The 5 Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

The 5 Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Unfortunately, sometimes those we rely on to take care of our loved ones can end up causing harm. Often, it falls to family to be alert to signs that their loved ones are at risk, even when they live in a care facility. Here are five warning signs of nursing home abuse:     

1. Physical Changes in Your Loved One

If your loved one is sleeping more, has unexplained physical injuries or has become more irritable than usual, it might be cause for concern.

2. A Negative Change in Mobility

A nursing facility should make sure residents get plenty of exercise, as they are able. If you notice that your loved one can’t walk or get around as well as he or she used to, this could be a red flag.

3. Isolation

A person living in a care facility should have access to family and friends. The facility should never tell you that you can’t visit. They should never place conditions on visits by family members. A resident should have social interaction with other residents on a regular basis. If you notice these things don’t happen at your loved one’s care facility, Duce Bastian Peterson, has a Nursing Home Neglect Attorney that can help you discuss your loved one’s options.

4. Financial Secrecy

The nursing home should work with you and your loved one in a clear, transparent manner. You should know what the care facility charges and why. If the facility tries to keep secrets or refuses to produce records, it might be a sign of financial abuse.

5. Bullying or Humiliation

In a care facility, your loved one should age gracefully. If you hear, or if your loved one reports name-calling, teasing or blame, your loved could likely be a victim of nursing home abuse.

If you suspect nursing home neglect or abuse, contact Nursing Home Neglect Attorney Duce Bastian Peterson. We offer consultations to discuss your concerns and explore your right to compensation.

Recognizing the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

If you have a loved one living in a nursing home, there can hardly be anything more heartbreaking than finding out he or she was a victim of elder abuse by caregivers. Unfortunately, countless residents in nursing homes and care facilities are abused or neglected by those who should be treating them with kindness and respect during their final years. For this reason we recommend everyone with a relative in a nursing home look out for warning signs that might alert them their loved one is being mistreated.

caregiver and unhappy elderly patient

Nursing home residents may be mistreated by staff. If you suspect a loved one is being abused, contact our law office.

Elder abuse comes in many forms. Besides physical harm, a nursing home resident may be abused emotionally, verbally, sexually or financially. Caregivers might ignore the nutritional, medication or hygiene needs of residents, or neglect them to the point that they wander off and come to harm. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Aging has provided the following clues that may signal abuse or neglect:

• Bruises, abrasions or other injuries that don’t appear normal and are difficult for the victim or caregiver to explain
• Poor hygiene, dirty clothing or bedding, bedsores and other apparent signs that the resident is not being cleaned or moved often
• Dehydration and unexplained weight loss, especially if the loss is dramatic
• A change in personality or behavior, particularly signs of depression, withdrawal, anxiety and tension when the caregiver is around

Frequently, elderly nursing home residents will be either too intimidated or unable to speak up about mistreatment. During visits, it is important to watch for any of the above red flags, as well as to listen to your gut instinct that something might be wrong.

If you suspect or have proof that your loved one is being deliberately abused or neglected, you have the right to report the incident to the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services. You may also want to speak with an Everett personal injury attorney who has experience in nursing home abuse cases.

The Dangers Elderly Drivers May Present

senior citizen behind the wheel

Despite years of experience, some senior citizens may develop cognitive or physical conditions that can make it dangerous to drive. Contact our law offices if you need help.

At some point, nearly everyone who lives to a ripe old age will need to decide whether or not they should give up the car keys. The matter involves more than just losing one’s independence – some elderly drivers may put their own lives and the lives of others at risk by continuing to drive. Statistics from Consumer Reports show that after age 80, drivers are six times more likely to be involved in fatal car accidents than drivers who are younger.

In many ways, age equals superior experience. While this is certainly true of those who have had driver’s licenses for a few decades, driving ability can decline with many age related conditions. What are the ways that an older driver might pose a danger on the roads? According to NIH Senior Health, elderly people may suffer from numerous physical or cognitive conditions that can affect driving safety. These may include the following:

• Reduced vision or hearing, which may impair a driver’s ability to see hazards or to hear horns or emergency vehicles
• The early symptoms of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease leads to confusion and decreased reaction time
• Injuries, chronic illnesses or other medical conditions that may affect muscle function and reflexes
• Medication that causes drowsiness, dizziness or confusion
• The reduced ability to judge an oncoming vehicle’s speed or distance
• An impaired ability to quickly react to dangers or the agility to safely operate a vehicle in emergency conditions

If you fear that you or a loved one has any condition, age related or not, that puts people at risk of injury or death by continued driving, seek a consultation with a competent medical professional before putting a dangerous driver behind the wheel of a car.

Some states have driver’s license renewal conditions that address residents as they age. The regulations are rather lenient in Washington State; our state does require all drivers age 70 and older to renew their driver’s license in person rather than by mail.

You may be eligible for compensation if you are injured by an older driver, or by any person who is negligent or reckless. An experienced Everett personal injury attorney should be able to explain the legal process to you and determine if you may have a case.

Texting While Driving – Yes, it’s THAT dangerous

Almost half of us admit to texting while we drive, even though almost all of us know it’s dangerous. We justify it by telling ourselves that we’re only going to check for a few seconds, that we’re safeTexting While Driving drivers, and that we have excellent control. The problem is that excellent control necessarily includes keeping our eyes on the road and our hands on the wheel; the truth is that safe drivers focus exclusively on driving; and the sad reality is that the few seconds we focus our attention on texting instead of driving could be our last few seconds of life.

Every day, according to the CDC, “more than 9 people are killed and more than 1,153 people are injured in crashes” involving distracted driving. Texting is one of the most deadly distractions because it combines the three main types of distraction: You take your eyes off the road, you take your hands off the wheel, and you take your mind off driving. Then, when something happens in front of you – and animal darts into the road or another car stops suddenly – you have to refocus your vision, your thoughts, and your hands in order to stop safely. Too many texting drivers have discovered that there wasn’t enough time to complete all three.

Here in Washington, an officer is authorized to pull over any driver seen holding and using a cell phone while driving. Washington also prohibits the sending, reading, or writing of text messages while driving. The code does allow, it is important to note, both making calls and texting if you pull over to the side of the road, first. Experienced adult drivers are also allowed to make and receive phone calls while driving, so long as their cell phone is connected as a hands-free device.

If you have been injured in an automobile accident involving a distracted driver – whether or not that driver was texting while driving – the Everett, Washington attorneys at Duce Bastian Peterson have the experience to assist you. Contact us today for your free consultation.


David W. Duce given American Jurisprudence Award

duce Personal Injury Lawyer Everett WA EVERETT, WA, January 19, 2015 /24-7PressRelease/ — David W. Duce, Attorney of Duce Bastian Peterson, has been recognized by Worldwide Registry for showing dedication, leadership and excellence in his profession.

With more than three decades years of legal experience, Mr. Duce’s strong point is in case preparation. He believes that each client deserves skillful and ethical representation in their pursuit of justice. For Mr. Duce, that means aggressively uncovering important facts that support his client’s legal claims and using focus groups and other research to honestly and effectively frame his client’s cases for settlement and trial.

Mr. Duce has been resolving injury claims for people his entire career. He became involved in his profession because after observing his father help people through legal challenges for many years. Mr. Duce wanted to carry on his father’s legacy of integrity, dedication and skill, so he pursued his goal through education, following undergraduate work in Political Science at Brigham Young University he earned a law degree from the Pepperdine University School of Law, graduating magna cum laude in 1984.

David W. Duce was given the American Jurisprudence Award for Excellent Achievement in the Study of Evidence.

Mr. Duce’s work has brought him numerous accolades, including honors from his alma mater. He was named the Terry M. Giles Honor Scholar and has had published works. He has also received recognition as an AV Preeminent Attorney (2003-2015); among PRR AV Preeminent Attorneys by (2010-2011); PRR AV Preeminent, Judicial Plaque (2014); AV Peer Review Rated (2010). He was given the American Jurisprudence Award for Excellent Achievement in the Study of Evidence.

In the future, Mr. Duce would like to continue with his current work representing people who suffer injuries or death due to negligence. Recently inducted into the Worldwide Registry, he maintains affiliations with the Washington State Bar Association, the United States Federal District Court, the Western District of Washington, and the United States Supreme Court Bar. He is also an Eagle Member of the Washington State Association for Justice, and the former chairman of the Medical Malpractice Section at the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association. Charitably, he supports The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Duce Bastian Peterson is a law firm that handles numerous types of cases, including auto accidents, birth trauma, family law, medical negligence, nursing home neglect, personal injuries, probate, real estate, small business formation and management, accidents, wills and estate planning, and wrongful death. For more information, visit

2014 Supreme Court Election Letter

October 13, 2014

Dear Friends,

As our general election ballots will be in your mailbox very soon, I want to take a moment to share my recommendations with you on very important contests on your ballot for the Supreme Court.

Election statistics show that over 20% of voters skip the judicial races on their ballots. As someone who works in our courtrooms every day, I know it is critical to have the right men and women leading our judicial system. It is vitally important to our system that we elect highly qualified people to our courts. This year the answers are very clear. These are the candidates I support.

Supreme Court, Pos. 1 – Mary Yu

Appointed to the Supreme Court by Governor Inslee in May to replace retiring Justice Jim Johnson, Justice Yu has shown herself to be dedicated to improving access to justice and protecting individual rights for all. She served for 14 years as a highly respected Superior Court judge, where she was known for treating the people with cases in her courtroom with respect and fairness. Justice Yu received the highest possible rating – Exceptionally Well Qualified – from all six bar associations that rated her. She is running unopposed.

Supreme Court, Pos. 3 – Mary Fairhurst

Justice Fairhurst has served on our Supreme Court for 12 years. As a Justice, she is a champion of fairness and judicial independence. During her tenure, she’s worked to improve access to justice, and make the court more efficient and transparent. Justice Fairhurst is endorsed by over 100 current and retired judges, political and civic leaders, business and labor, law enforcement, firefighters, teachers, Democrats, Independents, Republicans and many more. She is running unopposed.

Supreme Court, Pos. 4 – Charles W. Johnson

Justice Charles Johnson has a 24-year record that shows a commitment to our rights and freedoms. He has been a strong supporter individual privacy and holding government accountable. All of the bar associations have rated Justice Johnson “exceptionally well qualified.” His proven experience and impartiality are reflected by the diversity of organizations supporting him, including: State Council of Fire Fighters; State Patrol Troopers; King, Pierce, and Snohomish County Democrats; Mainstream Republicans; State Labor Council; State Association of Realtors; Aerospace Machinists 751; Federation of State Employees; and other groups and individuals statewide. Justice Johnson is being challenged by Eddie Yoon, who has been teaching outside of the country for about 15 years. This is a clear choice.

Supreme Court, Pos. 7 – Debra L. Stephens

Our other contested race is this one. Justice Stephens is the easy and overwhelming choice. Since her appointment in 2008, Justice Stephens has been dedicated to serving the people of our state and upholding the rule of law. As a longtime constitutional law professor, she respects legal traditions, and works every day to maintain the independence of our judiciary. She is widely regarded as one of the brightest legal minds our court has seen in recent times, and is supported by prominent leaders in government, education, and business; law enforcement, firefighters, labor unions, judges, and lawyers. Justice Stephens is rated “exceptionally well qualified,” by all of the statewide bar organizations. Her opponent, John Scannell, is disbarred for unethical conduct and not permitted to practice law in the state. We cannot embarrass the process of how we select our Supreme Court and allow him to somehow make a good showing.

I hope you have found this information helpful. I believe strongly that every client who walks in our door seeking a chance for justice through the courts should have a fair shot. We depend on these public servants to make sure our rights are protected. The outcome of this election will have a huge impact on our civil justice system. I am confident that these candidates will fight to protect our rights.

Feel free to share this with family and friends. Regardless of your views on these races, please vote by November 4th. It is important to have your voice heard in our electoral process.

Please contact me if you have any further questions. If you need more information, you can view the voters’ guide produced by the Secretary of State online here.

Thank you for your consideration and for participating in our democratic process.


David W. Duce
Attorney at Law