Experienced Attorneys / Lawyers for your Negligence Claim
Nursing home, assisted living, and group home negligence affects thousands of individuals every year, resulting in serious injuries and sometimes death. At LaMarche Safranko Law, our attorneys believe we have a responsibility to ensure that our elderly and medically fragile are being treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.
Frequently Asked Questions about Nursing Home Negligence
Our personal injury lawyers provide answers to some important questions below.
Neglect is a type of abuse committed against a resident living in a facility such as a nursing home, assisted living facility, or group home. With respect to the elderly, the term “elder abuse” is used, however, residential facilities also care for individuals with chronic health conditions, such as traumatic brain injuries, tracheostomies, dementia, or those with intellectual disabilities, who can be of any age. Nursing home abuse and neglect occurs when a caregiver provides substandard care to a resident resulting in harm to the resident.
If a loved one is the victim of nursing home neglect, it is essential to act immediately. The first step is to report the suspected abuse to the facility’s administration. If the issues you have identified are not being remedied after addressing them with the administrators and staff at the specific facility there are several avenues you can consider. If a resident is in immediate physical danger or in danger of developing serious health issues, the local police or paramedics should be called to remove the resident and bring him or her to a safe location such as hospital or a different care facility. If any laws have been broken, the police will conduct a criminal investigation. Additionally, the New York State Department of Health maintains a Nursing Home Complaint Hotline that can be called 24 hours a day, seven days per week, at 1-888-201-4563. Written complaints can also be submitted to the New York State Department of Health online. In less urgent circumstances, the local ombudsman can be contacted. Ombudsmen serve as advocates for adults in nursing home and other long-term care facilities.
Before removing a loved one from a facility, it is important to make alternative arrangements for their care. Some options include moving the resident to another nursing home, finding a home-health service, or hiring a live-in nurse, if possible.
In order to prove negligence, the law requires that the injured person or their legal representative, first show that the caretaker or the facility that caused him or her an injury owed a duty of care. A duty of care can either be something that is required by the law when it is written in a statute or regulation or be established by looking at what is expected of a reasonable person or facility under the circumstances. Once it is shown that the caretaker had a responsibility to follow a certain regulation or to provide a certain level of care, the plaintiff then must prove that the caretaker or facility failed to do what they were supposed to do. Next, the plaintiff must show that that as a result of the caretaker’s or facility’s conduct that such behavior was the cause of the resident’s injuries. For example, if a facility is aware that your loved one is at risk for falling and fails to take reasonable precautions to prevent such a fall, resulting in your loved one falling and breaking a bone such as their hip, leg or arm, or sustaining a head injury, the elements likely exist to pursue a negligence claim.
Yes. Medical records are often one of the most important pieces of evidence in any lawsuit where an injury has been suffered and are essential for any attorney to review in determining whether a case for nursing home negligence should be pursued.
Your family member’s medical records are protected by HIPAA, a privacy law. In order to request medical records, your loved one must either sign a HIPAA authorization form allowing either you or their attorney to obtain the medical records, or you may do so yourself if you are an authorized personal representative. Following the submission of a HIPAA compliant request, a nursing home must promptly release your loved one’s records. If you are experiencing any issue in receiving medical records from a nursing home, you should consult with an attorney to find out your next steps.
Every case is unique and the outcome of the case depends on many different factors. In some instances, a case may settle prior to the filing of any formal lawsuit if a nursing home’s liability and the injuries suffered are clear. In other instances, pretrial work such as the exchange of discovery, depositions, and expert disclosure will need to occur which can take several months. If a case is unable to be resolved by way of a settlement, then the case would proceed to trial which can take anywhere from 1 to 2 years or longer in some instances. More information regarding how long a personal injury case can take can be found here.
Yes. There are two types of damages that can be paid to someone who is injured at a nursing home, assisted living facility, or group home. Legally, these damages are known as economic damages and noneconomic damages. Economic damages are financial losses including medical expenses due to the harm or injury suffered. Noneconomic damages include the pain, suffering, and emotional distress caused as a result of the poor care received by your loved one.
Signs of abuse and neglect can include physical injuries such as unusual or recurrent bruises or broken bones; unexplained falls; bedsores; dehydration or malnourishment; or poor hygiene. It’s important to watch for signs of emotional, psychological or even sexual abuse including seclusion or isolation, withdrawal, fear, crying or other unusual behaviors.
Medical professionals use a 4 stage scale to describe and monitor pressure sores, also called bed sores, pressure ulcers, decubitus ulcers, or pressure wounds. By categorizing pressure sores according to standardized characteristics, there can be a sense of uniformity among medical facilities that treat people with pressure ulcers. Bed sores are categorized based on their severity, with Stage 1 being the lowest and Stage 4 being the most serious. Below is an outline of the 4 stages of bed sores:
- Stage 1 pressure ulcers are pressure sores that cause persistent areas of red skin that may itch or hurt and feel warm to the touch. In those with darker skin, the mark may appear to have a blue or purple color to it. Stage 1 wounds are superficial and go away shortly after the pressure is relieved.
- Stage 2 pressure ulcers occur when some skin loss to the most outer layers of skin is present. The wound can look like a blister or abrasion. The skin surrounding the wound may be red or purple. If treated promptly, stage 2 pressure ulcers can heal fairly quickly.
- Stage 3 pressure ulcers occur when the pressure damage to the skin extends to the deepest levels of skin and often looks deep and crater like.
- Stage 4 is the most serious type of pressure ulcer and has advanced to the point of damaging muscle, bone, or other support structures like tendons and joints. Wounds that have developed to this stage because of persistent pressure can be extremely difficult to heal and can lead to lethal infections.
Pressure ulcers can also be categorized as unstageable, where the wound is covered in dead tissue and it is unclear just how advanced the wound is. In this situation a medical procedure is usually necessary to remove the dead tissue to determine the extent of the involvement of skin, muscle, or bone.
Is medicare or medicaid entitled to a portion of what is recovered from a nursing home negligence lawsuit?
Yes. If Medicare or Medicaid has paid any medical expenses on behalf of the injured individual, they are entitled to be reimbursed for those expenses. The law imposes a Medicare and/or Medicaid “lien” on all injury-related cases involving recovery from a negligent caretaker or facility.
Most attorneys handle nursing home negligence or wrongful death cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning the attorney does not get paid unless your case is settled or wins a verdict in court. Most attorneys do not charge for an initial consultation.
The time limit for filing a lawsuit is governed by what is known as the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations for a negligence case in New York is 3 years from the date of the incident. The statute of limitations for wrongful death in New York is 2 years from the date of death. The statute of limitations for medical malpractice in New York is 2 years and 6 months from the date of negligent act. It is important to discuss the specific facts and circumstances of your case with an experienced attorney who can ensure that you do not miss the statute of limitations. If you fail to file an action within the time frame required by law, your right to file a claim may be lost forever. Facilities owned by New York State, a County, or any other municipal entity have special requirements which shorten the statute of limitations, so it is important that you don’t delay contacting a lawyer to ensure you preserve the right to pursue any claims you may have.
Timeline of a Personal Injury Case
- If injured, when ready, contact a personal injury lawyer to determine if a claim can be pursued on your behalf
- Meet with a lawyer to discuss the incident
- Bring medical records or other relevant documents including an accident report if available
- Your lawyer will help you understand the process of a personal injury case
- Follow the doctors’ advice
- Go to all medical appointments
- Report all symptoms to doctors
- Take photos of injuries
- Tell lawyer anytime a new doctor is seen
- Determine how and why the injury occurred
- Speak with witnesses
- Obtain any investigative reports
- Obtain scene, vehicle and product photos, as applicable
- Obtain medical records and bills
- Consider all possible claims and theories of liability against any potential defendant
- Consult with experts
- Communicate and negotiate with the insurance company
- Obtain a settlement or pursue a lawsuit
- File a summons and complaint prior to the statute of limitations
- Serve the legal documents on the defendants
- Prepare and exchange evidence with the other lawyers in the case
- Conduct depositions of all relevant parties (also called EBTs)
- Defense medical examination conducted
- File motions (written applications) to the court if necessary
- Participate in arbitration or mediation if appropriate
- Determine liens if any
- Settle the case or proceed to trial
- You have the right to a trial by jury or by the judge who will act as both judge and jury
- At a trial, the injured person must prove it was more likely than not that the defendant was negligent and caused injuries
- The judge or jury will listen to all the evidence presented and the arguments by the lawyers, apply the facts to the law, and render a decision
Recent Verdicts & Settlements
Federal Employers Liability Act/FELA
Plaintiff suffered a significant back injury while working for CSX.
Nursing Home Negligence
An 87-year-old man was discharged from a local hospital on the afternoon of his death and returned to his assisted living facility. His health began to deteriorate throughout that evening; a nurse was told to check on him but never did. Facility staff found him unconscious on the floor in his room later that evening; paramedics were unable to revive him. It was claimed that the facility failed to obtain appropriate medical advice, assistance and treatment.
Plaintiff, a roofing contractor, suffered a fractured skull, cervical spine fracture and fractured ribs after falling from a roof. The injuries left him with chronic pain and fatigue, limited tolerance for walking, lifting, or carrying and limitations in his hearing and vision.
Plaintiff was assaulted outside of a bar in Saratoga and as a result suffered a traumatic brain injury, a fractured skull, brain swelling and brain bleeding, facial contusions and bleeding, as well as lacerations and bruises on his body. He also suffered from short and long term memory deficits and other cognitive deficits.
Plaintiff, a 49-year-old man, was discharged from the hospital with critically low levels of potassium, which precipitated a fatal arrhythmia at home and subsequently caused his death. His family brought a claim against the hospital for medical negligence and wrongful death.
Plaintiff suffered two dislocated shoulders and a dislocated elbow after he was struck by a vehicle, which negligently swerved onto the shoulder and into the bike lane.
The infant plaintiff fell from a tractor being operated by a farm employee and was run over by the tractor. The 10-year-old boy suffered a femur fracture requiring surgery, multiple facial fractures requiring surgery, foot and toe fractures and loss of consciousness.
Plaintiff was injured when a fork from a forklift truck fell on top of his left leg, severely fracturing the tibia and fibula, requiring numerous surgeries and resulting in a permanent, partial loss of use of his leg.
Plaintiff was a passenger in a vehicle which went off the road and rolled over, causing him to suffer significant permanent injuries, including skull fracture; fractured mandible requiring surgical placement of plates and screws; facial fractures and lacerations; sternal fracture; spinal fractures; lacerations to spleen, liver and lung; multiple rib and toe fractures; tinnitus and hearing loss; post-traumatic stress disorder; facial scarring and numbness.
Plaintiff suffered injuries as a result of negligent monitoring of prescription medication.
Plaintiff was an ironworker who was injured when he fell from a ladder, suffering fractures to both elbows resulting in permanent loss of strength and loss of range of motion in both arms. His impairment limited the number and types of employment opportunities and limited his future earning potential.
* Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.
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