legal resources necessary to hold negligent facilities accountable.
Knoxville Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Surprisingly, 32% of Knoxville nursing homes are considered below average. Nursing homes with substandard ratings are more prone to subjecting their residents to abuse or neglect. Unfortunately, even residents in high-quality nursing homes are not entirely safe from mistreatment.
Nursing home mistreatment is a growing public health issue all over the country. Thus, the affiliate Tennessee personal injury attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center, LLC, have made it their mission to help as many victims of abuse as possible and hold negligent nursing homes responsible.
Was your loved one a victim of nursing home neglect or abuse? If so, contact our Knoxville nursing home abuse lawyers at (800) 926-7565 (toll-free phone number) for a free consultation. Our legal team will walk you through your legal options and help you determine the best way to seek legal action.What is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse is a single or repeated act that causes physical or psychological harm to a resident in a nursing home or other long-term care facility. It can result from carelessness, negligence, or medical malpractice and may be intentional or unintentional.
Elder abuse is a type of nursing home mistreatment against an elderly patient aged 60 or above. Since over 90% of residents in care facilities are senior citizens, elder abuse is the most common type of nursing home abuse and neglect.Types of Nursing Home Mistreatment
Many nursing home residents are exposed to different types of abuse, including:
Physical abuse is an intentional act that causes a patient pain, injury, or impairment. It includes but is not limited to actions such as slapping, burning, pinching, shoving, kicking, and physical restraint without medical reasons.
Signs of Physical Abuse:
- Unexplained injuries (e.g., bruises, sprains, cuts, burns)
- Broken bones
- Broken eyeglasses
- Restraint or grip markings
- Anxiety, panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Psychological or Emotional Abuse
Emotional or psychological abuse involves verbal or non-verbal acts that cause psychological harm to a resident. It may include verbal assault, intimidation, criticism, gaslighting, isolation or confinement, and coercion.
Signs of Psychological or Emotional Abuse
- Sudden changes in behavior or personality
- Social withdrawal
- Loss of enjoyment in usual activities
- Anxiety or depression
- Frequent crying
- Sleep problems
Sexual abuse is any non-consensual sexual contact with a nursing home resident, such as groping, sodomy, and rape. It may also include forced nudity and verbal sexual harassment. Sexual contact with a person who cannot give valid consent (e.g., a mentally disabled individual) is also sexual abuse.
Signs of Sexual Abuse
- Changes in behavior or personality
- Unexplained injuries around the breasts or genitals
- Genital infections or sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs)
- Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding
Financial abuse or exploitation involves misusing or controlling a patient’s resources. It includes but is not limited to actions like using credit cards without permission, coercing a patient to transfer money to personal bank accounts, stealing valuables from a patient’s room, and forging financial documents for personal gain.
Signs of Financial Abuse
- Unexplained financial transactions
- Missing belongings
- Fraudulent signatures on financial documents
- Lack of financial records in the facility
- Sudden changes in financial habits
Neglect is the willful or unintentional failure of a caregiver to adequately provide a patient’s basic needs, such as regular meals, clothing, medical care, and activity. Nursing home neglect usually increases a person’s health risk and may lead to injury, illness, or even wrongful death.
Signs of Neglect
- Malnutrition or dehydration
- Poor hygiene
- Untreated medical conditions (e.g., bed sores, urinary tract infections)
- Untaken medication
- Inappropriate clothing for the weather
- Unsafe or unsanitary conditions
Neglect or abuse does not always manifest through apparent signs, such as bed sores or broken bones. Many signs of mistreatment are less noticeable, such as changes in behavior.
Behavior or personality changes may be mistaken as indicators of a mental disorder or dementia. Thus, if you suspect neglect or abuse, consult a doctor to determine if your family member suffers from a mental problem or mistreatment.Causes of Mistreatment in Nursing Homes
Ill-treatment of nursing home patients is most likely to occur in facilities with the following problems:
- Lack of employee training or qualifications
- Underpaid staff
- Poor management
However, mistreatment can also occur in high-quality nursing homes. That said, family members must pay close attention to their loved one’s health and well-being even if their facility is above average.Who is Most at Risk?
Although anyone can become a victim of nursing home abuse, the following residents are more susceptible:
- Residents with physical or mental disabilities
- Residents with access to wealth
- Women and children
- Patients with additional needs
- Residents with mental illness
Victims of nursing home neglect and mistreatment often experience the following:
- Physical injuries
- Psychological trauma
- Loss of quality of life
- Reduced family or societal ties
- Monetary losses
Severe neglect and abuse cases may lead to wrongful death, especially for highly vulnerable patients (e.g., patients with advanced age or physical disabilities).Reporting Nursing Home Mistreatment in Knoxville Area
Report known or suspected nursing facility mistreatment to the Knoxville Police Department. However, if you think your loved one or another patient is in immediate danger, call 911.
You can also file a complaint to the following Tennessee agencies:
- Department of Health Division of Health Care Facilities
- Adult Protective Services
- Office of Attorney General
- Commission on Aging and Disability
The police may file criminal charges against the perpetrator if their actions are malicious. Furthermore, local agencies may remove the facility’s licenses or certifications if the mistreatment is widespread or egregious.Filing a Nursing Home Mistreatment Case
Care facilities are obligated to provide a safe, healthy environment to all nursing home residents. Failure to do so could serve as grounds for a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
Filing a personal injury claim against a negligent Knoxville nursing home can help you recover your family’s losses and seek justice for your loved one. Our nursing home abuse lawyers help victims obtain financial compensation through litigation or out-of-court settlements.
Perpetrators of nursing home mistreatment may include:
- Nursing home staff members
- Other residents
The facility owner or operator will most likely be held liable, even if a staff member or a visitor caused the mistreatment of your family member.
Your family may recover the following damages through your personal injury claim:
- Medical Bills: Compensation for the cost of treating the trauma or injuries sustained by your loved one, including hospitalization, emergency transportation, surgery, medication, and therapy.
- Disability: Compensation for disability-related damages if your loved one becomes disabled from the mistreatment, including the costs of mobility aids, therapy, rehabilitation, and loss of quality of life.
- Pain and Suffering: Compensation for the physical and emotional injuries of your loved one, including physical pain and mental anguish.
- Punitive Damages: Payment on top of compensatory damages used to punish defendants for their harmful behavior.
- Wrongful Death: Compensation for funeral and burial costs, predeath medical treatment, and your family’s pain and suffering if your loved one dies from the mistreatment. Wrongful death damages may also include the deceased’s lost wages.
- Loss of Consortium: Compensation for a spouse’s loss of companionship due to wrongful death.
The Role of Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
Legal representation is imperative to obtaining a fair settlement for your personal injury claim. Your lawyer can help you:
- Determine who is responsible for your loved one’s mistreatment
- Gather evidence to support your claim
- Negotiate settlement values
- Determine the extent of your damages
- Take your case to civil court, if necessary
Proving the liability of abusive or neglectful nursing home staff, visitors, or other residents requires substantial evidence, such as:
- Medical records
- Photos of your loved one’s injuries
- Witness accounts from staff members or other residents
- Incident or police reports
- Expert testimony
Most nursing home abuse and neglect cases settle out of court to avoid lengthy trials and significant legal fees. Your nursing home abuse attorney will help you negotiate with the defendant to recover a fair settlement value for your family’s damages.
However, if negotiations are unsuccessful or the nursing home denies liability, your lawyer could file a civil lawsuit. A judge or jury will hear evidence from both parties and decide if the defendant deserves to pay compensation to the plaintiff (victim).
The Statute of Limitations
Tennessee law states that you have one year from the date of the incident to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you miss the deadline and still file a case, the defendant could file a motion to dismiss the case unless there are particular circumstances in your claim (Tennessee Code Section 28-3-104).How to Prevent Nursing Home Mistreatment
Nursing homes owe a standard duty of care to all residents, including preventing mistreatment from staff, visitors, and other patients and providing the best medical care possible from available resources.
Unfortunately, not all Tennessee nursing homes meet their legal obligations. Nevertheless, families of elderly or disabled individuals can help avoid mistreatment by:
- Looking for quality nursing homes in the Nashville area
- Learning the difference between signs of mistreatment and aging-related changes
- Watching for inconspicuous red flags, such as pressure ulcers, sudden weight loss, etc.
- Observing how caregivers interact with residents; looking for indicators of abusive or neglectful behavior
- Asking for copies of medical and financial records to monitor for inconsistencies
- Encouraging loved ones to talk about negative experiences in the nursing home
- Reporting abusive or neglectful nursing homes to local authorities
- Giving loved ones a means to contact family members in case of emergencies
- Installing surveillance cameras in loved ones’ rooms, if permitted by local law
Did your disabled or elderly loved one receive substandard medical care in their nursing home? Or did they suffer malicious actions from a staff member or resident, resulting in trauma and injury? If so, Nursing Home Law Center, LLC, can help you seek justice for your loved one’s pain and suffering.
Our affiliate Knoxville, TN attorneys can help you take immediate action against negligent nursing homes by filing a claim or lawsuit. We handle all accepted cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t pay for our services unless we recover financial compensation for you.
Contact our Knoxville office at (800) 926-7565 or fill out this contact form to schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you provide will remain protected under an attorney-client relationship.