In California, failure to follow state or federal regulations in providing elder care can trigger a negligence per se jury instruction. Meaning, at trial, the burden shifts to the nursing home to show why it wasn’t negligent. Norman v. Life Care Centers of America, Inc. (2003) 107 Cal.App.4th 1233.
This is a powerful concept in elder abuse. Normally, the injured party has the burden of showing that the defendant was negligent for causing their harm.
What Norman doesn’t do is relieve the injured party from having to show that negligence caused injury and what the injuries were, what lawyers call “causation” and “damages.” Still, if you have an elder abuse case you are handling, or a senior in a nursing home where you suspect the care might be substandard, the regulations can help you focus your thoughts.
Bill Daniels is a trial lawyer and shareholder with the law firm of DANIELS LAW in Sherman Oaks, CA. A graduate of Loyola Law School of Los Angeles, he is a former member of the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles Board of Governors, a founding member of Loyola’s Civil Justice Program and a past president of the Encino Lawyers Association. Since 2007, he has been named a Southern California “Super Lawyer” by Los Angeles Magazine. Mr. Daniels focuses his practice on serious personal injury, insurance and employment. For information, visit our website at www.daniels.legal or contact us through e-mail: Info@danielslaw.com.