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Can I make an injury claim on behalf of a loved one following an accident in their care home?

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Can I make an injury claim on behalf of a loved one following an accident in their care home?

Elderly people may be vulnerable to injuries from falls in care homes. This can sometimes be as a result of one or more failures by the care home to provide adequate support, for example, a lack of supervision or appropriate mobility aids. Sometimes careless handling can also cause injuries. Unfortunately in some cases, an injury may even be caused by abuse or deliberate neglect.

Can I make a claim against the care home?

If you have a loved one who has suffered an injury as a result of an accident or suspected abuse and/or neglect in their care home, they may be able to make a personal injury claim or you may be able to do so on their behalf.

Nursing homes and care homes have a duty of care for the people they are looking after, as well as adhering to health and safety best practice as a matter of priority. Failure to prevent avoidable accidents or to provide an acceptable level of care may be grounds for a successful compensation claim.

It is important to note that not every injury in a care home is caused by negligence, but some accidents are avoidable with proper care, for which the victim can be compensated.

What steps shall I take following the accident?

If your loved one is injured in an accident at their care home, it is important in the first instance that medical attention is sought as soon as possible following the accident to clarify the extent of any injuries, receive any necessary treatment and record how the injuries occurred. This ensures that there is documentary evidence of how the accident happened and the injuries sustained, which will be vital when pursuing a personal injury claim.  

Sometimes accidents in care homes are unwitnessed and if the injured person lacks capacity, it may be difficult to establish exactly what happened and whether the care home is at fault. If this is the case and you are unsure whether your loved one can pursue a claim, you can contact us and we can investigate further.

How long do I have to bring a claim?

It is important to note that the time limit for bringing a neglect/abuse compensation claim is usually three years from the date of the abuse/neglect or knowledge of it. The same time limit applies in respect of an accident which has resulted in an injury. However, it is advisable to instruct a legal representative as soon as possible so that investigations can be carried out before a claim has to be issued at court.   

What funding options are available?

A claim of this nature can usually be dealt with on a 'no win no fee' basis. Alternatively, you may have legal expense insurance to cover your claim.

Who will represent my loved one?

If a person is deemed to lack mental capacity, they are known as a protected party and cannot represent themselves in their claim. They must instead be represented by a suitable and competent adult who must be over the age of 18, which is known as a litigation friend. The litigation friend is usually the person’s family member but can also be a guardian or close friend.

The role of the litigation friend is to represent the person, to act in their best interests and to conduct court proceedings fairly and competently. They make important decisions in the claim on behalf of the injured person.

Where a litigation friend is appointed, any settlement reached would have to be approved by a judge at a court approval hearing. This safeguards the interests of the claimant and ensures that the settlement reached and subsequently approved by the court represents an appropriate compensation award. A decision will also be made as to where the compensation will be paid into and who will manage this on the claimant’s behalf.

If your loved one does not lack capacity but would struggle to conduct a claim on their own, with their authority we can liaise with you to conduct the claim, with the injured person still providing their instructions and making the decisions in respect of their claim.

Our expert team of specialist solicitors are experienced in claiming compensation for people who have suffered neglect or abuse and/or have suffered an injury as a result of an accident in their care home, and can offer the very best in legal advice if you or a loved one has suffered. Get in touch by calling us on 01616 966 229. Alternatively, you can fill out our online enquiry form and someone will contact you shortly.