May 2018

This Month’s Featured Subject: Elder Law Nursing Homes, Elder Abuse, Skilled And Assisted Living Cases

This month I want to devote most of our Newsletter to a specific area of personal injury cases: Nursing homes, skilled facilities and assisted living cases. We have recently started to do more and more of these cases. Let me begin by saying there are many very good nursing homes. For example, Grace Manor in the North Hills area of Pittsburgh has an excellent reputation for caring for their residents.

Unfortunately most nursing homes, skilled and assisted living facilities have real problems. You know this instinctively. Too many times nursing homes are in it for the $$ of a monthly payment by people like you who care for your loved ones. Maybe your mother or father or uncle or aunt.

So what can be the basis of nursing home abuse or error? The list is long. Bed sores, dehydration, wandering, malnutrition, multiple falls, lack of supervision, unexplained injuries or death, failure to thrive, medication errors. Any situation where the standard of care at the nursing home falls below what is acceptable under the law can be the basis of a case against a nursing home.

What we often find is these facilities, in their drive to make $$, cut corners. Under-staffing on a massive scale, and a lack of professionalism in caring for your loved one is rampant.

We have claims where residents at these facilities were left in their bed for such a long time that they developed bed sores! Other times residents are taken out of their beds, taken down and given some food, and then placed in front of a television for a couple of hours until bed time. Then they are sent to bed until it is time to start the whole routine the next day and the next day…

When the level of skill and services falls below the accepted level of reasonable care, a claim against a nursing home arises.

But there is more. Nursing homes do not want to face a jury trial on these types of cases. I wonder why? So what they do is have the patient or their loved one sign an agreement before they even enter the facility. Sound familiar?

What is the agreement? Quite simply it allows the nursing home to decide in what forum the case will be decided. Not in front of a jury, mind you, but instead in front of an arbitrator. And the terms of the agreement are stacked against you and your loved one. I could go into great detail about that but you probably already know it in your gut.

Many times the national chains are some of the worse abusers of patient’s rights and the loved ones they are paid to watch.

We recently had a terrible tragedy claim that happened to a client’s mother. Mom died at a hospital as a result of a fall from a chair at a nursing home. That is completely unacceptable when it involves loved ones. Not properly supervising patients because of the under-staffing and other things the staff fails to do also contributes to negligence claims against a nursing home.

We also recently settled a nursing home claim through mediation. My clients are absolutely wonderful people and I was blessed to help them.

So if you feel that a loved one or someone you know has been mistreated, abused or hurt in any way as a result of their stay at a nursing home type facility, please call us to discuss the matter.

Let us help you in any nursing home claims. I feel very passionate about this and will make every effort to help you.

Workers Compensation Law: Some good news in worker’s comp cases.

If your employer tries to lower the amount of your benefits, the law is helpful to us. Why? Because the burden of proof for any facts that would entitle the employer to lower your weekly wages is on them not us. What this means in plain English is the employer has to prove and justify the request to lower your benefits. In this area the insurance company for your employer is not on your side!

Congratulations to Joseph P. who won our $50.00 prize for answering last month’s question.

Now For Your Chance To Win $50.00: Complete the phrase: April showers bring ……. Come on, it is easy!

Happy Spring!

Your Attorney and Friend.

Bernard M. Tully

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