An abused resident or their guardian can file an assisted living abuse lawsuit against the assisted living facility for personal injury and other damages. If the resident is alive but unable to start the legal process, such as being in a coma, a legal representative may do so on the resident’s behalf.
If the resident dies from the abuse, select people have the right to sue for their loss. In some states, only family members can pursue legal actions against another party on behalf of a decedent.
Some areas specify that only immediate family members can file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Extended family members may have a claim depending on the local laws.
Spouses could file a lawsuit if their husband or wife suffered an injury or death because of nursing home abuse. Significant others, such as life partners and common-law spouses, can also pursue a lawsuit in some states, depending on the nature of the relationship.
Children could seek financial compensation if nursing home abuse injured or killed their parents. Children can include:
- Biological children
- Adopted children
Select states allow parents, siblings, cousins, and other extended family members to file a claim because their family member suffered damages. Laws typically rank the ability to sue into levels or classes. For example, immediate family members would be first class. The right to sue can pass to the second class of extended family members if there is no family.
When Non-Family Members Are Allowed to Sue
Financial dependents might also have a case against an assisted living facility if they financially rely on the victim. If the nursing home resident died as a result of abuse, their beneficiaries could seek financial compensation for their loss.
Laws in certain areas recognize representatives of the victim or the decedent’s estate as having the right to sue. The representative files the claim, but any awards from the at-fault party go to a trust for disbursement to beneficiaries.
For example, someone in charge of the nursing home resident’s finances might be able to sue on behalf of the resident’s estate. This representative would place the lawsuit compensation into a special account for the resident’s beneficiaries, such as grandchildren.
The plaintiff must prove they were directly affected by the damages. For instance, a person who pays for someone to live in an assisted living facility and medical costs might have a claim. That individual could show medical bills for treatment of the injuries as a financial loss.
The American Bar Association (ABA) defines a Power of Attorney as a written document determining who is able to act on behalf of another legally. Someone with the victim’s Power of Attorney can file a lawsuit as if they are the nursing home resident. They have the same legal rights as the victim.
Those Who Cannot File a Nursing Home Lawsuit
Friends, acquaintances, associates, and coworkers cannot file a claim for an assisted living abuse lawsuit. The law limits who has the right to sue so there are not needless lawsuits. The plaintiff must prove they were directly affected by the damages.
The law also prevents multiple first-class parties from suing the same entity. For instance, if one child sues and wins, the other children cannot. In these cases, the children would split the lawsuit award amount, or it would go to the estate of the deceased. Typically, the child filing the lawsuit would need to disclose any other children of the resident.
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Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuits
Senior citizens in nursing homes are injured every day due to accidents, neglect, and abuse. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that one out of 10 persons older than 60 is a victim of abuse. Elder abuse includes the following types:
- Physical abuse: Contact that results in injury, pain, impairment, or death
- Sexual abuse: Unwanted sexual advances, interactions, or actions with or without contact, such as forced nudity
- Emotional or psychological abuse: Verbal and unspoken interactions that cause anguish, fear, or distress
- Neglect: Not providing basic care or meeting the resident’s basic needs
- Financial abuse: Unauthorized or illegal theft of money or property
An assisted living lawsuit can be a personal injury or wrongful death claim. If you have the right to sue, you may seek reimbursement for losses from abuse. Some covered losses include:
- Medical bills
- Expenses to relocate to another facility
- Funeral and burial costs
- Pain and suffering, such as mental anguish
If you are wondering whether you can file an assisted living abuse lawsuit, contact the team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm with your questions by calling (800) 223-5115.