When you put your loved one in a nursing home, you expect that your loved one will be treated with care, respect, and dignity. An unfortunate reality is that many nursing homes are understaffed, and this understaffing often results in neglect and abuse of residents. Both federal and state laws prohibit physical abuse of elders, but when staff are in short supply and not trained to handle various situations, nursing home residents may be seriously injured. At Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz, our Memphis nursing home abuse attorneys pursue damages on behalf of residents who have fallen prey to physical abuse by nursing home staff.Bringing a Claim Based on Physical Abuse
Each state has its own laws and regulations for nursing homes, which must also comply with federal regulations. Among other things, all nursing home residents in Tennessee have the right to be free from physical abuse. This may include hitting, kicking, slapping, pinching, improperly using restraints, conditioning meals on particular behavior, bruising, pushing, depriving someone of basic necessities, and taking other actions designed to produce physical harm and fear. Staff members are not allowed to physically punish or harm residents.
The Tennessee Adult Protection Act provides for legal consequences for anyone who physically abuses a resident or knows that abuse is occurring but does not report it. Any physical abuse of an impaired or disabled resident can lead to criminal charges. In some cases, offenders must pay restitution to victims and their families. While criminal charges require a high standard of proof, some residents and their families may wish to file a civil lawsuit for monetary damages.
The Tennessee Adult Protection Act creates a civil action for compensatory and punitive damages as appropriate when covered adults are victims of physical abuse or other forms of abuse or neglect. Adults covered by this law are those who are 18 years or older who because of their mental or physical conditions are unable to manage their own resources or carry out daily living activities and who have no available able person for assistance.
There are also common law theories that may be used, depending on the state in which the physical abuse occurs. For example, a staff member who hits or punches an employee may be liable for civil assault and battery. A nursing home that does not conduct background checks or conducts a background check and sees red flags in a staff member's record, such as prior criminal activity or acts of violence, but nonetheless hires that staff member may be held directly liable for negligent hiring.Seek Assistance from a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in Memphis or Beyond
Nursing home residents may be reluctant to report physical abuse. In some cases, this is because they are embarrassed, while in other cases, they may be afraid that a physically abusive staff member will follow through on other threats. It is important to be vigilant about signs of abuse, such as unexplained or inadequately explained bruising, fractures, or concussions. Elderly people who experience physical abuse in a nursing home should contact the injury attorneys at Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz. Our firm employs over 30 experienced attorneys and more than 100 staff members. We serve victims in Tennessee, Missouri, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Arkansas, including in Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville, Caruthersville, Hayti, Oxford, Starkville, Grenada, Columbus, Tupelo, Meridian, Jackson, Little Rock, and Jonesboro. Call our office toll-free at 800-LAW-4004 or complete our online form for a free consultation.