Bellevue Elder/Nursing Home Neglect Attorney
Elder/Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers in Bellevue for Elder/Nursing Home Neglect Victims
One of the most emotionally challenging parts of life is caring for parents and other loved ones who are disabled or who have become older and can no longer care for themselves without assistance. Assisted Living facilities have become a staple of our society and can be wonderful places for people to live when they are experiencing challenges accomplishing activities of daily living without assistance. Additionally, while going through long term recovery, residents of skilled nursing facilities can expect a safe environment with inhouse rehabilitation, often meaning an easier and faster recovery.
The devastation that comes from injury to or losing someone you love unfairly can leave you in pain, lead to feelings of resentment, and drowning in medical bills and funeral expenses. These are all things you should not be pressed to focus on while you are caring your loved one or coping with a loss. Filing a nursing home neglect suit offers you the opportunity for compensation from both an economical and emotional position. While nothing can ever replace the comfort of a loved one in your life, filing a nursing home neglect suit can play a large part in the family’s recovery. The personal injury lawyers at McNeese and Trotsky can help you navigate this legal process.
If someone you loved has passed as a result of nursing home neglect and you have any legal related questions, please feel free to reach out to Charles McNeese and Adam Trotsky for a free phone, video, or in-person consultation. We look forward to answering any of your questions.
The Vulnerable Adult Act
While assisted living facilities and skilled nursing facilities are important and necessary components of society and the significant majority of the time these facilities are staffed with highly capable and caring people, accidents happen. Due to the vulnerable nature of residents of these facilities, Washington has enacted the Vulnerable Adult Act, making costs and attorney’s fees available to curtain victims of neglect and abuse while residing at one of these facilities, please see below:
RCW 74.34.200 Abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect of a vulnerable adult — Cause of action for damages—Legislative intent.
(1) In addition to other remedies available under the law, a vulnerable adult who has been subjected to abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect either while residing in a facility or in the case of a person residing at home who receives care from a home health, hospice, or home care agency, or an individual provider, shall have a cause of action for damages on account of his or her injuries, pain and suffering, and loss of property sustained thereby. This action shall be available where the defendant is or was a corporation, trust, unincorporated association, partnership, administrator, employee, agent, officer, partner, or director of a facility, or of a home health, hospice, or home care agency licensed or required to be licensed under chapter 70.127 RCW, as now or subsequently designated, or an individual provider.
(2) It is the intent of the legislature, however, that where there is a dispute about the care or treatment of a vulnerable adult, the parties should use the least formal means available to try to resolve the dispute. Where feasible, parties are encouraged but not mandated to employ direct discussion with the health care provider, use of the long-term care ombuds or other intermediaries, and, when necessary, recourse through licensing or other regulatory authorities.
(3) In an action brought under this section, a prevailing plaintiff shall be awarded his or her actual damages, together with the costs of the suit, including a reasonable attorneys’ fee. The term “costs” includes, but is not limited to, the reasonable fees for a guardian, guardian ad litem, and experts, if any, that may be necessary to the litigation of a claim brought under this section.
According to WAC 388-97-0640, prevention of abuse,
(1) Each resident has the right to be free from verbal, sexual, physical, and mental abuse, corporal punishment, and involuntary seclusion.
(2) The nursing home must develop and implement written policies and procedures that: (a) Prohibit abandonment, abuse, and neglect of residents, financial exploitation, and misappropriation of resident property; and (b) Require staff to report possible abuse, and other related incidents, as required by chapter 74.34 RCW, and for skilled nursing facilities and nursing facilities as required by 42 C.F.R. § 483.13.
(3) The nursing home must not allow staff to:
(a) Engage in verbal, mental, sexual, or physical abuse
(b) Use corporal punishment
(c) Involuntarily seclude, abandon, neglect, or financially exploit residents
(d) Misappropriate resident property.
(4) The nursing home must report any information it has about an action taken by a court of law against an employee to the department’s complaint resolution unit and the appropriate department of health licensing authority, if that action would disqualify the individual from employment as described in RCW 43.43.842.
(5) The nursing home must ensure that all allegations involving abandonment, abuse, neglect, financial exploitation, or misappropriation of resident property, including injuries of unknown origin, are reported immediately, other applicable officials, and the administrator of the facility. The nursing home must:
(a) Ensure that the reports are made through established procedures in accordance with state law including RCW 74.34, and guidelines developed by the department
(b) Not have any policy or procedure that interferes with the requirement of RCW 74.34 that employees and other mandatory reporters file reports directly with the department, and also with law enforcement, if they suspect sexual or physical assault has occurred.
(6) The nursing home must:
(a) Have evidence that all alleged violations are thoroughly investigated
(b) Prevent further potential abandonment, abuse, neglect, financial exploitation, or misappropriation of resident property while the investigation is in progress
(c) Report the results of all investigations to the administrator or his designated representative and to other officials in accordance with state law and established procedures (including the state survey and certification agency) within five working days of the incident, and if the alleged violation is verified appropriate action must be taken.
(7) When a mandatory reporter has:
(a) Reasonable cause to believe that a vulnerable adult has been abandoned, abused, neglected, financially exploited, or a resident’s property has been misappropriated, the individual mandatory reporter must immediately report the incident to the department’s Aging and Disability Services Administration (ADSA)
(b) Reason to suspect that a vulnerable adult has been sexually or physically assaulted, the individual mandatory reporter must:
(i) Immediately report the incident to the department’s aging and disability services administration (ADSA)
(ii) Notify local law enforcement in accordance with the provisions of chapter 74.34 RCW.
(8) Under RCW 74.34.053, it is:
(a) A gross misdemeanor for a mandatory reporter knowingly to fail to report as required under this section
(b) A misdemeanor for a person to intentionally, maliciously, or in bad faith make a false report of alleged abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect of a vulnerable adult.
(9) The nursing home must not employ individuals who are disqualified under the requirements of WAC 388-97-1820.
Determining whether you have a nursing home neglect case is not always straightforward, which is why the attorneys at McNeese and Trotsky are here to help. If an individual or business acts negligently, reckless, or fails to meet a standard of care there could be grounds for a lawsuit and furthermore, for compensation.