What Are Your Legal Options When it Comes to a Nursing Home Injury?

personal injury lawyerIt’s never a light decision to make when it’s time to transition a loved one into a nursing home or other care facility. When you  first choose a nursing home, you entrust the staff and facility to do their very best to make your loved ones comfortable, keep them healthy, and help them with their activities of daily living, such as hygiene. When a loved one falls ill at a nursing home, there are many questions that need answers. This is also true if a loved one suffers serious injuries while in a facility.

What Caused the Nursing Home Injury?

The first question most families will ask is “What happened?” Healthcare facilities train their workers to keep the elderly and frail safe and clean, so how did something so serious happen? Where were the “watchful eyes” you hired to keep your loved one safe?

Many patients in such facilities will get serious bed sores because they are kept in bed most of the time, which can in turn lead to serious, and sometimes deadly infections. This is often because facilities don’t have enough staff, making them ill prepared to keep up with the hygiene of residents.

There are also many other types of illnesses that can easily be passed around when there is improper sanitation or unclean conditions. In recent years, many facilities have suffered from the norovirus, which can cause serious complications in the elderly or those with other co-occurring health issues.

It’s also possible that an elderly patient, especially those who suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia, may fall or get “lost” and wander out of the facility or into the fire escape. There are many nursing home features that can help prevent falls. architects design nursing homes with safety in mind and many facilities have a long list of subtle safety features. However, if these precautions work improperly, or the nursing negligent, a lawyer can hold them responsible for the injuries incurred.

Many, if not most, of serious nursing illnesses and injuries are the result of neglect of duties on the behalf of the nursing home. Many of these injuries can cost a family a lot of time, money and worry when it comes to medical bills. If the injury is severe, your family may have to move your loved one to a new nursing home.

Can a Nursing Home Be Held Responsible?

When a loved one suffers an injury in a nursing home due to abuse or neglect by staff members, your family is likely entitled to compensation under the law. This compensation, which you will seek with the help of a skilled attorney, will cover medical expenses and other costs associated with the illness and injury, including time lost at work to cope with the situation. Wrongful deaths also occur frequently in nursing homes across the United States. Many of the things that cause serious injuries or death in nursing homes are preventable.

Sadly, it’s common to see neglect in nursing home situations. There are many things that can cause injury to an already frail person. Every year, patients die from dehydration, malnutrition, abuse, and skin infections that lead to sepsis. There are medical-related deaths due to giving the wrong patient the wrong medication or ignoring severe allergies, such as peanuts or fish, which cause anaphylactic shock. Nursing homes have even been held responsible for patients who die of malnutrition or diabetes-related complications. It’s the nursing home’s job to make sure that a resident’s medical needs are met on a daily and even hourly basis.

Minnesota Laws Regarding Nursing Home Injuries

The state of Minnesota takes nursing home illnesses and injuries seriously and before you file any lawsuits, you must report the injury to the state. The state investigate. The information they find may also be helpful to you, if you want to seek compensation for medical expenses and other expenses.

It’s the law in Minnesota that every nursing home clearly display The Patient’s Bill of Rights. These are federal state and federal rights for patients who stay there. It is illegal for a nursing home to violate any of these rights. Each of the rights is actually written to explain federal and state laws.

Minnesota law regulates nursing homes and assisted facilities and states specific requirements, including:

  • Providing basic care such as hygiene, medication, assistance with bathroom needs and personal needs.
  • Making nursing care available around the clock.
  • Providing services such as laundry, transportation, and meals
  • Stimulation/nourishment through at least three daily living activities for all residents.

Report injuries to the Minnesota Department of Health by calling 844-880-1574. (This is the toll-free number to the Minnesota Adult Abuse and Reporting Center.)

Some types of abuse and neglect are criminal in nature, and more than one agency will work on inspections and investigations into any incidents of abuse or neglect you report.

Your attorney may choose to file a suit based on a variety of Minnesota statutes, depending on what he or she feels is appropriate.

Documenting the Injury for a Lawsuit

You will need to document any reports you make to the Department of Health, the police, or other agencies involved in your loved one’s case. Some of these files will be available as public information and you will be able to follow-up on the results of the investigations, although it will help to have an attorney who can do this work for you. You will also need to document medical expenses. Compensation may include medications, hospital stays and any procedures your loved one has endured as a part of the illness or injury.

A nursing home injury can cause a lot of stress and pain for family as well as the patient. Because of this, it’s important to document everything you can and find a good attorney to help you build your case as soon as possible. Nursing homes and their insurance companies also have lawyers that will work hard on a strong defense. This is why it is vital to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to help you build your case. Please contact us to set up a meeting. We’re here to help you get the relief you deserve.