The Law Offices of Ben Yeroushalmi is a Los Angeles elder abuse firm exclusively dedicated to helping victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse. If your loved one is suffering from bed sores, broken bones, dehydration, malnutrition, bruises, or other concerning symptoms in a nursing home or assisted living facility, you should contact us.
Our firm’s founder, Ben Yeroushalmi, is a relentless fighter recognized by his peers and his clients for his passionate and vigorous representation of elderly and dependent adult victims of abuse and neglect. Mr. Yeroushalmi has an AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the highest peer reviewed rank for Professional Excellence, and has served as lead counsel for elderly residents in major California class action lawsuits pursuing claims of understaffing. Since 2008, Mr. Yeroushalmi has dedicated his entire practice to advocating for the rights of elderly and vulnerable victims of abuse and neglect in custodial settings throughout California. Since dedicating his practice to elder abuse and neglect litigation, Mr. Yeroushalmi and his hard-working team of attorneys and professional staff have recovered over $25 million in damages on behalf of the firm’s clients.
Elder abuse and nursing home neglect litigation is a focused sector of the law that requires specialized knowledge about injuries that commonly occur in skilled nursing and assisted living facilities. Our firm’s focus on exclusively handling elder abuse and neglect cases statewide provides our California nursing home abuse attorneys with extensive experience in navigating the many nuances of such cases and has resulted in significant outcomes for our clients. As elder abuse specialists, we know how to obtain the evidence needed to satisfy the high burden of proof required to prove neglect in a nursing home.Dehydration and Malnutrition
Nursing homes in California must provide adequate liquid and well-balanced meals to residents. Dehydration and malnutrition occur when someone is provided with inadequate fluids and nutrition. They can cause muscle weakness, confusion, and infections, as well as a weakened immune system, bed sores, and falls. Certain medical conditions make it more likely that a resident will be malnourished or dehydrated. These include major psychiatric disorders, depression, and diabetes. Failing to prevent dehydration and malnutrition may be legally actionable as a form of neglect. A plaintiff and their attorney will need to establish liability by clear and convincing evidence.Falls
Falls often result from safety hazards, a failure to implement preventative measures, and lack of supervision due to understaffing at nursing homes. Nursing homes should be held liable when they fail to protect residents from safety and health hazards. Elderly people may be especially vulnerable to falls, since their mobility is often compromised by medical conditions, and nursing home staff need to recognize this risk. Victims in nursing homes also may suffer more serious injuries in a fall than a younger person would suffer because their bodies are more fragile. Our nursing home abuse attorneys help aging California residents and their families bring claims based on injuries or deaths caused by preventable falls.Bed Sores
Bed sores are a warning sign of elder abuse or nursing home negligence. Bed sores are injuries to skin and the tissue underlying it that arise from prolonged pressure. The risk of bed sores is greater when an elderly person cannot walk and needs to be repositioned frequently. Bed sores result in significant discomfort and may extend to the bone or even cause sepsis if they are not promptly identified and treated. If you discover that your loved one is suffering from bed sores, you should ensure that they receive immediate medical attention and explore the possibility of legal action.Medication Errors
Among other obligations, nursing home staff are supposed to dispense medication to a nursing home resident that addresses the resident’s needs. Sometimes medication errors can result in permanent disabilities or death. Examples of medication errors include the use of Vitamin K to reverse a Heparin overdose, miscommunications between doctors, a combination of errors by multiple medical providers, and failures to check orders. Under some circumstances, faciliites try to hide the impact of a medication error, which makes it important to talk to an experienced California nursing home abuse lawyer about your situation. Nursing home and assisted living facilities need to be held accountable for medication errors that cause injuries, such as substandard training practices, neglecting to provide medications as ordered, failing to monitor for side effects of medications and drug/drug interactions, communications breakdowns, and failure to conduct thorough medication reconciliation upon admission and re-admission.Physical Abuse
Types of physical abuse include rape, assault and battery, unreasonable physical restraints, the use of chemical or physical restraints beyond the prescribed period for an improper purpose, and the prolonged or continued deprivation of water or food. To hold a nursing home employer responsible for physical abuse by an employee, you will need to show that the nursing home knew in advance that the employee was unfit and consciously disregarded the rights or safety of others. You also must show that the employer ratified or authorized the employee’s wrongful conduct, or that the employer acted with fraud, malice, or oppression. Plaintiffs in these cases potentially can recover damages for past medical expenses, future medical expenses, pain and suffering, and sometimes even punitive damages.Restraints
Restraints may be physical or chemical. Physical restraints include tethering residents by their ankles or wrists to beds or tucking them too tightly into bed. These can be harmful to the physical and emotional well-being of residents. They do not reduce the risk of falls and may be used just to make a resident easier to handle. More typically, chemical restraints are used to subdue and sedate residents for the convenience of the staff, rather than for the best interests of the resident. Facilities resort to sedating residents with psychotropic drugs when they are understaffed and do not have enough time to supervise and re-direct residents suffering from cognitive disorders like dementia. If restraints were used improperly or abusively, such that harm resulted, it may be possible to hold a nursing home accountable for compensatory damages. It also may be appropriate for a nursing home abuse lawyer in California to request punitive damages if restraints were used by the nursing home for fraudulent or malicious purposes.Infections
Nursing home residents are more at risk of infections due to weakened immune systems, increased age, and underlying chronic diseases. However, it is more challenging to diagnose and treat them in a timely way. Nursing home staff can face greater challenges because of additional tasks related to disinfecting, sanitizing, and otherwise cleaning their environment, but a failure to perform these tasks can result in MRSA, sepsis, scabies, or clostridium difficile. If you or a loved one suffered harm due to an infection that could have been prevented or that was not adequately treated, you may be able to recover damages in a lawsuit.Cognitive Disorders
Cognitive disorders that may affect nursing home residents include dementia, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s. Residents with these conditions may suffer from disorientation, memory loss, speech difficulties, or an inability to see people and places. Nursing homes must properly supervise and monitor patients who have cognitive disorders to make sure that they are protected from preventable harm. Unfortunately, many facilities rely Instead on psychotropic drugs to chemically restrain these residents, because due to intentional understaffing by facility owners and operators, the staff in the facility simply do not have enough time to provide the necessary attention, supervision and re-direction to correctly deal with symptoms of dementia. A resident who is left unsupervised may wander away or fall or otherwise be harmed. When a loved one has been harmed by a cognitive disorder that is not being properly treated, or has not been properly supervised, it may be appropriate to sue the nursing home for damages with the assistance of a nursing home abuse attorney at our California firm.Understaffing
Many injuries in nursing homes may be prevented through proper staffing. Unfortunately, nursing home understaffing is a pervasive problem.
Understaffing in nursing homes leads to substandard care, which frequently causes or contributes to avoidable illness, injury, and death. Multiple studies have shown understaffing negatively impacts overall quality of care and is positively correlated with elder abuse and neglect. However, in many of nursing home cases, there is a conscious decision by nursing home managers, directors, and administrators to understaff their facilities, knowing full well that understaffing will negatively impact the overall quality of care provided to residents. (California Watch, Nursing Homes Received Millions while Cutting Staff, Wages (July 29, 2011).)
Accordingly, California skilled nursing facilities are subject to a number of regulations governing the type, number, and training of staff at facilities caring for elderly adults. For example, under federal law, a skilled nursing facility “must have sufficient nursing staff to provide nursing and related services to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of each resident, as determined by resident assessments and individual plans of care.” (42 C.F.R. § 483.30.) Similarly, under California law, a skilled nursing facility “shall employ an adequate number of qualified personnel to carry out all of the functions of the facility” (Health & Safety Code § 1599.1(a).) Health & Safety Code § 1276.5-1276.65 also quantifies the minimum number of nursing hours at nursing homes by requiring nursing homes to provide a minimum of 3.2 nursing hours per patient per day. Finally, title 22 of the California Code of Regulations requires nursing homes to employ staff to meet the needs of each resident in the nursing home at all times. (Title 22 CCR §§ 72329(a) & 72501(e).)
Civil and criminal enforcement of regulations guiding nursing home staffing is well founded. Innumerable studies have shown that lack of adequate staffing has a direct relationship to the quality of care provided in nursing homes. As noted in the Journal of Nurses Economics (2006) Minimum Nurse Staffing Ratios for Nursing Homes, “the positive relationship between nurse staffing levels and the quality of nursing home care has been demonstrated widely.” (See also Nicholas G. Castle, Nursing Home Caregiver Staffing Levels and Quality of Care, a Literature Review, Journal of Applied Gerontology (2008); Schnelle JF, et al., Relationship of Nursing Home Staffing to Quality of Care, Health Serv Res. 2004 Apr 39(2):225-50 [the highest-staffed nursing homes reported significantly lower resident care loads on all staffing reports and provided better care than all other homes.].)
Moreover, several studies have demonstrated a strong relationship between increased skilled nursing staff levels and reduced patient hospitalizations. (Grabowski, D.C., Stewart, et al., Predictors of nursing home hospitalization: A review of the literature, Medical Care Research and Review (2008); See also Konetzka, R.T., Spector, W. & Limcangco, M.R. Reducing Hospitalizations from Long-Term Care Settings, Medical Care Research & Review (2007).
Building on the principle that nursing homes should provide sufficient staff to care for their patients, California courts have emphasized that resident-patients have “the right to reside in a facility with an adequate number of qualified personnel to carry out all of the functions of the facility.” (Shuts v. Covenant Hold Co. LLC (2012) 208 Cal App. 4th 609, 615.) Case law further emphasizes that a facility’s conscious understaffing and poor training amounts to elder abuse, not just mere negligence. (See, e.g., Merron v. Superior Court (2003) 108 Cal App. 4th 1049, 1067 [The defendant hospital’s failure to take remedial action despite having knowledge of complaints of inadequate staffing constituted reckless neglect and material grounds for plaintiff’s elder abuse claim.]; See also Fenimore v. Regents of the University of California (2016) 2016 Cal. App. Lexis 231.) Given the robust relationship between understaffing at nursing facilities and quality of care, it is clear that the corporate or administrative decisions to understaff a skilled nursing facility amounts to reckless and malicious conduct that disregards a serious danger to elderly and dependent adults.Wrongful Death
Sometimes a nursing home or assisted living resident dies because of elder abuse or neglect. In California, you can bring a wrongful death lawsuit if somebody dies because of the negligence or wrongful act of another person or entity. A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action brought by the decedent’s survivors or by the decedent’s estate’s personal representative. A successful claim can result in monetary damages paid to the victim’s survivors. Under California Code of Civil Procedure section 377.60, wrongful death damages can include items such as burial and funeral expenses and compensation for lost companionship and support.Consult a Dedicated Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in California
If you or a loved one was subjected to elder abuse or neglect in a nursing home or assisted living facility, you should contact our experienced and dedicated attorneys to find out about your next legal steps. Contact us at 310-623-1926 or via our online form. We have represented clients throughout Los Angeles County, Orange County, Riverside County, Ventura County, and cities such as Beverly Hills, Pasadena, Long Beach, Alameda, Burbank, Santa Monica, Torrance, Anaheim, Irvine, San Diego, Lancaster, Bakersfield, Fresno, Sacramento, Fremont, and Hayward. We assist clients in cities across the state of California.
California Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer | Los Angeles, CA Elder Abuse Attorney | Ben Yeroushalmi