Category: Medical Malpractice

Depositions in Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

If you have filed a medical malpractice lawsuit, there may be one or more oral depositions conducted in connection with your case. It’s a good idea to have an understanding of depositions and how they may affect your malpractice claim.
What is an Oral Deposition?
An oral deposition is customary in most types of court cases.
  • Depositions are one of several pretrial tools available to learn what an individual knows about the case and to preserve their testimony for use in court.
  • The party being questioned at a deposition swears to tell the truth, and the attorneys involved then ask questions.
  • Cross examination may also take place.
  • Although the deposition will be held in an office outside of the courthouse, the questioning is conducted very much like it would be in a courtroom at a trial.
  • A New York court reporter will take down the questions and answers verbatim using a stenograph machine. Electronic recording using a tape recorder or video camera may occur as well.
What Will be Discussed During the Deposition?
There may be things said during the deposition other than questions and answers. All discussion is recorded unless the attorneys agree otherwise.
  • The lawyers may make objections or engage in conversations with each other.
  • The claimant in a malpractice suit, known as the plaintiff, will be asked to give basic background information such as home address, birthdate, and marital status.
  • The plaintiff will also be asked questions about the history of the underlying medical problem or condition, medical treatment sought, medicine taken and complications resulting from any treatment.
  • The defense attorney will delve into all details of the underlying claim and will probably ask what the plaintiff believes the doctor did wrong. The plaintiff will also be asked about injuries or conditions resulting from the malpractice and about any similar injuries or conditions from before or after the malpractice incident.
  • The doctor’s lawyer will also explore the damages claimed by the patient. This could include medical expenses, wage loss, pain and suffering, permanent injuries, limitations and loss of enjoyment of life.
  • The defendant’s doctor in a malpractice case may also attend a deposition. The doctor will be asked about his or her education, licenses held, board certifications and years in practice. The doctor will be questioned in detail about the plaintiff’s medical history, about the treatment given to the plaintiff and about any other health care professionals involved in that treatment.
  • The available medical records will be thoroughly examined and discussed.
  • Plaintiff’s counsel will want to explore the risks and complications of the procedure or treatment rendered to the plaintiff and any appropriate alternatives.
What Happens After the Deposition?
After the deposition has concluded, the court reporter finalizes their notes. This final deposition can be used in court as a legal document. The written transcript, or parts of it, may be read to the jury during proceedings. This is one reason why depositions are an important part of any malpractice case. They can have a profound impact on its outcome. A qualified medical malpractice attorney will have extensive experience with depositions. That experience may help a malpractice plaintiff receive fair compensation for their medical malpractice damages. Contact a malpractice attorney if you have been seriously injured by a negligent healthcare provider.
Veritext_Logo_ColorThanks to our friends and contributors from Veritext for their insight into depositions and medical malpractice lawsuits.

Abused in an Assisted Living Home: Do I have a Claim?

Assisted living facilities are a wonderful option for family members who want their independence but still need the everyday care provided by those who work in an assisted living facility. In addition, not everyone who ages has family able to take them in and care for them throughout the day, and not everyone who is aging wants to live with their kids and grandkids.

Assisted living facilities can provide residents with:

  • The ability to care for themselves throughout the day
  • Interact with others also living in the same location
  • Enjoy activities provided by the facility.

These facilities allow for independence while also helping residents get to and from appointments and care for themselves when needed. Unfortunately, there is still a presence of abuse in these facilities.

The Risks of Assisted Living Facilities

Assisted living abuse is not a victimless crime, and it’s not one you want to learn your loved one is experiencing. No one wants to think that their elderly relatives and loved ones are being abused in their homes, but it happens.

Assisted Living Abuse

It’s difficult to think about this, but it happens. Assisted living residents might experience physical abuse from those who work in the facility, and they’re afraid to report it. This could be the typical type of abuse people hear about, but it can also occur when someone is restrained using excessive force. Anyone who experiences emotional or verbal abuse from those who work for the assisted living facility are being psychologically abused. Here are the most common forms of abuse:

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Psychological abuse
  • Neglect
  • Financial abuse

Neglect Cases

Neglect often occurs when there’s not enough people on staff to care for the residents. This can result in residents to:

  • Lack proper medication or doses.
  • Not be fed a healthy and balanced diet.
  • Suffer from dehydration.
  • Suffer from bed sores, rashes, and other issues due to a lack of clean facilities and staff.
  • Some facilities financially abuse their residents by forcing them to pay too much for their care, or by taking their money from them and limiting what they’re able to purchase. They may also outright steal from the resident.

What Are Your Legal Options?

A qualified attorney can help you stop the abuse of your loved one at an assisted living facility. If you recognize the signs of possible abuse, a Las Vegas personal injury lawyer can help you pursue justice.

Recognize the Signs of Possible Abuse

Signs might include:

  • Unexplained bodily damage or harm
  • Unsanitary living conditions
  • Depression or withdrawing from interactions with others, including close family members.

If you have noticed these symptoms, it’s imperative you speak to your loved one. Ask what they may be feeling or experiencing, but don’t be surprised if your loved one is afraid to tell you. They may not want you to worry or they may have been threatened that if they tell, they will be punished.


Contact an Little Rock Personal Injury Attorney for Help

Call an attorney to discuss your concerns. They can help you determine if abuse is actually occurring. An attorney can launch an investigation, collect evidence, and seek the opinions of professionals in the medical field. Ultimately, if your loved one has been abused, an attorney can help your family seek compensation for that abuse and get them the emotional and physical treatment they need to help them heal.

$5.5 Million Awarded in Colorado Nursing Home Death

McKnight’s Long-Term Care News is reporting that the family of a Colorado nursing home resident who died in the facility has received a potentially record-breaking $5.5 million verdict.

According to the family’s complaint, 77-year-old Sophia Alcon endured numerous instances of neglect and abuse from the time of her admission into the Life Care Center of Pueblo in the City of Pueblo until she passed away in November of 2013. Her family filed a wrongful death lawsuit in January of 2015, alleging that the nursing home’s neglect led to unexplained bruising, bedsores, infections, malnutrition and eventually, her death.

Her son, George Alcon, first brought the case against the facility into the court. He was awarded $5 million in punitive damages, which are monetary awards designed to punish wrongdoing and discourage the same behavior from others, $500,000 in damages stemming from his mother’s death and $57,000 for economic damages due to the facility’s negligence.

As noted by McKnight, this verdict is believed to be a new record for a wrongful death claim against a nursing facility in the state. It was also reported that no witnesses or corporate representatives showed up at the trial on behalf of Life Care Center of Pueblo’s parent company, Life Care Centers of America Inc., and this may have been a factor when it came to the jury’s award.

The facility’s Executive Director, Keith Jackson, did make a statement to KOAA 5 News, saying that Life Care Center of Pueblo will appeal the ruling but cannot provide any information regarding the Alcon family’s lawsuit or other pending cases due to health privacy laws and the legal process (https://www.koaa.com/story/31988352/jury-awards-55-million-in-suit-against-pueblo-nursing-home). Jackson also reaffirmed the nursing home’s commitment to providing quality care to its residents.

Currently, there are two other wrongful death cases against the Life Care Center of Pueblo. One involves the death of Sophia LaCombe in 2014, and one is for the death of Dorothy Balch, who passed away in the facility around the same time as Sophia Alcon. The Alcon case is also the second nursing home facility lawsuit in Pueblo to end with a verdict of millions of dollars in the last few years. In 2014, an 82-year-old resident and his family received an award of $3.3 million from a jury who found the Belmont Lodge Health Care Center guilty of repeated negligence. This negligence reportedly led to the resident losing significant weight and experiencing urinary tract infections, skin loss, and bedsores.

Unfortunately, neglect and abuse in nursing home facilities are happening all across the country, as covered recently in a detail investigative report by CNN. The elderly in these types of facilities often suffer from physical and/or mental health conditions that make them more vulnerable to mistreatment, and facilities have covered up or ignored instances of abuse and neglect by staff in past cases reported by the media.

If someone you care about has been harmed by the actions of a nursing home facility, speak to an attorney today.

The Difference Between Nursing Home Negligence and Abuse

The long-term care industry is an essential part of the American healthcare industry. Many institutions within the long-term care industry are committed to providing compassionate care to elderly patients. There are some exceptions, however. Some organizations fail to provide a reasonable standard of care for their patients — many of whom could be very vulnerable, and all of whom deserve the utmost respect. Nursing home negligence and nursing home abuse are two types of personal injury cases that involve the exploitation of residents living in long-term care facilities.

Nursing Home Negligence 

Negligence is legally defined as the failure to perform some duty that is owed to another person. If someone is negligent, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they acted deliberately. It simply means that the individual failed to act in a reasonable way, and this failure led to another person’s injury.

In a nursing home environment, it could be easy for staff members to become distracted and fail to perform their regular duties to a reasonable standard. It’s possible for staff members to forget to provide the correct medication to patients or fail to pay attention to basic hygienic needs. The staff members in these situations might not be considered abusive because they did not intend physical or emotional harm to residents.

As a Phoenix nursing home negligence lawyer might explain, extreme cases of negligence could potentially be prosecuted as criminal charges. Depending on the jurisdiction where the act occurs, if an act of negligence is done in a manner that would suggest “willful disregard” for the safety of another, or is done “with reckless abandon,” such an act could be prosecuted in a criminal court.

Nursing Home Abuse

Abuse, on the other hand, implies some level of intent. This could mean the blatant intention of causing physical harm or it could mean clear indifference to the consequences of one’s actions. Nursing home abuse may be prosecuted in criminal court because it could be considered a criminal offense.

In a nursing home setting, abuse may manifest itself in many forms. Residents may be physically, sexually, and/or emotionally abused. They might be financially abused by someone who wants to take advantage of their vulnerability.

Some cases of elder abuse don’t involve the staff members of the long-term care facility; rather, a family member of the injured individual could be to blame. This may be particularly evident if a relative is attempting to take advantage of the elder’s financial situation.

Taking Action in a Nursing Home Negligence or Abuse Case

Given the circumstances of an abusive act, abuse can cross the divide separating the civil act of negligence and the criminal act of assault and battery.

In questions of the exposure to liability on the part of the employer, an act of negligence would be the easier charge to defend if it could be shown that the incident was not a part of multiple occurrences of the same act, or if the act could be demonstrated to have been an honest mistake.

If you suspect that your elderly relative is being abused in a nursing home facility — by a staff member, by another resident, or even by a family member — don’t hesitate to contact a personal injury lawyer today.


ASThanks to our friends and contributors from Alex & Saavedra, P.C. for their insight into nursing home negligence.