One of the worst feelings in the world is not being able to protect your elderly parent. Making the decision to move a parent into a nursing home or assisted living facility because you are unable to provide them the care they need is an excruciatingly difficult decision. Hearing that they are the victim of abuse at the hands of a nursing home employee can make the situation one thousand times worse. So, who can be held accountable for your loved one’s nursing home abuse?
Regulations in place to protect nursing home residents
There are regulations at both the federal and state levels that protect nursing home residents from abuse and that outline how care is supposed to be administered. These regulations include that all nursing home residents have a right to dignity and respect. If a nursing home fails to comply with any statute regarding care it can be held negligent in court.
Employees can be held liable
Right away, you likely want to hold the employee who abused your loved one liable. The employee is hired by the nursing home to provide reasonable duty of care to every resident of the facility. If the employee acts negligently, he or she could be named in a lawsuit filed on behalf of the abused resident.
At the same time, the nursing home that employed the defendant could also be held liable because of vicarious liability. Under vicarious liability, the negligent acts of the employee can be transferred to the facility itself, therefore adding them to the case since they hired the employee.
The nursing home or facility can be held liable
Aside from holding an individual employee liable for abuse, the entire nursing home or facility can be held liable. This is what’s known as corporate negligence. A facility can be held negligent in an abuse case if the entire organization was found to act negligently and not just one individual or small group of employees.
In order to prove such a claim in court, the plaintiff would need to show evidence that the facility knew of the problem that led to the abuse or other type of harm. This is what’s known as constructive notice. Constructive notice is present when a period of similar behavior was present and the entity should have known or did know about it.
Nursing home residents are owed a duty
Every single nursing home resident is owed a duty of care from the facility where they reside. This includes the following:
- Provide reasonable care that its facilities and all equipment inside them are safe
Hire and keep a staff that is competent
Monitor the care provided by the staff
Create and enforce policies and rules that require staff members to provide adequate care