How Common Is Nursing Home Neglect?
Nursing home neglect — which is one facet of elder abuse — is tragically common. According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 60 have experienced some form of elder abuse.
Older adults are at a higher risk for abuse and neglect if they are socially isolated from their loved ones. This means that residents of long-term care facilities are generally more vulnerable to neglect.
Thankfully, the families of nursing home patients may be able to take legal action if neglect occurs.
What Is Nursing Home Neglect?
While abuse and negligence are both very serious offenses, they aren’t quite the same. Nursing home abuse is characterized by the intentional infliction of injury, intimidation, or any punishment that causes physical harm, pain, or mental suffering.
Nursing home neglect is the failure of a staff member to uphold the standard of care in a facility. It can occur due to negligent hiring practices, lack of staff training, and understaffing. Negligence can be harder for loved ones to spot than abuse, but it can be just as damaging.
In cases of neglect, staff may fail to:
- Comply with safety standards when helping patients with mobility issues
- Help residents when they ask for assistance
- Provide a safe, clean facility
- Provide adequate food, water, clothing, or shelter
- Provide medical care or oral/dental care
- Provide prescribed wound care for injuries like bedsores
Our trusted advocates can help you and your loved ones take legal action. Call us at (800) 896-7040.
Prevention Methods for Nursing Home Neglect
Nursing home neglect is very serious, but it can often be prevented. This can be done by staying part of your loved ones’ lives when they are in a nursing home. Staying engaged can also help you catch neglect early on before it causes serious harm.
What you can do to prevent nursing home neglect:
- Communicate: Stay engaged with both residents and nursing home staff. If a resident has concerns or complaints, take them seriously. Make sure the staff knows you are aware of the issue and will be watching to see how it is resolved.
- Educate Yourself: Learn what neglect in an assisted living facility looks like and spread the word to friends and family members. By raising awareness and keeping an eye out, you increase the likelihood that neglect will be noticed and corrected early.
- Research: Ask questions before choosing a facility, such as: What is the vetting process for staff members, and what are their qualifications? What is the staff-to-resident ratio? Can residents voice their concerns and have them addressed? Does the facility have a history of abuse or neglect?
- Visit: Frequent visits are an excellent way to check on the condition of both residents and the facility itself. A lack of contact with friends and family can leave elderly nursing home residents vulnerable to nursing home neglect.
How To Take Action Against Nursing Home Negligence
When neglect or mistreatment does occur, it’s important to act quickly and decisively to prevent further harm. The first course of action is to report any incident of neglect to facility administrators or the authorities.
After filing the initial report, the next step may be to get legal advice from an experienced attorney.
Through civil lawsuits, nursing homes can be held legally liable for the harm residents suffered due to neglect. In cases where the resident has died because of the action or inaction of the nursing home staff, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed.
When Is it Best to Sue a Nursing Home for Negligence?
The process of suing a nursing home for negligence should begin as soon as possible. If you are seeking to file a nursing home lawsuit for negligence, the first step is to connect with an experienced lawyer. They can help you file a complaint against the facility or staff.
This complaint is a legal document and includes detailed information, including:
- An explanation of how the victim was hurt
- Relevant facts relating to the incidents of neglect
- The names of involved parties
Suing a nursing home for negligence can help you and your family afford medical treatment and other expenses.
It can also prevent others from suffering from neglect in the future. Nursing homes that have been sued may change policies to improve the level of care and avoid more lawsuits.
However, you might not be able to take legal action if you wait too long after the neglect takes place. Laws known as statutes of limitations prevent lawsuits from being filed after a certain span of time. Personal injury lawyers can help you file your case within these deadlines.
How Much Can You Sue a Nursing Home for Neglect?
The amount of financial compensation available through a nursing home neglect lawsuit varies with each case. A study by the peer-reviewed journal Health Affairs found that nursing home lawsuits awarded $406,000 on average.
An experienced nursing home abuse lawyer can help maximize your compensation if you have an eligible claim.
Ready to take the next step? Call (800) 896-7040 to speak to our trusted advocates today.
Hold Negligent Nursing Homes Accountable
Nursing homes and their staff occupy a position of trust. When that trust is broken, it can have devastating consequences for residents and families. If the appropriate duty of care is not being met at your loved one’s facility, you may need to take legal action to protect them.
Learn more about suing a nursing home for negligence — get a free legal case review today.
Questions About Suing a Nursing Home for Negligence
What are some reasons to sue a nursing home?
Reasons to sue a nursing home include being able to:
- Afford medical care: Compensation from a lawsuit can cover the victim’s medical expenses.
- Hold facilities accountable: Lawsuits can help start the healing process as you’ll be able to take real action against the nursing home.
- Enact change: Suing a nursing home may force them to make changes to policies so other residents are not harmed.
Suing a nursing home for negligence may seem intimidating, but it is often a vital step in helping you and your loved ones.
Can you sue for COVID-19 nursing home deaths?
Yes. If someone you loved died in a nursing home due to the coronavirus, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the facility.
Wrongful death nursing home lawsuits related to COVID-19 have already started to be filed across the country. For example, in March 2021, the family of a Florida nursing home resident filed a lawsuit after the resident developed COVID-19 and later passed away.
According to a report from the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), staff members at the facility failed to wear masks and were not trained to use other protective equipment. Staff also failed to properly notify the residents’ families about the outbreak.
What’s the first step to filing a nursing home negligence lawsuit?
The first step to file a nursing home neglect lawsuit is to connect with a law firm.
Nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers at these firms can assess your case for free and determine what actions you can take. From there, they can help you file a lawsuit if you qualify. There are never any upfront costs to work with a lawyer.
Learn more about working with a lawyer today — get a free case review.