Bedsore case litigation is an alarmingly common occurrence. When nursing home residents are bedfast or chairfast, they may be incapable of moving and turning on their own. In these cases, nursing home staff members are required to manually turn residents in order to avoid the development of bedsores. When nursing home residents are neglected and regular turning does not take place, avoidable life-threatening bedsores may occur.
Residents and their loved ones and representatives may be entitled to file a lawsuit against these facilities when harm or death occurs. Due to the complex nature of bedsore case litigation, residents and their families are recommended to obtain an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer. A nursing home abuse attorney can help during the entire bedsore case litigation process.
Civil vs. Criminal Bedsore Litigation
There are two types of bedsore case litigation: civil and criminal. The type of bedsore case litigation is pursued by the plaintiff, or the party filing the lawsuit. If the plaintiff wishes to file a lawsuit alleging abuse, the bedsore case litigation is criminal. However, medical malpractice bedsore care litigation is civil. Residents and their families should consult a knowledgeable nursing home attorney to discuss the key differences and which type of litigation best suits the case’s specific details.
Bedsore Case Litigation Process
The process for bedsore case litigation varies by state and the nature of the lawsuit. Bedsore case litigation begins with filing an intent to sue letter. The intent to sue letter is sent to the defendant, or the party against which the lawsuit is filed. The letter clarifies the plaintiff’s plans to sue and begins a series of legal process deadlines.
At this point, the plaintiff’s attorney will obtain any relevant medical records of the nursing home resident for review by a medical expert. After this process, a complaint is filed. A specified time frame for the defendant’s response is outlines. This begins the bedsore lawsuit. Then, the discovery and deposition process follow suit. The discovery process involves the gathering of relevant bedsore case litigation information. Deposition involves interviewing involved parties and their selected witnesses.
Burden of Proof
In bedsore case litigation, the burden of proof may lie with either the plaintiff or the defendant. Burden of proof is the responsibility of providing the primary evidence upon which bedsore case litigation will be decided. In some cases, the plaintiff is responsible for providing sufficient evidence to prove that the nursing home facility committed abuse, negligence, or medical malpractice.
A plaintiff’s burden of proof in negligence cases may discus:
- The failure of the nursing home facility to turn the patient within certain regulated timeframes
- Failure to provide the resident with the proper fluids and nutrition to help prevent bedsores
- Failing to regularly monitor and examine patients for the onset of bedsore development
- Failure to intervene with proper family and physician notification and medical treatment when a patient shows early signs of bedsore development
- Allowing moisture to be present on the patient’s skin for extended periods of time, such as the failure to change wet bed sheets or soiled diapers
Nursing Home Burden of Proof
In other cases, the nursing home facility may be responsible for proving that actions of staff members did not cause the bedsores that caused injury or death to the patient. To do this, the facility must prove one of two facts. One possibility is to prove that the bedsore in question was already present upon the patient’s admission. The other possibility is that the bedsore’s development was clinically unavoidable, despite the facility providing all the necessary treatment.
Bedsore Case Litigation Statistics
Out of all nursing home abuse, neglect, and malpractice cases, bedsore case litigation is estimated to be the second most prevalent after wrongful death litigation. According to the American Medical Directors Association, the national average awards for bedsore case litigation is roughly $406,000. In Florida, the average is about $464,000. In Texas, the average is $552,000.
“Bedsore lawsuit increase could new signal problems.” Healthcare Risk Management 1 June 2000. Academic OneFile. Web. 24 Sept. 2013.
“Burden of Proof.” Legal Information Institute. Cornell University Law School, 19 Aug 2010. Web. 24 Sep 2013. <http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/burden_of_proof>.
Williams, Linda. “Pressure ulcers: case study and lessons learned; proper wound identification is vital to avoiding lawsuits. (Feature Article).” Nursing Homes Jan. 2003: 64+. Academic OneFile. Web. 24 Sept. 2013.