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Can You Sue a Nursing Home for Neglect?

Posted on October 1, 2021 in Nursing Home Abuse

Entrusting a nursing home with the life, safety, and well-being of your elderly loved one is difficult enough without the possibility of nursing home neglect. Unfortunately, many nursing homes in Los Angeles are negligent in the care of their residents for reasons such as low funding and understaffing. In California, if the neglect of a nursing home resident results in injuries, illnesses or wrongful death, the victim or his or her family can sue the nursing home. Read on to learn whether or not you can sue a nursing home for neglect and if you have further questions, speak with a Los Angeles nursing home abuse attorney.

What Are a Nursing Home Resident’s Rights?

All nursing homes have a legal obligation to protect residents’ physical, mental and psychosocial well-being. Federal law gives nursing home residents a Bill of Rights, which includes the right to a dignified existence, the right to be free from abuse and neglect, the right to participate in social activities, and the right to privacy during treatments. If nursing home administrators or staff members violate any of a resident’s rights, it can be held legally and financially responsible (liable) for a victim’s injuries or losses in a civil lawsuit.

What Is Nursing Home Neglect?

Nursing home neglect refers to the resident of a nursing home or long-term care facility failing to receive adequate care, attention and services from the facility and its staff members. If the nursing home violates any of its legal and ethical duties under state or federal law, it can be guilty of neglecting its residents. Neglect is often unintentional. It can arise from a short-staffed nursing home, stressed or overworked employees, lack of proper training, or nursing home mismanagement. Yet it can still cause substantial pain, suffering and trauma for victims.

Examples of nursing home neglect include:

  • Negligent hiring or retention practices
  • Lack of proper supervision
  • Inadequate medical care 
  • Lack of bedrails
  • Malnourishment 
  • Dehydration
  • Unsanitary premises
  • Lack of personal hygiene
  • Isolation or improper use of restraints
  • Dangerous property defects
  • Resident elopement
  • Failing to change adult diapers
  • Neglecting a resident’s social needs
  • Emotional neglect

Violations of a resident’s rights can also take the form of nursing home abuse. This is when a staff member intentionally injures or harms a resident, such as through physical abuse, mental or verbal abuse, isolation or restraint, sexual assault, or financial exploitation. Neglect and abuse are serious crimes that can inflict life-changing injuries on a nursing home resident, from bedsores to mental health declines.

How To File a Claim for Nursing Home Neglect in Los Angeles, CA

If you or a loved one is a victim of nursing home neglect, you have the right to file a civil lawsuit in the State of California. A civil lawsuit could lead to financial compensation from the nursing home for a victim’s losses. Holding the nursing home legally accountable can also shed light on illegal practices at a facility in your community, potentially protecting others from the same harm. Take these steps to file your claim:

  1. First, contact an attorney who practices this area of law to ask about your legal rights and options. Your attorney will investigate the situation and search for evidence to bring a case against the nursing home.
  2. Then, your attorney will help you fill out and submit the required paperwork to start a lawsuit in your county.
  3. Once your claim has been filed, the nursing home will have a chance to offer a settlement through its insurance company to resolve your legal issue. 
  4. An attorney can determine if the settlement offered is adequate. If not, your attorney can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf for greater financial compensation. 
  5. Finally, an attorney can take your lawsuit to trial, if necessary.

If evidence is found that the nursing home has been neglecting or abusing its residents, the nursing home could also face criminal penalties, fines from the county and potentially be shut down. Victims of neglect or abuse at the nursing home can file private lawsuits at the same time as an ongoing criminal investigation. For more information about suing a nursing home in Los Angeles for neglect, contact Rose, Klein & Marias, LLP to speak to an attorney.