Did your loved one get abused by another resident in a nursing home? Did they suffer physical, emotional, or financial harm? If so, the Lexington nursing home abuse lawyers from Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP might be able to help you pursue compensation against the liable party.
When most people think of nursing home abuse, they assume it’s a nurse or staff member mistreating or neglecting a patient. Typically, that’s the kind of abuse that exists in nursing facilities. However, there’s a growing number of residents abusing other residents. This type of abuse often goes unreported by the resident for fear of retaliation or that no one will believe them.
When resident to resident abuse isn’t stopped, it can escalate and lead to severe injuries or even a fatality. To ensure proper treatment by other nursing home patients, you need to know the signs of abuse and how you can handle it.
The skilled nursing home abuse attorneys in Lexington, KY at Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP can help investigate your suspicions of abuse, help ensure the safety of your loved one, and help you and your family secure the financial reward you need for your family member’s care.
Types of Resident to Resident Abuse
Physical abuse is relatively common in nursing homes and the easiest to notice. When another patient is physically abusing your loved one, you’ll see the signs. Physical abuse can include the following:
- Kicking, slapping, or punching
- Forcing the ingestion of drugs or alcohol
To determine if your loved one became the victim of physical abuse from another resident, look for the following symptoms that happened without a valid explanation:
- Fractured or broken bone
- Dislocated joint
- Tooth loss
- Bruises, welts, or scratches
- Red marks on wrists from restraints
- Hair loss
- Pattern of treatment for similar injuries
- Discomfort towards a specific patient
Verbal abuse involves statements or comments by one resident to another that elicits fear, distress, or emotional pain. It’s tougher to determine whether a loved one is experiencing verbal abuse because there aren’t any visible physical injuries to associate with it.
The behavior a resident will take against another resident while engaging in verbal abuse includes:
- Insulting or mocking
- Making a rude comment
- Threatening physical harm
- Screaming, yelling, or shouting
- Speaking in a condescending way
- Negatively talking about them with other residents or staff
If you suspect another patient at the nursing facility is verbally abusing your loved one, pay attention to these cues:
- Withdrawal from interactions with family, residents, and staff members
- Low self-esteem
- Loss of appetite or another eating problem
- Trouble sleeping or insomnia
- Changes to personality or behavior
- Easily becoming agitated, aggressive, or angry
- Speaking less
- Excessive fear or anxiety
Emotional abuse can occur in the form of verbal or nonverbal actions. When a resident emotionally abuses another resident, they will say or do things in an attempt to cause fear, sadness, intimidation, or isolation. Common behaviors associated with emotional abuse include:
- Scapegoating or blaming them for something they didn’t do
- Using intimidating or threatening behavior
- Isolating them from family and friends
- Engaging in demeaning behavior or conversation
- Causing embarrassment
- Eliciting feelings of sadness, guilt, or fear
- Insulting or name-calling
- Stealing personal belongings
Similar to verbal abuse, signs of emotional abuse are difficult to spot. You have to pay attention to behavioral cues to determine if your loved one is the victim of this type of abuse by another resident.
- Avoiding eye contact with specific residents
- Loss of confidence
- Disinterest in meeting new people or speaking to others
- Malnutrition and weight loss
- Low levels of energy or physical activity
- Feelings of hopelessness or depression
- Mood swings
- Participating in self-harm
Sexual abuse is one of the most upsetting forms of abuse any resident can experience in a nursing home. When another resident is the perpetrator, it’s shocking. Sexual abuse includes any unwanted sexual contact that occurs when someone forces, coerces, intimidates, or scares another person into it.
Various signs could indicate your loved one was the victim of sexual abuse by another resident, including:
- Bruises on the genitals or inner thigh
- Trouble sitting or walking
- Pelvic injury
- Panic attacks
- Signs of depression, anxiety, or PTSD
- Emotional or social withdrawal from family, friends, and activities
- Fear of another resident
- Suicide attempts
- Torn, stained, or bloody underwear
- New diagnosis of an STD
What Should I Do if I Think My Loved One Was Abused?
If you suspect a nursing home resident is abusing your loved one, you should follow the steps below to pursue justice and financial compensation for their losses.
- Report the abuse to the staff.
- File a report. If necessary, file a report with law enforcement and request a copy of it.
- Get the other resident’s name and contact information.
- Get the nursing home’s liability insurance information.
- Remove your loved one from the facility.
- Move them into another nursing home or admit them to a hospital for treatment of any injuries.
- Keep copies of all documentation related to the abuse and resulting physical and emotional injuries.
- Hire a Lexington nursing home abuse lawyer.
Who Should I Sue for Resident to Resident Nursing Home Abuse?
You have two options if your loved one sustained any type of harm from abuse by another resident. You can file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the nursing facility or sue the liable resident.
If you choose to pursue compensation from the nursing home for the abuse occurring on their property, you can file a claim with their liability insurance carrier. Most businesses carry general liability insurance to cover physical, financial, and emotional losses. If you choose to go after the facility for allowing the abuse to happen or failing to stop it, you could potentially recover compensation for the following damages:
- Medical bills
- Out of pocket expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Disfigurement or disability
- Loss of enjoyment of life
If you want to sue the resident responsible for abusing your loved one, you could potentially recover the damages listed above and also potentially be rewarded punitive damages. Punitive damages are rewarded, on rare occasions, to punish parties for their actions and attempt to prevent them from committing the same acts in the future.
An experienced attorney can advise you on the best course of action given the circumstances specific to your case.
To file a lawsuit in Kentucky, you must follow a one-year statute of limitations. That’s the deadline for bringing a civil action against another party. The one-year clock starts on the date the physical or emotional harm occurs. If you don’t file suit within one year, you will lose your right to seek a financial award for the suffering your loved one endured.
Choose Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP
The Lexington nursing home abuse lawyers from Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP understand the anger you must feel after discovering another resident abused your loved one. You assume they will be safe and free from any harm. It is devastating to find out someone hurt them in a facility where staff members are supposed to watch over them.
We know you want to protect your loved one from further abuse and pursue the compensation they deserve. We will help you file a claim or lawsuit and aggressively fight for justice.
You can schedule a free consultation with one of our Lexington nursing home abuse lawyers to discuss your loved one’s case and determine your options.