Law suit against my facility...

  1. Hello,
    I'm a RN supervisor working in a subacute/rehab facility. There was an incident a few weeks ago involving one of our residents which resulted in injury. The attending nurse on duty was an LPN. Obviously for confidentiality reasons i am not able to give details regarding the incident and case .

    I have been notified the family is taking legal action against our facility. Since i was the supervising RN on duty and the immediate nurse was an LPN, i am aware legally i am responsible for the care and treatment of this resident. So obviously I am very concerned this may implicate me in the law suit, although to my knowledge I am not being named in the suit and it is only against my facility.

    I was wondering if anyone had any advice what i could expect from this? What would a worst case outcome be? If this case goes to court, would i have to appear in court? Would they take action against my license? Can this jeopardize my future in nursing?

    Any feedback you can give me regarding what to expect would be welcomed.
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   Been there,done that
    Those are questions for your attorney and malpractice insurance carrier.

    It could be as simple as a deposition, I have never seen a complaint go all the way to court, but
    don't know the extent of the injury.
  4. by   JustBeachyNurse
    You are responsible if you delegate inappropriately or provide inadequate supervision. The LPN has his/her own scope and license.

    Consult an attorney.

    It's not common for notice to sue to be filed so quickly as it usually takes months to know full extent of injuries and effects
  5. by   roser13
    You do have malpractice insurance?
  6. by   nutella
    Hopefully you have malpractice insurance.
    If you do not I think one important thing for you is to write everything down. It can take some while until you may be asked to talk to somebody and in that case you may not remember.
  7. by   RiskManager
    Ok, first off, take a deep breath and don't panic. Speaking as the person who does this sort of thing for a living, here is some advice:

    If you have malpractice insurance, call them. They won't do anything because there is no claim against you, and therefore your coverage will not be triggered, but go ahead and call them. Search for my other posts under my name in which I discuss at length the issues of coverage triggers, that your own coverage is excess coverage, how you are covered through your employer, the responsibility of the employer for your actions, etc. One healthcare risk manager's view of individual nursing malpractice insurance

    Next, read this post: http://allnurses.com/ob-gyn-nursing/...t-1045407.html in which I discuss some general principles of lawsuits, giving a deposition, etc.

    Your best source of information is the attorney representing the LTC who is also representing you as an employee. Based only on the event description given, I would not be worried regarding your future in nursing or actions against your license. It sounds as if the LPN is most proximately responsible for the event.

    Post here or send me a PM if you have followup questions after reading my linked posts above. The posts do answer many of your questions, so they are worth your time to read.
  8. by   TheCommuter
    I wrote a piece on lawsuits several years ago. Although it is aimed for the newer nurse crowd, I think the information is relevant to your current situation:

    Legal Food For Thought During the First Year of Nursing (and Beyond)

    Here's the deal. Families can sue for poor outcomes, but most of these alleged lawsuits (90%) never make it to a courtroom. They must find a malpractice attorney, and despite the proliferation of lawsuit commercials on TV, most lawyers are exceedingly picky about which cases they'll take.

    Also, it usually takes several years for these cases to reach the legal system if it is ever filed in the first place. It is not as easy to sue as people make it out to be. Personal injury suits come with profound risk and cost for medical malpractice attorneys, so they usually do not accept cases unless a clear cause of action is present (read: irreparable harm or death) and a sizable chunk of monetary recovery is imminent.
  9. by   Horseshoe
    Quote from NooNieNursie
    Hello,

    I have been notified the family is taking legal action against our facility. Since i was the supervising RN on duty and the immediate nurse was an LPN, i am aware legally i am responsible for the care and treatment of this resident. So obviously I am very concerned this may implicate me in the law suit, although to my knowledge I am not being named in the suit and it is only against my facility.
    The LPN has her own license and scope, so SHE is responsible for the care and treatment of this resident. Unless you directed her to work out of scope, saw her doing so and did nothing to remedy this, or delegated inappropriately, you are probably okay.

    But definitely call your malpractice insurance and touch base with an attorney.
  10. by   RiskManager
    Just to close the loop, I had a PM exchange with the original poster. I will not go into details, but suffice it to say that in my professional opinion, it sounds as if the RN, LPN and facility do not have a lot to worry about from a liability perspective and the situation was appropriately handled. I provided information and reassurance to the original poster.
  11. by   BuckyBadgerRN
    For clarity sake, an LPN has his or her OWN license to protect. S/he does NOT work "under" your license, as long as you delegated appropriately to what s/he is able to do under the scope allowed to him/her, YOU are not liable for such things.
  12. by   amoLucia
    to RiskManager - thank you for your personal assistance to OP and for the FYI update to all the readers here.
  13. by   tacticool
    Quote from NooNieNursie
    Hello,
    I'm a RN supervisor working in a subacute/rehab facility. There was an incident a few weeks ago involving one of our residents which resulted in injury. The attending nurse on duty was an LPN. Obviously for confidentiality reasons i am not able to give details regarding the incident and case .

    I have been notified the family is taking legal action against our facility. Since i was the supervising RN on duty and the immediate nurse was an LPN, i am aware legally i am responsible for the care and treatment of this resident. So obviously I am very concerned this may implicate me in the law suit, although to my knowledge I am not being named in the suit and it is only against my facility.

    I was wondering if anyone had any advice what i could expect from this? What would a worst case outcome be? If this case goes to court, would i have to appear in court? Would they take action against my license? Can this jeopardize my future in nursing?

    Any feedback you can give me regarding what to expect would be welcomed.
    YES, I CAN. Stop talking about it now, especially on an internet forum. Do not talk to friends, family, etc., about this. GET AN ATTORNEY ASAP. Anything you say, even in non-specifics is discoverable in court proceedings.
  14. by   EdieBrous
    This is bad advice. Journals, notes, diaries etc. can be discoverable and used against you. Don't "write everything down" - talk to a lawyer.

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