Nursing home abuse, both physical and sexual, is a major problem in the U.S. In 2001, the Special Investigations Division of the Committee on Government Reform issued a special report on the prevalence of abuse in nursing homes.
According to the report, one out of every three nursing homes in the U.S. was cited for an abuse violation over a two year period. Elder abuse in nursing homes is particularly problematic because like child abuse, the victims are often unable to communicate the abuse. Many cases of abuse will go unreported. Sadly, elder abuse can and often does result in significant injury or death.
Nursing homes can be liable for physical or sexual abuse of its residents under the laws of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The two most common types of claims made against a nursing home are 1) negligent hiring/retention and 2) failure to provide a safe environment after having notice of abuse issues.
Nursing homes which employ violent predators will often face liability for failing to conduct proper background checks or failing to follow up on complaints by other residents or employees. Employees or residents may complain to administrators about other employees who assault residents. Nursing home administrators may fail to conduct investigations into those complaints and simply ignore them. When this occurs, the nursing home will almost always bear liability when that employee assaults or attacks another resident.
Failure to Provide a Safe Environment
Nursing homes which fail to provide a safe environment for its residents may face liability in situations when another resident or employee who is known to have previously assaulted others commits another assault.
For example, residents with dementia or depression/anxiety may be violent towards other residents. Nursing homes which fail to act appropriately in such situations may face liability if that resident injures another resident. This also applies to employees who are violent towards residents. Put simply, nursing homes are required to provide a reasonably safe environment for its residents and this includes protecting residents from employees and other residents.
In some cases, nursing homes may be liable for punitive damages. This is a special type of claim which seeks to punish a defendant for behavior which shows a conscious disregard for the health and safety of others. Abuse of elderly residents, when known and/or ignored, may meet this standard.
To submit your case for review by our Pennsylvania and New Jersey lawyers who represent victims abused by professionals, call Click To Call. Our lawyers are available for a free, no obligation legal consultation, and can obtain special admission in other states, such as New York or Delaware, on a case by case basis.
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