Nursing homes are not as safe as some believe. Even the most modern and professional-looking nursing homes can be the site of some of the most egregious nursing home neglect and abuse. Abuse in nursing homes is a far too common occurrence in the United States. Thankfully, whenever you find that abuse is occurring and your loved one has suffered nursing home injuries, you have rights under the law. The nursing home can become liable for the injuries your loved one sustained as a result of their abuse or negligence.
Nursing Home Liability
There are many different avenues that can be used to go after a nursing home to ensure that the nursing home is held responsible for injuries that were a direct consequence of their negligence and abuse. Any act of abuse, neglect or any form of exploitation taken by the nursing home against their patients and residents can result in a civil lawsuit for damages, criminal prosecution or the interference of an adult protective services agency.
When it comes to filing a lawsuit, there are several legal elements that must be present to prove the liability of a nursing home for causing your loved one to sustain injury from nursing home abuse or neglect.
- Duty. Proving duty in a nursing home abuse case can be pretty straightforward. Nursing homes have requisite standards of care mandated by federal and state regulations that they are required to comply with. Nursing homes are to provide certain services to certain specifications, such as maintenance of facilities, qualifications of staff and the way patients are treated. A duty has to first exist for there to ever be a valid negligence claim. Medical experts or experts in the field of nursing home care can be used to testify on behalf of a plaintiff to show what the typical standard of care is for nursing home staff and administration. This can lay out a clear depiction of the duty imposed on nursing home staff.
- Breach. It has to be shown that either the nursing home administration or staff engaged in conduct that breached their duty. Breach can be shown in several ways. For example, in a nursing home setting, a breach of duty can exist for failing to provide personal supervision and care, failure to hire and retain certified employees, failure to maintain the premises in a safe and cleanly manner, failure to select and maintain the proper equipment necessary for the care of the elderly and much more.
- Causation. In addition to breaching the duty and requisite standard of care, it must be shown that the breach led to a specific injury. It is not enough that a duty was breached if there was no harm done. This becomes particularly difficult when dealing with elderly patients. Sometimes injury is unavoidable from old age, mental conditions, medical complications caused from poor health and more. An injury being inevitable, however, does not completely deter recovery as there are circumstances where a breach of duty can accelerate or exacerbate an existing injury.
- Damages. The injury that was caused by the breach of duty must lead to specific damages. For example, if the medical staff fails to give a resident their prescribed medication for an entire week, then the resident gets sick from eating some bad Jell-O during meal time, the staff cannot be said to have been negligent because the failure to provide the prescribed medication did not lead to the injury sustained by the resident.
Proving these elements can be almost impossible without the assistance of an experienced nursing home abuse attorney. If your or a loved one has been injured in a nursing home and you want to make sure the nursing home is held responsible for their actions, contact Campbell & Associates today for a free consultation with one of our lawyers in the greater Charlotte metropolitan area, 704.333.0885.