Law suits against a nursing home are difficult and time consuming. Most nursing homes are owned by large conglomerates of legal entities. The nursing homes have teams of legal counsel that are very good at protecting their clients from legal disputes and are well versed at the time-honored defense tactics of: delay, deny, delay. Although it is absolutely possible to successfully prosecute these cases, for a family coping with a loss, it is important to recognize that even the most legitimate claims are frequently met with fierce opposition.
The main contention in a pressure sore case is to prove that they were caused by neglect and there is not any other reasonable explanation. The nursing home will defend the bed sores were unavoidable. Common reasons that they may try to use are:
- Poor health. Some medical conditions can make pressure sores more common and difficult to prevent such as diabetes and obesity. The legal defense may also use the patient's age or frail state as a reason the sores were impossible to prevent.
- Patient is to blame. They may try to prove that the nursing home gave the patient instructions to avoid pressure sores that they did not comply.
- Preexisting condition. If there were sores when the patient was admitted, they may claim that these were not the fault of the nursing home, even though they allowed them to progress.
- Inevitability. Sometimes now referred to as the 'Superman Defense' after Christopher Reeve who after an intense recovery from a spinal cord injury ultimately fell victim of a pressure sore. The theory is that no matter how good the care provide at the particular nursing home or hospital was, the wound would have developed anyway.
Just because the nursing home's legal team uses these types of defenses does not mean the case cannot be won. However, it does take extensive research and work to prepare a case that will win. The good news is that when there is negligence on the part of a facility, the case can be successfully litigated with intense preparation and the use of qualified experts. While statistics tell us that the majority of pressure sore lawsuits are settled before they make their way to a jury, it is crucial to prepare as though the case is indeed going the distance.
Carlson & Burnett attorney, Rich Hitz frequently addresses audiences in Nebraska and Iowa on nursing home abuse and neglect issues. Mr. Hitz has led and organized educational seminars for other lawyers in an effort to increase professional awareness and understanding of these issues.
If you believe that a loved one may be the victim of nursing home neglect or elder abuse in Western Iowa or Nebraska, you should take action quickly and contact us to set up a free consultation. Contact Carlson & Burnett at (402) 810-8611 or contact us online.
Information from a Blog by Pearl Griffin,"All Bed Sore Cases Are Automatic 'Money In The Bank'? Right? Wrong!"