Settling a Nursing Home Abuse Claim
Making the decision to transfer a loved one to the care of a nursing home is never easy. Many feel as though they are letting the family member down by turning him/her over to the care of the facility. In some cases, the patient himself/herself can get depressed, as they realize that they are now unable to take care of themselves. In most instances, however, entering a nursing home is usually for the best because his/her family are rarely able to provide the necessary care. Nursing home employees are trained to be able to provide this care. However, in some cases, accidents do happen, and, if those accidents are caused by preventable error on the part of a nursing home employee, retaining the services of an experienced nursing home abuse attorney can be crucial to obtaining reimbursement for any costs incurred in recovering from the accident, or, in the case of a wrongful death situation, recovering from the loss. Earlier this year, a nursing home volunteer who transferred her mother to that nursing home came forward with a story about how nursing home neglect prevented her mother from receiving necessary pain medication, causing her mother’s last days to be in sheer agony. A discussion of how nursing homes can be held liable for their actions, and an option to going to trial, will follow below.
Pursuant to Florida law, nursing homes may be subject to liability for negligence based on their actions (or, in some cases, inactions). Like medical malpractice, to be successful in a malpractice action against a nursing home, an injured patient (or, if the patient is deceased, his/her estate) must prove the following elements:
- The nursing home had a duty to protect the patient from harm;
- The nursing home failed in that duty;
- That failure directly led to the injury suffered by the patient; and
- That injury can be quantified as damages.
Litigation or Settlement?
Although many people may assume that filing a lawsuit for negligence against a nursing home will eventually result in a trial, few understand the long timeline and cost of getting to that point. Further, the likelihood of success at trial is 50-50, and some injury victims may not want to take that chance.
Fortunately, settlement is an option. Essentially, settlement is a resolution of a legal matter without having to go to trial. In a settlement, both sides come to an agreement on an amount of money to be paid from defendant to plaintiff, in exchange for the plaintiff giving up the right to pursue any further legal action in connection with the incident. In actuality, most nursing home abuse cases – approximately 92% – end up settling and never reaching trial.
The biggest issue with settlement is discerning an appropriate dollar amount. Obviously, a nursing home is not going to willingly part with its money, and a patient will definitely want an amount that properly accounts for his/her injuries. At the very least, an analysis must be done to ascertain the true costs involved with recovery from the injuries, as well as an amount equivalent to the intangible pain and suffering incurred by the patient. However, an agreement which can be reached will most likely eliminate a large amount of time, energy and money it would have taken to bring the matter to trial. Working with an experienced attorney will help ensure that the patient comes to the negotiating table with a full knowledge of what he/she will accept and what amount is a deal-breaker.
Seek Legal Advice
If someone you loved has been injured by an action or inaction of an employee of a nursing home, contact the attorneys at Pita Weber & Del Prado as soon as possible. We have years of experience in litigating nursing home abuse claims, and can advise you on the best possible course of action, which may include settlement of a claim. After an analysis of the situation, if we believe that your loved one’s injury was caused by preventable error of the employee, we will develop the most effective strategy to obtain compensation. Contact our Miami office today for an initial consultation.