Nursing homes are supposed to be a safe place for the elderly and those who need special care. Families bring their loved ones to these institutions with the expectation that their family members will be in good hands. Unfortunately, nursing home neglect often betrays the trust families have placed in these institutions. A recent jury verdict out of Palm Beach County shows how tragic nursing home neglect can be and how a civil lawsuit can help those who have been harmed.
A former professional wrestler was placed in a Lake Worth nursing home. The man suffered from end-stage senile dementia, therefore requiring the kind of attentive care nursing homes are supposed to provide. Sadly, the man's health quickly declined as he faced rapid weight loss, a nursing home fall and bedsores. The family's attorney argued that the bedsores became infected and ultimately caused the man's death.
A jury determined that the nursing home was negligent and granted the man's estate $1.8 million. The man's wife hopes that this judgment will leverage new legislation that will establish higher nursing home standards and increased regulation.
Nursing home neglect can leave victims and their families torn apart physically, emotionally and financially. If a victim or the victim's family can prove that nursing home staff breached their duty of care to the resident and that the breach resulted in the injuries or death, then compensation may be obtained.
Awards received from a successful suit like the one in Palm Beach County can be used to cover medical expenses, pain and suffering and, in the case of death, funeral expenses. Additionally, a successful lawsuit punishes negligent nursing homes and their staff. These penalties will hopefully deter other nursing homes from acting negligently, thus providing safer homes for Florida's most vulnerable residents.
Source: Sun Sentinel, "Jury awards $1.8 million in Lake Worth nursing home neglect case," Marc Freeman, Nov. 20, 2012