Recovering "Harm to Dignity" Damages in Nursing Home Abuse Cases

Are you concerned that a loved one may be suffering from nursing home abuse? It’s important to investigate, but you don’t have to do it alone: An experienced nursing home abuse attorney can help. Contact Case Barnett Law to schedule a free consultation. 

Everyone deserves to live out their golden years with dignity in a comfortable and safe environment. Sadly, not all seniors are so lucky. Elder Care

The reality is that elder abuse is a pervasive problem, and it affects people from all backgrounds. It can occur in any environment and be perpetrated by anyone. However, elder abuse is perhaps most insidious when committed in a nursing home by the very people who are paid to care for the elderly. 

Additionally, nursing home abuse can take many forms. While some signs of physical abuse or neglect—such as injuries or bedsores—are visible to the eye, other injuries go much deeper. Some occur on a psychological, emotional, and mental level and can harm our dignity. Fortunately, victims of this type of abuse aren’t without legal recourse

At Case Barnett Law, we take nursing home abuse extremely seriously. If you suspect a loved one is being neglected or abused in a nursing home, you owe it to them to find out. We can help you investigate the situation and, if necessary, pursue compensation through a nursing home abuse lawsuit. 

This article will explain everything you need to know about suing for nursing home abuse, including the nature of “harm to dignity” damages and how an experienced attorney can help hold the at-fault parties accountable. 

Ready to find justice for an elderly loved one? The Costa Mesa personal injury attorney team at Case Barnett Law is here for you. Contact us online or give us a call at (949) 409-0055 to explore your legal options with a compassionate attorney.

Why Does Nursing Home Abuse Happen? 

Elderly individuals are vulnerable to various types of abuse, especially if they depend on caregivers to fulfill their basic needs. Seniors who live in nursing home facilities are some of the most susceptible to abuse, as they not only depend on others to provide them with necessities like food, water, and medical treatment but are also isolated from the outside world. 

Elder abuse in nursing homes takes a variety of forms, which is why it’s not always easy for outsiders to identify. Here are some of the most common types of nursing home abuse: 

  • Physical abuse. Physical abuse is the infliction of any bodily harm, such as slapping, pushing, and hitting. It may also include restraining an individual against their will by locking them in a room or tying them to a piece of furniture. 
  • Emotional abuse. Emotional or psychological abuse is characterized by causing someone mental distress or anguish and may involve saying hurtful things, yelling and threatening or ignoring an elderly individual. It may also include preventing a resident from seeing close friends or relatives. 
  • Neglect. Neglect is a type of abuse that occurs when a caregiver doesn’t make a sufficient effort to meet an elderly patient’s needs. It may include ignoring their physical, emotional, medical, and social needs. 
  • Abandonment. This type of abuse refers to leaving an older adult to plan their future care alone when they need help or are incapable of doing so on their own. 
  • Sexual abuse. As the residents of nursing homes are typically dependent on the people who care for them, any sexual advance may be considered sexual abuse, especially if it involves forcing them to watch or participate in sexual acts. 
  • Financial abuse. Financial abuse in nursing homes occurs when a staff member misuses or steals a resident’s money or manipulates them into giving it to them. It can involve a variety of actions, but each of them is characterized by taking advantage of a vulnerable elder for financial gain. 

When it comes to nursing home abuse, each form is serious, and every victim is deserving of justice. Nursing home abuse, in all of its forms, results in a variety of compensable losses. One of those possible losses is harm to dignity, which can result from the violation of a number of guaranteed rights. 

Nursing Home Residents’ Rights Under California Law

Under both federal and California State laws, nursing homes are required to ensure a number of critical rights for their residents. Among these is a resident’s right to be treated with dignity and respect and to make choices about how they want to live their everyday life and receive care. Here are some of the many specific rights to which a nursing home resident is entitled: 

  • The ability to choose a personal attending physician
  • Being fully informed of their health status
  • Participating in the development of their care and treatment plans
  • Being free from physical and chemical restraints except for in emergency situations
  • The right to refuse treatment 
  • Preparation of an Advance Health Care Directive (Advance Care Directive)
  • Access to health records, financial records, and other related documents
  • Freedom of pharmacy choice

Ultimately, a nursing home must provide its residents with the necessary care, treatment, and services to achieve or maintain their highest practical level of well-being, including physical, mental, and social wellness. They must also allow residents to be involved in deciding what those services will involve, and when they fail to do so, they may be held liable for any resulting harm to a resident’s dignity. 

Damage, loss, or harm to one’s dignity is a type of non-economic damage, meaning that it evades a clear and precise dollar amount. Whereas economic damages refer to easily calculable financial losses, non-economic losses are typically compensated according to severity. Calculating an appropriate settlement amount for these damages is complex, which is why it’s so important to work with an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer from the start

Case Barnett Law: Top-Tier Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys Serving Orange County, California

Elder abuse cases, including nursing home abuse lawsuits, are often complicated and expensive to pursue. Not every personal injury attorney has the experience, resources, and ability to secure compensation for elderly victims successfully. Luckily, we do. 

If you suspect a loved one is suffering from nursing home abuse or elder abuse in any form, we implore you to reach out for legal assistance in investigating their situation. As one of the most vulnerable populations among us, the elderly individuals in our community need and deserve your assistance in ensuring their quality of life. 

Ready to explore your options? Contact Case Barnett Law online or give our elder care attorney team a call at (949) 409-0055 to schedule a free case evaluation today.
Case C. Barnett
Costa Mesa Personal Injury Attorney practicing in child injury law, car accident injuries and elder abuse law
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