Most people understand the principle of a reasonable duty of care when someone gets injured. But what standards are applicable in an elder nursing home environment and how do we know when a professional breaches any reasonable duty of care? In reality, each profession has its own standard for establishing a reasonable duty of care. But in certain services like the skilled nursing industry, the standards need to become documented working practices and more detailed and thorough due to how elder care standards must be implemented consistently by a nursing home team.
The Professional Class
The U.S. economy is essentially an assembly of workers that provide a full range of goods and services to the public. There is a certain class of service workers that are typically held to a higher standard and includes doctors, lawyers, accountants, and even architects and professional engineers in specific cases. Medical facilities that handle patients also fall into this class. It is incumbent upon employers in professional industries to recruit from qualified personnel, provide adequate instruction and training, provide the tools and work environment necessary to complete their work function adequately and to monitor and correct workplace performance deficiencies. When things go wrong in medical and nursing facilities, the consequences can be catastrophic for those who place their trust in the care facility. Therefore the standard for professional duty of care in an elder facility should be extremely high, and those owning and operating within the facility need to be held to the standard and made accountable when the standard slips of fails altogether.
Establishing a Potential Elder Abuse Case
Lawsuits filed against individual professionals are malpractice cases in most instances. In cases filed against a group like a nursing home company, the issue becomes physical injury as well as mental anguish and possibly even wrongful death. The plaintiff’s legal counsel must present evidence that the defendant did not follow a professional standard duty of care within their discipline when providing services for the plaintiff. There must be some actual level of damage or injury, which is not always physical injury in the classic sense of the term. Mental anguish can also be claimed in certain cases even when physical healthcare is the central issue. The problem is that nursing home companies have ample ability to suppress important information that would prove they are providing substandard care.
Proving Standard of Care Breaches
The dynamics of nursing home abuse cases differ based on the profession of the defendant. Medical malpractice cases deal with the accepted standard of care from professional journals and as handed down by the American Medical Association. Doctors typically have a protocol to follow when treating patients, and any variance away from that protocol could be considered a professional breach by a malpractice lawyer. They can evaluate a patient and issue treatment orders, but the facility staff usually must fulfill those instructions. Many doctors are not actually involved in the subsequent treatment process following their initial evaluation of the patient. Any injury caused by a breakdown in communication from the doctor to the staff could be exactly what an elder abuse lawyer is pursuing as evidence of negligence. It typically takes an investigation by an elder abuse lawyer along with an impromptu inspection from the state DHHS for claim validity after abuses are reported to the state.
Contact Our Law Firm for Legal Representation
Injury cases involving professionals and healthcare facilities can be the most difficult of all personal injury cases. The ability to restrict visitation by family members gives nursing home facility managers an advantage in hiding their substandard care and hiding the standards that lead to personal injuries and harm to elderly residents. It takes aggressive legal representation from an experienced elder abuse lawyer or even a malpractice lawyer when doctors are involved, and an attorney from our firm can conduct a full investigation and file a report immediately to state authorities for case validation. Evidence can fade fast, so time is of the essence in these professional liability cases. Call us today and let us help with your nursing home situation 1-800-ACCIDENT.