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Can you sue for nursing home drug errors post-decriminalization?

On Behalf of | Jun 23, 2024 | Nursing Home Neglect And Abuse

Those in long-term care facilities, including nursing homes, sometimes do not receive appropriate care from the professionals who should support them. Drug errors, for example, could reduce how effective treatment is for a vulnerable adult or might put them at risk of a dangerous reaction or overdose. People may require hospitalization. Other times people even die because of medication errors.

Families have long had the option of taking legal action to hold nursing home companies and even particular employees accountable for neglect and abuse. However, changes in state policy may leave people uncertain about their rights. Now that Kentucky has decriminalized medical errors, can families still take legal action after serious drug errors harm their loved ones?

Civil litigation is still an option

Decriminalization does not automatically eliminate all potential penalties for neglect or misconduct. Instead, decriminalization simply removes the possibility of state prosecution in cases involving mistakes. The more egregious forms of medical misconduct, including abuse and gross negligence, might still theoretically lead to prosecution in certain cases.

More importantly, the families of those who experience medication errors in nursing homes do still have the option of filing a civil lawsuit. Civil responsibility is different from criminal responsibility. It involves other people holding an individual accountable instead of the state imposing consequences.

Medication errors are preventable

There is a clear correlation between negligence and drug administration errors. Most errors do not occur out of maliciousness but rather due to a lack of proper review or distraction. Professionals working at nursing homes don’t pay attention during what is a safety-critical activity, and the result is that the residents at the facility may suffer.

When there is evidence of either neglect or abusive conduct, such as using drugs to sedate someone inappropriately, families still have the option of pursuing civil litigation. The legal action they pursue can reimburse the family for the care costs and other expenses related to the medication error that occurred. A lawsuit can also serve as an important consequence for a facility that does not maintain consistent standards.

Families need evidence that a drug error occurred and that it affected someone’s well-being in order to take legal action successfully. Reviewing a situation that looks like nursing home negligence with the assistance of a skilled legal team can help people determine whether or not they have the right to take legal action. Recent changes in state law have not eliminated the right to sue in the event of harmful medical negligence.