Charleston, West Virginia Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

When you decide to put a loved one in a nursing home or other type of residential living facility, you trust that your loved one will get the care, treatment, and respect they deserve. Unfortunately, elder abuse occurs more often than you would expect in nursing homes, and the abuse is usually not discovered by family members until victims have suffered extensive abuse for lengthy periods of time.

If you believe your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, an attorney can help. The Charleston, West Virginia nursing home negligence lawyers at Tiano O’Dell, PLLC, are passionate about protecting victims of elder abuse and pursuing all parties responsible for the abuse your loved one has suffered under a personal injury claim. Contact our office for a free and confidential consultation with one of our nursing home abuse attorneys.

Nursing Home Abuse Resources in Charleston, WV

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Why Choose Tiano O’Dell, PLLC?
What Are a Nursing Home Resident’s Rights?
Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Examples of Nursing Home Abuse
How Can an Attorney Help?
Recoverable Damages in a Nursing Home Abuse Case
What is the Applicable Statute of Limitations?
How Much Does a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Cost?
Reporting Elder Abuse
Criminal Penalties for Elder Abuse
Speak to an Attorney Today

Our Nursing Home Abuse Practice

  • Our personal injury lawyers in Charleston, West Virginia have earned a reputation for legal excellence in their hard work and professionalism. They have been recognized by the prestigious American Trial Lawyers Association for their success in the courtroom and have been honored as West Virginia Super Lawyers.
  • We understand the emotional, physical, and financial toll that nursing home abuse can take on victims and their families. Our respectful and compassionate attorneys will meet with you to hear your story, answer your questions, and discuss your legal options.
  • Our attorneys know state and federal regulations that were implemented to protect vulnerable nursing home residents. We are committed to aggressively advocating for those who have suffered at the hands of someone else’s abusive and negligent practices.

Charleston Nursing Home Negligence Attorney

What Are a Resident’s Rights in a Charleston, WV Nursing Home?

Under state and federal laws, nursing home residents have the right to the following:

  • Freedom from abuse, mistreatment, and neglect
  • Freedom from physical restraints
  • Privacy
  • Accommodation of medical, physical, psychological, and social needs
  • Participate in resident and family groups
  • Be treated with dignity
  • Exercise self-determination
  • Communicate freely
  • Participate in the review of one’s care plan and be fully informed in advance about any changes in care, treatment, or change of status in the facility
  • Manage their own money and be made aware of all services and fees in writing before moving in and whenever services and fees change. 
  • Voice grievances without the fear of discrimination or punishment for doing so 

Section 64-13-4.16.1 of the West Virginia Code also mandates that residents be free from mental and physical abuse and chemical and physical restraints unless a physician authorizes such restraint for a specified amount of time. However, there is an exception for emergency circumstances. In addition, the law allows for unannounced surveys to verify that nursing homes remain in compliance. These surveys analyze the overall condition of residents in terms of quality of care, quality of life, the services provided to them, and residents’ rights. If a survey reveals that a nursing home is out of compliance, an enforcement process begins.

What Are Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse?

No two circumstances of nursing home abuse are the same, and signs of abuse can vary in each case. In general, indicators of abuse include both physical and emotional signs. Changes in personality, withdrawal from social settings, and volatile behaviors are all signs of nursing home abuse. Sometimes, victims demonstrate fear, anger, and obstinance when abusers are nearby. Missing personal items, money, credit cards, and other valuables can also signal financial abuse. Other signs include physical evidence, such as rapid weight loss, dehydration, bedsores, and other injuries.

Examples of Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing home abuse is often thought of as physical abuse causing bruises, broken bones, and other types of obvious injuries. However, many different types of abuse occur in nursing homes, and evidence of abuse often goes beyond physical injuries. See below for common examples of nursing home abuse.

Neglect – Nursing home neglect occurs when a resident’s basic needs are not met. Those needs include emotional care, hygiene, medical care, food, and hydration. Neglect can be extremely damaging to nursing home residents’ physical and emotional well-being.

Financial abuse – Aging nursing home residents are susceptible to abuse, and nursing home employees sometimes prey on those vulnerabilities for their own financial gain. Stealing valuables, such as money and credit cards, taking over control of financial accounts, forging check signatures, and coercing residents to provide financial support to predatory employees are examples of financial abuse.

Physical abuse – In general, physical abuse is intentional violence against a nursing home resident. Striking, pushing, inappropriate use of restraints, and other use of force against a nursing home resident amount to physical abuse. In cases of severe injury, a spinal cord or brain injury attorney in Charleston, WV may be able to assist you or your loved one.

Sexual abuse – Sexual abuse is not uncommon in nursing homes, and abusers are often strangers visiting the facility, other residents, and nursing home employees. Signs of sexual abuse include physical trauma in the genital area, blood-stained clothing, pain, and sexually transmitted disease or infection.

Medical malpractice – When nursing home residents are injured as a result of substandard medical care, they may have a medical malpractice claim against negligent providers. Medical malpractice in nursing homes often involves failing to properly examine, treat, and diagnose residents. A Charleston, WV medical malpractice lawyer can assess your case and help you move forward through the legal process.

Emotional abuse – Emotional abuse can involve shaming, controlling, manipulating, embarrassing, criticizing, and bullying with abusive words and behaviors. Nursing home residents who are victims of emotional abuse are often unable to recognize and articulate the emotional abuse they endure on a regular basis.

Isolation – Isolation is often associated with neglect, but it is a separate form of nursing home abuse. Isolation occurs when a resident is separated from other residents, family members, and visitors and excluded from social events. Isolation can lead to feelings of loneliness, depression, anxiety, and other emotional and physical health complications.

Negligent security – Nursing home residents need supervision and protection. Facility administrators and employees are responsible for protecting residents from foreseeable harm. For example, residents should be protected from criminal attacks and prevented from wandering away from facilities when it is unsafe for residents to do so.

How Can a Charleston Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Help?

We will investigate your suspicions, gather evidence of abuse against your loved one, and look at facility and employee history of abuse or other wrongful conduct. We will report our findings and evidence of abuse to the appropriate authorities and file the necessary legal documents for your personal injury claim. Our attorneys will advocate for compensation for your loved one’s injuries and damages and ensure that all responsible parties are held accountable. If nursing home abuse resulted in or contributed to your family member’s fatal injuries, we will pursue the defendants in a wrongful death claim. Depending on your particular circumstances, surviving family members may be entitled to compensation for losses they sustained as a result of your loved one’s death.

Recoverable Damages in a Nursing Home Abuse Case

Nursing home residents who are victims of abuse are entitled to recover damages. Damages is the legal term referring to the types of compensation awarded or received in a settlement. There are two types of recoverable damages: 

Economic Damages

Economic damages are awarded to reimburse measurable losses, such as:

  • Medical expenses: Any bills related to the care and treatment for the abuse.
  • Anticipated Future Medical Expenses: Any costs for ongoing medical care and any treatment you may require in the future.  
  • Lost Wages: However, nursing home residents are typically not earning an income. Therefore, they likely will not have lost wages.

Non-Economic Damages

Compensation for incalculable or subjective losses, such as: 

  • Pain and Suffering: Compensation for the physical pain and suffering the resident endured. 
  • Emotional Distress: Any emotional distress or psychological conditions caused by the abuse, such as depression, loss of sleep, anxiety, PTSD, etc. 
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life: If the abuse has impacted the resident’s quality of life. For example, permanent impairments caused by the abuse leave them unable to do things they were able to do before. 
  • Disability or Disfigurement: If the abuse resulted in a permanent disability or disfigurement with lasting physical, emotional, and social repercussions. 

Unlike economic damages, non-economic damages are not measurable financial losses. Therefore, an attorney can help you estimate their value, but it is ultimately up to a jury to decide their worth. In addition, nursing home abuse is often considered gross negligence, so the court may also award punitive damages as a form of punishment.

What is the Statute of Limitations for a Nursing Home Abuse Case?

The statute of limitations is the time limit that each state sets for how long nursing home abuse victims have to file a claim. In West Virginia the statue of limitation is two years from the date the abuse occurred or was discovered. The primary purpose of the statute of limitation is to ensure lawsuits are dealt with in a timely manner since evidence will begin to disappear, witnesses’ memories will fade, and details of the case can end up becoming too challenging to trace. If you miss the two-year deadline, you will be unable to recover compensation. 

How Much Does a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Cost?

The potential cost of hiring an attorney can leave many nursing home abuse victims or their families hesitant to pursue a case. Fortunately, most Charleston, WV, nursing home abuse attorneys accept cases on a contingency fee basis. That means they do not charge any upfront fees or expect victims to pay for case-related expenses out-of-pocket. A contingency fee arrangement means a nursing home abuse attorney will advance all costs for pursuing the case and will only get paid if you win. Once you recover a settlement or award, they will take a percentage as their legal fee. As a result, contingency fee agreements make it much easier for abuse victims to hire skilled legal representation. 

That percentage is often 1/3 or 33.3% of the compensation recovered plus court costs. However, contingency fees can vary by attorney; some may lower or increase their fee depending on the amount of work involved in your case. For example, 25 percent if your case settles quickly, 33.3 percent if they must file a lawsuit, and 40 percent if they must represent you at trial. 

How to Report Elder Abuse

If you become aware of or suspect elder abuse or neglect, report it immediately. If there is no intervention, abuse and neglect can escalate quickly. 

A Long-term Care (LTC) Ombudsman can advocate for nursing home abuse residents. They will listen to and address any resident concerns or complaints, advise them of their rights, and provide support to them and their families while addressing problems with staff. 

Charleston, WV Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

Criminal Penalties for Elder Abuse

In addition to civil liability, nursing home staff can face criminal charges. The penalties will vary based on the severity of the crime. For example, under W. Va. Code § 61-2-29:


A caregiver who neglects or knowingly permits another person to neglect an incapacitated adult is guilty of a misdemeanor. Penalties include a fine between $100 to $500 or less than a year of jail time or both.


A caregiver who abuses or knowingly permits another person to abuse an incapacitated adult is guilty of a misdemeanor. Penalties include a fine between $100 to $500 or jail time for at least 90 days but no more than one year, or both. 

Abuse with Bodily Injury

A caregiver who intentionally and maliciously abuses or neglects an incapacitated adult and causes bodily injury is guilty of a felony. Potential penalties include a fine between $100 to $1,000 and imprisonment between two to 10 years.

Abuse or Neglect with Serious Bodily Injury 

A caregiver of an incapacitated adult who intentionally and maliciously abuses or neglects them, causing serious bodily injury, is guilty of a felony. Penalties include a fine between $1,000 to $5,000 and imprisonment between three to 15 years.

Contact Our Charleston, West Virginia Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys

At Tiano O’Dell, PLLC, our priority is advocating for injured victims and pursuing maximum compensation from all responsible parties. If your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, we can help. Contact our office at (304) 720-6700 to speak with a nursing home abuse attorney today. We know that these cases can be challenging and emotional for abuse victims and their loved ones. We will go over your case and address all of your questions and concerns. Our attorneys will be by your side throughout the legal recovery process.