Nursing home neglect is a serious problem with devastating consequences for the most vulnerable victims. A civil lawsuit filed with the help of an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer can help deter abuse by holding nursing home facilities financially accountable. Criminal penalties imposed on abusers can also punish wrongdoing and deter others from harming seniors in the future.
A civil lawsuit compensates victims for abuse, although punitive damages may be possible under certain circumstances when the conduct of the nursing facility is egregious. The lawsuit is often pursued not against the abuser, but instead against the nursing home facility because the facility has accepted responsibility of resident care.
The criminal justice system is the best way to hold abusers accountable - but only if they face serious penalties when engaged in wrongdoing. In one recent case, however, a man who was accused of abusing a paraplegic nursing home patient was sentenced to serve only 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to criminal charges.
Abuse of Paraplegic Patient Leads to 18 Months Imprisonment and Suspended Sentence
The abuse occurred when a paraplegic patient was admitted to a health and rehabilitation center after sustaining a severe head injury. The patient had multiple brain tumors and had undergone multiple brain surgeries. He was rendered both physically and mentally incapacitated by the injuries and resulting treatment.
While a patient at the nursing center, the patient was allegedly subject to a "pattern and practice of intentional infliction of emotional and physical abuse." Four workers at the nursing home have been accused of "intentionally" committing "multiple assaults and batteries" on the plaintiff as he lay in a hospital bed unable to defend himself.
One of the nursing home workers, a 28-year-old Birmingham man, pled guilty to the abuse. Allegations made against him included a charge he had both emotionally abused and neglected the patient. The patient's mother claims the nursing home worker intentionally took the call button and life-saving device out of the patient's hand and put it out of reach where the patient was unable to access it.
The Birmingham nursing home worker was charged with felony intentional abuse of a protected person. He admitted the abuse had occurred and entered a best-interest plea with a factual basis provided. The case was heard in County Circuit Court.
The nursing home worker arranged a plea agreement with the prosecutor resulting in minimal time imprisoned. The judge followed the plea agreement and defendant was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the abuse of the paraplegic patient. However, the judge split the term so only 18 months would be served and the remainder of the sentence would be suspended. In addition to the 18 months in prison, the defendant will also be on supervised probation for four years. He will be sent to prison for the remainder of the sentence only if he violates the terms of his supervised probation.
A lawsuit is pending against the nursing home, but the man who admitted to committing the abuse will have a short prison sentence despite the harm he inflicted on a helpless victim.