A care home should be a place where the older generation are able to live out the remainder of their lives safe in the knowledge they’ll be safe and secure, unfortunately this isn’t always the case when a care home is negligent. If a loved one has suffered an injury or even death due to care home negligence it is very likely they could be sued for compensation.
Common Care Home Negligence Claims
There are various trends in injuries received by those over 65 years of age which are reflected in both care homes as well as domestic properties. While regulations have been tightened over the years, accidents in care homes because of negligence do happen, leading to an array of injuries and potential care home compensation claims. Some of the more common injuries received in care homes and nursing homes include:
Falls In Care Homes
While brittle bones and other age-related conditions can play a part in fall injuries this is not always the case. Misplaced objects, out of reach equipment, slippery floors or residents attempting to get themselves out of bed without assistance can lead to injury and potential care home claims for compensation. One issue often overlooked is the deterioration in eyesight that many older residents will suffer meaning their vision is impaired. It is therefore imperative that floors are kept clean and tidy, all essential equipment is to hand and assistance is available.
The ever-increasing pressure on care home staff often leads to stretched personnel numbers on a regular basis. Inexperienced staff and in some cases inadequate equipment can make lifting residents in and out of bed and using bathing facilities challenging. While the number of residents injured during lifting procedures has increased, injuries amongst care home staff are also on the rise.
Care Home Neglect
It is fair to say that neglect in the care home industry receives significant media attention perhaps giving an unfair representation of treatment on the ground. However, unfortunately there are situations where care home residents are neglected for a whole host of reasons including inexperienced staff, staff shortages and inappropriate actions. There are various regulatory bodies that monitor care homes with regular visits to ensure that standards are being maintained.
Over the years there have been a number of instances where incorrect medicine has been given to a nursing home resident. This can lead to potential fatal medical conditions and where care home negligence can be proven very often significant compensation claims. It is the responsibility of the care home management to create detailed procedures to ensure the correct medicine is given to the correct residents. In reality there is no excuse for administering the wrong medicine.
Health And Safety
As mentioned above, regulations covering care homes have been tightened in recent years and inspections are now more regular. The managers of care homes and residential facilities not only have a duty of care to their clients but they also have a duty of care to their staff. Some of the more common issues reported by regulators include:
- Inadequate reporting of care home accidents;
- Poor monitoring of residents;
- Ill maintained equipment;
- Substandard levels of staff training;
- Inadequate risk assessments;
- Substandard levels of investment in necessary equipment;
- Use of inexperienced staff for inappropriate activities.
Improved training and investment in equipment in care homes, such as lifting machinery, not only assists staff in carrying out their activities but also improves the level of care for residents.
Care Home Compensation
There are two specific types of care home compensation for negligence causing injury or death which are known as general damages and special damages. General damages reflect the pain and suffering, mental trauma and life changing injuries suffered by claimants.
Below is a compensation calculator that lists many of the more common injuries seen in care home negligence cases and advised compensation amounts. Although the compensation levels are not set in stone they are used as a guide in calculating general damages.
General damages cover financial compensation for an individual’s pain and suffering, however special damages will include loss of income, medical costs and any other expenses relating to injuries received and are often much larger than general damages. For a free consultation on care injury claims and to discuss what compensation could be claimed for please call us on 0800 6524 881.
Evidence Of Care Home Negligence
There are a number of unique challenges when gathering evidence regarding accidents and injuries in care homes. Due to various medical conditions some residents may not be fully lucid and therefore CCTV, medical records, witness statements and care home records will help form the basis of a care home compensation claim. The regulators will also have details of past incidents which may well show a pattern of negligence and incompetence. In order to pursue a claim for compensation the claimant must be able to prove negligence in relation to duty of care and legal obligations.
The set timeline in which to claim compensation is three years after the accident which resulted in the claimant’s injuries. There will be occasions where injuries and medical conditions are not diagnosed until further down the line. In these situations the three year timeline will begin when the actual diagnosis is received by the claimant.
Personal Injury Claims Solicitors
If you feel you have sufficient evidence regarding injuries received and the circumstances surrounding the accident to make a claim for compensation against the care home, it is time to contact a personal injury claims solicitor. A solicitor will go through the details of what’s happened and any evidence of care home negligence you have. It doesn’t usually take very long for an experienced solicitor to decide whether or not there is a case to be answered, and should they advise you to take action they will offer to start your claim on a No Win No Fee basis. This type of arrangement ensures that those who might have limited financial resources are still able to hold potentially negligent care homes to account.
Where negligence on the part of a care home is obvious, and there is sufficient evidence to prove this, the defendant will likely look towards agreeing a compensation settlement so court action is avoided. While this will reduce the defendant’s legal expenses it also ensures that the claimant receives compensation earlier. In cases where negligence by a care home is refuted or there may be more than one party potentially responsible for the care home accident and injuries, this will likely go before the courts. A judge will take evidence from the claimant and defendant and rule on negligence and the appropriate level of compensation.