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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 for you and your family. Learn how you can file a lawsuit to 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 severe 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. Therefore, you or your loved ones may be able to take legal action if any type of nursing home neglect occurs.

Unattended nursing home resident sits alone in a wheelchair

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 recovered $1 million or more.

You can also achieve 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 all too common. The World Health Organization (WHO) found that 12% of nursing home staff members admitted to neglecting residents.

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

Nursing Home Neglect Statistics

While elder abuse statistics are heartbreaking and eye-opening, it is essential to be aware of the potential for harm.

Here are some key nursing home neglect statistics to know:

  • Neglect is one of the most common forms of elder abuse.
  • Neglect makes up about 14% of complaints against nursing homes.
  • On average, at least 20% of nursing home residents are neglected at least once per year.

Victims may worry they won’t know how to prove nursing home negligence. While this is a common concern, it is often not valid due to how severe the consequences can be.

People may also be unaware that nursing home neglect is often considered a form of abuse.

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 negligence cases 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 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. These staff members, other nursing home residents, and even family members can all be perpetrators of abuse.
  • 3. State lawsSome states make legal distinctions between neglect and abuse, which might affect your case. Working with an elder abuse attorney is the best way to determine your options.

It is critical to understand that while neglect may not sound as serious as abuse, the consequences can be just as severe for vulnerable seniors.

Examples of Nursing Home Neglect

Since the definition of nursing home neglect is disputed, learning examples of neglect can help families understand the most common signs.

Examples of negligence include:

  • Allowing dehydration or malnutrition to occur
  • Allowing pressure ulcers to form, especially stage 4 bedsores
  • Failing to provide safe living conditions
  • Ignoring residents who are nonverbal or bedridden
  • Making medication errors
  • Skipping physical activity, such as range-of-motion exercises
  • Transferring residents between rooms or facilities unsafely
  • Turning off call lights or alarms without tending to the resident

The impacts of nursing home neglect can include emotional distress, declining physical health, and even death. Some families feel that suing a nursing home for negligence is the only way to get justice for their loved one’s suffering.

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 lookout 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 conditions may be unable 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
Steps to Filing a Lawsuit

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

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, nursing home neglect lawyers can gather 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 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 determine 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 may also have ways to file complaints.

  • 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, you should get started sooner rather than later. Laws called statutes of limitations limit your time 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)

How Much Can You Sue a Nursing Home for Negligence?

Suing a nursing home for negligence can result in significant compensation for victims and their loved ones. While there is no guarantee, nursing home case values range from $100,000 to $700,000 on average.

Some notable nursing home neglect cases include:

$5.5 million

Verdict for neglect

$1.2 million

Verdict for elder abuse and neglect

$1 million

Settlement for wrongful death caused by a bedsore


Settlement for a nursing home fall that led to wrongful death

Experienced nursing home neglect lawyers can work with you to ensure you receive the maximum amount of money for your case.

How Can I Find a Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer Near Me?

Nursing home neglect law firms can help you and your family heal from the harm you’ve suffered. A skilled nursing home neglect lawyer can file a lawsuit and pursue compensation from those responsible.

While nothing can undo the harm caused by negligent nursing homes, a successful lawsuit can provide victims and their loved ones closure knowing that justice was served.

If you or someone you love experienced nursing home neglect, don’t wait. There are strict deadlines to file. Find a nursing home law firm near you with help from our team — get a free case review now.

Common Questions About Suing for Neglect

Can you sue a nursing home for negligence?

Yes. If you or a loved one was harmed by a negligent nursing home, you might be able to sue for negligence. For the most favorable outcome, it is advisable to work with a skilled nursing home law firm with experience handling similar cases.

Can you sue an assisted living facility for negligence?

Yes. If an assisted living facility’s negligence caused harm, you might be able to file a lawsuit against them. If you have questions about whether your loved one’s care facility could be liable for harm, see if you can connect with a nursing home abuse lawyer.

How much is a nursing home neglect case worth?

This depends on the specific factors of your case. That said, some past civil lawsuits for nursing home negligence have awarded victims and their loved ones 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 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 fewer hassles.

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

How do you prove nursing home neglect occurred?

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

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.

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  4. Hall, P. (2021, April 27). Lehigh County, good Shepherd reach $250k settlement in Cedarbrook resident's death. The Morning Call. Retrieved August 23, 2022, from
  5. Hawes C. Elder Abuse in Residential Long-Term Care Settings: What Is Known and What Information Is Needed? In: National Research Council (US) Panel to Review Risk and Prevalence of Elder Abuse and Neglect; Bonnie RJ, Wallace RB, editors. Elder Mistreatment: Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation in an Aging America. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2003. 14. Retrieved August 23, 2022, from
  6. Merriam-Webster Legal Dictionary. (n.d.). Neglect. Retrieved April 21, 2021, from
  7. National Adult Protective Services Association. (n.d.). What Is Neglect? Retrieved December 6, 2019, from
  8. National Adult Protective Services Association. (n.d.). What Is Abuse? Retrieved December 6, 2019, from
  9. National Center on Elder Abuse. (n.d.). Research statistics and data. Retrieved August 23, 2022, from
  10. Palmer, P. (2020, January 24). Jury awards $5.5m to family over 89-year-old woman's injuries at Tarzana Senior Facility. ABC7 Los Angeles. Retrieved August 23, 2022, from
  11. Thompson, E. (2019, January 31). Westboro nursing home to pay $1m in wrongful death lawsuit. The Worcester Telegram & Gazette. Retrieved August 23, 2022, from
  12. Yu, E., & Mendelson, A. (2021, April 20). Immediate jeopardy: Death and neglect inside a troubled California nursing home chain. Retrieved April 21, 2021, from