause physical injury or emotional trauma to a vulnerable person who has been entrusted to their care. However, nursing home abuse is more common than you think, and the statistics prove it: According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), one in ten of all nursing home residents experience abuse or neglect in various forms. In many situations, it is up to family members to take a stand against misconduct to protect a loved one who cannot.
Our knowledgeable nursing home abuse attorneys at the Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm have the experience to assist you with pursuing all legal remedies available under Minnesota and federal law. We are dedicated to fighting for the victims of mistreatment, because we have families, too. Please schedule a free consultation today to learn more about how a Cambridge, MN nursing home abuse lawyer can help, and read on for more information about these cases.
Minnesota Law on Nursing Home Abuse
Under the federal Nursing Home Reform Act and the Minnesota Health Care Bill of Rights, nursing homes must comply with certain legal requirements as they pertain to operations and the rights of patients. For example:
- The facility must have physicians and credentialled healthcare providers available as necessary to meet the medical needs of residents.
- Nursing homes must have a sufficient number of qualified nursing staff on duty at all times, including registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and nursing assistants.
- Assisted living centers are expected to have nursing personnel present at all nurses’ stations, all floors, and all buildings when there is more than one housing structure.
- These requirements must be fulfilled with respect to relief duty, weekends, and vacation replacements.
Sadly, too many nursing homes in Minnesota do not comply with these obligations and the legal duty of care, putting residents’ rights at risk. If you loved one’s health, safety, and rights are in jeopardy, you generally have three tactics for addressing the matter:
- Administrative Proceedings: If you witness or sense nursing home abuse, you should report it to the Minnesota Adult Abuse Reporting Center immediately. This agency follows designated regulations for conducting an investigation, sharing the results, and notifying other state and federal authorities.
- Criminal Proceedings: For very serious, violent, or egregious forms of nursing home abuse, you should call 911 immediately and request medical and law enforcement assistance. Certain conduct that rises to the level of criminal violence will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
- Civil Claims and Lawsuits: Though the administrative and criminal processes may lead to such punishment as fines, license revocation, or even jail time, these proceedings do nothing to make up for the pain and trauma for the victim. Where necessary to make your loved one whole after suffering nursing home abuse, it may be beneficial to bring a civil claim against a specific employee, executive, or the entire nursing home facility.
Cambridge, MN Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys Protect Rights and Dignity
By pursuing a civil claim, a victim may recover various types of damages by proving that a nursing home engaged in acts of abuse, neglect, or exploitation. If the person is unable to do so because of incapacity, certain family members can step into his or her shoes to bring suit. In these types of cases, it is necessary to prove four essential elements:
- Duty: You must show that the facility had a duty to provide care in a level that is reasonable based upon the circumstances. This duty may arise under a contract for residential care, but there are also legal obligations established by state and federal law.
- Breach: It is necessary to prove that the nursing center, its agents, or employees breached the duty of care through intentional acts, negligence, or recklessness.
- Causation: There must be a link between the breach of duty and the harm suffered by the victim, such that the misconduct directly caused it.
- Damages: You must show monetary and other types of losses as a result of the nursing home’s breach.
If successful in proving these elements, it is possible to recover economic and noneconomic damages, such as:
- Medical costs of treating the victim’s injuries;
- Relocation expenses;
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional anguish;
- Attorney’s fees; and,
- Any other losses available by law.
Warning Signs That Must Not Go Unreported
For many different reasons, the victim may not be able to express the existence of abusive acts; in other situations, there may be a fear of retribution for complaining. Therefore, it is up to you to be on the lookout for signs that indicate nursing home abuse, such as:
- Evidence of physical abuse, including broken bones, dislocations, sprains, bruising, scars, or welts;
- Signs of restraint, such as rope marks on wrists;
- Broken eyeglasses or personal items;
- Indications of emotional abuse, including rocking, abrupt outbursts, mood swings, symptoms resembling dementia, and others;
- Sexual abuse warning signs, such as infections, STDs, and bleeding; and,
- Many other indications of misconduct.
Note that nursing home neglect can be just as much threat to your loved one as abuse, so also keep an eye out for such red flags as:
- Leaving the resident alone in inappropriate settings;
- Being improperly dressed for weather;
- Unsafe or unsanitary living conditions;
- Bed sores;
- Dirty clothing, towels, and bed linens;
- Weight loss;
- Odors of feces, urine, or vomit; and,
- Related signs of neglect.
Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney in Cambridge, MN for Help
Nursing home abuse is intolerable and reprehensible, which is why federal and Minnesota law offers multiple options to bring an abuser or facility to justice. It is important to follow the guidelines to address misconduct through the relevant administrative and criminal channels, but you should also take action to seek the compensation a victim deserves. Our nursing home abuse attorneys at Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm LLC will be at your side throughout the process, from investigation to filing a claim to taking the battle to court.
Please call us at (763) 225-2695 or check out our website to schedule a free, no-obligations consultation. We represent clients in Cambridge, MN, Isanti County, and throughout the Twin Cities area, and we are dedicated to protecting the rights of victims of elder abuse.