When people entrust their loved ones to the care of a nursing home, they expect that the nursing home and its employees will provide their loved ones with the medical care and treatment that they require. Sadly, however, this does not always happen, and nursing homes and their employees behave negligently. These actions or inactions, in turn, can lead to nursing home patients becoming injured or ill as a result.
If your loved one resides at a nursing home and they have suffered an illness or injury due to nursing home neglect, you may be in a position to take legal action against the nursing home –or against a negligent nursing home employee.
The skilled team of St. Louis nursing home negligence attorneys at Dixon Injury Firm can investigate what went on at the nursing home and can bring the necessary claim on behalf of your loved one. Our goal is to make sure that your loved one receives full and fair compensation for everything they went through following the nursing home’s act of negligence.
Please contact us today to find out more about how we can help you recover compensation for nursing home negligence on behalf of your loved one.
Common Examples of Nursing Home Neglect
You expect nursing home employees to treat residents with a high degree of respect and care and nursing homes to comply with all regulations and guidelines. When they fail to act reasonably under the circumstances, and a nursing home patient suffers an injury or illness as a result, then the employee and the nursing home can both be liable.
Nursing home neglect can take different forms. In general, neglect occurs when an employee fails to meet the patient’s needs or fails to provide the patient with the necessary and proper care that they require.
Some common types of nursing home neglect include:
- Failing to monitor patients – When staff does not monitor certain patients appropriately-especially those who have dementia and other serious illnesses-they can fall to the ground and injure themselves while they are unsupervised.
- Failing to provide a resident with their medication – Nursing home staff members are responsible for providing patients with the correct medications, in the correct dosage, and at the proper times of the day. When staff mix up medications or do not give the medication to the patient at the appropriate time of day, the patient can suffer a serious illness or other complications.
- Failing to maintain the nursing facility properly – During the COVID-19 pandemic, proper sanitation procedures and cleanliness are never more important-most especially at nursing homes where many patients are at high risk for developing COVID-19 and other serious illnesses. Nursing home employees are responsible for making sure that patient rooms, bathrooms, and common areas are in a reasonably safe and clean condition at all times-and that floors are free of spills, debris, and other trip-and-fall hazards. When nursing facilities are not maintained properly and kept clean, serious accidents can occur that lead to patient injuries. Fall accidents are especially serious in nursing homes, and elderly patients can suffer a hip injury, broken bone, soft tissue contusion, or head injury in a slip and fall accident.
- Failing to respond to patient needs and complaints – Nursing home employees are responsible for responding to patient needs, including providing food and medication to patients. Nursing home employees must also respond to patient complaints and emergencies promptly. Failing to do so can result in the resident suffering a heart attack, stroke, or some other emergency medical condition. Nursing home employees are also responsible for bathing patients regularly since failing to do so can lead to conditions like bedsores and pressure ulcers.
- Failing to provide residents with the proper medical care – In addition to providing for residents’ daily needs, nursing homes are responsible for providing their residents with all of the medical care that they require, including medical procedures and physical therapy. After all, the reason why many individuals reside at nursing facilities and convalescent centers is that they cannot care for themselves. When nursing homes and their employees fail to see that residents have access to the care that they need, residents can suffer a serious illness that can lead to further complications.
If your loved one has become injured or ill due to one or more of these types of neglect at a nursing home, the skilled St. Louis nursing home negligence attorneys at Dixon Injury Firm are ready and willing to help. Our legal team can explain all of your legal options for moving forward and can help you pursue compensation for your loved one’s injury or illness.
Common Signs of Nursing Home Neglect
In many instances, residents of nursing homes are prime candidates for abuse and neglect because they do not have family members and friends around to monitor their situations. Consequently, the neglect can sometimes go on unchecked until a family member or friend finally discovers it. Fortunately, observable signs and symptoms sometimes accompany nursing home abuse and neglect.
These signs of neglect include:
- Cuts, bruises, scrapes, or abrasions on the nursing home resident’s body
- Unpleasant smells emanating from the patient’s body or room
- Pressure sores on the resident’s body (usually from a lack of cleanliness or bathing)
- Social withdrawal or overall depressed mood (if the patient did not exhibit those symptoms previously)
- Sudden fits of anger or aggressiveness from the resident
- Sudden illness
If you have exhibited any of these signs or symptoms in a loved one who resides at a nursing facility, you should speak with a knowledgeable St. Louis nursing home negligence lawyer at Dixon Injury Firm as soon as possible. Our legal team can look into the situation and determine if you might be in a position to assert a claim for negligence against the nursing home. If so, we can pursue the claim on behalf of your loved one, and if necessary, litigate it in the Missouri state court system.
Who Can Be Held Responsible for Negligent Acts That Occur in St. Louis Nursing Homes?
Anyone who a nursing facility employs can be fully or partially responsible for an act of negligence that occurs. Potentially responsible individuals include doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, administrators, dietitians, and others employed by the nursing home.
All of these employees are required to demonstrate a reasonable standard of care when they are caring for and treating nursing home residents. For example, the law typically holds a nurse to the standard of care of a hypothetical ‘reasonable nurse’ who is acting under the same or similar circumstances. When a nursing home employee behaves in a neglectful manner and violates the required duty of care, and an accident or injury occurs to a resident, the resident can pursue monetary compensation in the form of damages.
If you suspect that one or more nursing home employees have committed an act of neglect against your loved one, it is important to recognize that you may have legal options available. The knowledgeable St. Louis nursing home negligence attorneys at Dixon Injury Firm can take the necessary legal actions to pursue monetary compensation and damages for your injured or ill loved one.
Consequences of Nursing Home Neglect
When nursing home employees behave in an abusive or neglectful manner, serious injuries and illnesses can befall nursing home residents. In some instances, nursing home residents may suffer serious and debilitating injuries, such as a head injury, back injury, or hip injury, suffered in a slip and fall accident.
Moreover, when staff do not properly clean and maintain nursing homes and patient rooms are not maintained, residents can suffer from serious illnesses, including COVID-19. Unsanitary conditions can lead to the spread of germs in the nursing facility, resulting in patient illnesses. In the case of COVID-19, when one patient in the nursing facility contracts the illness, many other patients in the facility will likely also become ill.
If your loved one has become injured or ill due to nursing home neglect or abuse, the knowledgeable St. Louis nursing home negligence lawyers at Dixon Injury Firm are ready to help. Our legal team will promptly investigate the situation and pursue monetary compensation on your loved one’s behalf.
Filing a Claim for Negligence against a Nursing Home
If your loved one has become injured or ill as a result of nursing home neglect, you might be in a position to file a claim or lawsuit against a nursing home employee or against the nursing home itself. Filing a claim against a nursing home can be an uphill battle since insurance companies are going to try and do everything that they possibly can to limit their exposure and monetary payout. Therefore, if you are contemplating filing a claim for nursing home neglect, get a knowledgeable St. Louis nursing home negligence attorney by your side every step of the way.
Your lawyer can assist throughout the process by filing a claim on your loved one’s behalf and fielding settlement offers from the insurance company. If the insurance company does not offer sufficient compensation, you have the option of filing a formal lawsuit in the Missouri state court system.
Once the case is in litigation, settlement negotiations may continue, after which the case may settle. Otherwise, you will have the option of taking the case to a jury trial or an alternative dispute resolution proceeding, such as mediation or arbitration. Our knowledgeable legal team will explain all of the options that are available to you and your loved one and will pursue the compensation that your loved one needs for their injuries.
Victims of nursing home neglect have five years from the date of the incident, illness, or injury in which to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit. Therefore, as soon as you learn about the neglect, seek legal representation right away. Your attorney can ensure that the five-year statute of limitations is complied with, safeguarding your loved one’s right to monetary compensation.
Types of Compensation Stemming From Nursing Home Neglect That Your Loved One Can Pursue and Recover
If your loved one has suffered an injury or illness due to nursing home neglect, you may pursue monetary compensation in your case, by way of a claim or lawsuit against the nursing home, for:
- Medical expenses
- Compensation for pain and suffering
- Compensation for loss of the ability to use a body part (such as in a slip and fall accident that occurred on nursing home premises)
- Loss of enjoyment of life
If your loved one passed away due to abuse or neglect by nursing home staff, you may have a personal representative appointed to your loved one’s estate and have them file a wrongful death claim.
The experienced St. Louis nursing home negligence lawyers at Dixon Injury Firm will make it their priority to get your loved one the compensation they deserve. We seek justice for injured nursing home residents and hold facilities accountable for preventable mistreatment and injuries that occurred.
St. Louis Nursing Home Negligence FAQs
Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are where you turn to help ensure that your aging relative receives the care and attention they need to continue living life to the fullest.
If your loved one is, instead, harmed by the nursing home’s negligence regarding their care, the effects can be devastating. The surest way to help protect your loved one’s rights and recovery is with an experienced St. Louis nursing home negligence attorney in your corner.
At the Dixon Firm-serving both St. Louis and Metro East areas-we recognize the gravity of your situation, and we have the experience, compassion, and drive to help.
St. Louis Has Much to Offer Older Adults
As a St. Louis firm, we like to take a moment and pay homage to our beautiful city by taking a quick peek at everything it has to offer, including:
- World-class art venues, including Citygarden, the St. Louis Art Museum (SLAM), the Fabulous Fox Theater, and the City Museum
- The St. Louis Cardinals home field, Busch Stadium
- Beautiful parks, including Forest Park, which is one of the biggest urban parks in the country
- The beautiful and iconic Gateway Arch, which is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the nation
In addition to these attractions, our city boasts a thriving dining and entertainment culture, and one does not have to look far to get to a new restaurant offering never-before-tried foods from various parts of the world. When you consider these amenities in light of our relatively low cost of living, St. Louis scores high on the list of places where seniors living on a fixed income can enjoy their retirement years.
What is nursing home negligence?
Nursing home negligence differs from nursing home abuse in that there is no intent to harm nursing home residents. Instead, nursing home negligence refers to harm caused by the nursing home facility failing to live up to its responsibility of care.
The Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services defines negligence as “a general term that denotes conduct lacking in due care, carelessness, and a deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would use in a particular set of circumstances. Further, anyone, including non-medical persons, can be liable for negligence.”
In other words, if your loved one isn’t receiving the care that you’d expect from a nursing home facility, it very well could amount to nursing home negligence.
What rights do nursing home residents have?
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services say that nursing home residents deserve a wide range of minimal rights and protections.
The Right to Be Treated with Respect
Your loved one has the right to be treated with the respect and dignity that everyone deserves, including setting their schedules and participating in their chosen activities.
The Right Not to Suffer Either Abuse or Neglect
Your loved one has the right not to suffer from abuse of any kind, including:
- Verbal abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
The same goes for negligence of any kind. For example, the nursing home cannot fail to meet your loved one’s basic healthcare needs (as addressed in their intake information and on an ongoing basis). An example of emotional negligence is failing to provide your loved one with adequate opportunities to socialize with other residents and visitors.
The Right to Be Free from Restraints
Nursing homes are not allowed to use physical (such as side rails on a bed) or chemical (such as medications) restraints for their convenience. Nursing home staff must medically justify any use of restraints.
The Right to Be Make Complaints
Your loved one has the right to make complaints about the treatment they receive with absolutely no fear of punishment or another form of reprisal. If your loved one tells you-either directly or in so many words-that the nursing home has neglected or abused them, take the matter very seriously (rather than taking a wait-and-see approach).
The Right to Be Fully Informed about Medical Care
Your loved one has all the following rights regarding the medical care they receive:
- The right to be fully informed (in a language they understand) about their health status, including medical conditions and prescription medications
- The right to choose their doctor and participate directly in making the decisions that affect their care
- The right to participate in making their care plan (and/or to allow named family members to weigh in for them)
- The right to have free access to all their records and reports
- The right to refuse experimental treatments
The Right to Manage One’s Own Money
Your loved one has the right to manage their finances or appoint someone to do so for them.
The Right to Spend Time with Visitors
Your loved one has the right to spend private time with visitors and to enjoy their company at any time they choose (as long as no mandates require otherwise, such as in response to the pandemic).
When a nursing home fails to uphold a resident’s minimum rights, such as those listed, it can amount to nursing home negligence or abuse-depending upon the circumstances involved.
What are the most common signs of nursing home neglect?
Nursing home neglect breaks down into several basic categories.
Medical neglect can take many forms, including:
- Failing to administer the appropriate medications according to the appropriate schedule
- Providing inadequate medical care for medical concerns that have already been identified, such as dementia, high blood pressure, or diabetes
- Failing to provide the necessary help with movement, which increases the risk of bedsores
- Failing to report any signs or symptoms of illness or infection to the appropriate medical professional
Social interaction is important to everyone’s health and well-being, and the social distancing that we experienced with the pandemic highlights this point. However, this fact is especially true for residents of nursing homes (who often cannot arrange their social schedules). When nursing homes fail to promote social interactions or prevent them altogether (as a matter of convenience), it may constitute neglect.
- Failing to provide the necessary movement aids-such as walkers and wheelchairs-to those with mobility concerns
- Isolating the most socially vulnerable residents (out of lack of forethought rather than purposefully)
- Failing to move residents into more interactive settings (for those with mobility or mental issues that preclude them from doing so on their own)
Neglect Involving the Basic Living Requirements
When the nursing home facility and/or its staff fails to keep the premises safe and sanitary, it is a form of neglect.
- Failing to provide residents with adequate nutrition and hydration
- Failing to keep the common areas and the residents’ rooms clean, comfortable, sanitary, and free of dangers such as slipping hazards
- Failing to keep the nursing home at a comfortable temperature
Neglect Related to Personal Hygiene
Poor hygiene is about more than your loved one’s appearance and sense of personal dignity. Poor hygiene can lead to negative health outcomes, including an increased risk of urinary tract infections.
Examples of poor hygiene that amounts to negligence include:
- Failing to provide residents with the assistance they need to change their clothes regularly
- Failing to keep residents’ clothing washed and available
- Failing to change residents’ bedding regularly
- Failing to provide residents with the help they need to bathe adequately and regularly
- Failing to check in on residents as necessary
What are some of the most common signs of nursing home neglect?
While nursing home neglect can take many forms, there are some basic signs that you should look out for, including:
- An unexplained decrease in overall health
- A decline in your loved one’s overall appearance (in terms of hygiene)
- Unexplained injuries and/or bruises
- A sudden increase in thirst or hunger or other signs of inadequate hydration or nutrition
- A decline in overall mood, including any signs of anxiety, fear, or depression)
- Heightened fatigue or insomnia
- Recurring illnesses
- Medical and/or dental concerns that go untreated
- A sudden and/or unexplained weight loss
- Any signs of malnutrition
What compensation can I seek on behalf of my loved one?
If your loved one has suffered harm because of nursing home negligence, you can seek compensation on their behalf for all of their losses (or legal damages) in two primary categories.
If your loved one has been injured or suffered an illness or decline in health due to a nursing home’s negligence, you can seek compensation to address the related medical expenses. The compensation available may include both current costs and any that are ongoing or that are required to address secondary health concerns. Because nursing home residents are so physically vulnerable, negligence of any form can have very negative consequences that require considerable medical care and attention.
Pain and Suffering
The physical and emotional pain and suffering caused by nursing home neglect can be difficult to overstate and should not be glossed over or overlooked in your nursing home neglect claim. Being injured, receiving inadequate care and attention, and/or being deprived of the opportunity to socialize can all be exceptionally painful.
Can I afford a nursing home neglect attorney?
Suppose your aging loved one has suffered harm because of nursing home neglect. In that case, you are likely overwhelmed and may be concerned about how you will afford a nursing home neglect attorney to skillfully advocate for your relative’s legal rights. This concern, however, is one that you don’t need to address. Because most reputable nursing home neglect attorneys work on contingency, they take on the financial risk (so you don’t have to). Contingency means that your attorney’s pay is contingent upon-or based upon-your claim’s settlement (or court award). If your loved one receives a settlement amount or a court award, they will pay your nursing home neglect attorney a prearranged percentage. If not, however, you won’t owe your attorney anything.
Will I have to go to court?
No one likes the idea of going to court to resolve a concern like nursing home negligence, and the fact is that it is unlikely you will need to. Far more claims are settled out of court than ever go to trial. If, however, the insurance company refuses to engage in fair dealings, your nursing home neglect attorney may advise you to file a lawsuit in pursuit of fair compensation that adequately covers your loved one’s losses. It’s worth noting that sometimes filing a lawsuit motivates the insurance company to dig deeper in terms of fair negotiations.
Why doesn’t the insurance company fairly address my loved one’s nursing home neglect claim?
The insurance company has an incentive to generate revenue and profits. The most important technique at its disposal for doing so involves keeping settlements like your aging relative’s settlement as low as possible
Some common tactics employed by insurance companies include:
- Denying claims from the outset in an attempt to discourage claimants
- Making the claims process as difficult and lengthy as possible
- Offering early settlements that are far too low to cover claimants’ complete damages
- Denying the extent of claimants’ damages
- Denying that the nursing home was negligent or that the nursing home’s negligence was the direct cause of claimants’ losses
Turn to an Experienced St. Louis Nursing Home Neglect Attorney for the Help You Need
If your loved one has suffered harm because of nursing home neglect, the workers’ compensation lawyers at The Dixon Injury Firm-proudly serving both St. Louis and Metro East areas-are here to help. Please don’t hesitate to contact or call us at (314) 208-2808 today for more information.
Speak With a Knowledgeable St. Louis Nursing Home Negligence Attorney About Your Legal Matter Today
The skilled legal team at Dixon Injury Firm has the knowledge and experience to pursue your nursing home neglect claim or lawsuit to a favorable conclusion. If the insurance company refuses to provide your loved one with the damages they deserve for the injury or illness sustained, our legal team can file a lawsuit in the Missouri court system and pursue compensation on your behalf. We can take your loved one’s case to trial or pursue alternative dispute resolution through mediation or arbitration.
If your loved one has suffered harm because of nursing home neglect, the workers’ compensation lawyers at The Dixon Injury Firm—proudly serving both St. Louis and Metro East areas—are here to help. Please don’t hesitate to contact or call us at (314) 208-2808 today for more information.
The Dixon Injury Firm
9666 Olive Blvd #202,
St. Louis, MO 63132
I highly recommend Chris Dixon to anyone dealing with a personal injury case. He was there every step of the way, he was prompt and easy to get a hold of at any time during this process. He is very educated and highly skilled in his field and helped me receive the best medical attention possible. If you’re looking for the best personal injury in St. Louis, look no further. Chris Dixon, in my eyes, is the best!
– Ryan B.