Articles Posted in Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Nursing home abuse victims face some of the most painful physical and emotional injuries. Although the criminal authorities can choose to investigate an incident of nursing home abuse, the victim can also bring a civil claim against his or her abuser to recover compensation for his or her injuries. As seasoned North Carolina nursing home abuse attorneys, we have the knowledge and experience necessary to ensure that you are treated fairly and respectfully during this painful and stressful situation.

In a recent case, the North Carolina Court of Appeals considered a claim in which the plaintiff appealed from a dismissal of her complaint alleging that a nursing home facility was responsible for injuries that her mother received while her mother was in the facility’s care. The lower court dismissed her action on the basis that she did not name the right defendant in the lawsuit.

According to the complaint, the facility where the mother was admitted for respite care attempted to move her using a lift. The plaintiff alleged that the facility was negligent in operating the lift, causing her mother to suffer injuries. In her complaint, however, the plaintiff named another company as the defendant. Instead of answering the complaint, the named defendant filed a motion to dismiss and provided information seeking judicial notice of public records showing that it did not own or operate the facility. The documents were the business organization papers for the company that did own the facility.

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In a recent North Carolina nursing home case, the defendants appealed a lower court’s order denying their motion to compel arbitration against a plaintiff who brought a lawsuit in her representative capacity as administratrix of her mother’s estate.

The appellate court explained that the plaintiff’s forecast of evidence tended to show that her mother fell in 2007, and due to the fall, she needed surgery. She was admitted to the defendant’s rehab center, where she stayed as a long-term patient under the rehab center’s case.

The defendants required the plaintiff’s mother to sign a form as a precondition to her admission. The contract designated the mother as the “resident” and the plaintiff as the responsible party. The plaintiff signed the admission paperwork and accepted financial responsibility for the mother’s time at the rehab facility. A Special Power of Attorney form was referenced, noting that the resident had appointed the plaintiff as the responsible party. Additionally, a seven-part arbitration clause was signed.

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In a 2016 nursing home negligence case, the plaintiff appealed from a dismissal of claims arising from her mother’s death. The case arose when the mother died in a nursing facility after suffering a fall. Her sister wouldn’t authorize treatment for the injuries from the fall. Her condition worsened, and eventually she died. Her daughter brought a nursing home negligence and wrongful death lawsuit.

She didn’t attach a Rule 9(j) certification to her nursing home negligence complaint. The defendants asked the trial court to dismiss the plaintiff’s lawsuit. The court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims for failing to comply with Rule 9(j) of the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure, which applies to medical malpractice lawsuits, determining that all of the claims constituted medical malpractice, and therefore, the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur did not apply.

On appeal, the plaintiff argued that Rule 9(j) didn’t apply because she wasn’t suing for medical malpractice. The appellate court found that some of the claims were for medical malpractice, while others weren’t, and they arose out of the defendants’ actions after the mother’s death. The 11 claims in the complaint were labeled as wrongful death, medical negligence, negligence, loss of sepulcher, contractual breach, fiduciary duty breach, bad faith, elder abuse, emotional distress of the decedent’s survivors, pain and suffering, and conspiracy. The appellate court determined that some of these claims had to do with the conduct of the defendants before the mother died, and others were related to actions taken after the mother’s death.

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