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West Virginia Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

West Virginia Nursing Home Abuse Attorney


Nursing home abuse is a devastating crime that can have life-changing consequences for a victim and his or her family. At the Manchin Injury Law Group, our West Virginia nursing home abuse lawyers seek justice for victims of nursing home negligence and elder abuse.

We work hard to obtain maximum compensation in such cases – and to shine a light on abusive treatment in local nursing homes. We are passionate about helping abused, neglected and mistreated elders.

To learn more, call us at (304) 367-1862 for a free consultation with our West Virginia nursing home abuse attorneys.

Why Choose Us?

  • We use a personalized approach to injury law. Our lawyers will treat your family like their own and aggressively pursue the case outcome that your loved one deserves.
  • When results matter, clients trust Attorney Timothy J. Manchin. We have recovered millions of dollars in successful verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients.
  • Our nursing home abuse attorneys operate on a contingency fee basis. This means you will only be charged attorney’s fees if you recover compensation for your case.

How a West Virginia Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Can Help You

If you wish to file a claim against a nursing home for the abuse or neglect of your elderly loved one, expect resistance – both from the nursing home and its insurance company. Insurance companies have one goal: to save as much money as possible on claim payouts. Unfortunately, this can make it difficult for your family to obtain fair financial compensation, especially for serious or fatal injuries.

The insurance company might try to deny the nursing home’s liability for your loved one’s injuries or death, for example, or significantly undervalue your claim. The most effective way to protect your rights is to hire a nursing home abuse lawyer in West Virginia to level the playing field. Your lawyer will know how to communicate with insurance claims adjusters and negotiate a just settlement.

A nursing home abuse attorney will build the strongest case possible on your behalf by conducting an investigation, gathering evidence, hiring qualified experts, and using compelling storytelling to prove the defendant’s negligence. Most importantly, your West Virginia personal injury lawyer will be there for you and your family during this difficult time.

Advocates for Victims of Nursing Home Abuse and Negligence

It is important to look for an attorney with ample experience handling claims in your practice area. This will give the attorney knowledge of the specific issues and nuances of your case. Our nursing home abuse attorneys represent victims and the families of those who have been fatally injured by nursing home negligence. We can handle cases involving:

No matter what you believe injured or killed your elderly loved one at a nursing home in West Virginia, we can help. Our personal injury law firm will use years of experience, state-of-the-art legal resources and exceptional staff members to the greatest possible advantage.

What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Nursing Home Abuse Claim?

A civil lawsuit against a nursing home for the abuse or neglect of a resident seeks financial compensation for related losses from the at-fault party. A successful claim can make the filing party, or plaintiff, whole again by providing a monetary recovery to reimburse the victim. While we know that no dollar amount will ever be sufficient to pay for the horrific crime of nursing home abuse, we also know that a settlement or verdict can help a family move forward with greater peace of mind about the future.

The recoverable damages in a nursing home abuse lawsuit in West Virginia can include:

  • The victim’s necessary medical care because of the abuse (past and future)
  • Any lost or diminished enjoyment of life the victim suffered
  • Reduced quality of life due to physical or emotional injuries
  • The victim’s physical pain, suffering and anguish
  • Mental and emotional harm or psychological trauma
  • Out-of-pocket costs, including transportation and relocation
  • Attorney’s fees and court costs connected to a lawsuit
  • Funeral and burial costs in a wrongful death claim
  • Punitive damages (to punish the defendant), in some cases

Your injured loved one may qualify for compensation for both economic and noneconomic losses in a nursing home abuse claim. West Virginia law allows a personal injury plaintiff to seek special damages, such as the specific costs of injury treatment, as well as general damages for pain and suffering. The value of an elder abuse claim depends on the circumstances, such as the severity of the victim’s injuries. Discuss how much your case might be worth with a nursing home abuse attorney before accepting an insurance settlement.

Common Types of Nursing Home Abuse

The abuse or mistreatment of an elderly nursing home resident can take many forms. Any action taken against a nursing home resident that falls short of the accepted standard of care could constitute abuse or neglect. The six main types of nursing home abuse according to the National Institute on Aging are as follows:

  • Physical abuse: intentionally physically injuring a nursing home resident, such as with slaps, punches, kicks, pinches, burns, pushes or the unlawful use of restraints.
  • Emotional abuse: causing emotional, mental or psychological harm to an older adult through threats, fear, intimidation, verbal assault, isolation or other means.
  • Neglect: failing to meet the nursing home resident’s basic needs, including nourishment, hydration, medications, health care and psychosocial well-being.
  • Abandonment: deserting an older adult who is dependent on assistance, such as an around-the-clock caregiver, without arranging for other support or care.
  • Sexual abuse: committing sex crimes against a vulnerable older adult, such as inappropriate touching or fondling, rape or attempted rape, sodomy, exhibitionism, or oral copulation.
  • Financial abuse: stealing money or assets from an elderly person through fraud, deceit, misrepresentation or making changes to a will.

Nursing home abuse can affect both men and women. However, most victims are women. Risk factors include elderly residents who have no friends or family regularly checking on them, people with disabilities, and people with memory problems or dementia. Any elderly person who appears frail or weak is also a likely target.

How Long Do You Have to File a Claim?

West Virginia has a law called the statute of limitations that places a time limit on your right and ability to file a personal injury claim, including a claim for nursing home abuse or neglect. This deadline is generally one year from the date that the victim’s injury or the last incident of abuse took place. If you wait too long and do not file within two years of the abuse, the courts may dismiss your case – meaning you will lose the right to recover compensation forever.

If your elderly loved one passed away due to abuse or neglect, West Virginia’s law gives you two years from the date of the deceased person’s death to file rather than the date of the last injury. If you are not sure what your deadline is, consult with an attorney as soon as possible. Do not risk losing your family’s right to hold someone responsible and collect financial compensation by waiting too long to explore your legal options.

How Do I Prove Abuse Occurred?

If you wish to press charges against a criminal or file a civil lawsuit for nursing home abuse in West Virginia, you or your representative will need to prove that abuse occurred. Proving abuse often requires both direct and circumstantial evidence. The burden of proof in a civil case is a preponderance of the evidence, or clear and convincing evidence that proves the claim being made is more likely to be true than not true.

Examples of evidence that could be used to prove nursing home abuse include:

  • Photographs and videos
  • Medical records
  • Eyewitness statements
  • Expert testimony
  • Nursing home ratings and reviews
  • Any history of previous complaints filed against the nursing home
  • Criminal charges entered against the perpetrator, if applicable

A nursing home abuse attorney can help you gather evidence that will support your case against a perpetrator or abuser during a thorough investigation of the crime. If collecting evidence requires subpoenas or motions, your lawyer can handle the paperwork for you. If you wish to prove a nursing home’s negligence, you or your lawyer will need evidence that the facility fell short of its duty of care to residents – not only evidence that an abuser hurt your loved one.

Why Does Nursing Abuse Happen?

Nursing home abuse happens when there is a combination of abusive staff members and problems at the facility. When a nursing home experiences a staff shortage, overcrowded residents, improper staff training, inexperienced staff members, poor facility maintenance, low pay or other issues, it gives workers the opportunity to neglect, abuse and take advantage of elderly residents. Inadequate supervision due to staffing shortages, for example, can allow a resident to slip through the cracks.

If a nursing home takes proper care to ensure the training of its staff members and safety of its premises, this can greatly decrease the risk of elder abuse and neglect. Conducting proper background checks on new hires, for example, could prevent someone with a dangerous criminal history from becoming a caregiver to a vulnerable adult.

Victims of nursing home abuse in West Virginia can often hold a negligent facility accountable instead of the individual perpetrator alone. Bringing a claim against the institution can result in greater financial compensation for the victim’s damages. A nursing home or long-term care facility typically carries greater insurance than individuals. An attorney can help you explore your legal options based on the circumstances.

What Qualifies as Nursing Home Abuse?

Physical, sexual or psychological abuse at the hands of caregivers qualifies as nursing home abuse. Other factors like neglect, poor sanitation practices or insufficient staff training may also cause harm to elderly residents and qualify as criminal negligence.

What is the Difference Between Nursing Home Abuse and Elder Abuse?

While “nursing home abuse” pertains to incidents that take place in nursing homes or assisted living facilities, “elder abuse” is a broader term that encompasses any abuse of an elderly individual. Many states have specific laws in place to protect elders from exploitation and various types of abuse by enforcing harsher penalties on offenders who target the elderly.

What if a Nursing Home Employee Steals from a Resident?

Financial exploitation and theft are unfortunately common, especially among the elderly. A nursing facility employee who steals valuables or cash from a resident or uses the resident’s private information for personal gain commits financial abuse.

How Do I Know if My Loved One has Suffered Abuse?

If you cannot visit your elderly loved one regularly, have a family member check in on him or her as often as possible. When you speak to or visit your relative, take note of his or her demeanor. If your loved one seemed full of energy and enthusiastic the last time you spoke but seems detached or distracted, this could be a sign of abuse. Investigate any sudden changes in your loved one’s behavior. Review his or her medical reports from staff, as well as the state of the living situation. Soiled bedsheets, dirty clothes, and a lack of healthy food and clean drinking water could indicate neglect or abuse.

Can I File a Lawsuit for Nursing Home Abuse?

Yes, your loved one may be able to take legal action for the abuse suffered at the hands of a nursing home staff member or another caregiver. It is possible to recover financial compensation for the damages the victim sustained, including pain and suffering. If your loved one tragically died due to nursing home abuse, surviving family members may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit instead.

Elder Abuse Statistics

Elder abuse is an unfortunately common phenomenon. According to the National Council on Aging:

  • At least 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 60 report experiencing some form of elder abuse.
  • One study estimated that victims, their families or facilities only report 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse.
  • Social isolation and dementia are two of the biggest risk factors for elder abuse.

It may be hard to imagine, but the possibility of elder abuse is something that all families with loved ones in nursing homes should consider.

Signs of Nursing Home Negligence

Family members can help identify the warning signs of elder abuse to put an end to the abuse as soon as possible. Elder abuse generally has several warning signs. The nature of these signs may differ depending on the type of abuse your loved one experiences. Some of the most common types of warning signs include:

  • Emotional abuse: social isolation or withdrawal from activities, sudden changes in behavior or alertness, depression or “feeling blue,” or more arguments than usual.
  • Physical abuse, neglect or maltreatment: pressure sores or ulcers (bedsores), unexplained bruises or injuries, marks from physical restraints, unreported falls, broken bones, burns, or abrasions.
  • Sexual abuse: bruising to genitals or anus, unexplained sexually transmitted diseases or infections, pelvic injury, torn or bloody underwear.
  • Verbal abuse: threats, belittled demeanor, appearing scared around certain caregivers or situations.
  • Financial abuse: sudden and unexplained changes in balances, unexplained amendments to wills or deeds.
  • Neglect: poor hygiene, malnutrition, sudden weight loss or unattended medical needs.

If you notice these warning signs or something just feels off about your loved one’s current care situation, take immediate action. Do not wait for your loved one to say something or report nursing home abuse – the vast majority of victims never do.

What to Do if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse

Once you identify nursing home abuse, your first priority should be to remove your loved one from the dangerous situation. Contact the police if you deem it necessary or if your loved one suffered severe abuse or serious injuries. After your loved one is in a safe environment, speak with a reliable and experienced West Virginia nursing home attorney. Together, you can discuss your options for legal recourse.

Your attorney may help you locate nearby assistance programs or advocacy groups that can assist you in various ways. Help from these groups could include arranging in-home medical care or temporary housing. Take these steps if you suspect nursing home abuse:

  • Remove your loved one from the dangerous situation immediately to assure his or her safety.
  • Report your suspicions to the nearest authorities, including the adult protective services agency closest to you. This agency can investigate your allegations and provide further assistance in finding a safe home for your loved one.
  • Schedule a consultation with a nursing home abuse attorney to discuss your legal options. Elder neglect and abuse carry both criminal and civil charges. An elder neglect attorney can help hold the nursing home accountable for its negligence.

One of the best ways to recover from nursing home abuse is to hold the responsible parties accountable. A lawsuit for nursing home abuse can run in tandem with criminal prosecution from the state. Your attorney will advise you as to your best options for recovery. The offender’s criminal sentencing may involve restitution or other civil liability for you and your loved ones’ damages. Evidence used in the criminal case may come into play during your civil case, as well.

Contact a West Virginia Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

When a nursing home violates the trust you placed in it, you must take action. If you suspect that your loved one has suffered abuse or negligence, contact the West Virginia lawyers at Manchin Injury Law Group for legal help.

When representing your loved one, our law firm will start with a thorough investigation. We will document the abuse and elder mistreatment to seek maximum compensation for you. By doing so, we hope to also improve the living conditions of other nursing home residents and ease their suffering.

Your loved one deserves justice. Manchin Injury Law Group stands up for the elderly and those who cannot stand up for themselves. To schedule a free case evaluation with our West Virginia nursing home abuse lawyers, call us at (304) 367-1862 or complete an inquiry form.

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Talk to our Fairmont lawyers about your personal injury or wrongful death claim today by contacting us online, or by calling us at (304) 367-1862.

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