It is a difficult decision to move a loved one into a nursing home. Despite the care taken in choosing a facility and making frequent visits, the family must trust the facility to properly care for the residents. The Nashville nursing home negligence lawyers at Matt Hardin Law know how difficult it is for families to learn that trust has been betrayed. Our injury attorneys represent victims of nursing home abuse and negligence in Nashville and the surrounding areas, including Brentwood, Clarksville, Cookeville, Franklin Gallatin, Mt. Juliet, Murfreesboro, and across Davison County.
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect: A Growing Concern
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, almost one in three nursing homes had been cited for violations that could have caused actual harm to a resident between 1999 and 2001. Nearly one in ten nursing homes had violations that caused harm or serious injury to residents or placed them in danger of death. In a 2010 study, more than 50% of nursing home staff admitted to mistreating patients in the prior year.
Approximately 3.2 million Americans lived in nursing homes in 2008. The 2010 Census recorded that people aged 65 and older comprised 13% of the U.S. population. It is projected that this percentage will grow to 20% by 2050, with approximately 19 million people being 85 or older. As more people enter nursing homes, it becomes increasingly important to hold these facilities responsible for their actions and watch for signs of abuse or negligence. Our Nashville attorneys have helped many families who have questions or claims related to loved ones living in nursing homes.
Areas of Concern
Families of nursing home residents should be on the lookout for indications of:
Signs of physical abuse can include unexplained injuries, bruises on the inner arms or thighs, and withdrawn behavior. Signs of sexual abuse can include sexually transmitted diseases, injuries to the genitals, and reactions to being bathed, changed, or examined. Signs of neglect can include pressure sores (bed sores), malnourishment, dehydration, or a lack of hygiene.
Falls can result from neglect or negligence. While not all falls arise from negligence, some falls occur when the staff is not attentive to the needs of the resident or fails to provide necessary walking aids or assistance. Some falls may result from other types of negligence, such as slippery floors, poor lighting, or faulty or missing safety equipment.
If an injury is caused by the negligence of a medical professional, it may fall within the purview of Tennessee’s medical malpractice laws. Our Nashville nursing home negligence lawyers can help you determine the nature of your claim.
Tennessee Nursing Home Abuse Laws
Nursing home residents are entitled to certain rights under Tennessee regulations, including privacy in personal care and treatment, privacy with a spouse or other visitors, freedom from chemical and physical restraints, and freedom from physical and mental abuse.
Nursing homes must report incidents of neglect or physical or mental abuse. Individuals with reasonable cause to suspect the abuse, neglect, or exploitation must make a report to the Department of Human Services, but the staff of a facility with an approved procedure may report to the head of the organization instead. The head of the organization must then make the required report. Willful neglect, abuse or exploitation of an adult is a misdemeanor, as is knowingly failing to make a required report. Failing to report abuse can, therefore, result in a penalty equal to that of actually committing the abuse.
The Adult Protection Act allows an elderly or disabled person to recover compensatory damages for abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, or theft. If the victim dies, this right passes to his or her surviving spouse or next of kin. The victim can recover compensatory damages and costs, including reasonable expenses. Additionally, reasonable attorney’s fees can be recovered if the plaintiff proves, by clear and convincing evidence, intentional, fraudulent, or malicious conduct. Punitive damages may also be available.
Nursing home abuse and negligence claims have a one-year statute of limitations. It is therefore important to contact an attorney immediately upon discovering that your loved one has been neglected, abused, or exploited.
Nursing Home Negligence Lawyers Helping Victims in Nashville and Beyond
If you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or negligence, the Tennessee personal injury attorneys at Matt Hardin Law have the knowledge and skill to help you seek the compensation and justice you deserve. Our attorneys will work diligently to investigate your case and attempt to negotiate a settlement if that is in your best interest. If a settlement is not in your best interest, then we are willing to go to trial to seek a judgment. Please call us at 615-200-1111 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.