It is already difficult when you place a loved one into a nursing home, but the thought of your loved one being neglected or even abused enrages those who put their trust into a facility to take care of someone they care deeply about. Elder abuse often occurs to those that are frail and unable to defend or speak for themselves and involves either a caregiver or nursing home staff that have agreed to provide necessities and or medical attention and fail to do so. In some states, an elder is defined as someone who has reached 60 years of age. In the state of Texas, a person must reach the age of 65 to be considered an elder. This distinction is important as different laws apply to those that are recognized as an elder by the state.
When abuse is suspected, you must call the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services at 1-800-458-9858 and this number can be used to report abuse in the following facilities:
- Nursing homes
- Assisted living centers
- Intermediate care facilities Intermediate care facilities
- Home Health and Hospice
- Adult Day Care centers
Also keep in mind that you can report abuse of people who receive assisted living help in their homes from the Texas Department of Aging and Disability, also known as DADS.
Once you have reported the abuse, you should contact an experienced nursing home abuse attorney who will investigate the claim, medical records as well as the facility, staff, equipment and medications. This is how an elder abuse attorney will find proof that there are indeed damages, and that the cause was a breach of duty.
Who Can Bring an Elder Abuse Lawsuit?
An immediate family member is usually the one to initiate a phone call to authorities and get a free consultation with a nursing home abuse attorney. However, a guardian or even a close friend who may believe that neglect and or abuse is taking place can consult with an attorney on behalf of the elder who is being abused.
While you might be aware that most injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning you don’t pay unless they win, a nursing home abuse case should be no different. An attorney will take all the risk of investigating your case and pay for any and all expenses up front with no out of pocket cost to the client.
Harms and Losses
A plaintiff who brings a complaint against a facility will want to and show evidence as to the harms and losses, including suffering that are a direct result of neglect and or abuse. Once harms, losses and pain and suffering have been defined and shown to be caused by a direct result of neglect and or abuse, a lawsuit would be filed against the nursing home or facility.
Justin is an attorney at Roberts & Roberts and focuses his practice on mass tort litigation, where he specializes in helping individuals who are harmed by recalled or unsafe pharmaceutical drugs and medical devices. He has earned recognition as a “Top 40 Under 40” Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers. Prior to joining Roberts & Roberts, Justin served as an attorney in all three branches of Texas’s state government, including as a Briefing Attorney on the Texas Supreme Court. He also represented electric and natural gas utilities in complex regulatory proceedings before the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Railroad Commission of Texas. Justin is a published author in the St. Mary’s Law Journal.