What happens when a loved one or family member is living in a nursing home and you suspect they are a victim of elder abuse? Well, these are tricky legal situations. You can always contact the authorities, but without direct proof of wrongdoing it might be a dead-end. You might want to sue a facility for personal injury on your loved one’s behalf — and depending on the situation this might be your best bet if you want an immediate investigation performed.

Care facilities are responsible for providing a well-defined “duty of care” to everyone who lives there. That’s what you pay for: basic necessities like food and shelter, but also personal attention when hygiene or medical realities require it. 

Elder abuse occurs when a person — often a caregiver — takes advantage of a resident in any number of ways. Generally, a personal injury lawsuit is lodged against the facility’s owners and not against a specific individual. 

Personal injury lawsuits of this nature are based primarily on negligence. Plaintiffs must somehow show a defendant’s negligence in hiring practices (such as failing to perform background checks), training, security, or surveillance. 

A care facility can also neglect to properly feed residents, provide the right medications, or provide adequate protection. 

On occasion outside parties are responsible and they can be sued in the care facility’s stead. For example, a contractor may have installed defective equipment. Sometimes faulty equipment is also purchased from manufacturers. In cases where food poisoning was introduced, a vendor might bear the responsibility.

One thing you can do is remove your loved one from the nursing home where the trouble occurred and transfer them to a new facility. You can check to see if local or state laws allow family members to conduct video surveillance of a resident’s room by installing a camera. If this is a possibility, then the presence of the camera can give you and your loved one peace of mind while likely deterring caretakers from providing improper care.

If you believe your loved one is the victim of elder or nursing home abuse, then you should sit down with a qualified personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. You may have both a criminal and civil case, but the important thing is to make sure your family member stays safe!

Alternatively, you may call the elder abuse hotline, where you will be directed to the appropriate local authority by a trained operator.