Elderly people living in nursing homes have the right to protest against the unlawful treatment meted out to them in the care facilities by the staff or the administrators. There are laws that deal with the civil or regulatory standards of these institutions. If the nursing home does not comply with these standards, it can be forced to change its procedures. The centers can also be denied funding by the government, their license can be suspended or revoked, or monetary damage can be imposed.
Elderly people or victims who wish to pursue such legal claims can take recourse to a negligence lawsuit. Corporations or business entities generally run these nursing homes and their main objective is to make a profit. If people can get a huge negligence settlement, it will get their attention and this will lead to some positive changes in the facility. The victim also gets compensation. Family members and visitors can also take up the issue and take action.
Types of Abuse
Abuse in nursing homes usually occurs in two forms. In the first case, it is related to the condition of the center. This relates to the safety and cleanliness of the property. All residents must be able to access nutritious meals, medications, recreation and social service and so on. There must also be an emergency care available on site. The staff has to be well trained and must be available in sufficient numbers. The facility has to be designed so as to prevent any slip or fall, which is the major cause of injuries in nursing homes.
The second type of abuse is regarding the conduct of the workers. This could be related to physical abuse, sexual abuse, and emotional or financial abuse. If you are a visitor or a relative and notice some lacerations or bruising, sudden loss of weight or any other sanitary concern, you should immediately be alerted. Sometimes, victims are depressed and withdrawn, so visitors must check out the financial records and look into anything suspicious.
What are the Legal Options?
When you notice evidence of such abuse or any kind of neglect, you can firstly enquire with other residents of the facility or speak to the administrative staff. If the problem still persists, you can report to the related authorities, such as the health department of the state, the county protective service or the ombudsman office or to any other local law enforcement authority.
Proving the Negligence
Once you have reported an issue, the accused have the right to contact their private attorney, who is a specialist in this legal field. The client also gets an attorney for ensuring that the issue is reported and to ensure that corrective measures are taken. The victim of a car accident or a dog bite, etc. uses this kind of negligence lawsuit. In case of a nursing home abuse, it relates to injuries or low care standards. The court considers the common practices in the rest of the industry and the regulatory standards held by the government in order to give its verdict.
Victims can also sue under state statutes or under a particular federal statute to get an award for damages. This will mean compensating the victim as well as punishing the offender.