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      Proving Negligence in a Pennsylvania Nursing Home Accident, Neglect Case

      Residents who are injured while staying at a nursing home or other long term care facility may have a valid lawsuit against the facility. Under PA law, nursing home neglect victims can recover fair and reasonable financial compensation for an injury. For instance, a nursing home resident can recover for pain and suffering damages as well as economic losses such as medical bills and other related medical expenses.

      In order to win a nursing home neglect case, there must be evidence that the nursing home was at fault or was negligent. Negligence is generally defined as the failure to do something that an ordinarily prudent person would do, or doing something that an ordinarily prudent person would not do. Below are four common nursing home negligence scenarios.

      1. Resident fell out of a bed.  A nursing home employee is responsible for performing night checks for 100 residents, on top of her normal duties. The nursing home is short-staffed on this particular night. Ordinarily, a single nursing home employee is responsible for performing 50 night checks. The employee forgets to check the bed rails of a resident. During the middle of the night, the resident falls out of bed, breaks his hip and hits his head. The nursing home would likely be liable for the resident’s injuries because of the staff shortage which was a direct cause of the accident.

      Proof of negligence in this case would include: staff rosters, training manuals, nursing home policies and procedures regarding night checks, etc.

      Related: PA Nursing Home Fall Accident Scenario

      2. Resident had a fall accident in a common area (i.e., dining room, community room, etc.). A nursing home resident is using a community bathroom and slips on water on the floor, suffering a major head injury. The water came from a leak in the faucet, which had been leaking for weeks. Prior to the accident, employees had complained to the nursing home administrator about getting the faucet fixed. However, the administrator failed to have the leak fixed. Here, the nursing home would be liable for failing to get the faucet fixed. Had the administrator done so, the accident would not have occurred.

      Proof of negligence in this case would include: maintenance policies and procedures, maintenance request/service history, internal accident reports, maintenance staff rosters, etc.

      3. Resident walked out of the facility and wandered away. A resident who suffers from dementia leaves her room and walks out the front door. She falls into a ditch down the road and suffers major leg fractures. She dies as a result of her injuries. Here, the nursing home would be liable if there was evidence that it should have anticipated that this resident would wander, i.e., this resident had wandered before. Simply having dementia is not, in and of itself, evidence which proves that a resident would wander. However, the nursing home would probably be liable if there was evidence that the door lock system was not working, and the nursing home had prior knowledge of the problem.

      Proof of negligence in this case would include: staff rosters, nursing home policies and procedures regarding residents with dementia, policies and procedures regarding wandering and supervision, chart notes for this particular resident, etc.

      4. Resident was beaten and assaulted by another resident. A resident with a history of aggression and violent outbursts attacks and injures another resident. In this scenario, the nursing home would probably be liable if there is evidence that it acted unreasonably, under the circumstances.  Basically, nursing home liability in an assault case depends on whether the nursing home should have anticipated that the resident would attack another resident, and that depends on the facts. A nursing home cannot be expected to provide 24 hour one-on-one supervision for a resident who exhibits verbally aggressive behavior. However, a nursing home may be required to take steps to prevent an attack by a resident who has previously attacked other residents.

      Proof of negligence in this case would include: staff rosters, nursing home policies and procedures regarding residents and fighting, chart notes for the resident-perpetrator, internal memos/notes, etc.

      Related: Suspect Abuse/Neglect in a Pennsylvania Nursing Home? Here’s What You Should Do

      If you or a loved one was hurt 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, abuse and assault cases in the Pennsylvania area, including Philadelphia, Montgomery County, Delaware County, and Bucks County. Our lawyers also handle nursing home accident cases in the New Jersey area.

      *DISCLAIMER: This website does not create any attorney-client relationship or provide legal advice. Our lawyers provide legal advice only after accepting a case. It is imperative that any action taken is done on advice of counsel. Since each case is unique, discussion of prior outcomes and settlements in past cases is no guarantee of a similar outcome in current or future cases. Contacting our lawyers via the email contact form on this website does not create an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through the contact form.

      Nursing home abuse and injury cases accepted in Philadelphia, Delaware County, Montgomery County, and throughout other parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

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