If an elderly relative moves into a care home, you would expect that they will be treated well, looked after properly and kept safe. While many care home residents have no problems at all and are happy with the care they receive, accidents in care homes do sometimes happen. If a loved one has been left ill or injured because of failings by care home staff, you could be entitled to compensation. In this article about care home injury claims, we’ll explore what types of negligence in a care home could lead to a compensation claim and how the claims process works.
We have a team of specialist advisors who could help you at the start of the claims process. We provide a free consultation where your options will be reviewed and legal advice will be given. If your claim appears to be viable, we’ll ask a personal injury or medical negligence solicitor from our team to contact you. If they agree to take your case on, they’ll represent you on a No Win, No Fee basis. As you won’t need to pay for their work in advance, you should find the care home claims process a lot less stressful.
Please call us on 0800 652 1345 when you’re ready to begin your claim. To learn more about claiming after being injured in a care home before you get in touch, please continue reading.
Can I claim compensation for care home negligence?
So that our solicitors don’t waste your time, they’ll carry out a thorough assessment of your case before accepting it. This is where they’ll check whether:
- The care home breached its duty of care through an act of negligence; and
- As a result of that negligence, the claimant (you or your loved one) was made ill or suffered an injury.
As you can imagine, proving negligence in a care home environment can be hard. We believe that our solicitors can make the process easier because of their legal training and experience of care home injury claims.
Causes of care home injury claims
In this section, we’ll look at a range of common injuries and illnesses that could lead to a care home injury claim. They include:
Ulcers and pressure sores
These can occur due to:
- A patient being sat or laid in the same position for a long time.
- The incorrect application of plaster cast after a fracture.
If care home staff are taking care of a resident properly, pressure should not happen. Ulcers/pressure sores can be painful and take quite some time to heal. Infections are possible and these can stop the patient from moving freely or walking.
Fractures and injuries caused by lifting and handling errors leading to falls
Falls are a common cause of injuries to care home residents. They can be at risk of being injured if:
- Inadequate supervision is performed.
- Staff fail to use the correct lifting procedures.
- They are not given the correct mobility aid or their’s is faulty.
While not all falls in care homes will be caused by negligent carers and staff, those that could’ve been avoidable could result in a care home negligence claim. Injuries that could be claimed for following a fall include head injuries, fractures, severe bruising, sprains, strains and soft tissue injuries.
Care home abuse and neglect
The thought that your loved one has been injured in a care home because of deliberate neglect or abuse by staff or another resident is horrifying. If you believe this is the reason for your loved one’s suffering, it’s a good idea to seek out specialist legal representation. Our team of solicitors can help so please get in touch if you’d like free advice on your options.
Medical negligence in a care home
As solicitors are not medical experts, they may need to use independent specialists in cases of medical negligence.
During the claims process where medical negligence is suspected, an expert will be asked to review everything to see if the medical professional responsible for the claimant’s injuries was negligent. The test for this is called the Bolam test. Essentially, they will check whether, given the exact same set of circumstances, they would’ve done anything differently. If the expert suggests that the defendant was negligent, you could expect to be compensated.
Prescription and medication mistakes
The importance of managing a care home resident’s medication properly cannot be understated. Mistakes can lead to serious illnesses that could even be life-threatening. Some examples of care home negligence relating to prescription errors include:
- Administering or dispensing the wrong medication.
- Failure to give clear instructions on when medication should be taken.
- Poor record-keeping relating to the patient’s medical history.
- Where the misdiagnosis of a patient’s condition results in the wrong medication being prescribed.
- Failing to dispense prescribed medication at the right time.
If you believe that care home negligence has caused you or your loved one to suffer because of medical negligence, call us today. Your call will be handled in confidence and you’ll be given free legal advice on what to do next.
Duty of care to care home residents and staff
It goes without saying that care homes and residential facilities have a duty of care to their clients and their staff. While care homes up and down the UK are regularly visited by regulators and inspectors, a number of issues do emerge on a regular basis such as:
- Substandard levels of training for care home staff.
- Inadequate health and safety assessments.
- Poorly maintained equipment.
- Encouraging unqualified staff to carry out various procedures.
- Poor monitoring of care home residents.
- Inadequate reporting of care home accidents.
These are just a selection of the issues that are encountered by regulators and inspectors in some care homes that could entitle a claimant to compensation.
How much compensation for care home negligence could I claim?
If you do decide to claim for injury in a care home, any compensation you claim will be based on the pain the claimant endured (general damages) and any associated financial impact (special damages). A claim could include compensation to cover:
- The physical pain that resulted from the injury and subsequent treatment.
- Any psychiatric trauma the injuries have caused. This could include suffering caused by distress, depression, anxiety and similar conditions.
- The cost of private medical treatment if it will help improve recovery times.
- Any additional care costs or a value to cover the time a loved one spent caring for the claimant. This might be the case if you had to move a loved one back home to care for them.
- Travel expenses linked to the claimant’s injuries.
- Lost income. This may be the case if you’ve had to take time off work to care for your loved one.
Care home negligence and injury claims can be complex but they must be considered properly before they’re filed because you can only claim once. The solicitors on our team specialise in such claims and will spend time reviewing your case in an attempt to secure the maximum compensation possible. Please call 0800 652 1345 today if you’d like to know more.
Providing proof of neglect in a care home
To make a successful care home claim, you’ll need evidence to help prove neglect or negligence, who was to blame and the injuries that were sustained. What you could use to support your case includes:
- Photographic proof. While it’s not a nice thing to do, if your loved one has any visible injuries you should take pictures of them. Ideally, if your camera has a timestamp feature, this should be used to help verify when you took the photographs.
- Correspondence from the care home. Any letters or emails you’ve sent or received about the incident should be kept in a safe place. Your solicitor could use them to help piece together who was at fault and whether negligence can be proven.
- Witness information. You should also give your solicitor the names and contact details (with their permission) of anybody who is close to the claimant and who has seen them recently. They may be able to provide a statement to confirm how the claimant has been affected by their injuries. Also, you should get the details of anybody else who was present at the time of the accident.
- Medical records. Any medical records relating to the claimant’s injuries can be requested by your solicitor. These could go some way to explaining the extent of their injuries and the treatment they had to undergo.
- A diary. Whether you’re claiming for yourself or on behalf of a loved one, it’s a good idea to write everything down. This will make it much easier to discuss the claim with your solicitor. Try to make note of any relevant dates and expenses you’ve incurred.
- Investigation reports. In some cases, incidents might need to be investigated by the police (abuse claims), the Care Quality Commission or other bodies. Any report that provides an insight into how the claimant ended up being injured could be used as additional evidence during the car home negligence claims process.
As part of our free consultation, any proof you’ve collected already will be reviewed and you’ll be given advice on whether anything else might be required. Please get in touch today to arrange your free consultation if you have any questions.
Time limits for care home negligence and injury claims
If you’re claiming for injuries you’ve sustained in a care home because of negligence, you’ll have 3-years to do so. This limitation period will either begin from the date you were injured or from your date of knowledge (when a doctor diagnosed your injuries or illness). If you have decided to claim on somebody else’s behalf, there is no time limit whilst they lack the mental capacity to process the claim themselves.
In either case, we would suggest that it’s easier to begin your care home injury claim as soon as possible. By doing so, you should find it easier to remember everything that happened. You’ll also have enough time to collect evidence and for your solicitor to arrange for medical reports to be compiled.
If you have any immediate financial costs to deal with, your solicitor may be able to help by requesting an interim payment from the defendant. Please get in touch if you’d like to know more.
Claiming compensation on behalf of a care home resident
Normally, personal injury claims are made by the injured party. However, the law understands that some injured parties (as mentioned above) lack the mental capacity to represent themselves in legal matters. As a result, a relative, a loved one or friend could become a litigation friend to help process the claim. Our solicitors can help if you wish to proceed on this basis.
Once the paperwork has been signed, you’ll act on behalf of the claimant. The claim will progress normally but you’ll need to deal with solicitors and courts (where necessary) and make decisions.
To find out more about becoming a litigation friend, please contact our team today.
No Win, No Fee care home claims
Some care home claims can take a while to be processed. That can be quite worrying especially if you’ve hired a solicitor to represent you. However, if you work with us, that’s not such a big problem as our team provide a No Win, No Fee service for any claim they take on. That means you can relax knowing that you won’t have to pay any legal fees if your case fails. Furthermore, your solicitor won’t ask you to pay them upfront.
To formalise this, you’ll both sign a No Win, No Fee contract. The type of contract that our solicitors use is called a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). This will make it clear that you’ll only pay your solicitor’s ‘success fee’ if you are paid compensation. The success fee is a percentage of your settlement amount. Legally, you can’t be charged any higher than 25% of your compensation when funding your case with a CFA.
To check if you’re eligible to use one of our No Win, No Fee solicitors, please call today.
Starting a care home negligence claim today
We hope our article on care home negligence claims has proven useful. If you’ve decided to take action, the easiest way to contact us is to call 0800 652 1345. During the call, we’ll explain how everything works and review your case for free. Should your claim be accepted, it will be handled by one of our No Win, No Fee solicitors.
If you’ve got any additional questions about care home injury claims, please feel free to call our use live chat to get in touch.