When you think of nursing home abuse, you most likely think of physical abuse. You may not initially envision the damage that can be caused by nursing home staff posting photos of your loved one on social media. When people take pictures of your loved one that they or you aren’t aware of, the effects feel dehumanizing and degrading. But do you have a personal injury case? A lawsuit is a possibility.
What Must Images Portray to Establish a Case?
In one video posted online, a nursing home staff member slapped a woman with dementia with a strap and laughed. Another woman was filmed using the toilet. The videos were posted online for all to see. Images that seek to humiliate the individual photographed may be labeled emotionally and mentally abusive.
While no clear-cut boundaries exist to make or break a case, certain subjects and depictions may bolster your loved one’s claim. For example, some nursing home staff members have taken nude or partially nude photos of residents. In some photos and videos, nursing home staff members capture actual abuse, but simply uploading images and video of residents could be enough to be considered abuse.
Often, the pictures portray people who are not able to prevent others from snapping a photo of them. Perhaps they are incapacitated by dementia or another condition that makes it difficult to speak up. Additionally, nursing home residents often expect these moments are private.
How Can You Gather Evidence in Your Case?
Many of these images are publicly displayed on social media apps and websites like Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook. If the image or video was posted to Snapchat, evidence collection can be a bit difficult because the app allows pictures to disappear after a few seconds.
The good news is that much of the evidence may be found on the social media’s servers. Through the courts, a subpoena could allow the material to be used as evidence in your trial, but sites such as Snapchat may only keep photos on their servers for up to 30 days, so it’s important to act quickly.
Witness statements are also important in a case like yours. Witness statements come from fellow nursing home residents, doctors, police officers, and even fellow staff members who witnessed the incidents.
Who Should You Sue?
An individual who takes such photos of a nursing home patient may face a lawsuit. You may also have a strong case against the nursing home itself on behalf of a loved one.
For example, you may have a strong case against a nursing home if somebody else has already complained about staff members who violated patient rights with videos and photos and then it failed to take action. Some nursing homes now ban the use of cell phones during work, but many nursing homes do not have such stipulations.
The nursing home could also be liable for a breach in HIPAA based on the photos and videos as well, which can put the home in a lot of hot water. In some cases, nursing homes choose to settle rather than go to court and impact their reputations.
What Should You Do to Pursue a Case?
Your loved one has the right to privacy of their body and their residence, and nursing home staff members should respect that right. If you believe your loved one’s rights have been violated, you can pursue a legal case.
Smith Jordan, Attorneys at Law, is a team of lawyers that offers services to individuals who have suffered from nursing home abuse. We have served the community for more than 20 years, and we take great pride in our role in the community. We understand your frustration, and we work for you. Call us today to initiate the process.