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Can You Sue a Nursing Home for Neglect?

How to Know What Steps to Take

Quick Answer

Yes. You may be able to sue if your loved one was harmed due to neglect in a long-term care facility. With a nursing home neglect lawsuit, you can get financial aid for medical costs and find closure knowing justice was brought for the harm done. A skilled attorney can make the legal process easier on you and your family. Learn how you can sue for nursing home neglect.

Suing a Nursing Home for Negligence

Nursing home neglect occurs when residents are not provided with adequate care, leading to serious injuries or even death.

The federal government requires nursing homes that receive Medicare or Medicaid to meet a basic standard of care. Adequate care standards and the legal rights of residents are also mandated by federal and state laws. Thus, you or your loved ones may be able to take legal action if any type of nursing home neglect occurs.

A female nursing home patient in a wheelchair sits in a room and looks out the window

Common types of nursing home neglect include:

  • Neglect of basic needs
  • Neglect of personal hygiene
  • Neglect stemming from medical malpractice
  • Social or emotional neglect

There are many benefits to filing a lawsuit if nursing home neglect harmed your loved one. You and your family can receive financial compensation to cover medical bills and other expenses. Past nursing home neglect lawsuits have sometimes awarded $1 million or more.

You can also get a sense of closure knowing that the nursing home responsible has been held accountable for hurting your loved one.

Suing a nursing home for negligence is easier with legal help. Get started today with a free case review.

How Common Is Nursing Home Neglect?

Neglect of nursing home residents is an all-too-common problem. Data presented by the World Health Organization (WHO) found that 12% of nursing home staff members admitted to neglecting residents.

This high rate of neglect is just one part of the overarching problem of elder abuse in nursing homes.

Nursing Home Neglect vs. Abuse

Nursing home abuse occurs when a staff member intentionally mistreats an elderly resident. Neglect is considered one of the many types of nursing home abuse. However, several factors make cases of neglect stand out from these other types.

Neglect is unlike abuse in three main ways:

  • 1. ActionNursing home neglect is often passive or, in some cases, unintentional. However, it still can cause nursing home residents to suffer severe injuries or even a wrongful death.
  • 2. PerpetratorsSince nursing homes are designed to help elders who cannot take care of themselves, cases of nursing home neglect often stem from the staff. For other types of abuse, the staff, other nursing home residents, and even family members can all be perpetrators.
  • 3. State lawsSome states make legal distinctions between neglect and abuse, and these might affect your case. Work with an elder abuse attorney to find out more. Suing a nursing home for negligence is easier with legal help.

Nursing Home Neglect vs. Negligence

Nursing home neglect and negligence aren’t exactly the same, but they are closely related.

  • Negligence occurs when someone does not do their proper duty to keep others safe, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary of Law.
  • Neglect is more specific and occurs when someone carelessly or willingly fails to do something needed to protect other people.

Based on these definitions, cases of nursing home negligence and neglect can overlap. Thankfully, victims of either can pursue compensation by filing a lawsuit.

Have you noticed signs of neglect? Get your case reviewed for free. Call (855) 264-6310 to get started.

What Are the Signs of Nursing Home Neglect?

Family members should be on the watch for signs of neglect. Nursing home residents may hesitate to speak out if they were neglected, as they may fear the staff will retaliate. Further, residents with dementia and other mental health issues may not be able to communicate.

Warning Signs of Neglect

  • Absence of dentures, eyeglasses, or hearing aids
  • Bedsores, especially if they are worsening
  • Confusion
  • Fear of staff or other caregivers
  • Lack of energy
  • Lack of medical care for infections, broken bones, etc.
  • Malnutrition, dehydration, and/or weight loss
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Strange mood changes such as agitation, depression, or withdrawal

The environment of the nursing home itself can also help families determine if neglect is occurring.

Steps to Filing a Lawsuit

A nursing home may be neglecting residents if it has:

  • A lack of food or water
  • A lack of medical equipment
  • A lack of utilities
  • Dirty living spaces
  • Faulty wiring
  • Failed to update prescriptions
  • Insect or rodent infestations
  • Insufficient space
  • Poor or possibly negligent hiring practices
  • Poor ventilation

Even if someone is not sure whether a nursing home is mistreating their loved one, they should report any signs of neglect they see. Cases of nursing home neglect can cause serious injury and even death if they are not quickly addressed.

Reporting and taking note of these signs can also help during the lawsuit process. Using this information, lawyers can gather more supporting evidence to make the case as strong as possible.

How to Report a Nursing Home for Neglect

There are many ways to report cases of nursing home neglect.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) first recommends reporting any problems to a staff member, a supervisor, or a resident’s social worker.

If the problem has still not been resolved after this, try one of the options below.

  • Contact 911

    Always call 911 in the event of a medical emergency. Doing so will allow your loved one to quickly get the medical care they need. Local police can also help find out what caused your loved one to suffer and who is responsible.

  • Follow the Facility’s Grievance Procedure

    Medicare- and Medicaid-certified nursing homes have grievance procedures in place to address issues. This allows you to make a formal complaint with the facility. Other facilities that don’t work with Medicare and Medicaid will also have ways to file complaints in many cases.

  • Contact a Long-Term Care Ombudsman

    Long-term care ombudsmen protect the interests of nursing home residents. They can resolve complaints, conduct in-person investigations on nursing homes, and help victims or their loved ones take action in cases of neglect or abuse.

  • Contact Adult Protective Services (APS)

    Loved ones may report any issues to a local APS agency, which can then investigate for neglect or abuse. If the agency determines that neglect is taking place, an agent will meet with the victim and/or their family to determine the best ways to protect them.

  • Consult an Experienced Lawyer

    An experienced nursing home abuse lawyer can help loved ones report neglect and offer legal advice on how to handle the situation. Attorneys can also help clients file lawsuits to pursue financial compensation for medical treatments and other expenses.

When Can You Sue a Nursing Home for Neglect?

You may be able to sue for nursing home neglect right now. For best results, get started sooner rather than later. Laws called statutes of limitations limit the amount of time you have to file a legal claim. Most states set these limits at 3 years or less.

The sooner you sue a nursing home facility for negligence, the faster you’ll be able to receive compensation if you have a valid claim.

A nursing home neglect lawsuit can help you:

  • Afford costs related to long-term health issues and disabilities
  • Hold the nursing home accountable for its actions
  • Pay for health care and other expenses (like therapy and travel costs)

Don’t wait: get a free legal case review right now. Our team of caring patient advocates can help you get started, and can review your case in as little as 10 minutes.

Common Questions About Suing for Neglect

How much is a nursing home neglect case worth?

This depends on the specific factors in your case. That said, some past civil lawsuits for nursing home negligence have awarded millions of dollars.

In 2019, a family of a 92-year-old woman received $2.2 million through a nursing home neglect lawsuit that went to trial. The jury in the case found that the nursing home failed to properly care for the woman which contributed to her death.

Is it hard to sue a nursing home for neglect?

No. An experienced attorney can help you sue a nursing home for negligence or neglect with less hassles.

Personal injury lawyers that have handled past nursing home cases will work to get the most amount of compensation possible for you.

Call (855) 264-6310 to learn more about suing a nursing home for neglect.

How do you prove nursing home neglect occurred?

To prove that neglect occurred, your attorney will need to show how nursing home staff members failed to properly care for your loved one, and how this failure caused harm.

A nursing home abuse law firm can help you file a case that shows how an assisted living facility neglected you or a family member.

Who can sue a nursing home for neglect?

Nursing home residents that have been neglected can file a lawsuit against a nursing home. Immediate family, relatives, and others may also be able to sue for nursing home neglect in some cases.

See if you can file a nursing home neglect lawsuit with a free case review.

What types of nursing home neglect can you sue for?

You can sue for many forms of nursing home neglect, including malnutrition, dehydration, bedsores, and more. You can also pursue legal action if negligence directly caused or worsened a resident’s overall health.

Contact our team to learn about suing for nursing home neglect.

Nursing Home Abuse Support Team

The Nursing Home Abuse Center (NHAC) was founded to bring justice to those affected by nursing home and elder abuse. Our mission is to educate and empower victims of abuse and their families to take a stand against this unlawful mistreatment. We work to return dignity back to those who have been broken down by nursing home abuse and neglect.

View 9 Sources
  1. The Associated Press. (2019). Paducah nursing home to pay $2.2M in negligence lawsuit. Retrieved April 21, 2021, from https://www.wkms.org/post/paducah-nursing-home-pay-22m-negligence-lawsuit#stream/0
  2. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (n.d.). Reporting & Resolving nursing home problems. Retrieved April 21, 2021, from https://www.medicare.gov/what-medicare-covers/what-part-a-covers/reporting-resolving-nursing-home-problems
  3. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (n.d.). Your Rights and Protections as a Nursing Home Resident. Retrieved January 10, 2022, from https://downloads.cms.gov/medicare/your_resident_rights_and_protections_section.pdf
  4. FindLaw. (n.d.). Negligence. Retrieved December 6, 2019, from https://injury.findlaw.com/accident-injury-law/negligence.html
  5. Merriam-Webster Legal Dictionary. (n.d.). Neglect. Retrieved April 21, 2021, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/neglect#legalDictionary
  6. National Adult Protective Services Association. (n.d.). What Is Neglect? Retrieved December 6, 2019, from https://www.napsa-now.org/get-informed/what-is-neglect/
  7. National Adult Protective Services Association. (n.d.). What Is Abuse? Retrieved December 6, 2019, from https://www.napsa-now.org/get-informed/what-is-abuse/
  8. Schwartzbach, M. (n.d.). What is criminal negligence? Retrieved December 6, 2019, from https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/what-criminal-negligence.html
  9. Yu, E., & Mendelson, A. (2021, April 20). Immediate jeopardy: Death and neglect inside a troubled California nursing home chain. Retrieved April 21, 2021, from https://laist.com/death-and-neglect-troubled-california-nursing-home-chain
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