Sadly, elder abuse is a very common occurrence, with over five million seniors abused in the United States every year. This abuse can be physical, emotional, or financial, and it causes profound harm to the victims. It can be challenging for victims of nursing home abuse to understand who is legally responsible for the abuse. Is it the nursing home, the staff, or a third party?
In this post, we’ll examine different scenarios and look at who is liable under these circumstances. We’ll also discuss how a nursing home neglect lawyer can help file a claim for your loved one.
Types of Abuse in Nursing Homes
Many older people in nursing homes depend on the help of others for almost every daily need and interaction. Because of this, there are many situations where nursing home abuse can occur. Abusers can be men or women who are staff at care homes or third-party contractors. Nursing home abuse includes:
- Physical abuse – This includes hurting an older adult or causing them physical injury.
- Emotional abuse – Emotional abuse can include yelling, insults, threats, harassment, or intimidation.
- Sexual abuse – Sexual abuse includes any kind of sexual activity (touching, kissing, caressing, or intercourse) that they cannot or do not consent to.
- Exploitation – Exploitation can include withholding finances or abusing resources.
- Neglect – Neglect is when a caregiver does not provide necessary care or life’s necessities, such as lack of food, clothing, shelter, or proper medical care.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
Many older people, especially those with dementia or Alzheimer’s, are vulnerable to abuse or neglect. Mental impairment and social isolation increase the risk of abuse.
An attorney for nursing home neglect can help with an investigation if you spot any of the following signs in your loved one:
Physical Signs of Abuse:
- Dehydration or rapid weight loss
- Misplaced personal items, such as glasses or aids
- Unexplained bruises, sores, or cuts
- Broken bones
- Poor hygiene
- Unmet medical needs
- Missed medication
- Unsanitary living conditions
Emotional Signs of Abuse:
- Sudden withdrawal from social situations
- Increased anxiety or fear
- Difficulty sleeping
- Increased isolation from friends and family
- New unexplained behavior such as rocking, biting, or not wanting to be touched
Signs of Financial Abuse:
- Sudden shifts or changes in a financial situation, such as spending habits
- Unpaid bills
- Fraudulent signatures or financial documents
Other signs to look for in the nursing home include high staff turnover, staffing shortages or evasive answers from staff when asked about a problem, unresponsive staff, and lack of facility upkeep or care. Abuse and neglect are not only severe types of treatment. They can also include:
- Fall-related injuries if the facility is understaffed.
- Leaving immobile residents in a place where they can’t move for long periods due to staff shortages.
- Infections on wounds if nursing home staff don’t change the dressings often enough.
If you have suspicions, or something doesn’t feel right, it can be beneficial to speak with a nursing home neglect lawyer who can talk through your suspicions and help with an investigation if necessary.
Is The Nursing Home Always Responsible For Nursing Home Abuse?
If you find evidence of nursing home abuse, it seems natural to assume that nursing homes would be liable, but this is not always the case. Another resident could be using abusive behavior, or the injury could be due to a malfunctioning piece of equipment.
Nursing homes have a responsibility to care for their residents. In cases of abuse or neglect, they are responsible if you can prove they were negligent in caring for your loved one, and this negligence caused your loved one’s injury.
Nursing homes have a responsibility to:
- Properly train and monitor their staff.
- Use proper hiring practices and perform background checks.
- Provide security for residents and staff.
- Provide the basic necessities for life such as food and water.
- Provide adequate medical care and ensure medications are given properly.
- Follow health and safety guidelines.
- Ensure facilities are safe for residents.
- Protect residents from abuse and harassment from staff.
If they fail to meet these responsibilities, they can be held responsible for any abuse or injury. An attorney for nursing home neglect can help you build a case and ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Can Third Parties Be Liable in Cases of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?
In some cases of nursing home abuse, the abuse or injury of an older person may result from an equipment malfunction or third-party negligence.
If an injury is caused due to a malfunctioning piece of equipment, it is important to consider if the staff member misused the equipment or if a third party installed it incorrectly or if it had a design flaw. Several parties may share the liability for the abuse or injury in circumstances like these.
A nursing home neglect lawyer can help you sort through the circumstances of your case and find the right people to call. They can also help you build a case and gather information and evidence to find the person responsible and get the maximum benefit possible.
If you are looking for help from an experienced and trustworthy nursing home neglect lawyer, contact LegalASAP today. Our network can connect you with a lawyer in your area who can review your case for free and help you determine the next steps to take.