Nursing Home Abuse Legal Questions

The injured party and their loved ones may bring a lawsuit against an at-fault facility following incidents of nursing home abuse. Nevertheless, nursing home lawsuits are intricate. In addition to the laws, dealing with victims who are unable to talk about the abuse or no longer remember what they experienced make them challenging.

These challenges are why retaining the services of a nursing home abuse lawyer is critical. They know the laws and how to verify facts before moving forward with filing a lawsuit.


Typically, a nursing home abuse lawyer who stands for the plaintiff (the victim or family members) will not charge attorney fees unless and until eligible damages are recovered. The decision to sue a nursing home for recoverable damages should not be taken without careful consideration.

The most common types of damages that could be recovered include:

  • Medical bills related to abuse or neglect
  • Specialists such as a licensed abuse counselor
  • Moving expenses and related costs if the victim switches to a different facility
  • Pain and suffering


To file a lawsuit against a nursing home for abuse or neglect that proves your loved one was harmed due to negligence, the case must establish the following four requirements: the duty of care, negligence, causation, and damages. You will need to be able to provide evidence that your case proves these four elements.

  • Duty of care: The defendant (e.g., the nursing home) had a duty to care for your loved one and act in a prudent and reasonable manner.
  • Negligence: The defendant failed to act in a reasonable and prudent manner. E.g., failure to reposition a bedridden resident; actively striking a resident; verbally abusing a resident.
  • Causation: The defendant’s negligence caused your loved one’s injuries and other damages. E.g., failure to reposition a bedridden resident causes bedsores.
  • Damages: Your loved one experienced damages as a result of the defendant’s actions. E.g., additional medical care, emotional pain and suffering, etc.


We will work with you to build a case using evidence and legal arguments that satisfy these requirements. Some of the types of evidence we may gather and present for your case include:

  • Eyewitness interviews
  • Video surveillance
  • Photographs of your loved one’s injuries
  • Medical records
  • Nursing facility records
  • Financial records
  • Expert witness opinions

Some of the expert witnesses we may work with include medical professionals, mental health professionals, and more.

After conducting a thorough investigation of the victim’s abuse or neglect, your legal team will determine who had fault for the abuse.

If a doctor or another type of medical professional had responsibility, your lawyer may pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit. Often, the nursing home itself has fault for not protecting the victim and providing them with a safe environment. In other cases, multiple parties may have fault.

Your legal team will establish the elements necessary to establish liability, which are:

  • Duty of care – the at-fault party had a legal obligation to act in a way that did not put the victim at risk for harm.
  • Breach of duty – the at-fault party failed to uphold their obligation and, through wrongful action or negligence, caused the victim’s injuries and other damages.
  • Causation – the at-fault party’s breach of duty made them liable for the victim’s injuries and other damages.

The process to file a lawsuit depends on the state in which the nursing home abuse took place. Talk to a nursing home abuse lawyer about the steps you need to take in your home state.

Generally, the plaintiff must file a Complaint, and the defendant will file an Answer. Both parties will participate in discovery, in which each side may request information and documents from the other side. During discovery, the parties may participate in depositions or fill out answers to interrogatories. Each side may also file motions asking the Court to take specific actions. In some cases, the Court may order mediation, but some cases will end up at trial.

Each state may have different laws that apply to civil lawsuits, so check with a lawyer in your state. Your lawyer can discuss the stages filing a lawsuit against a nursing home for abuse or neglect in your state and help you take legal action and build your case.

You and your family may have the legal right to collect compensation for all physical, emotional, and economic damages that resulted from the nursing home abuse or neglect the victim suffered.

This may include:

  • Medical treatment and care
  • Personal property losses
  • Emotional trauma
  • Pain and suffering
  • Diminished quality of life

You may also have the right to recover compensation for any permanent disability or disfigurement the victim suffered.

If a loved one died due to injuries they suffered, a nursing home abuse lawyer can help you pursue a wrongful death claim. No settlement will bring a lost loved one back. However, it will help you recover burial costs and related damages.

A study by Project Hope estimates that the average settlement amount for a nursing home neglect case is $406,000. Every case is different, and the only way to estimate the value of your case is to work with a nursing home neglect lawyer.

Nursing home abuse creates legal scenarios that may be difficult for family members to navigate. If a loved one suffered abuse or neglect, you must get them to safety and obtain the resources necessary to help them recover.

It is a challenge determining who had fault for the abuse and proving that they have liability for the resulting damages. The party responsible for nursing home abuse may be one or more of the following:

  • Nursing home staff
  • Medical practitioner or treatment provider
  • Custodial staff
  • Visitor
  • Another resident
  • Unrelated party

Without the resources to investigate the abuse or neglect that occurred, your family may have no idea where to turn for help. Nursing home abuse lawyers have those answers and the resources to hold the at-fault party responsible for their actions.

meagan cline

Written By Meagan Cline

Meagan Cline is a professional legal researcher and writer. She lends her expertise to FNHA and our websites, including Birth Injury Guide and