Experienced Iowa Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Answer Frequently Asked Questions

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  • Can restraints be used in Iowa nursing homes?

    Elderly in Restraints in an Iowa Nursing Home

    Yes, there are some situations when physical restraints may be used in Iowa nursing homes. However, physical restraints may only be used in very specific circumstances and may not be used for the convenience of nursing home staff.

    When Restraints May Be Used in Nursing Homes

    Anything that restricts a resident’s ability to move or her independence may be considered a restraint. This may include things like bed rails, belts, cuffs, or certain medications. A physical restraint may be used:

    • To treat a resident’s medical condition.
    • With the consent of the resident or the resident’s legal representative.
    • In such a way to allow residents to receive adequate exercise and to allow residents to perform their activities of daily living.

    Restraints should only be used by trained staff members.

    When Restraints May Be Nursing Home Abuse

    Restraints that are more restrictive than necessary to care for a resident’s medical condition may be a form of nursing home abuse. Nursing home staff cannot, for example, use restraints to manage a resident’s behavior because the nursing home is understaffed or because nursing home staff do not want to deal with certain behaviors.

    Restraints can lead to a host of injuries including feelings of isolation, anxiety, depression, bruising, bedsores or even death.

    What to Do If Your Loved One Has Been Unlawfully Restrained

    If your loved one has been injured due to an unlawful restraint in an Iowa nursing home, then you can encourage your loved one to talk to an experienced nursing home injury lawyer. Your loved one deserves to live with dignity and respect and not to be restrained for the convenience of others. Any injuries that result from improper restraints should be investigated and the right people should be held accountable for any nursing home abuse injuries.

    To learn more about your loved one’s rights, please download our FREE Guide for Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Victims, and contact us today for a free consultation in one of our conveniently located Iowa offices or in a location that works for you. 

  • How long do I have to file a nursing home abuse case in Iowa?

    You must begin your nursing home lawsuit before the time allowed runs out

    You may have been hurt by a nursing home staff member’s abuse or neglect, or your loved one may have been the victim and may be asking you what she should do.

    Don’t Delay Taking Action

    According to the Iowa Statute of Limitations, a person who has suffered an injury due to nursing home abuse or neglect generally has two years from the date the injury was discovered (or should have been discovered) to file a lawsuit. In special circumstances, this general rule may be shortened or extended.

    However, you do not need to wait until the end of your time to file a case to take action. An injured person can file any time up until the legal deadline and there may be advantages to filing sooner rather than later. Specifically:

    • You may help protect your own recovery. Evidence may be easier to gather soon after the abuse or negligence occurs. Additionally, the sooner a case is filed, the sooner it can be resolved and the faster an injured party may recover damages for nursing home abuse.
    • You may help protect others. By calling attention to the problem, you may help prevent other nursing home residents from suffering similar injuries.

    Whatever You Do, Don’t Miss the Deadline

    If you fail to file your claim before the statute of limitations expires, then you can expect the defendant to file a motion with the court seeking to have the case dismissed. The court will grant that motion, your case will not be heard and you will not recover any damages for the injuries that you, or your loved one, suffered.

    Don’t Let This Happen to You

    Instead, take action today and expect that the nursing home will likely have lawyers defending against your claim. You deserve the same advantage. Please start a live chat with us today to schedule your free consultation so that we can help you understand how a nursing home abuse case works in Iowa and how to move forward with your fair and just recovery in a timely manner.

  • Do I have the right to bring a lawsuit alleging nursing home abuse or negligence in Iowa?

    The Iowa justice system determines who can sue over nursing home abuse and neglect

    An Iowa nursing home abuse lawyer can file a complaint only on behalf of a client. The nursing home abuse attorney does not have the ability to file an independent complaint. Instead, someone with the legal standing to sue must bring the case against the nursing home, nursing home staff member, or other responsible party.

    Of course, the person with standing to sue has the right to work with an experienced attorney who can make sure that all of her rights are protected, who can fight hard for her fair recovery, and who can take the stress of litigation off of her shoulders.

    Three Ways You Could Have Standing to Sue

    Generally, you may have standing to sue if you can prove that the nursing home, or a nursing home staff member, was abusive or negligent, and that…

    • You are the one who suffered injuries because of the abuse or negligence. If you are the one who was hurt then it is your right to seek damages on your own behalf.
    • You are the legal guardian of the person who suffered abuse or negligence. If this is the case then you are seeking damages on behalf of the person for whom you are the guardian.
    • You are the personal representative of the estate of someone who suffered abuse or negligence prior to death. In this type of complaint, you are seeking damages on behalf of the estate for the injuries that the nursing home resident suffered.

    If you do not have standing to sue and you file a complaint in state court, then you can expect the defendant to motion the court to dismiss your case and you can expect that motion to be granted.

    Stand Up for Your Rights

    Nursing homes typically fight back hard against allegations of abuse or neglect, and you have to fight just as hard to make sure that your case is heard and that you recover the fair damages to which you are legally entitled.

    For more information about how nursing home abuse cases work in Iowa, please read our FREE book, Guide for Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Victims: What You Need to Know to Protect Your Legal Rights and Get Every Dollar You Deserve

  • When is an Iowa nursing home to blame for a resident’s fall injury?

    Not every fall in a nursing home is the fault of the staff. However, if your loved one has been hurt then it is important to know if your loved one’s injury was caused by nursing home negligence or abuse.

    In order to know if the nursing home is responsible for a resident’s fall, you need to know why the resident fell. If the resident fell because of the intentional or negligent acts of nursing home staff then the nursing home may be responsible for the resident’s fall. More specifically:

    • Intentional acts include: Pushing, hitting, the non-medical use of physical restraints, and other forms of physical and psychological abuse.
    • Negligent acts include: The failure to provide reasonable care. This may mean that the nursing home does not have adequate safety and care procedures in place or that individual staff failed to provide reasonable case. Some examples of negligent acts include the failure to answer a call button or request for help, the failure to check on the resident regularly, or the failure to account for medication changes.

    A resident may be able to recover damages in a civil personal injury case if he can prove that the intentional or negligent acts resulted in his physical injury; however, a resident has a limited time to file a nursing home negligence case.

    If your loved one was the one who was hurt, then you may need to explain his rights to him and help him get the recovery that he deserves. Please fill out our online contact form today and we will contact you to discuss what happened and schedule a free consultation.

  • My mother has Alzheimer’s disease and suffers from dementia. Last month, she wandered out of her Cedar Rapids nursing home. It was a cold day and it was several hours before she was found. She was ill, but has recovered. The nursing home says there were no serious injuries. However, I feel that her mental state has further deteriorated. Can I file a claim against the nursing home?

    About half of Iowa nursing home residents suffer from dementia. Residents with dementia will often wander or “elope” if they are left unsupervised. Once outside the facility, the resident can quickly become confused or disoriented. She may wander into traffic, fall in a ditch, or suffer from exposure to severe weather. Even if nothing happens, the experience of unfamiliar surroundings can be terrifying.

    Iowa nursing home managers understand these risks. They have a duty to protect all their nursing home residents from harm, and this includes patients with dementia. Nursing homes must have a strategy to prevent elopement. A nursing home that fails to protect its residents can be held liable for any injuries that result.

    Don’t take the nursing home’s word that there were no serious injuries. Get a second opinion from a doctor that you know and trust. There are many types of injuries that may occur during elopement:

    • Physical injuries
    • Illness
    • Hidden physical injuries
    • Psychological injuries
    • Worsening of existing medical conditions

    Every case is unique. We suggest that you discuss your mother’s case with a personal injury attorney. She may be eligible for compensation for her medical expenses, pain and suffering and emotional trauma. To learn more, contact Hupy and Abraham at 888-807-2752.