A Dedicated Personal Injury Law Firm Serving the People of Maryland
Placing your loved one in the care of a nursing home is never an easy decision. Unfortunately, although most nursing homes are competent and caring, Maryland nursing home abuse is far more common than most people realize. Intentional nursing home abuse is some of the most despicable behavior imaginable, and even careless neglect of your loved one is a matter that you should take very, very seriously.
Since health problems occur frequently among the elderly, it can be challenging to distinguish between unavoidable health problems and symptoms of actual abuse. However, nursing homes are regulated by a complex web of state and federal regulations, so many nursing home abuse claims can be established by tracing harm back to a regulatory violation.
Experienced and Dedicated Representation
At Koonz McKenney Johnson DePaolis & Lightfoot LLP, obtaining justice for personal injury victims is our sole purpose for existence – we practice no other type of law. In our 35 years of practice, we have recovered over a billion dollars for our clients. That’s not surprising given the quality of our staff. Among our firm’s thirteen lawyers:
- four have been selected as “Top Lawyers” by Washingtonian Magazine,
- five were chosen by their peers as “Super Lawyers”,
- five were selected for inclusion in “Best Lawyers in America”.
Of course we realize that if the abuse of your loved one is continuing, simply recovering compensation is not enough – the abuse must be halted immediately. We know how to make that happen too.
You Probably Won’t Have to Go to Court
The great majority of nursing home abuse claims are resolved through private settlement. Even if the nursing home is stubborn and a lawsuit must be filed, chances are good that your claim will be settled before trial anyway. Our reputation has preceded us, and most defendants simply don’t want to mess with us in court.
What Our Clients Say
“We owe so much to Mr. Schloss and you for taking care of us and leading the way when times were tough. Money can’t buy that kind of dedication.” – A Maryland Client
“You have taught me so much about patience and the law. My wife and I both believe you have done an excellent job watching out for our best interests. It’s because of your hard work that we have had about the best year since the start of this whole mess.” – Another Maryland Client
Our Other Areas of Practice
We also practice in the following sub-fields of personal injury law.
Car Accidents: Statistically, about one-third of Maryland auto accidents result in at least one injury. That adds up to hundreds of people killed and thousands injured every year. Most of those accidents didn’t “just happen” – they were the fault of a driver or, in some cases, a pedestrian. If you were injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, chances are you have a valid personal injury claim.
Medical Malpractice: When a painter makes a mistake, it’s annoying. When a doctor makes a mistake, it’s terrifying. Although not all medical errors amount to malpractice, medical malpractice is so common that it is one of the nation’s leading causes of death.
Worker’s Compensation: The worker’s compensation system is specially designed for workplace injuries, and its primary advantage is that you don’t have to prove the defendant was at fault to win. The worker’s compensation system is distinct from the personal injury civil compensation system, with its own specific rules.
Construction Accidents: Construction accidents are typically workplace accidents, although sometimes a passer-by can be injured. But not all construction accidents are resolved solely through the worker’s compensation system, and sometimes it makes sense to file a personal injury claim as well.
Asbestos Disease/Mesothelioma: Asbestos is a toxin that frequently results in terminal illnesses that can surface decades after first exposure. Because of this time lag, and because the natural defendant is often a company rather than an individual, special arrangements have been made to ensure that asbestos victims (particularly mesothelioma victims) can take advantage of alternative means of compensation.
Products Liability: How many consumer products do you use in a given week? Just about any one of them could injure you if it is defective. Under Maryland law, there are three different ways to hold a product manufacturer liable for a product that causes injury – and one of them doesn’t even require you to prove that the manufacturer was at fault.
Premises Liability: A broken stairwell railing, a wet floor, or exposed electrical wiring can all trigger product liability claims if they cause injury to guests (including shoppers), and the victim can prove that the owner or renter failed to either repair the dangerous condition or adequately warn of it.
Federal Tort Claims Act: A “tort” is a personal injury claim caused by the wrongful act (or failure to act) on the part of someone other than the injury victim. The Federal Tort Claims Act is a law that allows you to sue the federal government for money damages, subject to certain limitations, when you are injured through the wrongful act of one of its employees.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the legal rights of nursing home residents in Maryland?
There are too many to list here. Following are just a few of them.
- Freedom from “chemical restraints” (drugs) used for the purposes of discipline or convenience
- Freedom from involuntary seclusion
- The right to refuse treatment
- The right to a copy of medical records
- Privacy of communication
What regulations govern nursing homes in Maryland?
Maryland nursing home regulations can be found here. Federal nursing home regulations, which apply to facilities that accept Medicare/Medicaid, were revised in 2016. Violation of a nursing home regulation is not automatically assumed to prove negligence – however, it can be used as evidence of negligence. Likewise, negligence can be found to exist even in the absence of any regulatory violation.
Can I file a claim against the nursing home for a slip and fall accident suffered by my loved one?
You might have a claim. You will have to prove some sort of negligence on the part of the nursing home – failure to keep floors dry, for example, or providing a broken walker.
How can I find out if my loved one is being improperly medicated?
If you suspect that your loved one is being improperly medicated, you can take the following actions:
- demand to see your loved one’s medical records,
- speak with the staff or administration about the matter, and
- contact a nursing home abuse lawyer, who will know how to gather evidence of improper medication.
My mother was harmed because the nursing home staff failed to administer her medicine on time. Do I have a claim?
Possibly. A nursing home is responsible for the negligence of its staff members.
Is the nursing home responsible for abuse perpetrated by another nursing home resident?
Possibly. Although strictly speaking, a nursing home is not responsible for third-party criminal conduct, it is possible that the nursing home itself may have been negligent in failing to protect your loved one from another resident with known violent tendencies.
How can understaffing result in nursing home abuse?
In nursing homes, many problems – from missed medications to bedsores – can trace their roots to understaffing. Private, for-profit nursing homes are most likely to suffer from understaffing because appropriate staffing levels cut into profits.
What are the different kinds of conduct that constitute abuse?
Abuse comes in many different varieties:
- Physical abuse, including improper restraints
- Emotional abuse, including threats and verbal abuse
- Sexual abuse of any kind
- Financial abuse
- Neglect, including failure to prevent any of the foregoing types of abuse by visitors or other patients
What kind of claim can I file if my loved one died due to nursing home abuse?
You may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim. Under Maryland wrongful death law, certain relatives of the deceased nursing home abuse victim may file a wrongful death claim. The purpose of such a claim would be to compensate for their own losses, including emotional losses. There are also survival actions which are meant to compensate for the losses to the deceased victim’s estate – such as medical bills, funeral expenses, and the pain and suffering of the deceased.
“But I Can’t Afford to Hire a Lawyer”
Actually, you can. We charge no upfront fees, and our services are free unless we win compensation for you. Furthermore, you won’t owe us anything until your money actually arrives, and our fees are calculated as a percentage of your total recovery. We can afford to operate like this because we win the vast majority of our cases.
Act Decisively to Protect Your Loved One. Call our Skilled Maryland Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Today
The right law firm can make a tremendous difference in how quickly the abuse is stopped and how much compensation your loved one eventually receives. If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from nursing home abuse, call us at (301) 830-4344 or simply contact us online for a free initial consultation.