• Leitner Varughese

Is There a Difference Between a Nursing Home Abuse and Negligence Lawsuit?


Elderly residents of nursing homes have certain rights under New York law, and when a facility violates those rights through an intentional act or negligent omission, the elderly resident or a family member may be able to speak with a New York nursing home negligence attorney about filing a lawsuit. Yet when you are searching for information about filing a claim against a facility, it can be confusing to distinguish between and among the different terms used to describe nursing home abuse. Sometimes a variety of acts are described as abuse, while others may be discussed in terms of neglect or negligence. For purposes of filing a nursing home lawsuit for resident injuries, is there a difference between a nursing home abuse and nursing home negligence lawsuit?

Residents of Nursing Homes Have Rights and Can File Claims When Those Rights are Violated

To understand the ways in which terms of abuse, neglect, and negligence are used to refer to nursing home abuse claims, we want to explain the rights that residents have under New York law. First, residents have the right “to a dignified existence, self-determination, respect, full recognition of their individuality, consideration and privacy in treatment and care for personal needs, and communication with and access to persons and services inside and outside the facility.” New York law further clarifies that nursing homes are required to “protect and promote the rights of each resident,” and to “encourage and assist each resident in the fullest possible exercise of these rights.” Nursing homes in New York also have a duty to create and implement policies to protect resident rights.

New York Public Health law then clarifies that lawsuits can be filed by nursing home residents when a nursing home “deprives any patient of said facility of any right or benefit,” which includes “any right or benefit created or established for the well-being of the patient by the terms of any contract, by any state statute, code, rule or regulation, or by any applicable federal statute, code, rule or regulation.” To be clear, nursing home lawsuits can be filed when a resident is deprived of a right or benefit broadly defined.

Distinguishing Among Nursing Home Abuse, Neglect, and Negligence

For purposes of filing a nursing home lawsuit in New York after an elderly resident suffers an injury, it is not typically necessary to distinguish among the terms of nursing home abuse, neglect, and negligence. Rather, residents who file claims will usually need to show that a nursing home deprived a patient of a right or benefit, either intentionally or through a negligent act or omission.

More broadly, abuse can refer to many different kinds of abuse in a nursing home setting (from physical and sexual abuse to emotional or psychological abuse), while neglect can often be used to refer either to passive neglect or intentional willful deprivation. Negligence is a term typically used to refer to a nursing home’s careless act or failure to act. In other words, with a negligence claim, a resident may be alleging that a nursing home failed to take steps to protect the resident or to provide appropriate care.

Contact a Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer in New York

To learn more about filing a nursing home abuse claim, you should seek advice from one of our New York nursing home negligence lawyers as soon as possible. Contact Leitner Varughese Warywoda PLLC today for more information.

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