By Jeffrey J. Downey, Esq
Healthy elderly family members require very little assistance with movement and daily tasks. But when dementia and other illnesses take their toll, it becomes important to secure quality long term care. Typically, you would hope your loved one receives the respect and care they deserve at a nursing home. But the reality is that nursing homes are the weak link in our healthcare chain, exposing seniors to significant neglect daily.
Residents with reduced mobility are at an especially high risk for developing bedsores, also known as decubitus ulcers. While some pressure wounds are unavoidable, most are not.
What are Bedsores?
Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers, are wounds that develop when there is prolonged pressure on the skin. This can happen when a person is confined to a bed or wheelchair in one position for hours without regular turning. The pressure cuts off the blood supply to the area, and the skin and tissue begin to break down.
Bed sores occur on areas of the body with little flesh padding over the bone, such as the heels, hips, and tailbone. They can also occur on the elbows, shoulders, and back. Bedsores can range in severity from mild to deep tissue damage. In some cases, they can even lead to infection or death.
If you or a loved one has developed bedsores while in a nursing home, you may wonder if you have any legal recourse. The answer depends on the circumstances surrounding the development of the bedsores. If the nursing home or assisted living facility was negligent in providing proper care and preventing bedsores, you might have grounds for a lawsuit.
Assisted living facilities are generally not set up to provide the skilled care that one needs to prevent or heal pressure wounds. In many states, like Virginia, assisted living facilities are not even allowed to admit patients who have significant pressure wounds beyond stage II.
If you have a case against a nursing home for negligence leading to bedsores, you should speak with an experienced bedsore attorney to help you understand your legal rights and options. Attorney Jeffrey Downey has over 30 years of experience and regularly handles pressure sore cases against long term care facilities. The firm makes use of qualified medical experts to evaluate a pressure sore case early on in the claims process.
When Do I Have To File A Bedsore Injury Lawsuit?
The statute of limitations governs the period in which you must file a lawsuit. Many states, like Virginia, have a two-year statute of limitations for bringing personal injury and pressure wound lawsuits. In Maryland the statute of limitations is 3 years for bringing a personal injury or malpractice lawsuit.
However, it is important to act fast, as providing the insurance carrier with an early demand can result in a settlement without the need for litigation. Settling a case without having to litigate the matter saves time and litigation costs, which increases the net recovery for a Plaintiff. Additionally, evidence and witnesses can disappear over time, so gathering everything you need to support your case as soon as possible is important.
Damages Available to Nursing Home Residents and their Families
Different types of damages are available to nursing home residents and their families in the USA if they suffer from bed sores, including:
- Economic damages have a specific monetary value, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and funeral costs;
- Non-economic damages are more difficult to quantify but can include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life;
- Physical disfigurement or deformity;
- In some cases, punitive damages may also be available. These punish the nursing home for particularly egregious actions like gross negligence and deter others from engaging in similar behavior.
The damages that may be awarded will depend on the facts of each case.
If you or a loved one has suffered from bed sores while in the care of a nursing home, you may wonder if you have any legal recourse. The answer is that it depends on the circumstances surrounding the bed sores. If the nursing home was negligent in caring for your loved one, you will have a negligence case against the facility.
No matter your situation, it is crucial to speak with a personal injury lawyer to get advice on whether or not you have a case. Call the Law Office of Jeffrey J. Downey today for a free consultation.
The Law Office of Jeffrey J. Downey, P.C.
McLean Virginia Office
8270 Greensboro Drive, Suite 810
McLean, VA 22102
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