How to Prove Negligence in Bedsore Lawsuits

by Jeffrey J. Downey, Esq.

When pursuing a bedsore claim, a bedsore attorney can be your best friend. You’ll need to demonstrate that your injuries resulted from the negligence of the defendant healthcare provider or aide.

By hiring an experienced  bed sore attorney, you improve the probability of receiving the justice you deserve. These professionals can initiate the claim process while investigating your case and protecting your legal rights.

Steps to Proving Negligence in Bedsore Lawsuits

To succeed in any malpractice claim, plaintiffs must prove the liability of defendants by a preponderance of evidence (more likely than not).  Bedsores are also known as pressure wounds or decubitus ulcers. In a civil case plaintiffs are the patients while defendants are healthcare facilities or workers who allowed the pressure wounds or bed sores to develop.

Bedsore lawsuits feature in many medical malpractice cases. These claims often involve negligence on the part of healthcare providers.

Proving negligence in such cases requires a systematic approach and compelling evidence. Here are the key elements that must be demonstrated to build a strong legal case.

Step 1: Duty of Care

The first step in proving negligence in a bedsore lawsuit is establishing the existence of a duty of care. This duty arises when a healthcare professional or facility assumes responsibility for a patient’s well-being. It is essential to demonstrate that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty to prevent the development and progression of bedsores.

Step 2: Breach of Duty

To prove negligence, plaintiffs must establish that the duty of care was breached. This involves showing that the healthcare provider or facility failed to meet the standard of care expected in the industry. The term standard of care generally refers to what a reasonably prudent healthcare provider would do under the same or similar circumstances.  In the case of bedsores, this could include inadequate or improper assessment, failure to implement preventative measures like turning or repositioning, or insufficient monitoring and treatment.

Proving a breach of duty will often implicate expert testimony which is initially based on a review of the nursing home or assisted living facility’s records. As such, the first step in an pressure sore case is usually gathering all the relevant records relating to the care and treatment of the wound. In most states, including Virginia and Maryland, before a bedsore case can even be filed, an expert must complete a certificate of merit, certifying that their was negligence in the prevention of the bed sore, which caused damages to the Plaintiff.

Step 3: Causation

Causation requires a plaintiff to prove that a breach of duty directly resulted in the development or worsening of the bedsores. This step often involves medical expert testimony to establish a causal link between the healthcare provider’s negligence and the patient’s injuries.  If the pressure wound caused death, the Plaintiff will need to obtain information from the death certificate, or autopsy, if one was performed.

Step 4: Damages

Proving negligence also requires showing that the plaintiff suffered damages as a result of the bedsores, including:

  • Physical pain
  • Emotional distress
  • Disfigurement or deformity
  • Medical expenses
  • Wrongful death

Comprehensive documentation of the injuries and their impact on the patient’s life is crucial in this step.  Its also important to take photographs and make note of issues involving the patient’s pain and suffering.

Step 5: Comparative Negligence

The defense may argue that the plaintiff contributed to their injuries through their actions or failure to follow medical instructions. To counter this, it is essential to establish that any alleged contributory negligence on the part of the plaintiff was minimal or nonexistent compared to the defendant’s negligence.  In most cases, nursing home or assisted living patients are demented or incapable of turning and repositioning themselves.  As such, its rare that contributory or comparative negligence is a defense in most cases.

Step 6: Expert Testimony

Medical expert witnesses play a vital role in pressure wound lawsuits. Their testimony helps establish the standard of care that should have been followed, identifies the defendant’s breach of duty, and demonstrates the causal connection between the negligence and the patient’s injuries. Expert witnesses bring credibility to the plaintiff’s case by providing professional opinions based on their experience and knowledge.  Its important to hire an attorney who has access to well qualified experts in this field.

Proving negligence in bedsore lawsuits requires a thorough and well-structured legal strategy. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the complexities of proving negligence and ensuring that justice is served for the injured patient.

Protect Your Rights Now

Attorney Jeffrey Downey has over 3 decades of experiencing handling malpractice cases.  He started out as a defense lawyer defending such claims for insurance companies.  How he uses that vast experience to help is clients. He has handled numerous pressure wound cases and has established important legal precedents in long term care cases.  Link: (  His clients have testified before the United States Congress on the deplorable condition of some nursing homes and he educates other attorneys in how to handle long term care cases.

Contact the Law Office of Jeffrey J. Downey today for a free consultation.  You pay no attorney’s fees unless there is successful recovery.

We handle malpractice cases in Virginia, Maryland and Washington D.C.

Contact Information

The Law Office of Jeffrey J. Downey, P.C.
8300 Greensboro Drive,
Suite 500
McLean, VA 22102
Telephone: 703-564-7318
Fax: 703-556-7700