Can You Sue a Nursing Home for Bed Sores?

With proper care, diagnosis, and treatment, bedsores are a highly preventable problem. The development of bedsores in an elderly nursing home resident suggests that his or her caregivers did not meet accepted standards of care, which in turn may create valid cause to sue the nursing home and the resident’s caregivers for negligence. 

The personal injury lawyers at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman represent nursing home residents in New York and New Jersey to recover damages when those residents suffer from bedsores and other negligent nursing home care. We believe that elder care facilities should be held accountable for the health and welfare of their bedridden or immobile residents, and we fight to recover the largest available damages for them and their families.

Bedsores are a sign of neglect.

Bedsores are skin injuries that form when there is too much pressure on the same portion of a person’s skin over a prolonged period of time.

Bedridden and immobile nursing home residents who sit or lie in one position for several hours can develop skin ulcers when that pressure restricts blood flow to the skin’s surface. The medical community is of an almost universal mind that bedsores are readily diagnosable, and are treatable through regular movement and repositioning of an immobile patient.

Bedsore complications can be deadly.

Bedsores progress through four stages:

  1. Red, swollen or sensitive skin without any ulcerations or lesions;
  2. Blistering or rupturing of the upper layer of skin;
  3. Skin rupturing that extends below the outer skin layers;
  4. Extensive skin loss that exposes muscle and bone tissue.

The third and fourth stages can lead to fatal infections, particularly among nursing home residents whose health is already compromised by other medical conditions.

Bedsore victims and their families have several options to sue for damages.

Bedsore lawsuits are all based on some form of negligence, which requires a bedsore victim to show that an elder care facility or caregiver owed that victim an obligation of care, that the facility or caregiver failed to meet that obligation, and that the victim suffered losses or injuries as a direct and proximate result of that failure.

Most bedsore lawsuits includes causes of action for personal injury and neglect against the owners and managers of the nursing facility. A bedsore lawsuit might also include claims for medical malpractice against caregivers who failed to properly diagnose or treat bedsores in their early stages.

In extreme cases where bedsores lead to fatal infections, a nursing home resident’s family may have a cause of action for wrongful death.

New York’s laws facilitate bedsore lawsuits.

The health care laws in New York State specifically obligate nursing homes to ensure that their residents do not develop bedsores, and to promptly treat those bedsores when they do develop.

A second state law gives residents and their families a direct cause of action to sue a nursing home when it does not provide its residents with the proper care. 

Bedsores may be one symptom of a greater neglect problem.

Nursing home residents may be either unable or reluctant to report problems to their families or caregivers. This places a burden on the resident’s family members to watch for bedsores and other signs of neglect at the facility. Those signs can include matters such as the general cleanliness of the facility and its residents. Family members should also watch for bruises on a resident’s skin that cannot be explained by the resident’s general medical condition, and they should pay close attention to the resident’s financial, psychological, and emotional health, all of which can suffer when a nursing home resident is subject to abuse or neglect.

Bedsore lawsuits are subject to certain time limits.

In New York State, a bedsore negligence lawsuit must be filed within three years after the first occurrence of a bedsore on a nursing home resident. A bedsore medical malpractice lawsuit must be filed within two years and six months of the last treatment that gives rise to the malpractice cause of action. New Jersey has a shorter two-year deadline.

Given these time limits, a nursing home resident and his or her family should contact an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer as soon as is possible if bedsores develop as the result of neglectful care.

Concerned About Your Loved One’s Bed Sores? Call KGG

A New Jersey & New York personal injury lawyer at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman has the knowledge and experience to recover the damages that nursing home residents and their families deserve when those residents have suffered neglect at the hands of the caregivers who are entrusted to keep them healthy and safe.

Please call our offices to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our experienced elder abuse and bedsore attorneys.