Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect FAQ

Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect FAQ

Nursing Home Abuse New York City

As disturbing as it is, the fact remains that nursing home abuse is prevalent in New York City and throughout the country. New York State law recognizes that residents of nursing homes are amongst the most vulnerable victims of abuse and neglect, and least able to defend themselves. Decades ago, outraged by reports of what was going on in nursing homes, New York passed a package of laws that not only helps nursing home residents, but also makes it more likely that they will be able to obtain legal representation. At Levine & Slavit, PLLC, our attorneys understand the rights of nursing home patients

Frequently Asked Questions about Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

When it comes to abuse or neglect in a nursing home, the law can be difficult to understand. The following are some frequently asked question about nursing home abuse and neglect in New York City.

Q. What laws exist in New York to protect nursing home residents who are neglected or abused?

A. Section 2801-d of the Public Health Law establishes a private right of action against a nursing home for a deprivation of a “right or benefit” created by a state or federal statute, code, rule or regulation. These rights and benefits relate to such things as bed sores, inadequate nutrition, mental and physical abuse, physical and chemical restraints, inadequate supervision and failure to provide adequate and appropriate medical care.

Q. How do actions under Public Health Law §2801-d differ from actions for negligence or medical malpractice?

A. It is not necessary to prove that a nursing home was negligent or failed to meet the standards of good and accepted medical practice in order to establish that a nursing home resident was deprived of a right or benefit. The standard is one of strict liability, subject only to the defense that the facility exercised all care reasonably necessary to prevent and limit the deprivation and injury.

Q. Are the damages recoverable against nursing homes different than the damages recoverable in typical negligence or medical malpractice cases?

A. Yes. Public Health Law §2801-d, in contrast to almost all negligence and malpractice cases in New York, provides that where the deprivation of any right or benefit is willful or in reckless disregard of the lawful rights of the patient, punitive damages may be assessed. In addition, if a judgment is rendered in favor of the plaintiff, a court may award attorneys’ fees. These damages are permitted because the elderly and infirm status of most nursing home residents severely limits the amount that can be recovered under traditional compensatory damages standards, and nursing homes were found to be taking advantage of knowing that they would likely not be held accountable for injuring their residents.

Q. Does Public Health Law §2801-d apply to nursing home residents receiving short-term rehabilitation following injury or sickness?

A. Yes, in our opinion. It is not necessary that the nursing home resident be a long-term, elderly resident. An example is a person sent for short-term rehabilitation following open-heart surgery.

Although nursing home residents can be the victims of medical malpractice, attorneys should be mindful that cases against nursing homes should often not be litigated the same way as medical malpractice cases.

Learn More about Nursing Home Abuse

At Levine & Slavit, PLLC, we would appreciate the opportunity to assist you if someone you love has been victimized in a nursing home. Please contact one of our offices and learn how we can help resolve nursing home abuse and neglect for New York City residents.