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Nursing Home Abuse: Who is Liable for Damages?

- July 12, 2017

nursing home abuseWhen you begin to recognize the signs of elderly abuse in one of your loved ones, you will likely want to act immediately. However, even knowing the abuse is happening at a nursing home doesn’t always make it easier to know who is responsible for the damages caused by the mistreatment. In fact, if you ask most people with a loved one in such a facility, they will likely not know if the facility, employee or a third party is responsible.

With approximately 4 million elderly people victimized by physical or psychological abuse or neglect, the loved ones of elderly people in a nursing home should understand both the signs of elderly abuse and who is legally responsible in these situations.

When the Nursing Home is Responsible

Compared to other medical facilities, nursing homes have a far more strict duty of care owed to residents. This is because the nature of the services and relationships is so broad and affects every aspect of their well-being and daily routine. The staff has the duty to help them with everything from medication to physical therapy and even basic hygiene.

While there are many incidences in which a resident may suffer an injury or become victim to abuse, the nursing home is typically only held accountable when abuse or injury falls into one of the following categories:

  • Medical neglect where a medical need is not addressed or medication is not provided.
  • Staff was not properly monitored during shifts.
  • Negligence in hiring such as not running a background check.
  • Negligent in training staff either by providing no training or inadequate training.
  • Intentional abuse or mistreatment by staff members.
  • Failure or refusal to provide necessities such as food and water.
  • Lack of proper security on site.
  • Failure to protect residents from health or safety hazards.
  • The use of irrational or unsafe physical restraints.

Can a Third Party be Responsible?

When an injury occurs, it isn’t necessarily abuse. In some cases, an elderly person is either injured or abused in such a way that the nursing home is not responsible. Some examples include:

  • Improper use of equipment by a nursing home staff member.
  • Improperly designed wheelchair.
  • Improperly manufactured wheelchair.
  • Equipment that has been improperly maintained by an outside contractor.

There are also cases where visitors or trespassers are the culprits. There are other equipment-related situations where a third party is liable for the injury. The best course of action is to find the right lawyer to consult. At Jonathan Perkins Personal Injury Lawyers, we look at all the facts to determine who is liable for the injury. Contact us today to find out more.

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