New Jersey Nursing Home Negligence Attorney
Protecting Elders from Negligence and Neglect in Nursing Homes and Long-Term Care Facilities
We entrust our vulnerable family members to nursing homes and other long-term care facilities with the expectation that they will treat our family with the utmost care. To that end, nursing home operators and employees owe our elderly relatives a duty of care. When they violate that duty and nursing home residents suffer harm as a result, the nursing home can and should be held liable for their actions. They should not be allowed to get away with causing our elderly loved ones harm.
Lance Brown & Associates is dedicated to helping victims of neglect, negligence, and abuse in nursing homes and long-term care facilities across the State of New Jersey. Nursing home negligence attorney Lance Brown is ready to act swiftly to end nursing home neglect and seek compensation for victims and their families who have been harmed by unscrupulous and unsafe nursing homes.
Nursing Home Residents Have Guaranteed Rights
In order to ensure that nursing homes adequately care for and protect our loved ones, New Jersey State and federal law protects nursing home residents and guarantees them certain rights. Nursing home residents in New Jersey are guaranteed the following rights, among others:
- To be free from physical and mental abuse and neglect
- To live in safe, decent, and clean conditions
- To live in a facility that does not admit more residents than it has the capacity to serve and provide adequate nursing care
- To receive appropriate assessment, management, and care for pain or other maladies
- To be given a written statement of residents’ rights, and
- To exercise all other rights guaranteed by state and federal law
If a nursing home fails to adhere to any of these rights or otherwise fails to adequately take care of their residents and a resident is injured as a result, then the resident and their family might have a claim for nursing home neglect and negligence.
Nursing Home Neglect vs. Abuse
Nursing home neglect and nursing home abuse are two separate offenses that each cause harm to residents in different ways. Neglect or negligence is the failure of a caregiver to attend to a resident’s basic needs, such as food, water, medication, medical treatment, clothing, and other physical and mental needs. The standard of care for New Jersey nursing homes is set by state and federal law, and a nursing home that falls below that standard of care is guilty of nursing home abuse or neglect. Failing to provide these basic necessities, such as by violating the rights of residents as described above, can cause harm to residents.
Nursing home abuse, on the other hand, is equally, if not more, despicable. Abuse is the intentional infliction of harm, generally by using physical force. If nursing home staff intentionally use physical force to harm inmates by causing them pain, injury, or mental anguish, or if they intentionally allow residents to be physically harmed by other residents or the public, then they are liable for abuse.
The most common forms of Nursing Home or Assisted Living Neglect lead to the following avoidable consequences:
- Falls. The facility has a responsibility to correctly identify the fall risk level of a resident and implement proper precautions. The failure to do so oftentimes leads to broken bones, brain injuries or death. We have handled many of these cases with successful recoveries for clients.
- Bed Sores (Pressure Injuries). The facility has a responsibility to assess a resident’s skin and implement and FOLLOW the proper preventative steps. The failure to do so can lead to avoidable, unimaginable pressure injuries that leave gaping open holes straight to the bone. We have handled many of these cases with successful recoveries for clients.
- Resident Elopement. The facility has a responsibility to prevent residents from wandering off. The usual outcome is avoidable death or catastrophic injury. We have handled these matters with successful recoveries for clients.
- Failure to properly monitor the resident. The facility has a responsibility to monitor the resident pursuant to doctor’s orders. Things such as vitals, feedings and other things need to be consistently and constantly monitored. The failure to do so can lead to catastrophic injury or death. We have handled these matters with successful recoveries for clients.
Investigating Claims of Nursing Home Neglect
New Jersey’s Office of the Ombudsman for the Institutionalized Elderly (OOIE) is the agency primarily responsible for receiving and investigating complaints of New Jersey nursing home negligence. This single agency covers all 387 nursing homes and 519 board and care, assisted living, and other adult care facilities in the state, and the 30,000 residents living in those facilities.
OOIE receives over 5,000 complaints in a given year and verifies well over 2,000 of them. This agency, headed by a former nursing home administrator, has a team of 11 investigators tasked with responding to those thousands of complaints. Investigation of complaints about nursing home negligence is not the only function of OOIE, and much of its efforts are directed toward improving the quality of long-term care overall.
While other OOIE members and volunteers serve additional functions, allegations of serious abuse and neglect are left to the 11-member investigative team. Volunteer advocates receive 32 hours of training, including how to respond to and deal with complaints of nursing home negligence. Presently, a little over half of the nursing homes in New Jersey have a volunteer advocate visiting the facility.
Although OOIE is the agency responsible for receiving and investigating complaints of New Jersey nursing home negligence, it does not actually have any enforcement powers. Once a complaint is investigated and verified as having some merit, it is then turned over to some other board or licensing agency, such as the Board of Nursing for complaints against nurses or the Department of Health for complaints against the nursing home itself. It is then up to that agency to complete its own internal process before taking action against a staff member or nursing home for negligence.
How Can a New Jersey Nursing Home Neglect Attorney Help
Having an attorney on your side can often put a stop to nursing home negligence more quickly and more effectively than navigating through the bureaucratic process of multiple government administrative agencies. The legislature recognized this fact when it created a private cause of action for victims of New Jersey nursing home negligence.
New Jersey law allows you to sue a nursing home or staff member on your own and collect compensation for the medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other actual damages you suffered, as well as punitive damages against the defendant where appropriate. To further encourage victims of nursing home negligence to take action, the law allows successful plaintiffs to recover the costs of their case, including court fees and attorney’s fees, from the defendant.
Trust Your New Jersey Nursing Home Negligence Case to an Attorney Who Works for You
Your attorney works for you and you alone. Your lawyer does not have to worry about politics, budgets, limited staffing or any considerations other than what is in the best interests of you or your loved one. Attorney Lance Brown devotes his time, attention and resources to handling your case and making sure nursing home residents get the care they deserve. If you or a loved one is experiencing nursing home negligence in New Jersey or eastern Pennsylvania, contact Lance Brown & Associates for immediate assistance.
Quick Questions and Answers
Q. Can I still pursue an action for a loved one if they are incapable of making decisions for him or herself?
A. Yes. Court approval can be obtained to allow for a loved one to proceed. Other documents in place before incompetency such as a power of attorney or guardianship may also allow you to proceed. Please call us so we can go over your options and assist you.
Q. Can I still pursue an action for a loved one who passed?
A. Yes. Court approval must be obtained to do so. We can assist you in getting this approval so the Facility will not get away with their actions. Please call us so we can go over your options and assist you.
Q. Do I have to pay in order to bring forth a lawsuit?
A. No! We advance all costs and are only reimbursed for our out of pocket expenses and time if we procure a successful recovery for you.
Q. Will my matter go to trial?
A. Most matter resolve before trial. But if the insurance company or defendant is being unreasonable, we will take your matter to trial rather than settle for less value than what it’s worth.