Identifying signs of emotional abuse that have affected your loved one in a nursing home can be a nightmare. While you are coping with the impact of this realization and caring for your loved one, we will help you ensure that your legal rights are protected and asserted at each phase of the lawsuit.
Stuart Attorneys Assisting Nursing Home Residents With Asserting Their Rights
There are many types of abuse that take place in nursing homes, including physical, sexual, and financial abuse. The signs of these types of abuse can be easy to identify, especially when bruises and physical injuries are involved. When it comes to emotional abuse, however, it can be much more difficult to know whether or not your loved one has fallen victim to bullying, manipulation, or intimidation. Emotional abuse can take many forms, and there are many motivations that nursing home employees have for treating residents poorly. At Donaldson & Weston, our Stuart nursing home abuse lawyers have investigated cases involving emotional abuse throughout Martin, Palm Beach, and St. Lucie Counties. As a result, we can identify emotional abuse in a nursing home and help families understand their legal rights following such a disturbing discovery. After this type of incident, you should take action sooner rather than later to ensure that your loved one is protected.
Understanding the Signs of Emotional Abuse in a Nursing Home Setting
There are many different ways that emotional abuse can take place in a nursing home. One of the main types of signs involves changes in your loved one’s personality, habits, or demeanor. If they suddenly lose self-esteem or withdraw from some of their previously enjoyed social activities, it may indicate that they are being subjected to emotional abuse. This could also show signs of isolation. Some nursing home facility staff members abuse residents by isolating them from other residents, other staff members, or their friends and family. Other signs that may indicate emotional abuse include avoidance of eye contact, self-harm, a sense of hopelessness or nervousness, or sudden mood swings.
A second set of factors a personal injury lawyer recommends to evaluate relates to the resident’s physical health and wellness. If they suddenly lose weight, modify their sleeping and eating patterns, or require increased medical attention, these symptoms could be physical manifestations of emotional abuse. If the resident has been engaging in self-harm as a way to cope with the emotional abuse, these signs may be obvious as well. A lack of hygiene is also a potential indication that something is not right. If an individual is depressed or experiences low self-esteem as a result of the emotional abuse, this may result in a lack of desire to take care of himself or herself.
The first step to recovering compensation from a nursing home facility that allowed your loved one to suffer emotional abuse is to file a negligence action against the facility. Florida recognizes a doctrine called vicarious liability, which allows a victim to hold an employer liable for the negligent acts that its employees commit during the course and scope of employment. This means that a nursing home will be held responsible if its employees engage in emotional abuse, even if it did not know that an employee was engaging in this conduct.
In the lawsuit, your personal injury attorney will need to prove that the facility failed to provide your loved one with the basic level of care, attention, and assistance that they are entitled to receive under Florida law. In general, Florida laws provide nursing home residents with broad liberties, including the right to a comfortable and safe environment. This includes the right to engage with anyone whom they choose, to participate in social activities, to file grievances against a staff member, to get assistance with daily tasks like dressing and bathing, and to be free from mental and emotional abuse. Since there are often no tangible signs of emotional abuse, it can be difficult to gather evidence. Expert witnesses may be necessary to evaluate your loved one and to provide an opinion regarding whether emotional abuse was involved. If you are successful in establishing liability, you can recover compensation for any medical expenses associated with the harm, as well as compensation for pain and suffering.