The second part of the article series about nursing home negligence lawsuits will discuss some of the basics, such as what’s involved in filing a lawsuit, what the outcome is, etc. Click here for part one which discusses the types of nursing home injury lawsuits.
Filing a Nursing Home Injury Lawsuit
Whether it’s an abuse case or a fall accident case, the vast majority of nursing home injury lawsuits follow the same procedure. A lawsuit will be filed alleging negligence on the part of the nursing home operator, owner or management. During the lawsuit, both sides will have the opportunity to analyze evidence, call witnesses, etc. After this period of discovery is over, the case will be tried or will otherwise resolve by way of settlement.
Generally, nursing home negligence lawsuits are like most other types of negligence cases. The legal principles are the same. Under general negligence laws, the injured plaintiff in a case must prove the following elements in order to succeed:
- the defendant owed the injured plaintiff a duty of care,
- the defendant breached that duty of care (i.e., was negligent in some way),
- the breach of duty led to damages, and
- the nature and extent of any such damages.
The vast majority of nursing home injury lawsuits hinge on elements two and three. Most cases are won or lost on the evidence. Is there sufficient evidence of negligence? For instance, in a bed fall accident case, is there evidence that the nursing home failed to properly supervise the resident?
One of the issues which often arises in nursing home injury lawsuits is whether the injuries and damages were caused by the accident, and not something else, like a pre-existing medical condition. For example, in a case where the injured resident has multiple health conditions, is there sufficient medical evidence that the injuries and symptoms were caused by the injury/accident rather than a pre-existing health condition? These are just some of the issues that often arise in contested nursing home negligence lawsuits.
Outcomes of Nursing Home Injury Lawsuits
Nursing home injury lawsuits often result in financial compensation awards. That’s how the civil justice system functions. It awards financial compensation to injured parties. In this respect, nursing home injury cases are really no different than other types of lawsuits. A financial compensation award may ultimately be decided by a judge or jury after a trial. However, most cases are resolved by way of mutual agreement or settlement. In fact, 9 out of 10 cases will end with a settlement, not a trial. This is certainly true in Philadelphia, where due to an influx of negligence lawsuits, the court system encourages speedy resolution outside of the courtroom.
Valuing a Case
The amount of a settlement will vary with each case. There is simply no way to make a determination before the case is fully litigated. That’s because value of a case is based on multiple factors, such as:
- the nature and extent of the injuries and medical treatment,
- how strong the evidence of negligence is, and
- what the financial damages are.
Consequently, it is simply ill-advised to make a determination as to the value of a case until all the evidence and facts are uncovered. In addition, the value of a nursing home injury case can change over time. For instance, what appeared to be a significant injury at the outset may heal completely while the case is in litigation. This would affect the value of the case. Alternatively, what appeared to be a minor injury may suddenly take a turn for the worse and result in permanent symptoms or worse, death. In this type of scenario, the value of the case would of course, change.
About Namerow Law’s Nursing Home Injury Practice – Helping Residents of Pennsylvania & New Jersey Nursing Homes
Firm founder Jordan Namerow takes great pride in championing the rights of nursing home residents. The elderly, disabled and infirm deserve our protection and we must do everything we can to ensure that they are treated with dignity and respect. Long-term care abuse and neglect are major problems in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Exercising legal rights to obtain compensation can and does act as a deterrent. Nursing homes which are sued for negligent care often change policies after the conclusion of a lawsuit. These kinds of changes can aid future residents.
If you would like to discuss a nursing home injury case in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, please call for a free consultation. (215) 985-0777
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