Have You Been Injured? We're Ready to Fight for You.

How Often Do Cases of Assault and Battery Happen at Nursing Homes?

Published on Jun 27, 2019 by Thomas Law Offices.

When your loved one enters a nursing home, they do so with the assumption they will be cared for and provided with the necessities they need to be comfortable, happy, and healthy. Unfortunately, there are times where that does not happen. While we often think of nursing home abuse happening between a staff member and a resident, there are instances where resident-to-resident abuse occurs. When this happens, it’s possible a case of assault and battery could arise.

What Is Assault and Battery?

Assault and battery is one of the more common criminal offenses. Legally, assault refers to making someone think you will cause them harm. This means that there does not have to be actual harm for an assault to have taken place. A verbal threat is enough to constitute assault. Battery occurs when someone is physically harmed. Unlike assault, battery occurs without warning or fear. When an assault and battery case occurs, it means someone has been simultaneously threatened and harmed.

Common examples of assault and battery in a nursing home setting between two residents include:

  • Kicking
  • Punching
  • Pushing
  • Pinching
  • Slapping
  • Shaking
  • Beating
  • Sexual Assault

Resident-to-resident assault and battery cases typically arise when there is a serious dispute between residents or when one resident suffers from a medical condition that results in violent outbursts. Regardless of the cause, the nursing home facility is required to ensure all residents are safe. This includes monitoring residents and preventing instances of abuse.

Resident-to-Resident Mistreatment Risk Factors

Resident-to-resident abuse seriously affects all residents involved. Unfortunately, the majority of incidents go unreported. While the research regarding this type of abuse is limited, there are a number of identifiable risk factors.

Resident Characteristics

There are a number of factors related to residents that impact the chances of resident-to-resident assault and battery occurring. The first is having a significant cognitive impairment like dementia or mental illness. When a resident has behavioral symptoms related to cognitive impairment, they may be a disruption to others. The behavioral symptoms can include yelling, calling for help, enter others’ rooms without permission, and repetitive behaviors. Another risk factor that increases the chances of abuse is residents who have a history of negative interactions with other residents or are known to be aggressive.

Facility Characteristics

In addition to the resident characteristics, there are facility characteristics that are risk factors for resident-to-resident abuse. The main characteristic is inadequate staffing. When there are not enough employees to care for residents, it’s likely that violent incidents could be overlooked. Issues can also arise when the staff lacks training regarding individualized care. They may not know how to care for someone with dementia or other mental health needs. In conjunction with that, facilities can run into problems if they have a high number of residents with dementia.

While the facility characteristics above are related to care, there are others that are specifically related to environment. When a nursing home has a lack of meaningful activities, crowded common areas, or excessive noise, instances of assault and battery are more likely to happen.

Potential Signs of Assault and Battery in Nursing Homes

Finding evidence of assault and battery in a long-term care facility can be challenging. But it’s likely that those committing the acts of abuse could be targeting individuals who have few visitors, difficulty speaking, or medical conditions like dementia.

If your loved one is in a nursing home and you’re concerned about their wellbeing, it’s important to be aware of the warning signs of abuse. For example, if you visit your loved one and they appear withdrawn and are unwilling to discuss new injuries, it’s crucial to speak with staff members to determine what’s going on. If the employees are unwilling to discuss the matter with you or claim to know nothing about any injuries, you’ll want to speak with management and determine if you want to have your family member moved to a different location.

If your loved one has been harmed by another resident at their facility, you may notice the following common assault and battery signs:

  • Bruises, wounds, lacerations
  • Unexplained injuries
  • Broken bones or fractures
  • Torn or bloody clothing
  • Hair loss
  • Anxiety or depression

Removing Your Loved One From a Dangerous Situation

If your loved one has received care that is less than they deserve or they have been harmed in any way, it’s crucial to remove them from that nursing home facility as quickly as possible. After you’ve done that, you may want to take legal action against the person or entity that harmed your loved one. To do so, it’s often in your best interest to work with an experienced lawyer who has the resources to build a strong personal injury claim on behalf of your family. If you’re ready to take legal action, schedule a free consultation with us today.

Free Case Evaluation

At Thomas Law Offices, our personal injury attorneys recognize that our potential clients are likely going through some of the most difficult times of their lives. We don't want you to have to worry about paying out of pocket for legal advice when you're just starting to learn your legal rights and options. That's why we provide free case evaluations. We'll offer our expert advice about your potential case and walk you through how we can help you.

Call us or fill out the form below to tell us about your potential case and a personal injury lawyer will get back to you as quickly as possible.

Meet Our Founder

Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

Legal & Firm News

Second Lawsuit Filed by Thomas Law Offices Against Louisville Apartment Complex for Negligence in Assault Case

Last week, attorney David Barber of Thomas Law Offices filed a second lawsuit against River Breeze Apartments, alleging negligence and failure to ensure tenant safety after residents were attacked and sexually assaulted in Louisville. According to the complaint, the survivor was “brutally attacked, beaten, kidnapped, robbed, and sexually assaulted at gunpoint by a man matching […]

Read More

How Much Does Car Insurance Go Up After an Accident?

Maintaining an automobile insurance policy offers many benefits for car owners. In Illinois, it is also the law. A recent report on ABC 7 Chicago Eyewitness News found that insurance costs spiked in the last year from $1,806 to $2,310. In addition to those regular increases, your car insurance can also go up after an […]

Read More

Do Pedestrians Always Have the Right of Way?

There are over 2,716,450 people who call the Windy City home, according to the City of Chicago. This is a city that teems with traffic and pedestrians who share miles of streets and roads. The hope is that everyone gets to where they’re going safely. To make that happen, everyone needs to be aware and […]

Read More
Tad Thomas on The National Crime Victim Bar Association
National Civil Justice Institute - Trustee
Tad Thomas on Lawyer Minds
Tad Thomas on American Association for Justice
Southern Trial Lawyers Association
Illinois Trial Lawyers Association
Ohio Association for Justice
Kentucky Justice Association
Fellows of the Litigation Counsel of America
Martindale Hubbell Preeminent
2021 Public Justice Member
AAJ Masters of Trial Law: Champion