Article Updated: February 18, 2022
Pressure Ulcer Lawsuit Settlement
The vast majority of nursing home abuse cases concern pressure ulcers. Naturally, the lion’s share of nursing home settlements also concern pressure ulcers.
I know this personally, because I focus on these types of injuries and cases. Below, you’ll gain legal insights into resolution and potential values for nursing home abuse pressure ulcer lawsuit settlements.
If you have more questions after reviewing this article, use the contact form on this page to message me for advice.
Clickable Table of Contents
Pressure Ulcer Settlement Info
1 – Pressure Ulcers
8 – About the Author
Pressure ulcers take place in the millions every year and often they occur in situations that were preventable.
Poor standards of care, inadequate training and carelessness lead to bed sores that lead to debilitating pain and even death.
Bed sore lawsuit settlements are paid out to those who can show that their case was in fact due to negligence and was preventable.
In order to be awarded a pressure ulcer compensation that is fair, it is important to understand what a pressure ulcer is, what the stages of a pressure ulcer are, and who is at fault in a pressure ulcer case.
What is a Bed Sore?
Pressure ulcers are a degradation of the skin which can be caused by a number of compounding factors. As the name suggests, a big part of the cause of a bed sore or pressure ulcer is constant pressure placed on one part of the body for an extended period of time
These ulcers are made up of dying skin which is caused when blood vessels, circulation and oxygen are cut off to a part of the body.
Once a pressure ulcer develops it can quickly get worse covering increasingly larger parts of the body. Once this happens, a bedsore gets harder to treat effectively.
Identifying a bedsore early on is the most effective way to prevent it from developing into a higher stage over time.
Stages of Bed Sores
One important aspect of a bedsore lawsuit is understanding that not all bedsores are the same. A stage 4 bedsore settlement for example can be much higher than the average pressure ulcer compensation.
Why is this the case? The answer is that the higher the stage of the pressure ulcer, the higher the chances are that neglect was a part of the problem, and the greater the resultant damage.
Nursing home residents who are older, have limited mobility or other conditions like dementia or incontinence are at high risk of a higher grade pressure sore.
This higher risk is common knowledge in hospitals and nursing homes which means that they are very aware of the precautions that they need to take to prevent a bedsore from escalating from a stage one to a stage 3 or higher.
A stage 1 bedsore is serious but the least serious of them all. Any ulcer past a stage one should be cause for serious concern in a bedsore lawsuit as there should be every effort made to ensure an ulcer never forms, or if it forms, it does not escalate into higher stages, which range from stage one to stage four.
Who is at Fault?
The stage of a bedsore is important in determining the ultimate pressure ulcer compensation because higher stages mean more pain, more recovery, more risks and higher chances that neglect played a role.
While experts are not in full agreement regarding the preventability of bed sores in all cases, generally speaking, a combination of care practices, like moving the position of an immobile patient every 2 hours, and medical technology, ensure that these sores are preventable.
Bed sore lawsuit settlements take this into account and juries have shown that they are willing to award large sums to those who suffer any bed sore, but particularly in cases of stage 3 or 4 sores.
Pressure Ulcer Lawsuit Settlements
A pressure ulcer comes at a much higher rate for those who are already in some sort of care setting.
Those who are for example in acute care facilities are three times more likely to end up needing to later on go long-term care if they have a pressure ulcer.
This only means that there is more than enough warning that a person is at risk of developing an ulcer because they will already be in some sort of care, will have gone through surgery or are in a care facility or situation.
Settlement Value & Pressure Ulcer Preventability
Bedsore lawsuits are more frequently than not preventable because bedsores themselves are preventable.
In a case study of about 35 pressure ulcer lawsuit settlements there was an average of half a million dollars given to each plaintiff but in those same cases it was found that out of those 20 of the lawsuits could have been prevented.
In cases like these, one of the main pressure ulcer compensation factors was that the care facility breached the American Geriatric Society’s Clinical Practice Guidelines with many interrelated guidelines being broken.
Generally, these interrelated guidelines are considered clusters of dereliction of guideline standards. When just one guideline is better adhered to, an entire cluster of guidelines and outcomes can be improved.
If you or your family member suffers a pressure ulcer, it is important to check into the guidelines and standards that the care facility you are in follows.
Bedsore lawsuits will work in your favor far more when you can show that standards of care were ignored because even the presence of one guideline that was failed to be followed means that there was neglect.
How Common Are Pressure Ulcer Lawsuit Settlements?
The answer to this is that they are quite common.
Nursing home and care facility residents were able to recover a bedsore lawsuit settlement in 87% of cases and in some cases were able to secure a bedsore lawsuit settlement as high as $312 million dollars.
Even on the lower average a settlement for a pressure ulcer is as high as $250,000 while the higher average is $500,000 and the average award from a jury is around $1,000,000.
The chances for these higher bedsore lawsuit settlement values comes in particular when a jury is shown that the ulcer was caused by multiple neglect factors.
Single factor pressure ulcer lawsuit settlements can also run very high, especially when the jury believes that the single factor in question was inadequate nutrition.
Bedsore Lawsuit Settlement By Stage
The stage of the bedsore can in fact have an impact on settlement. The major reason for this is that a stage 3 or a stage 4 ulcer simply be existing, suggest a multi-factor pressure wound.
Multi-stage pressure wounds have higher average settlements that are run between $500,000 and $1,000,000.
Stage 1 and 2 Bedsore Settlements
Stage 1 and 2 bedsores are not considered to be advanced pressure wounds, but they are still serious nonetheless. A settlement value on average for a stage 1 sore usually starts on the lowest end at $50,000 when the sore is very small and has not had a large impact on health. A stage 1 sore can recover more than this depending on the specific symptoms that it causes an individual.
Stage 2 bedsores begin to get more serious because their presence indicates some neglect in treatment which allowed it to develop from a stage 1 into a stage 2 sore. A stage 2 sore has the potential for a higher payout because there will be more work needed to ensure recovery, including debridement which itself can be painful.
Stage 3 Bedsore Settlement
A stage 3 bedsore settlement has a higher chance of settling with a larger value because it is a painful condition that leaves the skin open across a significant part of the body. These wounds tend to reveal severely damaged muscles and nerves.
A considerable section of skin can also start to die at this stage creating a strong smell and an increasingly difficult to treat condition.
Stage 3 sores also suggest that neglect or poor care standards were followed that allowed a sore to get past stage 1 and 2 and progress to a stage 3 sore.
Stage 4 Bedsore Settlement
Stage 4 bedsore settlements also have a high chance of settling high because a stage 4 bedsore in most cases means that severe neglect has taken place.
For a bedsore to get so bad means multiple areas of care were likely ignored including failure to follow state guidelines on rotating a patient as well as providing medical care to treat an early stage bedsore.
A stage 4 bedsore will cause long-term damage, harm and pain, and even with care, once a bedsore reaches a stage 4, even aggressive treatment may not be able to reverse the damage caused.
It is because of this that most stage 4 bedsore settlements end up settling for amounts averaging well over a million dollars.
Average Pressure Ulcer Compensations By Year
The average settlement for a bedsore has remained constant over the course of the last few decades.
Values are different in more recent years because of inflation and the way that impacts settlement values and payouts.
Bedsore Lawsuit Settlement Amounts in the 2000 Era
Studies conducted in the early 2000s found that on average, pressure study cases came in at around $300,000 to $450,000.
It was believed early on that these values were going to rise because of the aging nature of the population and the fact that those over 65 had a higher chance of developing a pressure ulcer.
Bedsore Lawsuit Settlement Amounts in the 2010 Era
A decade later a study focused on the period around 2010 found that this number ranged in a similar value range at $500,000 and went upwards of an average of a million dollars which accounted for the inflation value in payouts.
As predicted, the rate of pressure ulcers also increased despite attempts to train and mitigate the problem as much as possible.
Bed Sore Lawsuit Settlement Amount in the 2020 Era
Bedsore lawsuit settlement amounts in 2019, 2020 and today show that values are still averaging on an increasing slope.
This means that the same amounts more or less are present but that they are increasing steadily. Today, stage 3 and 4 bedsore settlements top well over a million dollars and many cases with proven neglect are settled in 2020 and beyond, even over 2-3 million dollars depending on the facts.
Bedsore Lawsuit Settlement Advice
If you or someone you care about has suffered a bedsore the best advice is for you to move quickly and secure help for your case.
This means the need to show that there was poor training at the facility which led to the poor care, or that the staff flat out failed to follow guidelines that were expected of it.
The care facility’s history with bedsore incidents, their hiring practices, their training guidelines and norms and any other relevant information are all going to be needed for you to show neglect. In addition to this information, detailed medical records for you or your family member will also be needed.
To get all of this information in a timely manner means you will need advice, guidance and assistance at every stage of the process, starting very early.
This is the best advice if you are going through a bedsore settlement case as this is how you can maximize your chances of getting the payout you deserve.
Help With Bedsore Lawsuit Settlements
I have personally investigated over 100 nursing home and hospital bed sore injuries. To maximize a pressure ulcer lawsuit settlement, you have to focus the case and certain liability factors and standard of care breaches. I’ve spent thousands of hours perfecting a litigation approach to doing just that.
If you or someone you know suffered a bed sore and is seeking expert help for a pressure ulcer lawsuit settlement, I invite you to contact me for a free consultation. In the end, I hope you and your family achieve the justice you deserve.
Reza Davani, Esq.
State Bar No.: #1212110211
Federal Bar No.: #30168
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Supporting Literature, Citations & Resources:
Ayello, E. A., Capitulo, K. L., Fife, C. E., Fowler, E., Krasner, D. L., Mulder, G., … & Yankowsky, K. W. (2009). Legal issues in the care of pressure ulcer patients: key concepts for health care providers: a consensus paper from the international expert wound care advisory panel. Journal of palliative medicine, 12(11), 995-1008.
Baker, M. W., Whitney, J. D., Lowe, J. R., Liao, S., Zimmerman, D., & Mosqueda, L. (2016). Full-thickness and unstageable pressure injuries that develop in nursing home residents despite consistently good quality care. Journal of Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing, 43(5), 464-470.
Braden, B. J., & Maklebust, J. (2005). Preventing Pressure Ulcers with the Braden Scale: An update on this easy-to-use tool that assesses a patient’s risk. AJN The American Journal of Nursing, 105(6), 70-72.
Brandeis, G. H., Berlowitz, D. R., & Katz, P. (2001). Are pressure ulcers preventable? A survey of experts. Advances in skin & wound care, 14(5), 244-248.
Gefen, A., Santamaria, N., Creehan, S., & Black, J. (2018). Extrapolation of evidence-related to dressings for pressure ulcer prevention may compromise patient safety. Wounds Int, 9(2), 10-17.
Goebel, R. H., & Goebel, M. R. (1999). Clinical practice guidelines for pressure ulcer prevention can prevent malpractice lawsuits in older patients. Journal of WOCN, 26(4), 175-184.
Voss, A. C., Bender, S. A., Ferguson, M. L., Sauer, A. C., Bennett, R. G., & Hahn, P. W. (2005). Long‐Term Care Liability for Pressure Ulcers. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 53(9), 1587-1592.
About the Author
This nursing home and medical malpractice article was written by Baltimore, Maryland nursing home attorney Reza Davani, Esquire. Mr. Davani received his Juris Doctor degree from a Tier 1 law school, the University of Maryland Francs King Carey School of Law. He received his first license to practice law from the State of Maryland’s Court of Appeals (MD State License No. 1212110211), and just four months later received a federal law license from the United States District Court for the District of Maryland (Federal License No. 30168).
Mr. Davani has been practicing law for over 10 years. He began practicing law by helping clients as a sanctioned student lawyer before receiving his law license, and second chaired his first jury trial in federal court before even graduating law school. He is a registered member of the Maryland Association for Justice (MAJ), the American Bar Association (ABA), the American Association for Justice (AAJ), and was formerly on the MAJ’s Legislative Leader’s Circle.
Mr. Davani has taken over 20 cases to trial in state and federal court, and favorably settled well over 100 cases for injured victims. He has personally helped his clients recover over $15,000,000 in personal injury, medical malpractice, and nursing home abuse settlements and verdicts in Maryland and other states. He is dedicated to fighting for justice, and welcomes the opportunity to help you.
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