The biggest component of damages in bedsore cases is the pain and suffering that the nursing home resident or hospital patient suffered as a result of the sore developing and the treatment that was required. A lot of times, these bedsores, if they do progress to stage 4, require really intensive treatment, which can include the use of a wound vac machine for 24 hours a day and debridement procedures where the doctor has to go in and cut out the dead tissue in the sore. In extreme cases, a surgery called a flap procedure is performed where skin is taken from another part of the body to cover the wound and allow it to heal. So a lot of the damages are due to the pain and suffering caused by those types of procedures and just having the sore in general. In addition to that, if the person who develops the sore was providing any type of financial support to family members, that can be recovered, and in instances where the care is really horrific, there are times when punitive damages can be recovered by the family member. Children, even adult children, can, in limited instances, recover for the loss of guidance of their parent.
Can a Loved one File a Suit on Behalf of a Bedsore Injury Victim?
In order to bring a lawsuit, if the person who has suffered the bedsores is incapacitated, whether it be by dementia or otherwise, someone with the legal authority (a guardian or power of attorney) must bring the case on their behalf. If there was a power of attorney in place, that’s the easiest way to do it. If not, in some instances, a loved one would need to be appointed as the guardian of the incapacitated person; in other instances, if the person is deceased, a loved one will have to be appointed, either as the administrator or the executor of the estate.
All of those are issues that we can help clients out with and are not uncommon for us. The type of lawsuit we would be filing on your behalf in the event the sore developed at a nursing home is a cause of action provided under statute here in New York that protects the rights of nursing home residents. If a nursing home resident’s rights, which are described in the statute itself and state and federal regulations, are not provided and the facility causes an injury, we bring a case under that statute. We would also bring, in most instances, a negligence claim and a medical malpractice claim.
What Steps Should Someone Take to File a Bedsore Claim?
The most important thing to take care of is to make sure that your loved one is getting the appropriate care. This could mean having a meeting with the nursing home or the hospital staff to get on the same page and make sure that the appropriate care is being provided, or getting your loved one transferred to a different facility, or getting them transferred home where you can provide care yourself or through home care services. That’s always the most important thing: to make sure that you’re getting the best care you can for your loved one.
The next thing that you would want to do at that point would get the medical records of your loved one from the facility where the bedsore occurred. You’d also want to take photos of the bedsore; that ends up being very important to show the extent of the sore itself. Once you’ve done these few things, I would call an attorney to get involved, help the family make any decisions they need to make and start the investigation into how the bedsore occurred.
How is an Experienced Attorney Critical to Obtaining a Favorable Resolution in a Bedsore Case?
I have personally worked on hundreds of bedsore cases. My background prior to starting my own practice was defending nursing homes and hospitals and their insurers in bedsore cases. So that experience helps me to know how these cases will be defended, and in the last 10 years, I have been handling bedsore cases for the victims’ families. Those years of experience are really invaluable. These bedsore cases really require an attorney focused on this area of law and medicine. There are different issues that come up in nursing home bedsore cases when compared with a personal injury or medical malpractice case. We put all of those years of experience to work for our clients, and we have a proven track record of results in bedsore matters that we can provide to our clients.