When Should You Call a Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer?

There is a fundamental difference between neglect and abuse, and it often comes down to the intention of the perpetrator. In an abuse case, there is usually an intentional and malicious act done against a patient. In cases of neglect, there may not necessarily be ill-will toward the patient, but a failure of the nursing home, assisted living, or other elder care home to provide reasonable care for the basic needs of their resident.

One truth the nursing home neglect lawyers at Belgum, Fry & Van Allen believe is that a nursing home or assisted living facility should not receive a pass in the case of neglect simply because they did not intend to harm their resident.

At the end of the day, it is the job of these institutions to care for our dependent family members and friends, which can range from paraplegic young patients to elderly citizens suffering from dementia. So, the answer to the question, “When should you call a nursing home neglect lawyer?” is whenever you suspect that the basic needs of your dependent loved one have not been met.

This article will go over a couple of ways in which these needs don’t get fulfilled. For further advice, fill out a free evaluation form to receive a consultation from an experienced attorney at Belgum, Fry & Van Allen.

The Initial Assessment

When a nursing home receives a new resident, they are immediately given a medical assessment to determine their physical and psychological needs. It is in this initial assessment that a care plan is generated for the care of that patient. If a neglectful nursing home were to fail to treat a critical malady, it could lead to injury or death.

If your loved one’s cause of death or injury is something you suspect could have been prevented with more attentive care, you should consult a nursing home neglect lawyer to see if there’s any legal action you can take. Remember that it is the job of the nursing home to properly assess and treat your dependent loved one.

Ongoing Care and/or Services

After the initial assessment described above, the care plan is supposed to take shape. However, in most medical environments, the health and status of a resident can change by the month, week, or hour. It is the job of the health institution to ensure that regular checkups and ongoing maintenance of a care plan are being conducted for the well-being of the resident.

Belgum, Fry & Van Allen has seen many cases in which an understaffed or neglectful nursing home or assisted living facility has led to improper ongoing care or service, resulting in various injuries and deaths to patients in need.

Fulfilling Basic Needs

This last example is wide-ranging and incorporates very basic, very simple things. For example, a patient who is unable to shower on their own, get in and out of bed, or even lift a cup to their mouth should have these needs met by the nursing home facility being trusted and paid to care for them.

Brian Van Allen, partner at the California-based elder abuse law firm Belgum, Fry & Van Allen, states, “Oftentimes neglect cases have less to do with the nursing home not giving specific medical treatment for a specific medical condition, and more to do with the nursing home staff ignoring the needs of residents that are essential to basic human survival that able bodied people can manage themselves.”

What Van Allen is alluding to, is that neglect can come down to carelessness and without an advocate, such carelessness can lead to malnutrition, dehydration, injury, or worse. Fulfilling basic needs overlaps with the initial assessments and ongoing care, because a resident’s basic needs should be established from the get-go, monitored accordingly, and modified on an as-needed basis.


Nursing home neglect lawyers like those at Belgum, Fry & Van Allen can help sift through the many details that can come with a nursing home or assisted living neglect case and help identify where the failure causing pain and suffering to your loved one occurred. While not all nursing homes are malicious, we still must hold those in the business of caring for the people we love most at a time they are most vulnerable to a higher standard.

It is for this reason that Belgum, Fry & Van Allen have represented a heartbreaking number of nursing home neglect cases and secured justice for families and their dependent loved ones all over California.

If you’re wondering if this applies to your loved one, ask yourself, did the initial assessment of the nursing home or assisted living facility get it wrong, was the ongoing care routinely updated, and did the nursing home fulfill the basic and unique needs of your loved one? If you answered no to any of these questions then get in touch with our personal injury law firm that expertly pursues nursing home neglect cases.