Recovering from Injury

« Back to Home

Frequently Asked Questions About Nursing Home Abuse Cases

Posted on

If your loved one is being cared for in a nursing home and they become injured as a result of the nursing home's negligence, you or your loved one may be able to file a personal injury claim to recover money for their medical expenses and pain and suffering. However, if you have never found yourself in this position before, you may have many questions about nursing home abuse and personal injury claims. Here are a few frequently asked questions and the answers.

What Types of Incidents Qualify as Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect Cases?

There are many different incidents that occur in a nursing home that can qualify as abuse or neglect. Some of them are accidental, while others are not. Learning what types of incidents fall under this realm will better help you decide if your loved one may have a case or not. One type of incident that may be seen in nursing homes is over-medicating, under-medicating or giving a  patient the wrong medications. Another type of neglect case may stem from the patient falling because they weren't monitored when they were showering or walking. Another form of neglect or abuse may be not tending to a patient's hygiene, resulting in them getting bed sores, boils or other skin problems and infections. If the staff is supposed to be doing something, and they fail to do so resulting in injury to your loved one, whether on accident or on purpose, they have neglected the patient and a personal injury claim can be filed.

Can a Personal Injury Claim be Filed in Conjunction With a Criminal Case or Investigation? In some nursing home abuse or neglect cases, a criminal case may be pending or the person who injured your loved one may already be charged with a crime. If this is the case, you may find yourself wondering if you can still file a personal injury case. A criminal case is different than a civil case, which is what a personal injury case is. A criminal case is meant to punish the offender, while a civil case is meant to make a person whole following the accident by reimbursing them for their medical expenses and pain and suffering. As such, you can file a personal injury case if a criminal case is pending or has been filed. Additionally, keep in mind that there is a statute of limitations that limits the length of time you have to file this case. It varies from state to state, but generally, is one to three years. If you fail to bring a case about, even if you didn't know you could because of criminal charges, you will lose the right to any compensation you may have otherwise been entitled to.

Can I File the Personal Injury Claim on My Loved One's Behalf?

Unfortunately, only your loved one or their power of attorney may file a personal injury claim. If your loved one has not appointed a power of attorney and they are still mentally competent, they can appoint you, or anyone else they desire, to this role and then you may file a personal injury claim on their behalf. Being appointed power of attorney if your loved one is mentally incompetent can be a bit more challenging. In such situations, the surviving spouse is presumed to be power of attorney and can make legal and medical decisions on their behalf. If there is no surviving spouse, one of the children may wish to step in. In order for a child, or any other loved one, to be appointed power of attorney over a mentally incompetent person, they must petition the courts for conservatorship or guardianship. This can be challenging, but may be necessary when it comes time to make medical decisions, financial decisions and so you can bring a personal injury claim against any parties who may have injured your loved one. 

It can be hard to see your loved one injured by the nursing home you entrusted to care for them. Fortunately, there are legal options available to your loved one to compensate them for their injuries. This can help them to recover and move on with their life. This will also open the eyes of the nursing home, hopefully helping them to change their protocol so no other patients are injured.