Nursing Home Negligence
Placing your elderly or disabled family member in a nursing home can be a difficult decision. In balancing the costs and benefits, you likely trust that your loved one will be better cared for in a facility that offers attentive daily care. Accordingly, family members will naturally be upset if their loved ones are neglected or abused in a nursing home. Unfortunately, residents commonly experience negligence and abuse in nursing homes. If you or a loved one were harmed, you should consult the Seattle nursing home negligence attorneys of Blair & Kim. We understand the nuances presented by these cases, including their intersection with family and criminal law.Nursing Home Negligence
Many older people are subject to neglect and abuse at the hands of nursing home staff. In Washington, you can pursue damages under the Abuse of Vulnerable Adults Statute. Under the statute, "vulnerable adults" refers to those who can't provide for their own basic needs, such as those over age 60 who can't care for themselves, adults with disabilities or diseases that stop them from caring for themselves, adults who live in facilities that provide long-term care, and adults who live at home but still require healthcare assistance.
Neglect occurs when a vulnerable adult is not provided with the goods and services needed to maintain proper health. It’s a pattern, conduct or act by someone who has a duty of care, but who fails to give the services or goods needed to protect a vulnerable adult’s mental or physical health. A nursing home negligence attorney in Seattle can evaluate whether the nursing home acted negligently in caring for your loved one. Neglect is also an act or omission by someone with a duty of care that shows serious disregard of consequences of such significance as to create a clear and present danger to safety, welfare or health of a vulnerable adult. Abuse is defined as of willful action or inaction that causes injuries, intimidation, unreasonable confinement, or punishment. Examples of neglect and abuse could include failing to help with hygiene, failing to provide appropriate medications, assaults, intimidation, stealing money from an adult with no intent to repay it, or failing to move a disabled adult to avoid pressure sores. Many elderly people are afraid to report mistreatment. When family members visit relatives at a nursing home, they should look out for signs of mistreatment such as dehydration, sudden weight loss, chronic infections, unexplained bruises or broken bones, fearful behavior, emotional withdrawal, bedsores, or poor personal hygiene.
Sometimes neglect is the result of a nursing home overstaffing, under-supervising, failure to train, or failure to put proper procedures in place. A Seattle nursing home negligence lawyer can evaluate whether a shortage in staff or insufficient training contributed to your loved one’s injuries. Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 74.34.200 provides that a vulnerable adult who has been neglected, financially exploited, abused, or abandoned while living in a nursing home can bring a lawsuit for damages based on her injuries, pain and suffering, and property loss. The statute specifies that the defendant must be a corporation, unincorporated association, trust, partnership, administrator, employee, agent, officer, director, or partner of a nursing home facility that is licensed or should be licensed under Chapter 70.127.
The vulnerable adult does not need to bring the lawsuit. Instead, an interested person can sue on behalf of the resident. You may be named an interested person if you’re able to show the court that you are interested in the vulnerable adult’s welfare, that you believe in good faith that judicial intervention is needed, and that the vulnerable adult is not able to protect his or her own interests because of duress, undue influence, or incapacity.
If you successfully establish liability in your case, you will be able to recover your actual damages as well as the costs of suit, such as reasonable fees for a guardian and experts that were necessary to litigate the claim.Exceptions
Under RCW 74.34.205, someone who is a vulnerable adult that relies upon and is given spiritual treatment rather than medical treatment in accord with her religious denomination’s tenets and practices should not be considered neglected, abused, or abandoned. This includes situations in which a nursing home participates in good faith in withholding or withdrawing treatment that is life-sustaining to a vulnerable adult whose religious beliefs prohibit it.Consult a Seasoned Seattle Lawyer
If your loved one was harmed due to negligence in a nursing home, you should talk to our nursing home negligence lawyers in Seattle about your potential claim. We can evaluate the circumstances and discuss whether you have a viable basis to sue for damages. The seasoned lawyers of Blair & Kim may be able to fight for you to obtain the compensation to which you’re entitled for your losses. Call us at (206) 622-6562 or contact us through our online form.