How Can Legal Actions Help Nursing Home Abuse Victims?

by | Jul 27, 2022 | Nursing Home Abuse And Neglect

Statistics about nursing home abuse are normally quite unreliable. These facilities do not report over 80 percent of the abuse cases they suspect. That’s only part of the story. Most nursing home abuse victims do not report these incidents either. Sometimes, they are too incapacitated, by age, infirmary, medication, or a combination thereof, to realize what has happened to them. Other times, they are afraid the abuser will get in trouble and retaliate against them.

So, if you visit a friend or loved one in a Kentucky nursing home and see any evidence of abuse, such as a victim’s abuse story, always follow up with the nursing home administrator. If the nursing home administrator fails to properly follow-up, reach out to a Lexington personal injury attorney. Bullies and abusers usually thrive when no one says anything. If they know someone is watching, they usually stop.

Types of Nursing Home Abuse

Abusers and bullies come in many forms and use many different tactics. Some of the most common forms of nursing home abuse are:

  • Physical: As mentioned, many nursing home residents are quite infirm. Additionally, most have pre-existing medical conditions. Therefore, a tiny bit of force, such as a push or a pull, could cause a serious injury.
  • Emotional: According to an old adage, “sticks and stones may break my bones but names can never hurt me.” Most of us know that’s not true. It’s also not true under Kentucky law. Victims may recover compensation for intentional infliction of emotional distress, as well as negligent infliction of emotional distress.
  • Financial: Stealing money from a resident’s room and other forms of individual financial abuse are just as distressing as telling a resident “no one loves you.” Institutional financial abuse could be an issue as well. Some nursing home administrators launch guardianship proceedings, to basically steal money from residents.

There is a difference between nursing home abuse injuries, like the incidents discussed above, and nursing home neglect injuries, like a bedsore. Abuse is intentional and neglect is unintentional.

Furthermore, there is a difference between intentional and malicious. That’s especially true in nursing home abuse situations. Many nursing home employees become frustrated about other things, such as low staffing at a nursing home. Then, they take out their frustrations on residents. That does not justify their conduct. But it does explain why the nursing home, as opposed to the abuser, is often financially responsible for damages in these cases.

These damages usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

Available Legal Theories

Vicarious liability theories help nursing home abuse victims. A legal action against an individual abuser is easy for a nursing home administrator to sweep under the rug. But an action against the nursing home itself is much different. These actions expose a pattern of wrongdoing, or at least a pattern of willful blindness. Either way, other residents are safer if victims pursue legal actions.

Negligent hiring is one possibility. Basically, negligent hiring is knowingly hiring an incompetent person for a job. Incompetency comes in many forms. It’s not limited to employment qualifications. Some people are incompetent because they have unstable personalities or a history of abusive behavior. Special rules usually apply if the incompetence is a prior criminal record.

Another possibility is negligent supervision. As the name implies, negligent supervision is usually the failure to properly supervise workers. When the cat’s away, the mice often play. 

Negligent supervision could also be a failure to properly react to an abuse or other allegations. Usually, nursing homes have a legal responsibility to promptly, thoroughly, transparently, and expeditiously investigate such matters. Furthermore, nursing homes have a duty to follow-up based solely on the results of that investigation.

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. Virtual, home, and hospital visits are available.