Veterans may be more likely to be victims of abuse than the general population. Elder veterans have higher rates of social isolation and psychiatric disabilities, making them more vulnerable to abuse.
According to the Center for Disease Control, nearly a million and a half Americans are in nursing homes. In the general population, it is estimated that approximately 10% of all those living in nursing homes are victims of abuse of some kind, with as many as 1 in 3 nursing homes involved.
Veterans Affairs operates nursing homes that it calls Community Living Centers. There are no estimates for the amount of abuse perpetrated against veterans, however, veterans may be more likely to be victims of abuse than the general population. Elder veterans have higher rates of social isolation and psychiatric disabilities, making them more vulnerable to abuse.
There are a variety of types of abuse.
Some types may be criminal, including physical or sexual assault. Other types may not be criminal, even though they may cause serious harm to a veteran. Neglect is a form of abuse. It is not criminal, but the harm it creates can be serious and, in some cases, irreparable.
Neglect, in this context, means the negligent disregard of a duty to care for the veteran. This could mean a failure to provide appropriate medical care, failure to provide adequate nutrition, or failure to provide adequate attention, among other things. When these negligent failures lead to injury, the United States can be held responsible. For example, if a veteran is neglected by the employees of a VA Community Living Center (or any VA or Federal facility), they may suffer injurious falls, malnutrition, bed sores, infections, exacerbated psychiatric disabilities, untreated illnesses, or worse. A common claim is that a VA facility neglected an elder veteran who had a high risk of falling and, as a consequence, that veteran had a fall which caused serious injury. For any of these, a victim (or, in some cases, that victims family) may be able to file a claim against the United States, seeking compensation for the harm caused.
In some situations, the employee who commits the abuse may have had a history of that behavior. That history should have put the employer on notice that there was likelihood that employee would continue to abuse; either hiring that person was negligent or failing to supervise (and, in some cases, fire) that victim was negligent. In other situations, the facility may be negligently maintained in a manner which causes a veteran harm. The facility may have also created a dangerous condition on the premises or allowed a dangerous condition to remain. The victim of any harm caused by any of these may be able to bring a claim against the United States and get compensation.
The tool that gives us the authority to sue the United States for negligence is called the Federal Torts Claims Act (FTCA). Rawls Law Group is very experienced in bringing claims against the United States using the FTCA. Also, we are a veteran-owned law firm and our staff includes veterans who have long fought on behalf of veterans; for us, this is personal.
If you, or a loved one, have suffered harm at the hands of a VA nursing home or other federal facility, we can help you determine whether or not you have a claim. Then, we can help you to prosecute that claim, so that those who caused that harm do not get away with it and you are rightfully compensated.
“I felt like I had no chance filing a claim against the United States Government. It was a big relief knowing that Rawls Law Group was on my side. I put my trust in them and they came through for me."
MIKE M., OREGON