What Is a Bedsore Lawyer?
Has a friend or relative developed bedsores while in a care facility? Do you suspect ongoing nursing home abuse or neglect? Call today or complete the online contact form below to talk to a bedsore lawyer who can help you explore legal options.
Bedsores, sometimes called pressure ulcers or sores, are injuries to a person’s skin or underlying tissue. These sores typically form after prolonged pressure on the skin, often due to lying in the same position on a mattress.
When nursing home residents develop bedsores, a bedsore lawyer may help determine if negligence or abuse is to blame. An attorney may also help injured individuals pursue fair compensation from the individual who caused their injuries.
Bedsores May Be Life-Threatening
If pressure cuts off a person’s blood supply for more than two hours, a nursing home resident’s skin may die. Dead skin may initially appear red or inflamed. Eventually, though, the outer skin can to deteriorate, causing a wound to form.
Bedsores can be quite deep, potentially reaching through a person’s muscular tissue to the bone. Even worse, when bedsores develop, infections are possible. Without proper treatment, an infected bedsore may be fatal.
While bedsores can theoretically form in anyone, they are more common in certain groups:
- Individuals in nursing homes
- Individuals over 70
- Persons with mobility issues
- People with diabetes, hypertension or other medical issues
Bedsores may appear wherever the skin contacts some surface. Still, certain areas of the body are more vulnerable to bedsores than others. Nursing home staff or other care providers should regularly inspect at-risk individuals for bedsores in these areas.
Shoulder blades, backs, tailbones, elbows, heels and backs of heads are common places for bedsores to appear.
Nursing home caregivers have a duty to protect residents’ health and condition. Fortunately, preventing bedsore formation and the need for a bedsore lawyer is possible with just a few easy steps:
- Turning or repositioning patients at least every two hours
- Offering padding for beds, chairs and wheelchairs
- Prioritizing good hygiene
- Keeping at-risk areas dry
- Regularly monitoring patients for signs of bedsores
Prevention is by far the best way to keep at-risk individuals safe from developing this condition. Regardless, if a nursing home resident or someone else has a bedsore, treatment is generally possible.
To determine how best to treat a bedsore, individuals should consult with health care professionals. Doctors usually first alleviate the skin pressure. Simply moving a bedsore sufferer may stop ongoing damage.
After removing the source of the pressure, doctors attempt to treat the existing wound. For minor sores, topical ointments and wrappings may be sufficient. Severe bedsores may require surgical intervention, including skin grafts. Antibiotics may help treat infections.
When treating a bedsores, the area around the wound should be kept clean and dry. Caregivers should always provide sufficient nutrition and hydration to help with the healing process.
A Process for Stopping Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
Although not always, bedsores are often a sign of nursing home abuse or neglect. If someone you know has bedsores, you may need to investigate whether he or she is receiving adequate care in the nursing home.
To stop nursing home abuse or neglect, you may need to file a civil lawsuit. These lawsuits usually proceed on either a tort or contract theory.
Nursing Home Tort Cases
Torts are typically a matter of state law. Therefore, before filing a civil suit with a bedsore lawyer, you must understand the law of the state where the person developed the bedsore. If your relative lives in a nursing home, you need to know the law in the nursing home’s location.
A tort is simply a wrongful act that leads to civil liability. Usually, individuals who file tort actions are eligible for financial compensation for their injuries. These may include medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages and other damages.
Here are types of nursing home tort cases that may provide financial compensation for bedsore injuries:
- Abuse, where someone intentionally harms the victim, elder abuse is disturbingly common
- Neglect, where someone does not provide adequate care
- Negligence, where a breach of duty causes harm
- Medical malpractice, where a medical professional does not comply with widely accepted standards of medical care
- Wrongful death, where someone’s actions cause someone else’s death
Bedsore Lawyer: Nursing Home Breach of Contract Cases
While filing a tort case be an effective way to stop nursing home abuse or neglect, there may be other legal process you may want to explore. A breach of contract claim is one of these.
When residents move into nursing homes, they usually sign contracts. These contracts describe the rights and responsibilities of both the resident and the facility. Nursing homes typically have a contractual obligation to provide adequate care to their residents.
If staff at the nursing home abuse, neglect or otherwise mistreat a resident, the resident may have a valid breach of contract claim.
Unfortunately, breach of contract claims often have limited damages. While it is possible to recover money paid to the facility, additional damages are difficult to obtain. Still, it can be possible to secure punitive and other related financial damages.
Work With an Experienced Local Bedsore Lawyer
If you have a relative or friend who has bedsores, you may need to act quickly to protect his or her overall health. After all, bedsores can lead to potentially deadly complications. Rather than waiting and hoping for the best, consider speaking with an experienced local lawyer.
A bedsore lawyer, or an expert specializing in elder legal care in your area can research the facts of the potential nursing home abuse or neglect and explain your options. He or she may also advise you on pursuing insurance settlements or proceeding with either a tort- or contract-based lawsuit.
Because these matters fall within the purview of state law, working with a local bedsore lawyer is necessary. Local attorneys understand the intricacies of the state’s particular laws. They also know how to build legal cases. Consequently, your lawyer may help you through all phases of the legal process.