Ohio Revised Code 3721.13 is known as the nursing home residents’ bill of rights and which provides for the protection of nursing home residents. Legally, nursing home residents are entitled to a safe and clean living environment, and to be free from physical, verbal, mental, and emotional abuse.
If a resident suffers harm due to neglect or substandard care, the nursing home may be liable for a breach of duty that it owes to its residents or for nursing home neglect.
Nursing home neglect is different from elder abuse. While elder abuse involves intent to injure, nursing home neglect is based on the negligence of the person who is caring for the elder.
Types of Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse
This refers to a situation where the nursing home fails in its duty to provide sufficient care, treatment, prevention, or medication for a resident’s concerns — such as infections, bed sores, cuts, cognitive diseases, and mobility problems.
Basic Needs Neglect
Where the nursing home fails to provide adequate food, water, or a safe and clean environment to a resident, there may be a case of basic needs neglect. Common signs of this type of neglect are malnutrition and dehydration.
Physical or Emotional Abuse
A nursing home may be liable for physical or emotional abuse when nursing home staff subject the elderly person to verbal abuse, threatens, or causes the resident to suffer a physical injury.
Identifying Persons Liable for Nursing Home Neglect
In a nursing home neglect case, it’s important to determine the negligent act that caused injury to the elder. The negligence can stem from the acts of specific personnel of the nursing home such as:
- An aide
- Home Administrator (where there are failures in the home’s policies and procedures)
The nursing home business entity is ultimately responsible if any of its employees are found negligent, and will carry liability insurance to cover their acts.
Claiming Compensation for Severe Emotional or Physical Trauma
When an elder resident is injured in a nursing home, they may be entitled to compensation for the cost of medical services and for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, and emotional distress. A negligence claim must be asserted against the nursing home, which is responsible for the negligently-caused harms and injuries of its employees.
If the injury-causing event was an intentional act, then there may be elder abuse, which is subject to both civil and criminal penalties.
Making a Claim Against an Elders Caretaker and Care Facility
If an elderly loved one is injured by their caretaker while in a care facility, he or she may present a claim against both the caretaker and the facility’s corporate entity for the caretaker’s acts of negligence. When presenting a claim for negligence, the care facility and its insurance carrier will defend the claims against the employee and elect whether to pay valid claims. For strategic reasons, the facility’s business entity may be named as the defendant, not the negligent individual.
In cases of elder abuse, both the individual employee and the business entity can be sued for intentional and reckless acts of abuse.
Importance of an Elder Abuse Attorney
A negligence case against the nursing home or care facility is not only for obtaining compensation but also for correcting erroneous or harmful practices in the facility. It involves knowledge of legal procedure and experience in presenting claims of an elder abuse attorney. Certain legal requirements must be followed to establish both liability and damages.
Preparing for a nursing home neglect or elder abuse case involves important steps, such as gathering and securing evidence promptly, and delivering a “Notice to Preserve Evidence,” both of which are best left to an experienced personal injury attorney to initiate.
The Notice to Preserve evidence is a legal document addressed to a management-level employee at the nursing home, which requires the nursing home or care facility not to destroy, alter, or lose specified forms of evidence.
Evidence that must be preserved include indoor and outdoor surveillance video, names of witnesses, communications between the nursing home staff and the resident’s family, internal communications, treatment records and related documents. Our firm will typically secure recordings of any 911 calls made in connection with the resident’s transfer to a medical facility for emergency medical services.
Securing Records and Expert Witnesses
An experienced attorney can also take care of securing government records about the home, ensuring the state investigators are informed of the injury-causing event, and conduct state-mandated investigations.
Condeni Law will also have access to medical experts who can establish the liability of the facility and the extent of the victim’s injuries and harms.
Through the services of an experienced nursing home neglect attorney, the elder’s family can enforce the rights of their loved one, obtain fair compensation for the injury, and correct bad policy and procedures of the nursing home.
Contact us today for a free consultation (216) 771-1760.