The only way that many Tampa residents have been able to receive the justice and financial compensation they deserve after suffering a bedsore injury is by filing a lawsuit. Bedsore injury cases are complicated since the injured party or their family has likely experienced great suffering. Handling a bedsore case appropriately requires the skill and experience of a Tampa attorney who has handled these cases successfully before.
Time is of the essence when dealing with these cases since Tampa has a strict short statute of limitations dictating when these cases can be brought to court. This fact alone underscores the importance of hiring a Tampa lawyer immediately. In Tampa, you have two years to file a case against a negligent nursing home that caused you or your loved one to end up with a bedsore. Tampa law does make room for extending the statue of limitation, but this can only be done when it can be proven that there was a good reason for the negligence to not have been discovered within the two-year timeline. Extensions may also be allowed if it can be proven to a judge that a nursing home or other entity connected to them used fraud to try to hide the negligence that led to you or your loved one getting bedsores.
Only lawyers who have been licensed by the state of Florida can file a bedsore case for you in Tampa. Never hire an attorney from another state since they cannot help you. Before hiring an attorney, make sure that they have a local address and that they provide you with the street address. Before you agree to hire a lawyer to represent you, have them assure you that they are licensed to practice in Florida. The Florida bar website: FLABAR.org is a resource that you can use to make sure that the attorney is really licensed to practice in Tampa, Florida.
All of the personal injury attorneys who work at Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys have been licensed to practice in Florida. We are willing to visit our clients by making house calls. We want the process to be as convenient for them as possible. Getting the medical records that show what nursing home, hospital, or medical facility was involved in the negligence that caused you or your loved one to get bedsores is a time-consuming process. The earlier you file a lawsuit, the more time your attorney will have to do their due diligence before the statute of limitations expires.
The Challenge of Identifying the Medical Facility That Caused the Bedsores
Before a Tampa personal injury attorney can determine which medical facility engaged in negligent practices that led to you or a loved one getting bedsores, they will need to review all the medical records pertaining to the case, starting from the moment you or your loved one were admitted to the nursing home hospital.
It is common for elderly individuals to injure themselves when falling, having a stroke, or in some other accident and subsequently need hospitalization. At times, bedsores develop during their hospital stay because of negligence on the part of the nursing staff. In other circumstances, bedsores develop once the person is moved to a nursing home or some other type of rehabilitation facility.
I have personally seen cases where an outside home care service will have negligent nurses take care of patients, leading to bedsores. In other instances, I have seen adult congregate living facilities, as well as group homes, take on patients who they did not have the staff or the training to help just to get the money. The truth of the matter is that these facilities should not accept patients who require care that is beyond the skill set of their faculty. When they do, patients develop bedsores and injuries.
An experienced Tampa lawyer needs to use good judgment and investigative skills to identify when and where the bedsores began. Nurses are under mandate to document when a patient first develops bedsores in the patient’s medical chart. Nurses will neglect documenting the start of a bedsore, especially if the bedsore happened when they were on duty and were responsible for the patient.
A Tampa personal injury attorney must diligently examine the medical records of each facility that a patient who developed bedsores was admitted to in the past. Medical facilities have the responsibility to document and photograph bedsores that are on their patient’s body when they are admitted. This is the only sure fire protection against them being blamed for negligent conduct that resulted in bedsores.
Litigating a Bedsore Case in Tampa
Before filing a lawsuit and before trying to recover damages for the pain and suffering caused by bedsores, your Tampa attorney should gather all important documents pertaining to the injury. This would include photographs, depositions, and other medical information. He should then have it reviewed by a nurse or a medical expert.
It is important to mention that having an affidavit written by an expert witness is not necessary in order to file a lawsuit against a negligent nursing home in Florida. However, when that same lawsuit is filed against the hospital, an affidavit is needed. Before filing a case against a nursing home, an attorney will have to show that they engaged in a good faith investigation that led them to believe there was negligence on the part of the nursing home. And they must file a pre-suit before the actual lawsuit is filed in court.
Florida’s medical malpractice statute dictates that when a case is brought against a hospital, an affidavit from an expert witness should certify that there exists reasonable grounds to bring the lawsuit. Contrary to the procedure that is used in nursing home cases, with hospitals it is required to have an affidavit of a medical expert attached to the medical malpractice pre-suit notice of intent letter. Before a lawsuit can be filed, the time set aside for a pre-suit must expire. If a lawsuit is filed and the affidavit of an expert witness is not attached, the lawsuit will be dismissed. The individual who signs the affidavit must be willing to testify that there was negligence.
Litigating a bedsore case is extremely complicated. It is likely that the insurance companies will have experienced defense attorneys protecting their interests. For this reason, it is in your best interest to hire a Tampa personal injury lawyer who has experience in home nursing negligence cases. At Bernstein Injury Law, every attorney we have is experienced in dealing with medical malpractice cases, especially nursing home negligence cases.
Litigating a medical malpractice case can be expensive, and we have the financial backing necessary to see the case all the way to the end. Be assured, the insurance company is going to have an expert witness, but we are more than equipped to go toe to toe with them.
Litigating bedsore cases revolves around using complex medical terms and an in-depth knowledge of medicine. This knowledge is only acquired by diligently studying medical literature in the same way that Scott Poisson and Jack Bernstein have done for years.
Before your trial is presented to a judge or jury, the state of Florida requires that, according to the Florida nursing home care and medical malpractice law, an attempt be made to mediate the situation. Mediation will be performed by a retired judge or by an attorney who is experienced. They will listen to the case and then give an opinion on how both sides might be able to reach a settlement.
Why Do Bedsores Develop?
Bedsores are unbelievably painful. They form when a patient is not able to move around in their bed. This leads to excessive pressure being placed on a localized area of the skin. Before a bedsore forms, the area of the skin were a bedsore is going to develop becomes very red. This reddening of the skin is known as a pressure sore. Next, the skin begins to deteriorate as a result of the constant pressure exerted on it by the weight of a person’s body against the bed. Eventually the skin bursts open and muscle and tissue become exposed. Your Tampa personal injury lawyer will use all of their knowledge to gather the evidence necessary to prove that a negligent nursing home is responsible for your bedsores or those of your loved ones.
Your Tampa Bay personal injury lawyer will carefully examine all medical records to see whether the necessary steps were taken to stop bedsores from developing. If a patient is too weak to move themselves, they should be shifted once every two hours or so to prevent bedsores from developing. The medical facility has the responsibility to assign a nurse to move the patient approximately once every two hours.
If a person has a high risk of forming bedsores, they should be placed on a special egg crate mattress. This mattress is designed to help them evenly spread the pressure of the bed on more than one part of the body.
Bedsores usually first develop on the heels of a person’s feet, on their buttocks, or other lower back. This is because these are the parts of the body where the body’s weight concentrates when a person is laying down.
Nurses have the responsibility to diligently and carefully shift patients who cannot move themselves every couple of hours to remove the pressure from the same part of the bottom or the heels. They should turn the patients from side to side and on their back. Nurses have the responsibility to diligently monitor their patients for the development of bedsores.
A Tampa personal injury lawyer must address each one of these areas when deposing a negligent nurse or a group of negligent nurses who allow a bedsore to form. More times than not, the medical records gathered at the Tampa nursing home where the bedsores formed will not coincide with the information ascertained about the condition of the bedsores upon admission to another medical facility.
The Stages of Bedsores
A Tampa personal injury lawyer will carefully review how the bedsores progressed at each facility where the patient was admitted. In the moment bedsores begin to develop, nurses have the responsibility to tell physicians about it. Immediate steps should be taken to heal the bedsore. It should not allowed to progress to a more painful stage.
The first stage of a bedsore is when a person’s skin first gets red. The second stage is when the skin breaks. Stage three is when the bedsores grow larger and deeper. A stage four bedsore is where bedsores have reached all the way down to the patient’s bones. A stage five bedsore produces an unimaginable amount of pain for the patient. It can lead to serious infection and even death.
The Steps for Healing Bedsores
Here again, your Tampa personal injury lawyer should be asking direct questions during the deposition in order to identify which negligent nurse at the facility allowed the bedsore to form. As soon as a nurse notices the development of a bedsore, a doctor should be immediately notified. From there, the doctor will begin the excruciating process of scraping away dead layers of skin with the hopes of getting the skin and tissue to heal. Bandages are put over the bedsore to minimize the pressure on the area and to facilitate the healing process.
An egg crate bed should be ordered that will reduce the pressure on any one part of the body. A Tampa personal injury lawyer will ask a series of questions to understand the damage that was caused by the bedsore. Often, patients who have bedsores are transferred to a new medical facility. The second medical facility is not liable for the bedsores if the bedsores improve or stay at the same stage that they were in when the patient was admitted to the new facility.
Bedsores and Multiple Medical Facilities
A lot of my clients are rightly indignant with a negligent nursing home facility that allow their loved one to develop bedsores. In many cases, the development of bedsores is the final straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back. The negligent Tampa nursing home that allowed bedsores to develop often has a negligent nursing staff that abuses patients, who don’t change their diapers, who don’t feed them, or who outright abuse them.
In these cases, a patient’s bedsores reach a point where they must be transferred from a nursing facility to a hospital because of the complications their bedsores are causing. Patients are often transferred from one nursing facility to another. This makes it a challenge to determine which nursing facility was negligent and where the bedsores began. It is the job of a trained and experienced Tampa personal injury attorney to identify which nursing facility was negligent and which ones did not contribute to the development of bedsores.
It is imperative that the personal injury attorney sue every single potentially negligent nursing home. This way, a nursing home that is sued cannot try to pass the blame on to a nursing home where the patient stayed, but is not part of the lawsuit. When this happens, it is referred to as the empty chair defense. It could lead to you losing your case at trial.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
Please contact Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys in Tampa, Florida at (813) 333-6666. We will be happy to discuss your case with you. The consultation is free, and we only get paid if you win the case. If after examining your case we realize that we cannot help you, you will not be charged for the work that we have done.
It pains us to watch our clients and their families suffer because of the negligence of a nursing home staff. We are eager and ready to go to bat for you and your family. Our goal is to get justice for you and your family and put negligent nurses on notice that their conduct is unacceptable. We will fight this injustice and strive to prevent it from happening to others.