Knoxville nursing home abuse attorneyadmin2023-10-02T17:25:54+00:00
Knoxville Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
KNOXVILLENURSING HOME ABUSE LAWYER
It can be difficult to entrust your elderly loved one to the care of a nursing home. It’s heartbreaking when that trust you had in that facility is betrayed.
Many nursing homes are owned by big corporations that care more about profits than people. All too often, nursing home staff are overworked, underpaid, and poorly trained. As a result, residents can be neglected or even abused.
At Hotz & Associates, P.C., our personal injury lawyers in Knoxville take nursing home abuse and neglect cases very seriously. If you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, our team is here to help you explore your legal options and take action.
What to do if you suspect abuse at your loved one’s nursing home
The actions you take after learning of potential nursing home abuse can make all the difference in your loved one’s well-being. As soon as you suspect that your loved one is a victim of abuse, it’s important to act quickly and take the following steps.
1. Make detailed notes of possible abuse
Documentation is key when it comes to establishing a nursing home abuse claim. Make sure to record the date, time, persons involved in the incident, and a detailed account of the abuse. Describe any injuries, and record the names of any witnesses who were present along with their contact information.
2. Gather evidence to support your suspicions
Evidence is necessary to establish that the abuse took place and to demonstrate who was responsible. Take photos of any bruises or other signs of injury, and obtain copies of medical records for any treatments related to the incident. Videos and audio recordings, such as conversations with staff members or recordings of mistreatment, can also be incredibly useful.
3. Contact a nursing home ombudsman
Managed by the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability, Tennessee’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman program is tasked with protecting the rights of nursing home residents throughout the state. The Ombudsman can provide guidance on how to address the issue of abuse, and they can put you in contact with state agencies that may be able to assist you. You can contact the Ombudsman at 615-925-1552 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. Consult a nursing home abuse lawyer
Victims of nursing home abuse who’ve suffered physical or emotional harm may be eligible to seek financial compensation by filing a lawsuit against the responsible parties. After documenting the abuse and contacting the appropriate authorities, you should contact a trusted nursing home abuse lawyer to explore your options for further legal action.
At Hotz & Associates, we offer free consultations for personal injury cases, including those for nursing home abuse or neglect. There’s no risk in seeking professional guidance. When you consult with a Knoxville nursing home abuse attorney, we’ll review the details of your situation, answer any questions you may have, and provide honest insight regarding the best course of action.
Reporting abuse in Tennessee
Tennessee is a mandatory reporting state. T.C.A. 71-6-103(b) specifically states that “any person having reasonable cause to suspect that an adult has suffered abuse, neglect, or exploitation, shall report or cause reports to be made” such information to the Department of Human Services Adult Protective Services (APS). The law further states that death of the adult doesn’t relieve one of their responsibility to report the abuse or the circumstances surrounding the death.
Abuse can be reported to APS by calling 877-277-8366. This will trigger an investigation by the state to determine if abuse is occurring.
If you directly witness the abuse, you should call 911 immediately. The police may be able to intervene and help protect your loved one. Other authorities may not respond as quickly, so it’s crucial to take whatever steps you can to protect your loved one while additional help is on the way.
No matter how you decide to report the abuse, bringing it to the attention of the authorities can help stop the abuse and provide a trail of evidence if you file a civil lawsuit. Police reports and investigations by state agencies can be vital evidence when it comes to supporting your case, so be sure to keep copies of any reports you receive.
What are the different types of nursing home abuse?
Nursing home abuse can take many different forms, including physical, sexual, emotional, and financial, in addition to neglect. Some are more subtle than others, but any type of mistreatment can profoundly impact the victim and should be taken seriously.
Physical abuse includes any type of physical contact that causes pain or injury to the resident. This can include slapping, hitting, shoving, pushing, pinching, or otherwise using unnecessary physical force. It can also include the improper use of restraints or drugs.
Emotional abuse includes nonphysical forms of mistreatment, such as yelling, insults, threats, humiliation, intimidation, or any other verbal behavior intended to cause psychological distress. Emotional abuse can be difficult to recognize due to its subtle nature, but it can have a powerful and lasting impact on the victim.
Neglect is a form of abuse in which the caretaker fails to adequately provide for the resident’s medical, nutritional, personal hygiene, or emotional needs. This can mean anything from failing to provide enough food or medication to not providing a safe living environment. Neglect can also take the form of abandonment, where the caretaker simply leaves the resident to fend for themselves.
Financial abuse involves the misuse of a resident’s finances or resources. Examples of financial abuse include stealing money, forging checks, or manipulating the resident into signing agreements that benefit the perpetrator. The perpetrator may take advantage of the resident’s trusting nature or lack of mental capacity to commit financial abuse.
Sexual abuse is any type of nonconsensual sexual contact. This can include unwanted touching, sexual exploitation, or rape. Sexual abuse can occur even when there’s no physical contact, such as when a perpetrator uses verbal methods to pressure or coerce the resident into sexual acts.
Common signs to look for
The signs of nursing home abuse can sometimes be difficult to spot, but there are some common injuries that you should look out for. They include:
Unexplained bruises, welts, sprains, dislocations, or broken bones
Unexplained weight loss
Soiled clothing or bedding
Emotional distress, such as sudden-onset agitation or withdrawal
Regressive behavior, such as thumb-sucking or infantile speech
Many other injuries and behaviors can be signs of nursing home abuse, and any combination of these symptoms should be cause for concern. If you have any reason to suspect that your loved one is being abused, it’s better to be safe than sorry and speak up. Even if abuse isn’t occurring, these signs can mean something else is wrong, and it’s essential to have them checked out.
Elder abuse claims have filing deadlines. Make sure you file in time
Nursing home abuse claims are subject to state-specific deadlines, so it’s important to act quickly. In Tennessee, you must file your claim within one year of the date that the abuse occurred or the date that you reasonably would have discovered it.
If the abuse occurred over a span of time, the one-year clock starts ticking on the date of the last incident. If your claim isn’t filed by that deadline, it may be dismissed, and you may lose the chance to help your loved one receive compensation for their suffering.
You don’t have much time, so you should contact Hotz & Associates right away if you suspect that your loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse. A Knoxville nursing home abuse attorney can help ensure that your claim is filed in a timely manner and that you’re taking all the necessary steps to protect your loved one’s rights.
Who can file a lawsuit against a nursing home in Tennessee?
A nursing home abuse lawsuit may be filed by the victim themselves, by a legal representative such as someone with power of attorney, or by a family member or guardian. If the victim is deceased, the lawsuit can be filed by their estate or by the Tennessee Attorney General’s office.
Potential damages to claim
Although monetary compensation can’t take away or undo the pain of the past, it can help you pay for the recovery that your family may need, whether through the medical costs accrued as a result of abuse or the help needed to recover mentally and emotionally. The damages available in a Tennessee nursing home abuse case will depend on the specific facts of the case. Generally, the damages will fall under two categories: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are intended to compensate a victim for any tangible financial losses they’ve suffered as the result of their abuse. These may include medical bills, mobility devices, therapy, and other costs necessary to treat the victim’s physical and emotional injuries. In a wrongful death case, economic damages may include funeral and burial costs.
Certain intangible losses can be sought in the form of non-economic damages. These damages are meant to compensate for the impact of the abuse on the victim’s quality of life. Examples of non-economic damages include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment. Wrongful death cases may also include damages for loss of companionship and emotional anguish.
We’ll work to obtain maximum compensation for your loved one
No amount of money can make up for the physical and emotional harm caused by nursing home abuse. However, a successful lawsuit can help ensure that your loved one has the resources they need to receive quality medical care and move forward with their life. That’s why we work tirelessly to ensure that our clients receive the maximum compensation available under Tennessee law.
Many personal injury cases, including nursing home abuse, can be settled out of court. We always strive to negotiate a fair settlement on behalf of our clients, but we won’t hesitate to take the case to court if necessary.
Insurance companies will stop at nothing to reduce the payout for a nursing home abuse claim, and we won’t stop fighting until your loved one receives the compensation they deserve.
Multiple parties may be liable
The perpetrators of nursing home abuse aren’t always those in charge of the victim’s day-to-day care. In some cases, multiple parties may be liable for the abuse. Our attorneys work diligently to identify all those who may be responsible so that our clients have the best chance of receiving full compensation.
Nurse or caregiver
The most direct and common form of nursing home abuse is inflicted by those in charge of the victim’s care. This includes nurses, aides, and other caregivers.
Nursing home facility
Sometimes, the nursing home itself can be liable for abuse that occurs on its premises. This is especially true if the facility failed to properly screen and train its staff or has a history of repeated incidents of abuse. Certain policies or practices, such as failing to provide proper supervision or not responding adequately to complaints, can also serve as grounds for a lawsuit.
Third-party device manufacturer
Some injuries resembling nursing home abuse may actually be caused by defective medical devices. In these cases, the manufacturer of the device may be held liable for resulting injuries or pain and suffering.
Third-party trespasser or contractor
In some cases, the nursing home abuse may be caused by an intruder or contractor. In such cases, the perpetrator can be held liable for the injuries they caused, but the facility may also be held liable for failing to provide adequate security or supervision.
How our attorneys prove abuse
Our attorneys rely on a variety of evidence to prove nursing home abuse. Depending on the situation, this could include medical records, witness statements, security footage, or photos, just to name a few. We perform extensive investigations to uncover all available evidence and build the strongest case possible on behalf of our clients.
We also use a variety of expert witnesses to explain the consequences of the abuse and how it affects the victim’s quality of life.
For example, a psychologist may be called upon to explain the long-term psychological effects of the abuse, while an economist may be used to assess the financial impact of the abuse.
Cost of hiring a nursing home abuse lawyer
At Hotz & Associates, P.C., we believe that you shouldn’t have to worry about the cost of legal representation. We provide free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis.
This means that we’ll only be paid if we’re successful in securing compensation for you or your loved one. In other words, you pay nothing unless and until we win.
The contingency fee is often a fixed percentage of the total compensation awarded to you or your loved one. We’ll discuss this in more detail during your free consultation with our Knoxville nursing home attorney so that you know exactly what to expect before choosing to move forward with your case.
Our Knoxville nursing home abuse attorneys are ready to help
The devastation that nursing home abuse causes can’t be understated. We understand the trauma and heartache that victims and their families experience, and we’re here to help.
While nothing can truly undo the wrongs that have been done, a Knoxville nursing home abuse attorney from our firm can help you and your loved ones obtain closure and a path toward a brighter future. We can also bring justice to those responsible and help prevent other families from having to endure similar tragedies.
If you’re ready to take the next step in your fight against nursing home abuse, call (865) 582-0042 or fill out our online contact form to schedule your free consultation. We’ll review your case and explain your legal options so you can make an informed decision about how to proceed.