Evans Agrapidis Highlights 3 Reasons for Lawsuits Against Negligent Nursing Homes

Including Unsafe Conditions due to Covid-19

When a parent or other elderly relative reaches a point where they can no longer safely and comfortably live without additional in-house support, then transitioning them to a nursing home is supposed to be a responsible, compassionate, and conscientious option. However, the reality for some nursing home residents is dramatically different and far worse, because instead of getting the care they need and are entitled to, they are exposed to conditions that are both inhumane and illegal.

“Most people would be shocked to learn that, according to statistics compiled by the organization Nursing Home Abuse Justice, as many as five million senior citizens in the U.S. are abused each year in nursing homes,” commented Evans Agrapidis, an experienced personal injury and accident lawyer based in Jersey City, New Jersey, and a founding member of the law firm Agrapidis & Maroules, P.C. “Yet despite the extremely high number of abuse cases, only about five percent are formally reported. Many victims are afraid to escalate their concerns for fear of reprisals, or they may be suffering from memory loss or dementia that inhibits their capacity to lodge a full and formal complaint — which is fact that is certainly not lost on their abusers who feel they can continue with impunity.”

There are many reasons why elder abuse victims (or their children or other empowered caregiver on their behalf) can file a lawsuit against a negligent nursing home. Some of the most common reasons that nursing homes are sued include injuries or fatalities from falling, hazardous or unsanitary conditions, and pressure sores. Presently, issues surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic may lead to lawsuits as well.

Injuries or Fatalities from Falling

It is widely understood that elderly individuals are more prone, and also more vulnerable, to suffering a serious or fatal injury due to falling. Yet despite this, some nursing homes contribute to the likelihood and/or severity of a fall by ignoring, allowing or neglecting to identify and immediately fix issues such as damaged carpeting, wet floor, and poor lighting. In addition, a lack of appropriate staff supervision, inadequately trained staff, defective equipment, and improper medication management can also contribute to falls.

“Falls in nursing homes should never be ignored, because if left unexamined and untreated, they can lead to serious long-term injuries that adversely impact quality of life, and may be a contributing factor in death,” commented Evans Agrapidis, whose areas of specialization include representing clients who have been injured in fall down cases, motor vehicle accidents, work-related accidents, construction site accidents, and a wide variety of other personal injury categories. “Children and other caregivers who suspect that a nursing home resident may have fallen, or who know that a fall has occurred and are not satisfied with the explanation provided by the nursing home or the subsequent steps taken to prevent future falls, should escalate the matter through all proper channels, and which may include contacting a personal injury lawyer for specific counsel and advice.”

Hazardous or Unsanitary Conditions

An investigate report by the non-profit organization Fair Warning found that nursing home residents nationwide are at risk of foodborne illnesses brought about by unsafe and unhygienic kitchens. And the issue of unsanitary environments in nursing homes is even more critical today in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic; especially as many facilities struggle to maintain adequate staffing levels.

“All individuals who reside in a nursing home are entitled to live in a clean and safe environment that maintains their dignity while it protects their health,” commented Evans Agrapidis, who was admitted to the New Jersey State and New Jersey Federal Bars in 1983, the New York State and New York Federal Bars in 1985, and is currently a member of the Bar of the U.S. Supreme Court. “Red flags that indicate nursing home conditions may not be maintained at appropriate and required hygiene standards include, but are not limited to, messy rooms, soiled bedding, dirty bathrooms, foul odors, and unkempt eating areas. While there may indeed be a legitimate and reasonable explanation for any of these — it is dangerous to make assumptions, or to ignore a gut feeling that something is wrong.”

Pressure Sores

Pressure sores (also referred to as pressure ulcers, decubitus ulcers, or bedsores) result from prolonged contact between the skin and a hard surface, such as a bed or wheelchair. Over time, a very painful and serious ulcer can develop. While many seniors in nursing home are susceptible to developing pressure sores, those who are bedridden or have mobility issues are especially at risk. Common areas where pressure sores can develop are the hips, elbows, heels, coccyx (i.e. tailbone), and shoulder blades.

“Nursing homes are obligated to have personnel, protocols and processes in place to mitigate the development of pressure sores by, for example, ensuring that residents have appropriate mattresses and supports, and receive appropriate nutrition and physical activity with respect to their specific needs and medical requirements,” commented Evans Agrapidis. “In addition, nursing home staff must be properly trained to inspect residents for the early signs of pressure sores, so they can be alleviated in the early stages when they are relatively less painful and respond better to treatment.”

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Evans Agrapidis

Evans Agrapidis

Personal Injury and Accident Lawyer in Jersey City, New Jersey.