Putting your loved one in a nursing home is never an easy decision, even when it seem necessary for their health. Your intention is to ensure they are in a welcoming environment. This environment should look after your loved one’s best interest to make their quality of life better, not worse.
Unfortunately, that does not happen in every situation. Instead of promoting health and happiness, some nursing homes are nothing more than abusive towards residents. If your loved one currently lives in an abusive nursing home, it is important to understand that you have options.
What is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing homes are required by federal law to protect and promote the rights of resident. Violating any of these rights typically constitutes nursing home abuse. Some commonly known abuses include:
• All types of abuse – Physical, sexual and/or verbal abuse should not be part of the elderly’s experience from a nursing home staff. This abuse also extends to property and finances that belong to the elderly.
• Fear – Complaints should be freely given to the nursing home staff without fearing retribution of being disciplined.
• Disrespect – The nursing home staff must treat elderly residents with dignity and respect. They should have the liberty to make their own schedule regarding what they eat, when they sleep and which activities they want to enjoy.
• Physical or medical restraints – The nursing home staff should never use physical or drug-induced restraints for convenience or punishment towards the elderly.
When Nursing Homes are Liable
The inability to be self-sufficient places elderly people in the vulnerable position of someone else taking care of them. For some, it is a personal choice so they are not a burden to their families. For others, their family members are unable to give them the round-the-clock care that is needed. In either case, physical or psychological harm should not be the result of such personal choices.
Intentional acts of neglect or abuse by caregivers are often contributed to the actions of the nursing home’s hiring practices. Some facilities hire poorly qualified staff who were never properly trained to care for residents. An inadequate number of staff, hiring staff with past violent criminal records and isolating residents are additional contributing factors.
Either one of these factors can leave the nursing home responsible for injuries suffered by its residents. Liability for violation of criminal statutes, as well as violation regulations for:
• General operation
When abuse of a nursing home resident is suspected, an adult protective services agency, civil lawsuit and/or criminal prosecutor may conduct an investigation into the nursing home’s practices.
Damages to Include in a Lawsuit
You may suspect your loved one is being abused and have decided to file a civil lawsuit against a nursing home. If this is the case, you will need to show evidence that suffering and/or losses have occurred as a result of the nursing home’s conduct. Some of the damages you might be eligible for include:
• Medical expenses for necessary and reasonable care
• Past medical care expense
• Current and future pain and suffering as a result of physical injuries.
• Mental suffering
• Past and future impairment from enjoying a good quality of life
Punitive damages may also apply to your case if it can be proven that the nursing home engaged in reckless or malicious conduct. If your loved one dies from abuse or neglect, survivors, heirs or dependents may also recover damages from the nursing home.
How a Bronx Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Can Help
If someone you love has suffered a personal injury while living in a nursing home, you should seek legal advice from a Bronx nursing home abuse lawyer who will evaluate your case with you. He or she will ensure your legal rights are protected against further abuse. Contact a lawyer as soon as you discover an injury or abuse. There are statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit for injuries at a nursing home.
An experienced lawyer can explain what to expect throughout the personal injury case and take action on your behalf. He or she will research the law, collect records, interview witnesses, confer with experts and plan a legal strategy. Representation from a lawyer also includes negotiating with the opposing counsel and insurers in efforts to strengthen your case to ensure a fair recovery for you and your loved one.