Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Attorneys Serving Mobile, Dothan, and All of Southern Alabama
The Dothan nursing home abuse lawyers at Morris, Andrews, Talmadge & Driggers, LLC are passionate about seeking justice for residents of nursing homes, retirement homes, and other assisted living facilities in Alabama.
If you or someone you love has become the target of nursing home abuse or neglect, you should not hesitate to take action as soon as possible. Your nursing home abuse case is subject to a statute of limitations—which, in Alabama, is two years from the date of injury—so it is important that you get the ball rolling before too much time has elapsed.
In doing so, you will have the opportunity to pursue a monetary award for the harm that you have suffered. This may include compensation for any financial losses that you have sustained, as well as damages for any non-economic hardships that you have been forced to endure.
Contact the Dothan nursing home abuse lawyers at Morris, Andrews, Talmadge & Driggers, LLC online or at (334) 316-0930 for a FREE case evaluation. We welcome clients from across southern Alabama and the Tri-State Area, including Dothan and Mobile. Not only have we won the largest jury verdict in the state of Alabama, but we can offer the extensive legal experience that you will need.
Testimonials From Former Clients
Hired Joseph Morris to handle my car accident and he did a great job at handling the case and explained the process as the case went. I would highly recommend him.
I would recommend Mr. Driggers to anybody needing legal help him and his staff first of all are very nice to you and act like they are very understanding to your needs. He talked to me on the phone like he knew me all my life and that really mattered to me. When we had our hearing he treated me like he had already met me and he hadn’t, I just really loved him and have already been telling people about him and his office.
Cory and his staff are very professional and make you feel at ease whether it is by phone or in person. My case was solved quickly and very efficiently. Thanks for everything!!
The staff handled my case in a prompt and professional manner. They returned my calls in a timely fashion and was always prepared to answer any questions. Furthermore, Attorney Driggers is a Christian man and first class professional. I am certainly happy that i was represented by this Law Firm.
Cory Driggers represented my daughter following an car accident. He showed real genuine care for her and the case. He and his staff worked to get all of the medical bills gathered and also to get them decreased. Cory kept us updated and contacted my daughter when decisions needed to be made. Ultimately, Cory got what my daughter deserved for her injuries and my daughter was completely satisfied. I would recommend Cory to anyone that is looking for a good Christian attorney. Thanks Cory for your help!
I would highly recommend Cory Driggers. He kept me informed all during my case. I never felt left in the dark. He was always straightforward with me. I can’t express how impressed I was with him.
Attorney Driggers and his team did a wonderful job with my case. They were professional and pleasant. They were patient with me and answered all my questions. They addressed all my concerns from the first conversation to the last. I would highly recommend him to anyone needing an attorney.
“I’ve had Joey take care of three separate cases and two for other family members. The service was always great and he was always there to answer my questions no matter how many times I called. Great m …”
Mr.Driggers is a wonderful Lawyer that knows the law, he helped me when I had no idea in my situation where to start and what to do, he worked with me hands on and got the best results for me in my case. It was a privilege to get to know him as my lawyer and a friend. If you need legal representation call him you will be satisfied.
“Never in a million years did I believe that these attorneys would do everything possible to seek justice.”
“I was pleased with their work and the outcome of my case.”
“Our family is so thankful for Mark, Dan and their entire team. Every step of the way they made sure we were comfortable and understood every aspect of our case. It was apparent that our interest was …”
I would highly recommend Cory Driggers. He kept me informed all during my case. I never felt left in the dark. He was always straightforward with me . I can’t express how impressed I was with him.
Cory was absolutely fantastic. He settled my case beyond what I could even imagine. Not only was he very knowledgeable concerning the law, he was available whenever we needed him, Cory was also so kind and courteous to us at all times. During the time since my case ended I have called on Cory several times to ask questions related to situations I have had going on and he has always been available to help me. I would recommend Cory without a second thought to any friend, family member, co-worker or acquaintance.
Love, love, love these people! When no one out there seems to care, let me tell you that this group right here will fight tooth and nail for you.
Joey (and his team) was extremely helpful in a time when we did not know what to do. His professional approach gave us assurance while he settled our case.
How Is Nursing Home Abuse Defined in Alabama?
In Alabama, nursing home abuse is generally defined as any intentional or negligent act by a caregiver or other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a resident of a nursing home or other long-term care facility.
If you suspect your loved one is the victim of abuse or neglect in a nursing home, it is important to contact the Dothan nursing home abuse lawyers at Morris, Andrews, Talmadge & Driggers, LLC as quickly as possible. You have a limited time in which to make a claim, so the sooner you contact our office, the sooner we can conduct an investigation and determine the facts in your situation.
Your initial consultation is free and confidential. We handle nursing home abuse and neglect cases on a contingency basis, which means you don’t pay unless we win.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing homes are meant to be sanctuaries where elderly individuals receive the care and support they need in their golden years. Unfortunately, instances of abuse within these facilities have become a dark reality, demanding attention and action. Various forms of abuse can occur in nursing homes and other assisted living facilities. From serious injuries to wrongful death, the impact of nursing home abuse can have a lasting impact on residents and their families.
The most common types of nursing home abuse include:
Physical abuse involves the intentional use of force that results in bodily injury, pain, or impairment. In nursing homes, this can take the form of hitting, slapping, pushing, or any other act that causes harm. Caregivers or staff members who engage in physical abuse often exploit the vulnerability of the elderly, taking advantage of their physical frailty or cognitive limitations. Physical abuse can often cause catastrophic injuries that forever change the lives of victims.
Emotional abuse is a form of mistreatment that causes emotional pain, distress, or anguish. It can take various forms, such as verbal abuse, humiliation, intimidation, or isolation. Caregivers may use demeaning language, ridicule, or threaten residents, eroding their self-esteem and overall mental health.
Sexual abuse involves any non-consensual sexual contact, advances, or exploitation of an elderly individual. This form of abuse is particularly distressing due to the vulnerability of the victims and the violation of their personal boundaries. Addressing sexual abuse in nursing homes requires a comprehensive approach, including educating staff about appropriate boundaries and creating a culture that prioritizes the safety and dignity of residents.
Neglect is a form of abuse characterized by the failure to provide the necessary care and attention required for an individual’s well-being. This can manifest as a lack of proper hygiene, inadequate nutrition, insufficient medical care, or general disregard for a resident’s needs. Neglect can lead to a range of health issues, from malnutrition and dehydration to preventable infections and bedsores.
U.S. Nursing Home Abuse Statistics
Although nursing homes were developed so that the elderly could have access to around-the-clock care, it seems that a substantial number of these facilities in the U.S. have failed to provide their residents with the level of attention that they deserve. In fact, it has been reported that nearly 91% of all nursing homes in the country are insufficiently staffed.
This has, in turn, led to a severe increase in the number of elder abuse and nursing home negligence cases that are subsequently filed each year—which, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the National Center on Elder Abuse, is more than 5,961,500. Of these incidents, the most common forms of abuse are as follows:
- Sexual Abuse (0.04%)
- Emotional Abuse (7.3%)
- Financial Exploitation (12.3%)
- Physical Abuse (15.7%)
- Neglect (58.5%)
It has also been reported that approximately 1,800 nursing home residents die each year from injuries sustained in slip and fall accidents and that about 240,900 others suffer from bedsores. This may have something to do with the fact that most facilities in this country do not have enough nurses and nursing assistants to care for the number of residents that they are responsible for overseeing.
In any case, however, the elderly should not be expected to endure the consequences. Instead, all victims of nursing home abuse and negligence should come forward about the harm that they have wrongfully suffered, and subsequently pursue the level of compensation that they deserve.
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Recognizing the Warning Signs of Elder Abuse in Alabama Nursing Homes
As mentioned earlier, there are five main types of elder abuse: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, financial exploitation, and neglect. Unfortunately, nursing home residents are susceptible to any one of them. It is for this reason that it is so important for family members to be able to recognize the warning signs.
Some forms of abuse are harder to detect than others, so it may be necessary to keep an eye out for any subtle changes in behavior or physical appearance. This could include anything from bruising, sores, or lacerations to abnormal changes in weight, hygiene, or demeanor. Should you notice any of these red flags, it is important that you do not ignore them.
Keep in mind that these signs do not necessarily confirm abuse but should prompt further investigation.
Some common warning signs of elder abuse include:
Physical signs of elder abuse may manifest as unexplained bruises, welts, fractures, or injuries. Additionally, evidence of restraint, such as marks on wrists, or the presence of broken eyeglasses or frames can be indicative of physical mistreatment.
Changes in an elderly person’s emotional well-being might signal abuse. Sudden alterations in behavior, such as withdrawal or depression, unexplained fear, or heightened anxiety can be red flags. Agitation or anger without apparent cause should also be considered as potential indicators.
Financial exploitation may be evidenced by unexplained or abrupt changes in an elder’s financial situation. Missing personal belongings or valuables, as well as unusual withdrawals or transfers of money, may suggest financial abuse.
Neglect is reflected in the elder’s physical well-being and living conditions. Poor personal hygiene, including dirty clothes or lack of bathing, unattended medical needs, and untreated health problems are common signs. Weight loss or malnutrition can also be indicative of neglect.
Verbal or Emotional Abuse
Verbal or emotional abuse can manifest through various means, including belittling, name-calling, and other forms of verbal aggression. Isolation from friends or family, as well as threats or intimidation, may indicate emotional mistreatment.
Signs of sexual abuse may include unexplained sexually transmitted infections, bruises, or injuries in the genital area. Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding can also be indicative of sexual mistreatment.
Changes in behavior can be critical indicators of abuse. This may include increased agitation or aggression, withdrawal from normal activities, or alterations in alertness and awareness.
The environment in which the elder lives can reveal signs of mistreatment. Hazardous or unsanitary living conditions, lack of necessary aids like glasses or hearing devices, and inadequate clothing or living conditions may suggest neglect or abuse.
Elder abuse may lead to social isolation. Sudden withdrawal from social activities or relationships, as well as a lack of interaction with family, friends, or neighbors, can be signs that an older person is being mistreated.
Paying attention to the behavior of caregivers is crucial. Refusal to allow visitors, reluctance to provide information about the elder, aggressive behavior towards the elderly person, or inconsistent and implausible explanations for their condition may all be indicative of abuse. If these signs are observed, it is essential to report suspicions to the appropriate authorities and seek assistance from healthcare professionals.
Federal & State Laws Governing Nursing Homes
In Alabama, regulations governing nursing homes are multi-faceted, encompassing federal standards in the Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA) and specific state mandates through the Alabama Medical Liability Act (AMLA).
Federal Regulations under the Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA)
In response to concerns about inadequate care in the 1980s, the NHRA established crucial federal regulations. Section 483.10 emphasizes residents’ rights, ensuring dignified treatment, privacy, and a secure living environment. Section 483.12 prohibits unwarranted restraints, emphasizing freedom from abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
Sections 483.20, 483.21, and 483.25 mandate rigorous assessments upon admission, personalized care planning, and the provision of quality care. Furthermore, Section 483.85 necessitates nursing homes to maintain adequate staffing levels.
Non-compliance can lead to investigations by the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Alabama Medical Liability Act (AMLA)
Enacted alongside the NHRA in 1987, the AMLA introduced state-level regulations. Unlike typical civil cases, the AMLA demands “substantial evidence” to establish claims of neglect, abuse, or wrongful death.
Burden of Proof and Breach of the Standard of Care
Contrary to the typical “reasonable satisfaction” burden of proof, the AMLA requires “substantial evidence.” This involves demonstrating, with expert testimony, a breach in the standard of care – the expected level of care, skill, and diligence from healthcare providers.
Causation of Damages and Expert Testimony Requirement
Successful litigation under the AMLA requires establishing a “proximal causal connection” between the breach and the injury or death. Expert testimony, typically from a medical professional with nursing home experience, is crucial. This expert review involves a thorough examination of records, images, sworn statements, and relevant federal regulations.
What to Do if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect in Alabama
If you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect in Alabama, it’s crucial to take immediate action to ensure the safety and well-being of the resident. Consider the following steps:
1. Ensure the Resident’s Safety
If the resident is in immediate danger, call 911 or your local emergency services.
2. Contact the Nursing Home Management
Report your concerns to the nursing home administrator or management. They may not be aware of the situation, and they have a responsibility to address and investigate allegations of abuse or neglect.
3. Contact the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH)
In Alabama, the ADPH is responsible for regulating and licensing healthcare facilities, including nursing homes. You can file a complaint with the ADPH by calling their toll-free complaint line at 800-356-9596 or by visiting their website.
4. Contact the Alabama Department of Senior Services (ADSS)
The ADSS also plays a role in protecting the elderly in Alabama. You can contact the ADSS by calling their toll-free hotline at 800- AGE-LINE (800-243-5463) or by visiting their website.
5. Document the Concerns
Keep a detailed record of your observations, including dates, times, and descriptions of the suspected abuse or neglect. Take photos if possible. This documentation may be helpful in investigations.
6. Speak with the Resident
If the resident is able to communicate, speak with them privately about their experiences. Listen to their concerns and document their statements.
7. Contact Law Enforcement
If the situation involves criminal activity, such as physical assault or sexual abuse, contact local law enforcement to report the incident.
8. Consult with a Dothan Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer at Morris, Andrews, Talmadge & Driggers, LLC
If you believe legal action may be necessary, consult with the Dothan nursing home abuse lawyers at Morris, Andrews, Talmadge & Driggers, LLC. Our attorneys are experienced in elder law and nursing home abuse. They can provide guidance on your rights and potential legal actions.
Reporting suspected abuse is crucial in protecting vulnerable individuals in nursing homes. Reporting to the appropriate authorities helps initiate investigations and corrective actions. It’s important to act promptly to address any potential risks to the resident’s health and safety.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Nursing Home Abuse Claim in Alabama?
The statute of limitations for filing a nursing home abuse claim in Alabama is generally two years (see Alabama Code § 6-2-38). This means that you typically have two years from the date of the injury or from when you knew or reasonably should have known that they were injured to file a lawsuit. If you file a lawsuit after this two-year period has expired, the court is likely to dismiss your case, and you may no longer be able to pursue a legal claim for your injuries.
However, there are exceptions and nuances in certain cases, so it’s crucial to speak with a nursing home abuse attorney to get accurate information about the statute of limitations that applies to your specific situation.
Contact Our Dothan Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers for Free
If your loved one was harmed by an abusive caregiver or a negligent nursing home facility, it’s important to act quickly. In your complimentary consultation, our Dothan nursing home abuse lawyers will listen to your story, assess the merits of your claim, and explain your legal rights and options.
Contact Morris, Andrews, Talmadge & Driggers, LLC today online or at (334) 316-0930 for a FREE case evaluation. We proudly serve clients throughout southern Alabama and the Tri-State Area, including Dothan and Mobile.