Assisted living facility and nursing home residents in Indiana are frequently exposed to violence, often resulting in serious injuries, long-lasting trauma, and even death. If a loved one has been in a similar situation, our nursing home abuse lawyers can assist you and your family members in getting justice for your loved one’s injuries.
When to Hire a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
If you suspect nursing home abuse, it’s critical that you contact a personal injury law firm as soon as possible, as the statute of limitations is brief. Call an Indiana nursing home attorney for a free consultation as soon as you identify any sign of elder abuse so that we can review your case.
The Most Common Signs of Abuse in Indiana Nursing Homes
Signs of nursing home neglect and abuse can vary greatly depending on the type of abuse being inflicted. Some common signs include:
- Sudden deterioration of the patient’s condition
- Nursing home residents expressing fear of staff
- Unexplained injuries or broken bones
- Bed sores
- Unsanitary living facilities
- Excessive medications
- Staff members refusing to let the patient communicate freely
- Other residents appearing hesitant to talk to visitors
How Long Do You Have to File a Nursing Home Abuse Case in Indiana?
The statute of limitations for filing a nursing home abuse claim in Indiana is two years, the same as in other personal injury cases such as wrongful death or medical malpractice.
While this may seem sufficient to bring a case to court, nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers will start by pursuing an out-of-court settlement first, so it’s critical that you begin the process as soon as possible to ensure you don’t run out of time.
What Types of Cases Do Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Handle?
Our Indiana lawyers can seek compensation for a wide variety of nursing cases, including the following:
- Physical abuse – This typically includes the use of physical force such as slapping, hitting, or pushing. It may also involve chemical or physical restraints, such as sedating or cuffing a patient when they refuse treatment.
- Sexual abuse – Sadly, many elderly patients are sexually assaulted by staff, which can range from inappropriate touching to rape.
- Emotional abuse – Improperly trained staff may withhold visits from relatives, denigrate patients, or deny them adequate social interaction.
- Financial abuse – Nursing home staff may steal Social Security funds, access bank accounts, or cash pension checks that they then keep for themselves.
- Neglect – Improper care can cause your elderly loved one to suffer harm from bed sores, urinary tract infections, and worsened symptoms of preexisting conditions.
- Medical malpractice – If staff exercises poor judgment when providing health care, such as overdosing a patient or failing to recognize a medical emergency, this constitutes medical malpractice.
- Wrongful death – A wrongful death case can be brought if the patient’s personal medical records show that their death was the result of an improperly managed medical condition or a failure to provide appropriate interventions.
How Can Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys Help?
Nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers can assist with every aspect of the lawsuit process, which includes the following:
- Gathering information – The process starts when you reach out to one of our lawyers with your basic information and the nature of your concerns against the nursing home.
- Free case evaluation – Your lawyer will assess what damages can be pursued in a federal or Indiana court, then develop an action plan.
- Claim investigation – This involves looking into the facility’s status considering federal laws and local authorities and creating a narrative of the claims with your assistance.
- Filing a claim: This officially informs the nursing home of the accusations against them and their staff.
- Discovery process – Your lawyer and the nursing home will exchange information, such as documents, depositions about the negligent acts, and an objection or admission.
- Collecting evidence – Our team will work with a qualified medical professional who will assess your loved one’s personal injury claims and develop a report.
- Negotiations and Mediation – Many nursing home neglect cases are settled out of court to avoid damage to reputation. Your lawyer will represent your interests.
- Settlement – If the case is not going to trial, our law firm will work to get you fair compensation for the victim’s injuries.
- Court representation: Sometimes it’s impossible to settle out of court, in which case your lawyer team will represent you in court and guide you through the trial process.
What Is the Average Settlement in an Indiana Nursing Home Abuse Case?
While there are no set settlement amounts, we’ve recovered millions for nursing home injury victims. Below are some examples of how we’ve assisted clients in receiving justice:
- $2,100,000 for a 66-year-old woman who developed Stage 4 bedsores when staff ignored medication and physical orders for two months.
- $1,500,000 for an Alzheimer’s patient who ingested cleaning chemicals after staff failed to lock away dangerous materials from the memory impaired.
- $1,100,000 for a woman who was dropped and fractured her hip and femur due to nursing home staff ignoring two-person lift protocols.
What Kinds of Damages Can Be Recovered in a Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawsuit?
Nursing home abuse cases have a wide variety of potential damages recovered, which can include the following:
- Medical expenses – This includes both previous medical bills and future needs for medical care.
- Pain and suffering – More severe injuries will result in higher damages.
- Mental anguish – Any lingering mental issues like PTSD will be considered in a settlement.
- Financial losses – Payments to the facility and the cost of in-home treatment after leaving the facility can be recouped.
- Loss of companionship – If your loved one dies, you can receive a sum respecting the absence of their care and support.
How Long Does It Take to Settle an Indiana Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit?
Settlements typically take between 18 and 24 months, though they can take longer if the case goes to trial. The discovery phase is the longest component, as sharing information between all parties can take months. Nursing homes are reluctant to disclose medical records and gather depositions, and it requires a skilled nursing home abuse and neglect attorney to negotiate the release of these details.
How Much Does an Indiana Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Cost?
Our attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning there are no upfront costs to you or your family. Your initial consultation is free as well, and we’ll only collect payment if we help you win your case by deducting our fees from your settlement amount.
The Statistics of Abuse and Neglect in Indiana Nursing Homes
There are over 40,000 cases of physical abuse, neglect, or medical malpractice against elderly nursing home residents in Indiana each year. However, only 1 in 14 such cases is actually reported, so the number is likely much higher .
Of the 518 nursing homes in Indiana, 111 had multiple serious violations . Southern Indiana facilities were cited over 170 times by the state, including for inadequate hygiene. In one case, a woman had been dead for over 16 hours before being discovered by staff .
In a shocking Indianapolis nursing home abuse case, an 80-year-old woman was raped and killed in her room at the Homestead facility. Investigators later reported over 20 health violations for the facility, including dangerously low staffing levels .
Resident-on-resident assaults are common in mixed-gender nursing homes, as was the case with one Fort Wayne woman with dementia being sexually battered by a fellow patient .
Thankfully, though, only 1.9% of patients ever report any form of sexual violence, making these cases rare . However, this abuse may be underrepresented, as a report found over 87 sex offenders living in facilities throughout the state .
Despite Indiana being ranked in the middle of the national rankings for nursing home costs, only 5.4% of nursing home residents in the state are in a 5-star facility, and the state ranks 40th out of the 50 states for adequate staffing .
Who Is Liable in a Nursing Home Abuse Case in Indiana?
In nursing home abuse and neglect cases in Indiana, both those who perpetrated the abuse and those who were aware of it but took no precautions to stop it can all be held liable. This can include the following:
- Nurses, orderlies, and other staff who caused harm to a patient
- Doctors who didn’t report their suspicions
- Nursing home administrators who understaffed or covered up abuse
- In corporate nursing homes, administrators who didn’t provide adequate measures to prevent abuse
- Other residents
Which Standards Do Indiana Nursing Homes Have to Meet?
Congress passed the Nursing Home Reform Act in 1987, creating the guiding standards of care for all nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Indiana regulations  mirror the federal guidelines, which stipulate that nursing homes are required to provide the following:
- Nutritional services
- Medication management
- Social services and activities
- Nursing and medical care
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy
- Care plans and regular reassessments
- Full-time social worker for larger facilities
Nursing home patients should be free from abuse, including physical restraint, have adequate sanitation and hygiene, and have the right to visitors.
Which Agencies Regulate Nursing Homes in Indiana?
A nursing home in Indiana is beholden to multiple agencies, including:
- Indiana Department of Health, Division of Long-Term Care
- Family and Social Services Administration, Division of Aging
- Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
- Indiana Health Care Association
- Indiana Assisted Living Association
How Often Are Indiana Nursing Homes Inspected?
The Indiana Department of Health inspects facilities every 9-15 months. These inspections are unannounced and performed by a team of healthcare professionals who work with a random selection of patients.
They will review the facility’s performance based on federal standards of care that include staffing, quality of care, and sanitation. There are 45 requirements on the facility’s report card, which is then made publicly available.
How to Report Nursing Home Abuse in the State of Indiana
The Indiana Department of Health recommends you talk to the facility first and file a grievance with them if necessary. Should this fail, you can call their complaint line at 800-246-8909 or file an online complaint using their form .
You should then contact your local ombudsman at 800-622-4484, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org, or use their online form . You can expect a reply in 2-3 business days. They follow up with nursing home residents or their representatives to gather more information.
Contact an Indiana Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Today!
If in need of a qualified Indiana personal injury attorney to handle a case of nursing home abuse and neglect, contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers for a free evaluation, meticulous research, and strong dedication to our clients.
We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you will only have to pay if we can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Make the first step by calling an Indiana nursing home neglect attorney at (888) 424-5757.
Resources:  Indiana Attorney General,  ProPublica,  Courier & Press,  IndyStar,  WANE,  Journal of Elder Abuse and Neglect,  WHAS 11,  AARP,  Indiana Department of Health,  Indiana Department of Health,  Indiana LTC Ombudsman