Under Pennsylvania law, a nursing home is required to provide care for nursing home residents in a reasonably careful manner. Failure to do so may result in liability. An injured nursing home resident and/or their family members may be able to receive fair financial compensation in a nursing home accident injury lawsuit.
In nursing home accident and injury lawsuit cases in Pennsylvania, multiple theories are usually advanced against the at-fault parties (i.e., nursing home owners, operators, corporate officers, etc.). For instance, in a given lawsuit against a nursing home in Philadelphia, the injured resident may advance theories of negligent retention/hiring (negligence in hiring employees) and negligent training (failing to provide proper training to employees).
Another theory involves negligence in rendering services. Pennsylvania courts have adopted the Restatement 2d of Torts Section 323, Negligent Performance of an Undertaking to Render Services:
One who undertakes, gratuitously or for consideration, to render services to another which he should recognize as necessary for the protection of the other’s person or things, is subject to liability to the other for physical harm resulting from his failure to exercise reasonable care to perform his undertaking, if
(a) his failure to exercise such care increases the risk of such harm, or
(b) the harm is suffered because of the other’s reliance upon the undertaking.
This law basically means that in a nursing home injury case, a nursing home must take reasonable precautions when it agrees to perform services for a resident. The injured party must prove that the nursing home acted in such a manner that it increased the risk of harm. Alternatively, the party must prove that they suffered injury or harm because they relied on the nursing home to perform some duty. In other words, the injured party could have avoided the injury/harm, but was unable to do so because of the failure of the nursing home or reliance on the nursing home.
Pennsylvania Case Law – Nursing Home Negligence in Performing a Duty
Feeney v. Disston Manor Personal Care Home Inc., et al. is a 2004 Pennsylvania Superior Court case which specifically adopted this theory in nursing home or long term care home negligence cases. In the case, a resident of a long term care facility wandered away and was found over 10 days later, after having drowned in a nearby river. Under a contract between the resident and the care facility, the resident was free to come and go, so long as he notified the facility about any overnight stays away from the facility. However, the court found that the defendant care facility failed to act reasonably to notify relatives and authorities about the resident’s disappearance from the facility.
In addition, the court found that the care facility clearly undertook and agreed to render services to the resident, maintained a duty to watch over the resident and agreed to provide a certain level of care, i.e., at least monitor the resident’s whereabouts. The failure to monitor the resident’s whereabouts increased the risk of harm.
Legal Rights of Injured Nursing Home Residents in Pennsylvania
Residents of long term care facilities and nursing homes in Pennsylvania may pursue legal action against any party whose negligence led to the injury/harm. Injured parties may recover medical bills, pain and suffering and other economic losses such as lost wages, where appropriate. For a free legal consultation with our nursing home injury lawyers in Philadelphia, please call our office at 215.985.0777.
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