When Can You Sue a Nursing Home for Negligence?
Elder abuse in nursing homes is unacceptable. However, it happens all the time in the United States. If your loved one has been neglected or abused in a nursing home, you need to know what legal options you have. There are various ways that a person can be hurt in a nursing home setting. Today, we want to discuss what kinds of behavior and actions can lead to a civil lawsuit. For more information on elder neglect, speak to a Jacksonville nursing home abuse lawyer today.
What can happen in a nursing home?
A resident in a nursing home can be injured or become ill for a variety of reasons that could lead to a civil lawsuit. These include:
Failing to properly maintain the premises. Nursing home facilities need to be free from hazards that can cause harm. There must be regular inspections and maintenance of all nursing home facilities that resident have access to.
Abuse of the residents. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) defines elder abuse as “an act or failure to act that causes or creates risk of harm to an older adult.” Abuse takes many forms, including:
- Physical Abuse, such as slapping, punching, shoving, pushing, burning, or other acts done to intentionally causes pain or discomfort to a resident.
- Sexual Abuse includes any sexual contact between an elderly resident with staff or volunteers at a nursing home.
- Emotional or Psychological Abuse can happen in both verbal and nonverbal forms. This type of abuse is meant to inflict distress, mental pain, and fear in nursing home residents. This can include property destruction, name-calling, intimidation, isolation, and more.
- Financial Abuse happens when nursing home staff and management abuse their access to residents’ money and personal information and use that information to steal from residents (can include identity theft).
Nursing home neglect. This is another form of elder abuse that occurs when the basic needs of a nursing home resident are not met. These needs include food, water, hygiene, clothing, and medical care.
What kind of compensation is available in nursing home abuse cases?
There are various types of compensation available in nursing home abuse cases. This can include both economic and non-economic damages.
- Coverage for medical expenses related to the abuse
- Pain and suffering damages
- Loss of enjoyment of life damages
- Relocation expenses if necessary
- Punitive damages against the individuals, agency, or company involved
How to prove liability in these cases
It can be difficult to prove liability in nursing home abuse and neglect cases. In many cases, the victim is not able to speak for themselves, so you must be their advocate. That is why it is so important to secure a knowledgeable and experienced attorney to help. An attorney will be able to gather all evidence related to the case, including:
- Medical records
- The agency’s inspections history
- The agency’s past safety violations
- Staff records and certifications
- Video surveillance
- And more
When working to secure punitive damages, it needs to be proven that someone acted with gross negligence or intentional misconduct.
What to do if you suspect abuse
If you suspect your loved one is being abused in a nursing home, you should contact the police immediately. The abuse needs to be reported and stopped. Let law enforcement investigate and work to have your loved one relocated to another facility as soon as possible. Contact an attorney with experience handling these cases so you can work towards recovering compensation for what happened.