Indianapolis Nursing Home Neglect

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WKW Will Fight for You or a Loved One in a Nursing Home Abuse Case

Almost all of us will at one point or another have to consider continued care for our aging loved ones. Nursing homes can provide the elderly with a level of services and facilities that their families cannot.

Of course, when you choose a facility for elder care, you expect it to provide appropriate medical and personal attention. This it what makes it even more devastating if/when you discover your loved one has been abused by the very people and/or institution that was supposed to be caring for them.

The truth is that elder care facilities are often understaffed by individuals who are not properly trained for many of their tasks. This leads to abuse and neglect.

Here at WKW, we are the Indianapolis lawyers you need to pursue a case of elder abuse. We have the skillset, knowledge, and experience you need to win your case early on or, when necessary, to bring it all the way to a court of law. 

Prevalence of Long Term Care Neglect and Abuse

Unfortunately, Indiana nursing facilities tend to align with dispiriting national trends when it comes to abuse in nursing homes. Some nursing homes willfully ignore laws and sanctions against them to pursue profit. This means these facilities are understaffed, the staff is underpaid, and—perhaps worst of all—undertrained.

Studies show that one in ten elders in nursing homes experience some form of abuse. Globally, that number is closer to one in six elders. And a study from the World Health Organization found the abuse that occurred was often “psychological (11.6%), physical (2.6%), financial (6.8%), neglectful (4.2%), and sexual (0.9%)” in nature. 

Nursing Home Duty to Provide Proper Care

It is the duty of Indiana nursing homes to ensure residents receive proper care, are assessed individually, and have a plan of care in action. This plan should be modified routinely, and failure to do so is considered negligent.

In the state of Indiana, there are over 150 rules and regulations that must be followed. The state oversees nursing homes through the Indiana State Department of Health, Long-Term Care Division. This means that homes are inspected annually and complaints may be filed to that governing body.

Why You Should Hire an Indianapolis Nursing Home and Elder Abuse Lawyer

Do you suspect that your loved one is being abused or neglected in an Indianapolis nursing home? If so, you should contact a local personal injury attorney through the Nursing Home Law Center to begin an investigation.

Your loved ones matter to you, but they also matter to our attorneys here at Wilson Kehoe Winingham. No one should be harmed, neglected, or experience negligence. It is our duty to help protect you and your family.

Ensure Your Family Members Are Safe

To best ensure that your loved one will be properly looked after with the care they deserve, here are a few things you can do when researching nursing homes.

  • Always do your homework: Nursing homes are required to make report cards and inspection reports publicly available. You can request these in person—and often online. Make sure to read reviews and look out for recent problematic stories.
  • Visit the facility in person: Spend some time on the inside. Talk to staff to get an idea about how the venue runs. See if they are understaffed and how they act in emergency situations.
  • Ask for feedback: Get your loved one involved and listen to their opinions. Make sure they are also on board with the decision.
  • Never stop visiting: Even after you have selected a nursing home for your loved one, make it a habit to visit regularly. Caregivers pay extra attention to patients who have regular visitors. Watch for signs of abuse and report anything to an attorney if something seems suspicious.

Elderly people are some of the most vulnerable people out there. They can be targets of financial or identity scams. Reach out to WKW if this appears to have happened to someone you love.

Hold Negligent Nursing Homes Accountable

Congress has created several laws to protect elderly patients across the United States. The Nursing Home Reform Act was passed in 1987 to establish nursing home patients’ basic physical, psychological, and social rights. These include the following:

  • Be free from abuse and neglect
  • Be granted privacy
  • Be treated with respect
  • Be free to make personal decisions

And the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program created a network for nursing home patient advocates to sort out complaints about abuse, neglect, and exploitation of the elderly.

Get the Necessary Compensation for Any Consequences

Indiana’s statute of limitations to bring an injury case to court is two years. Some facilities have a tort claim, thus shortening the window to 180 days. Some types of cases that may be pursued include:

  • Medical malpractice: These cases can cover the total amount of costs incurred by a patient’s injury or death.
  • Punitive damages: These types of damages cover negligence or malpractice that was excessive and beyond necessary.
  • Wrongful death actions: These kinds of cases are typically pursued by the deceased person’s legal representative. No punitive damages may be awarded.
  • Lost love and companionship: Surviving family members—typically a spouse or children—may pursue this kind of case.

Types of Nursing Home and Elder Abuse

Nursing home and elder abuse can take many forms, including:

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Financial exploitation
  • Neglect

To help identify elder abuse, it’s important for you to be familiar with the warning signs. These can include unexplained injuries, poor sanitation and hygiene, and malnutrition.

If you suspect an elderly loved one has been the victim of elder abuse, file a report with a state or local agency.

Some more specific types of abuse include:

  • Medication errors
  • Bedsores
  • Product/device errors
  • Patient protection errors
  • Care management events
  • Environmental events
  • Criminal events

Nursing Home Negligence vs. Neglect

Many people only perceive nursing home abuse as negligence and fail to understand that neglect is also a form of abuse. If a staff member purposely fails to offer care to a resident, they must be held responsible if harm or wrongful death occurs.

Sometimes nursing home neglect may appear accidental. An example of this could be a caregiver providing the wrong medication time and time again, which could have life-threatening consequences. 

Causes of Nursing Home and Elder Abuse 

Nursing home abuse and elder abuse can be driven by several factors. For example, nursing home abuse or neglect can be a result of administrators or owners who are focused on profit instead of care.

Common causes of nursing home abuse and/or elder abuse include the following:

  • Lack of proper staff training
  • Failure to adequately manage the facility
  • Low staff pay

Some for-profit nursing homes hire unqualified staff as they seek to prioritize profit over meeting their residents’ needs. Low-quality facilities are also a common cause of nursing home neglect or abuse. Failure to provide residents with basic amenities, repairs, and well-trained staff often leads to neglect.

Nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect are slightly different from one another. Nursing home abuse is typically an intentional act, while neglect stems from a lack of care. Although early signs of nursing home abuse or neglect may not be noticeable, it is important for relatives to consider all factors when choosing the right home for their loved one.

Common Injuries From Nursing Home Abuse, Negligence, and Neglect

Several different types of injuries can result from neglect. These include bruising, welts, lacerations, broken bones, sprains, bleeding, and other physical injuries. Sometimes emotional and mental injuries result as well. Of course, the worst-case scenario of all neglect and abuse is death.

Other injuries are outlined below.


If a patient is bedridden or has limited mobility, neglect can result in open wounds and skin ulcers. Ulcers and sores take time to form and there is no excuse for this happening. If such wounds do occur—and reach Stage 4—the skin and underlying tissue can be permanently damaged. These infections can spread to the muscle and bone and ultimately result in death. 


Assistance should always be offered to anyone when they trip, fall, or slip and are unable to recover on their own. Since elderly residents likely have brittle bones, it is not uncommon for a fall to result in fractures or broken bones. The fall location and area of impact can factor into whether a fall leads to more serious injuries, such as spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injury, or even death.

Medication Errors

Elderly patients often take many different medications. This increases the chances of a patient experiencing an unexpected drug interaction, being harmed by a staff member’s medication errors, or having their needed medication lazily distributed. Caregivers must always distribute medication at the same time with the same frequency.

These types of mistakes may not always be serious, but catastrophic harm can occur without due diligence. Some medication-related health problems include malnutrition, dehydration, and disorientation. 

Seeing the Signs of Assisted Living and Senior Home Neglect

Signs of abuse and neglect aren’t always obvious. While severe safety issues may even be obvious to those being harmed, there are more subtle signs of abuse to be on the lookout for. If found, they should be reported as soon as possible. These signs include:

  • Unchanged or soiled bedding or clothing
  • Spoiled or rotten food
  • Unclean surroundings
  • Bruises or scratches
  • Depression
  • Sadness and anxiety
  • Personality changes
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Discomfort or silence in the presence of staff or other residents

If you or someone you love is showing any of these symptoms, it might be a sign that some form of underlying neglect is occurring. It is important to contact the experienced Indianapolis negligence attorneys at WKW as soon as possible to help investigate your concerns.

What to Do If You’ve Experienced Nursing Home Or Elder Abuse 

Nursing home abuse can include physical, emotional, or financial abuse of an elder. If you suspect that you or a loved one are a victim of nursing home or elder abuse, follow the steps below.

  • Recognize the signs: Signs of abuse can include problems with medication, a sudden decline in condition, bedsores, staff unwilling to allow you access to your loved one, and/or new or unexplained injuries.
  • Report the abuse: If you suspect abuse or neglect of your loved one, contact the authorities by calling 911.
  • Gather information: Gathering information is important to support your claim that your loved one has been abused and may be useful as part of an official investigation.
  • Remove the victim from the situation: Remove yourself or your loved one from the facility in which the suspected abuse or neglect is occurring.

Lastly, reach out to the nursing home abuse lawyers at Wilson Kehoe Winingham. With years of experience, we have what it takes to get you the full and fair compensation you deserve.

Pursuing a Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect Claim

It is the job—more so, the duty—of every nursing home to care for its residents. Victims always have the law on their side when a nursing home falls short. Victims can be compensated for medical injuries, pain and suffering, emotional damage, and resulting healthcare costs. If negligence and abuse are so severe that death occurs, family members can sue for the wrongful death of their loved one.

Our Indianapolis lawyers at WKW will gather evidence against the nursing home that abused your loved one. This could include a compilation of charts, photographs, medical records and bills, nursing home inspection reports, and more to help prove your claim.

Types of Compensation for Nursing Home Abuse & Elder Abuse 

Damages in a nursing home abuse case will be dependent on the victim’s injuries or losses. Depending on the circumstances of the individual case, there are three types of compensation a victim or victim’s loved ones may be awarded:

  • Economic damages for financial losses, such as hospital bills or stolen money
  • Non-economic damages, such as compensation for emotional pain and suffering
  • Punitive damages, such as compensation punishing a defendant for intentionally harmful behavior

It’s important to gather supporting evidence to make as strong a case as possible for receiving compensation.

Filing an Indianapolis Wrongful Death Claim for a Family Member

Surviving family members of someone who is wrongfully killed have the right to pursue legal action against the negligent parties. In the state of Indiana, any wrongful death suit must be filed by legal representatives of the deceased. The is often their suppose, children, parents, or siblings.

Each estate representative—known as a personal representative—will be selected by the court. From there, your WKW attorney will prepare the necessary paperwork to file in court.

All damages are awarded to the deceased’s closest kin—or legal representative if the closest kin is also deceased. These individuals will be chosen as the beneficiaries of the estate if the claims are deemed successful. Sometimes, the court will decide how to divide compensation. 

Indiana Statute of Limitations on Nursing Home Abuse 

In the state of Indiana, you have two years to file a nursing home abuse lawsuit or claim.

Indiana State Laws That Protect Patients From Negligent Nursing Homes

Indiana’s Adult Protective Services Program was created to protect its residents’ welfare. The program’s goal is to protect people from exploitation, abuse, and neglect. As such, nursing home workers can protect themselves when reporting abuse they witness on the job. Neglect complaints should be made as soon as possible to protect those who are endangered.

How to Choose the Right Indianapolis Nursing Home

Most nursing homes provide nursing care, 24-hour supervision, three meals a day, and assistance during daily activities. Some even provide rehabilitation services for physical, occupational, and speech therapy.

Occasionally, someone will stay at a nursing home for a short recovery window after being hospitalized, but most people are permanent residents.

You want to find a nursing home with caring staff. Always ask your doctor for recommendations. In addition, you should always:

  • Consider what you want. Maybe you need therapy, delicious meals, or even hospice care.
  • Talk to friends and family. See what those in your community know about the healthcare options and tour local nursing homes.
  • Call different facilities to learn about their costs and waiting lists.
  • Visit the actual facilities you are considering for you or your loved one.

Contact a WKW Nursing Home and Elder Abuse Attorney Today

If you suspect that your elderly loved one is being abused or neglected, contact the Indianapolis nursing home and elder abuse attorneys at Wilson Kehoe Winingham. We can help you get the justice and the full and fair compensation you deserve.

Call 317.920.6400 or fill out our online contact form today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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