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Can an injured person file a lawsuit against a nursing home?

The most private area for many Maryland residents to spend their time is at home. There are many different kinds of homes, however, as individuals live in differing circumstances.

For instance, some individuals depend on others for assistance within a nursing home or assisted living facility. While this assistance can be much needed, it can also lead to a personal injury when the person providing the assistance does not do it properly.

There are certain state and federal requirements that apply to nursing homes in Maryland. For instance, nursing homes are licensed with the State and monitored by the Office of Health Care Quality. Teams conduct inspections to ensure the facilities are in compliance with the regulations, looking at things like the facility's performance in infection control, resident care, housekeeping, fire protection and staffing standards. If facilities are found to be lacking in these or other areas, the State can require the facility to correct the problem.

Even with these standards and inspections in place, however, it is still possible for a nursing home injury to occur in these facilities. While the State has the ability to take action in certain aspects, individuals who sustain personal injury in a nursing home can also take action against the facility through a negligence action.

For example, if staffing shortages lead to the patient being injured, the patient may have a valid claim against the facility. Likewise, if medication errors occurred that caused injury to the patient, the facility can be held accountable for the errors of its employees. Accordingly, injured individuals should understand that they have the power to obtain accountability and relief from the nursing home, even if the State conducts other actions against the facility on its end.

Source: Maryland Attorney General, "Nursing homes: what you need to know," accessed on Feb. 28, 2015

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