How Much Is a Bedsore Lawsuit?
By Team at Zimmet & Zimmet, In Personal injury
According to a study conducted by the University of Chicago, the number and severity of bedsores or pressure ulcers experienced by Medicare nursing home residents throughout the U.S. are significantly underreported. This has resulted in unreliable data that impacts decisions regarding where to receive short- or long-term care.
Unfortunately, the underreporting of these incidents has created a situation where more residents are experiencing bedsores and remain untreated for them.
If you discover your loved one has developed bedsores while in a nursing home, pursuing a bedsore lawsuit settlement may be possible. Working with our legal team at Zimmet & Zimmet will help you understand your rights and secure the settlement you deserve.
Risk Factors for Bedsores in Nursing Home Settings
You have likely heard more than a few stories about nursing home residents who developed bedsores and pressure sores. However, you may wonder why these are so prevalent in these settings. Several factors put nursing home residents at a higher risk for developing bedsores, including the following:
- More fragile and thinner skin in older adults.
- Mobility issues that make it hard to change or shift positions or to get in and out of bed.
- Incontinence that makes skin vulnerable to damage.
- The loss of sensation due to diabetes and similar conditions.
- Dehydration or malnutrition are common problems for older adults.
- Obesity, which increases the pressure on tissue, skin, and blood vessels.
- Vascular diseases that impact blood flow and increase the risk of tissue damage.
According to some studies, it is estimated that 8% to 28% of all nursing home residents experience bedsores or pressure ulcers at least once.
Not all bedsores can be prevented; however, most can. Nursing homes owe residents a duty of care to ensure they avoid these types of injuries. If the nursing home or staff is negligent and a resident develops bedsores that could have been prevented, they may be held liable. Unfortunately, nursing home neglect and bedsores are connected.
Negligence can cause pressure ulcers in several ways. They can occur if the staff at the nursing home fail to do any of the following:
- Follow the patient’s care plan
- Provide proper nutrition and hydration for the patient
- Reposition residents regularly
- Move a patient during a bed transfer or repositioning to avoid skin shearing
- Changing clothing and bedding regularly
- Using the proper products to absorb moisture
- Ensure the resident is in the necessary footwear to avoid pressure on the toes and heels
- Provide regular skin assessments to find signs of pressure ulcers while they are still easily treatable
- Ensure proper incontinence care
If the nursing home staff failed to provide adequate care for a resident and the resident developed pressure ulcers, they may be held accountable. This includes negligence resulting in preventable bedsores or that allows it to get worse. The same is true if a pressure ulcer is not treated properly or promptly.
Proving Negligence Caused a Bedsore
You can gather several types of evidence to document a pressure ulcer your loved one develops, how severe it is, and how it may have been prevented. Examples of this include the following:
- Records from the nursing home that show the resident had no skin issues when admitted to the facility.
- Documents stating a stage three or four pressure ulcer was detected with no prior symptoms or warning signs. This documentation can show that the facility failed to engage in ongoing skin checks that would result in the detection of bedsores at an earlier point.
- Proof of understaffing at the facility. This can be evidence that shows the number of patients each CNA or nurse was responsible for during their shift.
- The resident’s care plan and records that show the facility failed to follow the care plan or never created one to detect, prevent, or treat pressure ulcers.
- Medical records and treatment documentation to show the severity of the pressure ulcer.
How Much Is a Bedsore Lawsuit?
No average or typical bedsore settlement amount exists. What you can receive as a settlement depends on several factors unique to every case. If the losses related to the bedsore are severe, you will likely recover more compensation than minor losses.
Here, you can learn “what is a bedsore lawsuit” and “what type of abuse is bedsores.” With this information, you will be equipped to pursue legal action for the injuries and losses a loved one in a nursing home setting or under someone’s care suffers.
Factors That Impact a Bedsore Lawsuit Settlement
Bedsores can cause several long-term and undesirable consequences with the most notable being the following:
- Excessive medical bills for treating the bedsores
- Inconvenience of having to go to the hospital frequently for wound treatment
- The potential for serious infections that are challenging to treat
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional and mental pain and suffering
Some believe the development of bedsores comes with having to remain in bed for long periods. However, all care facilities must ensure that patients receive movement daily. This is the same as the requirement for providing residents with proper nutrition and a hygienic environment (among other things).
Facilities that are understaffed or that do not offer proper training are not absolved from this care requirement. As seen above, the outcome of bedsores can be serious and have long-term consequences.
If your family member has developed a problem due to nursing home negligence, it is your right to pursue legal compensation. Filing a lawsuit does not guarantee payment. Several factors will determine if compensation is awarded and how much, including the following:
- The pain and suffering experienced by the victim
- The emotional trauma caused by the bedsore
- The medical care required and related bills for treatment
- Requirement of future rehabilitation or need for disability care
- Lasting damage to the victim’s health
- The patient’s age
The factor that carries the most weight in these cases is the extent of the injuries. To assess the extent of the injuries, the four stages of bedsores must be considered.
Stage 1: Heat, sensitivity, and redness in the affected part of the body (no skin loss at this point).
Stage 2: Some skin loss that impacts all layers of the epidermis and possibly causes a serious infection.
Stage 3: Destruction of the skin and necroses of all underlying tissue.
Stage 4: Destruction of underlying muscle tissue, bone degeneration, and possible nerve damage. At this stage, paralysis is possible.
Bedsores are not just surface wounds that cause discomfort. The pain is often excruciating, and the secondary impact of bedsores can cause more serious injuries and even permanent disabilities that require the victim to have constant care.
Proper and immediate treatment for bedsores is required to avoid this outcome.
The more negligence, the increased likelihood of injury and the increased possibility of the bedsores reaching more serious stages (as described above).
Common Questions about Bedsore Lawsuits in Florida
If your loved one develops bedsores in a nursing home setting, you may have the right to take legal action. At Zimmet & Zimmet, we get many questions about these cases and have worked to answer some of the most common ones here.
How can you increase the possibility of a successful bedsore case?
To help ensure the success of a bedsore lawsuit, it is necessary to show the following in court:
- The wrongful actions or behavior of the defendant
- These actions resulted in the individual’s skin breaking down or worsening
- The actions are not justifiable
In most cases, these cases focus on the negligence of one party. In these cases, it is necessary to show that the defendant acted negligently or irresponsibly and that these actions harmed the resident.
Can you recover punitive damages in a bedsore lawsuit?
Punitive damages are typically reserved for cases of egregious actions. In some situations, they may be awarded in bedsore cases. In your case, it is best to speak with a lawyer to determine if this is possible. They can evaluate the available evidence to determine if punitive damages may apply to the situation.
Hire a Florida Personal Injury Lawyer for Help with Your Case
Cases involving nursing home negligence can be complex. Several factors must be considered to prove negligence and fault. This can be almost impossible without an attorney who fully understands the law and how it applies to the case.
At Zimmet & Zimmet, we represent victims of nursing home abuse and provide them with the experienced and knowledgeable representation they need for a successful case. The first step is to contact our office and schedule a free initial consultation. This will allow us to evaluate your case and determine the next step in the lawsuit process.