Over a million Americans are currently residing in nursing homes. While many facilities do a good job of taking care of these frail, elderly residents, some do not. Instead of adequately staffing a facility with qualified, compassionate employees, some facility owners take shortcuts in order to maximize profits. One of the most harmful ways that this may happen is through the overmedication of residents. Simply put, sleeping residents make fewer demands on staff members. Tragically, however, overmedication may cause great harm and even death. If you believe that your loved one may have been harmed by overmedication in a North Carolina nursing home, the knowledgeable Raleigh nursing home negligence attorneys at Maurer Law can help.
Most lawsuits against nursing homes are filed under a theory of negligence. This means that the plaintiff must be able to prove that the nursing home failed to act in a reasonably prudent manner and that the resident was harmed as a result. Technically, there are four separate elements in a negligence claim: duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. Sometimes, duty may be established by reference to a state or federal law, or it may be set forth in prior case law. Breach of duty is often a factual question left for the jury to determine if the parties cannot reach a settlement before the case goes to trial. Expert testimony, such as the opinion of a treating or evaluation physician familiar with the patient’s condition and future prognosis, may be valuable or even essential in these cases.Bringing a Claim Based on Overmedication
Causation is frequently contested in nursing home cases involving overmedication. A facility may admit that a patient received more medication that was necessary but argue that the excess medication did not cause any harm to the patient. In residents of advancing age with multiple medical issues, it may sometimes be difficult to prove that a particular health problem (or a patient’s death) was caused by overmedication rather than the natural progression of the patient’s condition. Contacting an attorney soon after an overmedication issue is discovered may help the patient’s family build a case of negligence against the facility by making sure that valuable evidence does not slip away. For example, an overmedicated patient’s roommate may be able to testify as to things that they saw or heard, but if the family waits too long to retain counsel, the roommate’s own health or mental condition may decline to a point at which the testimony would be unreliable.
In addition, there are strict filing deadlines in personal injury cases arising from overmedication. In the event that a possible medical malpractice claim may be appropriate against a physician or another medical provider, in addition to the nursing home negligence case, a statute of repose may also apply. If a lawsuit is not promptly filed, it is extremely difficult for an injured person or their family to succeed in a personal injury or wrongful death case.Discuss Your Nursing Home Negligence Case with a Raleigh Attorney
The longer that a family waits to seek legal counsel concerning a loved one’s possible overmedication, the less likely it is that a negligence case will eventually result in fair compensation for the loved one’s pain and suffering and other damages. For a free, no-obligation consultation regarding a potential personal injury or wrongful death case, call the knowledgeable Raleigh nursing home negligence lawyers at Maurer Law at (919) 229-8359 or contact us online. We represent people in Raleigh, Durham, Fayetteville, Charlotte, Rocky Mount, Greensboro, Wilmington, Chapel Hill, Asheville, and Wake Forest, as well as other areas of Cumberland, Durham, Mecklenburg, Edgecombe, Guilford, New Hanover, Orange, Randolph, and Wake Counties. Most cases are handled on a contingency contract, meaning that our injury attorneys get our fee only if your case is settled or a judgment is entered in your favor.