To most people, a nursing home does not seem like a likely location for a sexual assault to take place. Unfortunately, sexual abuse can and does happen in nursing homes, assisted living centers, and other facilities that provide long-term care to the elderly. Residents who are victims of sexual assault may be seriously harmed both physically and emotionally. If you believe that your loved one may have subjected to sexual abuse, the compassionate Raleigh nursing home abuse attorneys at Maurer Law can talk with you about common warning signs of nursing home abuse and review your loved one’s medical records in detail to determine whether a cause of action may lie against the facility.
Sadly, instances of sexual abuse inflicted upon nursing home residents are not particularly unusual. Victims may be inappropriately touched by staff members, other residents, or visitors. Strangers and even members of the victim’s own family may also be perpetrators of unwanted sexual contact. The resident may be too weak or too confused to resist the abuse. Dementia and medication may also make nursing home residents vulnerable to sexual abuse. Although each case is unique, common signs that such an event may have transpired include cuts, bruises, or bleeding in the genital area, an unexplained illness or infection, or emotional withdrawal or silence.Proving the Liability of a Nursing Home in Which Sexual Abuse Took Place
The perpetrator of the sexual abuse of a nursing home patient may or may not be prosecuted criminally. In any event, neither the victim nor their family is likely to receive monetary compensation through the criminal justice system. At most, the criminal court may order the offender to pay a small amount of restitution to the victim, but the enforcement of such an order may prove difficult. Therefore, a civil action against the nursing home where the abuse occurred is the most common legal remedy for people who have been sexually abused in a nursing home or assisted living center.
Such a lawsuit is likely to be based on negligence, meaning that the plaintiff must prove that the defendant facility breached a duty of care that was owed to the victim under the circumstances and that this breach of duty was the proximate cause of the harm suffered by the resident. Theories may include negligent supervision, a failure to perform adequate employee background investigations, overstaffing, lack of supervision of residents, and negligent security of the facility, among other possible claims. The plaintiff has the burden of proof in a civil case and must establish their claim by a preponderance of the evidence to succeed at trial.Consult a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney in the Raleigh Area
Studies have suggested that less than one in three instances of elder sexual abuse is ever reported to authorities. Most victims suffer in silence because they cannot speak for themselves, and no one else is willing to advocate on their behalf. If you even remotely suspect that a loved one has been sexually abused in a nursing home, you should talk to an injury attorney as soon as possible so that a report may be made, the perpetrator may be apprehended and prosecuted, and your loved one may be compensated for their pain and suffering, as well as the costs associated with the injuries that they endured. The knowledgeable Raleigh nursing home abuse lawyers at Maurer Law can assist you in pursing maximum compensation on your loved one’s behalf. For a free case evaluation at our Raleigh, Durham, or Fayetteville offices, call us today at (919) 229-8359 or contact us online. We also represent clients in Charlotte, Rocky Mount, Greensboro, Wilmington, Chapel Hill, Asheville, and Wake Forest, among other areas of North Carolina.