​​Bed Sores in Nursing Homes: Are They Accountable in Court?

July 7, 2023 Insights

senior in bed​​

When you have a family member in a nursing home, you hope they are being looked after properly. However, if they start to develop bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers, it might cause you to question the level of care they are getting. 

In extreme situations, you may even consider taking legal action against the nursing home for these bed sores.

To put it simply, the answer is affirmative. However, like all legal issues, the procedure is intricate and demands a comprehensive knowledge of the law, rights, and duties.

Here’s What You Need to Know

Bedsores occur when there’s prolonged pressure on specific areas of the body, typically those with little fat or muscle cushioning the bones, such as the heels, hips, or tailbone. Like many nursing home residents, people with limited mobility are particularly susceptible. These wounds can range from mild redness to severe tissue damage that exposes muscles or bones. 

Bedsores are not just painful—they can lead to serious complications like infections and sepsis, which can be life-threatening. The development of bedsores is often a red flag that a resident isn’t receiving the necessary care and attention. 

Nursing homes have a legal and ethical obligation to provide adequate care to their residents. This includes taking reasonable measures to prevent bedsores, such as regularly repositioning immobile residents, maintaining good hygiene, providing a balanced diet, and ensuring the use of pressure-relieving devices like special mattresses or cushions.

If a nursing home fails in these duties and a resident develops bedsores, it may be considered neglect, a form of elder abuse. In such cases, the resident or their family members can sue the nursing home for damages.

All instances of bedsores do not necessarily warrant legal action. It’s essential to establish that the care home was careless, directly leading to the bedsores. Carelessness may be proven by showing that the care home did not give proper care, including not moving the resident often enough, not giving suitable nutrition, or not treating existing bedsores efficiently.

The process of suing a nursing home for bedsores typically involves the following steps:

1. Document the Evidence

This includes medical records, photographs of the sores, witness statements, and other proof of neglect.

2. Consult with an Attorney

A lawyer experienced in elder law, or personal injury can guide you through the legal process and represent your interests. They can help determine if you have a strong case and what damages you may be entitled to.

3. File a Lawsuit

If it’s determined that you have a valid case, your attorney will help you file a lawsuit against the nursing home. This typically involves drafting and filing a complaint, outlining your claims and the damages you seek.

4. Discovery and Negotiations

Both sides will gather evidence and may negotiate a settlement. If no agreement is reached, the case will proceed to trial.

5. Trial

Should the case proceed to court, your lawyer will represent your interests. It will then be up to a judge or a jury to decide whether the nursing home was at fault and to determine the compensation.

Taking legal action against a nursing home for bedsores can be a difficult and emotionally charged procedure. However, it is vital to hold such facilities responsible for their negligence and safeguard all residents’ health and welfare. If you believe your family member has been harmed due to negligence, it’s crucial to act.


While it’s possible to sue a nursing home for bedsores, it’s not a decision to be taken lightly. It requires a significant investment of time, money, and emotion. However, if your loved one’s health and dignity are at stake, it’s worth pursuing. It’s also a powerful way to send a message to the eldercare industry that neglect will not be tolerated.

Circeo Law Firm is home to award-winning Kentucky injury attorneys. You can count on us as we aggressively advocate for justice. If you or a loved one have been injured due to negligence, let us help you. If you need an attorney for nursing home abuse, get a free consult today.