How do you Prove Nursing Home Malpractice?

By Greg Kohn

Just thinking about leaving your loved ones in the care of strangers can be frightening. Who knows if they will treat them like you would? So, you do your due diligence to try and find the best place to care for them, only to find that something’s just not right. Maybe there are more bruises. Maybe mom’s looking thinner than usual. Maybe dad is withdrawing. You suspect abuse, but how do you prove it? Our New Jersey nursing home abuse attorneys break down the things you need to prove nursing home malpractice.

New Jersey Nursing Home Responsibilities

The responsibilities of nursing homes is set down by law in New Jersey Revised Statutes Section 30:13-3. Those duties include:

  • Providing reasonable care to all residents
  • Accepting only the number of residents they can provide care for in a safe and adequate manner
  • Attending to residents’ spiritual needs upon request
  • Offering new residents or their guardians beneficiary designation forms for funds (not to exceed $1,000) remaining in the resident’s personal needs allowance account
  • Maintaining a record of all deposits and withdrawals and an inventory of personal property

If nursing home personnel fail to uphold their responsibilities under the law, they may be liable for nursing home malpractice.

New Jersey Nursing Home Resident Rights

Every nursing home resident in New Jersey has rights, which are required to be posted in a conspicuous place in every nursing home. These rights include, but are not limited to:

  • The right to privacy
  • The right to be treated with consideration and courtesy
  • The right to your own physician
  • Freedom from restraints, both physical and mental
  • Freedom from physical, mental, emotional, sexual, and financial abuse
  • The right to receive visitors between 8 am and 8 pm every day

These are just a few of the rights afforded to nursing home residents. For a comprehensive list, read the New Jersey Department of Health list of nursing home resident rights.
If nursing home personnel violate these rights, you may have a case against them for nursing home abuse or malpractice.

Examples of Nursing Home Malpractice

Due to the unique nature of the nursing home industry, abuse and malpractice can take on a variety of forms. Some examples of nursing home abuse or malpractice include:

  • Failing to recognize adverse medical symptoms
  • Failing to administer medications
  • Over-medicating
  • Failing to attend to bedridden residents, resulting in bedsores
  • Failing to attend to hygienic needs
  • Restricting access to visitors
  • Yelling at residents
  • Stealing money, drugs or possessions from residents
  • Touching residents in an inappropriate manner, or engaging in sex acts with residents

This list is not exhaustive. If your loved one has been harmed by nursing home personnel, remove them from the facility immediately and contact the police.

Proving Nursing Home Malpractice or Abuse

If you suspect that your elderly loved one has been harmed by nursing home personnel, there are a few things that are necessary to prove abuse or malpractice. As a resident, your loved one is owed a duty of care by the nursing home. In order to bring a successful legal action against the nursing home, you must show:

  • The nursing home personnel breached the accepted standard of care under state or federal regulations
  • The breach of that duty led to an injury

Additionally, if your loved one is over the age of 60, or lives with a mental, emotional or physical disability, you may be able to bring an action for endangering the welfare of your loved one. To do this you must show that the nursing home personnel :

  • Had a legal duty to care for your loved one
  • Neglected to care for your loved one’s physical or mental needs
  • Failed to allow another to care for your loved one’s physical or mental needs

Proving nursing home malpractice requires the experience of proven elder abuse attorneys. If you think you might have a case against a nursing home, contact our New Jersey nursing home abuse attorneys at Nagel Rice, LLP. We can advise you on your specific case and protect other elderly individuals from suffering the same abuse.

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.