Premises Liability in Michigan
Trusting a nursing home to take care of an elderly loved one is a difficult decision, and as nursing home neglect attorneys at our law firm know, sometimes facilities fall far short of expectations. Since the elderly are especially vulnerable, nursing home administrators must take great care to ensure the safety of their residents, and medical staff must be proactive in identifying when a resident is in distress.
Medical malpractice isn’t the only potential hazard facing nursing home residents. Some injuries, such as slips and falls, aren’t always caused by medical staff. Incidents resulting from improperly maintained buildings are covered under premises liability laws that mandate that a building’s owner keep floors, walls, doors, and other parts of the building safe and in good condition.
While premises liability laws apply to many different types of facilities, they are of particular concern in nursing homes. A slip and fall accident can cause a broken hip or even kill an elderly resident. If you or a loved one has recently suffered from an accident at a nursing home facility, you may need to sort out what types of laws apply to your case.
Examples of Premises Liability
The owner of any building must take reasonable steps to maintain their building, and to warn occupants of any hazards. For example, if a stairway railing is damaged, the owner of the building must put some warning tape or sign on it until it can be fixed. Wet floors and other temporary hazards must be marked as well.
Since nursing homes serve a particularly vulnerable population, the standard of care and protection provided is a little higher. Resident rooms and common areas must be well-maintained, and outdoor areas need to be free of loose pavers and other trip hazards.
Naturally, certain types of unforeseeable circumstances may be excluded from premises liability. There are also exceptions for reckless or negligent behavior by the person who was injured.
Possibility of Medical Malpractice
In some cases, some investigation may be required to determine if medical malpractice contributed to an accident. For example, if a nursing home doctor prescribes a medication that makes a resident dizzy and does not provide adequate warning, then a resulting fall could be considered medical malpractice.
There is also the possibility of medical malpractice occurring while injuries are being treated by nursing home staff. In these cases, a simple and treatable injury could quickly spiral into something life-threatening.
Sorting Out the Facts
In Michigan, the statute of limitations on most personal injury cases is three years. However, the statute of limitations on medical malpractice cases is just two years. This means that family members must take action as soon as they find out that their loved one has suffered a preventable or unexplained injury.
The number of different staff that works in a nursing home means that sorting out premises liability and medical malpractice claims can be difficult. It’s even more difficult to determine what happened to individuals with dementia and other memory problems. Since these patients cannot always advocate for themselves, family members must be even more proactive and ask facility staff about their loved one’s condition. Even if an injury seems straightforward, there may be an underlying cause that shows lack of proper management by the nursing home’s administrators.
Seeking Legal Help
Slips and falls are sometimes an unavoidable part of getting old, but in a nursing home setting, they’re often preventable. If there are any suspicious injuries on your loved one or you know that they’ve suffered a preventable injury, it’s time to get legal help.
To receive the compensation you need to take care of your loved one, you’ll need the help of an expert nursing home neglect attorney team. At Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., we have a nurse attorney and other experts on staff to help handle your case with care. We can assist you with filing an initial claim, as well as pursuing the case all the way through the trial phase.