It can be very easy to forget about the elderly people living in nursing homes, which is why it’s important for families to know who is legally responsible for their care. Unfortunately, your state may not have any specific law on this topic. In this case, you’ll need to contact a lawyer. However, if your state does have a law on this matter, then you are probably able to file a negligence lawsuit and potentially win compensation for the injuries that occur due to someone else’s neglectful practices or abuse of power.
As mentioned, most state laws provide that a nursing home abuser is only liable if he has violated a specific standard in the care of the elderly patient. It’s important to know the exact wording of your state’s law. For example, if your state requires that nursing homes must give residents “the same care and services” as they would receive at home, then you have a case against the nursing home. It’s important to know that this standard is not the same as “the best care and services,” which is a higher standard to meet. There are other areas where nursing homes can be held responsible as well, such as if they fail to prevent falls and injuries or if they fail to report injuries. They can also be held accountable for negligence that leads to an elderly person’s death.
Is the Nursing Home Always Responsible?
Even if your state’s law does not hold nursing homes strictly liable, you may still have a case. This is because some courts will hold a nursing home liable if they should have known their actions or failure to act would cause harm to the elderly patient. For example, it’s possible that a patient has a history of falling and hitting his head on the floor during an episode. However, the nursing home staff did nothing to prevent this from happening again when it knew this person was at risk for falls. Another example of this is if a doctor did not prescribe the right medication for a patient and the staff did not enforce his compliance with the medication. If you can show that negligence could have easily been prevented, but wasn’t, then you may be able to hold the nursing home responsible for any injuries they caused and win compensation.
Can Third Parties Be Responsible?
Nursing homes may be responsible for the injury, but third parties may also be. For example, if a nurse or doctor treats an elderly person at home and accidentally leaves behind one of their devices, and that tool later harms the patient, then the doctor or nurse can be held liable for any injuries caused by their mistake. In this case, you’d have to show that the doctor or nurse understood their mistake would harm the patient but had no reasonable way to know this would happen. For example, if the doctor was treating a patient for prostate cancer and forgot to remove a catheter during surgery, and that catheter later caused a urinary tract infection. In this case, the doctor can be held liable for any injuries caused by their mistake.
What to Do If You Suspect Abuse or Injury?
If you notice that your loved one has a history of abuse or injury, which could have been prevented by the nursing home staff, then contact an attorney right away. The faster you take action, the easier it will be to hold the responsible parties accountable for their neglectful actions. It’s important to know that a nursing home will try to prevent you from filing a lawsuit for these reasons because it is less expensive than paying for an elderly patient’s rehabilitation. There are two ways you can respond to these tactics. The first is if you have the ability to do so, stop paying the nursing home’s bills. Another way is to file a formal complaint with them. Nursing homes are required to investigate these complaints. This will put them on notice that you are planning legal action against them and gives you a chance to document all of the wrongful actions which occurred.
Because the nursing home has been put on notice of your plans to sue them, they will now be better prepared to defend themselves against you if filing a lawsuit should ever become necessary. If you were informed that your loved one was injured at the facility, and you want to take advantage of any legal options that might be available, then reach out to an experienced attorney who is knowledgeable about nursing homes and elder care issues.
As you can see, there can be many people who are responsible for the care of an elderly patient. It’s important that everyone understands this and does their best to avoid legal action in these situations. This will hopefully prevent any unnecessary mistakes or injuries which could harm the patient in the future and cause them additional pain or suffering. It’s also important to know that nursing homes are held to a higher standard than the general public. This is why they can be held legally accountable when they fail to meet this higher standard. With this in mind, it’s always smart to bring up any concerns you have with the nursing home staff, and don’t be afraid of retaliation if you’re doing so for legitimate reasons.