Care Home Negligence Claims
When you entrust a relative to a care home, you hope and believe that they will receive the best possible care and treatment. We understand that alongside the practical considerations of choosing a care home, there is an emotional weight to your decision, and it’s crucial that you feel that your trust is well placed. In the light of this, it can be incredibly upsetting if you discover that your relative has suffered unnecessarily due to inadequate levels of care.
Most care homes do provide good levels of care and treat their patients with the respect and humanity that you would rightly expect. Unfortunately, however there are instances when, for a number of reasons, standards slip – leaving residents to suffer the consequences.
If you feel or suspect that your relative has been negatively impacted by inadequate care, talk to us. As a leading medical negligence law firm, Sheldon Davidson Solicitors will listen to your concerns about the welfare or treatment of a care home resident and advise you on the best course of action to take.
Do I have grounds for a claim?
Care homes and nursing homes in the UK are obliged to maintain certain standards and levels of care. Residents should expect that their primary care needs will be met – this means that they should be helped to wash and dress themselves and should be fed and given any medication that they need.
If these standards are not met, this could qualify as negligence and you may have grounds for a claim. Abuse or injury (resulting from negligence or abuse) are also sadly common reasons that claims are brought against care homes.
At Sheldon Davidson Solicitors, we understand how upsetting that these claims can be, and the impact that they have on victims and their families. If you have concerns about the treatment of someone in a care home and think that you might have cause to make a claim, we will use our expertise and experience to support you through the process.
How do I make a claim?
In order to make a claim against a care or nursing home, you will need to prove liability on their part. It will help you to gather as much evidence as you possibly can; keep a diary or make notes of any dates or instances when you believe incidents of abuse or neglect took place. Photographic evidence is helpful, as are any witness statements and details of any injuries or medical issues caused by negligence or abuse. Gather together as much information as you can, and one of our solicitors will assess your case and advise you on the next steps.
We can’t undo the damage done. What we can do is to make sure that your relative or loved one gets the help, or the justice that they deserve, whilst also making changes for the better for other residents. Highlighting issues of negligence, injury or abuse often leads to an examining of procedures, so that lessons are learnt and no one has to suffer the same mistakes again in the future.
Who can claim?
Victims in claims against care homes are some of the most vulnerable people in society, and we understand that for many reasons, they may not be able to make a claim for themselves.
There are a number of people who can bring a claim. Sometimes this will be the victim themselves, although often this is not possible for several reasons.
Otherwise, claimants can be:
- any direct dependents of the victim
- the victim’s immediate family
- the victim’s estate, on the event that the victim has died.
Speak to us to determine if you have a valid claim – one of our experienced solicitors will give you specific advised based on your situation. We have extensive experience of handling cases of negligence and are one of the leading firms in this area.
Can I claim even if the victim is deceased?
If you believe that a resident suffered unnecessarily while in the care of a home, and they have since died, it may still possible to bring a claim. However, there are time limits to be considered, so it’s vital to speak to us as soon as you can.
Is there a time limit on making a claim?
Claims must be brought within three years of the negligent treatment occurring, so its important to take action as soon as possible. To avoid the risk of a claim expiring, get in touch as soon as you can.
In certain cases, it is not always immediately obvious that an injury or form of abuse has occurred. In such cases, it can be argued that the 3 year period to make a claim should start from the 'date of knowledge'; this is date from which there is an awareness that an injury has occurred or that a form of abuse is being experienced. This can often be cited in situations where abuse, illness or injuries develop over a prolonged period.
What are the signs of abuse to watch for?
The most common types of claim broadly break down into three categories:
- negligent care
Sometimes it can be quite easy to detect that something is wrong, for example if a resident suffers a fall or an injury and you know that the incident could have been avoided if proper care was taken.
However, there are more subtle signs of neglect and abuse to be aware of:
- Pressure sores – bed or pressure sores can occasionally be an issue with those who are bedbound, but a good care regime should virtually eliminate them. Excessive or infected sores are painful, and a sign that the patients needs are not being met.
- Bruises or marks – these can occur in daily life but should be monitored, as they could also indicate a lack of care being taken.
- Malnutrition or dehydration – as the most basic of primary needs, no patient should be left hungry or dehydrated. If you are worried about someone who you think is not getting the help they need, it is vital that you take action as soon as possible, as malnutrition and dehydration can take effect quickly.
- Inadequate medical or dental treatment – if you feel that medical concerns are not being treated or addressed quickly, or if a patient is not having their medication administered as prescribed, this can be a sign that basic care is being neglected.
- Trips and falls – patients should be helped to move around their environment safely and there are procedures in place to help them to be hoisted, lifted or helped safely around. Failure to adequately monitor or assist patients with their mobility could be considered negligence.
- Change in behaviour or outlook – if you notice changes in the behaviour of a relative in a care home, for example, if they become withdrawn or seem unhappy or fearful, this can be a sign that they are experiencing emotional or verbal abuse. This can be truly upsetting, especially if the victim does not feel able to confide in anyone about their treatment.
These are just some signs to be aware of, but if you notice that a loved one is suffering with any of these issues it could be a sign that something untoward is happening to them. Discuss your concerns with the appropriate manager - this should always be your first course of action, but if you feel that your concerns are not being dealt with then speak to us. Sadly, we have dealt with many incidents such as these, but we will use our experience to work with you to try to make things right.
How can I report care home abuse?
If you are not satisfied with the care someone is receiving, don't be afraid to take action. In the first instance, it may be best to speak directly to the nursing home's management. They might not be aware if a single member of staff is abusive or negligent, especially in circumstances where employees sometimes work unsupervised.
Try to compile evidence of neglect or abuse so you can show that you have good reason to complain, and make sure you keep evidence of your complaint.
If you think the standard of care provided by a nursing home is criminally poor and you have not received a satisfactory response to complaints, you might want to consider suing. This is especially the case if you have suffered out-of-pocket expenses as a result of poor residential care services.
Infections and outbreaks
In shared living accommodation there is always the extra risk of infectious outbreaks; diseases ranging from norovirus to, as we have seen recently, Covid-19 can quickly spread through a care home or nursing home. The risk to patients using communal spaces is great, so care home staff are vigorously trained in the prevention and management of such outbreaks. If you feel that an infection has not been managed correctly, causing harm to residents, there may be a case to answer.
What can be claimed?
The levels of recompense available for successful claims depends largely on the type of accident, injury or incident that has occurred:
- general damages – damages are designed to compensate a victim for any pain and suffering that have been caused due to the accident or injury that has occurred.
- special damages – sometimes an accident or injury can result in other unforeseen expenses, such as loss of earnings, or any medical expenses incurred.
- funeral expenses – if the incident or injury caused the death of a patient, it is possible that funeral expenses will also be claimable.
Each case is different, but one of our solicitors will listen to your case and will advise you what to include in your claim.
How long will a claim against a care home take?
It is impossible to give a precise estimate of how long your claim will take to settle from start to finish, as every claim is different, and some are more straightforward than others. However, rest assured that when you choose SDS Solicitors to act on your behalf, you choose a firm with a proven track record and extensive experience in this area - we know how to proceed with your claim as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
Why Choose Sheldon Davidson Solicitors?
Sheldon Davidson solicitors understand the trauma involved when a resident of a care home is harmed by a failure of process to keep them safe.
We are passionate about helping clients to seek appropriate justice and recompense, and our track record speaks for itself.
Based in the North West, we work with clients across England and Wales, and we can offer you an initial consultation and a no win, no fee service if we think that you have good grounds for a case.
Our Care Home Negligence Solicitors act regularly for clients across Greater Manchester including Ashton, Bury, Bolton, Radcliffe, Prestwich, Middleton, Failsworth, Rochdale, Oldham, and Whitefield.
Sheldon Davidson Solicitors are a Lexcel accredited law firm. The Lexcel standard is only awarded by the Law Society to firms who meet the highest standards of practice management and customer service.
With Sheldon Davidson Solicitors in Manchester, you can be confident that your care home claim is in safe hands.
We specialise in no win no fee claims, which means if you don't win, you won't have to pay.
Call us for free now using the number at the top of the page or complete the online contact form and a member of our team will get back to you.