Liabilities of CNAs

CNAs should perform their duties in a legal and ethical manner, failing which, they may face a legal consequence and may even lose their CNA license.

Common allegations against CNAs can include:

Negligence: A CNA can face legal liability if he demonstrates negligence when performing his duties. For instance, a patient burns his/her skin because the CNA did not check the water temperature before a bath. Another example could be, the CNA does not handle the patient correctly due to which the patient falls and is injured. Such conduct violates the law and so a liability occurs. The CNA should ensure that all precautions are taken and care is provided as prescribed.



Assault and Battery: Assault includes slapping, pinching, shaking, hitting the patient, or restraining the patient with force. Battery involves offensively touching the patient without consent. Such conduct can have legal consequences for the CNA.

Abuse: Any verbal, emotional, physical and sexual abuse on the part of the CNA can result in a legal liability. Examples include making fun of the patient, shouting, violently threatening the patient or rape.

Neglect: Neglect includes neglecting the patient’s personal hygiene, diet, not providing care as prescribed, not paying attention to the patient’s needs or concerns that can deteriorate the patient’s condition.

Legal liabilities can be avoided if CNAs perform their duties carefully and exercise their judgment when providing care. CNAs should employ the following principles for providing proper care to the patient:

  • Follow the facility rules and regulations
  • Ensure that the duties performed are within the scope of practice
  • Seek guidance from LPN and RN if in doubt
  • Be kind to all patients and perform all your duties in a professional manner
  • Inform the patient what care you will be providing before starting the care procedure
  • Do not touch the patient if he refuses care; report the incident to the supervisor

Report immediately if any other CNA is not performing his/her duty in an ethical manner