Child Care Center Injuries and Liabilities

When you choose a day care for your child, you trust the staff to take care of your child as if it were their own. While many facilities do a good job keeping children safe, others do not, and accidents are often the result. Below is an overview of day care injuries and how filing a personal injury claim may help parents obtain compensation for their child’s injuries. If your child has been hurt due to the negligence of a trusted day care facility, it may benefit you to consult a personal injury attorney to discuss your options.

Negligence

Not every day care accident is due to the recklessness or negligence of the day care facility. Some accidents are not foreseeable or due to anyone’s carelessness. However, some day care injuries are completely preventable, and those may make for a successful personal injury lawsuit under premises liability law. In order to obtain compensation for your child’s injuries, you must be able to prove that workers did not maintain a reasonable standard of care, and that led to your child’s injuries. Some things that may be considered negligent include:

  • Failing to keep the premises safe
  • Violating health codes and statutes
  • Not supervising children properly
  • Having too few workers per child/being out of ratio
  • Not having safety measures to keep children from wandering away
  • Failure to provide access to water and bathroom facilities
  • Failing to keep first aid tools on hand

It can be difficult proving negligence in personal injury claims, so it is usually best to hire a personal injury attorney to help you prove your case in court. While many premises liability cases are settled out of court, others may go to trial. For this reason, it is a good idea to hire an attorney with extensive trial experience.

Common Day Care Injuries

While children can be hurt at day care in many ways, some accidents occur more often than others. Some of the most commonly reported day care accidents and injuries include:

  • Being hit by falling objects

Many children are hurt each year by items at their day care facility that are not secure. Bookshelves, tables, and other large objects should be firmly anchored to the wall so that accidents do not happen. Failure to do so puts every child at risk, because children tend to climb on these items during the course of the day.

  • Playground injuries

The statistics compiled by the Centers for Disease Control, or CDC, show that of the 200,000 playground injuries that occur every year in the U.S., 20,000 children are treated for brain injuries or concussions. In addition to head injuries, children are likely to sustain fractures requiring treatment. Most day care facilities have playground equipment and outdoor play time, making these types of injuries commonplace. Some of these injuries may be due to faulty playground equipment, or they may occur because the day care worker was less than vigilant in their duties.

  • Injuries inflicted by other children

While it can be more difficult proving negligence if your child was injured by another child at day care, it is not impossible. If your child’s injuries were during a time when the worker was not taking due care to keep your child safe, then you may be able to file a personal injury case against the child and the day care.

Damages

You may be able to obtain compensation for certain expenses and damages in a personal injury claim. Some of these damages may include:

  • Emergency room care
  • Hospital costs
  • Doctor visits
  • Pain and suffering
  • Cost of crutches or wheelchairs
  • Emotional distress
  • Therapy fees

Time Limits

Every personal injury case has time limits in which a claim must be filed in court. Because each state has different time limits, it is best to see an attorney as quickly as possible after your child’s accident to avoid losing the right to file your claim. Failing to get your case filed in court within the statute of limitations in your state may mean your case will not be heard.

If your child suffered a serious injury due to the negligence of a day care facility or day care worker, contact a personal injury attorney for advice. After going over your child’s medical records and your case, your attorney will present all your options available under the law. While filing a lawsuit will not remove the trauma and pain of your child’s accident, it may help ease the financial burden that can often be quite costly when injuries are severe.

How to Prove a Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect

Nursing home neglect falls under the legal classification of a medical malpractice claim. These are difficult cases to prove because the patient is the one who holds the key to many unanswered questions. Many patients in nursing facilities have mental or physical conditions that prevent them from being able to speak affirmatively regarding their care. A legal team relies on family and friends to help bring the offenders to justice.

In any nursing home abuse or neglect case, it’s a must to be able to prove that an injury has a direct link to the negligence of the caregivers. This is where things can get tricky. All claims must be verified and backed up with solid proof. Pursuing a nursing home facility for abuse or negligence requires substantiation. An expert testimony alone is usually not enough to win a case.

A medical malpractice case that involves a nursing home facility goes beyond someone making a small mistake. There must be substantial evidence that someone in the facility was negligent or abusive, and the action caused an injury. Unfortunately, many nursing homes get away with neglectful ways because the injury is not severe, and it does not meet criteria for a legal battle. The burden of proof is on the plaintiff. In addition to the presence of an injury, the following things must be gathered to file a legal case:

  • Proof of Negligence
  • Witnesses and Other Documentation to Backup Claim
  • List of Names and Additional Information
  • Medical Reports

Understanding Nursing Home Neglect

Filing a nursing home lawsuit is serious. Just because an injury occurs does not mean that it’s ground for a lawsuit. It is quite common in many nursing homes to falter in their services here and there. However, it does not always cause harm or danger to the patient. Sometimes injuries occur because the facility does not have enough staff to assist or supervise all patients. Not to mention that working in a nursing home facility is very demanding and stressful because of long working hours, unpredictable shifts, and poor working conditions. Finding good staff is often hard. Nonetheless, these facilities are required to do background checks and pull criminal histories on each applicant to ensure that the hired employees are mentally and emotionally fit for the job. But even despite rigorous screening, some people only work to collect a paycheck. As many people work in nursing home facilities, any one of them can be the defendant in a case. Here are a few individuals that may be identified in a lawsuit:

  • Nurses
  • Nursing Assistants
  • Doctors
  • Physical Therapists
  • Activity Coordinators
  • Managers
  • Directors
  • Patient Administrators
  • The Nursing Home
  • Medical Equipment Providers
  • Third Parties

Understanding the nature of nursing home abuse is critical especially if you are considering to admit a loved one in an assisted living home. It is common for patients to get bedsores from lying for extended periods of time. However, if the facility fails to address the patient’s condition, the situation can quickly escalate into something more serious. Bedsores can be extremely painful and produce a putrid smell, and therefore, should not be ignored. If bedsores have become an issue, the patient must be given proper medication and care. The condition must also be documented in the patient’s charts. When the sores do not get any better and have not been treated, it is a clear sign of neglect. The pain and mental anguish caused by these painful lesions can be grounds for compensation.

Walking is often difficult for elderly or those who have had surgery. Some patients come to these facilities after a knee surgery to recuperate. Others may have arthritis that prevents them from walking long distances. Still, the nursing facility is required to have these patients up and walking each day at the pace that’s appropriate for their condition. Otherwise, they will lose their ability to walk if they do not use these muscles.

Filing a Nursing Home Lawsuit

Seeking the help of an experienced lawyer can make it easier for anyone to file and deal with a nursing home lawsuit. An attorney and his/her assistant or team can do all of the legwork including interviewing witnesses and gathering further information relevant to the case. There usually are many people questioned to make a lawsuit stronger, such as family friends, relatives, nursing home caregivers, other patients in the nursing, etc.

Family members often experience mental anguish when they place their loved one in the hands of a facility who fails them. Nursing home abuse happens every day across this country.

Here are a few steps to take if you suspect that your loved one is not receiving proper treatment or being neglected:

  • Gather all of your loved one’s medical records
  • Ask your loved one’s a few questions on how she or he is treated in the facility, and take note of the details.
  • If there’s the presence of injury (e.g. cuts, bruises, etc.), make sure to take a picture of the wound, contusions, or whatnot. Ask your loved one’s caregiver how the patient sustained the injury.
  • Request for medical screening to get concrete information about the injury from an expert.
  • Consider moving your loved one to another facility as soon as possible.
  • Inform the proper authorities (Police and District Attorney).
  • Contact the Department of Social Services and Adult Protective Services.
  • Call an attorney to get advice on your loved one’s rights and in filing a lawsuit if necessary.

Proving nursing home damages can take a lot of work. Although you may already be aware of your loved one’s fundamental rights, you’ll need proper direction on who to be held accountable and how to proceed with collecting damages. Look for a lawyer who has years-long of experience in handling medical malpractice and nursing home abuse or neglect cases. You want to make sure that the nursing home will become more diligent in their duties and responsibilities, at the same give your loved one the justice and compensation she or he deserves for experiencing a potentially traumatizing treatment.

Mistreated in a Nursing Home

What You Can Do If You Suspect Your Loved One Being Mistreated in a Nursing Home

Nursing homes are in charge of caring for our elderly loved ones when they become too fragile to care for themselves. In the United States, more than 3 million people are admitted to nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Each facility must use the appropriate standard of care for all residents. However, many fail to meet this goal which sometimes results in nursing home abuse. This article discusses the different types of abuse that occur in nursing homes,  the signs to look for so that you can protect your loved ones, and what to do if you suspect that your loved one is being mistreated.

Common Types of Abuse

While there are a variety of ways seniors can become victims of mistreatment in a nursing home, some are more common than others. The most common types of abuse in nursing home residents include:

  • Medication Mistakes

Many cases of nursing home abuse are due to over medication of residents who are undergoing treatment for stress, anxiety, and memory problems. There have been reported incidents where doctors prescribe higher doses of drugs to manage a patient easily.

  • Neglect

Neglect, which happens in many nursing homes today, comes in different forms and shapes. Failure to provide the appropriate standard of care is a form of neglect. When a nursing home facility fails to meet the residents’ basic needs (e.g. food, water, medicine, baths and proper assistance), they are at risk of getting injured, becoming more ill, or developing other health problems.

  • Physical Violence

As difficult as it is to believe, many elderly experience physical abuse in facilities which are supposed to keep them safe. Physical abuse may include pushing, hitting, pinching, or the use of excessive force to restrain residents. The National Center On Elder Abuse states that physical violence and abuse account for 25 to 30 percent of all elder abuse cases.

  • Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse includes inappropriate touching, penetration, or verbal sexual harassment. While nursing home personnel are more associated with this type of nursing home abuse, residents can also sexually abuse other residents within the facility.

  • Financial Abuse

Financial exploitation occurs when residents are pressured into giving staff monetary gifts. Other forms of financial fraud and abuse include stealing the resident’s credit card information, over-charging or double-billing for medicines/services, and charging for tests that were not carried out.

What Are The Signs Of Abuse?

It is not always easy to recognize signs of elderly abuse. Here are some of the signs that may indicate your loved one is being abused:

  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased anxiety levels
  • Testing positive for sexually transmitted diseases
  • Withdrawal from fun social events or activities
  • Refusing to visit with family
  • Bruising with no explanation
  • Poor hygiene
  • Depression
  • Diminished alertness
  • Burns
  • Unexplained fractures or broken bones
  • Palpable tension between a resident and a particular caregiver
  • Excessive thirst
  • Hunger
  • Unusual financial transactions
  • Listlessness
  • Infections
  • Hair loss
  • Sudden change in the resident’s will
  • Fear of another resident
  • Bed Sores
  • Wounds or cuts

What To Do If You Suspect Abuse

Report the situation immediately if you suspect that your loved one is experiencing abuse in a nursing home. Talk to your loved one’s caregiver or arrange to speak with the administrator of the nursing home facility and ask for an investigation to be conducted.

It’s also a good idea to seek the help of a lawyer to guide you on what steps to take in filing a nursing home abuse case. A lawyer will be able to examine your case and provide directions on how to proceed with filing claims. Hiring an experienced nursing home mistreatment lawyer is the best way to obtain proper compensation for your injured loved one.

Nursing Home Negligence Lawsuit

Steps You Need to Know in Filing a Nursing Home Negligence Lawsuit

Filing a negligence claim against a nursing home is not an easy undertaking. On average, a lawsuit can take somewhere between 18 and 24 months to complete. Before pursuing a claim, it is important to determine the regulations on the standard of care, what kind of conduct warrants a lawsuit, and the nursing home lawsuit steps. In this article, we will take a look at each of these essential elements.

Regulations on Standard of Care in Nursing Homes

Nursing homes that accept Medicare are required to follow Federal Regulations which lay out the required standard of care. One of the basic regulations provides that a nursing facility should ensure that:

  • The resident environment is reasonably secure from hazards
  • Each resident gets adequate assistance and supervision devices to avoid accidents

When to File a Civil Lawsuit Against a Nursing Home

There are many accidents, failures to act, and intentional acts that render a nursing facility liable, either due to an employee’s conduct or because of a policy or standard practice in the nursing home. Here are some examples:

  • Failure to Keep the Nursing Home Facility Safe and Hazard Free

This refers to dangers that the staff is aware of or must be reasonably aware of. It includes prevention of incidences such as slip and fall accidents or keeping residents from attacking each other.

  • Negligent Hiring

A nursing home facility can be sued if it hires an employee who neglects, abuses, or intentionally harms a patient. Failure to provide proper and adequate training to employees is also ground for negligent hiring.

  • Negligent Supervision

The staff at a nursing home facility is responsible for supervising residents to prevent incidents of falls, self-inflicted injuries, or engaging in dangerous behavior.

  • Failure to Maintain Appropriate Health Policies

A nursing facility can be sued for negligence when it fails to maintain certain health standards including cleanliness and proper sanitation in common areas and resident rooms.

  • Failure to Offer Appropriate and Adequate Medical Treatment

Medical practitioners and staff must adhere to a certain standard of care in nursing home facilities. When sub-standard medical care causes harm or injury to a resident, you can press charges against the facility or medical professional who was in-charge of the resident.

Filing a Claim Against a Nursing Home Facility

Pre-suit Investigation

Conducting a pre-suit investigation is one of the crucial steps in a nursing home lawsuit. The process begins with the assessment of the facility’s conduct to see if it follows the Federal and State regulations. Medical records of the resident, starting from the time of admission to the facility, must be gathered and reviewed thoroughly. Past records may be necessary in cases where a resident is found to be in a worse condition than before they joined the nursing facility.

Medical records can run up to 5,000 pages, and knowledge of medical language, abbreviation, and diagnosis will be required to identify the area that will help file and strengthen a nursing home lawsuit. It is also important to look into the nursing home’s history including past lawsuits and violations.

Issuance of a Notice of Claim and Expert Report

If there is sufficient ground to launch a claim, your hired lawyer will issue the nursing home facility a Notice of Claim (NOC), a letter informing the nursing home of the injury and your intention to pursue a nursing home lawsuit. After serving the NOC, your attorney will proceed to file a claim in court. The nursing home will be served with a citation that notifies them about the lawsuit. The facility is given a month to respond to the citation.

After the defendant files their response in court, your lawyer will file an expert report in court. The report identifies the required standard of care and shows how the defendant (nursing home) failed to satisfy this standard and the relationship between their failure to adhere to the required standard and the injury caused. After serving the expert report, the defendant gets the chance to object to the report. Court hearings may be conducted to determine the validity of the expert report.

Discovery

At this stage, the plaintiff and the defendant are given the opportunity to gather additional evidence and exchange information. Oral depositions are also a part of the process.

Settlement

Settlement negotiations may occur anywhere between the time you file a nursing home negligence lawsuit and the discovery phase. Settling of cases before they go to trial can help reduce court and litigation expenses while still providing you with the same damage award you are likely to get after a trial.

During settlement talks, the defendant offers a compensation amount to the plaintiff. You can either respond by accepting or rejecting the offer. You may also respond by giving the defendant a counter-offer.

An agreement is drafted and the lawsuit is withdrawn if the plaintiff and defendant agree on a price. However, if you fail to reach an agreement, the judge will usually order for mediation before allowing the case to enter the trial phase.

Mediation

In mediation proceedings, a neutral person acts as a third party to the case and hears arguments from the plaintiff and defendant before proposing a solution. Mediation can last up to two days. A settlement agreement will be drafted, and the case will be dismissed if the mediator succeeds in finding a solution that works for both sides. However, if the mediator fails to reconcile the involved parties to a settlement offer, the case will proceed to trial.

Trial

In a trial, both parties argue their points before a judge and the jury. The trial may take a few days to two weeks depending on the complexity of the nursing home negligence lawsuit and the deliberations of the jury. After both sides have argued their case and provided evidence, the jury will deliver a verdict.

Any damage award is disbursed within 30 days of a successful mediation, settlement negotiation, or court verdict. If the suit involves the death of a nursing home resident, a probate court needs to approve the settlement.

Factors Affecting the Conclusion of a Nursing Residence Negligence Claim

Expert Report

After an attorney has found an expert to evaluate all the evidence, the expert will be required to go through the information and present their findings in the form of an expert report filed in court. Many experts are doctors who have busy schedules. Therefore, it may take a while for the report to be completed.

Disbursement Process

The settlement agreement lays down the period within which the defendant should submit payments. If a lawsuit involves multiple defendants, it is likely that the defendants will have different times for settling their claims. In the case of liens, such as Medicaid or other outstanding bills, your attorney will have to pay them off before giving the final settlement amount to you.

The process of filing a nursing home negligence lawsuit can be time-consuming and a bit complicated. However, with the right legal assistance and expertise, the process could run smoothly.

Mistreating Elderly Man

Why Nursing Home Abuse and Negligence Occur

It can be difficult to find a place to care for your loved ones as they age. While many nursing homes take good care of their residents, some do not uphold an appropriate standard of care which result in elder abuse. According to the Center For Disease Control (CDC), elder abuse is defined as the intentional act or failure to act that results in the harm of someone over 60 years old. The following is an overview of nursing home abuse in the United States and the main causes of nursing home negligence.

What Is The Definition Of Elder Abuse?

Elder abuse primarily occurs while the victim is under the care of a nursing home or assisted living facility. It is one of the most common types of nursing home negligence in the United States today. However, elder abuse can also occur while an elderly person is under the care of a home nurse or even a relative. Below are the primary types of elder abuse seen today:

Neglect

This type of abuse occurs when the caregiver does not meet the basic human needs of an elderly person. A clean place to live, nutritious food, fresh water, proper hygiene, and all necessary medical care are among the basic needs that must be met. Failure to meet these needs is considered neglect.

Sexual

Sexual abuse is one of the most frequent types of nursing home abuse. This occurs when an elderly person is touched inappropriately or penetrated against their will. It is also considered sexual abuse when an older person is sexually harassed, even if there is no physical contact.

Emotional

Emotional abuse is seen in nursing homes all over the United States. The law defines emotional abuse as anything non-verbal or verbal that instills fear, pain, or anguish in an elderly person. Not allowing a resident to see their friends or family is a common form of nursing home negligence.

Financial

The improper use of an elderly person’s money, property, or personal belongings is a common form of elder abuse because it does not benefit them in any way. Some examples of financial abuse include the use of credit cards, access to bank accounts, or selling personal property of a senior for personal gain.

Causes Of Elder Abuse

While there are many causes of nursing home negligence or abuse, some are more common than others. Among them include:

Understaffing

Nursing homes are notoriously understaffed due to budget cuts, overcrowding of facilities, and lack of qualified staff. As a result, some elderly residents end up being neglected. Residents, in particular, may not receive the appropriate medication, scheduled meals, or medical care they require if the facility lacks properly-trained nursing staff available. Many nursing home residents even suffer bed sores, malnutrition, and frequent falls because there is no sufficient number of employees available to help and guide them.
Improperly Trained Or Unprofessional Caregivers

Many assisted living facilities and nursing homes employ staff that is inadequately trained, which can lead to nursing home neglect. Inexperienced nursing staff may not be as diligent in caring for their residents, and many important tasks slip through the cracks. Moreover, caregivers deal with some personal issues themselves that get in the way of their performance. Some of these issues may include:

  • Drug Or Alcohol Dependency
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Stress Or Anxiety
  • Psychological Problems
  • Financial Issues

Inexperienced Nursing Home Staff

New nursing graduates and CNA’s often make many mistakes due to lack of experience. Inexperienced staff may harm elderly residents by:

  • Not Properly Supervising Activities
  • Allowing Residents To Walk Unaided Which Leads To Falls
  • Administering Medication Improperly
  • Failing To Administer Proper Wound Care
  • Failing To Help Residents With Activities Of Daily Living

Who Is Most Likely To Commit Elder Abuse?

While it is impossible to tell for certain who is at an increased risk of committing elder abuse, some people are more likely to do so than others. Some factors that increase a person’s risk of abusing older people include:

  • Alcohol Use
  • Drug Abuse
  • Depression Or Anxiety Disorders
  • Poor Coping Skills
  • Not Being Equipped To Deal With Issues Older People Face

Nursing home abuse and negligence is a problem that is not reported as often as it occurs. Some reasons for this include embarrassment on the part of the victim, the inability to communicate the problem to others, and not having close family members to report to. Many people think of abuse or neglect as something that will leave physical marks or bruises on the victim, but this is not always the case. Because elder abuse is a growing problem, stricter standards of care should be required of nursing home facilities.