Who has the power to bring a lawsuit on behalf of an incapacitated NH resident?


Often, residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities are unable to make decisions, act on their own behalf, or in cases of aged-related brain diseases like Alzheimer’s, even communicate simple wants. In those cases, another person, usually a spouse or a child of the resident, will act on their behalf.

Generally, but not always, the resident has named another person to act on the resident’s behalf through a legal document. There are different types of documents that will provide the representative with various powers. Whether the representative can bring a lawsuit on behalf of the resident will depend on the document and the powers expressly granted in those documents.

Most often, a document called a Durable Power of Attorney, or just a Power of Attorney, will authorize a representative, again, generally a spouse or child, to bring lawsuits, enter into contracts, sell property, or other actions that the resident can no longer do.

Sometimes, the probate court may officially designate a guardian or a conservatorship over the resident. The guardian named in such court documents will almost always have the power to bring suits on behalf of the incapacitated resident.

If your loved one is incapacitated, it is important to make sure that you or someone you trust has written, legal authority to act on your loved one’s behalf. This is important because, if your loved one is neglected, abused, or otherwise injured at a nursing home or assisted living facility, you do not want to delay the claim by dealing with matters of representation after the fact.

If your loved one has been injured in a nursing home or assisted living facility, and you are not sure whether you can bring a claim on their behalf, then please, feel free to call and speak to one of our experienced Atlanta nursing home abuse lawyers today. Our consultations are always free.