When you entrust your loved one to the care of a nursing home, “trust” is the most important consideration. If a nursing home betrays that trust by neglecting or abusing your loved one, it can lead to serious injuries or even death. If your loved one has been hurt, it helps to first have an understanding of what constitutes nursing home medical malpractice.
By law, a nursing home is obligated to care for their residents and provide them with adequate medical attention. But nursing homes can fail this obligation, often from the consequences of cost-cutting measures.
Nursing home abuse is obviously serious, but neglect can also lead to medical malpractice. In these cases, you have a right to pursue justice and compensation for your loved one’s pain or injuries.
Types of Nursing Home Medical Malpractice
The courts have seen cases that centered around:
- Errors with prescription drugs, including a failure to check for harmful drug interactions and failure to provide necessary medications at the prescribed times
- Poorly equipped, trained or supervised staff
- Abuse of medical restraints
- Failure to arrange for patient care from doctors or nurses
- Ignoring a patient’s disclosed medical concerns
- Unhygienic conditions or equipment that cause infections
- Dehydration or malnourishment
- Broken or malfunctioning medical equipment
- Failure to keep the facility free of hazards that could, for example, cause falls or provoke conflicts between residents
- Failure to supervise residents who then fall or injure themselves
What to Do When You Suspect Medical Malpractice
If your loved one was injured due to these types of nursing home medical negligence, you should first remove them from the dangerous situation. Next, report the abuse by checking the National Center on Elder Abuse website, which will refer you to a local agency. Finally, contact a qualified medical malpractice lawyer who can help gather evidence and fight for the compensation and justice your loved one deserves.
What Is the Process for a Nursing Home Lawsuit?
Like many legal proceedings, a nursing home medical malpractice lawsuit can be complicated and time-consuming. Think of it as more of a marathon than a sprint, as effective lawsuits require preparation, time and hard work.
Common steps after your initial consultation with an attorney may include:
- A claim investigation that gathers evidence to determine the extent of the injury and the details of its circumstances.
- A notice of claim (NOC) sent to all defendants if the case is determined by the investigation to have merit. The NOC represents the plaintiff’s intent to file a suit.
- Filing a lawsuit with the court, or possibly with a designated arbitration service should the case require settlement. The defendant will be served with the lawsuit and a citation, and will need to file an answer with the court.
- The plaintiff’s attorney serving an expert report on the defendant that details the expected standard of care, how the defendant failed that standard and what injuries resulted from this failure.
- The discovery process of exchanging information between the parties, which may include depositions under oath.
- Settlement negotiations and mediation, as most cases are settled through these processes. The expense of taking a case to trial can be avoided through these paths to justice.
- A trial if both mediation and settlement negotiations are unsuccessful. This can take days or weeks to complete, depending on the complexity of the case and jury deliberations.
- Financial recovery following either the settlement or the trial judgment, usually within 30–90 days.
As you can see, nursing home medical malpractice cases can vary widely due to location and circumstances. The legal process is complicated and best navigated with the help of a qualified attorney. With over 20 years of legal experience, KC Law has successfully represented clients whose loved ones have been injured due to medical malpractice. We can help you, too. Contact us to learn more about your rights.