When the roles reverse and we begin taking care of our parents and grandparents, there may be a lot of decisions to make. Most decisions aren't easy, especially if the time comes to choose a nursing home for your loved one. Many family members have researched for months to find what they believe to be the right establishment only to find out later that they've inadvertently made the wrong choice for their loved one. This is a worst-nightmare scenario that no one wants to be in. Unfortunately, for many families, it becomes reality. If you're in this situation, know that it's not your fault – nursing home abuse can happen anywhere, even in the most reputable of establishments. It's important to not dwell on your decision and take action against the wrongdoers. When you don't know where to turn, call our nursing home abuse lawyer in Utah at 801-535-4645. We'll help walk you through your legal options to provide some financial relief and help you get your loved one on the road to recovery.
What Is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse refers to the abuse, mistreatment, or negligence of vulnerable adults in long-term care facilities. A “vulnerable adult” is defined in Utah law as an elderly or dependent adult who has a mental or physical impairment that substantially affects that individual's ability to:
- Provide personal protection
- Provide necessities such as food, shelter, clothing, or medical or other health care
- Obtain services necessary for health, safety, or welfare
- Carry out the activities of daily living
- Manage the adult's own resources
- Comprehend the nature and consequences of remaining in a situation of abuse, neglect, or exploitation
Some examples of abuse or neglect that happens in nursing home settings include:
- Physical abuse - Striking (with or without an object), hitting, beating, pushing, shoving, shaking, slapping, kicking, pinching, and burning
- Inappropriate use of drugs and physical restraints; force-feeding
- Sexual abuse - Non-consensual sexual contact of any kind; unwanted touching; all types of sexual assault or battery, such as rape, sodomy, and coerced nudity
- Emotional or psychological abuse - Infliction of anguish, pain, or distress through verbal or nonverbal acts; verbal assaults, insults, threats, intimidation, humiliation, and harassment; treating the protected person like an infant; isolating the protected person from his or her family, friends, or regular activities; and enforced social isolation.
- Failure of a caretaker to provide appropriate and adequate care - Nutrition, clothing, shelter, supervision, personal care, or dental or other health care, or failure to provide protection from health and safety hazards, or failure to provide protection from maltreatment
- Failure to provide reasonable care - Failure of a caretaker to provide care that a reasonable person would provide
- Failure to carry out treatment plans as prescribed - Failure of a caretaker to carry out a prescribed treatment plan that results or could result in injury or harm
- Conduct that deprives the patient or resident - A pattern of conduct by a caretaker that deprives the protected person of food, water, medication, health care, shelter, cooling, heating, or other services necessary to maintain the protected person's well being, without the protected person's informed consent
- Abandonment by a caretaker - A knowing or intentional action or inaction, including desertion, by a person acting as a caretaker for a vulnerable adult that leaves the vulnerable adult without the means or ability to obtain necessary food, clothing, shelter, or medical care.
Nursing Home Abuse Laws in Utah
In Utah, laws exist to protect the elderly and vulnerable from abuse, mistreatment, and neglect in nursing homes and care facilities. It's important to note the statute of limitations on nursing home negligence cases is four years from the date the personal injury was discovered. In the case of medical malpractice, the deadline to file a claim is two to four years, depending on the facts of your case. With short time limits to seek justice for the injuries or wrongful death of your loved one, it's essential to speak with a wrongful death attorney or personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
In addition to the statute of limitations and civil recourse to which victims may be eligible through a personal injury claim, criminal considerations may apply depending on the specific facts of the incident. We'll discuss potential criminal charges for nursing home abuse below.
Can Wrongdoers Be Criminally Charged for Nursing Home Abuse?
According to the Adult Protective Services Act and the Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation of a Vulnerable Adult Act, nursing home abusers may be subject to criminal charges. Utah Code § 76-5-111. If the intentional abuse of a vulnerable adult is proven, abusers could be charged with a felony. In the case that negligence or reckless conduct caused injury to a vulnerable adult, defendants may be charged with a misdemeanor. However, some offenses are so harmful that some defendants may be charged with a felony, depending on the case. Offenses that may be punishable by law include:
- Failure to report abuse of vulnerable adults
- Committing theft, unlawfully taking unauthorized control of the vulnerable person's property with the purpose to deprive the vulnerable person of that property
- Unlawful dealing of property by a fiduciary (Utah code § 76-6-513)
Contact Our Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Today
It's vital to take swift action after abuse is discovered. Don't delay contacting our nursing home abuse lawyer if you have discovered that your loved one has suffered abuse in a long-term care facility. We're here to give your family member a voice, and we'll fight to protect their rights and dignity. To schedule a consultation with the Andrus Law Firm team, call us at 801-535-4645 or fill out our convenient and confidential online form here.
Note that the content on our blog and website is for general information purposes only. If you have specific questions and concerns, we urge you to reach out to our personal injury lawyer to discuss your case.
Our nursing home abuse lawyer is located in Salt Lake City at
299 S Main St
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
We serve Salt Lake City, Layton, Ogden, Orem, Provo, Sandy, St George, West Valley City, West Jordan, and the entire state of Utah.