On what legal grounds could I file a lawsuit against a nursing home?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021

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You can sue on a number of legal grounds, such as assault, personal injury, pain and suffering, mental anguish, neglect, failure to provide adequate care, breach of contract, fraud, financial irregularities, or failure to comply with state nursing home statutes.

Lawsuits can result from a wide variety of situations that come under the general heading of elder abuse. This can include physical violence, abuse, or neglect; emotional violence, abuse, or neglect; or financial abuses. If the nursing home resident is struck, beaten, pushed, restrained unnecessarily, over or under-medicated; left unattended, for example, left in urine and feces; deprived of food or water is left out of reach; or otherwise physically mistreated or neglected, there will be grounds for a lawsuit.

Emotional abuse can also give rise to lawsuits, though it may be more difficult to prove. For example, if the staff members are angry and yell at the resident or isolate, humiliate, or shame him or her, there may be grounds for a suit.

Financial abuse, such as misappropriating funds, stealing from the resident, or overcharging can be actionable. The nursing home might be liable under either a theory of fraud or breach of contract if it promised to provide accommodations or services it knew it could not provide or did not provide.

Nursing homes that mistreat residents can be liable not only for the amount of actual damages suffered by the resident, but for punitive damages as well. Juries don’t like people who commit elder abuse and there have been awards in the millions against nursing homes. If you think you or a loved one might have a claim against a nursing home, see a qualified elder abuse attorney as soon as possible. You will have a limited time to file a lawsuit, so the sooner you seek advice the better.

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