Assisted Living Abuse & Neglect FAQ
Our attorneys have answers if your loved one has been hurt
If you believe your loved one is a victim of assisted living abuse or neglect, it’s normal to feel lost, confused and overwhelmed. You need answers, and Braswell Murphy, LLC can help. We’ve worked with hundreds of families in situations similar to yours.
- What is assisted living neglect?
- What is assisted living abuse?
- What is considered “negligence” in an assisted living facility?
- How can I find out what happened to my loved one?
- How can an assisted living abuse attorney help?
If you don’t see your question here – or if you need advice on your specific situation – we strongly encourage you to contact us. Our Mobile, AL assisted living abuse and neglect attorneys have the experience needed to help you move forward.
Put simply, neglect is failure to provide appropriate care for a resident that leads to an injury or illness. Exactly what that means depends on the type of facility and the extent of services they provide. Some examples of neglect include:
- Failing to provide adequate food or drink, causing malnutrition or dehydration
- Allowing walkways to become cluttered with trip hazards
- Improperly overseeing medication administration
- Not making sure residents get to their medical appointments
- Not making sure residents get appropriate medical care for an injury or illness
- Allowing residents to leave the facility unsupervised and without a safety plan in place
Neglect can lead to serious injuries, such as broken bones, pressure ulcers (bedsores), infections that become septic and so on. If the facility’s neglect can be shown to have caused those injuries, an attorney can fight to hold them accountable.
Abuse is an intentional act that causes harm to another person. People from all walks of life can be abused, but people in assisted living are particularly vulnerable because their independence is limited. Acts of abuse can be committed by staff, visitors, trespassers or other residents. There are four common types of abuse:
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Financial exploitation
One of the expectations when you put a loved one in assisted living is that he or she will be safe there. When facilities allow abuse to happen, that trust is violated. It’s important that they be held accountable.
Negligence is a legal term that refers to failure to meet a standard of care. The law expects people and companies to act with appropriate care to avoid causing injuries to others. For example, a motorist who runs a red light is clearly negligent and could be held liable if he hits a pedestrian.
Negligence in an assisted living facility can be tricky to establish because the standard of care varies from facility to facility, depending on the services the facility is contracted to provide. Here is an incomplete list of types of negligence in assisted living:
- Negligent security – failure to take appropriate steps to keep the premises safe from intruders who might harm residents, or to keep residents safe from each other.
- Negligent hiring – failure to conduct background checks and carefully screen new employees, or hiring an employee with a known history of abuse.
- Negligent retention – keeping an employee at the facility despite a known history of abuse or negligent behavior.
- Negligent supervision or training of staff – failure to adequately train new staff to meet residents’ needs.
- Medical negligence – failure to appropriately monitor residents’ medication administration and medical needs, which can cause an illness or injury to go untreated.
- Negligent supervision of residents – allowing residents to leave without a safety plan, or failing to adequately supervise to prevent falls and injuries.
Unfortunately, facilities that are not good at taking care of their residents are often much better at covering their tracks. You may get evasive answers or have to pore over documents written in highly technical language in order to figure out what happened. That’s why it’s so important to retain an attorney from our law firm who can investigate the assisted living facility on your behalf.
Establishing negligence in an assisted living abuse or neglect case can be a time-consuming and fact-intensive process. Assisted living facilities vary widely in terms of the level of care and services they are contracted to provide, and establishing responsibility for an injury often requires a thorough investigation.
For example, suppose a resident slips and falls on some spilled liquid in his or her private room. Is the facility responsible? It depends. If the facility’s contract says that staff will clean private rooms every day, and we can show that the hazard was there for a full calendar day without being cleaned up, then the facility is likely responsible. If the contract says that private rooms will only be cleaned once a week, the facility could argue that they did their job and aren’t responsible. However, if the resident called for help with cleaning and the facility didn’t send someone to clean up the spill, that can change liability as well.
Situations like this are why you shouldn’t try to deal with your loved one’s injury on your own. Administrators of negligent facilities are adept at confusing and obfuscating what happened to protect their bottom line. Protect your loved one’s rights with an experienced assisted living abuse and neglect attorney from Braswell Murphy, LLC on your side.