Pennsylvania Bed Sore Settlements & Case Values

Pennsylvania Bedsore Laws, Nursing Home Abuse Verdicts & Case Values
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Introduction to Bed Sores at Pennsylvania Medical Facilities

The most vulnerable among us are often the most regularly abused. This is entirely true of the American elderly population. They are forced to suffer the most extreme and constant forms of degradation. Day after day, we hear stories reported of elderly citizens enduring bed sores, malnutrition, abuse, and neglect. Once an incident occurs, however, the focus must turn to justice and recovery. We have worked many victims of elder abuse in Pennsylvania and time after time we hear similar questions related to how they can put their lives back together. The next few sections should illuminate you as to how you can do that through the legal system.

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Pennsylvania Elder Care Laws Pennsylvania Elder Care Laws

Many laws in Pennsylvania serve to protect the elderly, including the following: Pennsylvania Older Adult Protective Services Act (OAPSA), Pennsylvania Medical Care Availability Act, and other various statutes. In OAPSA, the law defines abuse as one or more of the following things:

  • The infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation or punishment with resulting physical harm, pain or mental anguish.

  • The willful deprivation by a caretaker of goods or services which are necessary to maintain physical or mental health.

  • Sexual harassment, rape or abuse, as defined in the act of October 7, 1976(P.L. 1090, No. 218) known as the Protection from Abuse Act.

Furthermore, OAPSA sets forth the following requirements with regard to reporting:

  1. All caretakers, employees, administrators, law enforcement officials, and agency officials with knowledge of the abuse must report it.

  2. Those with an obligation to report must report if they have reasonable cause to suspect that someone is a victim of abuse.

  3. Those with an obligation must immediately notify local officials of the abuse and then make a written report within 48 hours.

  4. Those with an obligation must report abuse to the local protective services provider, normally the Area Agency of Aging.

More than most states, Pennsylvania has an overlapping system of protections that are meant to protect the elderly from abuse, neglect, and harm. The sections above highlight who is required to report abuse but there are also other sections that stridently encourage and help people to voluntarily report abuse. For more information, see OAPSA §51.

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Compensation Available to You Via a Pennsylvania Bed Sore Lawsuit

Tens of thousands of people across Pennsylvania are victims of elder abuse and bed sores every year. Often, this is due to actions of other individuals or entities. However, they are not immune from liability. You have the right to sue them in court to recover the amount of damages that they inflicted upon you. Typically, the kinds of things you can recover for include the following:

  • Bills-defendants should pay for every expense and cost that the incident cost you.

  • Intangibles-defendants are on the hook for the reduction in your quality of life.

  • Punitive-many defendants are forced to compensate plaintiffs if their conduct is exceedingly unreasonable. This is meant to preclude others from doing the same thing in the future.

  • Wrongful death-defendants are responsible for the losses that others suffer if you die from elder abuse or bed sores. This can include things like loss of support, services, and expenses.

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Pennsylvania Elder Abuse and Bed Sore Statistics

Here are some important statistics related to elder abuse and bed sores for Pennsylvania citizens:

  • Most common elder abuse scenarios involve physical abuse, mental abuse/emotional abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation, and neglect.
  • Approximately ten percent of elderly Americans suffer abuse.
  • Almost 85% of elderly abuse is never reported to law enforcement.
  • Since 2000, the rate of deaths due to bed sores increased by 50%.
  • Median recovery for Pennsylvania elder abuse cases is $45,000.
  • 14% of Pennsylvania elder abuse cases obtain more than $1,000,000.
  • Median recovery for Pennsylvania bed sore cases is $60,000.
  • 16% of Pennsylvania bed sore cases obtain more than $1,000,000.

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Deadline to Bring a Pennsylvania Elder Abuse Lawsuit

Victims of elder abuse may be surprised to learn that because they did not bring their case quickly enough they cannot bring it at all. This is because Pennsylvania has enacted statutes of limitations for nearly all kinds of case including elder abuse cases. The rationale for this restriction is that the evidence, witnesses, and other information loses reliability with time. Thus, they must bar cases that are too stale. Here are the relevant statutes for the most typical kinds of elder abuse cases:

  • Pennsylvania gives two years to elderly abuse plaintiffs if they are bringing an action for personal injuries-for suits such as negligence-and additional time if they do not immediately discover their injuries. 42 PCSA § 5501.

  • Pennsylvania prohibits elderly abuse victims from bringing cases for medical malpractice if they are brought after two years from when the injury occurs or was discovered. PCS 42 §5524.

  • Many states also have statutes of repose that prohibit suits after a period of time regardless of when the injury was discovered. To understand the exact time limit that you have for your case, you should speak to a qualified attorney.

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Further Information Related to Pennsylvania Elder Abuse

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Nursing Home Law Center LLC: Pennsylvania Bed Sore Lawyers Protecting Your Loved One

If you or an elderly loved one has been abused or sustained bed sores at a Pennsylviania nursing home or hospital, you need an advocate that can build a case around these tragedies to ensure that the wrongdoers compensate you to the extent that they should. Nursing Home Law Center LLC has done this time and time again for clients and we can fight for you. We promise you the following:

  • Access to attorneys at all times—from case investigation through case resolution.
  • The necessary resources that will maximize the chances of your recovery.
  • Communication with you throughout the duration of your case.
  • We will never to work for corporations or physicians.

When it comes to holding negligent facilities responsible, you can count on our experienced team to advocate on behalf of your loved one. Our office is committed to your success. We handle Pennysylvania bed sore lawsuits on a contingency fee basis where a legal fee is charged onwhly when there is a financial recovery for you. We serve clients across Pennsylvania, incuding the following cities: Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Reading and Erie. Contact our office today for a free case review with an experienced bed sore attorney.

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Pennsylvania Bed Sore Case Values
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Pennsylvania Bed Sore Case Statistics:

Approximate recovery of Pennsylvania plaintiffs in bed sore cases:

Amount of Recovery
% of Plaintiffs

$0
34%

$1-$50,000
15%

$50,000-$100,000
8%

$100,000-$200,000
11%

$200,000-$500,000
11%
$500,000-$1,000,000
8%

$1,000,000-$2,000,000
3%

$2,000,000-$5,000,000
6%

$5,000,000
4%

Approximate recovery of Pennsylvania plaintiffs in nursing home cases generally (where many bed sore cases take place):

Amount of Recovery
% of Plaintiffs

$0
34%

$1-$50,000
22%

$50,000-$100,000
8%

$100,000-$200,000
9%

$200,000-$500,000
12%

$500,000-$1,000,000
5%

$1,000,000-$2,000,000
4%

$2,000,000-$5,000,000
3%

$5,000,000
3%

Key Takeaways
  • Mean recovery for bed sore cases was approximately $57,000.
  • Compared to the national average, they recovered about $14,000 more.
  • About 33% of bed sore cases involved deaths.
  • About 14% of bed sore cases recovered more than $1,000,000.
  • About 2% more bed sore cases recovered more than $1,000,000 across the country.
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Pennsylvania Bed Sore Cases:

CASE: BRITLAND VS. MAIN STREET OPERATIONS
STATE: PENNSYLVANIA
INJURY: BED SORES
YEAR: 2014
AWARD: $250,000

The victim in this case was a 64-year-old woman who was recently admitted to a nursing home. Upon entry, she was suffering from a number of medical conditions including obesity, urinary tract infections, and cardiomyopathy. Approximately one month after her admittance, she sustained bed sores that led to infections and her death. Her family sued the facility for negligence and argued that its deficient care allowed the sores to arise and kill the decedent. The defendant nursing home pointed to the numerous conditions that the woman was already experiencing as the cause of her death. However, rather than face a sympathetic jury at trial, it preferred settlement and convinced the plaintiffs to end the case for $250,000.


CASE: ZELENA VS. LEADER NURSING & REHAB CENTER
STATE: PENNSYLVANIA
INJURY: BED SORES
YEAR: 2010
AWARD: $350,000

This case kicked off after a female nursing home resident died while at the facility. After some preemptory investigations, her family discovered that the staff at the home was routinely showering or washing her and that she developed bed sores prior to her passing. They charged the nursing home with negligence and argued that it should have better trained it staff, supervised them, and taken care of the decedent. The family contended that these failures led to her death and brought a lawsuit to recover damages. Both sides settled for $350,000 in a private agreement just before the initiation of trial.


CASE: FINNEY VS. HIGHLAND PARK CARE CENTER
STATE: PENNSYLVANIA
INJURY: BED SORES; AMPUTATION
YEAR: 2007
AWARD: $162,500

This dispute centered on a woman in her middle seventies. After spending nearly one year in a nursing home, staff discovered she had gangrene and various bed sores. They transferred her to the nearest hospitals where doctors performed an amputation. Unfortunately, she died not long after this procedure. Her treating physicians blamed her death on congestive heart failure and cachexia. However, the members of her family thought it had more to do with the bed sores and the nursing home’s negligence. Therefore, they sued the facility to recover for the damages that the death caused them as well as for the pain that its negligence cause decedent while she was alive. The jury split the matter down the middle. They found that the defendant facility was negligent but not responsible for her death. The family received $162,500 in damages.


CASE: WOLFSTERN VS. METHODIST HOSPITAL NURSING CENTER
STATE: PENNSYLVANIA
INJURY: BED SORES
YEAR: 2002
AWARD: $250,000

The patient here was not only suffering from bed sores but also a broken tibia, dehydration, contusions, and other ailments. She decided to file a lawsuit against the nursing home she was living at because they dropped her while transferring. Her complaint stated that that fall led to the majority of her pain and that if it had better trained and watched its employees it would not have happened. In the course of litigation, the defendant actually admitted to being responsible but refuted the amount of damages that the plaintiff was due. Therefore, that was the only issue at trial. The jury fixed the appropriate amount at $250,000.


CASE: WITHERSPOON VS. EPISCOPAL LONG TERM CARE
STATE: PENNSYLVANIA
INJURY: BED SORES
YEAR: 2013
AWARD: $77,520

This lawsuit was brought as a wrongful death action after an elderly man died in the care of the Episcopal Long Term Care Nursing Home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The suit generally alleged that the facility was responsible for his death as well as the conditions that he lived with just prior to passing including bed sores, dehydration, urinary tract infections, broken bones, and high blood pressure, among other things. The defendant flatly rejected all of these counts so the jury was tasked with deciding the matter. It found that the nursing home was negligent but not why the man died. The plaintiffs got $77,520-$50,000 for pain and suffering and $27,520 for medical costs.


CASE: HARTMAN VS. COMMUNITY LIFETEAM
STATE: PENNSYLVANIA
INJURY: BED SORES
YEAR: 2006
AWARD: $4,761

The staff at a hospital tried to transport an extremely obese man to another medical facility but they dropped him in transport. At the time of the fall, he was already suffering from gangrene, bed sores, and issues from his gastric bypass. He sued the hospital and argued that its negligence exacerbated all of these problems. He recovered nearly $5,000 from the jury.


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Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Resources
Client Reviews
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Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial. Lisa
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After I read Jonathan’s Nursing Home Blog, I decided to hire him to look into my wife’s treatment at a local nursing home. Jonathan did a great job explaining the process and the laws that apply to nursing homes. I immediately felt at ease and was glad to have him on my side. Though the lawsuit process was at times frustrating, Jonathan reassured me, particularly at my deposition. I really felt like Jonathan cared about my wife’s best interests, and I think that came across to the lawyers for the nursing home. Eric