Hidden surveillance cameras in nursing homes are legal in Kentucky. Like most other jurisdictions, the Bluegrass State is a single party consent state. Only one party to a conversation must consent to a video or audio recording (i.e. “I give myself permission to record this conversation”). A few other states, mostly in the Northeast and on the West Coast, are two party consent states.
Additionally, even if hidden surveillance cameras were illegal in Kentucky, such footage could be admissible in civil court. Rules regarding the exclusion of illegally-obtained evidence only apply in criminal court. However, if a party used illegal means to obtain evidence, that party’s credibility is often suspect, at best.
Camera footage makes neglect and abuse claims easier to prove in court, and in some cases, such cameras could even deter negligent or abusive behavior. However, when the unthinkable happens, only a Lexington personal injury attorney can obtain maximum compensation. That’s because an attorney is both a good litigator and a good negotiator. So, it doesn’t matter if the claim goes to trial or, as is more likely the case, is settled out of court.
Abuse and Neglect in Nursing Homes
This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Although there is one type of compensation, these two types of injuries have different remedies in civil court.
Abuse is an intentional injury. There’s a difference between intentional and malicious. The Joker and his gang didn’t maliciously vandalize this art, but they did intentionally deface it. Nursing home abuse comes in several forms, including:
- Physical: Most nursing home residents are in poor physical condition. That’s usually why they are in long-term care facilities. As a result, a seemingly insignificant amount of force, like a shove or push, could cause a serious injury.
- Emotional: Forced and extended isolation is one of the most common forms of emotional abuse in nursing homes. Many residents are isolated as punishment or because there is no one to supervise them. Hateful words, like “Everyone has forgotten you,” are abusive as well.
- Financial: Caregiver financial abuse scams, like tricking older adults into signing legal documents, are relatively rare in nursing homes. Simple theft, like stealing money or valuables, is much more common. Institutional financial abuse could be an issue as well. Some nursing homes launch baseless guardianship proceedings, hoping to gain control over the resident’s assets.
Neglect is an unintentional injury. People normally don’t intentionally run red lights and cause car crashes. But this behavior is negligent. Examples of nursing home negligence include:
- Malnutrition: As people get older, their senses degrade. Since food no longer looks, smells, or tastes as good, many residents don’t eat properly. Severe malnutrition could cause a number of injuries. Mild or moderate malnutrition usually worsens other injuries. Weak bodies don’t heal as well as stronger ones.
- Bedsores: Pressure ulcers cannot develop if the person turns over in bed about once every two hours. However, for various reasons, many residents cannot reposition themselves. If staff members don’t turn them over, bedsores develop. These open sores quickly become life-threatening.
- Falls: Understaffing often contributes to nursing home falls. There’s no one to help residents get around or keep them from wandering into construction zones or other dangerous areas. Furthermore, as mentioned, residents are often frail and often prone to serious injury.
The nursing home owner is usually responsible for both abuse and neglect injuries.
Granny Cam Pros
As mentioned, surveillance camera footage is usually admissible in court. Furthermore, as long as the camera was working properly and an attorney lays the proper evidentiary foundation, this evidence is often bulletproof in court. It also resonates well with tech-savvy Fayette County jurors.
Furthermore, cameras often have a prophylactic (protective) effect, at least in some cases. Employees are normally on their best behavior if they know, or think, someone is watching. The opposite is often true as well. Frequently, when the cat’s away, the mice will play.
Granny Cam Cons
In other cases, cameras have the opposite effect. Bosses usually watch employees because they believe they might do something wrong. Lack of trust, or a received lack of trust, often lowers morale.
Morale is already dangerously low at many long-term care facilities. That’s especially true if the nursing home is understaffed and the employees who remain are overworked. That’s the case in about 90 percent of the nursing homes in Kentucky.
Injury victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no insurance or money. #goodelawyers