Over the past decade, instances of resident-on-resident abuse in nursing homes have greatly increased. One of the most common forms of unwelcome resident-on-resident contact is sexual abuse. When a resident suffers sexual abuse while at a nursing home facility, various legal issues may arise.
Determining Who Is Responsible in Cases of Resident-on-Resident Sexual Abuse
There are two very important issues that must be determined early in a personal injury lawsuit alleging resident-on-resident sexual abuse. The first is whether the abuse was permitted to occur based on a lack of supervision at the nursing home. If so, the nursing home may be responsible under the legal theory of negligence. Generally speaking, nursing homes have a duty to care for and protect residents from certain harms, sexual abuse included. When a nursing home fails to provide a resident with adequate protection, the nursing home may be liable as a result.
The second important issue that must be resolved is whether a valid arbitration agreement has been signed by the resident or a member of the resident’s family. In many cases, nursing homes will claim that any case arising out of the care they provided to a resident must be settled through arbitration. Most often, arbitration clauses – which waive a party’s right to use the court system and require the case to be submitted to an arbitration panel – are in the nursing home pre-admission contract.
In some cases, these agreements are invalid because they were not sufficiently clear or because the person signing the agreement did not have the legal authority to do so. In fact, there has been a nationwide movement against the inclusion and enforcement of arbitration clauses in nursing home pre-admission contracts.
New York Nursing Home Fined After Allegations of Sexual Abuse
Earlier this month, a New York nursing home was fined by the state for failing to protect its residents against sexual abuse. According to a local news source, the nursing home was fined approximately $16,000 after two residents who had histories of being sexually aggressive were involved in several instances of sexual abuse in the home’s dementia unit.
The allegations were truly disturbing, involving accounts of one resident placing his genitals in the mouth of another resident who suffered from dementia. Some of the instances of abuse were caught on the home’s surveillance system.
Has Your Loved One Been Victimized in a Maryland Nursing Home?
If you have a loved one in a Maryland nursing home, and you have reason to believe that they have suffered from sexual abuse at the hands of another resident, you may be able to take legal action against the nursing home through a nursing home negligence lawsuit. The skilled personal injury attorneys at the Maryland-based law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have decades of experience representing nursing home residents and their families in cases alleging nursing home abuse and neglect. Call 410-654-3600 today to schedule a free consultation with an attorney to discuss your case.
More Blog Posts:
Overworked and Overstressed Nurses Are More Likely to Make Serious Mistakes, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published April 14, 2017.
Resident-on-Resident Abuse in Maryland Nursing Homes, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published April 28, 2017.