When we trust the health and well-being of our friends and loved ones to nursing homes, we hope they respect and honor that trust. But if someone you care about is injured at a nursing home, should you file a lawsuit?
Each case is different, and a lawsuit may not always be necessary. Still, if you are considering filing an injury claim against a nursing home, here are a few things to be aware of:
Know Your Rights
All nursing home residents have certain legal rights. These rights can range from the ability to see family members to the right to be fully informed about and plan their medical care and treatment.
On the most basic level, residents are entitled to be treated with respect and dignity by all nursing home staff. But there are also rights that are less obvious -- for example, the right to be informed of services and fees and the right to independent financial management.
Know the Nursing Home's Responsibilities
All nursing homes should have clear policies and prohibitions regarding mistreatment and neglect. These guidelines should protect residents from injuries caused by the nursing home staff or other residents.
The nursing home is also responsible for its staff. So homes are obligated to hire responsible individuals and can potentially be held liable if their staff abuse or neglect any nursing home residents.
Know Your Options
Your legal options in response to nursing home abuse may depend on the type of facility involved and the terms of the contract covering elder care. While a negligence claim may be appropriate, you should also know that there are federal nursing home laws as well as criminal statutes that may apply.
Some nursing homes may insert an arbitration clause into their residential contracts. While this clause can purport to take away an injured resident's right to a civil lawsuit or trial, some arbitration clauses in nursing home contracts have been found to be unenforceable.
Because they involve especially vulnerable people, stories of nursing home abuse and neglect can be particularly troubling. And the law surrounding abuse claims at nursing homes can be confusing. An experienced injury attorney may be able to help you with information and resources if you or someone you know has been injured in a nursing home.