legal resources necessary to hold negligent facilities accountable.
Bed Sore Settlements
Negligent medical staff or ineffective caregiving protocols could lead to patients developing bedsores. When this occurs, the patient or surviving family member can hold the facility liable through a nursing home bedsore lawsuit.
Our affiliated personal injury lawyers at Nursing Home Law Center, LLC, serve as legal advocates to victims of nursing home abuse and neglect and can help your family too.
Call our nursing home negligence lawyers at (800) 926-7565) or use today's contact form for legal advice and schedule a free consultation.Can I Sue for Bedsores?
My loved one developed decubitus ulcers (pressure ulcers, pressure wounds, pressure sores, bedsores) while living in a nursing home. Can I sue for bedsores and hold the negligent party financially accountable?
Yes, victims of negligent nursing home care can move forward with an elder abuse lawsuit. Federal law requires that all facilities maintain a written plan for treatment and prevention of bedsores for every nursing home resident.
State laws require caregiving facilities, including nursing home centers, to follow specific protocols to protect against the development of bedsores while under their care. If this fails to occur, the nursing home could be held liable for any damages that result.What Causes Bedsores?
Decubitus ulcers are more commonly known as bedsores or pressure ulcers. They are areas of skin damage caused by constant pressure on the skin. The most serious pressure wounds occur when nerves and blood vessels are damaged.
As a result, the ulcer may not heal and can lead to serious infections, gangrene, and even death. The most common pressure ulcers occur in nursing home residents who have paralysis or lack of sensation in their lower body (paraplegia).
Most pressure sores develop on bony points such as knees, elbows, or buttocks or in areas where a nursing home resident is in contact with a hard surface for an extended period.
Pressure ulcers can also form when a patient receives inadequate treatment for other medical conditions such as malnutrition, kidney disease, and urinary tract infections.
If you have been injured because of pressure sores, it is important to speak with one of our medical malpractice attorneys as soon as possible. Time is of the essence when filing a claim.A Deadly Stage IV Bedsore
A stage IV pressure ulcer is a wound that has extended down to the bone and may have a layer of dead tissue in between. Out of the four stages of pressure wounds, stage IV sores can be quite serious and can take months to heal, if they heal at all.
The depth of the wound determines its severity and treatment requirements. For example, a stage III pressure wound may have gone down to the fat but not to the muscle. Treatment for a stage III wound is like that of stage IV but may require fewer visits from a medical professional.
Stage I and stage II pressure wounds are the most treatable because they have not yet damaged any muscles or bones. However, if left untreated, these types of wounds can lead to infections and fatalities. Their severity is determined by the patient's medical condition and how long they have been left without treatment.
A stage I pressure wound can be as small as a quarter and does not penetrate the skin but only affects the top layer of cells. A stage II pressure sore has gone down to the first layer of skin, but it has not yet reached the muscle.
A stage III pressure ulcer penetrates the skin at least one deep tissue layer, but it has not affected any muscles or bones. A stage IV pressure wound has penetrated through bone and may have a dead layer of cells in between. This type of sore is severe and can lead to infections, gangrene, and death.
The most common ways pressure ulcers could develop in nursing homes include:
- Pressure from a sitting or lying position over an extended period
- A lack of blood flow to certain areas keeps pressure on the skin and underlying tissue, preventing blood from reaching the cells
- A lack of sensation down to the lower body due to a medical condition, paraplegia, quadriplegia, or tetraplegia
Negligent nursing staff members may be held liable for a pressure sore injury if they fail to provide adequate treatment or protect patients from developing wounds. In addition, nursing home neglect can result in pressure ulcers.
Although this occurs more often in long-term care facilities and nursing home centers, it can also happen in short-term acute care hospitals.
The nursing home medical team, including nurses and nurse's aides, is continuously responsible for monitoring patients' conditions.
Therefore, they need to be alert to any changes that indicate developing bed sores or other preventable conditions by checking the skin for redness or open areas every two hours.
If you or a family member has been injured due to nursing home neglect, contact the Nursing Home Law Center now at (800) 926-7565 to schedule your free consultation and case review.Bed Sore Settlements
Negligent medical staff or ineffective caregiving protocols could lead to nursing home patients developing bedsores. The patient or family member can hold the facility liable through a nursing home bedsore lawsuit when this occurs.
The personal injury attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center serve as legal advocates to victims of elder abuse and neglect and can help your family too. Call our nursing home abuse lawyers at (800) 926-7565) or use the contact form today to schedule a free consultation.How Much is an Average Bedsore Lawsuit Settlement?
The evidence, circumstances, and nursing home medical records on every pressure sore case are unique, making it challenging to determine an average bedsore lawsuit settlement amount.
However, it is possible to provide a range of the most commonly reported bedsores settlement amounts.Nurse Negligence or Patient Injury?
Most negligent nursing home lawsuits are filed against for-profit facilities, so it's important to understand the differences between nursing home abuse and professional negligence.
Medical experts have identified several key factors leading to the appearance of bedsores, including:
- The location, stage, and depth of the bedsore
- Nursing home patient's weight and underlying medical conditions
- How long it took for facility-acquired bedsore in the nursing home to develop
- The presence or absence of other injuries
- Nursing home patient's age and overall health
- Medication side effects
- The nursing home staff member's explanation of the injuries
- Whether medical attention was provided in an emergency room
- Whether surgical procedures including debridement where necrotic (dead) tissue is cutaway
When multiple bed sores are present, it is more likely that the facility was negligent in providing care. In addition, the severity of various bedsores can indicate the extent of the negligence.
Evidence suggesting a cover-up at the nursing home may include:
- A change in a nursing home staff member's explanation for how the injury occurred
- The nursing home tried to conceal or falsify records to shift blame away from them
- Hiding information in the nursing home records about medication given
- Issues with administered drugs, such as pain medication, which is known to contribute to the development of bedsores
Nursing home medical records might indicate that a patient incurred multiple bedsores and other injuries in quick succession, in one specific location (such as the lower back and tailbone), with no plausible explanation other than neglect.How Long a Bedsore Lawsuit Takes to Resolve
Whether the case is resolved out of court or through a jury trial will determine how long it could take to receive a monetary recovery.
Data shows that approximately 95% of all personal injury cases, including bedsore lawsuits, are resolved through negotiated settlements to avoid going to trial.
Our personal injury law firm will negotiate a settlement with the insurance company to resolve your claim.
If your case settles, you will receive financial compensation to cover medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, disability, and other damages.
For cases that are heard at trial, many factors can affect how long it takes for your case to be resolved, including:
- The facts of your case
- Availability of witnesses and evidence
- Whether or not the defense has any valid arguments against liability for the injury
- The testimony provided by expert witnesses (testifying doctors, financial accountants, and other paid professionals)
Presenting evidence in front of a judge and jury will take much longer if you choose to file and go to trial because the court case process becomes complicated, and much more work goes into each aspect of the case.
Additionally, your personal injury attorney will likely charge significantly more (a higher percentage) of the amount obtained through a jury verdict than settling the case due to the extensive amount of light work and need for additional legal help (paralegals, other attorneys, etc.).Nursing Home Bed Sore Case Values for Settlements and Verdicts
One of the earliest and most frequent questions we hear from clients is, "What is my bed sore case worth?" This concern is understandable, especially for those with extensive pain and suffering.
Most of the people we meet and work with only seek us out after they or one of their loved ones has been involved in a traumatic and costly experience involving bed sores. Bedsores are not the exception to this rule because they induce significant amounts of pain and suffering, medical and other expenses.
Therefore, lawsuits are a means to an end for victims. They are a chance to recover for what was unjustly taken from them. Thus, the question initially and often arises: how much will they recover from the nursing home or hospital where the pressure wound developed or progressed?
The circumstances of your particular bed sore case will dictate how much you will be compensated. Still, before discerning various factors that might produce substantial monetary recovery from a negligent medical facility, it is important to illuminate the specific nature of a bedsore case.What Kind of a Case is My Bed Sore Lawsuit?
Generally, most bed sore lawsuits are actions for negligence against a skilled nursing facility where a wound developed, meaning that plaintiffs are alleging that the defendant or defendants did not act as a reasonable person or entity would have acted in similar circumstances.I Thought Facility-Acquired Bed Sores involving Pain and Suffering Were Actions for Medical Malpractice?
Because many bedsores occur in a medical environment, plaintiffs often fashion their cases like medical malpractice actions—a specific hybrid of negligence. It means that the defendants failed to act as other medical providers would have in similar circumstances.
Generally, you allege that the wrongdoer should be held to a higher standard as a health care practitioner and that that person or entity did not meet that standard.
These cases are harder and costlier to prove because you must show that standard with expert evidence. Also, the defendants are typically large organizations with lots of resources.
However, as you will see below in our case summary and statistics sections, plaintiffs often succeed and recover vast sums of money.The Sort of Damages Recoverable in Bedsore Cases
There are four categories of damages for which a victim or their heirs can earn compensation. First, your legally recognizable losses are called damages, and they can include but are not limited to the following things:
- Economic damages: These are damages to your finances, whether through out-of-pocket expenses or lost wages. Medical bills and lost income from missing work would be two prime examples.
- Non-economic damages: Pain and suffering can reduce your quality of life, whether temporarily or permanently. Juries can award a victim non-economic damages if they can demonstrate having suffered because of a pressure sore.
- Punitive damages: If the jury believes the defendant was particularly malicious, they may choose to award punitive damages as a punishment for the defendant as well as a deterrent for everyone else.
- Wrongful death damages: If bedsores contributed to the victim's death – serious bedsores could be lethal – then the victim's heirs or estate may receive damages for the loss of that person, as well as for things like funeral expenses.
It is important to note that while economic damages are confined to the total, measurable expenses plaintiffs suffered, the other categories of compensation hold no such limits. Juries are afforded great flexibility in awarding recovery, and they often give amounts far beyond the value of an economic loss.
Typically, injured nursing home residents harmed by pressure sores will obtain more monetary recovery through a bedsore settlement negotiated by the legal team than presenting evidence before a judge and jury.How Much the Jury Could Award
There is no set amount for jury awards in a case of bedsore neglect. However, the economic damages will be limited to what the plaintiff can demonstrate was lost. For example, they can produce medical bills and past paychecks to prove lost income.
However, there is no definite limit for non-economic and punitive damages, except where the law indicates. Therefore, part of the award will depend on how severe the bedsore was and how it affected the victim.
The pressure wound's severity can influence the jury to decide how much suffering the plaintiff has endured. For example, in a wrongful death suit, the age of the victim plays a role. Victims who lost more years of life will receive more damages to their estates.
Various contributing factors determine jury awards with suits brought because of bedsores. The more severe the case, the more the award tends to be.Explaining the Differences in Bed Sore Case Recoveries
Many elements factor into the outcomes of bedsore cases, but some are more predictive of successful recovery than others. Here is a quick guide to help analyze your possible compensation:
- Age: How old was the victim? Normally, juries will award victims or the victims' families more money if they have a long life ahead of them. Additionally, the aggrieved person may have contributed to others (like their family) over that course of time. That support is recoverable and obviously will be more significant if their life was cut short at an early age.
- Death: Generally, a great predictor of a large jury award or settlement size in bedsore cases is death. If you can illustrate that the bedsores caused the death of your loved one, then you might be able to obtain a lot of compensation. Many of the cases that had large recoveries also included wrongful death claims.
- Additional Injuries: Plaintiffs received substantial sums of money when they claimed additional injuries coincided with the bedsores they sustained while in the care of their provider. For instance, many plaintiffs demonstrated that they fell while residing at a facility and either exacerbated or initiated their bed sores. However, what this inevitably shows as well is the egregious nature of the defendant's behavior.
- Neglect: Juries are particularly sensitive to bed sore victims if the facility they stayed at neglected them for a long time, including instances where the neglect caused the growth of bedsores or their continued development. It essentially serves as a symbol of the defendant's misconduct.
- Length of Stay at the Facility: Cases where the defendant was not at the facility long before they sustained bed sores had to pay large sums to the bedsore victims. It is easy for the jury to discern that the defendant unreasonably cared for the plaintiff, and they usually responded in kind with significant awards.
- State of Bed Sores: The condition of the victim's bedsores upon arrival to the defendant facility is critical in ascertaining potential recovery in court. Compensation tended to be higher for those who had a lack of or early stage of bedsores upon arriving into the defendant's care. The logic is that any complication or advancement of the disease is the defendant's, and the defendant should pay for that.
Generally, victims have two years from the time they were injured to bring their bedsore case to court, meaning they must file their action before that period ends. However, the specific statute of limitations will depend on the location of the facility and how the facility is categorized.
In these circumstances, the two-year time window begins when the victim discovers they were injured and have a case or when they reasonably should have discovered that they had a case. For more information, see 735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/13-202 (2010); Del Bianco v. American Motorists Ins. Co., 73 Ill. App. 3d 743, 747 (Ill. App Ct. 1979).Let Our Office Help You with a Bed Sore Lawsuit & Let us Maximize the Value of Your Bed Sore Case
The abuse injury attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center, LLC remain committed to helping families ensure they receive maximum compensation for their damages. Our law firm has prosecuted hundreds of lawsuits and claims relating to pressure wounds at nursing homes, hospitals, and assisted-living facilities.
Call our nursing home abuse lawyers at (800) 926-7565 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form to schedule a free case evaluation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
Qualifying surviving family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit after losing a loved one to a deadly decubitus ulcer to ensure they receive maximum compensation. Typically, the damages include hospitalization costs, medical expenses, lost wages, future lost earnings, loss of familial support, funeral & burial costs, pain, grief, and suffering.Resources: