Nursing Home Lawsuits Often Require Expert Testimony

Although lawsuits against nursing homes may be brought for a variety of reasons, these lawsuits often require experts. Experts can help explain the standard of care the home was required to follow or the cause of a resident’s injuries. As in any negligence claim, in a claim alleging the negligence of a nursing home facility, a plaintiff must establish that the defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff, the defendant breached that duty, the breach caused the plaintiff an injury, and the plaintiff sustained damages.

Bowl of CandyIn nursing home lawsuits, once the plaintiff establishes that the nursing home owed a duty to the resident, the next question is whether the defendant’s conduct fell below the standard of care required under the circumstances. For example, a nursing home is normally expected to keep residents properly bathed and fed and to provide them with their medications. To prove that the staff was negligent, the staff’s conduct must have fallen below the relevant standard of care. Many nursing home residents are sick and elderly, and many residents die in nursing homes—thus, the fact that a resident died in the home’s care is insufficient. In order to succeed in a nursing home lawsuit, a plaintiff must show that the nursing home failed to properly care for the resident in order for the home to be held responsible. Accordingly, generally, expert testimony is required to establish the standard of care and to show that the nursing home’s conduct fell below the expected standard.

Often, physicians are presented as expert witnesses in these cases. For example, these expert medical witnesses can explain what is expected of nursing homes and what the staff should have done under the specific circumstances present in the case at hand. An expert may also explain the causal link between an infection and a death, or how the facility’s care resulted in a resident developing bed sores.

In a recent case, one family brought a lawsuit against a nursing home after a resident died at the home. In the case, an expert would likely be required to show that nursing home failed to properly monitor the resident, considering the resident’s condition.

Lawsuit Filed Against Nursing Home After Resident Dies After Choking on Candy

A nursing home resident’s family recently brought a lawsuit against the home after the resident died after choking on a piece of hard candy at a nursing home in Chicago. According to one news source, the resident was 89 years old and had difficulty swallowing food, which required the staff to supervise her while eating. She had been living at the home for over five months when she died. According to the lawsuit, the woman choked on the candy, began having trouble breathing, and eventually died of cardiac arrest. It was not clear from the lawsuit how the woman received the candy.

The lawsuit alleges that the nursing home was negligent and that it violated the Nursing Home Care Act. The claim contends that the nursing home failed to supervise the resident while she was eating to prevent choking hazards. Her family claims that the home and its staff should have known that she required supervision and assistance with activities because she was at risk for choking.

Has a Loved One Been Injured in a Nursing Home?

Having to leave a loved one in the care of a nursing home can be a difficult and stressful decision as it is. However, nursing home abuse and neglect occur regularly, and those are additional concerns family members must face. Nursing homes must be held accountable for their negligent actions—or their negligent failure to take required actions. If you have a loved one whom you believe has suffered from abuse or neglect or was otherwise injured in a nursing home, you or your loved one may be entitled to monetary compensation. To learn more, call the skilled Illinois attorneys at Moll Law Group at 312-462-1200 or fill out our online form for a free consultation.

See More Posts:

Bed-Sores Considered a “Never Event” by Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, March 8, 2017.

Resident-on-Resident Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, April 3, 2017.

The Continuing Danger of Lead Paint in Chicago-Area Homes, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, March 10, 2017.