Families in Pennsylvania who pay to have their elderly or disabled loved ones looked after in a nursing home or other long-term care facility should at least be entitled to the peace of mind that basic care standards are met.
Staff in nursing homes have a duty of care to residents and if this is not upheld, the results can have serious consequences for the health and wellbeing of residents.
Nursing home negligence in Pennsylvania is, unfortunately, more widespread than most people imagine.
If you are in this difficult position, where negligence has caused injury and losses to your loved one, you may be able to take civil action against the facility and its employees.
Here’s what you need to know about the nursing home negligence laws in Pennsylvania…
When can you file a civil lawsuit for nursing home negligence?
Nursing home negligence can be intentional or accidental – and it may be the fault of an individual employee or the nursing home facility.
Overworked staff or the failure to adequately cover for annual leave resulting in staff shortages are not valid excuses for negligence to occur in a nursing home. The facility can be held liable if it results in injury or losses for residents or patients.
Generally speaking, the following four reasons are the most commonly cited in civil lawsuits against nursing homes in Pennsylvania…
What must be proven to win nursing home negligence cases?
The burden of proof in civil cases is lower than in criminal cases but you still need to present a “watertight” case with ample supporting evidence to convince a jury in a civil lawsuit for nursing home negligence.
Your lawyer will need to prove the following in court:
- The nursing home owed a duty to the resident (usually from the relevant care contract between the parties)
- The duty of care was breached
- The breach of duty caused injury to your loved one
- The injury caused damages (e.g., medical bills)
What is the statute of limitations for nursing home negligence in Pennsylvania?
The statute of limitations is the time limit placed on your ability to file a case in Pennsylvania.
Because evidence degrades over time and memories become less clear, the statute of limitations helps to prevent weak cases from being filed and wasting court time.
In Pennsylvania, if you fail to file a suit for nursing home negligence within two years of the date it occurred, you may have your claim barred and no compensation may be recovered.
This applies equally to personal injury, wrongful death, and medical malpractice lawsuits.
Is it necessary to file a civil lawsuit?
Sometimes, nursing home facilities are held criminally responsible for negligent activities by the state or federal government. This can lead to penalties such as jail time, fines, license suspension or license revocation, etc.
While these measures may provide a sense of justice, they do not compensate you or your loved one for the losses that you have incurred. A civil lawsuit aims to correct this.
In most cases, it is unlikely that you will receive the compensation you are entitled to without taking some form of legal action against the facility.
What type of compensation is awarded for nursing home negligence?
A claim for negligence against a nursing home in Pennsylvania may include the following forms of compensation:
- The cost of necessary medical treatment (past, present and future)
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment/quality of life
After discussing the relevant events and the extent of your losses with your lawyer, further indications of what you may be able to claim in your specific case can be provided.
If you contact the lawyers at Andreozzi & Foote with a nursing home negligence case, all the information provided will be treated confidentially.
Please reach out to us for a free consultation at (877) 214-3238.