When nursing home staff members physically assault or otherwise abuse an elderly patient, they are in violation of civil and criminal law. As such, victims have the right to file a claim for damages. If physical abuse in nursing homes happened to you or a loved one, contact a nursing home abuse and negligence attorney in Pennsylvania today.
Types of Physical Elder Abuse
Types of nursing home assault and battery are consistent with assault and battery outside of a nursing home. Elder abuse may include, hitting, slapping, using unnecessary force, kicking, punching, pinching, beating, holding down, sexually assaulting or otherwise physically injuring an elderly person. Physical abuse also may include the inappropriate use of drugs or restraints.
Assault and battery are against the law, and a victim of assault and battery may have the right to press civil charges for damages. What’s more, when assault and battery occur at a nursing home, the nursing home staff member or clinic may face liability under Pennsylvania’s medical malpractice laws.
Signs of Elder Abuse
The most obvious signs of physical abuse of an elderly person are physical – bruises, cuts, lacerations, welts, broken bones, marks on wrists (and other signs of being restrained), fractures and scars all can be signs of physical abuse in nursing homes, according to HelpGuide.org. In addition to the physical signs, any torn clothing, broken eyeglasses, etc. may be indicative of elderly physical assault.
Other signs can be harder to recognize. These include social withdrawal, depression, anxiety, fear of a caregiver, sudden changes in mood or behavior, suicidal actions, signs of drug overdoses, and angry or aggressive behavior.
Can I file a medical malpractice suit for physical assault in a nursing home?
If physical abuse in nursing homes occurs, there are a number of things that you need to do, including reporting the assault to nursing home management as soon as possible. If assault or battery occurred, report the incident to the police, who can take proper legal action from there.
However, you may have a right to file a medical malpractice suit for damages against the at-fault party or nursing home. This is because in a nursing home, the majority of staff is considered to be medical professionals, and a nursing home is considered to be a medical facility. If a medical professional – such as a nurse – fails to uphold the duty of care to a patient, then that professional can be held liable for damages. In Pennsylvania, the law provides two years to file a claim for medical malpractice after the malpractice has occurred, as found in Pennsylvania Consolidated Statues Section 5524.
If, for some reason, your claim does not fall under medical malpractice law, then you still have the right to file a civil personal injury claim for assault and battery. Both types of claims are considered to be tort actions, and both can result in damages for medical expenses, other financial losses, pain, suffering, emotional distress and more.
The Help of a Nursing Home Abuse & Negligence Attorney is Critical
Physical elder abuse is a horrible crime and one that can result in both civil and criminal penalties for the offender. However, pressing charges can be an intimidating thing to do on your own. If you need help understanding the legal system, differences between criminal and civil law, and the different types of personal injury lawsuits, call the attorneys at Cordisco & Saile LLC. Our legal team will walk you through everything you need to know. We are ready to hear from you – call us now at 215-642-2335 or contact us online.