Can I Sue a Nursing Home for Abusing My Grandparent?
Elder abuse and neglect are reaching epidemic proportions in the United States, affecting an estimated one out of 10 senior citizens. The list of potential nursing home violations and health hazards is virtually endless: unhealthy diet, abandonment by caregivers, physical abuse, bed sores, preventable falls, and other preventable safety issues. Needless to say, facilities which allow these problems to develop are not in compliance with state or federal nursing home regulations. If you’re worried that your grandma or grandpa was the victim of neglect or violence at a senior care facility, you should contact an experienced Oklahoma nursing home abuse lawyer for help reviewing your family’s legal options. Your loved one could be entitled to compensation.
How to Report a Nursing Home Violation in Oklahoma
Nursing homes are regulated by both federal and Oklahoma authorities. The Oklahoma Department of Health, along with the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, regulate nursing homes in Oklahoma.
Annual inspections, called surveys, are conducted by agents from the Oklahoma Department of Health or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. These are intended to ensure that nursing homes are complying with federal and state guidelines. Surveys are generally unannounced and are taken most often at nursing homes with histories of violations, or if numerous complaints have been made. (We covered some of these facilities in our article on the worst nursing homes in Oklahoma.)
If you have a concern about a suspected health or safety violation, and the head of the facility fails to address the problem, you should file a complaint with the Oklahoma State Department of Health by sending an email to ltccomplaints (at) health (dot) ok (dot) gov. The “ltc” in the email address stands for Long Term Care, which includes nursing homes and assisted living centers.
As long as the violations do not pose an immediate threat to the safety of residents, the nursing home will be allowed to give investigators a plan detailing how necessary changes will be made. This is called a Plan of Correction. However, if resident safety is at risk, regulators have the power to:
- Impose fines.
- Name new supervisors.
- Suspend new admissions to the facility.
- Suspend the nursing home’s license.
Despite state and federal laws designed to regulate nursing homes and assisted living facilities, abuse and neglect are unfortunately still rampant, as our elder abuse infographic shows. If you believe your loved one’s injury was caused by negligence or intentional mistreatment, you should speak to an attorney about your family’s legal options.
Getting Compensated: What Damages Can an Injury Victim Recover?
This is a difficult question to answer without knowing the specifics of the case. What you should definitely consider, however, is that if the injury requires ongoing medical treatment, you should not accept a settlement before every aspect of the injury has been treated successfully. This is the only way to determine an accurate idea of the costs associated with care and how much compensation you may be able to obtain.
Damages are monetary awards for an injury victim’s losses and hardships. There are many different kinds of damages available to plaintiffs in Oklahoma nursing home abuse lawsuits, including compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Loss of normal life
- Wrongful death
In wrongful death cases, the decedent’s heirs may be able to obtain damages for the loss of their loved one. In situations where the victim suffered an injury before he or she passed away, the decedent’s heirs or estate may be able to obtain survival damages, which allows for recovery of damages for pain and suffering before the abuse victim passed away.
In every case, the amount of compensation awarded varies due to many different factors, including the severity of the injury, the victim’s age, the level of misconduct of the nursing home, and other many issues.
Free Consultation with an Oklahoma Nursing Home Neglect Attorney
Nursing home representatives, like risk managers and their lawyers, may seem like they are trying to help you — but they work for the nursing home. They are interested in protecting the nursing home’s interests, not yours. You should not discuss any specifics of your case without first contacting a qualified Oklahoma personal injury lawyer who can investigate the situation and advise you of your options.
Contact the attorneys of Hasbrook & Hasbrook today at (405) 698-3040 to determine if you have a valid claim. Our skilled and highly knowledgeable legal team has decades of experience aggressively handling personal injury claims in the Oklahoma City area.