Nursing Home Negligence
Placing a spouse, parent, or other family member in a nursing home is usually a decision of last resort. Knowing that they can no longer provide the care their loved one needs, a family believes that they are doing the right thing by entrusting an elderly person to the care of professionals. Then, the loved one’s condition rapidly deteriorates, and the family begins to suspect that the facility and its staff may be to blame. With three decades of experience, nursing home negligence lawyer Valerie J. Crown can advise families in Rockland County and other areas of Greater New York on their right to pursue legal action against those responsible for a loved one’s injuries or death.
We care deeply about each of our individual clients, and the small scale of our firm allows us to provide them with the dedicated attention that they deserve at some of the most stressful times in their lives. You can reach Valerie directly through her cell phone at 845.598.8253, and our team can be reached at any hour of day or night.Taking Legal Action to Hold a Nursing Home Accountable
Whether the realization that a long-term care facility has been negligent towards a resident comes suddenly or over time, it is important that a family act quickly in seeking legal advice concerning their loved one’s care. Strict filing deadlines govern both personal injury lawsuits and wrongful death cases. Failing to promptly file a claim can result in no recovery or accountability for the nursing home.
While intentional abuse can and does happen in New York nursing homes, many personal injury and wrongful death cases proceed under a theory of negligence. The law of negligence applies to situations in which a person or business failed to act in a reasonably prudent manner. This can mean that something was done that should not have been done, or it can mean that something was not done that should have been done.
Negligence lawsuits have four components: duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. To establish the element of duty, a nursing home litigant may rely upon a statute, regulation, case law, or the like. With regard to showing a breach of duty in the nursing home context, a claimant may show that the defendant failed in its duty because of understaffing, improper training, inadequate supervision, or related issues. Establishing damages requires proof that actual harm resulted from the defendant’s breach of duty. The element of causation is satisfied through a showing that the defendant’s breach of duty was the direct cause of the victim’s harm, which would not have happened if the defendant had met the appropriate standard of care.
Although nursing home negligence can take many different forms, some common warning signs of neglect include bedsores, bruises, rapid changes in weight, or a smell suggestive of a lack of proper hygiene or toileting. Neglect by staff members in a nursing facility can result in many life-threatening and even fatal complications for residents, including:
- Ulcers, pressure sores, and bed sores resulting from inadequate changes of position;
- Infections from a lack of wound care;
- Malnutrition or dehydration from improper feeding;
- Unexplained fractures, lacerations, and edemas resulting from falls or use of restraints;
- Problems resulting from a lack of medication, overmedication, or administration of the wrong medication; or
- Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse inflicted by other residents who were not properly supervised.
In a civil lawsuit arising under the laws of negligence, the burden of proof is a “preponderance of the evidence,” meaning that it is more likely than not that what the plaintiff alleges is true. Unlike the criminal standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt,” the preponderance standard only requires that the claimant tip the scales of justice slightly in his or her favor, not eliminate all other reasonable inferences that could be gleaned from the evidence. In cases involving bedsores (or pressure ulcers) the burden of proof often shifts to the nursing home.
Once a case of negligence is established, the next question becomes the amount of compensation due the nursing home resident for the actions that led to his or her injuries. These may consist of both objective costs like medical expenses and subjective types of harm like pain and suffering.Seek Legal Advice for a Negligence Claim in Rockland County
If you suspect that a loved one has suffered an injury or a tragic wrongful death at the hands of a nursing home, Rockland County attorney Valerie J. Crown can assist you. We have served individuals and families in many communities throughout New York State, including in Rockland, Westchester, Dutchess, Ulster, and Orange Counties as well as New York City. We do not charge a fee unless and until the case is completed in your favor. Call our office at 845.708.5900, call Valerie’s cell phone at 845.598.8253, or contact us online to set up an appointment. Se habla Español.