The Role of Bedsores Lawyers in Seeking Justice for Victims
Pressure ulcers – better known as “bedsores” – can bring constant pain, cause severe infections, and, in some cases, lead to cancer or death. If an elderly loved one receiving long-term care or residing in a nursing facility has noticeable bedsores, it could be a sign of negligence. Families may hold a nursing home or residential care facility liable for negligence in failing to prevent bedsores or other dangerous medical conditions from developing.
Recognizing the Symptoms and Stages of Bedsores
When bedsores become visible, it can reveal how serious they have become and the type of harm they could cause without the required treatment. Pressure ulcers commonly affect the skin on the boniest sections of the body, which usually involves areas around the hips, shoulders, and tailbone. There are four stages in the progression of a bedsore as it develops into its most serious state. An understanding of each of those progressive states could determine the appropriate type of legal action in a negligence and personal injury suit.
Stage 1: The least threatening and initial stage
Bedsores initially appear as a painful and discolored section of skin. Your legal complaint may seek relief for the pain and discomfort of the burning or itching that first-stage bedsores typically cause. The negligence involved could reflect a licensed caregiver who failed to take steps to stop the sores from recurring.
Stage 2: Ulcers breaking open or forming blisters
Patients feel more pain at this stage and have a more pronounced area of discoloration around their sores. Complications can begin if bacteria enter the bloodstream through an opening in the sore. A legal action may need to address a long-term illness.
Stage 3: Damage extending to tissues beneath the skin
Third-stage pressure ulcers may look like craters. At this point, bedsores could become life-threatening. A personal injury negligence suit may focus on the deterioration of nerves, bones, or tissues below the skin.
Stage 4: Large and unhealable wounds developing
At this final and most severe stage, the injury extends to muscles, joints, bones, or tendons, which also appear visible through the skin. At this potentially lethal stage, the legal issue could exceed negligence and reflect abuse.
Overall, If you smell foul odors, notice bleeding, or see pus draining from sores while visiting an elderly loved one, seek immediate medical care. The resulting medical diagnosis and healthcare records could feature prominently in a legal action. The records could show how the condition worsened while those with a duty of care took few or no steps to prevent it.
Tracing the Blame When Caregivers Ignore Bedsores
Untreated or infected bedsores could lead to severe or fatal bacterial complications such as gangrene and sepsis. These toxic infections can spread quickly and may require surgery to remove dead or damaged tissues. In severe cases in which the infection spreads, patients may undergo amputations of their fingers, toes or feet. Individuals who remain immobile for extended lengths of time or have physical disabilities face the greatest risk.
Constant pressure and chafing from beds, wheelchairs, or recliners can restrict blood flow to vital tissues. To help prevent circulatory problems, a facility’s staff typically needs to regularly reposition their motion-compromised patients. Turning over bedridden patients at least once every two hours helps the blood to circulate; it also provides an opportunity for caregivers to check their patients for developing bedsores.
A lawsuit claiming negligence on the part of a caregiver or facility may illustrate how a failure to uphold a standard duty of care led to a patient developing painful or severe pressure ulcers. An attorney specializing in bedsores can help pinpoint where the breach of duty affecting your loved one occurred. A legal complaint can demonstrate to the court who should have acted responsibly enough to prevent the injuries.
Gathering Evidence to Determine What Went Wrong
Inpatient or long-term care residents typically follow daily routines related to their meals, hygiene, and medications. A bedsores attorney can request patient records to learn more about how often their caregivers repositioned them or helped them stay physically active. Data logs, for example, may include notes of a patient’s previous complaints and whether a staff member addressed them properly. Prescriptions, dermatology treatments, or surgical procedures may reveal repeated bedsore-related injuries.
When a legal action seeks to hold healthcare facilities liable for patient injuries, a bedsores lawyer looks for certain tell-tale signs of a facility’s substandard care.
Understaffed nursing homes
Stress, burnout, and long work shifts can contribute to licensed nurses and other healthcare professionals leaving a facility and going elsewhere. Chapter 400 of Florida’s Nursing Homes and Related Health Care Facilities statutes requires scheduling at least one nurse for every 40 residents. A bedsores lawyer can ask the court to retrieve a facility’s employee schedules; this could determine whether a lack of adherence to staff-scheduling laws led to your loved one’s injuries.
Government officials conduct routine inspections of nursing homes that rely on Medicare reimbursements. If a facility falls below the legal standards of maintenance, the government can issue fines or citations. A bedsores attorney could search for and review violations that may uncover problems related to a facility’s staff or its procedures for patient hygiene. A negligence suit could demonstrate how falling below the legal maintenance requirements could have contributed to harmful pressure ulcers developing.
A current case could resemble a problem that another patient had with the same facility. A bedsores lawyer can review court records to find previous lawsuits or other related legal actions. Court records may show that the care facility did not learn from a past mistake. If other patients at the facility also experienced issues related to negligence or abuse, those previous issues could lend greater weight to your legal action. In some cases, the court may award additional punitive damages if the facility showed a reckless disregard for the well-being of the harmed patient.
Call 1 (855) 722-2552 to learn more about your legal options.
Preparing a Complaint and Filing a Lawsuit
After reviewing your medical records and the facts surrounding your circumstances, a bedsores lawyer begins preparing a complaint. This document describes the pressure ulcers, ailments, injuries, illnesses, and any complications in full detail. The complaint also outlines how the facility or its staff’s negligence caused the harm. The filing also includes information about the damages or financial relief that you and your family are seeking to recover.
Once submitted, a process server delivers your complaint to the defendant along with a summons of when to appear in court. Failing to show up in court means that you could win your case by default, and a judge may then issue a judgment that orders the defendant to pay the damages specified in your complaint. The complaint also becomes a public record that anyone can review.
During the discovery period, the defendant’s lawyer may ask to bring in eyewitnesses or request other medical evidence to disprove your complaint in front of a jury. An experienced bedsores attorney will know when to file a motion to counter the defendant’s claims. The judge has the authority to approve or deny each lawyer’s motions or requests.
When you file a complaint by working with an experienced bedsores attorney, he or she handles the entire legal process for you. Contact our team at Gordon & Partners for a no-fee case evaluation. We do not charge any upfront fees. You can also expect no other fees while we work to win your case.
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Verdicts & Settlements
Negligent supervision at Assisted Living Facility resulting in death.
For negligent care resulting in maggots in leg and amputation.
For negligent supervision where a dementia patient pushed another patient down resulting in brain injuries.
Negligent care resulting in fall out of bed causing broken hip.
For negligence in causing a bedsore.
Negligent care at nursing home resulting in fall, broken hip and death.