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Nursing Home abuse lawyer

Nursing home neglect and elder abuse are shocking and traumatic for elderly people and their families. When people in nursing homes or assisted living facilities are mistreated, the owners or managers may be sued. These are complex cases that require an experienced legal team. Please contact the Smith Law Center today at 757.695.9134.

Nursing Home Neglect

When we place an elderly relative in a nursing home or an assisted living facility, we have a right to expect an acceptable standard of care. Unfortunately, far too many nursing homes fail their residents.  At the Smith Law Center, we help the victims of nursing home neglect and abuse in Virginia.

The statistics are alarming. Since 2014, government inspectors have penalized about one in four nursing homes in the Commonwealth for violations of state and federal regulations.

Of 290 nursing homes in Virginia, a staggering 72 were hit with penalties totaling more than $4.7 million since 2014, according to data posted by Medicare, the government agency that provides health care for elderly Americans.

Some nursing homes, including one in Williamsburg, were cited for incidents of abuse.

 

What Are the Common Forms of Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse in Virginia?

Nursing home and neglect takes many forms. Some may be obvious but others are difficult to detect. Often elderly people will not tell family members about their ordeal at a nursing home or they may suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Forms of nursing home neglect include:

Medical Neglect:

 

Medical neglect is one of the most common types of nursing home negligence. A facility often fails to properly attend to or prevent escalations of a medical condition suffered by an elderly resident. Staff routinely fail to provide proper treatment for diabetes, bed sores, cognitive disorders, infections, cuts and mobility issues. Medical neglect in Virginia nursing homes is not always deliberate. Often lowly paid and poorly trained staff are not up to the task of treating elderly people with acute medical conditions.

 

Physical Abuse

 

In some cases, residents in nursing homes are deliberately targeted by staff. Residents who have dementia or other conditions that make them less likely to reveal what’s going on are more likely to be targeted for bullying and physical abuse. Residents may be improperly restrained to help manage them.

 

Over and under medication

 

In past years, many nursing homes overmedicated residents to help control them. The authorities have since targeted this kind of abuse. Overmedicating elderly residents can have serious health implications. Many drugs carry box warnings. Overdoses can cause serious health implications and even deaths.

 

Under medication is also a serious form of abuse. If a resident is not given enough medication, a condition like diabetes or cancer can go controlled and the resident’s health may deteriorate. A failure to administer the proper dosage may cause pain and discomfort. Overmedication or under medication may not always be deliberate. Inexperienced nursing home staff may mistakenly give the incorrect amount of a drug.

 

Failure to Keep a Nursing Home Safe

 

Nursing homes and residential care facilities must be kept clean and free of hazards. Elderly residents are prone to falls so there must be no trip hazards or slippery floors.

 

Potentially dangerous equipment must be locked away in a safe place to prevent electric shocks, cuts and other injuries.

 

A nursing home has a duty to its residents to keep its facilities clean. Infections and diseases can claim the lives of frail elderly people.

 

Depriving Residents of Food and Drink

 

Malnourishment is a serious problem at Virginia nursing homes and may be a difficult one to detect. Often older people eat less or may have conditions that limit their food and drink intake. Malnutrition occurs when an elderly person is not given the correct amount of nourishment required for his or her specific circumstances. If a resident has a particular diet required for a medical condition, the nursing home has a duty to meet that resident’s needs.

 

Many nursing homes and assisted living facilities cut corners to save money on food.

 

Financial Abuse and Exploitation

 

Many elderly people suffer from financial abuse in nursing homes. The National Adult Protective Services Association states financial abuse in nursing homes is vastly underreported. Only one in 44 cases come to light.

Financial abuse and exploitation in nursing homes in Virginia may include the following:

 

  • Cashing the checks of a resident without permission or authorization
  • Forging the signature of a resident for financial gain
  • Stealing or misusing a resident’s cash or possessions
  • Deceiving or coercing an elderly resident into signing documents such as wills
  • Improperly using guardianship or the power of attorney

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse in nursing homes occurs more often than we realize. In 2017, a CNN report indicated alarming levels of sexual abuse are going on in nursing homes. Defenseless elderly people are the victims. The report found more than 1,000 nursing homes were cited for mishandling suspected cases of sex abuse.

The problem may be underreported generally. Most states do not separately categorize sexual abuse claims. Relatives should look out for signs of abuse such as ripped clothing and STDs.

What Are the Signs of Abuse and Neglect at Virginia Nursing Homes?

There are many telltale signs of nursing home abuse. Relates should look out for the following:

  • Unexplained injuries like cuts and bruises
  • Emaciation
  • Marks or bruises on the wrist or legs that indicate unauthorized restraint
  • STDs or ripped clothing consistent with sexual abuse
  • Personality changes like isolation
  • Bedsores or pressure sores
  • Dehydration or hunger
  • Overmedication or under medication
  • Missing medications

 

 Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

Even if you feel uncertain about pursuing a personal injury claim, we encourage you to act now. Time is critical in personal injury cases, as the lingering effects of an injury may not show until well after it has occurred. The longer you wait, the more difficult it may be to gather critical information about your potential case. When you are faced with a catastrophe, it’s important to seek medical advice and the help of an experienced legal professional to help you understand your options.

Business Hours: Mon – Fri: 8AM – 5PM
Address: 27 W. Queens Way, Suite 300, Hampton, VA 23669
Phone: 757.695.9134
Fax: 757.245.7740
Email: intake@smithlawcenter.com

 

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If you or a relative had a severe reaction to military housing mold, it might be time to talk with a toxic mold lawyer. Mold is everywhere, and can be dangerous. Researchers have linked mold to serious respiratory illnesses in some individuals.

Smith Law Center may be able to help if a property owner failed to keep you safe from mold in your military housing. We are one of Virginia’s oldest and most successful firms. We know how to hold negligent property owners responsible, especially when the military is involved.

Call us at (757) 244-700 or contact us online to set up a free consultation. There’s no fee for learning more about Virginia mold laws, your rights, and your legal options.

Mold in Military Housing

Black mold in military housing became widely known when Reuters published an investigation in 2018. Since then, the Department of Defense and the housing providers were supposed to take steps to improve the situation.

Unfortunately, a 2020 audit by the DoD Office of Inspector General found many issues, including the need for mold remediation, still persist.

Monetary Awards in Military Housing Toxic Mold Cases

If the property owner lets toxic mold run wild and continue to cause you harm, talk with our toxic mold attorneys about filing a lawsuit.

You may receive financial compensation for:

Service members and their families do not receive different types of damages than civilians. These are civil lawsuits in traditional courts of law.

Military Housing Mold Toxicity Symptoms

The Institute of Medicine discovered there was evidence connecting exposure to indoor mold with:

  • Upper respiratory tract symptoms;
  • Coughing;
  • Wheezing;
  • Asthma symptoms in individuals with asthma; and
  • Hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals with weak immune systems.

There is also limited evidence that mold causes respiratory illnesses in healthy children or causes people to develop asthma.

Understanding Exposure to Toxic Mold in Military Housing

The topic of toxic mold is complicated. This Is in part because the term “toxic mold” isn’t accurate. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains mold isn’t toxic or poisonous. However, some molds are toxigenic, which means they produce toxins called mycotoxins.

Mold is common in military housing because it’ll grow anywhere there’s moisture. That includes on and inside walls, carpet, upholstery, wallpaper, and heating and air conditioning systems. This is especially pronounced in humid conditions such as those present in Virginia.

Some people have no difficulties around mold, even large infestations in their homes. Other individuals are sensitive to molds, including those that produce mycotoxins. Someone can have a severe reaction when exposed to a large amount of mold indoors.

People may be more likely to experience mold toxicity symptoms if they have:

  • Allergies,
  • An underlying lung disease,
  • Immune suppression,
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder,
  • Asthma, or
  • Another chronic respiratory disease.

Common Types of Military Housing Mold

When you’re trying to learn more from the CDC and other resources, you’ll see the word “fungus” a lot. Mold is a type of fungus, which is something that exists all around us. Fungi are living organisms different from animals, plants, and bacteria. There are over 200,000 types of fungi and over 100,000 types of molds.

If you discovered mold in your military housing, it could be Cladosporium, Penicillium, Stachybotrys chartarum, Aspergillus, or many other types. Stachybotrys is what everyone knows as black mold. Aspergillus is a common indoor fungus, which releases mycotoxins and can cause illness. Your symptoms may resemble common allergy or asthma symptoms.

Who is Liable for Military Housing Mold?

Since 1996, most military housing has come under the management of private companies:

  • Belfour Beatty Communities: Fort Eustis and Fort Story/li>
  • Lincoln Military Housing: Dahlgren, Little Creek, Naval Station Norfolk, Northwest Annex, Oceana, Portsmouth, Quantico, and Yorktown/li>
  • Hunt Military Communities: Fort Lee and Langley AFB

Outside of Virginia, Lendlease and Corvias Military Living are two more housing providers. Together, these five companies formed the Military Housing Association.

Military families living in on-base housing must take their complaints to their private management company — not the military. The company is responsible for providing habitable conditions and making repairs, including mold remediation.

If you’re unsure about your rights, review your state law and local ordinances about mold. In general, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to provide a habitable unit, which means it has to be safe to live in. A unit isn’t safe if it’s causing a tenant health issues due to mold.

The Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act requires landlords to disclose if there’s mold in the written report of the move-in inspection. If a tenant discovers visible mold in the unit, then the Act requires the landlord to remove the mold and relocate the tenant until it’s gone at no additional cost to the tenant.

Unfortunately, many families find their housing providers aren’t receptive to complaints. Attorney Stephen M. Smith has handled many mold lawsuits against military housing providers who fail to abide by their lease terms and the law when it comes to mold remediation and other hazards.

Other Hazards in Military Housing

Many service members and their families deal with uncomfortable, if not hazardous, conditions in privatized military housing, including:

Lead Paint: Lead-based paint can cause headaches, nausea, fatigue, irritability, behavioral problems, learning disabilities, seizures, organ damage, and in extreme cases, death.

Asbestos: Exposure to asbestos harms a person’s lungs, and can lead to lung fibrosis (scarring), lung cancer, and mesothelioma.

Radon: Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. It naturally forms underground, however cracks and gaps in buildings lead to over-exposure indoors.

Poor Water Quality: Dozens of military sites have water with detectable levels of harmful chemicals.

Other issues involve rodent or insect infestations, pesticides, and faulty electrical wiring.

What Happens When a Lot of People Get Sick?

Sometimes mold exposure impacts a single individual or family. However, when the mold spreads throughout military housing, it can impact hundreds or thousands of people.

Occasionally, a large enough group of people are injured to allow for a class action or mass tort lawsuit. A class action lawsuit is one where a class representative acts as the plaintiff on behalf of the group of hurt individuals. Not every victim participates in the lawsuit. There are rules about when a group is big and similar enough to create a class action.

Mass tort lawsuits are different. When there are fewer plaintiffs who have their own set of circumstances, each person files a lawsuit. For efficiency’s sake, one or a couple of law firms may represent most plaintiffs, and the lawsuits are consolidated in a federal court.

Call the Military Housing Mold Lawyers at Smith Law Center for Help Right Away

Mold cases come about in a few ways. You or a loved one may start getting sick, and after weeks or months of struggling to find answers, you finally realize your military housing has a mold infestation. In other cases, you struggle with visible mold and then become ill.

Once you connect the illness with the mold, it’s time to talk with a toxic mold lawyer. Reaching out to an attorney early helps you build a strong compensation claim. We know how to collect evidence, identify who is liable, and craft a successful argument for a settlement or court award.

Attorney Stephen M. Smith has decades of experience handling injury claims and has been internationally recognized for his work. He has litigated cases involving catastrophic injuries and complex legal and scientific issues. In 2019, he was inducted into the Virginia Lawyers Hall of Fame.

You’re in good hands when you come to Smith Law Center for help. Reach out online or call (757) 244-7000 to schedule your 100% free consultation.

Military Housing Mold Lawsuits: FAQs

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DELIVERING RESULTS SINCE 1949

We are one of Virginia’s largest and most successful law firms.

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WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU


Use the simple form below to send a message directly to our lawyers. We will respond within 1 hour or less during business hours.
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