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Articles Posted in Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect

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DSC1824Edit-DTV-1-238x300Super Lawyers has named Varellas & Varellas attorney Todd Varellas a top rated personal injury attorney in Kentucky for 2023. Super Lawyers recognizes the top lawyers in Kentucky as selected through a peer nomination process and based on the results of independent research. The lawyers selected are those who received the highest point totals during the annual nomination, research and peer review process, resulting in a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys. Super Lawyers also previously named Todd a Rising Star, when he was a younger attorney.

These lists recognize attorneys in each state “who exhibit excellence in the practice of law.”

The Super Lawyers lists recognize no more than 5% of attorneys in the state. For Rising Stars for younger attorneys, it recognizes no more than 2.5% of younger attorneys in the state. Super Lawyers is a research-driven, peer-influenced rating service of outstanding lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Attorneys are selected from more than 70 practice areas and all firm sizes which helps assure a credible and relevant annual list.

The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers magazines, regional magazines, and newspapers across the country.

Todd is an experienced trial attorney at Varellas & Varellas focusing on serious personal injury cases involving trucking collisions, car wrecks, fatal accidents and wrongful death, as well as  nursing home abuse and neglect.



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Nursing home neglect and abuse is a serious problem in all states, including Kentucky. ProPublica has developed a Nursing Home Inspect tool the public can use to view and search data from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) regarding nursing homes in all 50 states. The data shows that over the last three years Barkley Center in Paducah, Kentucky has been cited for 20 serious deficiencies, more than any other nursing home in the country. Not far behind, Pioneer Trace Group, LLC in Flemingsburg, Kentucky had 14 of the most serious deficiencies during the three-year period.

The average fine for nursing homes in Kentucky was more than $83,000, the sixth highest average in the country. Six nursing homes in Kentucky were well above the average and were each fined more than $375,000 over the last three years: Danville Centre for Health and Rehabilitation ($616,110); Signature Healthcare at North Hardin Rehab & Wellness in Radcliff ($523,868); Westport Care Center in Louisville ($508,495); Prestonsburg Health Care Center ($425,901); Mountain View Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Pineville ($425,705); and Stanton Nursing and Rehabilitation Center ($377,738). Twin Rivers Nursing and Rehab Center in Owensboro, Kentucky has also been flagged for having a history of serious quality issues.

Many wonder how this kind of problem arises in facilities that advertise themselves as caring places. Unfortunately, nursing homes are often staffed by overworked caregivers and inadequate staff-to-resident ratios are common. When staff is overworked or exhausted, negligence becomes more likely. Additionally, residents can become isolated if they have disabilities or are perceived as “difficult.”

Sometimes there are also issues with a dishonest or dangerous staff member who commits intentional acts of abuse, but these are exceptional circumstances. Most nursing home abuse cases are cases of negligence or sometimes recklessness. For cases involving particularly egregious, reckless or intentionally abusive conduct, punitive damages may be available to punish the wrongful conduct and deter the staff member, the facility, and others from acting the same way in the future.

It is always a difficult decision to place a beloved family member in a nursing home and entrust his or her care to staff members. Most residents of nursing homes rely on staff to offer them water, food, medicines, daily hygiene help, and assistance to and from the bathroom. When a staff member withholds any of these necessary elements of care, serious medical problems can result.

Dating back to the 1980s when the media began to report on how widespread neglect and abuse are in the nursing home industry, both state and federal laws have prohibited nursing home neglect and abuse. Under the federal Nursing Home Reform Act, nursing homes that participate in Medicare and Medicaid are required to provide services and activities to allow a resident to attain or maintain the highest practicable degree of well-being. This includes having sufficient nursing staff, developing a comprehensive care plan, and providing necessary services to allow residents not able to take care of their daily hygiene to be able to maintain good nutrition and grooming.

All nursing homes in Kentucky are covered by state law, even those that do not participate in Medicare or Medicaid. In Kentucky, you can bring a lawsuit to enforce the rights granted under Kentucky and federal laws sometimes called the Kentucky Nursing Home Residents’ Rights. If you are able to prove your case against the nursing home, the award may include actual damages, punitive damages, and reasonable attorney’s fees and costs, depending upon the circumstances of your particular case.

The Kentucky Adult Protection Act defines abuse, neglect and exploitation. Abuse is specifically categorized as physical, psychological, and financial. Physical abuse includes uses of force that harm a senior, including sexual abuse, hitting, beating, restraining, or giving them drugs in order to incapacitate them. Psychological or emotional abuse includes threatening, shouting, humiliating or neglecting a senior. The risks of psychological abuse include depression and anxiety. Financial abuse includes theft or extortion.

How do you know that your loved one is being abused? Some signs of abuse include loss of weight, dehydration, bruises, bedsores, significant change in outlook or temperament, wounds, frequent infections, falls and fractures­. If you suspect or learn that a loved one was the victim of nursing home neglect or elder abuse, you can file a nursing home abuse lawsuit. Retain experienced Kentucky trial attorneys to reach the most favorable outcome. Attorneys with substantial trial experience are better equipped to skillfully negotiate and advocate for the highest possible compensation for your loss. Contact us at 877-634-1519 or via our online form.

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Kentucky and federal laws grant important rights to residents of Kentucky nursing homes, sometimes referred to as the Kentucky Residents’ Rights Act or the Nursing Home Bill of Rights. When a resident of a nursing home has suffered abuse or neglect, the rights guaranteed by these laws can be enforced by filing a lawsuit against the responsible nursing home. The law allows for the recovery of actual damages, including pain and suffering, as well as punitive damages, reasonable attorney fees, and costs incurred in bringing the lawsuit.

Attorneys at Varellas & Varellas have been representing clients in cases involving nursing home neglect and abuse, personal injuries, trucking accidents, motor vehicle collisions and medical malpractice for more than 40 years and we will be happy to talk with you about your concerns regarding possible mistreatment or neglect of a loved one in a nursing home. We can help you determine whether the rights of your family member or loved one have been violated or ignored. Kentucky law requires that the following rights of nursing home residents be protected:

  • The right to be fully informed of the rules and regulations of the facility as well as the rights of the resident
  • The right to privacy, to be treated with dignity and respect and to be suitably dressed at all times
  • The right to be free from physical and mental abuse, including verbal and sexual abuse and corporal punishment and involuntary seclusion
  • The right to be free from physical or chemical restraints not required to treat medical symptoms
  • The right to confidentiality and privacy, including visual privacy in shared rooms and in tub, shower and toilet rooms
  • The right to personal possessions and to receive or refuse visitors
  • The right to participate in the resident’s own care and creation and review of an individualized treatment plan
  • The right for the resident’s responsible party or family member to be notified immediately of changes in the resident’s condition including any accident, disease, unexplained absence, sudden illness or anything unusual
  • The right to review all inspection reports regarding the facility and the right to voice grievances without repercussions and meet privately with state inspectors

Contact experienced Kentucky trial attorneys at the Louisville and Lexington offices of Varellas & Varellas to discuss your concerns regarding a loved one’s treatment and care at a nursing home. Under Kentucky law, claims for nursing home abuse and neglect and violation of a resident’s rights must be brought within specified time limits so it is important to contact attorneys as soon as possible so that those deadlines can be met and the claims will not be lost. Contact us using our online form or by telephone at 877-634-1519.

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Due to the vulnerability of nursing home residents, Kentucky has enacted statutes aimed at protecting them from nursing home abuse and neglect. Kentucky law mandates in KRS 216.515 that all residents shall be free from mental and physical abuse, and they must be free from restraints by physical or chemical methods except in emergencies or other specific circumstances specified in writing by a physician.

Kentucky statutes further provide in KRS 216.515 that residents whose statutory rights are deprived or infringed upon shall have a cause of action against the facility responsible for the violation. In a lawsuit brought under the nursing home statutes, the nursing home resident or legal representative can recover actual and punitive damages for denial or infringement of the resident’s rights as well as attorney’s fees and the costs of the lawsuit.

In a suit brought under the Kentucky nursing home statutes, a jury in Louisville awarded an $8 million verdict for nursing home abuse to the estate of a retired surgeon whose sustained broken bones while he was in the care of Treyton Oak Towers. Dr. Griffin’s legs were broken when he was improperly transferred from his chair to his bed and, due to a previous stroke, he was unable to tell anyone about the pain he was suffering. After his legs were broken, the staff put him back in bed and pretended it didn’t happen.

The nursing home initially denied any wrong doing and even tried to cover up the nursing home neglect that eventually led to the patient’s wrongful death less than two months later. There was also evidence presented that the nursing home was understaffed and failed to properly evaluate and train its staff. Continue reading

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A Circuit Court jury in Lexington, Kentucky entered a verdict requiring Cambridge Place Nursing Home to pay more than $1 million to a resident who was neglected and severely injured in an equipment storage room. Irene Hendrix was in her late 80’s and had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease when she had to be hospitalized due to the injuries she suffered. The doctors found that she suffered broken facial bones and bleeding in her brain.

The suit for abuse and neglect by the nursing home was brought by Hendrix’s daughter and her guardian against the owner of the nursing home and the management company. The nursing home denied negligence in the case but, after deliberating for about two hours, the jury awarded Hendrix $1 million for pain and suffering and awarded more than $27,000 for her medical costs.

Before the trial, investigations were conducted by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office. A state adult-protection worker found that Hendrix had been subjected to caretaker neglect, but the attorney general’s office determined that the injuries were caused by an accidental fall.

Our nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys have repeatedly seen the devastating injuries nursing home and long-term care residents can suffer as a result of abuse or neglect by the staff, attendants or medical providers to whom they have entrusted their care.  Due to the vulnerability of nursing home residents, Kentucky has enacted statutes aimed at protecting them from nursing home abuse and neglect. Kentucky law requires that, except in emergencies or except in limited circumstances justified in writing by a physician, residents must be free from any type of abuse including mental and physical abuse, and free from chemical and physical restraints. Continue reading

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