Soon, nursing homes in New Jersey will be required to have employees notify the local police department within hours of a suspected claim of abuse. This law, also known as Peggy’s Law, was adopted to provide protection to residents of nursing homes who are being abused. The law was named after Peggy Marzolla, who died at 93 years of age, after sustaining injuries while in the care of a nursing home. In 2010, Ms. Marzolla was brought to the hospital where doctors discovered she had a broken jaw, eye socket, cheekbone, and wrist. She also had bruises on her elbows, welts on her back and a gash on her leg.
According to the staff members at the nursing home facility, Ms. Marzolla slipped on powder in the bathroom and fell. Ms. Marzolla’s family did not believe the story that was given by staff members and began lobbying for lawmakers to protect institutionalized seniors from abuse. Peggy’s Law was signed into office by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and will soon take effect. Employees will now be required to contact the authorities regarding suspected elder abuse, exploitation, or any other harm toward a resident.
If employees or the nursing facility fails to contact the authorities within 24 hours or within two hours if an injury is involved, both will be held responsible. A nursing facility may be fined $500 for a violation, while individual employees may be charged $2,500 for failing to report an incident of suspected elder abuse.
Peggy’s Law will apply to the following:
- Social workers;
- Nurses; and
- Any other staff member.
Currently, employees are only required to report alleged neglect, abuse, and injuries to the Office of the Ombudsman for the Institutionalized Elderly, which is responsible for properly investigating these complaints. The new law requires the Office of the Ombudsman for the Institutionalized Elderly to have a 24-hour complaint hotline.
If your loved one has suffered a serious injury as the result of negligence in a nursing home facility, the nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys the Law Offices of Hunziker, Jones, & Sweeney are available to assist you immediately. Our dedicated and compassionate elder law attorneys will fight to protect your legal rights and remedies. Contact our New Jersey elder law firm at (973) 256-0456.