Abuse and Neglect in Assisted Living Facilities
Families looking for a top nursing home lawyer Arlington VA has to offer are likely dealing with a very stressful situation: finding out that an elderly relative is being abused or neglected in a nursing home or assisted living facility. Assisted living situations, in particular, can be difficult when determining how much liability truly falls on the shoulders of the facility and staff.
At Cohen & Cohen, we know that clients might be looking for a nursing home lawyer Arlington VA can provide because they have questions about whether their relative could make a successful claim or lawsuit. While assisted living homes typically are not held to the same standard of reasonable care as traditional nursing homes, there is still a duty to provide adequate care to residents. Here’s a quick look at what these abuse and neglect cases might entail.
What is an assisted living facility?
These facilities provide care for elderly individuals who cannot live by themselves, but there is still some level of independence given to residents. Other types of assisted living facilities may also serve younger individuals with disabilities who do not need intensive care at all times but still require some amount of assistance throughout the day.
These facilities often have individual living spaces for residents resembling small apartments. Similar to nursing homes, staff members are typically on-site 24 hours a day and can assist with various basic living needs.
What types of duties would a typical assisted living facility provide to residents?
Assisted living facilities typically provide less care to residents than a nursing home would provide. However, as an experienced nursing home lawyer in Arlington VA would explain, assisted care facilities still have a legal obligation to provide certain duties to residents. Typical duties of an assisted living facility might include:
- Daily meals for residents that abide by each individual’s dietary restrictions
- Monitor and track health appointments
- Provide medications properly
- Assist with cleaning each resident’s living space
- Organize social activities
- Assist residents with basic living duties as needed, e.g., eating, dressing, bathing, and other hygienic needs
Each facility will likely have its own written policy of the types of duties that residents can expect to receive from staff members. When these duties are not fully met, the nursing home may be considered negligent.
If assisted living facilities operate based on giving residents independence, how exactly can a case of negligence be brought to court?
Just like nursing homes, assisted living facilities are legally responsible for providing a certain standard of care to residents. As a seasoned nursing home lawyer Arlington VA trusts might explain, it’s still possible for these facilities to exercise negligence even when giving residents their independence.
Examples of negligence in an assisted living facility might include failing to provide a resident with his/her correct medication. Other examples could include failing to keep a resident’s living space clean, failing to assist residents with sanitary needs, and failing to clean residents’ clothes/linens.
Is it possible to take legal action when negligence or abuse has occurred?
It could be justifiable to file a civil claim, particularly when injuries have resulted from the facility’s negligence. If a resident is being abused by one or more staff members, this is considered just as illegal as if it occurred anywhere else.
A difficult factor in nursing home abuse and neglect situations is that elderly residents — particularly those with cognitive degeneration — may not remember what happened. They might not even understand that what they are experiencing is abusive or neglectful. This could make it difficult for a Arlington VA nursing home lawyer to present a solid legal case. In cases involving assisted living facilities, however, residents may be more capable of recognizing what is happening. They may even be able to collect evidence of these wrongs.
Ultimately, it is generally a good idea to speak with a trusted nursing home lawyer Arlington VA has to offer before choosing to take any legal actions.
How would an assisted living injury case be handled in court?
Because assisted living facilities generally do not have to abide by the same standard of care as nursing homes, the standard for judging the facility’s liability may depend on how the facility was negligent.
Situations that are based on medical needs, such as failing to provide necessary medication, may be deemed a case of medical malpractice. Medical malpractice standards are typically much higher than general negligence. This is because negligence is based on the standard of what a “reasonable person” would do, and medical professionals would reasonably be expected to provide better medical care than other people could provide. A situation that involves negligence but does not involve a medical need — such as keeping a hallway free of obstructions — may be considered general negligence when a resident is injured.
In either of these cases, if a resident is injured due to some form of negligence, it still may be reasonable to take legal action. This might entail a courtroom case or it might involve an informal settlement negotiation with the assistance of a local nursing home lawyer Arlington VA can provide.
Contact a Nursing Home Lawyer Arlington VA Depends On
Whether your relative currently lives in a nursing home or an assisted living space, it’s important to know that there is a certain standard of care required by these facilities. Elderly adults still have the same basic rights to live in a safe community where their caregivers will provide all necessary health requirements. When these requirements are not met, it may be in the best interests of the family to make a personal injury claim under the counsel of a skilled nursing home lawyer Arlington VA depends on.
At Cohen & Cohen, we understand that these types of abuse cases can be incredibly complex and emotionally draining. While it’s important to note that every case is different and may not result in the same outcome as similar cases, it’s still essential for abuse victims and their families to have an opportunity to claim financial damages. Our legal team ensures that our clients receive some of the best legal counsel in the local area.