Suing for Nursing Home Abuse Has Become Easier in Southern California

According to a recent report from The New York Times, taking nursing home abuse claims to court has just become easier for residents and their families. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, an agency within the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, issued new rules regarding a longstanding practice wherein nursing homes stipulated in their resident contracts that any disputes or claims of abuse would be resolved in arbitration. The Federal government’s new rules now allow for nursing home residents to take their claims to court, making it far easier to seek meaningful justice.

2The U.S. nursing home industry is a massive and lucrative one, particularly in Southern California. Additionally, a vast number of nursing home residents rely on government programs such as Medicaid and Medicare to subsidize their care. As such, those nursing homes receiving their own share of Federal Aid to support their programming can no longer contractually bind complainants into private arbitration to resolve their claims. This new rule will go into effect as soon as November 2016, paving a new and more feasible avenue for Southern California nursing home abuse victims to take their claims to court. It’s important to note, however, that the rule will apply only to those moving into federally aided nursing homes after the November 2016 start date.

As projections for nursing home resident growth climb—particularly in high-populated metropolitan areas, such as, San Diego— it’s especially important that governmental change to nursing home policies are introduced. Some sources report that nearly a third of all licensed nursing homes in the U.S. have been cited for federal safety standard violations. Now that new rules have been introduced regarding elder abuse lawsuits and complaints, victims finally have fair recourse under the law.

According to the same New York Times piece, there have been countless cases of elder/senior abuse in the United States that were forced into arbitration due to manipulative resident contract clauses. One of the instances recapped in the report was the story of a woman with Alzheimer’s who was sexually assaulted twice by fellow residents at her nursing home in Lemon Grove in San Diego County. Though California’s Department of Public Health found the nursing home at fault for the woman’s abuse, the case was taken to arbitration due to the nursing home’s contractual clause.

With these new federal changes, there’s growing hope in the elder community that such abuses will be more deftly handled, and that federally subsidized nursing homes will no longer be able to skirt major senior abuse claims through contractual loopholes.

Unfortunately, elder abuse and nursing home abuse are ongoing problems in San Diego and throughout the United States, but there is legal recourse available. If you or a loved one has suffered elder abuse or nursing home abuse in Southern California, consult with an experienced elder abuse attorney today who can advocate on your behalf and ensure that justice is served.

Walton Law, APC is a San Diego boutique law firm dedicated exclusively to representing injured parties in the areas of personal injury, nursing home abuse and neglect, and financial elder abuse. We only represent people – not insurance companies – and take pride in our reputation for obtaining full and fair compensation for our clients while providing personalized client service. If you believe somebody you know has been a victim of elder abuse in San Diego, CA, please call (866) 338-7079 for a free and confidential consultation.