According to data compiled by the 2016 American Community Survey, Pennsylvania is one of the ten states with the highest median age population. Given the advanced age of many residents, it should come as no surprise that Pennsylvania is home to a significant number of residential nursing facilities. Many of these facilities take great care in the treatment of their residents. Unfortunately, some facilities fail to live up the standard their residents deserve. If you suspect your relative has sustained injuries through nursing home abuse, a personal injury attorney may be able to help hold the facility accountable.
When your loved one has endured mistreatment at an Altoona nursing home, they are entitled to seek compensation for their injuries. When a nursing home violates their duty to care for and protect a resident, an Altoona nursing home abuse lawyer could file a lawsuit and help to seek justice on behalf of your loved one.
Rights of Nursing Home Residents in Pennsylvania
While the federal government adopted certain protections for nursing home residents in 1987, Pennsylvania took similar steps nearly a decade prior. Under the Health Care Facilities Act of 1979, nursing homes, their owners, and their employees must guarantee certain rights to nursing home residents. These rights include:
- Freedom from abuse
- Freedom from unneeded restraints
- Safe, clean conditions
- The right to respect and dignity
- The right to refuse medical treatment
- The right to manage their finances
- The right to established visiting hours
- The right to be informed of their legal rights in writing
When a nursing home violates the rights of a resident, an Altoona attorney with experience in nursing home abuse cases could file a lawsuit to hold them accountable.
Proving Negligence in an Altoona Nursing Home Case
Nursing home abuse comes in many forms. Despite the wide array of potential injuries a resident could endure, most forms of nursing home abuse fall within five general categories. Those five common forms of nursing home abuse include: physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse, and neglect.
Pennsylvania law requires that Altoona residential facilities guarantee their residents humane and dignified treatment. The failure to meet these standards could result in liability for the nursing home or its employees.
To recover damages in a nursing home abuse case, an Altoona nursing home abuse attorney must show the nursing home or its employees were negligent. To do so, the plaintiff must establish four elements:
- The nursing home owed the resident a duty of care
- The nursing home breached that duty
- The breach injured the resident
- The resident suffered damages due to the breach
The nursing home’s duty of care is written into law, thanks to the Health Care Facilities Act. If a nursing home, its owner, or its employees violate the Act, a jury may find that they have breached their duty.
Additionally, a plaintiff and their attorney must also show a defendant’s breach resulted in the plaintiff’s damages. In nursing home cases, a common example would be a resident’s medical bills and any pain and suffering resulting from neglect from the nursing home.
Contact an Altoona Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
Altoona nursing home residents deserve to live free of injury, fear, or neglect. When a facility fails to protect its residents, they could face liability for damages those residents suffer. If you believe your loved one in a nursing home suffered abuse, contact an Altoona nursing home abuse lawyer at Marcus & Mack right away.