When a nursing home accepts your elderly parent as a new resident, it also assumes a certain level of responsibility for his or her health and wellbeing. Maryland law refers to this responsibility as a “duty of care.” Per the Nursing Home Abuse Guide, a nursing home that assumes a duty of care has a legal obligation to provide residents with a level of reasonable care as well as a safe environment. Failure to do so may result in legal ramifications. If your elderly parent fell and sustained injuries in a nursing home, you may be able to sue the home for economic and noneconomic damages.
Proving nursing home liability is particularly difficult because the definition of reasonable care varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. To hold the nursing home accountable for your mother or father’s injuries, you must show that the nursing home managers or staff members breached the expected duty of care. More to the point, you must show that management or staff members were negligent or careless in some way, or that they completely failed to perform a duty expected of them. To do this, an expert must establish a standard of care for the courts. The courts will then require you to provide evidence proving that the nursing home failed to meet the standard of care, and that the failing lead to your loved one’s injury.
Generally, you can prove liability by showing that the nursing home could have prevented the accident if it had taken certain measures. For instance, in the case of your parent falling, you may be able to show that the stairs lacked handrails or that a hazard, such as a wet floor, was present. Photos and video footage are your strongest forms of evidence, though witness testimony from other residents or staff members may suffice.
This article is not meant to serve as legal advice. It is for educational purposes only.