Elderly or disabled adults who are no longer able to take care of themselves can require special medical treatment and constant care, often needing the kind of attention given in a nursing home setting.

Putting care of a relative into the hands of strangers, however, runs the risk of abuse. When you think a family member might be dealing with abuse, speak with a King of Prussia nursing home abuse lawyer as soon as possible. A knowledgeable personal injury attorney could tell you what steps to take to help your loved one.

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Abuse can harm elderly residents both mentally and physically, both from intentional mistreatment and improper or insufficient care.

For example, unsanitary or unsafe conditions in a facility can constitute nursing home abuse even when the creation of those conditions was not malicious. A lack of nutrition, medication, or supervision can also be abusive without intending to harm a resident. At the same time, malicious behavior, such as stealing a resident’s money or property or acting against a resident’s interests, can cause similar abuse and harm.

The very first thing anyone should do when they suspect abuse is to stop the harmful situation, if possible. They should call 911 and get their relative physically away from the problem, especially when there is immediate danger. A transfer to a different facility might be necessary, which an attorney can make happen by coordinating with police and the state’s Department of Social Services.

Once the relative is safe, a King of Prussia nursing home abuse lawyer could advise on what to do next.

Legal Recourse for Elder Abuse in a Facility

Depending on the abuse involved, a lawsuit may be based on negligence, the legal term for someone acting unreasonably and causing harm to another person. Negligence requires proof of four elements:

  • A duty of care,
  • Breach of the duty
  • Causation of injury
  • The injury is expressed as damages

In a nursing home, caregivers and the facility have a duty to care for the residents, and a breach of that duty could be a lack of care or the failure of management to oversee misbehaving employees. The person filing suit must show the breach caused the relevant injuries, which must be expressible as legal damages such as medical costs, pain and suffering, and costs of removing the resident from the abusive situation.

Comparative negligence laws apply in personal injury cases. These laws assign a percentage of fault to everyone involved in a case, including the person bringing the suit. When the injured person is negligent and partly at fault for their injuries, their recovery can be lessened proportionally to their own negligence. For example, when a court finds them 30 percent responsible, their award for damages will be 30 percent smaller. An injured person may not recover any damages per 42 Pa. Con. Stat. Ann. § 7102 when their fault is over 50 percent.

Most personal injury actions must be filed within two years of the injury as required by the state statute of limitations outlined in 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 5524. People who do not file their suit in time can, and likely will, lose their legal right to compensation. A lawyer in King of Prussia with experience in nursing home abuse cases could ensure a suit is filed before the deadline.

Discuss Claims for Nursing Home Abuse With an Attorney

Keeping an elderly relative safe in a nursing home can mean noticing things that do not seem right and taking action on their behalf. Fortunately, you do not have to confront the possibility of abuse alone.

With a King of Prussia nursing home abuse lawyer by your side, you can protect a nursing home resident from abusive and dangerous situations and fight back with a legal claim. Call today to schedule a free consultation.