Nursing Home Negligence in California
A lot of people reach out to nursing home abuse lawyers with this question: “Can you sue a nursing home for bed sores?” Here’s the short answer: You absolutely can. That’s because bedsores are almost always preventable and typically develop as a result of neglect or abuse. Suing the negligent party not only gets compensation for the victim but also incentivizes a facility to reevaluate its practices.
But just because it’s necessary doesn’t mean suing a nursing home is always easy, especially when it’s part of a large, multi-state company. Big chain nursing homes typically have more legal resources than smaller ones, and they’re structured in a way that makes identifying at-fault parties a challenge. However, it is doable, especially with help from an experienced Orange County elder abuse lawyer.
If you need to sue a big chain nursing home but don’t know where to begin, don’t panic — the compassionate Costa Mesa personal injury attorney team at Case Barnett Law are here to help. Our experienced attorneys understand the ins and outs of the California nursing home industry and know how to deal with the big chains.
When you’re ready to hold a big nursing home chain accountable for their negligence, reach out to a firm that’s up to the task. Contact Case Barnett Law to set up your free consultation or give us a call at 949-409-0055 today.
Bed Sores: Finding the At-Fault Party
When a patient at a small nursing home develops bedsores, identifying how it happened is relatively easy. You can meet with the nurses and administrators directly, tour the facility, and speak with other staff. However, when you’re dealing with a big chain nursing home, figuring out who’s responsible for your loved one’s bedsores isn’t so straightforward.
Whenever you’re taking legal action against a large, multi-state company, you’re going to be met with a lot of bureaucracy and deflection. Your chances of pinpointing the root problem on your own are slim, especially when you can’t get all of the involved parties in the same room. You may end up naming multiple parties in your lawsuit, including some of the following:
- The facility where the bedsores occurred
- Individual staff members
- Facility owner
- Facility administrator
- Inter-related parties (i.e., management companies)
- A parent corporation that owns the nursing home company
Before deciding who to name in your lawsuit, it’s important to identify whether the bedsores were caused by structural failures, staff failures, or both. Although your loved one’s bedsores might have resulted from one staff member’s negligence, the issues could also be systemic.
For example, the nursing home’s administrator may consistently understaff the schedule in an effort to meet new corporate budget goals. Although your loved one’s bedsores resulted from an individual worker’s failure to consistently reposition them, should the exhausted staff take all of the blame? In this case, an experienced lawyer may help you name multiple parties.
Major Nursing Home Chains
In California, there are 120,000 licensed beds in nursing homes, about half of which are owned by 25 for-profit nursing home chains. Unfortunately, for-profit chains consistently fall below the state average in quality of care, staffing, and inspection measures.
Despite consistently logging high rates of staff turnover, insufficient staffing, complaints, and deficiencies, California’s for-profit chains are constantly expanding and acquiring new facilities. Conversely, nonprofit nursing homes run by hospitals typically rank at the top in quality measures.
Most people don’t realize how flawed many of California’s largest for-profit nursing homes are. A series of articles published in the Sacramento Bee in 2018 revealed many distressing trends and figures, including the following:
- Among California’s 10 largest chains, nine fell below state averages on the majority of key staffing measures in 2012.
- Genesis HealthCare, one of the largest skilled nursing home operators in the country, had seven times the state average of abuse complaints in 2013.
- The following five chains control around 20 percent of the state’s nursing home beds: Brius/Rechnitz, Longwood Management, Plum Healthcare Group, Smedra/Winter, and Windsor.
- Many of California’s largest chains make it difficult for consumers to see what facilities they own by not having websites or lacking specificity on web content.
- As a result, it has been nearly impossible for consumers to get a clear history of a chain’s past performance.
Major nursing home chains’ lack of transparency about poor performance and facility ownership have no doubt contributed to the nursing home abuse crisis. Experts warn Californians that they should do heavy research into a nursing home before committing to it — especially if it is one of the major for-profits.
What If You’re Not Sure Who Owns the Nursing Home?
It is no accident that identifying the real owner of any California nursing home is difficult, if not nearly impossible. They don’t want you to know who they are because they have faced so much liability for nursing home abuse and poor care in the past.
But if you’re in California, chances are good that the nursing home you’re dealing with is owned by a corporate chain — even if it doesn’t look like it is. According to a 2015 report, 74.7 percent of nursing homes in California were owned by corporate chains. For the record, that figure was far higher than the national average for corporate nursing homeownership.
In any case, if you need help determining how to move forward with a legal claim related to bedsores, a qualified and experienced attorney can help you identify the owner of the nursing home, as well as your best next steps.
Need Help? Speak with an Orange County Elder Abuse Lawyer
Can you sue a nursing home for bed sores in California? Absolutely. However, these cases are not always easy to win without significant documentation. If you’re thinking about taking on one of the state’s major nursing home operators in court, having an experienced elder abuse attorney at your side could make all the difference in your case.
At Case Barnett Law, we don’t just fight for the victims of nursing home abuse and neglect — we fight hard. It’s our mission to seek justice for the most vulnerable among us, and when we see nursing homes harming residents, we don’t back down just because they’re part of a multi-state corporation with teams of lawyers. We do what’s right for our clients — every time.
You can find out whether you have a valid case at no cost to you. That’s because we offer free consultations. To request a free consultation with our team, reach out by calling 949-409-0055 or filling out the online contact form below. We have been proudly servicing clients throughout Costa Mesa, California, and the surrounding areas.