Elder abuse is a growing problem in Tennessee and elsewhere. Elder abuse includes intentional or neglectful conduct by a caregiver or another trusted individual that leads to harm to a vulnerable elder. It can include physical abuse, sexual abuse, and emotional or psychological abuse, as well as financial abuse and exploitation. It can also include neglect. If you or a loved one has suffered from elder abuse in a nursing home, Knoxville elder abuse lawyer Mark Hartsoe may be able to provide legal representation in a claim or lawsuit.Situations Involving Elder Abuse
Elderly adults in nursing homes are vulnerable to all kinds of abuse. Sexual assault and physical assault are just two forms of abuse. However, abuse can include neglect, such as a failure to move an incapacitated resident frequently enough to avoid bedsores, or a failure to provide adequate food and fluids. It can include the use of medications to control an elderly person's behavior, such as the administration of antipsychotics to make an elderly person more sedate. In Tennessee, emotional and psychological abuse, such as name-calling and threats, can also be considered elder abuse.
Sometimes, after being abused, an elderly resident will be humiliated and fail to explicitly tell their loved ones about the abuse. Moreover, many elderly people suffer from a mental or physical impairment that may result in their not sharing any information about the abuse. If your family member is in a nursing home, you should be alert to signs of abuse or neglect, such as bedsores, withdrawn behavior, depression, and unexplained bruises or fractures.
Under the Tennessee Adult Protection Act, all nursing home employees, including doctors, nurses, and social workers, are supposed to report any reasonably suspected episodes of abuse. Someone who knowingly fails to report elder abuse can be charged with a misdemeanor. Any nursing home employee who is reported for abuse can be added to a registry and forbidden from working at assisted living facilities in the future. A nursing home employee's failure to report suspected abuse can result in further abuse taking place.
There are a number of theories and remedies provided by law. Under section 120 of the Tennessee Adult Protection Act, you can recover compensatory damages and costs with the assistance of an elder abuse attorney in the Knoxville area. For example, if your mother was placed on unnecessary chemical restraints, including antipsychotics, and eventually developed a serious medical condition as a result of the unnecessary chemical restraints, so she needed to be treated on an emergency basis, this is likely to be considered elder abuse. You might be able to recover medical bills and the costs of rehabilitation. Additionally, it may be possible to recover noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Egregious conduct may justify an award of punitive damages. For example, if nursing home administrators willfully suppressed reports of the abuse, a Knoxville elder abuse attorney may be able to obtain punitive damages to punish them and deter future similar misconduct.
Nursing homes are supposed to conduct background checks on staff members to make sure that they are fit to serve as caregivers for the elderly and infirm. If a nursing home conducts a background check and finds red flags, such as a staff member's past history of elder abuse and neglect, but it hires him anyway, it can be held accountable for negligent hiring if that staff member abuses another victim.
Usually, a Tennessee nursing home negligence lawsuit is treated as a medical malpractice lawsuit in terms of procedural requirements. For example, pre-suit notice must be provided, and an expert must be consulted even before filing suit.Hire an Elder Abuse Lawyer in Knoxville or Surrounding Areas
If you have been harmed or a loved one has died due to elder abuse at an East Tennessee nursing home, you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney. Call the Hartsoe Law Firm in Knoxville at (865) 524-5657 or contact us through our online form. We represent victims in Clinton, Oak Ridge, Alcoa, Louisville, Maryville, LaFollette, Tazewell, Newport, Crossville, Jamestown, Rutledge, Greeneville, Morristown, Chattanooga, Dandridge, Jefferson City, Strawberry Plains, Madisonville, Lenoir City, Loudon, Athens, and other communities in Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Claiborne, Cocke, Cumberland, Fentress, Grainger, Greene, Hamblen, Hamilton, Jefferson, Knox, Monroe, Loudon, McMinn, and Bradley Counties.