Criminal Prosecution of Nursing Home Abusers
Nursing home abuse is a crime. But before the perpetrator can be punished, law enforcement authorities must be notified. If you are the victim of nursing home abuse, or if you suspect that someone else is a victim, contact the police immediately. Because abuse victims and their families can also take civil legal action against an abuser, you should also hire a nursing home abuse attorney as soon as possible.
Reporting Nursing Home Abuse
In addition to contacting local police, you should also notify your state's long-term care ombudsman. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services' Administration on Aging:
"Long-Term Care Ombudsmen are advocates for residents of nursing homes, board and care homes, assisted living facilities and similar adult care facilities. They work to resolve problems of individual residents and to bring about changes at the local, state and national levels that will improve residents’ care and quality of life."
If the abuse includes Medicaid or Medicare fraud, you can also report the abuse to your state's attorney general or Medicare/Medicaid fraud unit.
Criminal Prosecution of Nursing Home Abuse Perpetrators
Once you've reported the abuse, law enforcement officials will launch a criminal investigation. Investigators will want to talk to the victim, the alleged perpetrator and any witnesses to the abuse.
To assist in the investigation, it helps to provide investigators with any evidence that helps document the abuse. Depending on the nature of the abuse, this could include medical records, photographs of injuries, copies of bank and credit card statements, and the contact information for individuals who may have witnessed the abuse.
As investigators gather evidence, they will need to talk to interview the victim. This can be a frightening experience, even for someone who didn't do anything wrong. A nursing home abuse lawyer can help explain what the victim should expect and accompany the victim to police interviews or court proceedings.
At the conclusion of the investigation, prosecutors will examine the evidence and then charge the perpetrator with a crime if there's reason to believe a crime was committed. The perpetrator will have the opportunity to enter a plea. If the abuser pleads not guilty, there will be a criminal trial.
Abusers who plead guilty or are found guilty at trial face a variety of punishments, depending on the severity of the crime. These could include fines, probation and/or jail time. The abuser also runs the risk of losing his or her professional license.
Find & Hire Local Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys
Regardless of the outcome of a criminal investigation, an abuse victim can also file a personal injury lawsuit against the abuser.
Need help locating nursing home abuse lawyers in your area? Call Attorneys.com at 877-913-7222 or complete the form on this page. Our free, no-obligation lawyer referral service will quickly match you with a local lawyer.