When you place your loved one in a nursing home for the care that you cannot provide at home, you expect them to be safe from physical, emotional, and financial harm. You expect the nursing home to provide quality care for all aspects of your loved one’s life.
You certainly do not expect your family member to be in such a vulnerable and unsafe position that others can take advantage of them. When money or other personal items go missing while your loved one is in a nursing home, you may be understandably frustrated and even angry.
In this situation, Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help. Call (800) 842-6336 to learn more about the legal rights to compensation for your loved one who has lost money or property while residing in a nursing home.
How You May Be Able to Hold the Nursing Home Liable for Their Negligence
You may be eligible to file a nursing home financial abuse claim against the nursing home that was supposed to protect your loved one from harm. A Louisiana missing money or personal items lawyer can aid your family in their fight for a financial award.
Nursing home residents who are elderly, have various medical conditions, and may not be in a clear mental state are at particular risk of financial abuse. Staff members, visitors—and even other residents—may take your family member’s money and other personal belongings (or talk your family member into “giving” them the property).
Nursing homes should have protocols in place to prevent financial abuse to residents. When the facility fails to implement those protocols or protect residents from financial harm, they can be liable for the financial losses that occur.
What Financial Abuse in Nursing Homes Can Look Like
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) defines financial exploitation as the “misuse or withholding of resources,” including money and personal property, by others. Too many older Americans living in facilities such as nursing homes have experienced some degree of financial abuse.
Louisiana Revised Statutes (RS) §40:2010.8 provides for the rights of nursing home residents. One section of this statute gives residents the right to manage their own financial affairs. However, this statute also specifies that the nursing home might already have access to these funds in a trust.
The nursing home must make a quarterly accounting of any transactions they make on behalf of the resident. They must then keep it on file and provide it to the resident (or the resident’s family members) upon request.
When nursing homes violate the law and residents suffer financial losses, a Louisiana missing money or personal items lawyer may be able to help you pursue legal claims for compensation.
Financial abuse consisting of missing money can happen in the nursing home setting in two distinct ways. First, the staff member who is responsible for accounting for the personal funds of residents could take or misuse the money. This is, essentially, embezzlement.
While embezzlement is a crime punishable in the criminal justice system, it also can lead to legal liability for the nursing home. This liability can stem from:
● The failure of the nursing home to implement safeguards to prevent embezzlement from occurring.
● The nursing home’s failure to properly screen and hire trustworthy persons to handle the money of nursing home residents.
Money also may go missing when it is in possession of the residents. Staff members may manipulate residents into “paying” them for their services or “helping” them with their bills. Missing money also may occur in nursing homes when staff members steal or take cash directly from residents without their knowledge.
Missing Personal Items
Financial abuse to nursing home residents may also occur when staff members (or other residents) take personal property without individual knowledge. This type of abuse is particularly common when residents have diminished mental capacity that prevents them from being fully aware of their surroundings at all times (such as dementia).
In other instances, staff members persuade residents to “give” them personal property. This property often consists of more valuable items, such as watches, jewelry, cell phones, and other similar items. Again, this abuse may occur more readily when nursing home residents do not always have the mental capacity to realize the manipulative tactics of others.
Nursing Homes Are Liable for Any Financial Abuse That Occurs on Their Premises
Nursing homes can be liable for their employees’ acts—and even the acts of other residents who cause financial abuse in different ways. For example, employers are normally legally responsible for the acts of their employees. This liability can arise from:
● Failing to protect residents from financial harm
● Failure to properly supervise and monitor employees
● Failure to thoroughly investigate complaints of missing money or property
● Failure to properly screen or conduct background checks of prospective employees
If a nursing home has only one person responsible for handling resident funds and does not need to report to anyone else, the court may rule that this was negligent. If embezzlement does occur and nursing home residents are missing funds, they can argue that they suffered foreseeable abuse that the nursing home should have prevented.
Call Our Firm for Legal Advice Today Regarding Your Loved One’s Case
The realization that your loved one has suffered financial abuse while in a nursing home can be devastating. When this situation occurs, you and your loved one have legal recourse through a lawsuit against the nursing home. A Louisiana missing money or personal items lawyer can evaluate your case, present your options, and help you decide upon the course of action that is right for you.
You may be hesitant to get legal advice after your family has already suffered a financial loss. We understand the reality of your situation and will take your case on a contingency-fee-basis.
This means that you will not pay us any fees until you receive compensation from the nursing home. Call (800) 842-6336 to get more information about the services that Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can offer you.