Either the actual elderly resident or their family on behalf of the nursing home resident can sue for nursing home abuse.
Power of Attorney
If you placed your elderly loved one in a nursing home and later discovered that they suffered any kind of abuse or neglect as a resident of that nursing home, you likely feel frustrated, angry, and overwhelmed. In some cases, an elderly resident of a nursing home will have all legal rights to bring a claim on their own behalf. Simply because an elderly senior family member enters a nursing home does not mean that they lack the mental capacity to make decisions on their own behalf.
However, in other circumstances, a family member will obtain power of attorney over their elderly family member in a nursing home. The American Bar Association (ABA) explains that a power of attorney is a legally binding document that gives one person the legal right to make decisions on behalf of another person. In most cases, this is a trusted person and likely a close family member. While there are different types of power of attorney, the appointee becomes an agent on behalf of the appointer (the elderly family member) and will make decisions and handle any substantial legal, or possible medical, decisions.
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Suing for Nursing Home Abuse
If you discover that your elderly family member suffered any kind of abuse as a resident of a nursing home, and you also have legal power of attorney with respect to your elderly family member, you have the right to bring a lawsuit on their behalf to receive justice and compensation for any of their injuries and losses. Again, it is important to note that an elderly resident of a nursing home will have the right to bring a legal claim on their own behalf if there is no power of attorney and they have the mental capacity to file a legal claim in a court of law.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
It is important to realize that there are several different types of nursing home abuse for which you may have the ability to sue a nursing home. The types of nursing home abuse are as follows:
Physical Nursing Home Abuse
Physical nursing home abuse includes any kind of physical harm that an elderly person receives from a nursing home employee. This could include slapping, hitting, physically restraining, burning, cutting, bruising, or harming an elderly resident in any way. Some of the types of signs and symptoms of nursing home physical abuse include dehydration, malnutrition, cuts, bruises, hair loss, broken bones, broken eyeglasses, bedsores, physical markings showing signs of restraint, infections or illnesses without explanation, sexually transmitted diseases, or lack of personal hygiene.
Psychological Nursing Home Abuse
Psychological abuse in a nursing home can include any threats of coercion or physical harm, intimidation, harassment, belittling, humiliating, or overall terror that a nursing home employee would inflict upon a nursing home resident. Some of the signs and symptoms of psychological or emotional nursing home abuse may appear in an elderly resident as behavioral changes, sudden outbursts of anger or rage, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, low personal hygiene, regressive behaviors, changes in eating or sleeping, or a sudden, unexplained fear or unease around nursing home staff.
Financial Nursing Home Abuse
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that financial abuse is the illegal, improper, or unauthorized use of finances of the elderly. Financial nursing home abuse can occur in a nursing home environment as the staff continually comes in and out of the rooms of the elderly residents. While they have the right to do this in order to reposition residents or deliver food, water, and medication, they do not have the right to steal any personal belongings or abuse their power over an elderly person for profit. Some of the signs of financial nursing home abuse may include missing personal items, missing credit cards of cash, missing jewelry, or sudden and unexpected changes to an elderly person’s estate planning documents.
Consider Consulting with a Nursing Home Lawyer
You have the legal right to sue for nursing home abuse on behalf of your elderly loved one if you have power of attorney. Your elderly loved one has the legal right to sue on their own behalf if they have the legal and mental capacity to do so. Either way, if your elderly loved one suffered injuries as a result of nursing home abuse, they have the legal right to pursue justice. Consider consulting with our nursing home lawyers at Ben Crump Law, PLLC at (800) 959-1444 who can help you understand all of your legal options.