When is an Ohio nursing home responsible for a patient’s injuries?

Nursing homes in Ohio have a duty of care to their residents, including providing for their medical needs and creating a safe environment.

Ohio law is very clear about the rights of someone living in a nursing home. According to statute, residents should not be subject to abuse and should be able to live in an environment that is clean and safe. The law even states that bed sheets should be changed when necessary.

Based on these guidelines, an adult care facility could be held responsible when someone suffers an injury or illness. Loved ones should have an idea of when abuse and neglect play a role in a resident's condition.

Abuse

The National Center on Elder Abuse states that there is an issue of underreporting abuse against the elderly. However, it is estimated that about 10 percent of older Americans have suffered some form of abuse, which can include neglect in a nursing home as well as physical, verbal, emotional, sexual and financial mistreatment.

A nursing home may be held liable when its staff commits acts of abuse. Ohio law also compels nursing home staff and other related professionals to report suspected abuse or neglect to the appropriate county department. Failing to file that report can result in civil and even criminal liability.

Falls

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as many as 20 percent of falls in nursing homes lead to serious injuries. Additionally, there are 1,800 fatalities every year due to a nursing home resident falling.

The law in Ohio demands that a nursing home facility is safe for the elderly, who may be especially susceptible to falls. Just as with any other property owner in the state, nursing homes have a duty of care to the people who are on the premises. For example, if the floor in a facility is wet and the nursing home staff does not clearly mark it as such, a resident could fall and suffer an injury. The victim may have grounds for a premises liability lawsuit.

A nursing home is also tasked with identifying residents who may be at an increased risk of falling and putting safeguards in place to protect them. This could include installing grab bars in the person's room, lowering the height of the bed and having handrails throughout the facility. Under the law, a facility that does not provide these safeguards could be viewed as medically negligent.

Filing a claim

In order to file a successful claim against a nursing home, victims or their families must act quickly. There are several statutes of limitations that apply to these cases, depending on the circumstances. There is a two-year timeframe for wrongful death lawsuits, but plaintiffs citing medical malpractice only have one year to initiate the claim.

For more information on this topic, people should contact a personal injury attorney in Ohio.