Houston Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

Nursing Home Abuse

When a family places a loved one in a nursing home, the family expects that their relative will receive quality care and kind treatment. The last thing that they would expect is that their loved one will become a victim of abuse or neglect. Unfortunately, there have been many instances of nursing home abuse throughout Texas, including physical, emotional and sexual abuse.

If you suspect that your loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse, it is important to know your rights and how to hold the facility accountable. Your loved one may have the right to financial compensation. Filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit can focus attention on a problem and prevent other nursing home residents from suffering similar treatment. The nursing home abuse attorneys at Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C. pursue injury claims on behalf of people in Texas who have been hurt as the result of abuse in nursing homes, assisted living and other elder care facilities.

The Elderly Are Suffering a High Rate of Fall-Related Brain Injuries

In recent years, the media has paid an increasing amount of attention to the issue of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in America. Though TBI can be caused by work-related accidents, motor vehicle accidents, and other unexpected circumstances, the media has placed most of its attention on TBI sustained during athletic practice and competition. It will therefore likely surprise readers to learn that the number one cause of TBI is slip and fall accidents.

A vulnerable population within American society is most at risk for head injuries caused by fall-related accidents. According to the director of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Adults ages 75 and older have the highest rates of TBI-related hospitalizations and death, and they tend to recover more slowly or die more often from these injuries than do younger people.” More than three out of every five fall-related traumatic brain injuries occur in elderly people who are at least 65 years of age.

The rate of fall-related head injuries among the elderly population is a cause for sincere concern. Though parents are understandably rushing to protect young athletes from these kinds of injuries, caretakers and loved ones of elderly persons should similarly be treating the issue of TBI prevention seriously and urgently.

If your elderly loved one lives in a nursing or assisted living facility, please make sure that the facility is following the fall prevention protocol. If your loved one lives at home, please research ways to prevent him or her from falling. If your loved one has fallen and sustained a TBI as a result due to the negligence of another, please contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you navigate your legal options. Our experienced attorneys are here to for you. Call 361-882-4357 to schedule your free consultation today!

Beyond Neglect: Houston Nursing Home Homicides

Stories of nursing home abuse and neglect are not uncommon. In fact, the problem has become so prevalent that in 2010, President Obama signed two new laws to address the problem of elder abuse. The Elder Justice Act provides federal resources to help prevent elder abuse, while the Patient Safety Abuse Prevention Act created a national program of criminal background checks on long-term care workers. However, what is far less common are reports of intentional homicide of a nursing home resident by another resident. Sadly, this is exactly what happened in April 2014 in Houston, Texas.

Below Average Patient Care at Lexington Place

Lexington Place Nursing and Rehabilitation in Northwest Houston has been the subject of an investigation by the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services. After a 4-day probe that ended in February 2014, the agency determined that Lexington was deficient in more than 12 areas. Some problems included immobile residents being isolated in their rooms, nursing assistants improperly handling catheters, medication errors, and unsanitary conditions.

Furthermore, Lexington was found to provide below average care in that registered nurses spent only 25 minutes per day with each patient, while the Texas average is 34 minutes and the national average is 48 minutes. Another indication of the below average care at Lexington was apparent in 2013 when it received 7 times the number of complaints as other Texas facilities.

Homicides at Lexington

While there is not necessarily a relationship between the level of care in a nursing facility and patient violence, the poor conditions at Lexington could have set the stage for what happened on April 23, 2014.

On April 23rd, paramedics found two Lexington patients, Primitivo Lopez, 51 and Antonio Acosta, 75 badly beaten. One patient was already deceased. The other died at a hospital. Lopez and Acosta were roommates. A third roommate, Guillermo Correa, 56, was charged with killing Lopez and Acosta. Lopez and Acosta did not get along with Correa. The day of the murders, Lopez and Acosta had argued with Correa. Correa then beat the two men with the armrest of his wheelchair. Acosta’s family members report that they had repeatedly requested that Lexington move Acosta to a room away from Correa. The most recent request was just a few days before the murders. They complained to the staff that Correa was verbally abusive and violent. Acosta’s daughter described Correa as “a violent schizophrenic who heard voices, and believed someone was trying to poison him.” She even said that Correa had threatened to kill patients and staff.

Lexington’s Potential Liability

Since the tragic incident, Correa has been charged with capital murder. The families of Acosta and Lopez will likely file wrongful death lawsuits against Lexington Place. Lexington may have a difficult time defending itself. Under Texas law, Lexington has a duty to protect its patients from any type of abuse. Evidence that it was well-known to staff that Correa was prone to violence, coupled with its failure to honor Acosta’s requests to be moved away from Correa, puts Lexington in a difficult if not indefensible position. Furthermore, Lexington’s poor record of following Department of Aging regulations may help create a picture of a facility that shows little regard for the health, safety, and comfort of its residents.

Lexington Place’s fate is yet to be determined. In addition to possible financial liability to the families of Primitivo Lopez and Antonio Acosta, Lexington also faces the possibility of fines and even closure because of its many violations of state regulations. What steps should nursing homes and assisted living facilities have to take to ensure that patients are safe from the criminal actions over other patients? In recent years, federal and state lawmakers have been active in taking steps to protect patients from abuse from staff, but they have not been as aggressive in taking steps to protect patients from other patients.

Signs of Nursing Home Neglect—Senior Citizen Abuse

Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are designed to ensure that older people are well cared for and are protected from any physical and mental infirmities. However, there are unfortunate cases where residents are physically, mentally or sexually abused by staff members.

The signs of possible neglect or abuse that family members should be alert for include:

  • Bedsores or decubitus ulcers
  • Bruising
  • Cuts and open wounds
  • Broken bones
  • Unexplained injuries
  • Poor nutrition or unexplained weight loss
  • Poor hygiene
  • Unsanitary conditions
  • Sudden changes in behavior or habits
  • Depression

The nursing home abuse attorneys at Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C., understand the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect and have helped families hold those facilities accountable for their maltreatment. Our lawyers have also recovered significant compensation for residents who have been harmed by this abuse or neglect.

Nursing home residents have a right to be treated with dignity and respect and to be free from mental, physical and verbal abuse, financial exploitation and physical restraints. Restraints can only be used if authorized by the patient’s doctor with specific instructions specifying the conditions of their use.

The nursing home abuse lawyers at Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C. understand the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect and have helped families hold facilities accountable for the mistreatment of residents.

elderly woman suffering from neglect

Nursing homes can be held accountable for abuse or neglect through:

  • Bedsores or decubitus ulcers
  • Bruising
  • Cuts and open wounds

A civil lawsuit filed on behalf of the nursing home resident is a separate step intended to hold a nursing home financially accountable for abuse or neglect. It is independent of any criminal prosecution related to abuse or neglect. Our attorneys have recovered significant compensation for nursing home residents who have been harmed by abuse or neglect.

The nursing home neglect lawyers at Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C. provide experienced representation for people who have been harmed as a result of abuse at nursing homes, assisted living communities and other long-term care facilities.

Call our Houston office toll free at 844-426-3000.

Types of Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing home abuse and neglect occur because staff are poorly qualified, inadequately trained or stretched thin, creating added stress on the workers who are present. Neglect and abuse occur because residents are dependent on their caregivers and may be reluctant or fearful of reporting the mistreatment. In some cases, nursing homes do a poor job of screening job applicants and hire a nursing home worker with a history of violence or sexual misconduct.

The types of abuse that can occur at nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other elder care facilities include:

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse includes hitting, kicking, slapping, choking, pinching, or any form of corporal punishment of a nursing home resident. Nursing homes are responsible for residents’ physical safety. Staff who are not adequately trained to handle difficult patients or patients with Alzheimer’s may become angry and lash out at patients or be physically abusive. Unexplained cuts, lacerations, bruises, burns, or broken bones may be signs of physical abuse by a staff member.

Sexual Abuse

Elderly nursing home residents, many of whom have dementia or Alzheimer’s, maybe sexually assaulted by other residents or by caretakers who violate their positions of trust. Nursing homes have a duty to protect residents from sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexual coercion and to screen employees who have a history of sexual misconduct. Residents who are victims of sexual abuse may be ashamed and reluctant to report the abuse. Unfortunately, long-term facilities often disregard or fail to investigate complaints of sexual abuse until a perpetrator has victimized multiple residents.


Neglect involves the failure of a caregiver to provide services including medical services to a long-term care resident. Common issues associated with nursing home neglect include untreated bedsores, malnutrition, dehydration, inadequate sanitation, soiled bed linens, lack of medical care, and injuries caused by preventable accidents.

Psychological Abuse

A common type of psychological abuse involves verbal attacks, taunting, intimidation, humiliating acts that cause distress or anguish, seclusion, and threats of punishment of a nursing home resident. A resident who is being verbally abused or harassed may be fearful of reporting the abuse.

Financial Exploitation

Some nursing home residents may need or want help handling their finances. But a family member or nursing home may not take control of a senior’s money without their express permission. Financial exploitation involves a caretaker’s illegal use of a nursing home resident’s bank accounts or property for personal gain. In situations where the nursing home or a family member is authorized to oversee a senior’s finances, the nursing home resident still has a right to decide how his or her money will be managed and to receive a full financial accounting. Unexplained withdrawals from bank accounts, transfer of property or changes to a will may be warning signs of financial exploitation. If you suspect your loved one is being exploited financially, seek the guidance of a knowledgeable Houston nursing home abuse lawyer.

Any complaint by a nursing home resident of physical, psychological or sexual abuse should be taken seriously.

If your loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse in Texas, it is important to know your rights and how to hold the nursing home facility accountable. It may be possible to recover compensation for your loved one’s medical bills and other expenses related to the abuse or neglect. For more information regarding your legal options, please contact a nursing home abuse lawyer at Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C. We are committed to helping families protect those members who can no longer protect themselves.


Common Ailments and Signs of Nursing Home Neglect

Given how the immune system gradually deteriorates over time, senior citizens are more vulnerable to certain ailments, illnesses and infections. This includes common problems like pneumonia and the flu. However, many of these ailments are preventable and can be treated successfully with proper medical care. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse and neglect not only can exacerbate these common ailments; they can cause these ailments in the first place. Our experienced attorneys provide representation for the families of nursing home and elder care facility residents who have been harmed by abuse or neglect. Please contact us at the law firm of Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C., located in Houston, Texas at 844-426-3000.

  • Bedsores/pressure ulcers
  • Broken bones
  • Dehydration
  • Malnutrition
  • Pneumonia
  • Hypertension
  • Contractures
  • Urinary tract infections

Texas nursing homes are supposed to provide prompt professional nursing care and medical services to residents. Since most of the facilities have doctors on call, patients should not have to suffer or wait for treatment. These ailments may be indicators that a resident is being neglected.

If you feel your loved one is being neglected or abused, it is important to speak with an experienced advocate.

Call toll free at 844-426-3000 to speak with an attorney in our Houston office.

Beyond Neglect:
Nursing Home Abuse Wrongful Deaths

If nursing home staff fail to provide adequate care for a resident, the nursing home facility may be liable for a resident’s preventable death due to neglect or abuse. For example, a preventable fall that causes a patient’s death may be caused by negligent supervision and may be the basis of a wrongful death lawsuit. Nursing homes have a legal duty to protect residents’ welfare and safety.

The facility may be liable if a nursing home resident dies of neglect or is killed as a result of the intentional acts of another resident.

Each nursing home wrongful death case must be evaluated based on the specific facts involved. The family of a nursing home resident who died due to neglect or abuse may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the victim. Bringing a wrongful death lawsuit can focus needed attention on safety issues at a nursing home and prevent other residents from sustaining similar fatal injuries.

elderly woman receiving comfort after abuse

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nursing home patient seeking help

There is no obligation attached to having a discussion with one of our experienced nursing home abuse lawyers if you suspect that your loved one is a victim of abuse or neglect.

You can count on our experienced Houston nursing home injury attorneys to be dedicated advocates for your elderly loved one and your family. Call Herrman & Herrman P.L.L.C. to obtain a free review of your situation and to discuss your legal rights if nursing home abuse is suspected.

Our firm has offices in the following locations: Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi South Side, Brownsville, McAllen, San Antonio, Houston, and Ft. Worth , TX.