When Is a Nursing Home Liable for Abuse and Neglect?

Elderly Hand on Wall

If it can be determined that a nursing home or its employees have acted negligently, they may be held liable for damages. Damages available in a nursing home abuse lawsuit may include pain and suffering, medical bills, disfigurement and disability. Some states also allow for punitive damages, which are intended to deter the defendant and others from engaging in similar conduct; however, these are only awarded in rare cases.

The following may be reasons for filing a nursing home abuse claim:

Negligent Hiring: Nursing homes have an obligation to their residents to hire staff who are qualified, have the proper education for the position for which they are hired, and have no prior records of abusive or violent behavior. If nursing homes hire employees without conducting thorough background checks, the nursing home residents are put at risk. This leaves the nursing home responsible in the case of abuse.

Understaffing: A report from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) shows that the average staff to resident ratio is 1 staff member to every 1.64 residents. When a nursing home fails to staff properly, residents may be neglected because there is no-one to look after them.

Additionally, having a low staff-to-resident ration can cause more work for staff members who may not be compensated properly for how much work they are required to do. This often leads to higher stress in staff members, causing a loss of morale and compassion for the residents. If a resident suffers an injury or worse case, dies as a result of understaffing, the nursing home may be held liable.

Improper Training: In some cases, nursing home employees are not provided with proper training to handle disabled or disobedient residents. Nursing homes can be held accountable when improper training of their staff leads to resident injury.

Third-Party Responsibility Claim: For abuse that is caused by third parties within the resident, nursing homes can also be held liable. The reason for this is because the nursing home has a duty to provide a safe environment for all residents. For example, if a resident is injured by another resident or a guest of another resident, the nursing home can be found liable if they did not provide proper security to prevent the incident.

Breach of Statutory or Regulatory Rights: Nursing home residents are entitled to autonomy, dignity, and privacy. A nursing home can be held liable if one of its employees violates any of these rights.

Errors with Medications: Medications are a large part of old age and nursing home residents can suffer if they aren’t provided the proper dosage of medication at the right time. If a resident is injured by a medication error, the physician, pharmacy, or pharmacist can be held responsible.

How Can Our Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys Can Help?

Some seniors are difficult to manage due to their needs, especially when the person is solely dependent on others for care. The demands versus the ability to meet these demands can cause problems that put the them at risk.

If your loved one has been abused or neglected while in a nursing home, our attorneys at Riddle & Brantley, LLP are ready to discuss your case. Our nursing home abuse team knows what it takes to succeed and will fight for the compensation you and your loved one deserve. Our consultations are free and we offer flexible appointments and onsite visits. Do not hesitate to contact us online or give us a call at 800-525-7111.