Nursing Home Neglect

Compassionate Lebanon Nursing Home Neglect Attorneys

Protecting our vulnerable citizens in Mt. Juliet, Cookeville, and throughout Tennessee

When you discover that your parent or relative has sustained a serious injury in a nursing home at the hand of the staff and administrators who are supposed to be protecting them, it can fill you with rage and with sadness. You trusted these people to care for your loved one, but instead they caused them harm and now you are looking for justice.

At Lowery, Lowery & Cherry, PLLC in Lebanon, our personal injury attorneys are here to help you obtain justice on behalf of your loved ones who have been injured because of nursing home negligence. We offer free consultations, and we take cases on contingency, which means that you do not pay attorney fees until we have recovered compensation for you.

Nursing home neglect and nursing home abuse – what is the difference?

Nursing home neglect is something that goes on in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other types of group homes throughout the United States. Neglect occurs when a person does not receive the level of care he or she requires to maintain their health and wellbeing. Common examples include:

  • Failing to make sure a resident gets enough to eat and drink
  • Failing to keep immobile patients turned and clean, leading to bed sores
  • Failing to supervise a resident taking medication
  • Failing to clean out breathing tubes

Neglect is passive, but it can still inflict injury. Abuse is the active, intentional infliction of harm. Hitting a resident, or verbally or sexually assaulting a patient, is abuse. Either one or both may be going on and causing your loved one's harm in a nursing home.

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Warning signs of nursing home neglect

There are common signs and symptoms of neglect every family member or friend should be on alert for, including:

  • Poor hygiene. When you walk into your loved ones’ room, there should be no foul odors. They should be clean and well kept, their teeth brushed, hair combed, nails clipped and whatever other grooming tasks might be applicable. If you notice telltale signs of poor hygiene, bring it up with administrators immediately.
  • Bedsores. Also called decubitus ulcers, which the CMS refers to as a "never event," is a medical error that is preventable and causes serious consequences for patients. The presence of bedsores may indicate that could be health and safety concerns in the facility.
  • Dehydration or malnutrition. If your loved one looks gaunt and pale, you may want to ask questions about his or her nutrition and how much water he/she is drinking. You can ask to see meal logs from that day or week and ask questions if something seems not right to you.
  • Unexplained bruises or other injuries. Have you seen bumps on your loved one's head, or bruises on the arms or legs? If he or she has had a recent fall, ask for details about it. Ask for an explanation of the bumps and bruises.
  • Emotional issues. If an elder is being neglected, it can cause sadness, fear, anxiety and depression, among other emotions. If an elder feels vulnerable or unsafe, he or she may not feel comfortable speaking up and reporting what has been happening.

What are the grounds for a nursing home negligence claim?

Nursing home neglect or abuse is a specific form of personal injury. To have grounds for taking legal action for nursing home negligence, there are a few required elements, which include:

  • The defendant (at-fault party) owed a duty of care to the plaintiff (injured party)
  • The negligent action or the failure to act on the part of the defendant represented a breach of the standard of care
  • The breach of standard of care was the direct cause of the resident's injuries

In some cases of abuse, the perpetrators may also face criminal prosecution.

Additionally, most nursing home receive significant federal funding in the form of reimbursements for residents who receive Medicare and Medicaid benefits. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) can charge fines to facilities that violate the Tennessee Nursing Home Residents' Bill of Rights, and cause injury or death.

I suspect my loved one’s nursing home is guilty of neglect. What should I do?

In Tennessee, if you suspect that an elder or other vulnerable adult is being neglected, abused, or exploited, you have a legal obligation to report what you know to the appropriate authorities. The Tennessee Department of Human Services has detailed instructions on the steps to follow when reporting suspected neglect or abuse.

  • If it is a life-threatening emergency, dial 911.
  • Make a confidential report to TN Adult Protective Services hotline: 1-888-277-8366.
  • For non-life-threatening situations, you can file a report of possible neglect or abuse online.

The Tennessee Long-Term Care Ombudsman program provides assistance to elder Tennesseans who live in nursing, assisted living and homes for the aged by helping families answer questions about care and by being advocates for the needs of residents. Ombudsmen also assist in facilitating transfers and discharges of nursing home residents whether they are initiated by a resident or in an emergency.

How can a Lebanon nursing home neglect attorney help?

Nursing homes exist to provide a valuable service to elders and their families. Our elders should feel safe and well cared for when they are a resident in a nursing care facility. When it becomes clear that their safety – or even their life – is in danger because of neglect or abuse, you must first report what you have seen, document everything that occurs, and contact a Lebanon nursing home neglect attorney from Lowery, Lowery & Cherry, PLLC.

If your loved one's needs have been neglected, if he or she has been hurt, or if you suspect that the death of your loved one, we are here to help protect your right to recover compensation for your losses and to hold those responsible for your loved one's injuries liable.

What damages are available in a nursing home negligence claim?

If we have been successful at proving the negligence of the party responsible for your loved one’s injuries, you may be able to recover damages in the form of financial compensation on behalf of your loved one for his or her losses.

We know that no amount of financial compensation will restore your loved one’s health or sense of safety and trust after having been injured, but it will help by covering the medical bills. It will also ensure that the person responsible for the injuries is unable to hurt anyone else in the same way.

Some of the damages available in a nursing home neglect claim include both economic and non-economic damages such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Punitive damages, which are decided separately and intended to punish the nursing home administrators and discourage them from similar neglectful, abusive behavior in the future.

Our Lebanon nursing home negligence attorneys offer free consultations, which gives families the chance to tell their story and receive legal advice specific to your situation. You never pay attorney fees until we have recovered compensation for you. We are aggressive advocates for your rights.

Schedule a free consultation with a compassionate nursing home neglect attorney today

At Lowery, Lowery & Cherry, we have more than 70 years of combined legal experience guiding other families through the cumbersome process of seeking justice on behalf of their relatives. You are welcome to call us at 615-454-9404 or contact us so that we can protect your rights and fight for the compensation you deserve. We serve clients in Lebanon, Cookeville, Mt. Juliet, Nashville, and throughout Tennessee.