In many ways nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect are the same. After all, injury is injury. Legally, however, there is a big difference that could matter significantly to your family. Neglect is an unintentional tort. Abuse is an intentional tort. As a result, compensation is usually higher in abuse claims.
Nursing home owners are usually responsible for both kinds of injuries. The respondeat superior theory usually applies in negligence cases. Intentional torts often involve negligent supervision or negligence hiring.
So, a Lexington personal injury attorney obtains both compensation and justice for nursing home abuse victims. The compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Legal actions also force nursing home owners to change their operations and value resident safety above easy profits.
Usually, physical abuse involves pushing a resident into a bed, blocking a resident’s path, or pulling a resident out of bed. Staffers use very little force. But most long-term care residents are so physically fragile that a little bit of force causes a serious injury.
Some people use “granny cams,” or hidden surveillance cameras, to watch their loved ones in nursing homes. Granny cams are legal in Kentucky. The Bluegrass State is a one-party consent jurisdiction. Only one party must give permission to record the conversation or other interaction.
Such a camera might be a good idea. All forms of nursing home abuse are vastly under-reported. Some residents have memory or perception issues. Many others voluntarily keep quiet. Perhaps they fear retaliation or perhaps they don’t want the abuser to get into trouble.
We have all said things that we regret in the heat of the moment. Usually, we do not maliciously say these things. But these words are intentional, and they do hurt. Legally, an isolated insult might not constitute abuse. However, a repeated pattern, even if it involves the same actor and different residents, is another story.
When we say things that hurt people, we are responsible for what we say. The same thing applies in court. In this context, that responsibility includes paying compensation and working to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
It’s hard to believe that sexual abuse happens in Kentucky nursing homes. But it does. And, it occurs in various forms.
Frequently, unscrupulous staffers force residents to watch pornography or witness sex acts. Other times, the residents themselves are the physical victims.
Indications of sexual abuse include torn undergarments, behavior changes, and an unsettling knowledge about sex acts. If you see any red flags, whether it be sexual abuse or any other kind of abuse, always take your concerns to the nursing home administrator. If the administrator is evasive or hesitates to respond, that usually means the administrator is trying to hide something.
On a related note, always believe residents when they report abuse, even something like sexual abuse. It’s okay to take these reports with a grain of salt. But never blow them off completely.
This final form of abuse could come in several different forms as well. Contrary to popular myth, financial abuse is not limited to private caregiver settings.
Stealing money or valuables is the most obvious form of financial abuse. In court, the nursing home is not just responsible for the value of lost property. It’s also responsible for the emotional distress the theft caused.
Other unscrupulous staffers gain residents’ trust and then trick them into signing documents or sending money. Document fraud sometimes takes place at a higher level as well. More on that below. Furthermore, most residents are willing to give their financial information to people they think they can trust. The most common money-sending scam is some variation of “your grandson is in jail and needs bail money.”
Upper-level document fraud sometimes means unnecessary guardianship proceedings. This form of financial abuse is a growing trend in many areas. The nursing home tries to become the resident’s legal guardian. If that happens, the nursing home also has almost total control over the resident’s financial affairs. These scams are especially common if family members are unable to visit as frequently as they’d like to.
Nursing home owners are responsible for the safety of their residents. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. Virtual and after-hours visits are available. #goodelawyers