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Nursing Home Abuse Caught on Snapchat

Close up of a mobile phone with a touch screen. Focus is on the phone with small DOF.If you have a loved one in a nursing home, you expect them to be treated competently and respectfully. Unfortunately, elder home abuse is prevalent. According to an article by the Washington Post, abusive photos and videos of the elderly are increasingly being posted on Snapchat. This is perhaps the last thing one would expect. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, our Miami injury attorneys can help you hold negligent nursing homes accountable for the harm they cause.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately 1.4 million people across the United States reside in nursing homes. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, elder abuse is defined as “intentional actions that cause harm or create a serious risk of harm (whether intended or unintended) to a vulnerable elder by a caregiver or other person who stands in a trust relationship to the elder.” This encompasses the failure of a caregiver to satisfy the elder individual’s basic needs or to protect the elder individual from harm.

In various states, Snapchat was used to take photos of elders in compromising situations, such as sitting on the toilet or undressing. In other cases, clear elder abuse was filmed, such as a case in Illinois in which a nursing home assistant filmed while a co-worker slapped the face of a 97-year-old dementia patient with a nylon strap. In the most shocking and vile cases, pictures and videos of deceased nursing home residents have surfaced.

Snapchat is a fast-growing video messaging application with more than 200 million active users. It allows people to take a photo (or video) and set a time limit for how long recipients can view that photo. However, the recipients can screenshot the photo. Even if no screenshot is taken, inappropriate photos should never be taken because they can cause humiliation and anxiety, and they violate the trust shared between the nursing home and a resident.

Nursing home residents are owed a certain duty of care by the facility. If your loved one has been the victim of their photos or videos being posted on social media, you may be able to take legal action by seeking pain and suffering and emotional distress damages. Under Florida law, a claim for the intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED) may be appropriate if it is based on “outrageous conduct causing severe emotional distress.” In order to prevail on such a claim, the plaintiff must show the following elements:  i) the defendant’s conduct was intentional or reckless, meaning the defendant knew or should have known that emotional distress would likely result; ii) the defendant’s conduct was outrageous and utterly intolerable in a civilized community; iii) the defendant’s conduct caused the emotional distress; and iv) the emotional distress was severe.

As the use of technology increases in all aspects of our lives, misuses of technology seem to increase accordingly. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, our reputable Miami nursing home abuse attorneys can diligently advocate for the rights of your loved one. We understand that these cases are emotionally difficult, which is why you can expect the utmost compassion from our entire team. With years of experience helping South Florida clients, you can rest assured that you will be receiving knowledgeable legal advice. To learn more, do not hesitate to call us at 1-877-499-HURT (4878) or contact us online today.

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