If you suspect your loved one is suffering abuse in a nursing home or under the care of an in-home health aide, you may have options. The elderly are a group that can be taken advantage of far too often, and if it happens in a place that is supposed to shelter and care them, it’s important that those who were wronged see justice.
At Morgan & Morgan’s office in Nashville, our attorneys can explain to you the rights of nursing home residents, any legal actions you may be eligible to take, and how you can stop the abuse. If you decide to file a lawsuit against the facility, you may be able to recover compensation for losses related to the abuse, including pain and suffering and medical expenses. Furthermore, you may be entitled to punitive damages - these are additional compensation, awarded to punish the nursing home and discourage them and other homes from engaging in similar activities.
If you believe your loved one is being abused, neglected or exploited in a nursing home or by an in-home health aide, contact our Nashville office today for a free case review.
What Constitutes Nursing Home Abuse?
According to the Tennessee Adult Protection Act, nursing home abuse and neglect are defined as “the infliction of physical pain, injury or mental anguish, or the deprivation of services by a caretaker which are necessary to maintain the health and welfare of an adult, or a situation in which an adult is unable to provide or obtain the services which are necessary to maintain that person’s health or welfare.”
Elder abuse is not limited to physical abuse and neglect. It can also include emotional, sexual and financial abuse (e.g., exploitation, fraud). Examples of financial abuse include stealing from nursing home residents or tricking them into donating money to fake charities or contributing to fraudulent investments.
How Can an Attorney Help?
The attorneys at Morgan & Morgan’s Nashville office can help determine whether you can take legal action against the nursing home where the suspected abuse or neglect is occurring. Our lawyers may first wish to speak with your loved one and request that he or she undergo an evaluation by a family doctor to identify any signs of abuse or neglect. If we suspect your loved one is being abused, we may launch an investigation into the nursing home and its employees to determine whether the facility negligently cared for its residents. If you decide to sue the nursing home, we will draft a legal document known as a complaint and file it in court. The complaint will outline the facts and allegations of your case, as well as the compensation you are seeking, and is the official start of your lawsuit.
The nursing home may offer you a settlement to avoid the expense and uncertainty of a jury trial. Our Nashville attorneys have years of experience handling these cases and can determine whether the facility’s offers adequately cover your losses. If any of these offers are too low, we can negotiate with the nursing home for a higher amount. If we cannot reach an agreement with the home, we will take your case to trial, where a judge and jury will decide on the merits of your case.
The attorneys in our Nashville office are experienced trial lawyers with a history of success in the courtroom. We are not afraid to take negligent nursing homes to court to hold them accountable for abusing and/or neglecting their residents. At the conclusion of a jury trial, the plaintiff may be awarded punitive damages, which are intended to punish the defendant and deter other nursing homes from engaging in similar abusive conduct.
What Is the Purpose of a Nursing Home Lawsuit?
By filing a nursing home lawsuit, you may be able to collect compensation for any losses stemming from abuse, neglect or exploitation. A lawsuit can also help ensure that your loved one and other nursing home patients are not subject to further abuse. Depending on the specific circumstances of your case, you could claim compensation for past and future medical bills, physical and emotional pain and suffering and any stolen goods or money.
Elder Neglect: Who Can I Sue?
This will depend on the specifics of your case. In cases involving nursing home residents, the facility is usually named as the defendant in the case. Your lawsuit may allege that your loved one suffered abuse and/or neglect because the facility:
- Was Negligent in Hiring its Employees. This occurs when a nursing home fails to properly screen prospective workers prior to hiring.
- Was Understaffed. This occurs when the nursing home has not hired enough employees to meet the needs of its residents. If the facility does not have enough workers, it may be difficult to carry out daily tasks, such as cleaning patients’ rooms, administering medications and monitoring patients (e.g., turning residents to prevent bedsores or monitoring their food and drink intake to prevent malnutrition or dehydration).
- Inadequately Trained its Employees. This often occurs as a result of understaffing. When a nursing home doesn’t have time to provide proper training, new employees are rushed into their positions without fully understanding their responsibilities or the home’s procedures.
If the suspected abuse or neglect is occurring at the hands of an in-home healthcare aide (any paid caregiver who provides medical, psychological or personal hygiene services), you may be able to file a lawsuit against the healthcare agency that employs him or her. Furthermore, in-home caretakers who are self-employed often carry some type of liability insurance and, in cases of abuse or neglect, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the caretaker.
How Much Does a Lawyer Cost?
At Morgan & Morgan, we only receive a fee if we are able to recover compensation for our clients. This fee is usually a percentage of a settlement or jury verdict in your favor.
If you suspect your loved one is suffering neglect or abuse while under the care of a nursing home or in-home health care aide, you may be able to file a lawsuit. For more information, contact our Nashville office today for a free case review.