A nursing home, convalescent home, rest home, or elder care facility can be held legally responsible -- meaning that a personal injury or medical malpractice lawsuit can be filed -- when an act of negligence, neglect, or abuse on the premises ends up causing harm to a patient or resident.
There are an infinite set of accidents, intentional acts, and failures to act that may leave a nursing home or other care facility liable for subsequent injuries and death of a resident based on the conduct of an employee or based on a policy or ongoing practice at the facility.
Some examples include:
- The Nursing Home Fails to Keep the Premises Free of Hazards (meaning dangers that the facility and its staff are aware of, and those they should be aware). This includes preventing slip and fall accidents to preventing one resident from attacking another.
- Negligent Hiring/Supervision of Employees who end up neglecting, hurting or otherwise harming a patient. Failure to properly train and supervise can also come into play when a resident hurts herself/himself.
- Failure to Maintain Adequate Safety Policies, including keeping the facility sanitary.
- Failure to Provide Adequate Medical Treatment up to the medical standard of care, which can lead to a Medical Malpractice case against a medical professional who treated the resident.
If a nursing home accepts Medicare, the nursing home must follow Federal Regulations which set forth the standard of care. One of these regulations is 42 CFR Sec. 483.25 (h) which provides:
The facility must ensure that:
The resident environment remains as free of accident hazards as possible; and
Each resident receives adequate supervision and assistance devices to prevent accidents.
If the nursing home fails to comply with these regulations and a resident is injured, the nursing home is liable to be sued.Proving Liability can be Complicated
When a resident is injured at a care facility, it is not always obvious what exactly went wrong, and who might be legally responsible. The evidence available is often incomplete and may be self-serving for the defendant – the nursing home. In cases like these, your best first step would be discussing the situation with an experienced attorney.
Here at Shaw Law, we believe that every injury accident is preventable. Every accident is due to someone's fault and failure to follow basic safety rules.
Sometimes those rules can include nursing homes and their doctors and physicians or their assistants. You should not have to bear the brunt of the negligence of someone else.
If the Nursing Home is a "qualified health provider" under the laws of Indiana, then you are required to file a medical malpractice case.
The laws involving medical malpractice cases in Indiana are very extensive and difficult for some people to understand. The laws tend to favor the doctors in these negligence situations.
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