Physical abuse of the elderly is a growing problem. Defined as a physical force that causes pain, injury, or impairment, physical abuse does not necessarily mean a blow or strike. It can also include a push or shove, shaking, pinching, or even the application of unwarranted physical restraints. If you believe your loved one has been a victim of physical abuse while living at a facility in Rockland County or the surrounding areas, nursing home abuse lawyer Valerie J. Crown is here to help you explore your options. We have guided many injured individuals across Greater New York through the process of trying to hold an individual or entity accountable for their harm.
When you seek assistance from our dedicated team, you can rest assured that you will receive the individualized, caring attention that a small law firm can provide. We take pride in working diligently to assert the rights of our clients, and we gain personal satisfaction from helping them on the road to recovery. Valerie is always available through her cell phone at 845.598.8253, so you can call at any hour of the day or night to discuss your concerns.Holding a Nursing Home Accountable for Physical Abuse
If a successful claim is brought against a long-term care facility, assisted living center, or nursing home, your loved one may be entitled to monetary compensation for pain and suffering, as well as any medical expenses associated with the injuries inflicted upon him or her. If your loved one tragically died as a result of physical abuse, your family may be able to bring a wrongful death claim against the facility.
Physical abuse of a nursing home patient may result in contusions, lacerations, fractures, and other obvious injuries. It may also result in less visible forms of harm, such as fear or changes in behavior. When this happens, there are several possible legal remedies. First, the abusive caregiver may face criminal charges for assaulting the resident. If the individual is found guilty, he or she may be sentenced to incarceration or fined. While this provides a satisfying sense of justice, it does not usually compensate the victim. That is where the civil system comes in.
Most lawsuits arising from the physical abuse of a nursing home resident name the facility as a defendant in addition to the specific person who abused the resident. Generally, a claim proceeds under a theory of negligence and may be based on respondeat superior, a doctrine under which an employer may be held liable for the tortious acts of its employees.
A negligence lawsuit consists of four steps: duty, breach of duty, proximate cause, and damages. Nursing homes have a duty to do all that they can reasonably do in order to protect their residents from physical abuse by nurses, orderlies, and other employees of the home. This may include taking precautions such as:
- Performing background checks on employees;
- Properly training employees with respect to working with the elderly;
- Providing adequate staff to do the work required to care for the patients; and
- Quickly and thoroughly responding to complaints regarding patient safety.
If the existence of a particular duty can be proven by a preponderance of the evidence, the next question becomes whether the nursing home breached the duty with some careless action. The rest of the case concerns whether there is a causal link between the carelessness and the resident’s harm, as well as whether the claimant can point to damages that the resident sustained. Depending upon the circumstances, both compensatory and punitive damages may be sought.Protect Your Rights by Enlisting an Injury Lawyer in Rockland County
If you believe that you have seen the signs of physical abuse in a family member who lives in a nursing home, or if you’ve noticed a change in your loved one’s behavior or emotional health, you owe it to yourself and your loved one to investigate the situation further. Injury attorney Valerie J. Crown is here to help Rockland County residents and other individuals throughout Greater New York, such as in Westchester and Orange Counties, during this difficult time. Call us at 845.708.5900 to set up a free appointment to discuss your case. Alternately, you can call 845.598.8253 to reach Valerie’s cell phone, or you can fill out the contact form on this website.