Articles Tagged with nursing home negligence attorney

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The White House is pushing to scuttle a rule that would have paved the way for more nursing home residents to take legal action against nursing homes for poor care, abuse and neglect. Such injuries for nursing home negligence are actionable under state personal injury laws. However, the Obama administration had made it easier for plaintiff’s by preventing nursing homes from mandating new patients agree to arbitration – as opposed to the court system – to resolve any future disputes. nursing home negligence

Many nursing homes require new patients, patient representatives and family members to sign arbitration agreements as a condition of being admitted to the facility. Arbitration agreements are known to infringe on the rights of patients for a number of reasons. Firstly, arbitrators are chosen by the facilities and insurers, creating an implicit bias. Arbitrators are not bound by the laws of the state. The proceedings are private, depriving the public of valuable information regarding the practices and shortcomings of these facilities. They also tend more often than not to favor the facility, awarding less on average than the courts when they do decide a case in a plaintiff’s favor.

As The New York Times reported, the Trump administration is now seeking to roll back earlier protections, citing the need to reduce costs for businesses.  Continue reading →

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A widow is suing the nursing home where her husband, a patient, died last year after his clothes caught fire when he was smoking on the balcony, has filed a nursing home negligence lawsuit, alleging both the facility and the county are responsible for violating federal regulations, resulting in her husband’s death. smoke

Plaintiff’s attorney explained to the Philly Voice that decedent had been diagnosed with a number of diseases and ailments that necessitated assistance with many basic tasks. Yet, he was allowed to smoke unsupervised on the day of his death. Records show plaintiff was being treated for Parkinson’s disease, brain disease and bipolar disorder. He needed help to eat, dress and bathe. On the day of the fire, he was smoking a cigarette alone on a balcony at the facility, when his clothing caught fire. He was almost immediately engulfed in flames. He was seriously injured and died about a month later of those injuries, after enduring tremendous pain and suffering.

Smoking in nursing homes is a hot-button issue. Although cigarette smoking is becoming less prevalent in younger generations, thanks to education and awareness campaigns that accurately warn of the danger, older generations didn’t have that benefit – or often the same restrictions. Many long-time smokers may be in poor health, but they remain passionate about their right to smoke – and that doesn’t necessarily change just because they have entered a nursing home. Every center may have varying policies, but those that do allow smoking by residents have a duty not only to protect the smokers, but to balance those rights with the health and safety of other residents and staffers.  Continue reading →

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Workers at state-run nursing homes face a higher risk of on-the-job injuries than construction workers or those in manufacturing.stethascope

That’s based on the latest figures from the annual report issued by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on workplace illnesses and injuries. There were approximately 2.9 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses across the private sector last year and another 753,000 in the public sector, according to the Labor Department. On the whole, that works out to three injuries per 100 full-time workers in the private industry and 5.1 injuries per 100 full-time workers in state and local government. Meanwhile, when it comes to nursing home employees, those who work at state-run nursing homes and residential care facilities are injured at a rate of 12 per 100 full-time workers. This represents more than 13,700 cases of recorded injury or illness suffered by nursing home employees last year. That’s even more than local police, who suffered an injury rate of 11.3 per 100 workers. The Bureau of Labor pointed out also that these figures are actually low because these incidents are often unreported.

Work-related injuries among nursing home workers can have a direct impact on the quality of care that patients receive. First of all, a facility that is well-run prioritizes the safety of all who are present – including the employees, who are critical to the process. A facility that does not have or does not enforce worker safety guidelines is not likely to do so when it comes to patient safety either. Continue reading →

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A woman in Oregon has filed a $2.7 million lawsuit against a nursing home, as well the physical therapy and hospice providers who were on contract with the facility, for alleged negligence resulting in the death of her elderly mother and stepfather. wheelchair

According to The Register-Guard, the woman alleges in her wrongful death lawsuit that administrators and therapists at the facility failed to meet the needs of her parents, ages 91 and 92, and that this failure resulted in their premature deaths, just weeks apart from one another.

Plaintiff’s stepfather was 92 when he died in late 2014, and her mother was 91 when she died just a few weeks later. Plaintiff is the representative for the separate estates of both parents, who had each previously been diagnosed with dementia and were deemed a serious fall risk. Even though the nursing home had this knowledge, plaintiff asserts, staffers failed to prevent them from falling numerous times, leading to serious injuries and the acceleration of their deaths.  Continue reading →

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Florida courts have been increasingly allowing nursing home negligence lawsuits to go to trial, despite the existence of nursing home arbitration agreements. Defendant nursing homes are looking to compel plaintiffs to resolve their dispute via arbitration, where outcomes are private and tend to favor the facility.gavel

The grounds on which a court may find an agreement unenforceable usually involve whether the agreement is “unconscionable.” That means the contract is so one-sided, it’s unfair to one party and violates public policy. It’s the kind of contract that leaves one party with no real, meaningful choice and typically arises due to the power imbalance between the two parties. So many of these nursing home arbitration agreements are signed by vulnerable patients or their loved ones upon admission – sometimes as a condition to admission. A contract can be unconscionable if there is:

  • Undue influence;
  • Duress;
  • Unequal bargaining power;
  • Unfair surprise.

Such an agreement may also be unenforceable if the person who signed it did not have the capacity or authority to do so. Elderly adults with dementia may not have the mental capacity to enter into legal agreements, but if their relatives are not expressly designated as their legal representative, they may not be able to legally sign on their loved one’s behalf.  Continue reading →

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A Florida nursing home has lost its bid to compel arbitration in the case of a woman who alleges her husband suffered injury as a result of nursing home negligence while a patient there. Although the trial court had ruled the case should go to arbitration, Florida’s 2nd District Court of Appeal reversed, finding the claims raised by the estate of the decedent resident were not within the scope of the arbitration agreement. The reason? It had been signed with a different company entirely. gavel211

That’s right. Defendant was attempting to use the arbitration agreement decedent had signed with his assisted living facility provider to require the complainant to resolve her allegation of negligence against the nursing home before an arbitrator rather than a court. The primary reason the trial court had Ok’d this was because the nursing home and the assisted living facility were owned by the same company. Further, there was a provision in the assisted living facility arbitration agreement in which it was stated that the agreement would remain in place, regardless of whether the patient was transferred to and from the facility. Upon readmission, that agreement would still remain in effect. It was to be understood the arbitration agreement was applicable to all future admissions.

Trial court had relied on this provision in granting defense motion to compel arbitration. However, the 2nd DCA reviewing Olson v. Florida Living Options reversed.  Continue reading →

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Nursing home arbitration agreements – which have become mandatory for admission for many facilities across the nation – restrict patients’ access to the court system in the event of disputes arising as a result of poor care or criminal acts. They are a serious problem, as they serve to curtail the damage awards patients and their loved ones might otherwise receive.congress3

Now, they are a topic of discussion among Congressional leaders in the House of Representatives. In a recent session, a number of Democratic leaders implored their colleagues for a solution that would overhaul this private system of justice that often favors the nursing home. The problem is arbitrators generally consider the nursing home their clients.

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), asked his colleagues to pass a bill he had recently introduced that would prohibit firms from pushing civil rights lawsuits (including nursing home abuse lawsuits, employment discrimination lawsuits and others) into an arbitration forum. Johnson said arbitration clauses are especially damaging for women, minorities and vulnerable populations, such as those in nursing homes.  Continue reading →

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The family of an 87-year-old California woman wanted to ensure she was taken care of. That’s why they invested in one of the best regional facilities money could buy for her elder age care. And yet, she still succumbed to one of the most unnecessary and painful forms of death: Complication from pressure ulcers, also known as bedsores. bed

Her untimely death, according to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, spurred a wrongful death lawsuit against the facility that recently resulted in a $1 million settlement.

Medical records indicated the woman died from sepsis after nursing home staffers allegedly erred in treating a pressure ulcer on her back. Proper care was not received until the sore became heavily infected, at which point it was too late to reverse the effects.  Continue reading →

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A lawsuit alleging nursing home injury sustained to a patient who was dropped while being assisted into the shower was weighed recently by the South Carolina Supreme Court. shower

Specifically at issue in Morrow v. Fundamental Long-Term Care was whether plaintiffs – patient and his wife – could appeal an order bifurcating the trial into two – one against the nursing home itself and one against the corporate entity that owns the nursing home.

The court determined an appeals court did err in finding the order was not appealable. That doesn’t mean plaintiffs win their case. It just means they can return to the appeals court to ask for reconsideration on that specific issue.

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