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Tennessee Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuits

Filing a personal injury claim for nursing home abuse and negligence in Tennessee

In Tennessee, nursing home abuse is sadly more common than many realize. Neglect is a factor in many abuse cases. When abuse, neglect or both have occurred, you may have a right to recover compensation. You may even be able to get compensation if you signed an arbitration agreement prior to your family member going into the nursing home.

Nursing home negligence and abuse generally falls under medical malpractice law, so you should consult with an experienced Tennessee medical malpractice attorney near you to learn more about your rights and legal options.

Examples of abuse in Tennessee nursing homes

Abuse or neglect examples in nursing homes include:

  • Slapping, hitting or otherwise abusing a patient
  • Sexual abuse
  • Neglecting patient hygiene or unmonitored bedsores
  • Skipping feedings, medications or monitoring vitals
  • Mental or emotional abuse
  • Financial abuse including theft, fraud and exploitation

The injuries that patients receive in abuse settings can be physically and emotionally painful, possibly leading to death. Examples include:

  • Soft tissue injuries, including severe bruising
  • Lacerations or abrasions
  • Sprains and broken bones
  • Unexplained or restraint-related marks
  • Head injuries
  • Suffocation or strangulation
  • Internal bleeding

Nursing home abuse statute of limitations

Tennessee nursing home lawsuits must be filed up to 1 year after the discovery of the injury, or when the injury reasonably should have been discovered.

Because the statute of limitations expires sooner than in many other states, you should act as quickly as possible. Yours or your loved one's ability to get the help that they need depends on whether you file a suit in a timely manner.

Types of damages you can collect for nursing home abuse

Family members of nursing home abuse victims or the victims themselves can recover damages that include pain and suffering, medical expenses and punitive damages.

Tennessee imposes a cap on punitive damages: either $550,000 or twice the amount of the compensatory damages, whichever amount is higher. When there are certain exceptions, such as intentionally concealing or falsifying records, the cap is not applicable.

Who can you sue for nursing home negligence?

In most cases involving nursing home abuse, the nursing home is the entity that needs to be sued. Some nursing homes are single entities, while others are part of a larger, corporate-owned long-term care facility provider.

Some of the ways facilities can be liable include:

  • Placing their employees in care positions without proper training
  • Being understaffed and failing to provide proper care
  • Hiring employees with histories of violent or negligent behavior

Proving fault and establishing negligence in nursing home lawsuits

Depending on the circumstances, the abuse may have persisted for years; while in others, family members notice the abuse fairly quickly. Taking careful note of your loved one's behavior and what they say during visits can help you spot signs of abuse more quickly.

If there are any indicators that abuse is an issue, take notes on what you've observed and let the facility know about what's going on. One thing to keep in mind is that any medical or non-medical staff member can become abusive, as well as other patients.

Remember the nursing home will usually defend themselves fairly aggressively in court. The stronger you make your case, the more likely you will have a better outcome. Enlisting the help of a lawyer who understands these cases will help.

Neglect by any other name

The Tennessee state legislature changed its laws in 2017 to treat nursing home abuse cases as healthcare liability, rather than medical malpractice cases. The business model used in many companies that own nursing homes treats the decision-makers working at the business end of things with the same authority as healthcare providers.

Any decisions that the nursing home administrators make that lead to negligent behavior because of staffing or budget-related cuts would require the plaintiff to prove that the action was a healthcare liability. One change that has also come about as a result of this legislation is that a plaintiff can proceed with their case without expert proof.

When to consult a Tennessee nursing home lawyer

You should consider contacting a lawyer for any Tennessee nursing home abuse case. Even though some of these cases may seem cut-and-dried, there are often complexities that someone with a non-legal background might miss. At the very least, you will want to contact a lawyer for advice.

The right lawyer might make all the difference. There are many things that plaintiffs need to consider, regardless of whether they or a loved one has been abused or injured. Knowing that the compensation is within reach is a significant source of relief for most after going through one of these cases.   

Contact Gilreath & Associates today for your free consultation.


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