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Thursday, April 20, 2017
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are required to provide their clients with a particular level of care. That level of care is higher than the average person caring for a loved one at home, because these facilities must meet all medical and nursing home care industry standards set forth by the state and federal government.
If a patient or visitor is injured because a nursing home fails to deploy such care standards, then it may be considered negligent and legally responsible for the injury and all associated damages of that injury.
To determine if a nursing home is liable, however, you may need the assistance of a nursing home injury attorney. Determining liability in these types of cases is complex, and you must show not only that a duty of care was required, but also prove with an abundance of evidence that the nursing home breached that duty and the breach caused the injury or death.
Negligence is considered the failure to provide a standard level of care required by law or common sense. In a nursing home case, it typically means the inability to provide the standard level required by law and regulatory agencies. However, proving the case requires that you establish five critical elements.
If you have a contractual arrangement with a nursing home for care and medical attention, the nursing home has legally accepted to provide you or your loved one with that care. It also accepts all liability for not adhering to those obligations.
Usually, you will establish the duty through the laws and regulatory agencies that oversee the nursing home. For example, most states, including Illinois, require that a nursing home facility provide medical care promptly, have a safe and sanitary environment, and ensure that nursing home abuse does not occur. Therefore, these duties are each separate acts of liability, and if they occur, the nursing home facility could be considered negligent.
One area that is difficult to determine is that of reasonable care, since reasonable is not necessarily defined in the statute. Proving reasonable care is not as easy as showing that there was a duty of care owed.
Instead, reasonable care is subjective, and every case will have varying levels of what is considered “reasonable.” Determining the reasonable care in your case may not be necessary, such as when abuse occurs. However, in other situations, it may be required that you show the reasonable care that you should have received versus what you actually received. This requires clear evidence showing that the nursing home facility administered unreasonable or substandard levels of care.
As the plaintiff, the burden of proof is on you. You must show by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant was liable for your injuries and demonstrate how they provided an unreasonable level of care.
Various evidence can be used to help establish responsibility and indicate that a nursing home failed to provide reasonable care for you or your loved one. Some types of evidence that may apply to your injury claim include:
The law requires all nursing homes to accurately evaluate their patients and ensure that their health and safety is addressed. This also includes creating an individualized plan that addresses all needs of the patient in his or her care. To ensure that a patient is not injured, the care plan should address areas like:
If the facility does not create an individualized treatment plan, or if the chart indicates that the facility never followed up or adjusted the plan as the patient’s needs changed, the facility could be liable if that patient were injured as a result.
For example, a patient with mobility issues may require installation of cushioned surfaces, positioning grab rails for maneuverability, or other mobility aids. If the patient’s chart clearly indicates mobility issues, but the facility fails to provide aids or care that address the issue, then the facility is liable for injuries, illnesses, and deaths associated with that neglect.
The employees of the facility could act negligently, and the nursing home could be found liable for the actions of its staff. If the facility knowingly hires someone who is under-qualified or does not adequately supervise staff, the nursing home could be liable through vicarious liability if an injury occurs – even if the facility operated with reasonable care and only one employee was negligent.
It may be hard to decide if nursing home injuries are medical malpractice or another form of bodily harm. Luckily, you do not have to worry about defining which area of personal injury law applies. Instead, you will meet with an injury lawyer, explain the details of your case and the injury, and then he or she will determine whether malpractice or another form of tort law applies.
If you or a loved one was injured in a nursing home, and you suspect that the nursing home was negligent, speak with a Chicago injury attorney at Malman Law immediately. Our personal injury lawyers are available 24 hours per day, seven days per week. We can assist you with your nursing home abuse or injury claim.
Schedule your free consultation now by calling our office or requesting an appointment online.
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ALL FIELDS REQUIRED
2 years ago I was involved in a trucking accident involving a 14-wheeler truck that nearly disabled me for life. Steve fought to make sure that I received the most possible compensation for my injuries. I was about to take the insurance company’s lowball offer, but decided to call Steve first – it was the best decision I’ve made yet
NOAH TAFFELPersonal Injury Victim