Nursing Home Negligence
Nursing homes are entrusted with the care of those who no longer can care for themselves. When these facilities or their staff members fail to operate under proper standards, people in their care can be seriously hurt, or worse. The dedicated injury lawyers at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard PLLC help residents of the Nashville area and elsewhere in Tennessee try to hold negligent nursing homes accountable for their actions. We assist victims and their families in asserting their right to compensation. If you or a loved one has been harmed at a licensed care facility, we can discuss your options with you.Causes of Nursing Home Negligence
The number of individuals needing care in nursing homes has grown substantially in the past few years. As a result, elder mistreatment in these facilities, which includes both negligence and intentional abuse, also is becoming a growing issue. In 2008, the U.S. General Accountability Office conducted a study that showed state surveys of licensed facilities understate issues of elder mistreatment, finding that 70 percent of the surveys miss at least one deficiency. Family members, if there are any nearby, must often be on the lookout to see if their relatives are suffering from mistreatment. Indicators that a loved one has been neglected include:
- Sudden weight loss or gain, which may be due to poor nutrition;
- Slow-healing or unexplained wounds or bedsores;
- A change in personality;
- Changes in medication;
- Injuries indicating a person has fallen, which may be due to lack of attention or oversight; or
- Unsanitary conditions.
If you have observed any of these issues affecting a relative who is in the care of a nursing home, it is important to file a complaint with a long-term care ombudsman quickly to make sure your loved one’s rights are protected and his or her care is up to proper standards.Take Legal Action to Hold Licensed Care Facilities Accountable
Under federal and state law, all residents of nursing homes have a right to a sanitary and clean living space, and staffs of these facilities are responsible for making sure the environment is inhabitable. Tennessee law also requires that nursing homes provide nutritious meals and snacks to their residents daily, and that residents who need special diet plans receive therapeutic meals as necessary. Every nursing home in Tennessee is also required to have an onsite dietician, as well as have the services of a physician, dentist, and nurse available. Counseling must be given to nursing home residents suffering from emotional or mental issues.
The Tennessee Adult Protection Act (TAPA) creates a civil right of recovery for nursing home residents who have been abused or neglected. Under the statute, abuse or neglect is defined as “an infliction of physical pain, injury, or mental anguish, or the deprivation of services by caretakers that are necessary to maintain the health or welfare of an adult.” When neglect or abuse occurs, individual caregivers, facilities, and staffing agencies can potentially be held liable. To establish liability, victims must show that the defendant, or defendants, breached their duty of care and that the duty directly resulted in an injury. This type of action thus is similar to a conventional negligence claim. It is important to show specific careless conduct by the nursing home that fell short of the appropriate standard and draw a direct causal link to the elderly person’s harm.
People who pursue a civil action under TAPA may be able to receive compensation for medical costs, pain and suffering, and other damages, as well as the recovery of attorney’s fees. In some extreme cases, punitive damages also may be available.Legal Guidance in Franklin for Victims of Nursing Home Negligence
If your loved one has been harmed in the Franklin area due to carelessness or wrongdoing at a licensed care facility, the negligence attorneys at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard PLLC can help you explore your legal options. We represent individuals in communities throughout Williamson and Davidson Counties, such as Bellevue, West Meade, and Charlotte. Contact us online or call (615) 800-7096 to schedule an appointment.