Abusing an elderly nursing home resident is a disgraceful act that is clearly in violation of a resident’s rights. Indeed, such conduct can result in both civil and criminal liability. In most cases of nursing home abuse, the criminal case will proceed to trial before the civil case. This can help the families of abused residents who are considering filing a claim against the nursing home because much of the investigation will already have been completed by the authorities. In addition, if the criminal case against the nursing home is particularly strong, this may incentivize the facility to consider a substantial settlement and keep the case from going to trial where even greater damages may be awarded.
When a nurse is found guilty or pleads guilty to a criminal offense involving the abuse of a resident, that will not automatically mean that the resident or the resident’s family is entitled to monetary compensation. A criminal prosecution is brought by the government, and seeks to implement a punishment against the nurse or facility. This may involve time in jail, probation, or a substantial fine. While a criminal court can order some restitution, it would not likely be a significant amount.
A civil case, on the other hand, is brought by those personally affected by the nurse’s conduct, and seeks monetary compensation for the physical and emotional injuries caused by the abuse. These cases, if successful, can result in significant monetary judgments against nursing home management, especially if punitive damages are sought and proven.
Nurse Pleads Guilty to Abusing a Resident and Subsequent Cover-Up
Earlier this month, a former nursing home employee pleaded guilty to one count of abusing a resident. According to a local news source covering the case, the nurse faces up to ten years in jail.
Evidently, the nurse accidentally gave a female resident a large dose of narcotic pain medication instead of the cough medicine that she intended to give the resident. The nurse then manipulated treatment records to show that she had provided the resident with the correct drug, rather than reporting the error to management.
As a result of being given the wrong medication, the resident was found a few hours later by another team of nurses. She was immediately rushed to the hospital, where she was able to recover.
Have You Been the Victim of Nursing Home Abuse?
If you have a loved one in a Maryland or Washington D.C. nursing home, and you are concerned that they are not receiving the care that they need, or believe that one or more nurses at the facility are engaging in nursing home abuse, you or your loved one may be entitled to monetary compensation. All too often these cases go unreported because family members do not take their loved ones seriously when they make complaints of abuse or neglect. However, the reality is that both abuse and neglect do occur behind the walls of Maryland nursing homes, making the threat a very real one. Call 410-654-3600 to set up a free consultation with a dedicated attorney to discuss your case and learn more about nursing home abuse cases.
More Blog Posts:
Nurse Charged with Abusing Patient and Falsifying Business Records to Cover It Up, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published February 15, 2016.
Arbitration Clauses in Nursing Home Contracts: Are They Binding?, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published March 7, 2016.