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Large verdict returned for Florida nursing home negligence

Every life is precious. When our elderly can no longer care for themselves, we owe it to them to give them the best care possible. For many, this means placing the loved one in a nursing home that promises to take care of all elderly residents. If the nursing home lives up to this promise, then the resident's life can be enjoyable and their healthcare needs will be taken care of appropriately. Sadly, though, too many times nursing homes fail to live up to their promises, and tragedy results. A recent jury verdict against a Polk County nursing home helps illustrate these instances, and Floridians should take notice.

A Polk County jury recently returned a $1.1 billion nursing home neglect verdict against a company that allegedly owned a nursing home when a deadly incident occurred there in 2009. According to the lawsuit, a 69-year old resident died when she fell repeatedly at the institution due to a lack of proper supervision. The jury found compensatory damages to be $110 million and punitive damages to be $1 billion. This is the fourth major verdict against the company, which includes liability for nursing home abuse. Damages from these cases reached into the hundreds of millions.

Nursing homes owe their patients a duty of care. This means that nursing homes and their employees must provide residents with a safe environment, adequate supervision, proper medication, ample nutrition, and prompt, efficient medical treatment. Signs of a breach of this duty may include bedsores, a nursing home fall, and rapid weight loss. When any of these responsibilities is neglected and harm results, a nursing home neglect victim can file a lawsuit against the nursing home.

If a victim or her family wins on a nursing home neglect claim, then compensation may be obtained. These awards can then be used to cover medical expenses, pain and suffering, and, in the most tragic cases, funeral costs. Though a lawsuit may not bring a loved one back or completely heal an injury caused by nursing home neglect, it can go a long way towards allowing the victim and her family to move past the incident and get life back to as close to normal as possible.

Source: Senior Housing News, "Nursing Home Slammed with $1.1 Billion Verdict in Negligence Case," Alyssa Gerace, Jul. 24, 2013

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