Types of Compensation in a Nursing Home Suit

Lawsuits against nursing homes are on the rise, and nursing home litigation costs are considerable. Concerns about the quality of care in U.S. nursing homes indicate a growing problem. Nursing homes are already one of the most highly regulated industries. Yet, claim rates and nursing home insurance premiums continue to skyrocket. The legal basis for types of compensation in a nursing home suit begins with state statutes that provide for residents' rights and allow families to bring lawsuits on behalf of loved ones whose rights have been violated.

A 2003 report entitled The Rise Of Nursing Home Litigation: Findings From A National Survey Of Attorneys, authored by David G. Stevenson and David M. Studdert, surveyed 464 attorneys in 43 states and states, "more than half of claims nationwide involved deaths. The next most frequent harms alleged were pressure ulcers/bed sores, dehydration/weight loss, and emotional distress." Clearly of these claims, serious violations and liability concerning the health of nursing home patients were in dispute, and in many cases, these injuries, and even deaths, proved more or less indisputable.

The report also says, "Children of nursing home residents were the primary initiators of the majority of claims, followed by residents' spouses and residents themselves. A large proportion of the litigation involved chronic, long-stay nursing home residents. Claimants also were commonly Medicaid beneficiaries and people with dementia or Alzheimer's disease. Fewer claims involved people in nursing homes for post-acute care and those under age sixty-five. Virtually all claims named the nursing home itself as a defendant. Other professional staff were also frequent targets of the litigation. Nursing home administrators were named in 28 percent of claims. Nearly one in five claims named physicians, and approximately the same proportion named nurses."

Attorneys participating in the study reported about 8% of all claims went to trial, with about 50% resulting in verdicts for the plaintiff. Among claims involving compensation, the average recovery was approximately $406,000 per claim, [2003 figures], nearly twice the level of a typical medical malpractice claim ($207,000). Types of compensation in a nursing home suit obviously continue to range from simple to complex injuries, severe illness and disability and even death. However, other types of compensation in a nursing home suit can be brought for issues related to misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose, prescription errors and medical mistakes.

Four key points stand out:

  1. Children of residents are the primary force behind more than 60 percent of claims, since many residents suffer from cognitive impairments.
  2. The average payment rate, at 85 percent in 2003, was incredibly high, based on civil litigation standards and the average nationwide medical malpractice litigation rate.
  3. Average compensation is substantial when compared to medical malpractice and other areas of personal injury litigation, particularly since nursing home abuse case compensation does not include lost wages or financial dependent claims.
  4. 50% of all nursing home abuse claims involved wrongful death and/or pressure ulcers/bedsores, followed by dehydration, weight loss, improper use of restraints, and falls.

Types of compensation in a nursing home suit vary widely, and only an attorney with a thorough understanding of nursing home abuse laws can ensure your rights are protected and the neglectful nursing home will be held accountable for their actions.

If you or a loved one may have been a victim of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect, consult with a Nursing Home Attorney in your area today for a free case review in exploring legal remedies.
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