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Can You Sue a Nursing Home for Negligence?

Can You Sue a Nursing Home for Negligence?

Over the past several years, nursing homes and assisted living facilities have become increasingly common, and numerous families across the country have placed their trust in these facilities to provide the care, respect, and assistance their loved ones deserve. Although these facilities have legal responsibilities to keep residents safe, the proliferation of nursing homes – many of which are motivated by profits rather than helping real people in need – has made it an unfortunate reality that negligent and substandard care are pervasive.

Today, it is well known that negligence is a significant concern for nursing home residents and their families. This makes crucially important to thoroughly vet and choose facilities carefully, and to speak out when they fail to uphold their legal obligations by pursuing legal action in our civil justice system. Personal injury claims and lawsuits filed against negligent nursing homes offer a number of benefits, both for victims and others, and can allow claimants to:

  • Hold nursing homes and care providers accountable for negligent and wrongful acts;
  • Secure justice and financial compensation for their damages, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more;
  • Raise awareness about nursing home negligence, send a message that it will not be tolerated, and deter others from making the same mistakes;
  • Help prompt change in facilities with poor health and safety records that protect others from suffering similar harm.

Do I Have a Case?

Whether or not you have a case for nursing home injuries suffered by you or a loved one depends on the unique circumstances involved. Aside from claims involving substandard care and medical malpractice – which include issues such as medical errors, medication mistakes, and other medically-related injuries – claims based on general negligence must establish several important legal elements. These generally include:

  • Legal Duty – Victims of negligence must prove a legal duty existed between them and the defendant. In the case of nursing home injuries, this element is typically proven by showing a victim is in fact a resident of the nursing home or assisted care facility, or otherwise receives care provided by a nursing service.
  • Breach of Duty – Because nursing homes have a legal responsibility to take reasonable measures in keeping residents healthy and safe, they can be held liable when injuries result from a breach of that duty. Negligence, in whatever form it takes, can constitute a breach of duty, particularly when nursing homes can be shown to have failed in taking necessary and reasonable steps to ensure the safety of a resident. Because not all injuries stem from negligence or a breach of duty, especially among elderly residents in frail states of health, conducting investigations and gathering evidence to prove negligence are critical to the success of a claim.
  • Causation – In addition to showing a nursing home or its employees were negligent, victims must further demonstrate how that negligence led to preventable injuries. In civil lawsuits, the standard used to prove causation is known as a “preponderance of the evidence,” which essentially means more likely than not. If an act of negligence more likely than not caused injuries, victims have a viable chance of proving causation.
  • Damages – Victims must have suffered damages in order to have a valid claim for compensation. These damages can include the physical injuries they incurred as a result of negligence, as well as any medical expenses, pain and suffering, and or non-economic injuries they incurred.

Understanding whether your situation meets the legal elements of a valid nursing home negligence claim can be a difficult matter without an understanding of the laws in place, the responsibilities of nursing homes, and your rights as a victim. At Morgan & Murphy, LLP, our nursing home injury lawyers can help evaluate your potential case and discuss whether you have grounds to seek legal action. Although every case is different, we’ve provided some examples to help you understand the types of situations, negligent acts, and injuries that commonly lead to nursing home injury claims:

  • Nursing homes which fail to address potential hazards that lead to slip, trip, and fall accidents, such as wet and slippery floors, exposed cords, unsafe handrails, and more.
  • Failures of nursing homes to protect residents against third-party assaults, especially assaults and confrontations from fellow residents who have a history of violent behavior.
  • Nursing homes that negligently hire or retain unfit or unqualified employees, including employees with a history of negligence, abuse, or financial exploitation.
  • Negligent supervision of residents and employees, including cases where residents suffer injuries unattended when they should have been under the care or supervision of an employee.
  • Failures in properly transporting, lifting, or moving elderly residents from one location to another.
  • Failures to abide by adequate health and safety policies, including sanitary conditions in rooms and common areas.

Negligence can take many forms, and that is especially true in nursing homes. While injuries and damages suffered by victims may have many causes, none should be tolerated when they stem from the negligence of providers who have legal responsibilities to avoid preventable injuries. If you have questions about a potential nursing home injury case in Massachusetts or Rhode Island, our award-winning lawyers at Morgan & Murphy, LLP are here to help. We know injuries have an increased potential for severely impacting the well-being of the elderly, and are committed to helping victims and families seek justice, compensation, and accountability in the civil justice system! We’ve done exactly that for over 10,000 victims we’ve served.

Call (508) 966-7254 today to request a FREE consultation.

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