Liability for Nursing Home Abuse by Other Patients

    Posted on Tuesday, January 30th, 2018 at 5:06 am    

    When people talk about nursing home abuse, they are often referring to the neglect and abuse of nursing home residents by nursing home staff. The direct actions of staff members can cause physical, emotional, and financial injury to residents who are not generally in a position to fight back or protect themselves. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is not restricted to staff members, and can sometimes come at the hands of other residents, or guests of other residents.
    Nursing home residents can have varying degrees of need when it comes to care. Depending on a resident’s resources, he or she may be placed in a shared living space with another resident who may or may not have the same medical and physical needs. A serious problem can arise when a frail resident is required to live with a resident who is prone to violent outbursts, or who otherwise has the capacity to injure the other resident. Residents who injure other residents may be suffering from mental illnesses and act out because of this.
    There are restrictions in the law that limit a business’s legal liability for the illegal actions of third parties. However, if there is a special relationship, such as that between a nursing home and its patients, liability can be extended to the nursing home. A nursing home may be held liable for injuries caused to one resident by another resident. This can be because the hospital failed to adequately monitor the residents to ensure that they were not at any risk of injury. Alternatively, liability could be found when the nursing home places a person with documented violent outbursts in a room with another patient and does nothing to protect or warn the other patient.
    Similarly, if a nursing home patient is abused by a guest of another patient, or by another person who is not a patient in the nursing home, the injured patient can try to seek compensation. Proving liability in this case would be different because the guest or non-patient abuser is not under the care or supervision of the nursing home. However, the nursing home still has a duty to monitor its patients and ensure that they are safe and well cared for; therefore, there may be a claim that the nursing home failed to take safety precautions to protect its residents from abuse from third parties.
    In some cases, patients may be hesitant to take legal action because they agreed to arbitration when they went into the nursing home. However, before making the decision to forgo a valid claim against the nursing home, it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney.

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