Nursing Home & Bedsore Lawsuits

Nursing Home & Bedsore Lawsuits

Can I Sue a Nursing Home For Bed Sores or Pressure Ulcers?

Bed sores, also known as pressure ulcers, pressure injuries, or decubitus ulcers, are a serious and painful medical injury (wound)  that can develop when someone remains in one position for too long, usually on bony prominences like the tailbone/coccyx or sacrum. Bed sores are most commonly found in elderly people or those with mobility issues who are confined to a bed or chair for long periods. Bed sores can be very painful, and they often lead to complications such as infections, which can turn into sepsis and septic shock, and even kill someone.

These wounds can cause serious suffering. People often ask whether you can file a lawsuit to hold a nursing home or hospital accountable for this injury. In this article, we’ll explore this question.

What are Bed Sores?

Bed sores are caused by prolonged pressure on the skin and underlying tissues. They typically occur in areas where the skin and tissues are in close contact with a bone, such as the hips, tailbone/coccyx, sacrum, ankles, heels, and elbows. When pressure is applied for an extended period without movement, it causes the blood flow to that area to decrease and even stop (ischemia), which eventually leads to tissue damage and death. The skin breaks down and an eventually a wound forms.

Bed sores can develop in a variety of settings. They are frequently seen in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and hospitals. They can happen to those who are unable to move or reposition independently for whatever reason, including those recovering from and/or in rehabilitation from surgery or illness.

Bed sores or pressure injuries are classified in four stages, with each stage representing an increasingly severe degree of tissue damage. The National Pressure Injury Panel has very specific definitions of these stages, but generally they are as follows:

  • Stage 1: The skin is red and may be painful, but the skin is not yet broken.
  • Stage 2: The skin has been broken, and there may be a shallow crater or blister.
  • Stage 3: The sore has deepened. There is full-thickness loss of skin, in which fat is visible.
  • Stage 4: This is a wound with full-thickness skin and tissue loss. There is exposed or directly palpable muscle, fascia, tendon, ligament, cartilage or bone in the wound.

Bedsores can get infected when they are open, because they allow contaminants like bacteria in, which can also allow entry into the bloodstream and cause sepsis, septic shock, and death.

How are Bed Sores or Pressure Ulcers Prevented?

Pressure injuries, or bed sores, can be prevented by providing pressure relief and good skin hygiene. Nursing home or hospital residents/patients should be regularly repositioned using supportive cushions or mattresses, and keeping the skin clean and dry.

In many cases, bed sores are the result of neglect or substandard care. If a resident or patient of a nursing home or hospital has developed bed sores, it is wise to investigate the underlying causes of the condition through the review of medical records by an experienced attorney and/or medical professional.

Can I file a Lawsuit for a Pressure Injury or Bed Sore? 

People often ask whether a nursing home lawsuit can be filed to holding the nursing home accountable for causing such a wound. Depending on the state, there are numerous different claims, or causes of action, that can be filed if negligence was the cause of a pressure ulcer. These can include negligence, medical malpractice or negligence, the violation of state-specific elder abuse or neglect laws, and wrongful death.

Very generally, medical malpractice is when a healthcare provider, such as a nursing home or hospital, fails to provide appropriate care to a patient in accordance with the standards of practice or standards of care, leading to injury or death. A bed sore lawsuit plaintiff will also have to prove that this caused the wound and any other injury or damages leading from that. If the injury leads to death, a wrongful death claim can be included in a lawsuit. All of this can be challenging, depending on the case, because some bed sores can develop over an extended period of time, worsen at different facilities, and may have other contributing factors not due to negligence, in some patients.

Working with an Attorney

If you are considering filing a lawsuit related to your parent’s pressure ulcer, it is essential to work with an experienced attorney who can guide you through the legal process. Medical cases have special requirements and involve complex medical issues that the attorney must understand. You should choose someone with experience in medical malpractice or nursing home abuse cases. Look for an attorney with a track record of successful outcomes.


Bed sores are a painful and most often avoidable injury that can have serious complications, even death. Contact an experienced nursing home abuse and medical malpractice lawyer to help you determine whether an investigation is warranted. Pleasant Law, PLLC has handled many nursing home and bed sore cases over many years, focusing almost exclusively on these types of cases for over 15 years. There is no charge to speak with someone about your case, and Pleasant Law, PLLC does these cases on contingency: there is no payment unless there is a recovery.

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