Fort Myers Nursing Home Neglect Attorney
Some people use “nursing home abuse” and “nursing home neglect” interchangeably. In some ways, these two things are the same. They both cause serious, and often permanent, injuries. However, from a legal standpoint, they’re different. Abuse is an intentional injury. Different legal rules apply. Neglect is an unintentional (non-accidental) injury. Therefore, standard negligence principles apply. Bed sores and resident-on-resident assaults are among the most common kinds of nursing home neglect injuries. Nursing home residents often develop pressure ulcers because no one is available to turn them over in bed. Alternatively, the worker who performs rounds might not recognize an early-stage bed sore and intervene appropriately. Resident-on-resident violence, one of the fastest-growing problems in Florida nursing homes, is especially common in understaffed facilities, where residents are often unsupervised.
In contrast, a diligent Fort Myers nursing home neglect attorney at Kohn Law never take shortcuts. Instead, we carefully evaluate your legal claim. Then, we collect evidence that supports your position and refutes insurance company defenses. Finally, when the case goes to court, we don’t settle for anything less than the best possible result under the circumstances.
First Party Liability
Determining negligence in a nursing home neglect claim is usually a two-step process. First, a victim/plaintiff usually establishes the standard of care in a certain situation. Then, the victim/plaintiff shows how the nursing home employee violated that standard of care.
To illustrate, let’s go back to bed sores. Usually, the standard of care requires nursing home employees to ensure that residents change positions in bed at least once every two hours. Many nursing home residents are essentially bedridden. So, the staff must carefully document the resident’s position in bed every hour or two. Then, the staff must ensure that the resident is not in that same position at the next review.
Because of the res ipsa loquitur rule, the bed sore itself is often evidence of negligence. Pressure ulcers don’t just happen. Extended pressure on a certain area of the body is the only cause. So, if a patient develops a pressure ulcer, jurors may presume that negligence, which in this case is a failure to rotate the person in bed, caused that injury.
Third Party Liability
Nursing home employees often have little or no insurance. That’s especially true of non-doctor employees. Largely for this reason, respondeat superior (let the master answer) is one of the most important legal doctrines in such an injury claim.
A Fort Myers nursing home neglect attorney can use this legal doctrine, which holds employers liable for the negligence of their employees, if:
- Employee: Many people who work at long-term care facilities aren’t employees for tax purposes. Instead, they are independent contractors or perhaps unpaid volunteers. All these individuals are employees for negligence purposes, since the employer controls their actions while they’re at work.
- Scope of Employment: These acts aren’t limited to the to-do list on a daily work chart. Any act which benefits the employer in any way is within the scope of employment. That includes negligence which happens while one employee is illegally covering for another employee.
Respondeat superior is also important for deterrence purposes. Companies can fire or discipline negligent employees and then move on. But if they must pay damages, they usually change the way they do business and make patient health and safety a higher priority.
Contact an Experienced Lee County Lawyer
Injury victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced Fort Myers nursing home neglect attorney, contact Kohn Law. Virtual, home, and hospital visits are available.