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Ohio Nursing Home Malpractice and Patient Rights Guide

Posted by attorney Donald Kral

Under Ohio law, nursing home residents have the right to voice complaints about neglect or abuse they experience at a nursing home. The standard of care in nursing homes should be what a reasonably careful person would do under the same or similar circumstances, according to Ohio common law. Additionally, the Ohio Nursing Home Bill of Rights offers protections that in some cases go beyond what the common law might allow. If you are an Ohio nursing home resident who hasn't been given these rights, or has been abused/neglected in any way, you may be eligible for compensation from your nursing home and/or health-care providers.

Nursing home medical malpractice or negligence

Neglect comes in many forms, such as physical and emotional abuse, as well as improper medical care and treatment. This includes improper medication, lack of appropriate precautions to prevent falls, poor care resulting in painful pressure or bed sores, unclean conditions, and failure to give medical treatment.

The Nursing Home Residents Bill of Rights also requires nursing homes to provide safe and clean living environments; freedom from physical, verbal, mental, and emotional abuse; proper medical treatment, nursing care, and other services; sanitary clothes and bedding; adequate information from health-care providers; freedom from chemical and physical restraints; and to communicate changes in health status to family/friends.

When you may be eligible for compensation

To receive compensation, you and your attorney, if you hire one, must prove that the Ohio Nursing Home Bill of Rights or the Ohio Common Law was violated. You may also prove that your injury is serious enough to warrant compensation. This involves proving the standard of care required of the nursing home was not maintained, and/or that your injury was cased by a violation of these standards of care.

What your nursing home claim may be worth

If the nursing home malpractice resulted in a serious injury, the courts base compensation on many factors. These include, but are not limited to, pain and suffering, whether a permanent injury or death occurred, how clear the malpractice was, and whether the nursing home committed similar acts of malpractice in the past.

As with most cases today, a properly filed, argued for, and supported nursing home malpractice case has a good chance of settling before trial. Some companies will want to settle the case out of court by coming to an agreement with you regarding how much you should be given to cover injury-related expenses. If your case is strong and well prepared, it will increase the likelihood of a fair settlement. However, not all cases settle out of court and must go through the entire legal process.

How to take action

If you think you have been neglected or abused at your nursing home, it's important to do the following:

  • Meet with facility staff to voice your concerns. Bring along family/friends.
  • Voice your concerns to government authorities. Contact the Ohio Department of Aging and the Ohio Ombudsman for your nursing home.
  • Take pictures or notes to document the neglect or abuse. If you can't do this yourself, ask a family member or friend to do it.
  • Contact an attorney. If you want to pursue compensation for injuries or damages, getting an attorney will significantly improve your chances of getting all that you may be entitled to.

Pursuing a nursing home malpractice legal case

Although it's possible to make a claim on your own, getting legal advice is helpful because strong nursing home malpractice cases almost always require expert testimony. An attorney can help get an expert witness who has the education, training, skill, and/or experience with nursing home malpractice cases to give a professional opinion about your particular case. This will only make it stronger.

Next, you or your attorney will need to file a lawsuit in order for your claim to be seriously considered.

What a nursing home malpractice case may cost

If you decide to hire an attorney, most will work on a contingency fee. This means that the attorney only gets paid when and if you are awarded money once the case is closed. The attorney is also motivated to do everything possible to get you the maximum possible amount.

Additional resources:

Ohio Department of Aging

Ohio Ombudsman Program

Ohio Nursing Home Bill of Rights

Related Legal Guides:

What to Do If You Suspect You Have Received Negligent Medical Care

Medical Lawsuit

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