Virginia Nursing Home Injury Attorney
As the ones we love age, we need to plan for their care when they can no longer care for themselves. This often includes the difficult decision of placing a family member in a nursing home. We trust nursing homes to provide excellent care to our elders and treat them with dignity and respect. While many nursing home facilities live up to legal and moral standards of care and have dedicated nursing teams that provide exceptional care, preventable injuries still occur at nursing homes across the country, and most of these injuries are caused by neglect.
If an elder you love has suffered an injury in a Virginia nursing home, state law permits the elder or someone on the elder’s behalf to take legal action against the facility and/or caregiver whose negligence or abuse led to the injury.
At Emroch & Kilduff in Virginia, we value elders and want to help you hold negligent parties accountable for the harm that they cause. Contact one of our skilled nursing home injury attorneys at (804) 358-1568 to discuss the details of your case and develop the best course of action for you and your family.
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Virginia Nursing Home Resident Rights
Virginia law clearly outlines the rights and responsibilities of nursing home residents. Not all violations of these rights directly lead to injury, but many do. Keep in mind that while injuries are often physical, violating a resident’s rights can also lead to severe emotional trauma and/or financial abuse.
Below is a broad overview of some nursing home resident rights in Virginia that, when violated, may lead to physical, emotional, or financial injury:
- Residents have the right to manage personal finances and are entitled to statements that show any transactions made by the facility.
- Residents have the right to confidential records.
- Residents cannot be discharged from a nursing home without advance notice and a statement of reasons.
- Residents have the right to participate in planning any medical treatment or care, and they have the right to refuse medical treatment.
- Residents have the right to choose their own health care providers.
- Residents have the right to be free of mental, emotional, physical, sexual, and economic abuse or exploitation. This includes freedom from forced isolation, threats, and demeaning acts.
- Residents have the right to courtesy and respect and to be treated with dignity and sensitivity.
- Residents have the right to voice complaints about policies and services without fear of threats, discrimination, or retribution.
- Residents have the right to be free of restraints unless they pose a threat to themselves or others.
- Residents have a right to privacy.
- Residents have the right to engage in social, religious, and community activities and groups, unless participation poses a medical risk.
Common Types of Nursing Home Accidents and Injuries
The vast majority of nursing home injuries occur as a result of negligence, abuse, or neglect. The mere occurrence of an accident suggests that since caregivers were not providing proper supervision or care, they committed neglect. Some of the most common types of nursing home accidents and injuries include:
Some nursing home residents must spend a great deal of time in bed and/or in a wheelchair. Part of providing proper care is adjusting a resident’s position regularly, so that he or she does not develop pressure sores, which are areas of damaged skin that result from being stuck in one position too long. Left untreated, pressure sores can lead to severe infections and sometimes death.
Elders already are more prone to falls because of aging and difficulty with mobility. Caregivers who don’t properly supervise or help residents walk, go to the bathroom, or provide them with something they need, put residents at risk for slip and fall or trip and fall accidents. Falls commonly result in broken bones, especially hips, leading to severe pain for residents.
In the most extreme cases, some nursing homes use medication to control residents. Sadly, some facilities may overmedicate residents to prevent specific behaviors. Overmedication can lead to accidents, injury, and medical complications. In more benign, but still serious, situations, nursing home staff may make mistakes in the dosage or type of medication a resident takes. Medication errors can lead to severe illness and fatality.
Seeking Compensation After a Virginia Nursing Home Injury
If you or a nursing home resident you love has suffered injuries in a Virginia nursing home from negligence, neglect, or abuse, legal action is necessary to receive compensation for damages related to the injuries. Multiple parties may share liability in nursing home injury cases, including nursing assistants and other caregivers, facilities, and insurance companies. Your attorney will advise you on which party you should seek damages from given your specific circumstances.
If you reach a settlement or if a court rules in your favor, you may expect to receive compensation for the following:
- Medical expenses related to the nursing home injury, including hospitalization, rehabilitation, physical therapy, mental health services, prescription medication, and diagnostic testing
- Expenses related to transferring your loved one to a private residence or another nursing care facility
- Estimated future medical treatment costs when a severe nursing home injury requires ongoing treatment and care
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages, if the at-fault party intentionally caused harm or acted with gross negligence.
Virginia Nursing Home Injury FAQ
If a nursing home’s negligence has injured your loved one, consult with an attorney after reporting the injury to the proper authorities. The Virginia nursing home injury lawyers at Emroch & Kilduff can answer all your questions and help you on the path to recovery. In the meantime, the answers to the following frequently asked questions provide introductory information about nursing home injuries and taking legal action to recover damages for those injuries.
Can You Help if the Resident I Love Was Abused or Neglected?
Yes. Unfortunately, a strong relationship exists between nursing homes and abuse, neglect, and injuries. Whether your loved one suffered intentional abuse or harm from neglect, the legal team at Emroch & Kilduff can help. Nursing care facilities have a legal obligation to provide a high level of care to residents, including protecting them from preventable injuries.
Regardless of how your loved one suffered injuries in a nursing home, there is a significant chance the home is at least partially liable. An experienced attorney can review your case, determine fault, and advise how to proceed with your specific circumstances.
How Do I Know if My Loved One Has Been Abused or Neglected?
Ideally, your loved one would tell you exactly what led to their injuries. However, sometimes nursing home residents struggle with communication. Other times, they do not report abuse or neglect because they fear retribution from one or more of their caregivers. Therefore, you need to pay close attention to signs of abuse and neglect to protect your loved one. Unexplained injuries or situations where the explanation doesn’t match the physical injury may suggest abuse or neglect.
Other signs of abuse and neglect include:
- Rapid weight loss
- Flushed skin or pale skin
- Sunken cheeks
- Eyes with dark circles
- Odors from poor hygiene
- Excessive worry
- Increased depression
- Confusion or disorientation
- Withdrawal from daily social activities
- Refusal to speak in front of caregivers and other nursing home staff
- Talks about dying or self-harm
This list is not exhaustive, and these signs do not guarantee your loved one has been abused or neglected. However, if you notice any of the above, it should give you a reason to investigate further.
How Long Do I Have to Take Action After a Nursing Home Injury?
Virginia has a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims. Meaning you must bring a lawsuit on behalf of the nursing home resident within two years of their injury. In many cases, family members and other concerned parties do not discover an injury for weeks or months after it happens. Similarly, the repercussions of continued neglect can take time to show up. The law typically starts the two-year time clock from when you reported the injury in these situations. Regardless, you should contact Emroch and Kilduff as soon as possible to avoid missing any critical deadlines.
Will the Injured Nursing Home Resident Have to Testify at Trial?
There is an incentive for both parties to a lawsuit to avoid trial because of the additional expenses. Your loved one might still have to give a statement or participate in a deposition if they are capable. However, courts want to protect nursing home residents from additional stress, so their participation is not required but can be helpful. In many cases, your testimony, comments from the treating physician, and statements from other witnesses provide enough evidence to support a nursing home injury claim.
Should I Transfer My Loved One to Another Nursing Home After an Injury?
Only you can decide if transferring your loved one is the right choice. However, circumstances of an injury might lead you to search for another facility.
For example, if a specific caregiver’s abuse or neglect injured your loved one, you might let your loved one stay if the nursing home fires the employee. Yet, if injuries occur because of poor training practices and insufficient staffing, these things are unlikely to change quickly.
You may need to find a new facility in this situation to avoid further harm. Transferring elderly residents to a new home can be traumatic, so it is important to weigh the trauma of the move against the potential for future injury at the current home.
How Much Compensation Could My Loved One Receive from a Virginia Nursing Home Injury Lawsuit?
The amount of compensation injured nursing home residents receive from a lawsuit varies greatly among claims. It is impossible to predict the amount you could receive without reviewing your specific circumstances.
Your lawyer will review your loved one’s case and calculate economic and non-economic losses to put a value on the claim. Even then, you will receive a range of outcomes, but nothing can be guaranteed. Typically, more severe nursing home injuries result in higher value claims because they cause more expense and loss.
How Long Does it Take to Resolve a Virginia Nursing Home Injury Case?
Each case is different, so there is no standard or average time to resolve a claim. Both sides want to avoid a costly trial, but sometimes trial is the only option to reach a fair result. If settlement negotiations go well and the liability is clear, Emroch & Kilduff’s lawyers can likely resolve your case more quickly.
Liability disputes, among other challenges, can significantly increase the time to resolve a case. Additionally, if a case goes to trial, both sides need to prepare, adding to the timeline. Your attorney at Emroch & Kilduff can review your case and identify challenges that might affect the time it takes to resolve your case.
Can I Afford a Virginia Nursing Home Injury Lawyer?
Yes, you can. Don’t let fear of attorney fees prevent you from getting the legal help you need for your loved one. You do not have to pay upfront for a nursing home injury attorney like you would for a criminal defense or tax attorney. Emroch & Kilduff represents nursing home injury victims on a contingency fee basis. Under this arrangement, we only collect attorney’s fees if you recover compensation. Therefore, your success is Emroch & Kilduff’s number one priority.
Contact a Virginia Nursing Home Injury Attorney Today
The elders that we love are precious, and they deserve the best care possible as they go through their golden years. When nursing homes and their staff fail to meet their expected standards of care, our loved ones suffer greatly. If you know or suspect an elder you loved has been neglected or abused and suffered injuries, you need to take a stand and report your suspicions to the facility’s administrator immediately. Not only will this help your loved one, but it can prevent future residents from falling victim to similar circumstances.
At Emroch & Kilduff, we understand the gravity of your situation, and we want to help you seek justice.
Contact us online or call (804) 358-1568 for a free consultation and to discuss the circumstances of your loved one’s nursing home injury. We proudly serve clients from our four office locations in Richmond, Petersburg, Tappahannock, and Fredericksburg.
3600 West Broad Street,
Richmond, VA 23230