Fort Myers Nursing Home Lack of Care Attorney
When they become nursing home residents, most people are extremely weak, physically and/or emotionally. They are unable to take care of themselves in any meaningful way. Since they are entirely dependent upon nursing home employees, these employees have a very high duty of care in these situations.
When nursing homes fail to fulfill these legal responsibilities, people get hurt. Common nursing home injuries include bed sores, falls, and malnutrition. Frequently, these injuries are connected. For example, malnourished individuals are less able to fight infections, such as bed sore infections. If a breach of care caused injury, an experienced Fort Myers nursing home lack of care attorney at Kohn Law can obtain substantial compensation for victims. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. This compensation is available, but insurance companies don’t simply give it away. Instead, an attorney must fight for it in court.
We touched on the basic elements of a negligence case in Florida above. Now, let’s look at these elements in greater detail.
- Duty: Property owners, including nursing home companies, usually have a duty of reasonable care. This duty has two components. First, owners must ensure their properties are reasonably safe. Additionally, they must conduct frequent safety inspections.
- Breach: Usually, the judge determines the appropriate legal duty. Breach is a fact question that jurors usually answer. There’s usually a difference between a one-time lapse and a breach of duty. If no one is at a nurse’s station for a few minutes, that’s probably not negligent. If no one is at the station for a few hours, that’s probably negligence.
- Cause: In court, a victim/plaintiff must establish legal and factual cause. Legal cause is foreseeability (possibility) of injury. If a nursing home van is involved in a car accident, that’s a foreseeable injury. Car wrecks are always possible. Factual cause is a connection between the lack of care (breach) and the resulting injury (damages). Victim/plaintiffs must prove factual cause by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not).
- Damages: Usually, victims must be tangibly injured to receive compensation. There’s a difference between a tangible injury and a visible injury. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is not a visible injury. But as all victims and family members know, PTSD is real.
Comparative fault may be the most common insurance company defense in negligence claims. Basically, this legal doctrine shifts blame from one party to the other one. For example, if negligence causes a nursing home resident to fall, the insurance company might argue that the victim didn’t watch where s/he was going.
We mentioned the available damages above as well. Now, let’s look at negligence damages in more detail.
Economic losses, such as medical bills, are usually straightforward. Victims are entitled to compensation for past and reasonable future medical expenses. Many personal injuries, like the aforementioned fall injuries, never entirely heal.
To determine a fair amount of noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering, most Fort Myers nursing home lack of care attorneys multiply the economic losses by two, three, or four. Some factors to consider in this multiplier include the victim’s motivation to settle quickly, the strength of the victim’s claim, and the strength of any insurance company defenses.
In extreme cases, additional punitive damages might be available as well. Jurors may award these damages if there is clear and convincing evidence that the defendant intentionally disregarded a known risk.
Count on a Dedicated Lee County Lawyer
Injury victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced nursing home lack of care attorney in Fort Myers, contact Kohn Law. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.