Nursing Home Negligence, Neglect and Abuse

nursing home negligence and abuse in pennsylvaniaBy: Matthew Taylor Wilkov, Esquire

Conceding that you can no longer care for your aging parents is a very difficult time in one’s life. Perhaps after observing your parents health decline, it became clear that their day-to-day needs can only be met by a facility equipped to provide sufficient care around the clock.

Sadly, not all nursing homes are what we hoped they would be. Or, perhaps you find the right home, but your parent winds up being cared for by the wrong person on the wrong day. In either of theses situations, you may find yourself wondering about your recourse should your loved one sustain injuries caused by a nursing home.

Whether pressure ulcers (sometimes referred to as bed sores), falls, medication errors, or outright neglect or abuse, please know that help is not far away. We have taken the nursing homes to task when they have violated the trust of our clients and allowed their loved ones to be injured by those charged with their care.

A nursing home, convalescent home, rest home, or elder care facility can be held legally responsible when an act of negligence, neglect, or abuse on the premises ends up causing harm to a patient or resident. This is accomplished by submitting a claim to the facility’s insurance company or their corporate counsel. If the matter cannot be solved efficiently through this process, a lawsuit can be filed against the facility and the individuals involved.

At trial, the Plaintiff (the injured patient) bears the burden of proof with regard t the legal elements of the claim. In a case of injury caused by the negligence of the nursing home, the plaintiff must prove that (1) the nursing home owed a duty of care to the resident (this is a given based on the care contract); (2) the nursing home breached the duty of care to the resident (they did something they shouldn’t have done, or failed to do something they should have done), and (3) the resident suffered harm as a result.

In addition to the foregoing, the resident must also prove the specifics of the harm that was suffered. The harm suffered is referred to as “damages.” Damages are intended to compensate the resident for any injury or abuse suffered. There are several types of damages, including: physical pain and suffering, mental pain and suffering, emotional distress and cost of resulting necessary medical treatment.

Sometimes, in unusually outrageous cases, the court may also award punitive damages. Unlike the other types of damages, punitive damages are meant to punish a defendant, and to deter similar behavior in the future.

If you or your loved one believe they have been injured by the negligence, neglect, or abuse of a nursing home facility, please contact me to discuss your situation. I can be reached at 215-822-7575 or via email at mtw@rgsglaw.com.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.