It is not an easy decision to place a loved one in a nursing home. But unfortunately, sometimes we are unable to provide the necessary care, treatment, supervision, and medical oversight our loved ones need to live safely and stay healthy. When we place a loved one in a nursing home, we expect that our loved ones are receiving that care, treatment, and supervision that we are paying for. Most nursing homes, assisted living facilities, rehabilitation centers, and other facilities in Oregon provide the appropriate level of care and treatment required under the law and expected by families. However, it is an unfortunate truth that far too many nursing homes fail to deliver the legally required level of care necessary.
As a result, our experienced Oregon nursing home abuse lawyers
know that innocent and vulnerable residents of nursing homes can suffer catastrophic personal injuries which result in their wrongful death. Many times the negligence that causes these devastating injuries could be easily prevented, meaning that residents needlessly suffered due to the reckless and careless actions of another.
This includes some of the most common types of personal injuries due to nursing home abuse, neglect, and malpractice such as the following:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Pressure sores or bed sores
- Elopement or Wandering injuries
- Financial exploitation
- Falls and fractures due to poor supervision
- Emotional abuse
- Malnutrition or dehydration
- Psychological abuse
- Wheelchair accidents
- Clogged breathing tubes
- Bedrail injuries
- Slip and falls
- Excessive restraints and physical restraints
- Infections and sepsis
- Nursing home understanding
- Unexplained death and wrongful death, and
- Any other types of personal injuries occurring in a nursing home.
What Constitutes Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect in Oregon?
Generally, there are two forms of nursing home abuse
or neglect in Oregon. This is because elder abuse can be caused either intentionally or negligently. Intentional conduct is are purposeful actions taken by an individual which inflicts harm on another. Negligent conduct is an act or omission which results in inadvertent harm that a reasonably prudent person would have been able to avoid.
There are many different types of intentional forms of nursing home abuse, which include the following:
- Physical abuse – harm such as punching, kicking, biting, burning, cutting, or otherwise directly harming a resident
- Sexual abuse – conduct such as unwanted touching, inappropriate interactions, rape, sodomy, forceful touching, or unlawful sexual advances
- Emotional abuse – including calling residents names, demeaning them, playing “mind games” or otherwise being verbally or emotionally abusive
- Psychological abuse – including manipulating a resident, invoking anxiety or depression on them, encouraging self-harm, or other deeply and egregious emotional conduct that has psychological impact on a resident
- Financial exploitation – including changing Last Wills, using credit cards, using checkbooks, stealing stocks or commodities, stealing valuables, and other conduct
- Intentional neglect – such as ignoring a resident on purpose in a room, bathroom, wheelchair, or otherwise purposely failing to help the resident (can be a form of physical, emotional, or psychological abuse), and
- Any other type of serious instance of abuse.
There is also another type of nursing abuse which is unintentional but can still be devastating to learn about. The common types of negligence or neglect in a nursing home includes the following:
- Unintentionally neglecting a resident’s needs
- Failing to turn or rotate residents who could get bedsores
- Failing to identify a resident as a fall risk
- Understaffing which means insufficient nursing staff to care for the facility’s residents
- Leaving a resident in a bathtub by mistake
- Failing to clean a spill or debris on the floor which presents a slip and fall risk
- Medication errors
- Failing to identify a resident as a wandering or elopement risk
- Leaving a resident in a wheelchair by mistake
- Neglecting a resident’s dietary needs, and
- Other conduct which is reckless, careless, or negligent but unintentional in nature.
Oregon Nursing Home Laws and Legal Processes
Nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and rehabilitation center in Oregon are governed by many different bodies of law. Broadly, this includes the federal laws and regulations in place pertaining to nursing homes through both the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Both of these federal agencies issue guidance, opinions, and promulgate regulations (mostly CMS) relating to the operation of nursing homes.
Locally, nursing homes are governed by Oregon state laws and regulations governing nearly every facet of operating a nursing home. This includes everything from staffing, required meals, and down to the number of pillows or bedsheets. These laws and regulations cover the entire gambit of what a nursing home must do for their residents. There is also a body of common law, or judge-made law, which a nursing home facility must also comply with to avoid negligent injuries.
If a resident suffers elder abuse or nursing home injuries, the legal process usually starts by consulting with an experience Oregon nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer. Your lawyer will gather information about your case and then attempt to resolve the matter without resulting to remedies in court. If negotiations stall, your lawyer will commence an action by summons and complaint. These documents call the defendant(s) to court to answer the allegations in the complaint. The defendant(s) will serve an answer responding to the allegations, and you may file a reply.
Thereafter, the parties will proceed through discovery which is the exchange of information and let the court know when the parties are ready for trial. Once ready for trial, there are usually motions asking for relief (commonly to dismiss the case). The judge will rule on these motions and then set the case down for a trial. Approximately 95% of cases settle before going to trial.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Nursing Home Abuse in Oregon?
The statute of limitations is a time limit on filing a lawsuit in Oregon. Different types of claims have a different length of time to file a claim. If a resident of nursing home abuse files a lawsuit outside of the time limit, a court could automatically dismiss the case as untimely. This means even the most meritorious of cases could be dismissed on procedure. This is why it is imperative for all personal injury victims to always ask a nursing abuse lawyer on the statute of limitations for their possible claim.
Once you suspect abuse of a loved one you should contact an experienced Oregon Nursing Home Abuse lawyer
to help you to determine the statute of limitations. In general, there is a two-year statute of limitations for most nursing home injury cases in Oregon. However, if your loved passes away before the injury claim is completed, under certain circumstances, there can be an additional year added to the statute of limitations.
If your loved one’s death is caused by nursing home negligence or abuse, you could have a wrongful death claim. Generally, a wrongful death claim has a three-year statute of limitations in Oregon.
While the above limitation time periods offer general guidance, you should ALWAYS speak with an experienced attorney about the facts of your specific case to determine the exact statute of limitations in your case as certain circumstances can sometimes shorten or lengthen the statute of limitations period.
For example, if the nursing home receives federal assistance or is a Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) Hospital or VA facility or is run by the State of Oregon or is closely related to the state or federal government, there could be specific tort claim notice requirements or governmental statutes of limitations which apply and that need to be followed in order to preserve your lawsuit. Often, these tort claim notices and governmental statute of limitations can be shorter than standard statutes of limitations. This is why you must have a nursing home abuse lawyer evaluate your loved one’s statute of limitations.
Also, you should not wait until the last minute to contact a nursing home abuse law firm. Nursing home attorneys that get exceptional results for their clients generally like to prepare their cases for months in advance of filing the lawsuit to make sure that the case is supported by strong evidence and expert opinions which give the client the best chance of succeeding. If you wait until the last minute, it may be difficult to find a good lawyer willing to accept the case as they may not think that they have sufficient time to investigate and prepare the matter properly.
How Do I File a Claim Against a Nursing Home in Oregon?
Under Oregon law, a claim with a nursing home in Oregon is filed by filing the documents known as the summons and complaint. The summons is the document which calls a party to court. The complaint is the document which sets forth the allegations constituting a cause of action and requesting relief. The cause of action is a legally recognized claim that is permissible under Oregon law.
While a party could file a claim without a lawyer, it is not advisable and also usually results in the victim recovering much less compensation than they would with an experienced elder abuse attorney or losing their case altogether. This is because an insurance company will have an adjuster who is trained to underpay and undervalue a claim working against you on your case, usually with the support of a lawyer behind-the-scenes. Adjusters receive extensive treatment on how to trick unrepresented victims into admitting facts or points of law that might not apply or lulling them into complacency. This means that an unrepresented person could be swindled into accepting less or receiving less than a claim is worth. Always have an experienced Oregon nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer review your case and protect your rights to compensation by filing a claim for you.
How Do You Prove Nursing Negligence?
Negligence is a principle of law available in all states and many countries throughout the world. This principle is a very flexible standard that dictates what reasonable conduct a person should engage in. Negligence could be an act or omissions that a person was obliged to do or not do under the law.
A person is negligent when he or she fails to act as a reasonably prudent person would have under similar circumstances to avoid unnecessary harm to another. A business like a nursing home can be held negligent too and so can the government.
In order to prove negligence, a victim must establish that the other party had a 1) duty of care as a reasonable person, 2) breached that duty of care, and 3) the victim suffered damages which 4) were caused by the breach of the duty of care. Most nursing home abuse and neglect cases revolve around establishing the duty of care and causation, or that the breach caused the damages a resident suffered. Usually this requires medical expert opinions or testimony if the duty and the breach were medical in nature.
Time Limits for Filing a Claim Against Nursing Home Abuse in Oregon
The time limits for filing a claim against nursing home abuse in Oregon are known as the statute of limitations.
*YOU SHOULD ALWAYS CONSULT WITH AN EXPERIENCED OREGON NURSING HOME ABUSE LAWYER ABOUT THE PARTICULAR FACTS OF YOUR AS THEY CAN IMPACT THE SPECIFIC TIME LIMIT FOR YOUR CASE AND CERTAIN FACTS CAN EITHER SHORTEN OR LENGTHEN THE TIME LIMIT TO BRING YOUR CASE*
2-Year Statute of Limitations
– for nonfatal injuries sustained in an Oregon nursing home. For example, if your loved one is negligently harmed and the negligence causes a bedsore or broken bone, but fortunately the resident recovers from the injury, then they generally have a two-year time limit to bring a lawsuit against the facility.
3-Year Statute of Limitations
– if your loved one is killed directly because of a nursing home’s negligence than you likely have three years to bring a claim under the Oregon Wrongful Death Statute. Or if your loved one suffered from nursing home abuse or negligence such as a broken bone caused by negligence and did not die from it, but then later died of old age or an underlying medical condition not related to the facility’s negligence, sometimes you get an additional year to pursue your loved one’s case on their behalf.
Please understand that the above time limits are just general guidance. Certain facts about your case or about the facility such as whether it is owned by the State of Oregon, the federal government, or receives significant funding from them can either shorten or lengthen the time limit you have to act.
As such, to determine the exact time limits for your case or your loved one’s case, you must sit down with an experienced Oregon nursing home negligence lawyer and go through what happened to get a definitive answer
What is the Average Settlement For Nursing Home Neglect in Oregon?
There is never one set price for a nursing home case. And the average settlement for a nursing home neglect case or trial verdict in Oregon depends on a number of factors. These factors largely include many of the following:
- Type of injury
- Liability factors, including risks at trial
- What type of facility (nursing home, assisted living, rehabilitation, or hospital)
- Medical costs, including for emergency treatment
- Medical liens, including CMS or ERISA
- Future medical costs
- Pain and suffering
- Future pain and suffering
- For wrongful death cases, burial costs and expenses, and
- Many other types of factors;
- The likeability or unlikability of the individual;
- and most importantly, the lawyer you choose. Some lawyers work day in and day out on their clients’ cases and spare no expense in putting together the strongest case. These lawyers hire experts from all over the country to strengthen the case, take many depositions, conduct focus groups, don’t give up when the defense lawyer refuses to give needed documents and evidence, and truly understand where the nursing home departed from the standard of care and how to best prove it. Given the exact same case, depending on the lawyer you choose, different lawyers could get drastically different results.
For example, a lawyer who is inexperienced in litigating a nursing home case and trying cases to juries or one who a lawyer who puts little effort into your case could quickly lose your case.
A lawyer who has too many cases and just tries to settle as many of them as possible as quickly as possible may only get you a modest settlement. In the legal community, these lawyers are often referred to as “mill firms” or “high volume lawyers.” These lawyers operate like mass production manufacturing factories: they get as many cases as they can, apply the same generic analysis and work on every case, and then set them up for a quick settlement. These law firms churn and burn cases. They often refer to their clients as “files” and their business model is simply to get as many “files” as possible and settle as quickly as possible and move on to the next file. When this happens, there is very little chance that their client’s case resolves for the best result. Also, if the insurance company or nursing home forces these high volume law firms to go to trial, they generally get steamrolled as they have not done the work on the frontend to prepare the case for the jury trial as they anticipated a settlement instead and now are caught off guard and are generally playing catchup throughout the trial which is never a good sign for a good result.
A lawyer who works on his or her craft day in and day out and who relentlessly chases down the evidence and the best experts for your case could get a trial verdict or settlement in multiple millions of dollars. These lawyers and law firms tend to only take on a handful of cases at a time so that they can put the necessary work and expenses into each client’s case to drastically increase the chances for the best possible outcome.
If you want to make sure you have an experienced lawyer handling your case you should ask him or her about their past results and settlements and verdicts and to speak with other clients they have successfully represented in the past about their experience. While no lawyer can guarantee results based upon past results and any case can be lost, a handful of the same Oregon lawyers routinely get the largest settlements and verdicts in the state again and again. These lawyers tend to get the largest jury verdicts and settlements because they are known by the defense lawyers as formidable trial lawyers. And, if the defense firm does not want to settle the case, these lawyers are willing, ready, and capable of putting everything on the line for their clients at trial.
Because each case is different, never try to evaluate your case on your own. Ask an experienced Oregon nursing home abuse lawyer for help. We can work with experts on the medicine and liability to fairly assess your claim and then review jury verdict reports and other claims that could help get you the compensation you deserve.
What is Required to File a Claim Against Nursing Home Abuse And Neglect in Oregon?
In order to commence a lawsuit for nursing home abuse and neglect in Oregon, a resident and his or her family will need to fit their claim within an acceptable cause of action recognized under Oregon law. This commonly means a negligence cause of action. Where the negligence is based on medical errors, a victim will need a medical opinion stating that the standard of care was breached. In other types of cases, an expert may be necessary to show that the standard of care was violated in other ways.
Before filing a lawsuit, a victim should also have these relevant pieces of information:
- Nursing home records (including admission paperwork)
- Medical records
- Hospital reports
- Incident reports
- A list of potential witnesses
- Facts about what happened
- First responder information
- Contracts with a nursing home or facility
- Any CDC/CMS/Oregon Health Department letters or violations related to your claim against the nursing home, and
- Any other information that could help your claim.
Contact Kuhlman Law for one Experienced Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in Oregon
If a loved one suffered from nursing home abuse, neglect, or malpractice, ask our committed and experienced Oregon nursing home abuse lawyers for help. We offer FREE consultations and, if we agree to accept your case, we will conduct a thorough investigation to uncover what occurred. There is also no upfront financial risk if we accept your case as we handle cases by contingency fee agreement. Call or visit our website to use our free and easy-to-use contact us case evaluation box available here
We handle cases throughout the state including Bend and Portland Oregon, Redmond, Central Oregon, Sisters, Multnomah County, Ashland, Deschutes County, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Lane County, Medford, Gresham, Albany, Beaverton, Umatilla, Pendleton, Oregon City, Beaverton, Springfield, Tigard, Keizer, Lake Oswego, Grants Pass, McMinnville, Tualatin, West Linn, Woodburn, Forest Grove, Wilsonville, Newberg, Roseburg, Happy Valley, Klamath Falls, Milwaukie, Hermiston, Coos Bay, The Dalles, Newport, Prineville, Florence, Lincoln City, Madras, Astoria, Hillsboro, Sherwood, Central Point, Canby, Troutdale, Dallas, Hood River, Silverton, and Vancouver, Washington.
Please act quickly, there is a limited time (Statute of Limitations) in which you can bring a claim under the law