If you have placed a loved one in a nursing home or assisted-living community, the last thing you want to hear is that the people who are being paid to care for your loved one have dropped the ball and been negligent in some way. If you find yourself in this situation, you need to identify what constitutes negligence in the nursing home setting. Negligence is characterized by both acts and omissions.
At Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, we help residents and their families hold nursing homes accountable for the injuries they cause through neglect and abuse. Our nursing home neglect lawyers have more than 100 years of combined experience. Our firm has recovered millions in settlements and verdicts for our clients.
Contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced nursing home abuse and neglect attorney.
What is a Nursing Home?
Generally, a nursing home is a facility that provides shelter, food and care for the elderly and infirm. Different terms are used to describe nursing home facilities, such as rest homes, old age homes, convalescent homes, special care facilities, assisted living facilities and retirement facilities.
Nursing homes are often thought of as facilities for the elderly. While it is true that a majority of nursing home residents are 65 years of age or older, a person of any age who is mentally or physically dependent for care can be a resident of a nursing home.
Although these facilities provide health care by trained professionals, they are not hospitals and may have different requirements under state and federal law. A common requirement is that nursing homes must provide a general standard of care based on what is provided by similar caregivers and facilities in the community. Facilities that do not meet this general standard of care may be liable for nursing home abuse or neglect if a resident is harmed because of it.
What is Nursing Home Neglect?
Nursing home negligence means that doctors, nurses, therapists, aides, dietitians or other health-care professionals in a facility failed to provide care that meets the required standard, and a resident was injured as a result. Negligent care or abuse of nursing home residents is inexcusable. When it causes injury to residents, the law provides for civil claims for damages.
Nursing home and other health-care facilities must exercise reasonable care to avoid injury to their patients’ physical and mental states. These facilities have special knowledge about the ailments of their residents, and they are expected to respond accordingly to prevent further harm. When reasonable care and prevention are not provided, a nursing home facility may be held liable.
These facilities may also be held liable when their employees are negligent and cause injuries. Negligence on the part of the facility can extend to:
- Negligent acts of employees.
- Negligent supervision of employees.
- Negligent hiring.
- Negligent employee retention.
- Negligent maintenance of facilities and equipment.
Civil Claims for Nursing Home Negligence
If your loved one has been injured through nursing home negligence, you may have a claim against the care facility for institutional elder abuse. Your claim may be an ordinary negligence or negligence per se action.
Four elements must be met to have a claim for ordinary negligence:
- The nursing home has a duty to the resident (often through contract).
- The nursing home has breached its duty (deviation from the contractual or statutory standard of care).
- The breach of duty has caused the resident’s injuries (injuries were caused by the facility or would not have occurred except for the actions of the facility).
- The resident suffered damages (health-care expenses, pain and suffering, mental anguish, diminished capacity to enjoy life).
In order to have a negligence per se claim, the plaintiff must belong to a class of individuals protected by statute. Violation of the statute is negligence as a matter of law. State and federal statutes establish minimum standards of care for nursing homes concerning their facilities, care of residents, and hiring and supervision of employees. When these standards are not met, a claim may be brought for negligence per se.
Older Americans Act
State and federal law establishes requirements for nursing home facilities to protect residents from mistreatment or abuse. The Older Americans Act defines elder abuse, neglect and exploitation, and sets a framework for states to follow. The act identifies three types of elder abuse: self-neglect or abuse, domestic abuse and institutional abuse. Institutional abuse is the main type of abuse that occurs in nursing homes.
Abuse can be emotional or physical. Emotional abuse is an intentional act that causes emotional pain to another. Yelling at a resident, threatening physical abuse, isolating or insulting a resident, or denying food or privileges as a form of punishment are examples of emotional abuse.
Physical abuse may consist of injuries such as bodily harm, malnutrition, bedsores, poor hygiene and deprivation of medical care. Physical injuries often lead to claims for negligence.
Legal Help for Victims of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect on Long Island
If you suspect that your loved one in a nursing home has been neglected or abused, your best course of action is to consult with a seasoned Long Island personal injury attorney. The Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP offers a free case consultation with no obligation.
Our lawyers can evaluate your case and advise you of the best way to proceed. We are selective about the cases we accept, but you can rest assured that if we take your case, we will fight aggressively to hold the negligent facility accountable and for the maximum compensation you are entitled to receive.
Contact us now to get our dedicated legal team on your side.
For a free legal consultation with a negligence lawyer serving Long Island, call 516-358-6900