Why not all neglect meets the high standard for filing a lawsuit

I had to tell a loving family member today that she didn’t have a lawsuit against a local nursing facility on her Father’s behalf.

Though mistakes had been made, and the potential for harm existed, thankfully, their loved one was not injured, and under Virginia law, a claim or lawsuit alleging neglect would not be appropriate.

“But they could have really hurt him,” the daughter explained.

“They failed to provide the care, medicine, food, treatment etc. he needed.”

We hear about these acts of neglect very frequently. And there is little that our firm, or any firm, can do in such a situation.

But, we appreciate every advocate who reaches out to demand better care for their loved ones, and all medical facility patients.

While not every mistake, act of neglect or oversight reaches the very high standard for filing a lawsuit, something can always be done. So here is my list of what to do, depending on what has happened. Always call an attorney if you aren’t sure what is appropriate. But in the meanwhile, realize that the law is very limited in what it can address, solve and handle. And that means, you as a family member may have to be an advocate in your own creative ways to encourage and demand better care.

Being a care giver isn’t easy and I am grateful for all the folks who seek our advice.

 

Act / Level of Harm Appropriate Action
Mistake made regarding care, no injury, quickly caught and remedied.
  • Discuss with Director of Nursing
  • Discuss at next Care Plan meeting
  • Make written note and keep for your own records
  • Follow up with nursing to see if corrective measure was implemented
Mistake made regarding care, injury that was cared for medically in facility
  • Discuss with Director of Nursing and Administrator
  • Discuss at next Care Plan meeting
  • Make written note and keep for your own records
  • Follow up with nursing to see if corrective measure was implemented
Mistake or act of negligence that caused injury
  • Discuss with Director of Nursing and Administrator
  • Discuss at next Care Plan meeting
  • Make written note and keep for your own records / send written notice of incident and corrective measure in a letter to Administrator
  • Consider moving the resident
  • Consider complaint to the Virginia Department of Health 1-800-955-1819
Pattern of Neglect / Mistakes that cause serious injury
  • Remove loved one from facility
  • Notify local Ombudsmen through County DSS
  • File a complaint to the Virginia Department of Health 1-800-955-1819
  • Call a nursing home neglect attorney to discuss legal options

 

Neglect / Mistake that causes permanent or life ending injury
  • Remove loved one from facility
  • Notify local Ombudsmen through County DSS
  • File a complaint to the Virginia Department of Health 1-800-955-1819
  • Call a nursing home neglect attorney to discuss legal options / request records

 

 

Lauren Ellerman

Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at lellerman@frithlawfirm.com.