When we entrust our elderly loved ones with a nursing home, we expect that they receive the best possible care. However, many nursing homes subject their patients to physical, emotional or even sexual abuse. Likewise, many nursing homes outright neglect their patients, subjecting them to ongoing medical conditions, such as bedsores. Bringing a lawsuit against a nursing home or caregiver can be complicated, and there may be many parties that can be held liable for your loved one's injuries.
Nursing home injury lawsuits can often be complicated due to the fact that nursing home residents often have very unique needs that can differ from person to person. When calculating damages in a nursing home injury claim, courts will need to consider very specific criteria, such as:
- Reasonable and necessary medical expenses
- Future expenses related to the injury
- Harm resulting from prolonged immobilization (i.e. bedsores)
- “Phantom pain” or other types of pain that are not immediately recognizable. These types of injuries are commonly associated with surgery and amputation for diabetes.
- Disfigurement or loss of ability to enjoy life
- Shortened life span expectancy
Additionally, many nursing home injury claims often involve losses to third parties such as close family relatives. This is because family members may experience issues such as loss of consortium or mental anguish when a loved one they trusted to a nursing home is injured.
If you suspect that your loved one is subject to abuse or neglect in a nursing home, there are a few steps you need to take. First, do what you can to verify your loved one's story. Gather any medical records of recent injuries or prescriptions, and take photos of the injuries. Proof of injuries to an elderly person may often require the assistance of medical expert, who can offer their expert opinion on the subject. Next, you should consider moving your loved one to a new care facility if you feel his or her safety is threatened.
Inform the proper authorities , such as the police or district attorney, of what is going on. After that you should file a complaint about the nursing home with the proper agency, such as the Department of Social Services, elder protective services or adult protective services.
Who Can Be Held Liable for Nursing Home Neglect?
Generally, any person who is legally charged with caring for an elderly person may be held liable for neglect. In the event of nursing home neglect, there are several different parties who may have been negligent in the care of a loved one, including:
- Nursing home staff
- In-home caregivers
- Caregivers who visit the elderly person at home
- Medical professionals
- Any relatives or friends who have assumed legal responsibility for the elder patient