Almost all nursing home abuse cases settle before trial. Largely because of punitive damages, many of these cases settle for significant amounts of money. To obtain punitive damages, the plaintiff must essentially prove that the tortfeasor (negligent actor, or in this case, the nursing home) intentionally disregarded a known danger and thereby put other people at risk.
Most pressure sore lawsuits fit this standard, because many of these instances occur because the nursing home is too understaffed to properly care for all its patients. This is a clear instance of putting profits above people, and many jurors abhor this attitude.
California ($1 Million)
In 2013, 87-year-old Eleanor Buckingham died from complications related to a pressure ulcer on her back; Ms. Buckingham’s family paid over $100,000 a year for her care. According to court papers, even though Ms. Buckingham developed a large pressure ulcer, the facility downgraded her care to assisted living from skilled nursing. By the time a specialist sent her to a hospital, infection had set in, and Ms. Buckingham died eight days later.
Patricia McGinnis, executive director of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, said her organization receives many complaints about nursing home abuse at large, for-profit facilities.
Pennsylvania ($6 Million)
A Philadelphia jury awarded a widow $5 million in punitive damages after it heard testimony about the death of nursing home resident Joe Blango. According to the plaintiff, the facility failed to treat Mr. Blango for serious decubitus ulcers. Mr. Blango suffered for two years and lost twenty-eight pounds while he struggled to recover from the bedsores.
Tennessee ($30 million)
Although she suffered from dementia, 82-year-old Martha Pierce was in relatively good health when she checked into a Memphis nursing home. However, she soon developed bone-deep pressure sores that became infected with bacteria from her fecal matter. Doctors had to amputate her leg, and she later died.
In delivering the verdict, jurors specifically noted the lack of staffing at the nursing home.
Results like these do not occur easily or quickly. Instead, attorneys must spend long hours collecting evidence to build winning cases, then leverage all their skills as legal advocates to bring about the best results possible under the circumstances.
Make sure you have the right legal representation. Contact an experienced lawyer in your area today.