Nursing homes owe an important duty to every person that calls the facility home. These duties cover every aspect of offering a safe, clean environment for a nursing home resident to live in. The duty also covers the obligation of a nursing home to carefully select individuals to serve on their staff.
Unfortunately, not all nursing homes take this duty seriously. The hiring process is often overlooked, leading to the employment of individuals who are unprepared to work in a nursing home. Keep reading to learn how negligent hiring may play a part in nursing home abuse.
What Is Negligent Hiring?
Negligent hiring is a theory of liability related to nursing home abuse. When a nursing home owner or operator is careless in hiring staff, they could put their residents at risk of harm.
Negligent hiring cases typically involve the lack of a background check. There are steps a nursing home can take to investigate a prospective employee’s fitness, and this process usually starts with a criminal background check. Some of the steps a nursing home could take to evaluate the fitness of a potential employee include:
- Collect references from previous employers
- Run a criminal background check
- Mandate drug testing or medical exams
- Verify professional licenses
- Review driving records
- Validate secondary degrees
- Run credit checks
It is important to remember that negligent hiring is not simply employing someone who ultimately did not work out. If a nursing home does its due diligence during the hiring process, there is no guarantee that a new employee will not be abusive. However, taking reasonable steps to prevent this could be enough to avoid a claim of negligent hiring.
Examples of Negligent Hiring
There are different ways for negligence to seep into the hiring process. Often, these cases involve nursing home management failing to take the steps to carefully investigate their prospective employees. In other cases, negligent hiring could involve taking those steps but disregarding the warning signs and hiring the person anyway. Some of the warning signs of a dangerous hire include:
- Existence of a criminal record
- Low credit score
- Poor references from previous employers
- Failed drug tests
- Lying on their resume
The failure to take reasonable steps to screen employees could fail to uncover any of these issues. What’s more, nursing home jobs are among the most demanding and lowest paying in all of healthcare, so some managers could overlook or ignore known issues in their background check and other red flags because they are having trouble finding safe and qualified applicants. These acts of negligence could have dire consequences for the residents of a nursing home facility.
The Consequences of Negligent Hiring Can Be Severe
The consequences of negligent hiring can be severe. Nursing home residents are already vulnerable based on their health, and failing to take the necessary steps to protect them from harm could dangerously impact them.
Negligent hiring could open up residents to various types of abuse. These types of abuse could include fraud, physical violence, or even sexual abuse. Hiring an unqualified person could also lead to incidents of neglect.
The risks associated with negligent hiring are significant, and the consequences can be deadly. From violent abuse to medication errors, this type of negligence could potentially have fatal consequences for a nursing home resident.
Nursing Homes Could Be Liable for Negligent Hiring
When nursing home management engages in negligent hiring, they could be liable for the damage caused by acts of abuse. This is true even if they were entirely unaware that any abuse was occurring on the premises.
Negligent hiring can serve as one of many legal causes in an abuse case. Although the operators of a nursing home might not have perpetrated the abuse directly, they could be found to have contributed by allowing a dangerous or unfit person to work in the facility.
In the end, the important issue is whether or not the nursing home breached its duty of care to the resident. If they failed to take reasonable steps to protect a resident from harm, they could be found liable for the injuries that occurred. An act of negligent hiring could be enough to provide viable grounds for a civil lawsuit against the facility and its owners.
Talk to an Attorney About How Negligent Hiring Impacts an Abuse Lawsuit
There are many ways that negligent hiring could play a part in nursing home abuse. When the owners or operators of a nursing home refuse to take steps to hire the right people, it is the residents who ultimately suffer. Hiring dangerous or incompetent employees could lead to various types of physical, mental, emotional, or financial abuse.
If you believe that your loved one has suffered abuse in a nursing home, Brown & Barron is here to help. Our firm is proud to fight for nursing home residents who are the victim of negligent hiring decisions. Reach out right away to learn more during a free consultation.