This post was originally published in November 2019. It has since been updated with new information and was most recently updated on November 12, 2020.
Yes, if an assisted living facility is negligent, and that negligence leads to someone’s injuries, you could sue them for their actions (or lack thereof). There are instances where a nursing home or assisted living facility can be held financially and legally responsible for a resident’s injuries or death, but these must meet specific criteria first.
Not all injuries are a matter of negligence; therefore, you need to make sure that you have a valid case for such. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities can be sued when an act of neglect, negligence, abuse, or other purposeful conduct causes harm to a resident.
What Instances Qualify for a Lawsuit against a Nursing Home or Assisted Living Facility?
Accidents can happen in a nursing home or assisted living facility. But when they occur due to a failed effort by the staff or the facility itself to protect their residents, negligence may have occurred. These facilities are entrusted with the care of an individual, and they are compensated to do so. Therefore, they are held to a higher standard of care than the average person.
Some instances or examples of cases where you could use an assisted living facility for negligence include:
Inadequate Hiring Practices
Assisted living facilities are responsible for their employees. One of those responsibilities is to ensure they hired trained, licensed, and qualified staff members. Furthermore, when a staff member has complaints, quality issues, or poor reviews, they should be removed from the facility. When an assisted living center does not train or supervise their employees nor do their due diligence during hiring, they can be held responsible for injuries that occur because of that negligent hiring practices.
Assisted living facilities may not provide the same level of care as a nursing home, but they do have residents that require help that they cannot get at home. As part of the fee for staying in these facilities, residents should have safe, accessible living spaces, including bathrooms, hallways, bedrooms, outdoor areas, and common rooms. When these premises are not kept reasonably safe, or there is a known hazard and the facility does not correct it quickly, they could be considered negligent.
Failure to Supervise Residents
While, again, assisted living facilities do not offer the same day-to-day care as a nursing home, there are caretakers on the premises who help those residents that need a little extra assistance. When these caretakers fail to supervise residents and an injury occurs, they may be held liable for any costs from that injury.
Failure to Adhere to All Food and Health Department Requirements
Assisted living facilities often have dining halls and health centers. Therefore, they are required to follow all food and health safety protocols not only for their food license but any health department regulations required as well. If a patient were to become ill due to poor food storage, for example, then the facility would be responsible for that foodborne illness.
Neglecting Resident Needs
If a resident in an assisted living facility is not given the daily standard of care they need (such as help with hygiene, food, or making sure they are hydrated), then the facility could be found negligent for any illnesses, injuries, or deaths that occur from that. For example, a facility offers a special meal plan for their diabetic residents, but then they fail to monitor what foods the diabetic residents eat and one of those residents suffers from complications due to high glucose levels.
Failure to Seek Medical Care or Treatment
When a resident is injured, even if the injury was not caused by negligence, the facility must seek medical treatment in-house or care out of the facility for that patient right away. If they fail to do so, they could be considered negligent.
Unfortunately, Proving Negligence and Liability Is Not Easy
Unlike a nursing home where caretakers are constantly monitoring and taking are of their patients, assisted living facility residents have more freedom. They can wander the grounds, leave the facility without permission, and they might have private apartments on-site where they live instead of in a group facility. Without that daily supervision, you would have to prove that the nursing home was directly at fault for your loved one’s injury.
While the above examples are common instances where you could file an injury lawsuit, there are many more. Depending on the level of care promised by that assisted living center and the care actually received, you may have a claim that falls outside the common examples.
If you suspect a loved one has suffered a preventable injury due to an assisted living facility’s negligence, contact an attorney to discuss your case further.
Damages in a Louisville Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect Case
If you can prove that a nursing home abused or neglected a loved one, the next step in the process is determining the appropriate amount of damages. Nursing home abuse and neglect cases vary in severity, and naturally, every case will be very different. However, typically, damages in these cases are broken down into economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are intended to compensate victims (or their families) for the out-of-pocket expenses resulting from the abuse or neglect. For example, the following are some of the types of economic damages available in a Kentucky nursing home lawsuit:
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Funeral and burial expenses
Economic damages are relatively easy to prove by presenting the actual out-of-pocket costs. Non-economic damages, however, are more difficult to establish. Non-economic damages consist of those non-monetary damages that a victim suffers due to abuse or neglect. For example, the following are common types of non-economic damages that are available in a case against a Louisville nursing home:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Limitations on the victim’s ability to live their life the way they want to live it
Successfully proving non-economic damages requires an attorney to present a compelling case to the judge or jury, explaining how the abuse or neglect impacted the life of the victim.
Do You Need an Attorney?
In these types of cases, it is best to hire an attorney. Any time a resident is injured, it is not always obvious who is at fault and an attorney can collect evidence to help prove that the assisted living facility was at fault for your loved one’s injuries.
Furthermore, you need an advocate ready to fight for your right to compensation. Assisted living facility injuries can be severe – sometimes fatal. The cost of recovering from those injuries is not something you or your loved ones should burden yourselves with.
Instead, you need to hire an advocate who will fight for your right to compensation that includes medical costs, pain, and suffering, lost wages, payments to the facility for care not received, insurance benefits used, and more. If a loved one were to die from these injuries, you may be able to file a wrongful death suit against the assisted living center.
To explore your rights, contact attorney, Seth Gladstein, today. He can meet with you during a no-obligation case evaluation to determine whether or not you have a valid negligence claim. Schedule your appointment over the phone or contact us online with your questions about assisted living facility lawsuits.