Nursing Home and Hospital Sexual Assault and Abuse

When we trust a nursing home or hospital to care for our elderly parents, loved ones, or ourselves, we don’t expect unthinkable acts of sexual assault or abuse to occur. Yet, vulnerable patients who can’t walk or talk, or who are mentally impaired, or who are undressed, or even unconscious, are sometimes preyed upon by the people who are supposed to care for them.

The statistics are gut-wrenching:

  • More than 16,000 complaints of sexual abuse in long-term care facilities (which include nursing homes and assisted living facilities) have been reported since 2000, according to federal data. And that number only captures cases in which a state long-term care ombudsman is involved.
  • In Pennsylvania, allegations of sexual abuse were the most common type of abuse reported between 2010 and 2013 by facilities subject to mandatory reporting under the state’s Older Adult Protective Services Act. From 2010 to 2011, there were 235 reports of alleged sexual abuse; there were 241 reports from 2011 to 2012; and 212 reports from 2012 to 2013.
  • More than 3,100 doctors across the U.S. were publicly disciplined since Jan. 1, 1999, after being accused of sexual misconduct, according to a year-long investigation by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

While most caregivers and medical professionals would never sexually assault or abuse a patient, unfortunately, the reality is that when these cases do arise, victims are sometimes not believed, or they are too confused or incapacitated to report the conduct. The lack of investigation emboldens perpetrators and allows them to prey upon multiple victims.

When a patient is victimized by a caregiver or medical professional, the criminal justice system―if the incident is reported to law enforcement―will deal with the perpetrator, hopefully by convicting and incarcerating him or her. However, the victim is often left with devastating psychological―and sometimes physical―injuries, for which the only redress is a civil lawsuit for financial compensation. That lawsuit can target parties beyond the direct perpetrator, such as the nursing home or hospital that allowed the conduct to take place, covered it up, or failed to notify law enforcement upon becoming aware.

Proving sexual assault and abuse cases requires not only legal experience, but also rigorous investigation and expertise from professionals who can assess whether a nursing home’s or hospital’s policies, practices, and procedures enabled the perpetrator. Other necessary experts may include physicians, psychologists, and psychiatrists.

We have the financial resources to retain appropriate investigators and experts in all necessary disciplines, so we can establish the underlying facts of these incidents―which often cause shame, humiliation, trauma, and psychological injuries that last a lifetime. And because we have decades of experience bringing sexual predators to justice, we get maximum financial compensation for our clients.

We’re Here to Help You

Nursing homes and hospitals do not always investigate allegations of sexual assault and abuse. They dismiss victims as elderly or confused. Contact us immediately.

We fight so you’ll receive justice and compensation for your psychological and physical injuries and other losses by holding all culpable parties accountable. Nursing homes and hospitals work to protect themselves. They do not necessarily care about conducting an unbiased, thorough investigation, and compensating you for any wrongs they committed. Contact us to find out whether you have grounds for a lawsuit.

We immediately evaluate your case so you know the status.

We’re highly experienced at handling sexual assault and abuse cases involving nursing homes and hospitals, and can efficiently review your case, in conjunction with our multidisciplinary team of experts. If your case is right for us, we’ll proceed with a full investigation and evaluation of the facts and legal issues, and determine the likelihood of a fair settlement or need to file a lawsuit. We’ll keep you up-to-date on all developments and advise you on the range of possible outcomes so you can make educated decisions.

Because a monetary award will significantly impact your life, we put our negotiation and trial skills and experience to work.

We’re master negotiators, so you can rely on us to negotiate the best possible settlement for you. If the parties can’t agree on money, we’re prepared to file a lawsuit and aggressively try your case in the courtroom. And we have a proven track record of securing winning verdicts and other favorable resolutions in sexual assault and abuse cases.

Our sensitivity and compassion are as important as our legal representation.

Sexual assault and abuse―particularly when inflicted by trusted caregivers and medical professionals―leaves the victim with a wide range of emotions ranging from guilt, embarrassment, anger, self-blame, fear, loss of control, vulnerability, and more. We understand the trauma and confusion that the victim and family experience when doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, and other staff, whom we entrust to care for us or our loved ones, violate our trust and cause grievous harm. The victim’s world is turned upside-down.

Be assured that we will handle your case in a sensitive and compassionate manner that respects your emotional needs, personal dignity, and privacy. Our team of lawyers, paralegals, and secretaries will coordinate with one another about your case and keep in constant contact with you and your family. We help clients in these emotionally tough times by being accessible, supportive, and genuine. Our sensitivity and compassion make us better lawyers, too.

If a new legal matter arises during your case, we can help.

The firm’s nursing home and hospital sexual assault and abuse practice is just one of many HRMM&L law practices. Because HRMM&L is a full-service law firm with substantial resources, we’re able to advise you on other legal problems that may arise during your case. And if the legal problem is one our firm doesn’t handle, we’ll refer you to another lawyer and firm whom we know and trust.

Other sexual assault and abuse problems you may encounter during your case: