In most cases, you cannot sue someone personally for the abuse or neglect of your loved one at an assisted living facility. However, if your loved one’s injuries resulted from the negligent or malicious actions of that person during their employment, you can hold the facility accountable for the abusive behavior of their staff.
Abuse and neglect of assisted living residents can occur in many forms, and victims can suffer serious and even fatal injuries as a consequence of mistreatment. If your family is dealing with the long-term physical, emotional, and financial impacts from this lack of adequate care, a lawyer from our team can help you seek compensation from the facility.
Assisted Living Facilities Owe a Duty of Care to Their Residents
Assisted living facilities have a duty of care to each of their residents, which means that all staff must take reasonable measures to prevent a resident from suffering harm. Reasonable simply refers to what another person would most likely do in the same circumstances. For example, if a care provider found a resident unresponsive, they would offer assistance instead of just walking away. This constitutes acting within reason.
When staff members do not exercise the appropriate cautions to help residents avoid harm—or when they intentionally act in a harmful manner toward a resident—they breach the facility’s duty to keep residents safe. If this results in injuries, the victim may have a negligence case against the facility. Examples of a facility’s breach of duty may include instances in which they failed to:
- Properly train staff
- Complete background checks before hiring staff
- Implement adequate security measures
- Provide for the residents’ basic needs, such as nutrition and medical care
- Keep residents safe from abusive staff members
Even when a facility employee holds direct responsibility for the abuse or neglect, the facility usually holds legal liability for these actions.
The Legal Responsibility of Assisted Living Facilities
Each state has its own specific procedure for handling cases in which a victim pursues financial recovery from a liable party. State laws set forth standards for the management of these cases. One of the principles often outlined in these laws is that of respondeat superior.
This legal doctrine states that liability falls on the employer if an employee acts in a negligent manner within the scope of their job, per the Legal Information Institute (LII). Exceptions to respondeat superior include instances in which:
- The employee was off the clock, and their actions did not reflect the policies of their employer.
- The person committed the negligent act as an independent contractor with the company and not as a traditional employee.
In cases involving these exceptions, the victim’s family may have the option to sue someone personally for the abuse and neglect of a loved one at an assisted living facility.
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Seeking Financial Recovery in Assisted Living Abuse and Neglect Cases
If someone you love suffered severe or fatal injuries from abuse or neglect in an assisted living facility, you could seek compensation. Financial recovery depends on the types of damages the abuse caused, such as the total of all medical costs and whether the victim survived. You may receive compensation for:
- Medical care, including emergency treatment, equipment, operations, medications, and other expenses related to the abuse
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Funeral and burial costs if the victim lost their life
A lawyer from our team can identify and calculate the damages in your case and pursue fair compensation on your behalf.
Deadlines Restrict the Amount of Time You Have to File Your Lawsuit
Each state maintains its own statute of limitations, or deadline, on how long a victim or their family has to file a lawsuit in an abuse or neglect case. States also may classify cases against assisted living facilities differently; while some refer to them as personal injury or nursing home abuse cases, others may apply medical malpractice laws.
Although more consistently defined, wrongful death lawsuits can present a challenge, as well. Each state determines not only how long an individual has to file a wrongful death suit, but also who can file on behalf of the victim.
If you miss your state’s deadline for filing an assisted living abuse or neglect lawsuit, you may lose the opportunity to pursue financial awards in your case.
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A Lawyer Can Help You with Your Assisted Living Abuse or Neglect Case
According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), hundreds of thousands of older adults suffer abuse in the United States each year. Laws regarding how victims and their families can approach assisted living abuse or neglect cases vary by state, and trying to navigate the legal system may feel overwhelming.
Our lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help you by investigating your case, establishing liability, and pursuing the just compensation you deserve. Contact our legal team today at (800) 842-6336 for your free case evaluation.
Call or text (800) 842-6336 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form