Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes

Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers

Leaving an elderly relative in the care of a nursing home may be the best option when the loved one is no longer capable of self-care or has specialized needs. However, recent reports of elder abuse in nursing homes are more than enough to cause worry. Nursing home abuse takes a toll both on the victims who undergo the suffering and on their families who often feel regret at having been unable to prevent it. As a means of both compensating the victims and deterring future abuse, the law allows injured parties to pursue lawsuits against liable nursing homes.

The Bart Bernard Law Firm is dedicated to fighting for the rights of personal injury victims in Louisiana. If you or a loved one has been the victim of abuse as a resident in a nursing home, contact us to discuss your rights and legal options with an elder abuse attorney.

Nursing home abuse: what kinds of negligence are grounds for a lawsuit?

Negligence, in general, requires a showing that one party was under a duty to do or not do something but breached that duty, resulting in the injury. As the caregivers for infirm individuals, nursing homes are under a number of duties to act for their safety and protection. A breach of any of these may be grounds for a lawsuit. Some examples include:

  • Personnel decisions – if a nursing home fails to take all necessary precautions in its staffing, it may be liable based on negligent hiring, improper training, or understaffing
  • Failure of medical care – residents often have special medical needs requiring medication and/or oversight by doctors and nurses; medication errors and other failures in medical care may be the cause of injury
  • Violation of statute – state and federal laws promote protection of basic rights of nursing home residents and violation of these laws open the home up to liability

Types of nursing home neglect and abuse

There are a number of ways elderly residents can be taken advantage of in a nursing home, and each can leave a lasting impact on both the victim and his or her family. Some of the types of reported elder abuse include:

  • Physical abuse – including battery, excessive use of restraints, overmedicating, or even sexual abuse
  • Emotional abuse – can include more obvious behaviors like verbal threats and insults, but also more subtle mistreatment such as manipulation and intimidation, humiliation, and invasion of privacy
  • Neglect – failing to provide basic needs like hygiene, medical care, or safety provisions, even turning a blind eye to the serious but often overlooked problem of resident-on-resident abuse
  • Financial abuse – taking advantage of a resident by misusing money or property, coercing signatures to gain control over assets, or otherwise manipulating the elder for financial gain

Elder abuse statistics

Signs of elder abuse

What to do if you suspect elder abuse and neglect

Do not delay because the abuse may continue until authorities step in to investigate. When nursing home residents are the suspected victims of abuse, the home should be reported to state officials. Certain people, like doctors and social workers, are legally required to report suspected abuse. Others are protected from any legal fallout so long as their report has been made in good faith.

How to report elder abuse

Suing a nursing home for negligence

A victim of elder abuse may be entitled to compensation for the resulting injuries. The types of compensation depend on the situation and can include reimbursement of medical expenses, and amounts to compensate for pain and suffering and for any disability incurred as a result.

A nursing home abuse lawsuit may be limited by a couple of factors. The first is the statute of limitations – Louisiana law requires that the lawsuit be filed within the statute of limitations assigned to the type of claim or the plaintiff’s claim will be barred. Even if a nursing home is liable to a resident, an arbitration clause in the admission agreement may prevent litigation in court. These are issues that nursing home abuse lawyers can help walk you through, but do not delay calling because the statute of limitations is already running.

Speak with a nursing home negligence attorney today

If you suspect a loved one is suffering abuse, first, report it to the authorities, and then speak with a nursing home negligence attorney as soon as possible. The elderly are in a vulnerable position where they depend on strangers to fulfill their caretaking duties. Ensuring that nursing homes and their employees fulfill these duties helps ensure quality care across the board.

Call the Bart Bernard Law Firm at (337) 989 2278 today to speak with a nursing home neglect lawyer in Louisiana. There is no charge for a consultation; we are here to offer respectful and confidential legal help.

Nursing home abuse attorney resources

  1. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General, Adverse Events in Skilled Nursing Facilities: National Incidence Among Medicare Beneficiaries, http://oig.hhs.gov/oei/reports/oei-06-11-00370.pdf
  2. NCBI, Physical abuse of older adults in nursing homes: a random sample survey of adults with an elderly family member in a nursing home, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22206513
  3. Louisiana Department of Health, Adult/Elderly Protective Services, http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov/index.cfm/page/120
  4. Louisiana Department of Health, Health Standards Section: Complaints, http://dhh.louisiana.gov/index.cfm/page/254
  5. National Council on Aging, Elder Abuse Facts, https://www.ncoa.org/public-policy-action/elder-justice/elder-abuse-facts/
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