Everyone knows that nursing home residents are frail and vulnerable, but many people do not know what to do if they suspect that a loved one is being abused or neglected while in a nursing facility. The law protects nursing home residents by providing a way for such residents, or a family member acting on a resident’s behalf, to seek monetary compensation and even punitive damages in a court of law.
While such suits may come too late to help a resident who died as a result of poor care, such lawsuits can help prevent future misconduct against other patients. Recently, a Kentucky jury sent a strong message against nursing home abuse by returning a large verdict against a care facility in a nursing home death case.
According to news reports, a jury trial in the Circuit Court of Madison County, Kentucky, has resulted in an $18 million verdict in favor of the personal representative of the estate of a woman who allegedly suffered a wrongful death due to the negligence of a nursing facility. Allegations in the plaintiff’s complaint included charges that a bedsore the size of a softball had left the resident’s tailbone and nerve endings exposed.
Jury’s Award Includes Both Compensatory Elements and Punitive Damages
The verdict, entered in late June against Berea Area Development, LLC d/b/a The Terrace Nursing & Rehabilitation Facility, included $4 million for the resident’s physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life prior to death; $4.5 million for violations of the resident’s rights; and $9.5 million in punitive damages for the defendant’s reckless disregard for the lives, safety, or property of others.
The award for violations of rights included $500,000 for a violation of the resident’s right to be free from mental and physical abuse and from chemical and physical restraints except in emergencies or on a physician’s order; $2 million for a violation of the resident’s rights to consideration, respect, and full recognition of her dignity and individuality, including privacy in treatment and in care for her personal needs; $500,000 for a violation of her (and her family’s) right to be fully informed of her medical condition unless medically contraindicated; and $1.5 million for a violation of the resident’s right to be suitably dressed at all times and given assistance when needed in maintaining body hygiene and good grooming.
It is not yet known whether the defendant will appeal the trial court’s order entering judgment upon the jury’s verdict.
For Assistance with Your Nursing Home Negligence Case
If you suspect that a loved one has suffered injury or death due to neglect or mistreatment while confined to a Kentucky nursing home, you owe it to yourself and your loved one to seek legal advice immediately. To schedule an appointment with an experienced nursing home attorney, call English, Lucas, Priest & Owsley at (270) 781-6500 and ask for a free initial consultation. We represent clients throughout Kentucky, including Bowling Green, Madisonville, and Franklin.
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