When is a facility liable for a bedsore ?
by Jeffrey J. Downey, Esq.
Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers, are preventable injuries that can occur when a person is bedridden or sitting in a chair for an extended period. Once an open wound develops in can be infected if not treated properly.
When a person is neglected and develops bedsores, it can be grounds for a lawsuit. While a pressure ulcer can be a clear indication of neglect, before a lawsuit is filed you will need to get the case reviewed by a qualified expert to assess liability. In most states, including Virginia and Maryland, you need to obtain an expert certification establishing that the health care provider breached applicable standards of care. If you or a loved one has developed a pressure wound, you will need to hire an experienced bed sore attorney to help determine liability and assess the potential value of a claim.
What makes a bedsore case worth pursuing?
Every bedsore case is unique, and the case’s value may vary. However, the stronger the case, the more likely the facility will agree to settle. A small detail can make a strong case more difficult to win. Certain factors may increase the value of a bedsore lawsuit, but it is not guaranteed in every case. Here are a few examples:
- Severity of the wound: Pressure wounds are typically assessed from stages I to IV, with stage IV (four) being the worst. Below is an example of a stage IV wound.
- Pictures or other evidence depicting the wound: In pressure sores cases a picture is worth more than a thousand words because it lets the jury see the nature of the injury.
- Corporate Malfeasance: If a nursing home or healthcare facility has a history of neglecting patients and allowing bedsores to develop, it can be considered corporate malfeasance. This can increase the value of a bedsore lawsuit as it shows a pattern of neglect and a disregard for patient safety. Significant neglect can also provide a basis for punitive damages.
- Ex-Employee Testimony: If an ex-employee of a nursing home or healthcare facility can provide testimony about the facility’s neglect of patients, it can be used as evidence in a bedsore lawsuit. This type of testimony can help establish a pattern of neglect and increase the case’s value.
- Medical Records: Detailed medical records can be used as evidence in a bedsore lawsuit. These records can help to establish the extent of the injury and the negligent care that led to the development of the bedsores. A facility is required to turn and reposition a patient at least every two hours to avoid a wound. If preventive care is not documented, it could be strong evidence of neglect.
- Family Involvement: If the patient’s family was involved in the care and noticed the neglect that led to the development of bedsores, their testimony can be used in a lawsuit. The involvement and advocacy of the family can also increase the case’s value as the jury may conclude that the family will be the ultimate beneficiary of any financial award, especially if the client is deceased.
- Fewer Comorbidities: If the patient has fewer underlying health conditions, it can increase the value of the bedsore lawsuit as it is easier to establish that the bedsores were a result of neglect rather than a pre-existing condition.
CALL TO ACTION
If you or a loved one has experienced elder abuse, or developed a pressure wound it is essential to know and protect your rights. Call the law Office of Jeffrey Downey for a free consultation today. The firm has a track record of success in protecting the rights of elders.
About The Law Office of Jeffrey J. Downey, P.C:
The Law Office Jeffrey J. Downey, P.C. is a leading personal injury and accident law firm that people can call a medical malpractice attorney in Maryland.
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