Assisted living and nursing home care is a valuable service for many individuals and their families all over Cheyenne and across Wyoming. People invest considerable time and money in finding a facility that they trust to care for their vulnerable loved ones. Many of these same families are rightfully shocked, devastated, and angry when they learn that their loved one has been mentally, physically, or sexually abused at the hands of trusted caregivers.
Did your loved one suffer abuse or neglect due to nursing home negligence in Cheyenne? The facility, employees, and those responsible for hiring, training, and supervising workers can and should be held liable for negligent or criminal acts against the elderly.
At the Olson Law Firm, we understand the frustration, confusion, and distress that families feel when they discover that abuse has occurred in a nursing home, and we will work to put an immediate stop to the mistreatment and get your loved one to a safe place. Our experienced Cheyenne nursing home abuse lawyer will then aggressively demand justice and seek fair compensation for what happened. Call (307) 317-4529 or contact us online to set up a free consultation with Sean Olson now.
Dangers to Watch for in Nursing Homes
Adult Protective Services (APS) in the Wyoming Department of Family Services (DFS) seeks to ensure that a person’s safety and basic needs are being met in the least restrictive environment. The agency identifies several types of harm nursing home residents may suffer, including:
- Abuse: This is defined as intentionally or recklessly causing physical or mental injury, intimidation, cruel punishment, or unreasonable confinement. It can also include sexual offenses.
- Intimidation: This type of abuse is defined as communicating by word or act to a vulnerable adult that they or their loved ones will be deprived of some need.
- Sexual abuse: This includes sexual contact such as unwanted touching, all types of sexual assault or battery, and sexual exploitation.
- Financial exploitation: This is defined as a reckless or intentional act to obtain control over a vulnerable adult’s money, assets, or property.
- Neglect: This is defined as depriving a vulnerable adult of the minimum care necessary to maintain life or health. Self-neglect is defined as a vulnerable adult refusing to perform essential self-care tasks due to physical or mental disability.
Do not hesitate to ask questions and demand answers if you suspect any form of abuse or neglect. We also encourage you to reach out to our knowledgeable Cheyenne nursing home abuse attorney to talk about what your loved one is experiencing and learn how we can help.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
Different kinds of abuse can have different signs. Some of the most common signs of neglect and abuse include:
- Physical abuse: Broken eyeglasses, fractures and other injuries, unexplained cuts or bruises
- Sexual abuse: Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), torn underwear, or bleeding, bruising, or infections in genital areas
- Psychological abuse: Depression, withdrawal, self-injurious behavior, and fear of talking around certain staff members or other residents
- Neglect: Pressure ulcers (bedsores), dirty clothing, poor personal hygiene, and unclean living conditions
- Financial exploitation: Large cash withdrawals, sudden changes to estate planning documents, forged signatures on checks, treasured valuables missing, etc.
It is possible that some residents could be the victims of multiple forms of abuse, so be sure to watch for any signs that something isn’t right with your loved one when you visit the facility. Take all complaints and concerns seriously, and always be on alert for any potential signs of abuse.
What to Do If You Suspect Abuse or Neglect
Take action immediately. If your loved one is in immediate danger or if their life is being threatened, call 911 immediately. Don’t wait until they have been hurt. Even the threat of harm against your loved one will warrant involvement by law enforcement.
Save any evidence. If you have proof of abuse, preserve the evidence. This could include clothing that your loved one was wearing, eyewitness statements, photos of the facility, and medical records that can prove abuse. Also save any communication with the nursing home facility about the abuse, such as emails or written reports.
Report the abuse. Wyoming law requires any person who knows of abuse or has reasonable cause to believe that a vulnerable adult is being or has been abused to report the information immediately to a law enforcement agency or DFS. A report can be made orally or in writing, and DFS will notify law enforcement and can request assistance from appropriate health or mental health agencies after receiving the report.
Anyone concerned about possible abuse or neglect can also contact the Wyoming Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP). An ombudsman can provide you with information about your situation that may allow you to act on your own, but the ombudsman can also advocate for you or your loved one and mediate to achieve a possible solution. The LTCOP does not take any action without the consent of a resident or their legal representation.
Get legal help. Even if you reported the abuse and a state investigation has commenced, you should still speak with Cheyenne nursing home neglect attorney Sean Olson to learn about your rights and legal options. A state investigation can take a long time, but our team can begin working to protect your loved one immediately and start building a case for full and fair financial compensation.
Who Can Be Held Responsible?
The services that nursing homes provide to their residents, including providing medical care, shelter, food, and hygiene, means that they owe them a strict duty of care. The nursing home facility could be held responsible for abuse, injury, and neglect stemming from:
- Negligent hiring (including failure to perform background checks)
- Negligent training of staff
- Failure to supervise and monitor staff
- Intentional abuse on the part of staff members
- Failure to provide adequate security to protect residents from harm
- Failure to address health and safety hazards
- Failure to provide food, water, and other daily necessities
- Failure to provide adequate medical care
- Imposing unnecessary or harmful physical restraints
Nursing homes are not always the defendants in all of these cases, though. Some cases could involve abusive actions by third parties, possibly non-residents who have access to the facilities. Other nursing home injuries could stem from a contracted party not properly maintaining essential equipment or medical products being defectively manufactured or designed.
Compensation for Victims and Families
The insurance company for the nursing home involved in your case may try to settle as quickly as possible after the abuse has been discovered. However, the insurer will do everything possible to minimize their payout, so you should not attempt to negotiate any settlement without an attorney.
Sean Olson and his team can help you negotiate toward a full and fair settlement to your case, but as a skilled trial attorney, Sean will also be prepared to move forward with a nursing home abuse lawsuit if the insurer does not make an acceptable offer. If your case goes to court, Sean will present your loved one’s compelling story to the jury and argue for maximum compensation.
Compensation in a nursing home abuse claim can include payment for:
- Medical bills
- Property damage
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
In extreme cases, a victim may be awarded punitive damages (also known as exemplary damages or vindictive damages) if the defendant engaged in “circumstances involving outrageous conduct,” such as intentional harm or malice.
How a Cheyenne Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer Can Help
Start with a free consultation. The first thing our team will do is sit down with you for a free consultation. We will take the time to listen to your story, answer your questions, and review any evidence you have collected so far.
Independently investigating your claim. Although the state will be conducting an investigation into reports of abuse or neglect, our team will immediately begin collecting evidence in order to prove a nursing home’s negligence and help identify all of the liable parties. We can also act as a liaison between your family and state investigators so you do not have to keep checking on the status of their case.
Taking the pressure off you. When our nursing home abuse lawyer in Cheyenne is handling your case, you can trust that we will handle all of the investigatory legwork so you can focus on removing your loved one from the harmful situation. When you attempt to handle a nursing home abuse case without a lawyer, it can be challenging to get a nursing home to enact the necessary changes. However, our legal team will aggressively push to make sure that the proper action is taken.
Ensuring all deadlines are met. Our knowledgeable nursing home abuse attorney will also make sure that you meet important legal deadlines that will be vital to your case. People only have a limited amount of time to take legal action in cases involving personal injury or wrongful death, so our team will work quickly and efficiently to preserve your right to file a claim within the statute of limitations.
Talk to a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney in Cheyenne Now
If you discover that your loved one was abused in a nursing home in Cheyenne, you have a right to be angry and demand that justice be served. The Olson Law Firm will help you get answers and protect your loved one and other vulnerable residents. Together, we will send a message that abuse of the elderly will not be tolerated in our community.
The Olson Law Firm has an office on Capitol Avenue in downtown Cheyenne, but we can travel to meet with you wherever is most convenient. Please call us at (307) 317-4529 or contact us online to receive a free consultation.