ARE YOUR LOVED ONES PROTECTED?
When our elders are sent to nursing homes to recover after a major surgery or medical event, we expect that they will be treated with the utmost regard and respect.
Too often, however, the nursing home industry hires under-qualified employees, has substandard or outdated equipment, and has sanitary problems that increased our loved one’s risk of injury. Sometimes they hire unhinged or disturbed employees that abuse the residents. Other times, they are so understaffed that the few employees they do have are overwhelmed and the standard of care drops to a level that puts patients at risk.
HIRE A FORT WAYNE NURSING HOME ABUSE ATTORNEY
If any of these ring familiar to you, then you are entitled to sue. Exacting a monetary toll for a health provider’s incompetence or carelessness is often the only remedy aggrieved parties have to punish those who have wronged the people they love. It sends a message that their quality of care is insufficient. It lets them know that they can’t cut corners at the expense of patient safety and care.
MEDICAL MALPRACTICE AND NEGLIGENCE
Nursing homes are healthcare facilities. As such, they can fall under either the medical malpractice laws of Indiana or under basic negligence laws. For instance, if a patient were to slip and fall on a wet floor, then that would be a premises liability claim. On the other hand, if a lapse in the standard of their medical care resulted in an injury or death, then that would be a medical malpractice claim.
The role of negligence is similar in both cases. Your attorney must prove that:
- The defendant owed a standard of care to the injured party;
- There was a lapse or breach in that standard of care;
- The breach resulted in injuries to the plaintiff.
In the case of medical negligence, the only major difference involves how the lapse or breach happens. Not every adverse medical event is considered medical malpractice. The plaintiff must be able to prove that nurses, doctors, or the facility itself failed what most doctors would consider a reasonable standard of care.
COMMON NURSING HOME ABUSE LAWSUITS
As mentioned in the previous section, nursing home abuse lawsuits can span a number of different kinds of personal injury claims. Some of the most common include:
- Premises liability. A nursing home is expected to keep the grounds safe and free of hazards. Winning a lawsuit like this presumes that the nursing staff was aware of the dangerous condition or should have been aware of the dangerous condition.
- Negligent hiring. When a nursing home hires an employee who abuses, neglects, or otherwise intentionally harms their patients, the nursing home can be held liable.
- Negligent care. This often happens in nursing homes that are understaffed. A patient may suffer an adverse medical event and the staff does not respond in time or neglects entirely to address the problem.
- Inadequate upkeep of the premises. Since nursing homes are medical facilities, they must be kept in sanitary condition. The chance of infection or the spreading of disease is very high. When a nursing home neglects to make routine efforts to keep the premises clean, patients can be harmed. Health and safety standards are often set by the state, so attorneys need only establish that the nursing home was in violation of state laws and that injuries resulted from it.
- Medical malpractice. Nursing homes are often targeted for medical malpractice, especially those that are understaffed. Research has shown that the nurse-to-resident ratio has a major impact on the quality of patient care. When the staff of the nursing home fails a basic standard of care and this results in a patient’s injuries they can be held liable for medical malpractice.
Indiana Laws Concerning Personal Injury Lawsuits
Since nursing home abuse lawsuits are tort or personal injury claims, they are governed by State of Indiana statutes that govern all other personal injury claims.
In Indiana, the statute of limitations on personal injury lawsuits is two years. That means that a plaintiff has two years from the date of the accident to file a claim against an at-fault party.
In addition, Indiana imposes damage caps on medical malpractice claims. Medical malpractice claims are capped at $1.25 million. However, other claims of negligence against a nursing home are not capped at all. If your attorney can prove that the nursing home caused injuries but their negligence did not require a medical decision, then the case would not be subject to medical malpractice damage caps.
Wrongful Death Claims in Indiana
Sometimes, patients die as a result of a nursing homes negligence. In that case, survivors can file a wrongful death claim against the nursing home.
Wrongful death claims are an extension of personal injury tort. The major difference, however, is the lawsuits are initiated by loved ones and the victim’s estate, not the individual themselves.
Indiana’s wrongful death statutes can be found in Indiana Code 34-23-1. If your loved one lost their life due to the negligence of a nursing home, a lawsuit must be initiated by a representative of the deceased’s estate. However, a spouse or children may collect damages for the loss. In addition, anyone who was financially or otherwise dependant on the deceased for daily care can also collect damages.
Damages in wrongful death lawsuits are capped at $300,000.
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NURSING HOMES ARE SUBJECT TO LAWS AND REGULATIONS
Nursing home abuse has become a hot topic in the news. With the advent of corporate “chain” nursing homes and reports of widespread understaffing that compromises the quality of patient care, governments are scrambling to impose stiffer regulations and restrictions on nursing homes.For instance, nursing homes that accept Medicare are required to abide by federal regulations defining a basic standard of care. If the nursing home is found in violation of that standard of care, it becomes much easier to file a lawsuit against them.On the other hand, when a patient dies in a nursing home’s care or is otherwise injured, it’s difficult to find out precisely what happened. In a comparative fault state like Indiana, a patient can be assigned some of the blame for their injuries.
This is why it is imperative to have a skilled nursing home abuse attorney in Fort Wayne manage your case. The Indiana nursing home abuse attorneys at Delventhal Law Office, LLC can help recover damages when your loved one is neglected, abused, or otherwise injured by a negligent nursing home. Give us a call at (260) 238-8608 or contact us online and we can begin preparing your case immediately.
AREAS WE PRACTICE
At the Delventhal Law office, our Fort Wayne personal injury attorneys are committed to fighting for the rights and interests of accident victims. If you or a family member was injured because of the carelessness or recklessness of another party, we can help. Our Indiana personal injury lawyers handle a wide array of legal cases, including:
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