California Nursing Home Abuse Cases: How They Differs From Personal Injury & Med Mal

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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California Nursing home abuse cases concerning the elderly and those who are dependent upon others, differs from typical California personal injury or medical malpractice cases. Nursing home abuse cases involve injured victims (seniors or dependents) who are under the care and custody of another person in nursing homes, assisted living facilities or through home health care. Our legal expert says that licensing and relationships are generally the main distinctions between these cases.

Personal injury distinctions

J. Niley Dorit, a California nursing home lawyer whose practice consists of elder and dependent neglect, nursing home abuse, medical malpractice and general personal injury cases, explained some of the distinctions between personal injury cases and those involving elder and dependent abuse, “Personal injury cases generally involve strangers. Examples would be automobile accidents or situations where somebody has created a dangerous property condition. These are injuries that are usually caused by strangers who have been negligent in their conduct.”

Medical malpractice distinctions

Attorney Dorit provided the following information on medical malpractice distinctions. “[Nursing home abuse] is distinct from medical malpractice because medical malpractice cases involve claims of negligence against a licensed health care professional. In many elder or dependent care cases, the negligence involves somebody who is not a licensed health care professional. So, these would not generally be considered medical malpractice cases.”

Crossover category

There is a crossover category involving skilled nursing home facilities where you have a licensed health care professional, such as a nurse or a licensed hospital employee. Dorit explained, “When there is a pattern of neglect relating to the custodial aspects of the care, that would be considered nursing home abuse in California. However, if there is no pattern of neglect or if the injury doesn’t arise from custodial duties, it would most likely be considered a medical malpractice case – which is much more limited than an elder abuse case.”

A nursing home attorney will be able to evaluate your situation and determine whether damages may be available to you or your loved one.

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