About 3 million people reside in nursing homes in the United States. One out of every three of those residents admit to having been abused. A shocking 95% of them report seeing other residents being abused. Most nursing homes provide quality care to their residents. Unfortunately, a minority of them fail to do so. Physical assaults occur in some facilities more often than we realize. If a nursing home fails at the task of providing its residents a safe and secure environment, it should be held accountable.
What is an Assault in Kentucky?
The most common form of assault in Kentucky is in the fourth degree. Pursuant to 508.030 of the Kentucky Revised Statutes, an assault occurs when one person injures another person without legal justification. In some cases, actual physical contact need not even be made, but there must be a physical injury. For example, a person might take a swing at somebody else, but the punch misses. When moving away from the punch, the intended victim might trip and fall though and suffer a serious back injury. That swing will likely be determined to be an assault.
Active Physical Abuse
If a nursing home resident suffers bodily harm as a result of mistreatment, active physical abuse has occurred. This might be caused by pushing, shoving, punching, slapping or kicking a victim or the intentional misuse of restraints. Active physical abuse is intentional. It’s meant to cause pain or discomfort.
Signs of active physical abuse in a nursing home might consist of the following:
- Facial fractures and dental injuries.
- Scrapes, burns or cuts.
- Recurring visible injuries with no explanation.
- Increased fear or anxiety.
- Broken glasses, dentures or hearing aids.
Resident on Resident Attacks
Resident on resident physical attacks are the most common form or active nursing home violence. Most nursing home residents are cognitively impaired in one way or another, especially in the context of dementia. An otherwise quiet resident might suddenly become combative and attack another resident. Incoming and existing residents must be thoroughly evaluated to determine whether they might be a threat to other residents. There are definite warning signs. If a nursing home fails to pay attention to them, it can be held liable in the event of an assault. Those signs might include the following:
- Pushing or shoving.
- Slapping or punching.
- Throwing objects.
- Sexually oriented behavior.
Can I File a Lawsuit Against the Nursing Home for Resident on Resident Injuries?
If a nursing home knew or should have known of a resident’s violent predisposition, it could be held liable for injuries suffered in an attack on another resident. Due care and caution must be exercised under the circumstances if a resident is known to have aggressive tendencies.
The elderly and the ill are highly vulnerable segments of Kentucky’s population. You have legal recourse when a nursing home has failed in its duty to protect your loved one. Prevention of foreseeable attacks by patients on other patients is required by Kentucky Law. Keeping a known violent resident on the premises is a basis for liability under nursing home negligence laws. If you have reason to believe that your friend or loved one has been a victim of active nursing home abuse, contact the Office of Adult Protection Services at 800-753-6200 to report your suspicions, and then contact local law enforcement. After that, contact us at Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC, and we can arrange for a free consultation and case review with a respected and skilled Louisville nursing home abuse lawyer from our law firm. We’ll be pleased to answer your questions and advise you on the complete range of your legal options.