Most nursing homes are places where elderly people go to relax and feel safe as they live out the golden years of their lives. However, there have been unfortunate cases of nursing home employees treating their residents with abusive behavior.
This abuse could mean restraining the residents maliciously, stealing from them, or even physical violence. Those that have had to experience nursing home abuse or have had a loved one experience it know it is a horrible thing to go through.
Although, there is a way to receive the justice you and your loved ones deserve when you’ve experienced nursing home abuse. You can take legal action against those responsible for the abuse and, in this article, we will explain all the details of what you need to know to do this.
What is Nursing Home Abuse?
It is required by law that nursing homes must protect the rights of those residing in them and treat them with reasonable care. There are many different types of nursing home abuse but here are some of the more common ones:
- Disrespect towards the residents
- Physical, verbal, or sexual abuse
- Improper restraining
- Fear of discipline
Disrespect towards nursing home residents usually coincides with verbal abuse but it could also mean ignoring calls for help or generally treating the residents like they are an inconvenience.
Sometimes, residents can act wildly though and the staff will need to restrain them to prevent any harm to themselves or others. However, the staff has to restrain them in a careful fashion and can only do so when it is absolutely necessary. They also must not use any excessive force or drugs to restrain the residents.
Lastly, the elderly residents should not have to live in constant fear of being disciplined if they complain to staff or ask for something. There should be open communication between the employees and residents in which the residents should feel comfortable asking for help.
Nursing Home Residents’ Rights
Residents of a nursing home have the right to be free from any kind of abuse (verbal, physical, sexual, or mental) while they reside there. Also, they should not have to be restrained by the use of drugs or excessive force unless it is for some kind of medical condition. Restraining the residents using these methods for convenience or discipline is a violation of these rights.
Some nursing homes will not be protected by federal law and, in this case, they will fall under state laws which can vary. It is important to know what your state laws are regarding nursing home abuse if the home is not regulated by the federal government.
Who Files a Lawsuit?
For nursing home abuse, who files the lawsuit can be tricky because oftentimes the one experiencing the abuse does not have the physical or mental capabilities to file a lawsuit. Unless there was a family member or loved one who was part of the nursing home’s contract, they cannot file a lawsuit in the resident’s name.
However, if the resident has a power of attorney (POA), this can allow a loved one to file a lawsuit in their name. It is important to know exactly what is said in the document because these can vary in language and what exactly is stated may limit who can make the victim’s decisions for them.
Who Is Held Liable for Nursing Home Abuse?
There are many people or groups of people that could be held accountable for nursing home abuse if it has been proven to occur. Some of the more likely people to be held liable for their actions are:
- The employees who directly were involved in the abuse
- Their supervisors who were involved in hiring and training the offenders or perhaps knew and were complacent in stopping the abuse
- The company or person(s) that own the nursing home
Sometimes, it is just one of these people or a combination of all of them who can be held liable for nursing home abuse. Although, it can be hard to identify exactly who was at fault, so courts will often let you use placeholder names until the identity of the abuser is discovered.
What Can You Legally Claim?
There are many options for what you can claim caused the abuse and it is important you are able to prove this was true. Some of the most common claims in nursing home abuse are:
- Negligence (in caring for the residents or in hiring proper workers)
- Breach of contract
- Medical malpractice
Negligence is the most common claim that will come up and this covers many different kinds of nursing home abuse. If an employee of the residency did not properly care for the resident due to convenience or because of a personal grudge against a particular resident, this can be considered negligence.
Also, this can fall on the supervisors who were negligent in properly training or hiring someone who could care for their residents.
When someone is put into a nursing home, there is some kind of contract that the person and, sometimes, a loved one must sign. If the contract has a clause against whatever abuse was caused to the resident, you could claim a breach of contract as a strong foundation for your case.
Medical malpractice will typically refer to the improper restraining side of nursing home abuse. Employees will often use drugs to restrain residents and, if this is done out of convenience or as a form of discipline, you could claim medical malpractice against those administering the drugs.
Contact Trusted Lawyers for Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse is a horrible experience to go through as a resident or a loved one but it can be a difficult thing to prove.
However, you have an organization that can help with Law Leaders. The legal team at Law Leaders has expert attorneys that are available to help you get the justice you deserve for nursing home abuse.
Be sure to contact Law Leaders today for more information to see exactly what they can do for you!