The Connection Between Nursing Home Negligence And Bedsores
Pressure ulcers usually develop at nursing homes unless residents turn over in bed at least once every two hours. Unfortunately, many nursing home residents are so frail or over-medicated that they cannot turn themselves over. Instead, they are entirely dependent on nursing home staff. As outlined below, nursing home staffers are often too busy or too underqualified to effectively perform this simple task.
Long-term care centers have a legal responsibility to keep residents reasonably safe. If the nursing home breaches that duty, a Tampa bedsores attorney could obtain substantial compensation for victims. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Perhaps more importantly, legal actions help victims and their families find the justice they deserve.
Kinds of Nursing Home Negligence
Frequently, understaffing is at the root of bedsore injuries. As many as 90 percent of Tampa Bay nursing homes are dangerously understaffed.
Understaffing is especially a problem during low census periods, like nights. Unfortunately for residents, that’s also the time when residents need the most protection against bedsores. Instead of every hour, staff might only do rounds every two hours. That lapse gives bedsores plenty of time to develop and grow.
On a related note, turning over a resident in bed in the middle of the night is usually at least a two-person job. One person can probably spot bedsores but not do anything to address them.
Sometimes, however, identifying bedsores is a problem. Nursing home administrators sometimes hire underqualified workers to fill immediate staff needs. For example, a patient care technician might fill a job that rightfully belongs to a certified nurse assistant. Underqualified employees often cannot identify early stage bedsores, especially in the dark.
In terms of legal negligence, these understaffing issues could involve negligent supervision or negligent hiring. Both legal theories involve a lack of care. Kinds of negligent supervision include the failure to send enough staffers on regular rounds or the failure to properly instruct and/or manage these workers. Negligent hiring is knowingly hiring an unqualified person to perform a certain job.
The standard of care, which is rather high in medical malpractice claims, often comes into play as well.
Your Claim for Damages
If there is no question about liability, a simple demand letter could settle many bedsore injury claims. In these situations, insurance companies have a legal duty to engage with the victim and promptly settle the claim.
Usually, however, there is at least some question about liability. Therefore, to pressure the insurance company into a settlement and also to preserve the victim’s legal rights, most lawyers file court paperwork.
Settlement negotiations usually continue throughout this process. If these talks break down, most Hillsborough County judges refer such cases to mediation.
A third-party mediator, who is usually an unaffiliated Tampa personal injury attorney, meets with both sides and helps them find common ground. During mediation, both sides have a duty to negotiate in good faith. Therefore, mediation is about 90 percent successful.
Contact a Dedicated Hillsborough County Lawyer
Injury victims are usually entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Tampa, contact Mark H. Wright, PLLC. Virtual, home, and hospital visits are available.