If you have a loved one who has been injured in a nursing home, then you may have various legal claims to file in asserting your loved one’s legal rights. Your loved one has a right to receive proper medical treatment, care and protection in a nursing home facility. Legal claims may be asserted on behalf of your loved one for negligence, wrongful death, negligent hiring or supervision, an intentional tort, loss of consortium, or a third party responsibility claim.
Deficiencies Encountered in Alabama Nursing Homes
Unfortunately, Alabama nursing homes have received public attention for the inadequate care provided in their nursing homes and deficiencies. There are about 24,885 nursing facilities in operation according to a 2008 University of California-San Francisco research study. This study showed that in 18 percent of all nursing homes in 2008, there was a deficiency in quality of life and housekeeping for residents. In addition, 18 percent of all nursing homes in Alabama had deficiencies in the urinary or incontinence care provided for residents. Over 33 percent of nursing homes had hazards in the environment that made residents more prone to accidents.
In Alabama, several statutes govern nursing home claims. These statutes are Chapter 20 of Title 34 for Nursing Home Administrators, Chapter 34 of Title 34 for Assisted Living Administrators, and the Adult Protective Services Act. Nursing homes must also abide by the strict requirements under the federal Nursing Home Reform Act.
The Nursing Home Reform Act Protecting Residents Of Alabama Nursing Homes
The Nursing Home Reform Act provides for private causes of action in the event that a nursing home resident’s rights have been violated. These rights include the right to be free from physical or mental abuse, involuntary seclusion and any consumption of chemicals not related to the resident’s medical symptoms. Patients also have the right to receive respect in their care and treatment, but unfortunately, this right is often violated in negligence cases.
Professional Negligence Claims Against Physicians and Other Professionals
Under Alabama statutory authority, nursing home administrators must provide care that meets a strict standard of care. Nursing home administrators must have a license issued by the Board of Examiners of Nursing Home Administrators. In addition, nursing home employees and administrators are under the following duties of care:
- Check patients for bed sores
- Prevent malnutrition in patients
- Prevent dehydration in patients
- Protect patients from accidental falls
- Administer the proper medication at the appropriate times
- Maintain sanitary conditions in the nursing home
- Thoroughly screen prospective nursing home employees for past negative history
When a nursing home employee has deviated from meeting his or her standard of care, then a plaintiff may assert a claim of professional negligence against him or her. If a plaintiff brings a claim of negligence against nursing home professionals, then he or she must provide expert witness testimony to support these claims under the Alabama Medical Liability Act. A nursing home attorney can assist in building a case to show that a nursing home’s violation of care was likely to cause the injury or death of a nursing home resident.
Nursing Home Negligence Claims & the Adult Protective Services Act Protecting Residents In Alabama Nursing Homes
In Alabama, Section 38-9-7 of the Adult Protective Services Act makes it unlawful for any person to “abuse, neglect, exploit or emotionally abuse” any protected person. Protected persons are considered to be residents of nursing homes, mental institutions, developmental centers and other care facilities. A crime of emotional abuse is considered a misdemeanor, while all other crimes involving abuse, neglect and exploitation may be felonies. If your loved one has suffered from any of these types of abuse, then a nursing home injury lawyer can assist you in initiating a complaint against the appropriate person today. The Alabama Department of Human Resources will then investigate any report made that involves neglect, abuse, exploitation or other harm to protected adults in care facilities.
Speak with an Alabama Nursing Home Attorney Today
If your loved one has been the victim of inadequate nursing home care, then an Alabama nursing home attorney can assist you today. Feel free to call a lawyer to speak with him or her about the legal rights of your lived one. Our attorneys are here to help families and residents throughout the State of Alabama in such areas as:
2. University of Alabama Law School nursing home resource-http://www.law.ua.edu/elderlaw/nursing.html
4. UC Study- http://www.theconsumervoice.org/
Nursing Home Negligence
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
- 2 Years with Occurrence Rule. (Section 6-2-38 (l))
- Medical Malpractice – 2 years with Discovery Rule (if discovered after 2 years, then 6 months from discovery). Children under four have until their eighth birthday to file claim, with a maximum of 4 years. (Section 6-5-482 (a))
Punitive damages cap – capped at three times compensatory damages or $1,500,000, whichever is greater. (§6-11-21)
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
2 Years (Section 6-2-38-(a))
None. All damages for wrongful death actions are considered punitive damages, not compensatory or actual damages. (§6-11-21)
Division of Health Care Facilities – Alabama’s regulatory agency responsible for licensing/certifying Nursing Homes
Nursing Home Care State Law
Nursing Home Administrators (Title 34 (Professions and Businesses) – Chapter 20 (Nursing Home Administrators))
Assisted Living Administrators (Title 34 (Professions and Businesses) – Chapter 34 (Assisted Living Administrators )