An Overview of Nursing Home Neglect Law
Neglect is a specific form of nursing home abuse. Defining the term can be difficult, as neglect can take a variety of forms and the facts of each case can vary. The most basic definition of neglect, however, is a failure of a caregiver — whether they are hired staff or family members — to fulfill the basic duties of caring for an elderly or disabled person. Usually this neglect involves a denial of needs like food, shelter, clothing, medical care, or hygiene.
When neglect occurs in a nursing home setting, the facility could be liable if any of the following conditions were present:
- Negligent hiring (the facility did not perform proper background or qualification checks)
- Inadequate training
- Medication errors
- Breaches of nursing home regulations or statutory obligations
Under the legal principle of vicarious liability, the facility is liable for the acts of its employees, so long as those actions happened in the course of the employee’s work. This means an employee’s negligence is essentially the same as an employer’s negligence.
What should I do if I believe nursing home neglect is occurring?
If you believe someone you know has been a victim of nursing home neglect, it is important to call either the police or adult protective services as soon as possible. A report does not require proof — it is merely a tip to encourage officials to investigate the issue.
To report suspected abuse or neglect in West Virginia, you may call the 24-hour state hotline at 1-800-352-6513 or go to the Department of Health and Human Services Local County Office Directory to contact the specific office in your area to report your concerns.
For more information on reporting neglect and potentially filing an elder abuse lawsuit, call The Calwell Practice at 304-400-6558 or contact our West Virginia law firm online to schedule an appointment.