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Nursing Home Malpractice

lawyer for nursing home malpractice in Virginia

The choice to place a loved one in a nursing home or assisted living facility can be challenging, especially when considering the risks of nursing home malpractice. You take your choice of which nursing home very seriously. Whichever facility you select, you trust it to ensure that your loved one is safe, healthy, and happy during his or her stay.

At The Law Firm of Carlton F. Bennett, P.L.L.C., our Virginia Beach nursing home and assisted living facility negligence care attorney is an aggressive, results-focused advocate for residents and their families. We will ensure that they pay for any and all damages that your loved one suffered. Call our law firm today to set up a free, confidential consultation with an experienced Virginia nursing home malpractice lawyer.


When nursing home negligence occurs, the consequences can be tragic for your family. The data on nursing home injuries and deaths is alarming. Negligence resulting in serious injury or death is much more common than it should be. According to data from the National Council on Aging (NCOA), more than ten percent of older adults have endured some form of neglect. Public health experts caution that the true number may even be higher, as nursing home malpractice is underreported.  Nursing home injuries come in a wide range of different forms, including:

  • Pressure Injury Wounds: Pressure wounds or bed sores are usually preventable. A bed-bound patient must be frequently turned and repositioned.  If left untreated, these wounds may result in sepsis even death.
  • Wrongful Death: Many preventable and avoidable injuries result in death. Our wrongful death law firm has vast experience in handling such cases.
  • Caregiver Neglect: Residents require adequate care and supervision. Caregiver neglect can lead to serious illnesses, medical complications, and injuries, including bed sores, dehydration, malnutrition, fall accidents, medication errors, sepsis, and death.
Nursing Home Malpractice Case Result


Plaintiff had uncontrolled diabetes and underwent an amputation of his right leg, above the knee. The surgery was successful and he was discharged from the hospital to a nursing home. The family visited often and found feces and urine in his bed, diaper and stump wound bandage. By the 9th day of admission he had drainage from the stump incision. It was warm to the touch, and the drainage was yellow-greenish. These are symptoms of an early infection. The nursing home did nothing except clean up the wound and reapply a dressing. By the 12th day of the admission, Plaintiff’s daughter visited and felt that he smelled septic, and he had frank puss draining from his wound. It was a yellowish color. The nursing home tried to prevent her from sending him out to the emergency room, but she called the ambulance anyway. The EMT’s took him over to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with a complicated wound infection in his stump. He had six weeks of antibiotic therapy and two surgical procedures to debride and revise his stump. He lost an additional four inches of femoral bone. As a result, he gained weight, became weak, and was unable to be successfully fitted for a prosthetic leg. The nursing home settled the case two months prior to trial as a result of mediation.


Nursing homes are required to protect their patients. All nursing home residents have important rights under both state and federal law. The 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act and Code of Virginia § 32.1-138 provide much needed protections and, if something goes wrong, legal remedies. Unfortunately, not all nursing homes abide by the obligations. Too many do not hire enough staff members or fail to appropriately screen or train their staff members. Sadly, vulnerable people might pay the price for their negligence.

If you worry that your loved one is the victim of nursing home negligence, you should be able to hold the guilty party accountable. Nursing home neglect is not always easy to detect—especially if your elderly or vulnerable loved one has difficulty communicating. You should always follow up on your suspicions that something is wrong.

How to Recognize Signs of Nursing Home Neglect

Nursing home neglect occurs when the care a nursing home resident receives falls below the required standard of care. Some instances of nursing home neglect are obvious because they leave physical damage. But other instances might not be as readily apparent. Knowing the signs of nursing home neglect can help ensure your loved one is happy, safe, and cared for. If you recognize or suspect neglect of your loved one, immediately contact a nursing home neglect attorney. 


Bedsores are pressure injuries that often occur in people who cannot move or are bedridden. They commonly occur in older people. A bedsore is caused by prolonged pressure on the skin. They can lead to ulcers, infections, and, if untreated, death. Caregivers at a nursing home must regularly turn bedridden patients and ensure that they do not put pressure on the same body part for too long. If you see bedsores or signs of infection, this is a sign of nursing home neglect.

Unsanitary Living Conditions

Your loved one and their room should be kept clean and disinfected. If your loved one’s clothes or bed sheets are dirty, this can be a sign of neglect. Also, if your loved one’s clothes or bed are soiled, this is a sign of neglect and a serious problem.

Lack of Necessities

Failure to provide your loved one with adequate food and water is nursing home neglect. If you notice your loved one has unexplained weight loss or seems excessively thirsty, investigate why. Starvation and dehydration are serious and can lead to other problems as well.

Unsafe Conditions

The nursing home must make the living arrangements of your loved one safe. If you notice any issue with the utilities in the nursing home, you should inform the staff immediately and follow up until it is resolved. Utility issues include a broken heater, lack of electricity, or water problems. If you see issues such as chairs with wobbly legs, notify someone. The nursing home should keep furniture regularly maintained. Any infestation of bugs or rodents is also a serious issue. If you see this, report it immediately.

Nursing Home Malpractice Case Result


Plaintiff’s decedent, a 90 year old woman was rolled off of her bed and sustained fractures of her right lower leg, right ankle, right shoulder and left leg. Due to these injuries, the patient required extensive care and ultimately, amputation of her right leg below the knee. The nursing home initially denied all responsibility but though the process of litigation, admitted its failures and settled the case.


The senior population is most at risk of sustaining serious head trauma and physical injuries in fall accidents. Their age, declining health and other factors often create balance and mobility issues that increase the chances of falling even where there are minimal environmental hazards around.

In nursing homes, there are often many fall risks for residents, and a fall could be a sign that nursing home staff are abusing or neglecting residents.

Causes of Fall Accidents

Falls are often a result of environmental hazards such as the following:

  • Poor lighting
  • Uneven or slick surfaces
  • Missing or broken handrails and steps
  • Improper bed and furniture heights
  • Mobility aids that are in poor condition

Falls are also more likely to occur to seniors who suffer from physical and cognitive challenges, use certain medications and do not receive proper mobility support and care from nursing home staff. Staffing issues, poor management and unqualified or negligent staff are among the reasons why some nursing home residents end up with preventable traumatic brain injuries.

Head Injuries Caused by Nursing Home Falls

Seniors are more vulnerable to traumatic brain injuries in falls, and they are also more prone to permanent damage from traumatic brain injury. One study indicates concussions that do not cause unconsciousness can double the chances that a senior will develop dementia, and if the fall does cause unconsciousness, it quadruples the risk.

Signs of Head Trauma From Fall Accidents

There may be little outward indication that a nursing home resident has suffered a TBI in a fall. Bruising and broken bones elsewhere on the body may seem like the more urgent issue. But in the days following the fall, family members should watch for signs of confusion, agitation and weakness that may point to a TBI. Without immediate and proper care, head injuries that arise out of fall accidents can become life-altering and lead to premature death.


Nursing home care may become a necessity if your parents are no longer able to care for themselves independently. This is especially true when you work full time or live a distance from your elderly loved ones and are unable to provide the day-to-day care they require.

Statistics on nursing home abuse and neglect are sobering, with the National Center on Elder Abuse reporting more than 14,000 complaints involving exploitation, abuse or gross neglect by nursing home staff in 2014. Take steps to find a safe nursing home environment that will nurture your senior family member’s well-being.

Seek referrals

Talk to friends, colleagues and others in your network about your search. Follow up on facilities that get a strong recommendation from a person you trust, especially if he or she has a family member who lives there.

Use available resources

Conduct a background check on the facilities on your short list. Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare tool online is a good place to start your search. You can also check online ratings on sites like Google to read reviews and testimonials from others whose family members live at the facility.

Visit in person

Touring the facility gives you the chance to look for red flags. These can include administrators who are unavailable or seem harried, limited choices for meals or amenities, location in an unsafe neighborhood, and lack of a strong care philosophy and vision for important topics such as end of life.

Listen to tone

When you visit the facility, pay attention to how nurses and other staff members address those who are in their care. Staff should talk directly to patients and call them by name. Listen for harsh tones or other signs of poor treatment. Although some noise is normal in an institutional setting, the overall atmosphere should be peaceful.

Pay attention to your instincts when looking at possible nursing homes for your parents. You and your loved one should feel comfortable and have trust in the staff and caregivers before making a final decision.

What to Expect When Hiring a Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer

Choosing a nursing home neglect lawyer is an important decision. You need someone who can best represent your loved one and get them the justice they deserve. When hiring a nursing home neglect lawyer, there are certain factors you need to be aware of to make the best-informed decision.


A good Virginia Beach nursing home malpractice lawyer has experience. Make sure they have experience in nursing home neglect specifically. Experience ensures the lawyer has an extensive understanding of nursing home neglect laws. They’ll also be aware of the process and deadlines of a nursing home neglect lawsuit. At The Law Firm of Carlton F. Bennett, P.L.L.C., we have over four decades of legal experience in helping our clients achieve justice.

Trial Knowledge 

Most cases between nursing homes and residents (and their families) do not go to trial. Instead, they are settled. But sometimes, parties do not agree, and cases go to trial. Be aware that this could happen to you as well. You should research nursing home neglect lawyers who have trial experience and have tried nursing home neglect cases in the courts, so your attorney will be prepared if your case goes to trial.


Check the nursing home neglect lawyer’s record. An attorney should be able to share this with you. See what type of cases they worked on. The best scenario is an attorney who has dealt with several nursing home neglect cases. Ask if you can find out how similar cases were handled and ended. 

Initial Consultation

Before you sign with a nursing home neglect lawyer, talk with them first. Expect that most attorneys offer free initial consultations where you can tell them about your case, and they can explain how they can help you.

Nursing Home Malpractice Case Result


Doe, age 90, suffered from dementia and was impulsive. She required extensive assistance for toilet use. A CNA was providing toileting care and took Doe to the bathroom in her wheelchair and assisted her onto the commode. The CNA left Doe on the commode and went several feet away to retrieve a washcloth, turning her back on Doe. Doe had very poor safety awareness and stood up and fell from the commode hitting the floor and fracturing her hip which had to be surgically repaired. Thereafter, Doe was completely bed bound and developed three Stage IV pressure ulcers on her sacrum and buttocks, which were extremely painful. She died from a combination of the hip fracture and bed sores. The case settled through mediation just before the trial date for $600,000.00.


At The Law Firm of Carlton F. Bennett, P.L.L.C., our Virginia nursing home neglect lawyer is a compassionate and effective advocate for the people who need help the most. If your loved one was injured or harmed in an assisted living center, we are more than prepared help. For a free, no-risk consultation about your personal injury case today call us at 757-486-5454 today. You can also complete and submit our online contact form. From our office in Virginia Beach, we represent nursing home neglect claims all over the Hampton Roads area, including in Norfolk, Newport News, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Hampton, and Poquoson.

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