Monday, February 4, 2013

Proving Negligence Against a Nursing Home

Editor's Note:
Recently we published an article regarding helping the elderly to receive compensation for care costs accrued after a fall or injury.  This article resulted in a flood of questions; many of which were focused on injuries sustained by the elderly in nursing homes.  We've asked Jonathan Rosenfeld, an attorney specializing in nursing home injury cases, to shed some light on what is required to build a case against a nursing home.  Follows is his response.

Families Must Establish Negligence in Order to Receive Compensation for Nursing Home Injuries


Unfortunately there are many loved ones that are injured or die due to negligence or improper care while in a nursing home. It is a cold, hard truth but one that is not easily proven. When a resident is harmed while in the care of a nursing home, it becomes the responsibility of the family of the resident to prove that the nursing home is to blame, even when the evidence seems obvious.

A case against a nursing home for negligence or wrongful death is usually considered a medical malpractice claim. It is not a simple case to prove; the attorney representing the patient or patient’s family must be able to prove that the injury or death was due to negligence on the part of the nursing home. This means the case must be substantiated by evidence that the nursing home did not provide what is considered standard care to the point that it caused injury or death. These types of cases are extremely complicated to prove due to the fact that most patients in nursing homes are already in poor health. The family must be able to prove, with the help of an experienced nursing home injury attorney, that the main cause of the injury was due to negligent care. Though certainly possible, it can be a long, difficult battle that families and the patient must endure, although worth the effort to stop the nursing home from harming others in their care. Some aspects that will need to be proven are:
  • The nursing home deviated from standard care of a patient to the point that there was injury or death
  • That the negligence was the primary reason for the injury or death
  • The patient did not receive treatment that would be normally expected and this lack of care lead to the injury or wrongful death
For any family member that has had a loved one who was injured while in the care of a nursing home, the first step after making sure the loved one is safe and in the hands of caring medical personnel should be to consult a nursing home injury attorney. There is certain documentation and testimony that may be needed to start a case and the sooner the evidence can be obtained, the better chance the attorney will have to be able to make a good case. No one wants to think that those who have been trusted to care for their loved one have harmed them. However, it does happen and when it is done in a nursing home setting, there is legal recourse. Although both the state and Federal governments regulate these institutions, it generally comes down to the families of the patients to ensure that justice is served on the behalf of their loved ones. It is a painstakingly complex process, but with the help of an experienced nursing home attorney, families and their loved ones can make sure the negligent facility is held responsible.