How a California Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Lawsuit Can Help You Secure Justice

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How to File a California Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Lawsuit for Damages

How to File a California Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Lawsuit for Damages

Mar 23, 2023

Nursing home abuse and neglect is unfortunately a widespread issue impacting elderly individuals throughout the nation. As many media reports have uncovered, rampant nursing home abuse occurred over the years in California, particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic persisted. In fact, the owners of an “upscale” Los Angeles extended care facility were recently charged in 14 COVID-19 deaths.

How a California Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Lawsuit Can Help You Secure Justice

The facility – Silverado Beverly Place Memory Care Community – housed and treated elderly patients suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia. Tragically, it was the site of a COVID-19 outbreak in March 2020, a Los Angeles Times report confirmed.

“The employee and residents died during the outbreak, in which 45 employees and 60 residents were infected, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. The facility’s operators were sued in civil court by the families of multiple residents and the employee who died,” the Times said, noting that the facility was the subject of a 2020 investigation by the newspaper.

When nursing home injuries and deaths occur due to neglect or abuse, a civil lawsuit with Dordulian Law Group (DLG) can ensure that you and your family obtain justice and recover maximum financial compensation for the harm endured.

In the sections below, we will review everything you need to know about nursing home abuse and neglect lawsuits in California.

How Common is Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?

Sadly, nursing home abuse and neglect impacts far more seniors than most of us realize. Although studies suggest that it’s difficult to accurately determine the exact rate of nursing home abuse, research suggests that it is actually widespread throughout the nation.

In fact, a study by the National Center on Elder Abuse found that about one in 10 seniors may experience some form of abuse while in a nursing home or extended care facility. Other studies, unfortunately, have found even greater incidences of nursing home abuse and neglect – with as many as one in three facilities being officially cited for violations.

What is Nursing Home Abuse?

Although nursing home abuse can come in many forms, it’s often difficult to detect due to senior victims being unwilling to report incidents (whether due to fear, apathy, lack of confidence that anything will be done, etc.).

Some of the most common examples of nursing home abuse and neglect that can warrant a civil lawsuit for damages include:

  • Physical abuse: Any intentional physical harm inflicted on a facility resident – such abuse may include hitting, slapping, pushing, or restraining.
  • Emotional abuse: Any verbal or nonverbal behaviors that cause emotional distress or pain – such abuse may include yelling, insulting, or humiliating an extended care facility resident.
  • Sexual abuse: Any unwanted sexual contact or behavior, including touching, groping, or coerced sexual acts. This may also entail sexually suggestive photographs or any type of miscellaneous sexual violence against a vulnerable and non-consenting senior citizen.
  • Financial exploitation: Any misuse or theft of a resident’s funds, property, or assets, such as stealing their credit card or forging their signature.
  • Neglect: Any purposeful failure to provide adequate care or attention to a resident’s needs – examples of such abuse can include restricting or refusing food, water, medication, and hygiene.
  • Abandonment: This often entails a resident being left alone or unattended to by a facility staffer without providing adequate care or supervision.
  • Overmedication: Any excessive or inappropriate use of medication to control a resident’s behavior or symptoms. Such abuse often occurs without a resident’s consent or knowledge.

If you believe someone at a nursing home is being abused or neglected, there are certain recommended steps to take.

What To Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect

If you suspect nursing home abuse in California, you should report the abuse immediately and then take action to protect the resident.

The top recommended steps to take if you suspect nursing home abuse in California include:

  • Alert the nursing home staff: If you suspect abuse or neglect, notify the nursing home staff immediately. They have a duty to investigate your concerns and take action to protect the resident.
  • Contact Adult Protective Services (APS): If you suspect wrongdoing, contact the California Adult Protective Services program. They will investigate and take action if needed.
  • Contact local law enforcement: If you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect, contact your local police department. They will investigate and take action if necessary.
  • Contact a nursing home abuse attorney from Dordulian Law Group: If you suspect nursing home abuse, contacting an experienced nursing home abuse attorney from our offices who can help ensure that you stop the incidents from occurring and take the first step toward securing the justice you or your loved one deserves. Our dedicated and skilled nursing home abuse lawyers will advise you on your legal rights and help you take action to protect the resident.
  • Document everything: Keep a detailed record of your observations, including dates, times, and what you observed. This will help support your case if you need to take legal action with our team of California attorneys.
  • Follow up: Follow up with the appropriate authorities to ensure that your complaint is being investigated. Additionally, you may want to consider moving your loved one to another nursing home if the abuse continues.

It’s important to remember that nursing home abuse is never acceptable. In addition, there are resources available to help protect the rights of nursing home residents in California.

Resources Available if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse in California

The following entities have been identified as resources for you or your family if you ever suspect nursing home abuse or neglect in California:

  • California Department of Aging: This department is available to residents of the Golden State and provides assistance and resources for seniors, including information about nursing home abuse. You can contact them at 1-800-510-2020.
  • California Department of Public Health: This department is responsible for investigating complaints of abuse in nursing homes. You can file a complaint with them by calling 1-877-287-0010.
  • Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program: This program provides support and advocacy for residents of long-term care facilities, including nursing homes. You can contact them at 1-800-231-4024.
  • California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR): This organization provides information and advocacy for nursing home residents and their families. They can be reached at 1-800-474-1116.
  • Elder Abuse Hotline: If you suspect elder abuse, you can contact the Elder Abuse Hotline at 1-800-922-2275.

Who is Eligible to File a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit?

Seniors and dependent adults are protected in California by the “Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act (EADACPA).

Under the act, a “senior” is defined as a person age 65 or older who resides in the Golden State. It also defines a “dependent adult” as any 16-64-year-old California resident with physical or mental limitations that restrict their ability to carry out normal activities or to protect their rights.

A victim of nursing home abuse or neglect who is able may file a lawsuit on his or her own behalf. Alternatively, the victim’s family has the right file a civil lawsuit or report on behalf of their loved one via:

  • A power of attorney (POA)
  • A court-appointed guardianship

What Damages are Recoverable in a Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Lawsuit?

Depending on the circumstances of you or your loved one’s unique case, the team of nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers at DLG will fight aggressively to secure all applicable damages for your claim:

  • Medical expenses (past and future): Damages may be awarded to cover any medical expenses related to the abuse or neglect, such as hospitalization, medication, and ongoing medical care/treatment.
  • Pain and suffering: Damages may be awarded to compensate the victim for physical pain, emotional distress, and mental anguish caused by the abuse or neglect.
  • Reduced quality or enjoyment of life: Damages may be awarded to compensate the victim for the loss of enjoyment of life caused by the abuse or neglect, including being unable to participate in activities they once enjoyed.
  • Punitive damages: In some cases, punitive damages may be awarded to punish a nursing home that demonstrates wanton disregard for human life. If a nursing home facility’s actions were particularly heinous or negligent, punitive damages – which are not capped in the state of California – may be awarded in an effort to punish their conduct and deter others from engaging in similar behavior.
  • Wrongful death: If the abuse or neglect resulted in the death of the resident, damages may be awarded to compensate the surviving family members for the loss of their loved one.

What is a California Nursing Home Wrongful Death Claim?

In California, a nursing home wrongful death claim is a legal action that is brought when a resident of an extended care facility dies due to the negligence, abuse, or neglect of either the facility or its staff member(s).

A death in a nursing home due to negligence, carelessness, or abuse constitutes a tragedy for families, and the aftermath can be stressful and burdensome. When a loved one dies in a nursing home, the surviving family members are often left with questions about the circumstances of the death. If you suspect that your loved one’s nursing home death was due to negligence or abuse, it’s important to contact DLG’s elder abuse and wrongful death attorneys to discuss filing a claim for damages.

How is a California Nursing Home Wrongful Death Claim Proven?

To prove a nursing home wrongful death claim, the plaintiff must show that either the facility or its staff were negligent, abusive, careless/reckless, or engaged in willful misconduct. With the help of your DLG nursing home abuse lawyer, the negligence or misconduct which led to the death of your loved one will be presented in a civil lawsuit seeking financial compensation.

In successful nursing home wrongful death claims, the surviving family members may be awarded damages for various losses, including but not limited to:

  • Compensation for medical expenses
  • Funeral or burial expenses
  • Loss of income or support
  • Loss of insurance
  • Loss of companionship

As wrongful death claims are often complex and challenging to prove, the importance of working with an experienced and proven nursing home abuse attorney who specializes in these types of cases can’t be overstated. Accordingly, choosing DLG – California’s top-rated and most experienced elder abuse and neglect attorneys – is the best decision you and your family can make.

DLG’s nursing home abuse, neglect, and wrongful death attorneys have the knowledge, skill, and proven results you need for peace of mind throughout the entire litigation process.

Contact a California Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Lawyer for a Free Consultation

If your elderly loved one was abused or died as a result of nursing home negligence, you have the sincerest condolences of everyone at DLG. Our team of nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers is led by Sam Dordulian, a former prosecutor in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office who has obtained life sentences against some of the community’s most dangerous criminals. After transitioning from the D.A.’s Office to private practice, Dordulian began fighting for justice on behalf of the injured, vulnerable, and victimized in civil court.

With more than 100 jury trial victories for injured victims like you and over $100,000,000.00 in settlements and verdicts obtained for his clients, Dordulian has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to obtaining justice for those in need.

To speak with a nursing home abuse or neglect lawyer from DLG, contact us today at 866-GO-SEE-SAM. We never charge any upfront or out-of-pocket fees for our expert legal services. You or your loved one will not pay a penny until after we’ve secured a maximum financial damages award for your nursing home abuse, neglect, or wrongful death case.

Don’t let the nursing home get away with the injustice perpetrated on you or the person you love. Contact DLG’s experienced elder abuse lawyers today at 866-GO-SEE-SAM to take the first step toward holding the wrongdoers accountable and obtaining justice through maximum financial compensation.

Our Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Lawyers are here to help survivors secure justice. Contact our top-rated attorneys online or by phone for a free consultation today.

Remember, justice denied for a nursing home abuse or neglect case doesn’t have to be your reality – you have options under California law and can get the justice you deserve with the dedicated team of elder abuse and wrongful death lawyers at Dordulian Law Group fighting in your corner.

Go See Sam