A vast majority of the public has little if any knowledge regarding whether or not he or she has a claim for damages in the event of an accident. Often, the mentality of injured individuals is simply, “I’m hurt. I want money. Now who can I go after?” The key term that is thrown around a lot, but is not always completely understood, is negligence. The concept of negligence is the key to a claim for damages if you or someone you love is injured in a nursing home. Negligence is based on the theory that individuals in society must act in a specific responsible manner to ensure that lack of care does not negatively impact the society around them. The elements of a claim for negligence are first nature for attorneys, but are helpful to know for other individuals as well. Knowing these elements will not only help clarify a situation in which you think you might have a claim, but it will also enlighten you as to your own actions and responsibilities in daily life, both at work and at home. The elements that must be present in a claim for damages based on negligence are Duty, Breach, Causation, and Damages.
Everyone has certain duties or responsibilities built into their daily lives. You can have a duty to act a certain way or a duty to not act a certain way. The staff members at a nursing home have a duty to care for the individuals living at the facility. There are certain actions they must take to care for the patients such as checking for bed sores and making sure medications are administered. On the other hand, they are not to engage in abusive behavior or neglectful practices. Certain individuals such as healthcare providers have heightened levels of responsibility due to their profession.
A breach of duty is any action or inaction contrary to your responsibilities or duties. A nurse breaches her duty to her patients by not properly administering medication, failing to check for bed sores, or abusing patients physically or otherwise. Breach is usually an easy element to spot.
A breach in and of itself is not enough to give rise to a claim. The breach must cause an adverse result for a valid claim to exist. Causation is a key element because it links the elements together to form the claim. Causation has different nuances of its own so this element can be a bit tricky at times. The crux of it is simply that whatever was done or was not done caused the damages that your claim is based on.
A breach of duty can exist and still not be liable for a claim unless some negative result or damage occurs as a result of the breach.You cannot simply say that you are entitled to compensation from a nursing facility because they failed to give you your medication at the proper time. You must be able to show that you suffered some harm as a result. This harm could come in a variety of forms. Harm could mean medical or physical harm if a staff member failed to administer the proper dosage of medication, failed to check for bed sores, or somehow abused a patient. Harm could also mean emotional damage if the actions were so egregious that they caused emotional distress. Your recovery is based on the amount of damages you can establish.
What To Do if I Have a Claim for Negligence
Decisions regarding the authenticity of your claim should be left up to an attorney skilled in handling personal injury cases. There are nuances of these elements that a personal injury attorney will be able to explain that the average person might not be aware of. However, by simply knowing a little bit about how a claim is tied together can help you recognize situations where you do have a claim that you might have otherwise dismissed. If you are an employee in a nursing home, this knowledge helps to clarify your responsibilities and the consequences of failing to fulfill those responsibilities. It is important to remember whether you are an individual filing a claim for damages or an individual facing a claim that attorneys involved in negligence cases do not have a “got you” attitude. We pursue claims for negligence to ensure that nursing homes are safer for everyone.
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