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Friday, October 27, 2017
Nursing home abuse and negligence cases are growing in the United States.
One of the most common questions received by our law firm for these victims and their families is what their case is worth. Sadly, we cannot give you an exact number or an average. Instead, it comes down to specific factors. These factors influence how your case settles and the amount you should expect.
The growing elderly population is one reason for a spark in more abuse and neglect cases. The aged population of 65 years and higher has dramatically grown. In fact, by 2050 the National Center on Elder Abuse estimates that the number of people over 65 will increase to 85 million – compared to the 40 million in 2010.
The biggest victims are those with Alzheimer’s and dementia. One 2009 study found that 50 percent of patients with some form of dementia are victims of abuse and neglect. A 2010 study found that 47 percent of their study participants with dementia were mistreated by caregivers.
Liability and fault are important in these types of cases. Depending on the evidence and type of case, you may be able to easily prove fault. More complicated cases, such as sexual abuse without the perpetrator caught, make it more difficult to prove the case – let alone collect compensation.
Naturally, the more powerful the evidence, the easier it is to not only settle the case but to receive maximum compensation.
Nursing home abuse takes many forms, and while physical abuse is more common than others, family members should always look for warning signs that their loved one is receiving inadequate care, or outright abuse from caretakers.
Some signs your loved is being abused or neglected include changes in their behavior. They may be wary around specific caretakers, have personality changes (including depression and anxiety), or refuse care from employees.
Sadly, many of the individuals in nursing homes have memory issues, which means that they might not remember being abused or realize that they are being abused. Therefore, they rely on their loved ones to recognize the signs and symptoms and act immediately.
Physical abuse is the most common and may include bruises, scars, welts, lacerations, broken bones, and dislocated arms. Also, unnecessary use of restraints is considered physical abuse.
Emotional abuse is not easy to see like physical abuse, but still a real threat to your loved one’s mental health. It includes threatening, isolating, controlling, berating, and embarrassing the patient. Telling the patient that they are not loved, or that family members do not care about them also constitutes emotional abuse.
Sexual abuse is a serious crime and often goes unreported. Some elderly patients are incapacitated, and their loved ones never realize that they were the victim of sexual abuse. It is important that loved ones be vigilant and look out for signs and symptoms of abuse. If sexual abuse is suspected, reporting it immediately can protect others from experiencing the same abuse.
Neglect is different from abuse. Abuse is physically harming the patient. Neglect happens when the nursing home does not feed, hydrate, or medicate the patient as they should. They may ignore safety hazards, resulting in a patient that becomes severely injured or dies.
Financial exploitation is a form of abuse and a very serious one. It involves tricking the patient into giving a caretaker money or outright stealing from the patient. This is more common among patients with Alzheimer’s or other types of memory disorders because the patient will not remember that they are a victim.
When it comes to finding the value of your nursing home abuse case, you must remember that most lawsuits settle instead of going to court. Therefore, a settlement, while more than adequate, is less in value than one that goes to trial. Trial verdicts often include attorney’s fees and juries are more apt to give higher settlements than insurance companies and attorneys can agree to out of court.
The reason most cases settle out of court include:
When comparing your case to other settlements in the past, realize that no two cases are 100 percent the same. Even two similar types of injury cases will have scattered factors that heavily influence the settlement value. Only an experienced attorney can give you a proper estimate for you particular case.
The types of compensation your case qualifies for will influence the value of your settlement as well. Some types of compensation available in a nursing home case include:
Note that while there are damage caps on nursing home injury claims in some states, the state of Illinois does not use them. In fact, the Nursing Home Care Act allows plaintiffs to seek damages, including punitive damages, without caps.
Specific factors will influence the value of your claim. These factors can increase or decrease the settlement amount.
The victim’s age plays a heavy role in the settlement. Obviously, the settlement would be higher for a younger person with years ahead of them. This is especially true if the injury will affect them the rest of their life, create a dramatic decrease in the quality of that life, or the injury has dramatically decreased the victim’s lifespan.
The number of employees involved in the injury case will play a role too. Just one employee values less than if multiple employees or the entire facility were a part of the injury or neglect.
The courts do consider the facility’s history. If the facility has multiple claims against them or a history of violations, they will often have a harsher settlement issued against them than a facility with a perfect care record in the past.
The insurance policy of that facility also plays a role, because insurance is what will pay the victims for their injuries.
A family who is active in their loved one’s well-being and care plays well in settlement negotiations. When family only show up to file a lawsuit and collect compensation, they will find that they receive a much lower settlement.
Malman Law has represented numerous clients in their nursing home abuse and neglect cases. In one case of nursing home abuse, we received $1.7 million for an elderly man that eventually had to have his legs amputated after suffering serious burns. Other successful cases include:
Whether it is your wife, husband, parent, or other family member injured by a nursing home’s neglect or direct abuse, you need to contact the team at Malman Law. You need professional representation for your claim, and our attorneys protect your family’s right to compensation.
Our attorneys are trial-ready. We have stood up for dozens of families that have suffered traumatic losses because of inadequate nursing home care. Contact our law office today for a no-obligation consultation at 888-247-2160 or request a consultation online.
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NOAH TAFFELPersonal Injury Victim