Group homes are meant to help people who might be unable to help themselves. These homes provide assisted living for adults with disabilities who might have difficulty taking care of themselves. The residents in group homes depend on trained staff for daily living needs like food, hygiene, and assistance with medication. Unfortunately, the people in group homes tend to be very vulnerable.
Group homes sometimes make headlines because they are hurting the people they are supposed to help. Abuse may take many forms and can be difficult to identify. Sometimes, abuse is intentional and malicious. Other times, the abuse results from overworked staff who cannot take care of all their patients. The abuse suffered by group home residents can leave lasting physical and mental scars.
If your family member or loved one suffered abuse while living in a group home, you can file a lawsuit to hold the group home responsible. Our group home abuse lawyers have experience with these kinds of cases and can help you get compensation. Call the experienced Indianapolis nursing home abuse lawyers of Wruck Paupore at (219) 322-1166 for a free case review.
A high-profile case of abuse by group home employees that has been in the headlines lately is the case of ResCare. ResCare is a group home for people with disabilities who need assistance with their daily living. The company caters to disabled adults and children and provides both in-home and residential services.
However, research reveals a long history of issues at ResCare facilities resulting in arrests and lawsuits. In New Mexico, a ResCare worker was found to have raped a severely disabled man in a group home, resulting in a jury verdict awarding compensatory damages to the victim against ResCare entities in an amount totaling $4.7 million. The jury also awarded a record $48 million in punitive damages against ResCare to punish them for their reckless conduct. This punitive award was later reduced by the judge to $9.6 million.
In 2015 alone, numerous instances of alleged abuse at ResCare facilities resulted in arrests and lawsuits. ResCare was sued in Kansas after a ResCare worker was arrested for beating two men within her care and locking them up in confined spaces. Similarly, two ResCare workers were arrested in West Virginia for spraying a wheelchair-bound resident with a hose. In California, a ResCare worker was caught on camera beating a severely autistic man and dragging him out of the ResCare group home. It was found that the ResCare worker had a violent criminal history and was hired by ResCare despite this. In Texas, a ResCare group home lost its license to operate after a severely autistic man was allowed to leave his group home and was later shot and killed. In Greenville, Indiana, a ResCare employee was arrested after allegedly leaving three severely disabled persons locked in a vehicle for hours while he went shopping.
Our firm has handled numerous cases against ResCare and other group homes after workers have been arrested for abuse. It is extremely important that people report abuse whenever they suspect it, and also contact qualified lawyers to review the situation. These are very unique cases, often involving significantly disabled persons who are vulnerable and often unable to protect themselves. The Indiana nursing home abuse lawyers at Wruck Paupore are highly experienced in leading investigations and filing lawsuits against group homes that mistreat their residents. You can contact us for a full evaluation of your situation, free of charge.
Abuse may take many different forms and is not always easy to spot. Sometimes, abuse is intentional and perpetrated by staff who have no business working for a group home with vulnerable people. Other times, staff members do their best to care for group home residents, but they are overworked and understaffed, leading to accidents and mistakes.
Intentional abuse often involves acts of physical violence. The violence might be a one-time thing, or it might repeatedly happen over time. In either case, your loved one trusted someone to take care of them but instead received physical punishment and abuse. People in group homes are often mentally or physically disabled or incapacitated, making it very difficult to defend themselves. For people with existing medical conditions, physical abuse could cause extremely severe injuries.
Other times, abuse is not necessarily intentional. Neglect can be passive abuse where the abuser fails to provide adequate care for a group home resident. It can also be intentional. Neglect tends to occur repeatedly and over time, leading to increasingly poor quality of life for the victim. Neglect can look like starvation or malnutrition, failure to provide medication, or a failure to otherwise keep a group home resident safe.
Because group home residents are so vulnerable, they are easily taken advantage of. Abuse in group homes does not necessarily involve direct harm to the victim. For example, if staff steals money or personal belongings from residents, that may be considered abusive behavior. The residents might be disabled and unable to stop the thefts on their own. Theft or financial exploitation should be considered when searching for signs of abuse.
Abuse does not leave only physical scars. Abuse frequently causes immense psychological and emotional stress and trauma for victims. In many cases of group home abuse, staff do not physically strike the victims but might be verbally abusive instead. Repeated verbal abuse may lead to long-lasting psychological damage in victims. If you suspect your loved one has been the victim of abuse, call our Fort Wayne personal injury lawyers immediately. We work with a variety of top national experts who are qualified to identify and diagnose psychological disorders arising from group home abuse.
When someone is abused in a group home, there may be several people you can sue. People often want to sue the staff member directly responsible for the abuse, which is certainly a possibility. However, you can also sue the group home itself for allowing the abuse to continue. Group homes may be held negligently responsible for the abusive behavior of their employees.
A group home could be liable for the abuse inflicted by a staff member if the group home should have known better than to hire that person. Background checks on potential employees are common. Group homes will find out if a potential employee has a history of violence or abuse and should not hire someone with such a history. If that person is hired, the group home could be on the hook for any abuse.
Alternatively, even if a group home hires the best employees, abuse can still occur because of a lack of adequate training. Employees need training so they can provide care for group home residents on a daily basis. Training could include dispensing medication, interacting with residents, accommodating certain disabilities, and handling emergencies. If employees are not properly trained, they are more likely to make mistakes, leading to more cases of abuse.
A group home is also in charge of maintaining the premises, so accidents are avoided. If the group home conditions are such that residents are having multiple accidents and getting injured, the group home may be held negligently liable for failing to maintain the premises. Our Fort Wayne nursing home abuse attorneys can help you hold the group home in your case liable for any abuse inflicted on your loved one.
Reporting group home abuse may be a complicated endeavor. One might assume that the only thing you have to do is pick up the phone and call the police. While this is one way to report group home abuse, it is not the only way. The method you take when reporting abuse may impact the way your subsequent lawsuit proceeds.
Your first step should be to report abuse directly to the supervisor of the group home, including any office which oversees workers at the home. It may be that they are unaware of the abuse and they will take appropriate action to terminate abusive workers and improve conditions at the home.
Unfortunately, however, many times the group home reacts poorly, denying the existence of abuse, and attempting to cover up any signs of neglect. Group home staff might also retaliate against residents who report abuse, putting them in danger. If you believe your loved one remains in danger, you should report the situation to law enforcement and seek to remove the resident from the group home environment as quickly as possible.
You should also report abuse to organizations that monitor and investigate group home abuse. One such organization is Indiana Disability Rights and is a branch of the Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services Commission. The group can conduct investigations into alleged group home abuse and intervene if they discover signs of abuse. The Indiana Attorney General also has a Patient Abuse and Neglect program which is specifically charged with investigating and prosecuting cases involving the abuse of disabled and infirm residents at nursing facilities and group homes. It maintains a staff that has no other duty than investigating cases of neglect and abuse.
If you are unsure how to report abuse, call our Indiana group home abuse lawyers for assistance. We will not only help you report the case to the appropriate state agencies but will also review all of your legal rights and options.
Your loved one deserves the best care available, and abuse in any form is unacceptable. Our South Bend, Indiana group home abuse lawyers can help you report any signs of abuse and hold the group home accountable. Call the offices of Wruck Paupore at (219) 322-1166 for a free case review.
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Don is a founding partner and one of the nation’s top-ranked personal injury litigators. He is a member of the Multi-million Dollar Advocates Forum, which includes less than 1% of the nation’s trial lawyers, and awarded the highest ranking given by Martindale Hubbel and AVVO.
More importantly, Don understands representing personal injury victims is about more than recovering the best settlement: it’s about helping clients get back on their feet and supporting them in every aspect of their recovery.
In nearly all cases, our clients seek compensation from the wrongdoer’s insurance company. Before forming Wruck Paupore, Jason worked for a prominent law firm representing some of the world’s largest insurers. This experience gives Jason a deep understanding of the insurance industry and the strategies it uses to pay injury victims as little as possible.
Jason -- and our entire team -- put this inside knowledge to work to force insurance companies to pay what is actually owed. Often, we use the insurance company’s own tactics against them as we fight for the full compensation our client deserves.
For more than four decades, Keith has been fighting for injury victims. During that time, he’s watched the insurance industry change, with insurers now more interested in protecting their stock price than treating injury victims fairly.
Since the beginning, Keith has put people first. From his childhood in Gary, Indiana during the 1960’s and working his way through law school, Keith has risen to become one of the Midwest’s most respected trial lawyers. He has never forgotten that being a lawyer is about helping people -- and seeing injury victims through struggles in a way that could change their lives forever.
Over the decades, Keith, Don and Jason have fought relentlessly for clients, even when other lawyers have said the case was impossible to win.