Residents living in New York nursing homes are one of the most vulnerable communities in the state. Unfortunately, this means they can easily become victims of nursing home negligence.
Because of this, New York has robust laws in place to protect the rights and provide for the safety of nursing home residents. Violating these laws can be the basis of a lawsuit, but you can also file a claim if you or your loved one is the victim of standard negligence. Nursing home residents should know that they have multiple paths to recovering compensation.
If you or someone you love was injured due to a nursing home’s negligence, our Westchester personal injury lawyers can help you get justice for the mistreatment suffered. For a free case assessment, contact The Martello Law Firm, PLLC today at (914) 685-6950.
What Can I Do to Help Prove Nursing Home Negligence in New York?
Proving a nursing home negligence case can be extremely challenging, especially when your first concern is getting your loved one into a safe environment. If you suspect your loved one is the victim of nursing home negligence, you can take several steps to help prove their claim against the nursing home.
Be sure to take photos of any visible signs of nursing home neglect. This can include pictures of your loved one’s room if it is unclean or in disarray. Also, take pictures of visible injuries, like bruising or bedsores. This will help prove past injuries that might have healed before commencing a lawsuit. Even if you are unsure whether something is a sign of abuse, take photos of it. Our Mount Vernon personal injury lawyers can review any photos you take to help determine if they point to signs of neglect and how best to use them in your case.
Report the Negligence
Many nursing home residents lack the resources or capacity to report their abuse, so it might fall to a resident’s family members to report the neglect on their loved one’s behalf. The primary agency responsible for nursing home oversight in New York is the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) Centralized Complaint Intake Unit. The Nursing Home Complaint Form and complaint hotline can be found on their website, which also contains additional information regarding the complaint filing process.
Nursing home negligence can also be reported to the state’s Long Term Care Ombudsman. However, the Ombudsman cannot act without the consent of the resident claiming abuse and is not legally required to report alleged abuses. While the Ombudsman does not have enforcement powers, it can still be a helpful resource for nursing home residents and family members looking out for their safety.
Seek Medical Treatment
Nursing home neglect can easily cause a loved one’s medical conditions to worsen. If you notice your loved one’s condition has changed and suspect abuse, take them to a doctor as soon as possible. The medical records these visits generate will also be useful if you pursue compensation later in a lawsuit.
Change Nursing Homes
It is also important to change nursing homes if you suspect negligence, especially if you have reported the nursing home to the agencies mentioned above and plan to file a lawsuit against them. Obviously, the primary concern is to get a loved one to a place where their safety and care are assured. The other is to ensure that your claim is not undermined. It could be difficult to argue that a nursing home was negligent if the resident remained in the allegedly negligent facility. Our New Rochelle personal injury lawyers can help you locate a suitable facility for your loved one and determine the next steps to take in the case.
How to Hold a Nursing Home Liable for Negligence in New York
While certain elements need to be proved in every negligence lawsuit, New York also has laws specifically intended to protect nursing home residents.
Understanding New York Nursing Home Laws
New York has several laws explicitly passed to protect nursing home residents and enumerate their rights while living in an assisted facility. For instance, P.B.H. Law § 2899-A requires nursing homes to conduct background checks on all staff for any history of abuse or criminal convictions. Further, P.B.H. Law § 2828 requires all New York nursing homes to spend at least 70% of their revenue directly on resident care and 40% of revenue to be spent on the staff that works directly with residents.
P.B.H. Law § 2895-B provides the minimum staffing levels New York nursing homes must meet based on the number of residents under their care. This includes maintaining average staffing hours of at least 3.5 hours of care per resident per day.
P.B.H. Law § 2803-C also lists several rights guaranteed to residents living in a New York nursing home, which include the following rights:
- Exercise civil and religious liberties
- Private communications with their doctor, attorney, and any other person
- Make complaints without fear of reprisal
- Manage their financial affairs
- Receive adequate and appropriate medical care medical care
- Right to privacy, confidentiality, and security of personal possessions and records
- Courteous, fair, and respectful care and treatment
- Freedom from mental and physical abuse
- Right to a statement of the nursing home’s regulations
- Receive kosher or halal food upon request
If any of these laws are violated, P.B.H. Law § 2801-D provides a specific cause of action under which victims can file their lawsuits. Importantly, these claims can be made in addition to your negligence claim, giving you several routes to prove liability.
Elements of a Nursing Home Negligence Lawsuit
In addition to the abovementioned claims, victims can also file a general claim for negligence. To prove negligence, four elements must be established:
- The nursing home owed the resident a duty of care
- The nursing home breached its duty of care
- Its breach of duty of care caused the resident’s injuries
- The resident suffered real damages as a result
Our Yonkers personal injury lawyers can review your case to determine which laws the nursing home violated and hold them accountable in a lawsuit for its negligence.
Our New York Nursing Home Negligence Lawyers Can Help
If your loved one was hurt while living in a nursing home because of someone’s negligence, our White Plains personal injury lawyers can help you get compensation for your loved one. Call The Martello Law Firm, PLLC at (914) 685-6950 for a free case review.