How to Prove Negligence at a Nursing Home or Hospital?

October 24, 2021

Is your loved one or elderly being ill-treated at a hospital or nursing home? What should you do to prove negligence at a nursing home?

How to prove that the nursing or hospital staff is not performing the due care they owe to your loved one? Such practice is termed medical malpractice. A person can file a personal injury case in case of medical malpractice but they’d need to prove negligence at a nursing home or hospital to win any compensation.

What Is Medical Malpractice?

We are very much familiar with the medical malpractice that doctors perform. However, medical malpractice is a broad term and includes other sorts of personal injury cases as well. Any personal injury case in which the defendant is related to the medical field in some sort is covered under medical malpractice.

In medical malpractice, the defendant can be hospital staff, nursing staff, pharmaceutical company, medical equipment manufacturer, doctors, medicine sellers, retailers, etc. If any of these parties fail to perform their duty causing injury to the patient in some form, the patient can file a personal injury lawsuit against such party.

What Does It Take To Prove Nursing Home Or Hospital Negligence?

There need to be certain elements present in your case to prove negligence at a nursing home for the law to term it as medical malpractice. The plaintiff’s case should cover these elements, and the burden of proof falls on the plaintiff in case of medical malpractice (especially if it’s not a class action).

Here are the elements that should be established to file a medical malpractice case:

1. Duty of Care

It is upon the plaintiff to determine that the defendant had a duty of care to perform. The hospital or nursing staff is liable to perform the duty of care to his residents or patients.

This duty of care is by default established between a healthcare provider and a patient as part of a contractual relationship. However, it becomes difficult to establish or pinpoint which party is a defendant in case of medical malpractice in certain circumstances.

When doctors in a hospital are kept on a contractual basis and not as employees, it is challenging to blame. To answer this, all medical professionals owe a duty of care to their patient and will be considered a defendant if they fail to provide the proper medical treatment.

2. Breach of Duty

Once a duty of care is clearly established, i.e., the defendant is identified, the next element is the breach of duty.

The plaintiff should establish that the defendant, i.e., the hospital or nursing staff performed the breach of duty. Breach of duty means that the defendant failed to perform his duty of care as it should be according to the standard of care.

There are various ways to prove that the standard duty of care isn’t provided. One such method is talking to the medical experts that deal with a similar state of work. They should give their testimony on how the care should be provided under the labeled circumstances and the deflection that led to the medical malpractice.

A breach of duty in medical malpractice occurs when:

  • When the healthcare professional failed to diagnose the condition under the given symptoms. As a result, the medical condition became worse and resulted in more injuries that could have been avoided.
  • When the healthcare professional made negligence in handling surgical equipment like leaving it inside the body, not using the set medical procedure when using the equipment etc
  • When the nursing staff in a hospital or nursing home fails to perform the necessary daily duties of the patient like feeding, changing diapers, giving medication on time, preventing bed sores etc
  • When the nursing home fails to keep the space clean and hygienic. When due to unsanitary conditions, if the patient caught the infection, it is covered under medical malpractice.

3. The Cause And Effect

The plaintiff should also establish a direct relationship between the breach of duty and the effect or injuries caused due to the same.

This element is difficult to establish in cases of specific medical malpractice, like where the doctor failed to diagnose the medical condition properly. Here the injuries may not have been avoided even if the medical condition was identified on time (like in the case of serious conditions).

4. Damages

The plaintiff should prove the damages they suffered as a result of the medical malpractice. Unsatisfied with the treatment wouldn’t be considered.

There should be the presence of monetary or non-monetary damages like loss of wages, mammoth medical bills, worsening of patient condition, pain, and suffering, etc.

Proving negligence at a nursing home or hospital is a broad topic and needs in-depth knowledge. Talk with our attorneys to discuss your specific case.