Salt Lake City Nursing Home Injury Lawyer
Nursing home injuries are a serious issue in Utah. Nursing home understaffing is usually the root of this problem. Over 90 percent of Salt Lake City’s nursing homes are dangerously understaffed, a situation that causes multiple problems. For example, workers at understaffed facilities must often do two or three jobs at once. There is only so much stress a person can take before s/he lashes out inappropriately.
Older adults in nursing homes almost always have pre-existing medical conditions. Otherwise, they most likely wouldn’t be in a nursing home. These pre-existing conditions usually contribute to the risk and/or severity of a neglect or abuse injury.
The experienced Salt Lake City nursing home injury lawyers at Strong Law stand up for these victims and their families. For us, solid courtroom advocacy is a process that begins with a thorough case evaluation. Then, once we determine your legal options, we collect evidence that supports your claims and refutes insurance company defenses. All this hard work usually allows us to successfully resolve nursing home injury claims out of court.FREE CONSULTATION
Why Choose Us
Our past success rate may be the best reason for the Strong Law team to handle your nursing home injury claim. We successfully resolve over 98 percent of these injury claims. This high success rate doesn’t happen by accident. We obtain maximum compensation for nursing home injury victims because our team has the right combination of:
- Experience: We have handled thousands of injury cases right here in Salt Lake City over the years. We know what works, and perhaps more importantly, we know what methods don’t work. Furthermore, our legal team knows all the rules in all the different courts. That includes the unwritten rules.
- Accessibility: At some firms, a lead attorney is little more than a face on an advertisement. But at Strong Law, Jed Strong takes primary responsibility for all the work performed in your case. We never over-delegate work to less-experienced associates or non-lawyer paralegals.
- Dedication: As outlined below, nursing home injury cases are quite complex. Only an experienced and accessible lawyer who’s dedicated to such matters can successfully resolve your nursing home injury claim.
We bring all our legal skills to bear in every case we handle. To us, nothing is more important than compensation and justice for nursing home injuries.
Nursing Home Neglect and Nursing Home Abuse
Many people use these terms interchangeably. But although they have a common root, as mentioned above, they are very different, especially from a legal perspective.
Neglect is an unintentional injury. Some of the neglect injuries our Salt Lake City nursing home attorneys deal with the most include:
- Falls: Over 60 percent of nursing home residents fall every year. Mostly because of the aforementioned pre-existing condition, almost every nursing home fall causes serious physical injuries. These incidents usually cause serious emotional injuries as well, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Due to this combination, most nursing home fall victims cannot live independently again.
- Bedsores: Pressure ulcers do not develop if people turn themselves over in bed every two hours. Many nursing home residents are too overmedicated or weak to do so. Therefore, they rely exclusively on the nursing home staff in this area. Mostly because of understaffing, the nursing home staff often lets these residents down.
- Resident-on-Resident Physical Abuse: Older adults are a lot like little children in many ways. Thus, many nursing homes have a schoolyard bully, and a staff member doesn’t keep this bully in check. When a bully pushes a child off a swing, the child usually gets right back up. Older adults are so physically frail that a small amount of force could cause a serious injury.
Under Utah law, nursing home owners have a duty to provide a safe living environment for nursing home residents. If an owner knows, or should know, about a hazard, the owner must immediately and effectively address that hazard.
Nursing home abuse is an intentional, albeit non-malicious, injury. Some of the nursing home abuse claims our Salt Lake City nursing home injury lawyers handle include:
- Physical Abuse: As mentioned, a small amount of force could cause a serious nursing home injury. All too often, frustrated staffers push or pull residents, or even punch or kick them.
- Financial Abuse: Unscrupulous administrators often file baseless guardianship claims to gain control of a resident’s financial portfolio. Unscrupulous staffers often steal money and valuables from residents.
- Emotional Abuse: Understaffing often leads directly to emotional abuse. For example, if the home is short-staffed, residents might remain isolated in their rooms for hours, simply because there’s no one to watch them.
- Sexual Abuse: Understaffing also leads to sexual abuse. Frequently, unscrupulous staffers believe that no one will report the abuse and they won’t get in trouble.
A nursing home injury lawyer can hold nursing home owners financially responsible for abuse injuries, under a theory like negligent hiring or negligent supervision.
If you see any signs of physical injury, like a bruise, or witness any signs of emotional injury, like a personality change, immediately assume that nursing home neglect or abuse caused that injury. Report your concerns to the nursing home administrator, and give that person a chance to do the right thing.
When they receive complaints, nursing home administrators have a legal duty to quickly, thoroughly, and transparently investigate that claim. Furthermore, the resulting punishment, if any, should be proportional to the misdeed.
If you do not get a favorable outcome, immediately reach out to a nursing home injury lawyer. The clock is ticking, and you have a limited amount of time to act.
Your Claim for Damages
We mentioned some of the evidence in a nursing home injury claim above. Other evidence includes medical bills, witness statements, and expert reports.
On a side note, hidden surveillance cameras, or “granny cams,” are usually legal in Utah. The Beehive State is a single-party consent jurisdiction. Only one party to a conversation must consent to its recording (e.g. I give myself permission to record this phone call).
These cameras could provide vital evidence. Or, they could adversely affect staff morale and increase the probability of injury.
Once our team has collected evidence, and once medical treatment is at least substantially complete, our nursing home injury lawyers usually send a demand letter to a nursing home owner. Some companies immediately make reasonable settlement offers. Others drag things out, usually by citing defenses like a lack of evidence or comparative fault.
Frequently, the only nursing home injury witnesses are the victim and tortfeasor (negligent actor). A he-said, she-said case often holds up in civil court, but it’s rarely enough to obtain maximum compensation. Generally, Utah jurors may presume that negligence caused a fall, serious bedsore, or other neglect injury, if negligence usually causes that injury and the owner exclusively controlled the premises.
Comparative fault shifts blame for an injury from the tortfeasor to the victim. A “Caution Wet Floor” sign in a fall injury claim is a good example. Signs are not get-out-of-jail-free cards. Many older adults have trouble reading and understanding such signs, especially in low-light conditions.
To speed the settlement process along, many Salt Lake County judges appoint mediators in contested civil cases.
Mediation takes place in an office building or other non-threatening environment. After each side makes brief opening arguments, the mediator tries to bring the two sides together on a settlement agreement.
Both sides have a duty to negotiate in good faith. They cannot simply go through the motions. Furthermore, by this stage, the trial date is approaching. Most insurance companies are eager to avoid trials. Due to this combination, civil mediation is about 90 percent successful in Utah.
Compensation in a nursing home injury claim usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages may be available as well, in some extreme cases.
When a sudden and unexpected nursing home injury suddenly turns life upside-down, many people have many questions about their legal rights, the claims process, and other areas. Below are some answers to some questions our Salt Lake City nursing home injury lawyers hear most often.
What Are Common Wounds in Nursing Homes?
Physical nursing home injuries include broken bones and head injuries. Emotional injuries include depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
All these injuries are permanent, at least to an extent. Broken bones usually don’t entirely heal. These victims usually experience a permanent loss of motion in an injured shoulder, hip, or knee. These lingering injuries also make them more prone to future re-injury.
PTSD is much the same. The symptoms of this brain injury, like hypervigilance (which in this case is an irrational fear of another fall), flashbacks, and nightmares, are often manageable. The injury itself, which is a chemical imbalance in the brain, is usually permanent.
What Is Considered an Accident in a Care Home?
Falls are the most common care home accidents, followed by bedsore injuries and resident-on-resident assault.
Strictly speaking, these incidents are not “accidents.” People accidentally leave the water running. They don’t accidentally allow nursing home residents to slip and fall or develop serious bedsores. They also don’t accidentally fail to supervise residents and thus allow resident-on-resident abuse to happen.
Instead, negligence, or a lack of care, usually causes such injuries. If that’s the case, a nursing home injury lawyer can obtain the compensation these victims and survivors need and deserve.
What Is Negligence in a Nursing Homes?
Nursing home negligence is a lack of care. Nursing home owners have a legal duty to provide safe environments for residents.
If a breach of duty causes injury, the nursing home owner is liable for damages. Breach is usually the failure to properly address a known hazard, like a wet spot on a floor. Breach could also be hiring an incompetent employee, like a patient care technician who does a nurse’s job. The nursing home environment or an individual’s negligence must cause the victim’s damages. These damages must be tangible.
Individuals are legally and morally responsible for nursing home negligence injuries. Nursing home owners are financially responsible for these damages.
What To Do When There Is a Fall in The Nursing Home?
Contact a Salt Lake City nursing home injury lawyer immediately. An attorney connects a fall victim with a doctor who, in most cases, charges nothing upfront. Furthermore, an attorney evaluates the case, collects evidence, and presents a strong claim in court. That’s the best way, and usually, the only way, to obtain maximum compensation for serious injuries.
Is The Nursing Home Responsible If a Patient Falls?
Yes. Nursing homes have a legal duty to provide safe environments for invitees, or individuals who have permission to be on the land and whose presence benefits the owner.
Owners who fall short of this legal standard must pay financial compensation to victims, just like drivers who knock over mailboxes must pay to replace those mailboxes.
Perhaps more importantly, a legal claim shines a spotlight on nursing home abuse or negligence injuries. Just like owners have a duty to provide safe environments, victims have a duty to call attention to these incidents, so other residents don’t have to endure the same thing.
“Excellent attorneys and staff!! My attorney, Peter, and his paralegal, Katrina, went ABOVE & BEYOND to get me a settlement that was even higher than my own personal bottom line. I highly recommend Strong Law for all your personal injury claims. I would not have been able to navigate this 3-year long journey without them! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!”