When is a Nursing Home Liable for Abuse or Neglect?
Posted on behalf of Goldberg Finnegan, LLC on Jan 25, 2019 in Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing homes have a legal obligation to provide adequate care for residents. This includes allowing residents access to necessary medical care and treatment, as well as assisting residents who suffer from a disability and are immobile or incapacitated.
When nursing home residents receive inadequate care or treatment, it increases their risk of suffering abuse or neglect. Depending on the circumstances, the nursing home may be held liable for any injuries or adverse medical conditions that resulted from abuse or neglect.
Below, Goldberg Finnegan’s Silver Spring nursing home abuse lawyers discuss the factors involved in assigning liability to a nursing home for abuse or neglect suffered by residents. To find out if you have a case, contact us today to schedule a free, no obligation consultation.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Signs of nursing home abuse and neglect can be difficult to notice. Residents may be unable to recognize when they have been abused or could be too frightened to identify their abuser. Because of this, it is often up to people who are familiar with the resident’s behavior and traits to recognize when something may be wrong.
There are several signs that may indicate nursing home abuse or neglect, such as:
- Physical abuse and unexplained injuries
- Injuries from falls, which may indicate the resident is being left unattended or without the care he or she needs
- Emotional disturbances
- Unexplained personality or mood shifts
- Anxiety, fearfulness or withdrawal from social situations
- Refusing to interact with others
- Hesitating to speak freely around staff members or other residents
- Bedsores or pressure ulcers
- Sudden or rapid weight loss, which may indicate malnourishment
- Poor hygiene and unsanitary living conditions
- Wounds or markings on the resident’s wrists, which may indicate the use of physical restraints
Situations When Nursing Homes Are Liable for Abuse
A nursing home could be held liable for a resident’s injury or medical condition if it resulted from certain situations or conditions, which might include:
- Inadequate security: Nursing homes have a duty to protect residents from another person’s recklessness or dangerous actions. This includes protection from violent or predatory staff members, intruders or other residents.
- Environmental dangers: Nursing homes are responsible for maintaining a safe environment and must eliminate known hazards or provide adequate warning to staff and residents about these hazards. A common example of a hazard could be a faulty railing that could break when a resident uses it for support when getting up or transferring.
- Inadequate training: Staff members and caregivers must be adequately trained to care for residents. This includes ensuring staff members are able to assist residents who are immobile, incapacitated or lack the ability to care for themselves.
- Understaffing: Nursing homes are required to employ enough staff members to adequately care for each residents living in the facility. There should be an adequate number of staff members working on each shift who are available to help residents in emergency and non-emergency situations.
- Inadequate hiring: Applicants for nursing home positions must be carefully reviewed before they are hired. This includes conducting a thorough background check for past instances of abuse or neglect and whether the applicant is qualified and certified for the position.
- Medication errors: Nursing homes must follow medication orders to prevent harm to residents. If a resident is given the wrong medication or the wrong dosage of medication, he or she may suffer serious medical complications or death.
Elements of Negligence
In order to hold a nursing home liable for the abuse or neglect your loved one has suffered, you must prove the staff or facility was negligent. The following elements must be proven to show negligence:
- Duty of care: The nursing home had a legal obligation to provide its residents adequate treatment and avoid causing them harm.
- Breach of duty: The nursing home breached its duty of care by providing treatment below the acceptable standard of care. This breach must have contributed to your loved one’s abuse or neglect.
- Causation: There is a causal link between the nursing home’s breach of duty and the injuries your loved one suffered due to abuse or neglect.
- Damages: The resident suffered measurable damages as a result of abuse or neglect, such as the cost of medical care to treat his or her injury or ailment.
Contact Goldberg Finnegan for a Free Consultation
If you believe your loved one is being abused or neglected, it is important that you report the situation as soon as possible. Then, consider working with an experienced attorney to pursue the justice your loved one deserves.
Goldberg Finnegan is qualified to handle several types of nursing home abuse claims and will help you determine which party may be at fault for your loved one's abuse or neglect. Contact us today to schedule a free, no obligation consultation. We provide our services on a contingency fee basis and only charge our clients if we recover compensation for them.