Legal Blog

Experienced Attorneys Can Help You to Communicate With Family and Reduce Liability Risk When Adverse Resident Events Occur

Mature female in elderly care facility gets help from hospital personnel nurse. Senior woman with aged wrinkled skin and care giver, hands close up.



An 87-year-old woman falls out of her skilled nursing facility bed. She fractured her hip.

Her family is complaining about the care provided by the facility staff, and specifically is saying that the facility and staff were negligent. The family is concerned about how much medication the resident was provided, whether bed rails were up, and whether a call bell was responded to timely.

The family is asking to see the resident’s medical records. What do you do?



Liability risk, financial damages, lawsuit, state department of health investigation, reputational risk



When injuries occur, the first thought might be to avoid the family. However, data and experience show that avoiding the family only leads them to a plaintiff’s attorney to get answers to questions. Once there, the long road of litigation ensues.

Data and experience also show that engaging and communicating with the family can prevent or mitigate liability when done appropriately and ethically.   Families want answers and most importantly, want to know that you are empathetic to their situation.

The key is to communicate and empathize without admitting liability when it is inappropriate to do so. You won’t always know immediately. Sometimes you may need to investigate further. When situations like this arise, we can help.

Engaging with us, we can help to work through communication, provide support in the investigation, and, where appropriate, bring under the fold of attorney-client privilege, engage experts to review care, and, if necessary, help to resolve a claim without litigation and its expense.

This is a time period, too, when medical professional liability insurers will not get involved because there is no formal lawsuit. Yet, it is a time when you can make valuable and appropriate in-roads with the resident and family while reducing liability risk.

Please contact Maggie DiCostanzo when you need an experienced attorney to help you reduce liability risk when adverse resident events occur.



Maggie DiCostanzo is a principal attorney in Offit Kurman’s Healthcare practice group. For nearly 20 years she has focused her legal practice by representing physicians, hospitals, post-acute care facilities, and other healthcare professionals, delivering health law advice and counseling as well as representation in regulatory, general liability, and professional liability matters.  She is also a registered patent attorney with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, and drafts licensing agreements and other intellectual property-related documents. Ms. DiCostanzo also assists lawyers in Offit Kurman’s other practice groups, including Business Law and Transactions, to address discreet healthcare issues.






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