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New York Bedsore Lawyers

Is your loved one showing signs of neglect in a nursing home facility in New York? Often, the detection of bedsores reveals an ongoing pattern of neglect that may also involve dehydration and malnourishment. Bedsores are extremely painful and entirely preventable. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, you can take steps against the abuser to help you recover maximum compensation and protect your loved one’s health.

As New York nursing home negligence and abuse attorneys that specialize in cases involving bedsores, Dalli & Marino, LLP will ensure that you understand the law, your rights, and what you can do to take action in these circumstances. Our lawyers have represented hundreds of cases of neglect in nursing homes and other facilities leading to bedsores and pressure ulcers in New York City (Manhattan) and in other parts of the New York Metro area.

What Are Bedsores?

A bedsore is an area of damaged skin and tissue that develops after ongoing pressure to one area. When nursing home residents are lying or sitting in the same position for a length of time, possibly in their bed or wheelchair, the lack of movement restricts the blood flow and circulation to parts of their body. This restricted blood flow and circulation leads to the growth of bedsores. There are a few stages of bedsores:

  • The early stage, when developing bedsores can be treated simply by shifting a resident’s position
  • Medical devices can be used when moving a resident so they can continually be transferred from bed to chair and back again
  • In the mid to late stage, bedsores become severe and can take months to heal completely

Even the smallest bedsore can become infected without proper treatment. If not treated adequately, bedsores can grow, lead to severe medical conditions, and even be fatal.

Bedsores Are Frequently the First Sign of Physical Neglect

In a nursing home facility, the appearance of a bedsore is often the first indication of physical neglect. Bedsores, pressure sores, and pressure ulcers are prone to develop because of a low standard of care for a resident who has mobility issues due to a health condition or their age.

Bedsores can rapidly develop and progress at an alarming pace. Some are the root cause of an infection that could lead to death if not treated quickly and effectively. Unfortunately, doctors and nurses often neglect to notify the resident’s family and try to deny liability for the situation by discharging or referring them elsewhere to pass responsibility to another party.

Bedsores are never the fault of your loved one; they are almost always the fault of a negligent nursing home facility and its staff. When families leave their elderly loved ones in a nursing facility, they trust in the doctors, nurses, doctor’s aides, and other healthcare providers in the facility to provide the best possible care. When residents are instead treated with negligence or become victims of malpractice, the nursing facility and abuser should be held accountable to the full extent of the law.

BEDSORE LAWSUITS

If your loved one has been the victim of abuse or neglect and has developed bedsores as a result, you may decide to hold the person or entity responsible for your loved one’s injury accountable for their negligent actions by filing a personal injury lawsuit. Entering into the legal process can seem daunting, and you may have questions about how a bedsore injury lawsuit works and how you can receive compensation. The attorneys at Dalli & Marino, LLP specialize in cases surrounding bedsores and advocate for the elderly and their families in cases of neglect or other mistreatment in hospitals, nursing homes, and other care facilities.

What is the Statute of Limitations for Bedsore Claims?

When you are seeking to file a personal injury claim, it is important to be aware that the law limits the amount of time that an individual has to file a lawsuit. This deadline is called the statute of limitations and varies depending on the claim at issue.

In general, in New York, you have three years to file a personal injury lawsuit if the claim is for negligence. However, if a claim involves medical malpractice, then the statute of limitations is shorter—generally two and a half years from the end of treatment by the doctor or hospital guilty of the malpractice. Each case is different, and a different statute of limitations may apply. If you have questions about the timeliness of your claim, contact an attorney.

The Process of a Bedsore Lawsuit

While all lawsuits have their own unique set of facts, in general, they progress similarly. A complaint is filed, discovery is conducted, settlement negotiations take place, and if no agreement is reached, the case goes to trial in a New York (New York City, Manhattan) court. This section will look at each of these steps in more detail. Of course, just because a case is filed, there is no guarantee there will be a recovery.

Pre-Trial

Filing A Complaint

In order to initiate a lawsuit, the person bringing the lawsuit—called the plaintiff—files a complaint in the proper court. A complaint is “[t]he initial pleading that starts a civil action and states the basis for the court’s jurisdiction, the basis for the plaintiff’s claim, and the demand for relief” (Black’s Law Dictionary 323, 9th ed. 2009). The complaint is served on the person or entity from whom compensation is sought—called the defendant. The defendant then has an opportunity to respond by filing an answer. An answer is “[a] defendant’s first pleading that addresses the merits of the case, usually by denying the plaintiff’s allegations” (ibid. 107). In addition, “[a]n answer usually sets forth the defendant’s defenses and counterclaims” (ibid.). After these documents are submitted and exchanged, the case moves to the discovery phase.

In lieu of an answer, a defendant may file a motion to dismiss instead. If this occurs, then the plaintiff will file a response to the motion and a hearing will be held. At the hearing, each party will argue why the case should or should not be dismissed and the judge will make a ruling. If the judge does not decide to dismiss the case, then the defendant will file an answer and the case will move to the discovery phase.

Discovery

The discovery phase of litigation is where each party builds their case and learns information from the other side through various discovery tools. These are the most common methods of discovery:

  • Interrogatories
  • Requests for Production (of documents, photos, etc.)
  • Requests for Admission
  • Depositions

Discovery takes time to complete. The length of time that this phase lasts depends on a number

of factors. For example, the discovery in a more complex case will take a longer amount of time to complete than in a simple case. In addition, the discovery phase can also last a greater amount of time if there are a lot of disputes over evidence or witnesses. For example, if the plaintiff requests a document and the defense objects to producing that document, the parties may have to go before a judge so the judge can decide if it should be provided.

Once discovery has been completed, the case will move to trial. This can take several months or even years, depending on where the case is filed.

Settlement Discussions

One thing most people may not be aware of is that many cases are not decided at trial. The vast majority of civil cases end in a settlement agreement. A settlement discussion can occur throughout the litigation process. This agreement can be reached through settlement negotiations that are conducted by the parties or by going through mediation. Mediation is “[a] method of nonbinding dispute resolution involving a neutral third party who tries to help the disputing parties reach a mutually agreeable solution” (ibid. 1070). If an agreement cannot be reached through these dispute resolution methods, then the case may proceed to trial.

Trial

Most trials follow the same general format. The plaintiff will go first and make their case for the jury by putting on evidence and questioning witnesses. The plaintiff will try to show, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant should be held liable for the plaintiff’s injuries. Once the plaintiff has completed their presentation of the evidence, it is the defendant’s turn. The defendant will then make a case for why they are not responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries. After both sides rest, each party has the opportunity to make a closing argument.

The case then goes to the jury, who deliberates. Once the jury has reached a verdict, it is read to the court, and the plaintiff will learn whether or not the defendant will be held liable and what damages the jury has decided are appropriate.

What Damages are Recoverable in a Bedsore Lawsuit?

One thing that you may be wondering when deciding whether or not to file a lawsuit against a negligent caretaker is what your loved one can be compensated for. Can your loved one recover damages for the extensive medical bills that have been racking up? Can your loved one recover any compensation for the considerable pain and suffering they have endured? Can you make the person or entity pay damages because their behavior was egregious?

The answer is, it depends. What damages are recoverable in a case will depend on the facts and circumstances of that particular case.

Damages can be broken down into two categories: compensatory damages and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are meant to compensate the plaintiff for the harm they suffered and the losses they incurred as a result of the defendant’s negligence. This category includes things like:

  • Medical bills
  • Disfigurement
  • Malnutrition and dehydration
  • Nursing home negligence and abuse
  • Nursing home physical abuse
  • Nursing home restraint injuries
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering

Punitive damages, by contrast, are not meant to compensate the plaintiff. Rather punitive damages are used to punish the defendant for past reprehensible behavior and to deter any similar behavior in the future. It is important to note that punitive damages are only available in certain instances when a defendant’s behavior was particularly willful or egregious.

CONTACT A NEW YORK BEDSORE ATTORNEY

If you or a loved one has been the victim of elder abuse, including neglect in a Manhattan nursing home, or another type of negligent care leading to bedsores, pressure ulcers, or other related injuries, please do not hesitate to contact the law firm of Dalli & Marino, LLP. Our attorneys have extensive experience in the entire discipline, including cases and the law surrounding bedsores, and we are dedicated to helping our clients recover just compensation for their injuries. Please call our office today at 888-465-8790 or complete our online form.