Legal Remedies: What You Need to Know About Pursuing Nursing Home Abuse Claims

Filing a lawsuit against assisted living care facilities might not cross your mind. After all, a nursing home is where older adults receive the compassionate care they deserve. However, reports reveal that, too often, residents in long-term care facilities experience abuse. According to the National Library of Medicine, 10% of individuals aged 65 and above experience abuse, with the rates being higher in nursing homes. 

The kinds of abuses found in nursing homes range from psychological to physical, sexual, and financial abuse. With that said, taking legal action against a nursing home is the best remedy to protect the rights of a loved one if you suspect they are facing abuse. But where should you start? Should you hire an attorney or report the abuse first? This article will highlight what you need to know about pursuing nursing home abuse claims to make the process easier and more successful. 

Reasons to Sue a Nursing Home

The decision to sue a nursing home is difficult. But a few reasons may help you feel confident about it. Think of it this way- abuse and negligence in nursing homes are crimes that violate the rights of the elderly. So, when you file nursing home abuse claims, you ensure:

  • Your loved one receives compensation for physical injuries and emotional pain.
  • The abuser is held accountable for their deeds.
  • The facility changes its policies to prevent abuse in the future.
  • Other residents are free from future abuse.

Claims You Can Pursue 

The type of claim or lawsuit you can pursue on behalf of the harmed or victim depends on the circumstances they have encountered. For example, you could pursue: 

  • A tort (civil wrong) lawsuit – this type of lawsuit addresses issues like negligence, medical malpractice, or intentional abuse.
  • Wrongful death lawsuit- you can sue a nursing home for wrongful death if a loved one died because of abuse or lack of standard care in the facility. 
  • Breach of contract lawsuits. You can file a claim against a long-term care facility if they do not provide standard care as your contract agrees. If the contract states your loved one should stay in a clean and stress-free environment and the nursing home does not meet this condition, you can sue them for breach of contract. 

Legal Process of Filing Nursing Home Abuse Claims

Now, you are familiar with the lawsuits you can pursue for nursing home abuse. How do you begin the lawsuit process? 

1. Gather Enough Evidence

It is impossible to win a nursing home abuse claim without evidence of negligence or abuse. Therefore, collect any useful information that links the facility to abuse. These could be photographs or videos showing injuries or bruises your loved one has developed because of abuse or neglect. You can also record testimonials from other residents, staff, or visitors. 

Medical records are vital pieces of evidence that could expose medical malpractice, such as lack of standard health care or abuse of drugs. So, make sure your loved one seeks medical attention immediately when you notice behavioral signs of nursing home abuse like social withdrawal, malnourishment, broken bones, bruises, or bedsores. If you believe your loved one complains about financial exploitation, document their financial records and save emails or text messages corresponding to financial abuse. 

2. Report Abuse

Filing a formal complaint is necessary to ensure you build a strong case against an assisted living facility. Who do you report to? First, inform the nursing home’s administration about the abuses residents face in their facility. Then, record incidents of abuse in long-term care facilities with the local police or adult protective services (APS). The police and APS will investigate the facility in question and collect critical evidence you may not have access to. 

Your state’s long-term care facility Ombudsman programs can be of great help. These programs offer an Ombudsperson who acts as an advocate for nursing home abuse victims, listens to their concerns, and protects their rights. 

3. Consult an Attorney

Remember, you are not looking for any lawyer. But an experienced nursing home abuse attorney in your region. For example, hiring a nursing home abuse lawyer in Allentown, PA, is advisable if you are in Pennsylvania. A local-based attorney understands the unique laws and regulations designed to protect the rights of older adults in your state. What does this mean? 

Your attorney will help you interpret the signs of abuse you suspect your loved one is experiencing. Then, advise the best legal action you can take to protect your loved one’s rights. For example, if your loved one has suffered injuries due to neglect or any form of abuse, you may pursue financial compensation for medical costs and emotional pain and suffering. 


Taking legal action against a nursing home with a record of neglecting or abusing residents is the best move to protect the rights of older adults. However, the process is never straightforward. To successfully sue a nursing home for elderly abuse, one must understand the importance of doing so. Next, determine the claim you should pursue based on the circumstances your loved one has experienced. Then, gather evidence of abuse, file an official complaint with local authorities, and hire an attorney with expertise in handling nursing home abuse cases