Nursing homes usually house adults who can no longer care for themselves – people who rely on others for daily needs like hygiene and food. If workers at the nursing home ignore these responsibilities and instead use their positions of trust and authority to commit serious acts of abuse and sexual assault against their patients, the individual abusers and the nursing home that allowed these abuses to occur should be held responsible for what they did.
The Reiff Law Firm’s Philadelphia lawyers for victims of sexual assault in a nursing home represent the victims themselves as well as the families of nursing home patients in lawsuits against their abusers. For help seeking compensation for the abuse you or a loved one suffered in a nursing home, call our attorneys today at (215) 246-9000 to schedule a free legal consultation.
Suing a Nursing Home for Sexual Assault on a Patient in Philadelphia
Nursing home workers should never have a physical relationship with a patient – consensual or otherwise. The power inequality makes seeking out any sort of sexual interaction with a patient inherently abusive, and nursing homes whose workers end up committing acts of physical or sexual assault against nursing home patients can often be held responsible through a lawsuit.
Lawsuits for sexual assault, in general, can be filed against the abuser. These lawsuits work like assault and battery claims, and they hold the responsible individual liable for any medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages related to the assault and the resulting injuries.
In the case of a lawsuit for sexual assault committed by a nursing home worker, the case can also be filed against the nursing home in most cases. Whether the actions of the individual worker were against the nursing home’s policies or not, the abuse still occurred on-site at the nursing home under their watch. Often, instances of intentional or negligent injury committed by a worker can be part of a claim against the worker’s employer if the injuries occurred at the worker’s job while they were engaged in the scope of their duties.
Nursing homes can also be sued directly for their part in allowing this kind of incident to occur. If they hired a worker that they should have known was dangerous because of a history of sexual assault, or if they kept a worker on staff after prior incidents, the nursing home could be liable for negligent hiring or negligent retention of their employer.
If the sexual assault was committed by another patient, the nursing home might still be liable for failing to properly monitor the patients and keep patients safe from this kind of abuse.
Damages for Sexual Assault and Sexual Abuse in a Nursing Home in Philadelphia
The damages that you can claim for sexual assault in a nursing home will depend heavily on the specific circumstances of the case. Typically, in the case of an intentional or accidental injury, victims can claim compensation for any economic or noneconomic harms related to the injury, and these cases are no different.
Economic harms often include the cost of medical care and lost wages resulting from the incident. Virtually all nursing home patients are retired, so lost wages are unlikely to be a factor in any of these cases. However, medical expenses could be present even if there was little to no force or violence used. Older adults are prone to injuries even from minor physical trauma, potentially resulting in broken bones in many elderly adults or severe bruising in patients taking blood thinners. Additionally, other economic costs might include the cost of medical transportation to get the patient treated at the hospital or transferred to another facility where they will be safer.
Pain and suffering damages are also available in most cases, comprising most of the noneconomic damages in a case. The violation associated with this kind of assault is unacceptable and can cause intense psychological trauma and suffering, and the pain associated with serious injuries could be immense.
In many cases, additional damages can be ordered against the negligent nursing home as punitive damages. These damages are ordered to punish the nursing home and can be ordered in cases where the nursing home had repeat problems with sexual assault or abuse by staff, where the responsible individual was a known abuser, or where the abuser had a history of sexual assault. In many cases, these punitive damages can be the most substantial part of the case.
Proving a Sexual Assault Claim Against a Philadelphia Nursing Home
To meet the legal burden in your case, you must prove that it is more likely than not that your claim is true. This means that a jury must essentially believe that you or your loved one was sexually assaulted and that the nursing home shared fault in this traumatic incident. If they find that you have produced enough evidence to meet this “preponderance of the evidence” burden, you should be able to get damages for any harms you can prove in court.
Actually collecting evidence and proving what happened can be difficult. In nursing homes, the nursing home and its staff often have control over the evidence, and it can be hard to rely on the statements of an elderly patient in a claim in court. Our attorneys will do everything we can to get subpoena testimony from nursing home patients, testimony from workers at the nursing home, work logs, patient call bell logs, and information about previous events to get evidence to prove the claim. In many cases, nursing homes are willing to settle before you even get to court because they want to avoid negative press or reviews that could make people unlikely to send their parents or grandparents to their home.
Call Our Philadelphia Nursing Home Sexual Assault Attorneys for a Free Case Consultation
For help determining how to prove your case and get the compensation you need, call a lawyer right away. The Philadelphia lawyers for victims of sexual assault in a nursing home at the Reiff Law Firm represent assault and injury victims and their families in claims against nursing homes, retirement homes, and other medical institutions for sexual assault and sexual abuse. For a free, confidential legal consultation, call our attorneys today at (215) 246-9000.