When it comes time to put an older relative into a nursing home, Pennsylvania residents are careful to choose one where their loved one will be well cared for. Although there are many fine employees at many nursing homes, there are some other nursing homes with problems. Also, harmful mistakes can happen at even the best of nursing homes. What recourse is there when a loved one suffers a nursing home injury?
Depending on the circumstances, the owners or operators of a nursing home may be liable to a resident, or the resident's family, if the resident suffers an injury as a result of the negligence of the owner or operator. Negligence must be proved in court, however, before a plaintiff can collect damages. In order to prove negligence, a plaintiff must prove that the nursing home owner or operator breached its duty to the resident. The plaintiff must also prove that the damages suffered were caused by the owner or operator.
It can sometimes be challenging to make this case to a jury, because nursing home owners and operators often try to explain away the evidence. They may try to argue that the injury suffered by the resident was due to a pre-existing condition of the resident and not by a breach of duty by the owner or operator. They may argue that the resident was actually the negligent party, or they may say that they were not contractually obligated to protect the resident.
As obnoxious and unlikely as some of these defenses may seem, many nursing home owners and operators have used them in the past and probably will continue to use them in the future. Recognizing these kinds of defenses and effectively countered them is essential.
Source: FindLaw, "Nursing Home Abuse Claims," accessed on Sept. 2, 2017