Family members with loved ones in nursing homes in Pennsylvania often want to know what their loved one’s legal rights are after a nursing home injury occurs. Here is a common question: my mother is in a nursing home in Pennsylvania and was injured in an accident; what are her legal rights? The following answer will address this question.
Under Pennsylvania injury laws, nursing homes have a duty to provide reasonable care of residents. This includes the duty to ensure that the property is in a reasonably safe condition at all times. Oftentimes, nursing home owners and operators are negligent in their duties, and as a result, accidents and injuries occur. Below are the most common types of accidents/negligence which lead to nursing home injuries:
- fall accidents,
- abuse/assaults, and
- medical negligence.
An example of a nursing home fall accident lawsuit involves a resident who is left unattended and falls out of a wheelchair or bed, suffering serious injuries. Abuse or assault can be perpetrated by nursing home employees, other residents or guests. Medical negligence involves failure to provide treatment or medical care in a reasonable manner. Bedsores are a common occurrence among nursing home residents. When bedsores or pressure sores are left unattended, a resident can suffer serious complications including death.
Nursing home owners and operators are often large for-profit companies which exist solely to turn a profit. Profit motivation often leads to negligent conduct, such as insufficient or poor training, lack of oversight, etc. Quality of care is a serious issue in many nursing homes in Pennsylvania. Consequently, PA law clearly allows residents to file legal claims against nursing home companies. In the event of death, surviving family members may file a wrongful death and survival action.
Should You File a Nursing Home Injury Lawsuit in Pennsylvania?
The critical issue in determining whether to file an injury lawsuit in Pennsylvania is assessing whether the injury and damages are serious enough to warrant filing a lawsuit. In some cases, there will be an injury; however, the injury may be minor, such as a sprain. In these situations, the costs of filing a lawsuit will outweigh the value of the case. Therefore, it is not beneficial for the injured resident (or their family) to proceed. In a nutshell, the injuries and damages must be serious enough that they justify the costs of a lawsuit. The types of injuries which usually justify going ahead with a lawsuit include:
- broken bones,
- head injuries,
- spinal injuries, and
- other injuries which lead to permanent symptoms.
Ultimately, the goal of a nursing home injury lawsuit is financial compensation for the injured resident. Claims for financial compensation often include medical bills, lost pay (if appropriate), and pain and suffering. In addition, it is important to note that these types of claims often include future damages, i.e., those that are reasonably expected to be incurred in the future. For example, a nursing home resident suffers a fractured leg in a fall accident due to the negligence of a nursing home employee. The fracture requires surgery and ongoing physical therapy. However, due to a nonunion, which occurs when the bone fails to fuse back together, additional treatment will be required in the future. The projected costs of future medical care can be made part of the claims for financial compensation.
Pennsylvania Nursing Home Injury Law Firm
Our law firm specializes in nursing home injury cases. For a free case evaluation with one of our nursing home injury lawyers, call (215) 985-0777.
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