Before pursuing a nursing home abuse claim, you need to identify the legal theory on which to base your claim. For example, it would be a mistake to pursue a product liability claim if your injured loved one was actually harmed by a caregiver with criminal tendencies. Here are some of the legal theories for nursing home abuse and the situations in which they apply:
Negligent Care and Supervision
The primary reason for taking your loved one to a nursing home is so that they can be cared for, because they can't care for themselves. The level of care required depends on the health, age, and needs of your loved one, but the common ones include:
- Ensuring that they take their medicines
- Helping them with personal hygiene
- Providing them with healthy food, among other things
Therefore, a nursing home that fails to do one or more of these things is neglecting its primary duty. That means you can sue them for negligent care of your loved one.
Negligent Property Maintenance
In addition to caring for your loved one, the nursing home hosting them should also ensure the premises are well maintained and safe. This includes making sure that the stairs have handrails, the bathroom floors are non-slippery, the floor tiles are not loose, and there is good lighting in all areas. Say a nursing home has a leaking roof, and your loved one slipped and fell on a puddle from the leak, you can use negligent property maintenance to hold the nursing home accountable for the accident.
Negligent Hiring and Retention
Each nursing home must ensure the employees they hire and retain are up to the task by making sure the employees have the right training, the relevant disposition, and no criminal tendencies that may hinder their work. A nursing home that doesn't screen its employees is guilty of negligent hiring; a nursing home that continues to employ dangerous employees is guilty of negligent retention. Therefore, if your loved one is abused by a caretaker with a history of elder abuse, then you can rely on negligent hiring and retention to hold the nursing home liable for the injuries.
Negligent Purchase and Maintenance of Equipment
Lastly, you can use negligent purchase and maintenance of equipment if your loved one is injured by defective or malfunctioning equipment. A fitting example is if a nursing home buys defective gym equipment, because they are cheap, and the equipment ends up injuring your loved one. Another example is if the nursing home fails to maintain your loved one's motorized wheelchair, and it accidentally crashes into a wall.
For more information about making your case, speak with a personal injury attorney.