Nursing Home Negligence
When you put your loved one in a nursing home, you trust that he or she will be treated with dignity, compassion, and respect. Unfortunately, some nursing homes have staff members who neglect or even abuse residents. Some signs of abuse and neglect include a nursing home resident's bedsores, depression, personality changes, withdrawal, weight loss, bruises, cuts, and unexplained falls or fractures. Sometimes, as a visitor, you may simply sense that something is not right. If your loved one shows signs of having been neglected or mistreated, you should consult Foley nursing home negligence lawyer Whit A. Thomas.Situations Involving Nursing Home Negligence
Nursing home residents in Alabama can be harmed in many different ways, including through dehydration, malnutrition, falls, medication errors, chemical restraints, infections, wandering unsupervised, inadequate attention to hygiene, and inadequate medical care. Generally, nursing homes should be adequately staffed by qualified individuals. Unfortunately, however, many nursing homes have problems because they are understaffed. When there are not enough staff members, the existing staff members may become frustrated, and if they are not qualified, the result may be negligence or even abuse.
Nursing homes are highly regulated by federal and state governments. In order to work up a case, your lawyer will need to review medical records and nursing home policies and procedures. They will likely need to get statements from patients, witnesses, and staff members.
Federal and Alabama laws prohibit nursing home negligence. Under the federal Nursing Home Reform Act, nursing home residents have a wide range of rights, including the right to be free from neglect, mistreatment, and abuse, as well as the right to participate in the review of a plan of care or changes in treatment.
Nursing home negligence cases should comply with the Alabama Medical Liability Act of 1975. A nursing home negligence attorney can help Foley residents ensure that they meet these requirements. The Alabama Supreme Court has held that lawsuits against nursing homes are governed by this law, rather than common-law negligence. There are strict rules and expert requirements associated with lawsuits brought under the medical liability law. Among other things, there is a greater burden of proof, which makes it harder to establish liability under the medical liability law than it would be in a common-law negligence claim.
Usually, residents sign a contract with the nursing home. Accordingly, it may also be appropriate to allege breach of contract if inappropriate care was provided.
Sometimes nursing home negligence so badly affects a patient's health that a death results. For example, if a patient has bedsores that are left untreated, eventually the patient may develop a fatal septic infection and die. Under Alabama Code Section 6-5-410, the estate of someone who has passed away may sue a person or corporation whose negligence, omission, or wrongful act caused the death. Our Foley nursing home negligence attorney can help you bring this type of lawsuit. Wrongful death claims only exist when a decedent would have been able to pursue his or her own claim, had he or she not passed away.
An Alabama wrongful death lawsuit needs to be filed by a personal representative of the estate. This might be a family member, but it could also be someone appointed by the court. Alabama is different from other states because the decedent's estate can sue for wrongful death, but it can only seek punitive damages under the wrongful death part of the claim. Other damages may be available under a breach of contract theory.Discuss Your Case with an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
Nursing home negligence can take many forms and can include various forms of physical or sexual abuse. If you suspect that your loved one is being neglected or abused, it is important to contact an experienced attorney right away. Attorney Whit A. Thomas can analyze the facts of your situation and vigorously advocate for your rights. Our firm prides itself on keeping an open line of communication with clients at every turn in their case. We proudly represent people who need a nursing home negligence lawyer in Foley and other areas of Southern Alabama, including Orange Beach, Summerdale, Elberta, Robertsdale, Loxley, Fairhope, Lillian, Gulf Shores, and Daphne, along with other communities in Baldwin, Mobile, Escambia, and Monroe Counties. Call (251) 943-9330 or contact us through our online form.