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Can I Sue A Nursing Home For Elder Abuse In New Jersey?

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Michael J. Epstein - Personal Injury - General - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Michael J. Epstein

Located in Rochelle Park, NJThe Epstein Law Firm, P.A.

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Elder abuse is a serious issue. Injuries can be devastating and require expensive medical care, among other potential damaging effects. It is the duty of nursing homes to protect residents. When nursing home or care facility staff instead treat residents in a negligent or abusive manner, family members should feel empowered to advocate for the rights of their loved ones. 

Taking legal action against a New Jersey nursing home can quickly become complicated, and even more so without an attorney by your side. To sue a nursing home, you and your lawyer will first need to collect medical records. Then, you will need to seek an independent expert to evaluate these records and ultimately determine whether your claim has merit. After you have filed the lawsuit, the case will likely proceed as any other personal injury case would. Because these cases can take months to progress, it is important to speak with an attorney as soon as you become aware of a problem. 

Common Types Of Nursing Home Injuries

While accidents can happen in almost any facility, a pattern of unexplained physical injuries, fear, anxiety or more may indicate that your loved one has suffered negligent or abusive behavior. These types of incidents may produce injuries such as: 

  • Broken bones
  • Head and neck injuries
  • Pressure ulcers
  • Malnourishment or dehydration
  • Injuries resulting from falling accidents
  • Injuries resulting from elopement, or residents wandering outside the nursing home
  • Other lapses in care or judgement 

Pursuing proper medical care for injuries can be expensive. These injuries may have long-term effects on a resident’s health and well-being. After a serious injury, you may hold the nursing home accountable by pursuing damages to compensate for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other economic losses. 

Many residents of nursing homes are reluctant to report abusive incidents for fear of retaliation or the inability to fully comprehend the situation. Sometimes, you may not even be aware that abuse has happened until a serious injury occurs.

How To Take Legal Action

There are three basic steps to taking legal action against a nursing home in New Jersey. These steps include: 

  1. Speaking with an attorney. The process to sue a nursing home can be difficult and you should expect the facility to fight back against your claim. A lawyer can help you follow the proper procedures and gather evidence that will make a difference in your case.
  2. Collecting the proper evidence. This includes medical records from both the nursing home and the hospital where the resident was treated for their injury. Other relevant evidence may include pictures of the facility, witness accounts, and soiled clothing or other examples of a lack of care.
  3. Working with an expert to review the medical records. New Jersey law requires an expert to review evidence of abuse. They will evaluate whether the injuries match the description of the incident and the medical care provided. This expert will then determine whether a claim is legitimate. 

It is also critical to understand the timeframe in which you can take legal action. The statute of limitations for elder abuse cases in New Jersey is two years from the date of the injury or the time at which you should have been aware of the injury. 

The Importance Of Acting Quickly

If your loved one has been the victim of negligence or abuse at a nursing home, they deserve to be compensated for their emotional distress, medical expenses and other costs related to their injury. 

Once you have filed a lawsuit against a nursing home, the case is likely to proceed like a typical personal injury case. However, time is of the essence. If your loved one has suffered an injury due to elder abuse, contact an attorney immediately to understand how to take legal action.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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