Civil Lawsuits Versus Criminal Prosecutions in Nursing Home Abuse Cases

When a nursing home employee engages in abuse of a patient, two different types of lawsuits can follow. First, the local state government can opt to criminally prosecute the individual nursing home employee. If the employee is found guilty, they may face fines, probation, or even incarceration.

The other type of Maryland nursing home lawsuit is a civil case for damages. A civil lawsuit, also known as a personal injury lawsuit, is brought by the victim of the abuse or their family member, rather than by the local prosecuting authority. In addition, the focus of the case is not so much on the employee’s violation of the law, but instead on whether the employee violated a duty of care he owed to the nursing home resident. Importantly, even if a criminal lawsuit is not pursued, a nursing home resident or their family member may pursue a civil nursing home abuse lawsuit on their own.

If successful, a nursing home resident or their family may recover compensation for the injuries sustained by the abused resident. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the abuse, compensation may include amounts for past and future medical expenses, loss of enjoyment, decrease in quality of life, and any pain and suffering caused by the abuse. In some cases, punitive damages may also be appropriate.

Prosecutor Drops Case Against Nursing Home

Earlier this month, a local prosecuting authority announced that it would decline to further pursue charges that had already been filed against a nursing home operator who had allegedly engaged in the financial abuse of residents. While the case did not involve physical abuse, it illustrates the frustrations that may arise when a criminal case against a nursing home or nursing home employee is dropped or when criminal charges are pursued but not substantiated.

According to a local news report, the local prosecutor explained that, if the nursing home operator were found guilty, he would likely close down the home, resulting in the residents having nowhere to go. Some suggest that the prosecutor would not have dropped the charges if they were likely to result in a conviction, but others claim that the prosecutor’s conduct doesn’t pass the “smell test” and that he should have let justice play out.

Has Your Loved One Been a Victim of Abuse?

If you have a loved one in a Maryland nursing home, and you believe that they have suffered from abuse or neglect, you should consult with one of the dedicated Maryland nursing home abuse attorneys at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, we represent abused and neglected nursing home residents and their families across Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. in all types of claims. With our experience in your corner, you can rest assured that your loved one is in good hands. To learn more, call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney to discuss your case.

More Blog Posts:

Overuse of Antipsychotic Drugs in Nursing Homes Remains Problem, Putting Some Residents in Grave Danger, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published February 21, 2018.

Resident-on-Resident Abuse Is Prevalent in Maryland Nursing Homes, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published February 7, 2018.

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