Under Pennsylvania and New Jersey law, hospitals and care facilities like nursing homes may be liable for negligence which results in an injury. The most common types of negligence claims are ordinary negligence claims and medical malpractice. These two claims are similar in that they involve some act of negligence which caused an injury. However, they differ in terms of how they are prosecuted or brought to court and how they proceed through the court system.
Related: Suspect Abuse/Neglect in a Pennsylvania Nursing Home? Here’s What You Should Do
Medical Malpractice Claims Against Nursing Homes in PA & NJ
Medical malpractice claims involve the negligence of a medical professional which results in injury to a patient. In general, medical malpractice claims are brought against hospitals, doctors, etc. They may also be brought against nursing homes, when the underlying care involved the practice of medicine such as the treatment and care of a bedsore.
When medical negligence lawsuits are filed, Pennsylvania and New Jersey law requires the plaintiff (person bringing the lawsuit) to obtain and file a special certificate known as a certificate/affidavit of merit. In a nutshell, this document is a sworn statement by a medical professional who affirms that they have reviewed the case and believe that the defendant (person being sued) was negligent. More importantly, the document must indicate that the defendant acted below a specific standard of care.
Negligence Claims Against Nursing Homes in PA & NJ
Nursing homes operate much like other businesses and may therefore be held liable under ordinary negligence principles. In nursing home cases, nursing homes are commonly liable in the following types of situations:
- falls from a bed or wheelchair,
- negligent maintenance,
- wandering/improper supervision, and
- physical/sexual assaults and abuse.
Under Pennsylvania and New Jersey negligence law, a person suing a nursing home must prove the following elements:
- The nursing home owed the injured individual a duty of care.
- The nursing home breached that duty (committed negligence).
- The nursing home’s negligence caused the injury.
- Damages (economic and non-economic damages).
In general, most nursing home negligence cases boil down to whether there is sufficient evidence that the nursing home committed negligence and whether the nursing home’s negligence was the legal cause of the injury.
Under Pennsylvania law, negligence is either an act or a failure to act when there is a duty to do so. Basically, negligence is failing to do something that a reasonably careful person would do or doing something that a reasonably careful person would not do, in light of all the circumstances. In the context of a nursing home case, negligence is often proved with evidence that the nursing home failed to take action despite having had knowledge that there was a problem. For instance, a nursing home would be liable in a situation in which a problematic employee, with a history of making mistakes, fails to lock the wheels of a wheelchair, and a residents falls out of the wheelchair as a result.
More: Proving Negligence in a PA Nursing Home Accident, Neglect Case
Proving negligence in these types of scenarios often involves investigating the nursing home’s internal procedures and policies, staff, etc. Some of the most common claims made in nursing home lawsuits include:
- negligence in hiring,
- failing to adhere to a medical doctor’s recommendations,
- failing to provide proper staffing,
- failing to provide proper training to staff, and
- failing to adhere to proper protocols and procedures.
If you or a loved one was injured at a nursing home or other care facility in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, please call our nursing home abuse and negligence lawyers for a free, no obligation consultation. (215) 985-0777
Our lawyers are skilled at handling nursing home negligence cases in the Pennsylvania area, including Philadelphia, Montgomery County, Delaware County, and Bucks County.
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