Physical Abuse

Dedicated Knoxville Attorney Bringing Claims Against Nursing Facilities

If you or a loved one experiences physical pain or injuries as a result of mistreatment in a nursing home facility in East Tennessee, this is considered physical abuse. Physical abuse of elders is shockingly common in nursing homes, and it can result in permanent or life-threatening injuries. Often, the elderly people who live in nursing homes take much longer to heal and recover. Experienced Knoxville nursing home abuse lawyer Mark Hartsoe may be able to help you recover damages if you or a loved one was harmed by physical abuse in a nursing home.

Physical Abuse

Often, physical abuse in a nursing home is caused by a caregiver's neglect. It can be a result of a caregiver's frustration with an elderly resident, but it can also be a result of understaffing and improper training. It is sometimes a result of intentional punishment of a resident, but in other cases, it is simply a result of carelessness or having too few people to take care of a particular number of residents. Even when physical abuse is unintended, its effects can be serious or even deadly. There are situations in which a visiting family member causes physical abuse, or another nursing home resident causes physical abuse. These are both complicated situations. Often, abuse occurs when nobody else is around, and in many cases, residents are embarrassed or humiliated by what happened, so they do not report it.

Physical abuse can involve kicking, punching, pinching, slapping, using restraints for long or indefinite periods, not providing food or water, and not maintaining a sanitary environment. The improper use of restraints is against federal nursing home regulations, but it still occurs quite often in nursing homes. Restraints should be used only for medical reasons and for definite, brief intervals because they endanger residents. A resident who is trying to get out of restraints that have been on them for a long period can suffer serious injuries if they fall. Moreover, being stuck in one place for too long can eventually lead to a resident developing bedsores.

However, physical abuse is often possible for loved ones to spot. Common signs of abuse are unexplained injuries, such as bruises or fractures, malnutrition, dehydration, sudden loss of weight, staff members who will not leave a patient alone with family members, and emotional withdrawal by the resident. If you believe that your loved one is being physically abused by staff or peers in a nursing home, you should look into it and report the home to authorities. If there are signs of physical abuse, it may be possible for an attorney to recover damages through a nursing home negligence lawsuit.

Both federal and state regulations prohibit physical abuse in nursing homes. All nursing home residents are entitled to live free from physical abuse. Under the Tennessee Adult Protection Act, you can hold an abuser accountable. You can also hold accountable someone who knows that physical abuse is happening but does nothing to report it. Under TAPA, you can sue for compensatory and punitive damages, assuming that the victim is a covered adult. Covered adult victims include nursing home residents who are at least 18 years old and who cannot manage their own resources or conduct daily living activities, due to their mental or physical impairments.

In some cases, it is also appropriate to raise common law causes of action, such as assault and battery or negligent hiring. For example, if a nursing home hires someone with a long history of physical violence and a criminal record, and then that person physically abuses a resident, the facility probably can be held liable for negligent hiring.

Discuss Your Case with an Injury Lawyer in the Knoxville Area

If you or a loved one suffers injuries due to physical abuse at a nursing home in Tennessee, you should consult an experienced attorney. Mark Hartsoe can advise you on whether it is appropriate to bring a lawsuit against the facility. Call the Hartsoe Law Firm at (865) 524-5657 or contact us through our online form. We also represent nursing home residents 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.

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