Hidden surveillance cameras, or granny cams, are technically legal in the Bluegrass State. Kentucky, like most other jurisdictions, is a single party consent state. Only one party to a conversation must agree to an audio or visual recording (i.e. I give myself permission to record this call). Neighboring Illinois is a dual party consent state. Both participants must agree to recordings in the Prairie State.
From a practical standpoint, these cameras have some pros and cons. Usually, the pros outweigh the cons. Camera footage is usually admissible in court. This footage usually includes high definition digital images that are easy to see and resonate very well with tech-savvy Fayette County jurors. The major drawback is a granny cam can’t capture images outside the range of the camera, which is usually limited to the resident’s room.
If nursing home negligence, which is discussed below, caused injury, a Lexington personal injury attorney can obtain compensation in court, camera or no camera. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additionally, legal actions generate negative publicity for nursing homes and force them to change the way they view resident health and safety issues.
Kinds of Negligence
Employee negligence and owner negligence are both serious problems in area nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
Basically, employee negligence is an intentional yet non-malicious injury. The Joker didn’t maliciously deface art at the Flugenheim Museum, but he intentionally defaced it. Employee negligence injuries at nursing homes include:
- Physical Violence: Most residents live at nursing homes because they’re physically frail. A tiny amount of physical force, like a frustration-related push or a shove, could cause a serious injury in these situations.
- Bedsores: Early-stage bedsores are little more than red spots. If a worker isn’t looking carefully, such injuries are basically invisible. Early stage bedsores are usually not even painful. Late stage pressure ulcers are often life threatening.
- Malnutrition: Usually, employees diligently serve nutritious food to residents. However, employees often don’t ensure that residents eat that food. This issue is common, since to older people with degraded senses, food doesn’t look, smell, or taste good.
Granny cam evidence, especially in a physical violence claim, could be very compelling, unless the violence occurred in a common area. Circumstantial evidence and eyewitness testimony is admissible as well.
Legally, employers are financially responsible for their employees’ negligence, if the worker was negligent during the course and scope of employment.
Falls are the most common owner negligence-related injuries in Fayette County nursing homes. Frequently, understaffing causes these injuries, especially if the fall is related to nursing home wandering. Understaffed facilities don’t have employees stationed near construction areas and other dangerous areas to keep residents from wandering into them.
Generally, employers have a legal duty to provide a safe environment. They must immediately address property hazards, like fall hazards.
What to Expect in a Nursing Home Negligence Claim
The elements of a nursing home negligence claim are straightforward. However, these cases normally don’t settle very quickly. Typically, an out-of-state holding company with almost unlimited financial resources owns the nursing home in question. These companies have teams of lawyers which fight these claims tooth and nail.
Common insurance company defenses in negligence claims include comparative fault and assumption of the risk. These defenses basically shift blame for an injury from the tortfeasor (negligent party) to the victim (innocent party).
If preliminary negotiations stall or break down, which they often do, a Lexington personal injury attorney usually files a legal action in court. This filing kicks the process into a higher gear and also pressures the insurance company into settling the case.
Defendants usually don’t roll over and play dead at this point. Instead, they normally file procedural motions, seeking to delay or derail the process. A judge must rule on these motions before the case moves further. Most defendants file procedural motions because that’s their last, best chance to prevent the victim from obtaining fair compensation.
Once the defendant loses pretrial motions, most judges immediately refer cases to mediation. These court-supervised negotiation sessions force defendants to negotiate in good faith. A “my way or the highway” settlement offer is not a good faith negotiating position.
The few cases which don’t settle during mediation usually proceed to a bench or jury trial. Mini-trials and some other forms of alternative dispute resolution are available in a few situations.
Injury victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. Virtual, home, and hospital visits are available.