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Defending against claims of nursing home negligence

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 1.4 million Americans currently reside in nursing homes. In the coming years, as individuals of the baby boomer generation continue to age, this number is expected to increase exponentially.

Many individuals who are experiencing a decline in physical or mental health require extra care and assistance and come to rely upon skilled nursing home facilities. Nursing homes must comply with federal and state regulations and work to ensure that the specific needs of individual residents are met.

While nursing homes do their best to tend to residents' needs and keep them safe, staff members cannot physically be with every resident at all times. In cases where a resident falls or suffers some other type of harm or injury, concerns and questions may arise related to the liability of a nursing home and its staff members.

As with all negligence matters, a plaintiff must be able to prove that certain breaches and failures with regard to standard practices and care occurred. In addition to providing evidence that a breach in the care of duty occurred, a plaintiff must also prove that the defendant's actions directly contributed to a loved one's injury.

When defending against negligence claims, it's critical to establish what is considered standard care and how a defendant's actions comply with that accepted standard. Other issues that must be considered in nursing home negligence cases revolve around causation and contributory negligence. For example, did a resident’s injuries arise from an event that transpired due to a preexisting health condition?

Much like in a hospital or medical setting, accidents and unfortunate events are bound to happen at nursing homes. In many cases, however, such incidents are often not related to any act of negligence.

Source: FindLaw.com, "Nursing Home Abuse Claims," April 27, 2015

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