Understanding the Basics of
Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuits

Understanding the Basics of Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuits
Understanding the Basics of Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuits
August 14th, 2020

The average age of the US population is continuously growing, with 16% of the demographics aging 65 or above as per the US Census Bureau [1]. Nursing homes have therefore become important to house an increasingly growing population of elders that require constant care. Currently, nursing homes house roughly 1.4 million to 1.5 million people. The average cost of care for an adult across the United States amounts to US$ 8,365 per month[2]. However, elderly abuse and neglect is a common occurrence in nursing homes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), elderly abuse and neglect impact more than 500,000 older US adults annually [3]. Additionally, a significant fraction of nursing home abuse goes unreported. However, it is important to understand and note that there are guidelines and laws created to penalize and punish the liable parties. In this article, we will look at what is considered to be elderly abuse and neglect and the laws around them.

What is Nursing Home Abuse?

Nursing homes across the United States are regulated by different laws, regulations, and statutes. According to these laws and regulations, nursing homes must provide care according to a set standard. If this standard of care is not maintained, the person harmed in the process or responsible for them can rightly sue the liable parties.

The precise definition of elderly abuse, according to the Administration of Aging, is “any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult.” The CDC classifies this mistreatment under six broad categories, namely:

  1. Physical abuse
  2. Sexual abuse
  3. Emotional abuse
  4. Mental abuse
  5. Financial abuse
  6. Abandonment
Nursing Home Abuse Laws

How to Identify Signs of Elder Abuse or Neglect?

While laws make elder abuse a punishable offense, most cases go unreported because of a slew of factors. Victims fail to report their abuse due to fear, lack of knowledge, and even lack of cognizance due to their old age. Therefore, you must look out for any signs that may suggest elder abuse and report it instantly. Here are a few signs that may suggest elder abuse:

  • Manifestation of unexplained bruises, injuries, burns, bone fractures, and frequent use of medical providers may all suggest physical abuse.
  • Anxiety, hesitation in interacting with caregivers and nursing home staff, withdrawal from social support systems, and refusal to see family members and friends can all be indications of emotional abuse
  • Genital pain, the unexplained appearance of sexually transmitted diseases, and bleeding or injury can indicate sexual abuse.
  • Significant reduction in weight, malnourishment, poor hygiene and inaccessibility to basic needs such as water, food signify neglect on the part of the caregivers and responsible parties.
  • Soiled bedding, lack of medical treatment, and the existence of unsanitary conditions are signs of abandonment and neglect.
  • Unexplained transactions, discrepancies in a person’s living standards, missing personal items can all be due to the financial abuse the victim may be subjected to
  • It may be possible that the elder might refuse treatment or care, which could give rise to a combination of the aforementioned conditions.

What Is the Nursing Home Abuse Law?

The nursing home abuse law empowers US citizens to sue the liable parties under civil, criminal, and regulatory lawsuits for the unlawful treatment provided to elderly people. When a nursing home fails to meet the civil and regulatory standards of providing care, they can be sued by the victims or those responsible for them. The case can be used to sanction various penalties ranging from changes to operating procedures, loss of government funding to revocation of licenses, and monetary damage awards.

The negligence lawsuit forms the most powerful legal recourse option for the victim or the people responsible for them. Driving nursing homes to large settlements or negligence verdicts is a great way to attract detached businesses and responsible parties and enforce a positive change. The settlement also serves a legal compensation for the victim and their family.

Requisites to Holding the Responsible Party Legally Accountable

Before you can sue the nursing home administration or owners, you need to ensure certain conditions are met. In the absence of these conditions, you may not be able to sanction a case against the nursing home. You can legally hold the facility accountable if any of the following played a part in elder abuse or neglect:

  • The hiring of unqualified personnel
  • Lack of staff
  • Inexperienced or untrained staff
  • A breach of statutory, civil, and regulatory obligations
  • Medical malpractice

The facility is also responsible for all the actions of its employees. It is liable to be punished for their bad acts included under the scope of workers’ responsibilities.

Third parties managing the different operations of the facility may also be liable to be punished and compensate for the abuse if they are proven guilty. For instance, if a resident of the facility is injured by a guest who visits them, then the company responsible for security is also liable for abuse.

What Are the Legal Options Available for Victims?

If there appear to be signs of elder abuse and negligence, then the first course of action is to inquire with residents if the staff and administration do not cooperate. If it is immediately clear that there has been elder abuse, you should quickly report the incident to the property authorities. Next, you can report the abuse to the state health department, county adult protective services, or the ombudsman’s office. Once the report is filed, and the victim or the people responsible for them could reach out to a nursing home abuse attorney and discuss the viability of filing a negligence lawsuit. From then on, the attorney will take the responsibility of communicating with the authorities and ensuring the report has been filed, and the proper corrective measures are being undertaken.

Filing a nursery home abuse lawsuit can be tricky. Obtaining the evidence and determining which law comes into play can be an arduous task for a layman. Therefore, it is a good idea to take the assistance of a nursing home abuse attorney. This is also important to receive your rightful compensation as insurance settlers and agents for the nursing home will work against you to settle the case unjustly and cheaply.

Contact a lawyer today and discuss your nursery home abuse claim today to ensure you or your loved one or any elder does not face abuse and neglect again.



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