The nursing home setting is no stranger to instances of mistreatment. Every year, millions of nursing home residents are victims of horrendous abuse and neglect from employees, facility owners, and third-parties. From malnutrition to mental abuse, elderly residents are at risk of a wide range of traumatic events at the hands of negligent and abusive professionals. If your elderly loved one has suffered physical or psychological injury in a nursing home, find out who may be liable.
Identify the Source and Cause of Resident Injury
The first step toward discovering who is liable for nursing home injury is investigating the source of the injury. Tracing an injury back to its root cause will clarify who could be at fault. For example, a resident developing bedsores points to negligence on the part of the personnel in charge of the resident’s daily hygiene and care. A case of malnutrition, on the other hand, is more likely the facility’s fault for failing to provide proper meals to residents.
In most cases, Texas courts will hold a nursing home facility strictly liable for the actions or inactions of its staff members. An employer or manager has a duty to provide a reasonably safe environment for residents, properly train workers, and address resident needs. The court might hold a nursing home liable for an injury in cases involving:
- Negligent hiring procedures or staff training.
- Failure to monitor staff.
- Failure to provide adequate building security.
- Failure to provide daily living necessities to residents.
- Negligent medical care.
- Failure to protect from safety and health hazards.
- Unreasonable physical restraints.
- Intentional abuse by staff members.
In each of these situations, the nursing home would be at fault for resultant personal injuries. The law requires a nursing home or elderly care facility to uphold standards for the mental, physical, and psychosocial wellbeing of residents. Any shortcoming, breach of duty, or intentional harm that leads to a nursing home or its staff failing this legal duty is grounds for a personal injury lawsuit against the facility. If a plaintiff can show that a nursing home’s negligence played a role in a resident’s injury, the court may hold the facility liable for all consequent damages.
There are several types of nursing home abuse and neglect that may stem from third-party negligence. A defective piece of medical equipment, for example, would lead to third-party liability for patient injury instead of the nursing home. Common third-parties involved in nursing home injury cases are staff members, outside contractors, manufacturing companies, and visitors. In some cases, naming the defendant can be difficult. A case of food poisoning, for instance, might result from negligent nursing home kitchen sanitation or a defect from the food supplier. Hiring a nursing home abuse attorney is the best way to investigate an injury and identify the correct defendant(s).
There have been cases of elderly financial abuse in Texas that involve visitors or trespassers to the nursing home. A family “friend” or neighbor may hear of a wealthy elderly resident and visit the nursing home to conduct fraud. The visitor might threaten or abuse the resident until the perpetrator gets what he or she wants – bank account information, a blank check, or a changed last will and testament. In this case, the nursing home may be responsible for negligent security or the individual is liable for abuse.
If you suspect nursing home abuse, take your loved one out of the facility immediately. Report the incident to the police, explaining why you suspect abuse or neglect. Then, call an attorney to assist you in investigating the injury and identifying the party that might be liable.