Can you sue a nursing home or elder care facility for personal injury or medical malpractice?
One of the most harrowing experiences can be the mistreatment or neglect of a loved one in a nursing home or elder care facility. If this unfortunate event occurs, you may have a valid personal injury or medical malpractice claim. In Kentucky, as in other states, there are specific laws and regulations protecting the elderly in care facilities.
Understanding Personal Injury and Medical Malpractice in Nursing Homes
Personal injury law covers situations where a person’s body, mind, or emotions are injured due to another party’s negligence or harmful actions. In nursing homes, this could include falls, bed sores, or physical abuse by staff. Medical malpractice, on the other hand, arises when a healthcare provider fails to meet the standard of care, resulting in harm to the patient. In a nursing home context, this could involve incorrect medication dosage or failure to treat a medical condition.
Kentucky Nursing Home Law
Kentucky nursing homes are bound by both state and federal laws, including the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act (FNHRA) of 1987 and Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS) 216.515. These laws outline a nursing home’s obligation to provide an environment that promotes maintenance or enhancement of the quality of life of each resident. This includes appropriate medical treatment, personal hygiene, nutrition, and freedom from abuse or restraint.
Kentucky law also provides for the rights of residents to make complaints without fear of reprisal. The Office of Inspector General, within the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, is responsible for investigating these complaints.
Common Nursing Home Personal Injury Cases
- Falls: These are often due to improper supervision or lack of assistive devices.
- Bed sores: Also known as pressure ulcers, these injuries are often due to neglect.
- Medication errors: These occur when a resident is given the wrong medication or wrong dosage.
- Abuse: This includes physical, emotional, and sexual abuse.
- Neglect: This happens when the basic needs of a resident are not met.
- Choking or feeding issues: Often due to staff not monitoring residents while eating.
Legal Recourse and Claims Process
If you believe that a loved one has suffered a personal injury or medical malpractice in a nursing home, it is crucial to consult with a knowledgeable attorney who understands the intricacies of Kentucky law. The attorney can guide you through the claims process, from gathering evidence, filing the claim, negotiating with insurance companies, and even going to court if necessary.
While no one wishes to file a lawsuit against a nursing home or elder care facility, sometimes it is the only option to ensure that justice is served. In such cases, understanding your rights under Kentucky law can help you make informed decisions and safeguard the welfare of your loved ones.
- Kentucky Legislature: For Kentucky Revised Statutes
- National Center on Elder Abuse: For a comprehensive understanding of elder abuse
- The Office of the Inspector General: For filing complaints in Kentucky
- Justice in Aging: Offers information on elder rights
- Eldercare Locator: A public service connecting you to services for older adults and their families.
- Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services https://www.cms.gov