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Friday, February 26, 2016

A Primer on Nursing Home Negligence

As individuals become elderly, for those who are no longer capable of caring for themselves, entering a nursing home may be the only option. This is a difficult issue that affects the entire family. Sadly, there are numerous accidents and failures that occur in nursing homes that lead to injuries. In some cases, intentional acts may cause harm to a resident. Depending upon the circumstances, an elder care facility may be held liable for an injury that arises from an act of negligence, abuse or neglect on its premises.

What types of behavior are grounds for a lawsuit?

The conduct of a nursing home employee or the policies or ongoing practices at such a facility that can lead to a lawsuit include:

  • Failure to keep the premises reasonably safe, free of hazards to prevent slip and fall accidents
  • Failure to prevent abuse or attacks by other residents 
  • Negligence in hiring  when an employee neglects, abuses, or intentionally harms a patient
  • Failure to properly train and supervise employees
  • Negligent supervision of residents who fall or injure themselves
  • Failure to maintain adequate health and safety policies
  • Failure to provide adequate medical treatment

What does standard of care mean?

In order to bring a personal injury or medical malpractice lawsuit, a patient must have suffered an injury because of a mistake that failed to meet the medical standard of care. This generally means the type of care that a reasonable skilled medical professional would provide under similar circumstances. If the care provided falls short of this standard, a case may be brought against the nursing home facility as well as the individual who was responsible for treating the patient or resident.

If a nursing home accepts Medicare, federal regulations require the facility to ensure that:

  • The resident environment is as free of accident hazards as possible
  • Each resident receives adequate supervision and assistance devices to prevent accidents

If the elder care facility fails to comply with these regulations and a resident is injured, the nursing home may be held liable.

 When a resident is injured at a care facility, determining what went wrong and who is responsible can be complicated. If you or a loved one has been injured at a nursing home, you should consult with a personal injury attorney who has expertise in elder care law.


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