Nursing home residents deserve to feel safe and well cared for. In some cases, however, a nursing home’s staff may take advantage of a resident’s reduced physical or mental capabilities and either cause or threaten to cause them harm.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms that elder abuse is a serious problem in our country, but cases of physical abuse (assault) and other types of elder abuse often go unreported because elderly people are afraid or unable to report the violence. By knowing how to identify the signs of physical harm—or the threat thereof—you can help keep your loved one safe from abuse.
Defining Physical Abuse in a Nursing Home
The legal interpretation of physical abuse (assault) based on the state you live in. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), assault is most frequently defined as the process through which one party instills fear of harm in another. This definition makes it clear that assault may not only be the physical act of harming someone, but also the act of threatening someone or otherwise implying harm.
Defining physical abuse (assault) in a nursing home broadens this concept even further. Your loved one’s caretakers are responsible for the physical and medical well-being of their patients. Assault can come in multiple forms, including physical, verbal, or medical. For example, you may have a case for assault if you and a legal team can prove that a caretaker was providing inappropriate medication, incorrect medications, or withholding medications altogether.
Other types of physical abuse (assault) include:
- Inappropriate restraint
- Unnecessary confinement
The intention to cause harm marries these situations, even if the acts were not premeditated.
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Identifying Physical Abuse in a Nursing Home
It can be difficult to determine a third party’s intentions towards someone you care about. To identify assault, you will need to determine:
- Whether or not the person’s behavior was meant to cause fear, harm, or offense
- Whether or not the person’s behavior convinced the receiving party that harm was inevitable without compliance
Again, threats that are not acted on can just as readily be classified as physical abuse (assault) as actual acts of violence.
That said, it is often simpler to identify signs of physical abuse (assault) when there is physical evidence. Examples of signs that something may be amiss at your loved one’s nursing home include:
- Broken or fractured bones
- Damaged clothing or belongings
- Unexplained injuries
- Hair loss
- Expressions of fear or apprehension
- Symptoms of depression or anxiety
Keep track of any caretakers who your loved one refuses to interact with or who other patients and families express concerns about. You should not hold these parties accountable in the moment, but you can reach out to a legal team to discuss the options that will protect and compensate your loved one.
Your Legal Rights
If you believe that your loved one is suffering at the hands of nursing home caretakers, you may want to seek legal help. You have a right, in these circumstances, to request:
- Investigations into the nursing home’s operations and treatment of residents
- Explanations of the involved parties’ liability
- Eyewitness accounts detailing day-to-day encounters between your loved one and nursing home staff, as well as any other notable examples of intimidation or assault
If you believe you have a physical abuse (assault) case, a nursing home abuse lawyer can help you take legal action, including filing a claim and requesting compensation. The compensation may be able to receive will vary based on the severity of the case at hand. That is why it is often helpful to speak with a legal professional before going to court or trying to reach a settlement on your own.
Depending on the details of your case, possible compensation may include:
- Medical expenses for treating wounds or injuries received in an assault
- Psychological counseling related to the assault
- Financial losses
- Your loved one and family’s pain and suffering
- Your loved one and family’s mental anguish
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Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Today
You do not have to let your loved one suffer mistreatment any longer. Contact our team at Ben Crump Law, PLLC to discuss your case and learn more about the actions you can take against the involved parties. We work on a contingency basis, which means our services are free of charge unless and until you win your case and receive compensation.
At Ben Crump Law, PLLC, we do not shy away from difficult cases. If you suspect your loved one was a victim of physical abuse (assault) in a nursing home, call us at 800-959-1444 today.
Call or text 800-712-9119 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form