Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys

Protecting Seniors From Abuse and Neglect in Community Settings


Key Takeaways

  • Nursing home abuse occurs when caretakers harm residents in a nursing home or long-term care facility
  • Nursing home abuse includes physical, sexual, financial, and psychological abuse as well as physical neglect
  • Females, veterans, individuals with mental illness or dementia, and those physically disabled are at higher risk
  • Multiple parties can potentially be held responsible for paying damages in a nursing home abuse case
  • The statute of limitations for nursing home abuse cases is two years from the injury date

Nursing home abuse is a critical public health problem, with about 1 in 6 people ages 60 and older worldwide suffering from some form of abuse in a community setting. Nursing home abuse rates have only increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Experts predict nursing home abuse will continue as the population of those ages 60 and older is set to double in the next few decades. This abuse can lead to serious and potentially fatal injuries, psychological damage, financial harm, and loss of dignity.

If you or a loved one has suffered from nursing home abuse, help is available. Call 855-212-8200 to start your free, confidential case evaluation today.


Jump Ahead


What is Nursing Home Abuse?

Nursing home abuse is a type of abuse that happens when caretakers—aides, maintenance workers, nurses, and even doctors—harm residents in a nursing home or long-term care facility.

Nursing home abuse takes a variety of forms, including:

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Psychological abuse
  • Physical neglect
  • Financial abuse

Nursing home abuse can have a substantial and long-lasting effect on the victim. In addition to the physical harm caused by neglect and physical and sexual abuse, both these and other types of abuse can lead to depression, anxiety, PTSD, and isolation.

Knowing some of the signs and symptoms of nursing home abuse may help you intervene on a loved one’s behalf.

Examples of Nursing Home Abuse

Neglect

Neglect is when caretakers continuously or repeatedly fail to meet a resident’s basic needs. These needs include things like food, water, shelter, cleanliness, and healthcare.

Nursing homes with untrained staff or staffing shortages may put their residents at risk of serious neglect. This can lead to dehydration, pressure ulcers (bedsores), urinary tract infections, and sepsis, among other potentially deadly conditions.

A few of the most common signs of neglect include:

Those living in community settings can be at greater risk of serious harm from infections and dehydration, so chronic neglect can risk permanent injuries or even wrongful death.

Physical Abuse

Any intentional physical harm inflicted on a nursing home resident can be considered physical abuse.

Some examples of physical abuse include:

  • Pushing or shoving
  • Hitting or slapping
  • Kicking
  • Intentionally dropping or failing to support

Sometimes, the older adult may be unable to communicate the abuse to others. Or, they are pressured into silence by the perpetrator.

With this in mind, some common signs of physical abuse in nursing homes include:

  • Broken bones and fractures
  • Bruises, burns, and welts on the skin
  • Facial and dental injuries
  • Cuts, lacerations, and skin tears

Sexual Abuse

Nursing home sexual abuse includes any unwanted sexual activity against an elder. Residents in memory care facilities and those with certain medical conditions may be at higher risk as they are unable to consent to sexual activity.

Some common signs of elder sexual abuse may include:

  • Unexplained pelvic injuries
  • Trouble walking or sitting
  • Developing a new STD or STI
  • Torn, bloody, or stained underwear
  • Bruises or bleeding on the genitals or inner thighs
  • Complaints of irritation or pain in the anus or genitals
  • Panic attacks
  • Agitation
  • Withdrawal from social activities
  • Emotional distress
  • Inappropriate, unusual, or aggressive sexual behaviors
  • Attempts at self-harm

Sexual abuse of a nursing home resident may accompany other types of abuse, like physical, financial, and emotional abuse.

Financial Abuse

Nursing home financial abuse takes place when caregivers financially exploit the nursing home resident, whether by directly stealing from them or manipulating them into giving “gifts.”

Those in need of a nursing home or long-term care may require help managing their finances, making them especially vulnerable to exploitation and theft.

In a nursing home setting, financial abuse can include:

  • Stealing valuables
  • Taking control of a Power of Attorney (POA)
  • Using the victim’s credit cards
  • Requesting or taking cash
  • Charging too much for services provided
  • Forging checks in the victim’s name

Financial abuse can be tough to spot, and the consequences can be financially devastating. Many seniors who fall victim to financial abuse may develop depression or anxiety.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse happens when a nursing home resident is threatened, belittled, yelled at, insulted, or otherwise harassed.

Unlike physical abuse, emotional abuse doesn’t leave a visible mark on victims making it difficult to detect. This type of abuse may only be detected after the victim begins showing signs of depression, PTSD, or anxiety.

Some common signs of emotional or psychological abuse include:

  • Appearing afraid of their caregiver
  • Withdrawing from social activities
  • Isolating from friends and family members
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Appearing depressed or anxious
  • Neglecting self-care
  • Changes in eating patterns
  • Changes in sleeping patterns

If you suspect emotional abuse, you may want to monitor the caregiver’s behaviors to see whether they’re attempting to isolate your loved one from those who might notice something is wrong.


Risk Factors for Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing home abuse doesn’t discriminate—it occurs throughout the U.S. and affects both rich and poor as well as those from all ethnicities, races, religions, and walks of life.

However, there are certain risk factors that may put nursing home residents at an elevated risk of abuse, including:

  • Being female
  • Being a veteran
  • Having a mental illness
  • Having dementia or other memory issues
  • Being physically disabled
  • Identifying as LGBTQ+

If your loved one falls into one or more of these categories, keep a close watch on them and pay attention for any potential signs of abuse.


Who Can Be Held Liable for Nursing Home Abuse?

Even if nursing home abuse is perpetrated by just one person, there may be multiple parties that are potentially responsible for the abuse.

The Nursing Home

Because nursing homes are responsible for feeding, sheltering, and providing medical care to residents, they owe a heightened duty of care to all who live there.

In most nursing home abuse cases, the nursing home will be held at least partially responsible if damages are awarded.

Nursing homes may be held responsible for senior abuse due to:

  • Negligent training of staff
  • Negligent hiring of staff
  • Failing to properly supervise or monitor staff
  • Failing to adequately secure the nursing home facilities
  • Failure to provide daily necessities of living
  • Failure to provide needed medications
  • Failure to protect from health and safety hazards
  • Medical neglect
  • Imposition of unreasonable, unnecessary, or dangerous physical restraints

Nursing homes can also be held responsible for intentional abuse perpetrated by staff members.

The Caregiver

If abuse or neglect is perpetrated by a care provider or nursing home employee, both the caregiver and the nursing home may be liable for damages.

A Third Party

In some situations, a third party may be responsible for nursing home abuse. For example, if a nursing home resident suffered food poisoning or was harmed by a malfunctioning wheelchair, the vendor or manufacturer might be held liable.

If a nursing home uses a third-party company to provide security on the premises, this company may be responsible if a resident is assaulted or harmed by a visitor.


Types of Compensation Available in Nursing Home Abuse Cases

To prove liability in a nursing home abuse case, victims will need to prove three things:

  1. The nursing home and/or caregiver owed the resident a duty of care
  2. This duty was breached
  3. This breach caused physical, emotional, or financial damages to the victim

If you can prove each of these three factors, you may be able to recover compensatory and even punitive damages.

Compensatory Damages

These damages are designed to compensate you or your loved one for financial losses.

Compensatory damages can include:

  • Hospital costs
  • Other medical expenses
  • Funeral costs
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental and emotional distress
  • Other financial damages stemming from the abuse

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are designed to punish the nursing home and any other responsible parties to discourage future negligence. They are usually awarded in cases where the defendant’s behavior is especially heinous.


The Statute of Limitations for Nursing Home Abuse Cases

Under Virginia law, those who are injured by nursing home abuse must generally bring a lawsuit within two years of the injury date. Though there are some exceptions to this statute of limitations. This is one reason why it’s so important to consult a nursing home abuse attorney as soon as possible.


Building a Nursing Home Abuse Case

An experienced nursing home abuse lawyer can help you fight back against those who have harmed you or your loved one.

Suing a nursing home or caregiver can be a complex process, and an attorney who specializes in this area of law can help you create the strongest possible case and pursue the damages you’re owed.

Specifically, your attorney can:

  • Gather evidence to build your legal claim
  • Ensure your claim is filed within the statute of limitations
  • Request information from the nursing home through the discovery process
  • Fight to recover the highest amount of compensation available

Experienced nursing home abuse attorneys have firsthand knowledge of the impacts of abuse. If you or a loved one has been harmed while living in a nursing home or long-term care facility, your attorney can help you hold those responsible accountable for their actions.


Work With Our Experienced Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers

Holding senior living facilities accountable for negligence requires extensive research, time and expense. Fortunately, the nursing home abuse lawyers at Breit Biniazan are not afraid of putting in the work needed to prove your case. We live to outwork the other side, leading in the courtroom when the time comes. 

Was your loved one wronged by a senior living facility? Bring their abuses to light. Call 855-212-8200 to chat with our nursing home abuse lawyers.


Nursing Home Abuse FAQs

What rights do nursing home residents have?

Under federal law, residents of nursing homes that receive any Medicaid funding have the right to be free from verbal, sexual, physical, and mental abuse. They also have the right to be free from any physical or chemical restraint that is imposed for discipline or convenience. The only time a nursing home resident should be restrained is when it is necessary to treat a medical condition. Many states extend additional rights to nursing home residents, which vary from state to state.

Why does abuse happen in nursing homes?

There are many reasons for nursing home abuse. However, the two most common include understaffed facilities, and untrained, unsupervised, or unqualified staff. Residents may also be reluctant to report abuse due to fear of retaliation.

What type of evidence can be used to prove nursing home abuse?

Although every case is different, strong evidence of nursing home abuse can include: 
Medical records
Diaries or journals kept by the resident or close family members
Photos or videos detailing the physical injuries suffered
Notes summarizing conversations with the resident
Notes observing the resident’s physical or emotional condition
Photos of medications given or prescribed to the resident

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