205-391-0618

Category: Nursing Home Neglect

How an Injury Attorney Can Assist with Nursing Home Abuse Situations

Jun 26, 2015 - Nursing Home Neglect by

One of the most difficult decisions in life involves placing elderly loved ones in a nursing home. This choice may be essential to ensure their wellbeing and about 90 percent of Alabama nursing home residents and their families rate their facilities as excellent or good. However, it only takes one errant caregiver — or even another resident — to turn a highly-regarded facility into a dangerous nightmare for defenseless seniors. Filing a Complaint is a Multi-Step Process After hearing about abuse and neglect concerns from several viewers, WSFA published a story pertaining to these issues. During their investigation, a representative from the Alabama Nursing Home Association laid out the process that concerned families should follow when they have concerns: • The process begins by expressing concerns to facility administration and then watch for improvements. • If no changes occur, it is time to contact the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH). • The ADPH then has to contact the facility and request information about the concerns. • The facility must quickly respond to the ADPH request, which then needs to review the information and decide if they need more information or if they need to perform an on-site investigation, which requires additional time. Although every step of the process has strict time limits, it is easy to expect that senior family members may see little or no relief for an extended time period. During this time, families typically must make numerous visits to their loved ones to help ensure their […]

Read More

Using Nursing Home “Granny Cams” to Protect Seniors’ Safety — and Their Legal Rights

Feb 27, 2015 - Nursing Home Neglect by

Placing an elderly loved one in need of 24-hour care in a nursing home is one of the most difficult decisions families can make. In addition to the emotional concerns connected with taking people out of the familiar surroundings that make them comfortable, families lose the ability to vigilantly monitor their safety. Many individuals wish they could use electronic surveillance to help protect their family members. One Case Illustrates How Granny Cams Can Help Protect Nursing Home Residents In August 2014, a nanny cam recording helped achieve justice for one family. After seeing signs of abuse to his mother at an Oklahoma City nursing home, a man hid a camera in her room. The recordings revealed that one worker was abusing the patient. The grannycam provided the evidence needed to convict the worker, according to a KOCO.com report. Alabama Laws are Somewhat Unclear Pertaining to Video Surveillance Federal law does not prohibit the installation of hidden cameras as long as they do not record sound. However, Alabama law adds a restriction by prohibiting installation on private property, according to Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. As a general rule, Alabama law requires one party to grant permission for audio recording, but granny cams hidden in the rooms of nursing home residents can represent a different legal issue. Regardless of state law, families can install cameras in the rooms of senior nursing home residents by obtaining written permission from the facility. An experienced Tuscaloosa injury attorney can draft an effective […]

Read More

Gregory v. Cott – Alzheimer Patient Aggression and Rights to Sue

Aug 1, 2014 - Nursing Home Neglect by

One of the worst parts about the disease of Alzheimer’s is that it transforms the sufferer into a shell of his or her former self. Behaviors in which they might never have engaged previously now become commonplace as a side effect of the disease. Unfortunately, one of the most commonly-cited behaviors among patients is aggression. Stemming often from fear, confusion, or an unexpected change in routine, Alzheimer’s and other dementia patients have been known to lash out by kicking, biting, scratching, hitting, punching, and flailing. What the California Supreme Court recently ruled in its 5-2 decision in Gregory v. Cott was that in-home caregivers who agree to provide care for these individuals are not entitled to sue them, their loved ones, or their estate for injuries inflicted by a patient. The reasoning was that those hired specifically to assist these disabled persons can’t sue when they encounter a hazardous condition they are paid to confront. (The same reasoning had already been applied to nursing home staffers encountering such conditions.) However, our Birmingham nursing home abuse lawyers know that, by this logic, a patient in a nursing home setting should expect to be protected against other patients who display aggression. This is because, unlike dementia sufferers, nursing home administrators are fully aware and cognizant of the risk posed by certain patients. They also, armed with this knowledge, have a duty to protect patients from potential harm. That means facilities have a duty to recognize and address aggressive behaviors in residents. That […]

Read More

Court: Nursing Home Negligence Case May Proceed

Jul 24, 2014 - Nursing Home Neglect by

A case of alleged nursing home neglect may proceed to trial after the Wyoming Supreme Court determined that, although the claim failed to meet technical statutory and constitutional requirements, the defendant did not adequately raise such deficiencies. Our Tuscaloosa nursing home neglect attorneys understand this was essentially a case where a technical failing on the plaintiff’s part was negated by a technical failing by the defendant. Given that many for-profit nursing homes have deep pockets and can afford a top-notch defense, most plaintiffs can’t afford to make such errors. This is why it’s imperative to take your case to a lawyer with extensive experience and proven success. The case of Harmon v. Star Valley Med. Ctr. began as many instances of litigation surrounding Alabama nursing home neglect do:  with a fall. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that the average 100-bed nursing home in the U.S. reports between 100 and 200 falls every year. Unfortunately, the vast majority of falls go unreported, and far too many patients lack the capacity to report on what has happened to them. Nursing homes have a responsibility to prevent falls by recognizing when patients may be at risk for such issues. They also have a duty to respond quickly and appropriately when they occur. Failure to do so may amount to negligence. While not every nursing home fall is worthy of a lawsuit, one that results in serious injury or death requires careful review by a legal professional. In the Harmon […]

Read More

Avoid Alabama Nursing Home Arbitration Agreements

Mar 18, 2014 - Nursing Home Neglect by

Arbitration agreements almost never benefit the consumer, whether they are written into the fine print of an electronics purchase or as a precursor to employment or shoved in front of family members working to admit a loved one into a nursing home. These agreements require that instead of having any disputes resolved in court, both parties are required to resolve matters before an arbitrator – one who is often chosen by the defendant and paid for by the plaintiff. In theory, the process should be fair. Too often, it’s anything but. Yet these documents have become standard – though not required – in nursing home admissions. In cases of Tuscaloosa nursing home neglect, plaintiffs may wish to challenge the enforceability of the original agreement. This is being done with increasing frequency – and success – across the country.

Read More

Fatal Fires — Alabama Nursing Home Disaster Plans Fall Short

Feb 2, 2014 - Birmingham by

Recently, 10 people in Quebec died and another two dozen more were presumed dead following a nursing home fire that broke out in frigid temperatures that thwarted rescue efforts. A resident smoking a cigarette is a possible cause of the blaze. Meanwhile in Connecticut, the case of Lexington Ins. Co. v. Lexington Healthcare Group, Inc., was recently reviewed by the state’s supreme court, following a dispute over assignation of blame following a 2003 nursing home fire. The blaze resulted in 13 claims of wrongful death and serious bodily injury. Although most of those injured and their survivors had been compensated in various settlements, the case between the nursing home and the insurance company continues to drag on. Our nursing home negligence lawyers know both of these cases underscore the need for facilities in Birmingham to have solid fire prevention and disaster response plans in place. Failure to have a proper plan or to follow it can be the basis for a nursing home negligence claim in cases where such failure results in injury or death.

Read More

Alabama Nursing Homes Get “D” Grade for Poor Patient Care

Aug 26, 2013 - Birmingham by

Her identity was concealed, but she hoped to bring the truth to light. Reporters at WKRG News 5 in Mobile interviewed a nursing home staffer recently who revealed the too-often silent horrors of the industry, including patients with infected bed sores so severe their tailbones were exposed. Though the account was given anonymously, our Birmingham nursing home neglect lawyers have learned that a new report lends credence to these tales of woe, with Alabama earning a state grade ranking of “D” when it comes to quality of nursing home care.

Read More

Alabama Nursing Home Quality Weighed By ProPublica

Jan 25, 2013 - Birmingham by

Birmingham nursing home abuse lawyers know how difficult it is for family members to choose the right assisted living facility for their loved one.  For most, it’s uncharted territory and the concerns are amplified by the fact that you’ve heard all the horror stories. But it can be tough to get straight answers about a facility’s track record. Even once you’ve decided on a facility, keeping tabs on its performance can prove convoluted at best. Now, there is a new tool. News organization ProPublica has launched a data-driven site that provides updated information regarding nursing homes in Alabama and throughout the country. Each facility is documented, the serious deficiencies calculated and rated (with detailed reports attached) and information about fines and penalties tabulated as well.

Read More

Federal Report: Bedrails To Blame in Elderly Deaths

Jan 15, 2013 - Nursing Home Neglect by

An alarming report released recently by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission warns of the dangers of adult bedrails – the metal bars fitted onto beds to keep people from falling out.  As our Tuscaloosa nursing home neglect lawyers have learned, these devices have reportedly been on the radar of federal regulators since at least 1995. Since that time, some 550 people have died after becoming stuck or strangled in the rails, and another 4,000 a year have had to be rushed to the emergency room for injuries. Despite the human toll, the federal government has been reticent to take any action at all, according to reporting from The New York Times.

Read More

Alabama Nursing Home Neglect a Holiday Concern

Dec 15, 2012 - Nursing Home Neglect by

If you have elderly family members or friends in a nursing home, there’s a good chance that you will be paying them a visit over the holidays. While you are enjoying each other’s company and having a festive celebration, the visit should also give you a chance to talk to your loved one and to observe his or her behavior. Carefully observe the condition of the home and other residents. Our Tuscaloosa nursing home abuse attorneys have discussed the subject of nursing home abuse before, including last month when we wrote about the tragic death of a 94-year-old-woman killed in an Alabama nursing home fire drill. We want to urge you to take extra care this holiday season to ensure our elderly loved ones are treated with the care and respect they deserve. According to a 2011 article in The News Courier, adult protective services referred 5,312 possible abuse cases to the Department of Human Resources for investigation in the prior year. In the majority of abuse situations investigated, the alleged abuse was directed at a person aged 75 to 84. Although 5,312 abuse cases is a staggering number, these investigations may reflect only a small portion of the abuse that is actually occurring. The National Center on Elder Abuse estimates that anywhere between 1 and 2 million seniors age 65 and older throughout the U.S. are abused but that many cases of abuse go unreported since the elderly aren’t able to speak up for themselves or to get the […]

Read More

Hear What Our Clients Have To Say

"I highly recommend Cross & Smith. They are an excellent law firm with attorneys who care greatly about the individuals they are representing. "