Suing a Nursing Home for Negligence

Posted in: Medical Malpractice | May 01,2023

Placing a parent or grandparent in an extended-care facility or assisted living home can be difficult. It requires immense trust that your family member will be treated with care and dignity during the most vulnerable phase of their life. If that trust is broken, a nursing home lawsuit can hold the facility accountable, but plaintiffs must satisfy the burden of proof. This post examines examples of neglect and how to prove nursing home negligence to pursue a settlement.

The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 states in no uncertain terms that nursing home residents have the right to dignity, privacy, and self-determination, as well as the right to communicate freely with people inside and outside the facility, the ability to participate in their plan of care, and freedom from abuse or neglect. Nursing homes are required by law to provide the necessary services and activities to attain or maintain residents’ highest physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being. 

Unfortunately, neglect and abuse occur in nursing homes in every state in the U.S., including Indiana. Elder abuse and neglect can be traumatic and even fatal. If you or your loved ones have suffered from mistreatment at an extended-care facility in Indiana, you can complain and hold the facility accountable. 

Can You Sue a Nursing Home?

If you believe a parent, grandparent, or elderly relative has been abused or neglected at a nursing home, you can take action. Your relative may file a lawsuit themselves; if they cannot sue on their own, you may be able to take action on their behalf. An experienced lawyer can help ensure that you have the necessary authority to do so. Furthermore, if your loved one passed away in the care of a nursing home or extended-care facility, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate can pursue a wrongful death nursing home settlement from the allegedly negligent facility. 

Types of Nursing Home Negligence

Elder abuse and neglect can take many forms and occur for many reasons. Inadequate staffing in elder care facilities often leaves staff members burned out and frustrated, and their patients are the ones who pay the price. 

Examples of neglect in nursing homes include: 

  • Physical abuse 
  • Emotional and verbal abuse 
  • Malnourishment or dehydration
  • Sexual abuse
  • Financial abuse 
  • Failure to monitor
  • Failure to inform or obtain the consent about one’s plan of care
  • Failure to obtain necessary medical care

Signs of Nursing Home Negligence and Elder Abuse

To identify, report, and prevent elder abuse, you must know how to spot common signs. Some 

nursing home residents can speak up for themselves, but others lack the physical or mental capacity to do so and rely on family members to protect their rights. 

Common signs of elder abuse include:

  • Physical signs such as bruising, scrapes, or burns
  • Poor and declining hygiene
  • Bed sores
  • Sudden changes in mood or personality
  • Rapid weight loss
  • A rapid decline in health or medical condition

How to Report Nursing Home Abuse in Indiana

The first step in claiming and proving a case of nursing home negligence is to make an official report of your concerns. The Department of Health’s Long-Term Care Division handles all complaints and reports against nursing homes and long-term care facilities in Indiana. The Indiana Ombudsman Program designates a group of advocates whose job is to hear and investigate complaints. 

To report suspected elder abuse, call the Indiana State Department of Health Complaint Line at (800) 246-8909 or file an online complaint. To speak with an Ombudsman, call (800) 622-4484, email, or submit your complaint through the website.

What You Need to Prove

A negligent elder care facility may claim that your loved one’s health or emotional well-being declined for other reasons related to their age and overall declining health to escape responsibility for inadequate care. To hold them accountable, you must know how to prove your claim. 

As with any negligence case, you will need to prove that:

  • The defendant owed you (or your relative) a duty of care
  • They breached that duty by failing to uphold the standard of care
  • You or your loved one suffered harm
  • You or your loved one suffered damages as a result of the harm

To prove your case, you’ll need evidence. Evidence might include photos and video, eyewitness testimony, medical records, resident files, facility records, other similar complaints, or previous reports. 

Trust Montross Miller for the Guidance and Representation You Need 

The legal process can seem daunting, but an experienced nursing home negligence and abuse lawyer can help relieve the burden, navigate the complexities, and answer your questions. Having the right team of attorneys—one who knows how to win these complex cases from years of experience and who will look out for you and your family—can make all the difference. Contact the attorneys at Montross Miller to discuss your circumstances in a free, confidential case consultation.