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Brooklyn, NY Legal Blog

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Who can be held liable if your loved one is the subject of abuse or neglect while they are in a nursing home?

The decision to place an elderly loved one into a nursing home or assisted living facility is never an easy decision to make. As we watch our parents grow older, it can often bring up deep emotions for both the beloved parent and the child who is witnessing the transition. While most caretakers have your loved one’s best interests at heart, the fact is that nursing home abuse does happen.  It is important that you do your homework when considering a nursing home or assisted living facility for your family member.  At the same time it is important to know what the signs are of possible nursing home abuse.

The Warning Signs of Possible Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse

There are many warning signs that can alert you that nursing home is neglecting and/or abusing your loved one. Below is a list of some of the common signs that one should consider if they believe their parent or family member is not getting the proper care at the nursing home or assisted living facility:

  • A facility’s past history of abuse, neglect or exploitation (which you can find out by contacting the state public advocate’s office)
  • Missing items of your loved one
  • Depleted financial assets from a resident’s account
  • Unexplained injuries including bruises and fractures
  • Complaints of falling
  • Poorly trained staff at the facility
  • Inadequate staffing levels
  • Development of bed sores on residents
  • Unchanged sheets and unwashed clothing
  • Unsanitary premises
  • Unsanitary food
  • Development of malnutrition or dehydration in a loved one
  • Physical wounds, scratches and bruising
  • Constant migraines
  • Depression and anxiety

It is better to be knowledgeable about the potential ways or signs in which your loved one could be harmed rather than to be unaware of systematic abuse that could be harming a loved one at the hands of the nursing home or the assisted living community.

Filing a Legal Claim Against The Nursing Home Or Assisted Living Facility

When you select a nursing home or an assisted living facility for an elderly loved one, you often do so based on your research on possible places for your loved one.  Included with your research, you will call up multiple facilities and the director will make promises of safety, standards of care, and other assurances of the high quality of staff and attention provided at the facility. It becomes shocking later on to learn that your loved one was the victim of serious neglect or even abuse while living at this facility.

If your loved one has been abused, chances are you will want some fast answers and possibly want to seek justice for them as soon as possible. In such a situation taking the necessary steps will be difficult because you are focused on your loved one and it may be difficult to know what to do or where to turn in this situation. At this point you are most likely not to trust the nursing home for the care that was provided to your family member.  Furthermore, the company that runs the facility will likely try to deny that any abuse or neglect occurred.

It is important to call a highly experienced and knowledgeable nursing home abuse attorney to discuss your loved one’s rights and options.  In many cases, the company that runs the nursing home or assisted living facility will be held liable for any injuries caused by abuse or neglect within their facilities. This is just one example of how nursing home companies are often held accountable for the actions of employees.

Below is a list of possible causes of action against the nursing home or assisted living facility for which the facility could be negligent:

  • Negligent hiring, including failing to conduct background checks and hiring individuals with a history of abuse
  • Not properly training staff on how to care for residents including failing to comply with the facility’s rules and regulations
  • Negligent supervision - failing to adequately monitor the actions of staff members and take the appropriate disciplinary action against staff member(s) who act improperly
  • Not properly ensuring the basic needs of a resident are met, including food, water, and suitable shelter
  • Allowing unsafe or hazardous conditions to exist
  • Failure to provide necessary medical care including proper administration of medication and attention to possible medical needs
  • Negligent security – failing to provide adequate security to protect residents from harm from third parties
  • Use of unreasonable and harmful psychotropic drugs or physical restraints to control residents
  • Intentional physical, mental, or sexual abuse by nursing home staff members

If any of the above caused harm to your loved one, you have the right to file a claim against the nursing home or assisted living facility.  You need to speak to an experienced and knowledgeable nursing home abuse attorney who will fight for the rights of your loved one.

There are also certain situations in which other third-parties besides the nursing home or assisted living facility may be held liable for harm, or may be held liable in conjunction with the nursing home or assisted living facility. The following are some examples of such situations:

  • Dangerous pharmaceuticals – If a nursing home resident is given medication that has unreasonably harmful side effects, the company the manufactured the dangerous drug may be held liable for the harm caused by the medication.
  • Defective medical equipment – Some injuries can be caused by malfunctioning wheelchairs, medical beds, and other equipment used in nursing homes. The nursing home can be held liable if the equipment was not used in the right manner. However, if the equipment was inherently defective, the manufacturer may be responsible.
  • Harm by third parties – If an assault occurs by a third party, a claim can be filed directly against the abuser. However, the nursing home may also be held liable if there was inadequate security to keep the third party away from the resident.
  • Improper medical treatment from the resident doctor – In some instances, the nursing home or assisted living facility employ resident doctors.  These resident doctors are not employees of the facility, but are independent contractors.  As an independent contractor, these resident doctors can be liable for their own negligence.  In order to determine, if the resident doctor could be sued, a detailed investigation has to be conducted.  Some factors that would need to be considered is whether the doctor has a history of improper care or the doctor’s medical license has been suspended or revoked.

If you believe that nursing home or an assisted living facility should be held responsible for injuries to your loved one, do not delay in discussing a possible case with the skilled nursing home abuse lawyers at The Law Offices of Effie Soter, P.C. to talk about your rights of your loved one and what legal options are available to you. These types of cases can be complex, however, our team will fight to obtain the maximum amount of compensation possible for your loved one from every liable party.

Our experienced team of attorneys stands ready to fight for justice on behalf of nursing home abuse victims in the New York area. To schedule a free initial consultation with our firm, please call our office at (646) 504-7384 or email us at effie@soterlawpc.com.

 


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