People in Miami and elsewhere expect that their loved ones will be properly cared for in a nursing home or other assisted-living facility. Sadly, instances of nursing home neglect occur all too frequently. When residents are neglected, they may be left with injuries. In some instances, the injuries people suffer are so severe that they do not survive.

In 2009, a 99-year-old woman died from injuries she sustained at the Living Legends Retirement Center. Her estate was awarded $2.3 million in February 2011 after jurors found the retirement center negligent. This case was the highest nursing home abuse verdict in Florida in 2011.

“What they did to her was criminal,” said William Dean, the attorney who represented the woman’s estate.

In August and September 2008, caretakers at the facility reported finding the elderly woman, who suffered from dementia, on the floor with injuries on numerous occasions. Supervisors were reportedly told about the woman’s falls. However, they failed to take measures to protect her from future falls.

On Sep. 2, the woman fell and fractured her neck. She also suffered two black eyes and a cut on her nose. A sheriff’s deputy with Broward County said he saw the woman lying in a pool of blood when he arrived at the facility. She was taken to Florida Medical Center where she died seven months later.

People and facilities that fail to protect nursing home residents from harm should be held responsible. In addition to providing families with a sense of justice, civil lawsuits may also serve as a warning to others that nursing home neglect will not be tolerated.

Source: Sun Sentinel, “Assisted-living center must pay woman’s estate $2.3 million, jury rules,” Rob Barry, Feb. 23, 2011