Sexual abuse in Tennessee nursing homes occurs much more often than most people would believe. The abuse may occur when an employee assaults a resident or when a resident assaults a fellow resident. A resident may be too ashamed to call attention to sexual abuse or may not have the ability to communicate about the assault, so it's important for loved ones to pay attention to physically traumatic injuries to private areas as well as emotional changes in the resident that are not explained by legitimate reasons. You may be able to recover damages for sexual abuse that occurs in a nursing home. Our experienced Memphis nursing home abuse lawyers understand the delicate nature of such claims and will work compassionately and diligently to see that victims receive the compensation they deserve.Establishing Liability for Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes
Nursing homes owe a duty to their residents to provide a safe environment. This includes providing medical care, water, food, and sufficient staff to tend to their daily needs. It also includes making sure that staff members are properly qualified and that nursing home residents are not abusing or bullying each other. If you suspect a loved one has been subject to sexual abuse, you should report the matter to the administrator of the nursing home so that your loved one can be protected from whoever is committing the sexual abuse. You may also wish to alert the police or district attorney.
Evidence of sexual abuse can be short lived. You may need to obtain a rape kit and interview witnesses. An experienced attorney understands the importance of a thorough investigation and can speak to other residents and staff members to gather information on your behalf.
When a nursing home agrees to care for a resident, it accepts a duty of care towards that resident in addition to specific contractual obligations. If the nursing home falls short in meeting the duty of care, it could be liable for injuries the resident sustained while in the nursing home's care, including injuries arising from sexual abuse. Although it can be challenging to establish a nursing home's liability for intentional sexual abuse by a staff member or residence, it can be done. A nursing home can be responsible for abuse when its managing staff members knew or should have known about the abuse, or should have taken reasonable measures to prevent the abuse. As a plaintiff, you will have the burden of proving the nursing home is responsible for the abuse, making it important to consult with an attorney before evidence disappears or memories fade.
For example, a nursing home is supposed to conduct background checks of its employees to make sure they are appropriate caregivers for vulnerable residents. If a nursing home fails to conduct a background check and as a result employs a sexual offender, it could be held directly responsible for the staff member's sexual abuse of the resident. It may be necessary to retain an expert witness to establish what the duty of care was and whether the nursing home could or should have known about the sexual abuse.
Each state has its own laws related to nursing home abuse and negligence. For example, the Tennessee Adult Protection Act protects nursing home residents, allowing them to pursue compensation for sexual abuse among other things. The nursing home as well as an offending staff member can be held responsible for abuse under this law. In addition, anybody who has reasonable cause to suspect an elderly resident has been subjected to nursing home sexual abuse is supposed to report it to a supervisor or a law enforcement agency. Damages that may be recovered in a lawsuit include medical expenses, pain and suffering, and potentially punitive damages.Retain an Experienced Nursing Home Negligence Attorney in Memphis
Nursing home sexual abuse in Tennessee and surrounding states can cause significant physical and emotional pain as well as fear to a vulnerable resident. If you or a loved one has been harmed by sexual abuse or overmedication, it's important to consult an experienced Memphis elder abuse attorney. Our firm has more than 30 lawyers and over 100 staff members. We serve clients throughout the South in Tennessee, Missouri, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Arkansas including in Caruthersville, Haiti, Oxford, Starkville, Grenada, Columbus, Tupelo, Meridian, Jackson, Little Rock, Jonesboro, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis, and Nashville. Call Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz at 1-800-LAW-4004 or complete our online form. NST is the way to go.