Last month, a young certified nursing assistant (CNA) was arrested and charged with abuse at a nursing home in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Scranton is located in northeastern Pennsylvania, about an hour south of the New York-Pennsylvania border.
The CNA has been charged with various crimes including unlawful restraint resulting in risk of serious bodily injury, assault and harassment. (Source: www.wnep.com, Court Papers: Elderly Woman Abused at Nursing Home)
According to a local online news report, the nursing home resident had dementia and suffered from multiple bruises in the incident. Cameras in the nursing home may show what occurred. At least one witness, a co-worker, has indicated that the resident slapped the CNA prior to the incident. An attorney representing the CNA has stated that his client was merely doing what he was told, trying to restrain an agitated resident.
A Look at Civil Liability in Nursing Home Abuse Cases
Many victims of abuse in Pennsylvania nursing homes assume that their only legal recourse is via the criminal courts. This is entirely false. Nursing home residents have the legal right to bring a civil lawsuit against the direct perpetrator. This is true even if a criminal case is never filed or pursued. In addition, a lawsuit may be brought against the nursing home owner/operator for negligence which led to the abuse.
Three Common Claims in Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuits
1. Negligent Training
This recent case in Scranton highlights a growing problem in PA. The reality is that this type of situation is increasingly common across Pennsylvania. You have a young CNA involved in the care of a nursing home resident with dementia or Alzheimer’s, which often causes mental confusion and anxiety. It’s not uncommon for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia to become agitated easily; some can become violent. That’s why caretakers like nurses and nursing aides must be trained properly. Improper training is often the number one reason why nursing home abuse occurs.
2. Negligent Supervision
Nursing homes often operate for profit, meaning that facilities are often under-staffed. In fact, coupled with improper training, under-staffing often leads to nursing home abuse by employees and other residents. Providing proper supervision means having an appropriate number of staff on duty at all times and providing guidance to employees about proper care procedures and protocols. Nursing homes often fail to do so, and as a result, residents are at risk of being injured.
3. Negligent Hiring
Under Pennsylvania state and federal law, nursing homes can be held liable for failing to take reasonable steps in the hiring or firing of nursing home employees. Nursing homes are often guilty of oversight when it comes to hiring/firing. For example, an individual with a history of assaultive behavior at prior places of employment is hired at a nursing home. The individual then assaults and abuses a resident. Here, if the nursing home had performed reasonable background/reference checks, the prior assaults would have been uncovered and the individual would not have been hired. Accordingly, the resident has a valid legal claim against the nursing home.
Residents who are victims of abuse or assault in nursing homes throughout Pennsylvania can obtain fair financial compensation for their injuries and damages. Claims are often made for medical bills and pain and suffering.
Pennsylvania Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
If you or a loved one was the victim of abuse or assault in a nursing home, please call our office and ask to speak to one of our nursing home injury lawyers. Our lawyers specialize in nursing home lawsuits and offer a free consultation. (215) 985-0777
Disclaimer: This website does not create any attorney-client relationship or provide legal advice. Our lawyers provide legal advice only after accepting a case. It is imperative that any action taken is done on advice of counsel. Read full disclaimer below.