Arkansas Nursing Home Abuse Cases
Incidents of abuse in nursing homes are wrong on so many different levels. They shock and traumatize the people involved; they disrupt the system itself that is built to protect and care for our most vulnerable members of society; and they cause havoc to our economy-causing billions in damages every year.
Abuse is so prevalent in nursing homes because it has so many different forms-physical, sexual, financial, medical, and others. To give you a better sense of what it looks like and how they translate into lawsuits, we have summarized some Arkansas nursing home lawsuits below. We hope this helps you but if you have more questions please call our office. A member of Nursing Home Law News can address all of your concerns.$1,988,000 Nursing Home Verdict:
Pulaski County, Arkansas nursing home abuse case. This case was brought by the family of a woman who died in the care of an Arkansas care facility. She was eighty-seven at the time of the incident and was survived by one adult child.
What apparently happened was that she was being taken from the nursing home to a local hospital for treatment and examination and during transit she hit her head on some railing in the bus. The force of the shock was so much that it put her into a critical state and she died the next day despite emergency efforts to save her.
Her surviving son brought a lawsuit against the home soon after her passing to recover damages for her untimely death and the expenses that came as a result of it. The people that helped her into the bus and the driver who was operating it were employees of the nursing home.
Therefore, his lawsuit claimed that it was responsible for their negligence and her wrongful death that came as a result under the theory of respondeat superior. Respondeat superior holds employers liable for the actions of their employees if they are done within the course of employment.
The defendant argued that this was not done within that scope or at least that it was beyond its control. The jury disagreed. It found the nursing home liable and awarded the plaintiff $1,988,000 in damages for the following categories:
- $38,000 for medical and other expenses; and
- $1,950,000 for pain and suffering that the surviving son endured as a result of the wrongful death.
Pulaski County, Arkansas nursing home abuse case. The resident in the middle of this storm of controversy sustained a bunch of injuries while living at the nursing home.
For instance, he developed bed sores that got all the way to stage four by the time that anyone noticed. For the record, he didn’t have any pressure sores prior to entering the facility. But that’s not it.
He also fell a number of times and on one occasion fractured his hip. Then, nursing home staff discovered that his prior urinary tract infection had flared up and was giving him problems again. The striking thing about all of this was that he was a relatively young man.
He was fifty-nine when this all happened. After his health stabilized to some degree, he brought a lawsuit against the nursing home for negligence to recover for his injuries, pain, and expenses. The defendant facility responded that the people were responsible were not in its employ or otherwise related to it sufficient to make it liable for the man’s damages.
This was not a winning argument as the plaintiff was able to demonstrate in court that the workers were directly hired by the nursing home management. The jury took note of this and awarded the plaintiff $1,540,000 for these damages:
- $500,000 for medical and other expenses;
- $25,000 for pain and suffering;
- $15,000 for compensatory losses; and
- $1,000,000 for punitive damages.
Pike County, Arkansas nursing home abuse case. The resident injured in this dispute was nearly one hundred years. In fact, she was ninety-seven at the time of the events which led to this lawsuit.
Her lawyers claimed that one night a nursing home employee came into her room and attacked her. Apparently, he was trying to physically and sexually abuse her. Whatever the case, she died about one and a half months after this attack from heart failure that-her lawyers claim-was directly related to this incident. They sued the facility for negligence and wrongful death.
Specifically, they complained that the home hired employees without proper training or certification; that it did not properly supervise its employees; and that it did not afford the decedent with the type of care that she deserved.
The defendant nursing home filed its reply in court. It advanced the defense that the employee’s intentional act could not be impugned back to the nursing home and that it did everything it could to help her.
Thus, the issue was left to the jury to decide whether or not the nursing home was responsible. They found that it was and awarded the plaintiffs $1,250,000. Here are some interesting points about this nursing home verdict:
- $250,000 of the award was for compensatory damages and $1,000,000 was for punitive damages;
- This award was $250,000 more than the plaintiffs’ last demand; and
- The plaintiffs only claimed about $6,000 in past medical bills.
Arkansas nursing home abuse case. This Arkansas nursing home abuse case was not the typical kind of lawsuit that you normally read about or see.
Instead of going after the nursing home at first, the plaintiff sued another resident. Here’s what happened: the two were amongst all of the other residents peaceably eating dinner when the man attacked the female plaintiff.
He shoved her to the ground and then began kicking and punching her. At the end of the incident, she was seriously injured. She broke bones in her arms, legs, and face. She even sustained a concussion and was experiencing pain and other effects long after the incident took place.
She sued the man to recover for all of the damage that she experienced because of the attack. She charged him with intentional torts such as battery and assault. Then, she also sued the nursing home where the fight happened.
Her suit alleged that they were negligent in their supervision and monitoring of the scene and, therefore, responsible for her the injuries that the man inflicted upon her. The nursing home obviously denied all of these claims and countered that since the man’s actions were intentional it could not be held responsible.
Yet, at the end of the day, it still found itself at the losing end of the settlement table. The woman received $250,000 from the facility and here are some reasons why she probably did:
- The nursing home was looking to avoid the expense of trial;
- The nursing home could not deny that it was at least minimally negligent; and
- The nursing home could not guarantee that it could differentiate between its negligence and the woman’s injuries.
Arkansas nursing home abuse case. This cause of action appeared unlikely at the onset of the litigation. In fact, most of the evidence and facts surrounding the incident only came to light once the nursing home resident passed away.
By that point, her family and doctors learned the true nature of her passing. They found that she had received a lot of medication as required. Also, prior to dying, she had endured a substantial amount of neglect as evidenced by signs of malnutrition and dehydration.
Representatives for her estate deduced that this was a contributing factor to her death and brought a lawsuit against the nursing home for damages. Their complaint alleged that the defendant facility was negligent in its supervision and care of the woman.
Then, they continued that this negligence led to her death. The defendant filed a reply that stated the true cause of death was either her old age, infirmity, or unknow.
Either way, they didn’t see themselves to blame for anything that happened to her despite the obvious signs of neglect and mistreatment.
Possibly because of these clear signals of error, it agreed to settle the matter for $500,000. Here’s how that value added up:
- Half of that money went to her surviving family members;
- A little over $100,000 went to satisfy various medical bills; and
- The rest went to cover the cost of court fees and expenses.
Arkansas nursing home abuse case. This case demonstrates the complicated nature of nursing homes. While they are ostensibly just a place for the sick, old, and others to live and receive care, they also involve a number of parties, companies, and organizations.
In this dispute, the parties accused of wrongdoing were the nursing home as well as a medical company consulting for the home. The latter was supposed to coordinate with the nursing home and give care to residents on an as needed basis.
From the circumstances that gave rise to this lawsuit, it appears that is not what he got. Instead, a number of treatments, supervisory checks, and other crucial things fell through the cracks and he suffered as a result.
The plaintiffs even thought that these oversights were why he died. They sued both companies for wrongful death and alleged in a complaint that their combined failure led to his passing. In return, the nursing home and medical consulting company just pointed their fingers at each other.
They blamed the other one and assumed they did nothing wrong. However, through the course of discovery, it came to light that they each committed serious acts of negligence and the line leading to his death could not be cleanly and totally apportioned to either side. Just before the commencement of trial and several months into the litigation, they each decided to settle separately with the plaintiffs. Here is what they received:
- $300,000 from the nursing home;
- $300,000 from the health care consulting company; and
- $150,000 from her treating physicians.
Arkansas nursing home abuse case. This controversy was atypical of most nursing home litigation in Arkansas or anywhere else for that matter. However, it is becoming more and more common as the number of nursing home residents increases all around the country.
What happened was that a financial representative connived to convince an elderly man to purchase an insurance instrument. The apparent aim of the financial product was contested but the usage was not because the man was in his early nineties. There was objective reason why he needed it.
After his family consulted with him about the purchase, they came to the conclusion that he was swindled. They decided to bring a lawsuit against the nursing home and the financial company for the damages that it caused.
They alleged the company used deceptive business practices and that the nursing home was negligent in its supervision. The nursing home denied all fault and claimed that it had no responsibility to protect residents from this kind of loss.
The claims against the company were largely stipulated to and uncontested. Therefore, the only issues in dispute were as against the nursing home. On these matters, both sides were able to reach a settlement for $150,000.
Here are some points that speak to the value of this amount:
- The value almost directly aligned with his losses and expenses; and
- This settlement recognizes the growing set of expectations that states have for nursing homes to protect their residents from new and emerging threats, financial and otherwise.
Arkansas nursing home abuse case. This controversy involved a third-party defendant away and apart from the nursing home. What transpired was that a nursing home resident in her early seventies was walking on the premises when she was struck and attacked by an intruder.
She fell to the ground and broke a few different bones in her legs and hands. After her recovery, she sued the man who injured her for assault and battery. She also sued the nursing home for deficient protection and care. Her claims against the man were largely straightforward and successful.
However, the nursing home put up more of a convincing argument. They argued that the intentional acts of abuse against her by the man could not be imputed back to it. They said their obligation to protect her only went so far and that this was beyond its orbit of obligation.
Yet, they did not carry this argument very far as settlement was reached before opening arguments were even given. She received $50,000 which was not a complete loss for the home as these points illustrate:
It is almost ten times less than the average for battery cases in nursing homes; and It basically just covered the woman’s expenses and economic damages.Arkansas Nursing Home Abuse Case Takeaways
Controversy and criticism surrounding the abuse that nursing home residents face is warranted. After you spend some time reading about examples of nursing home abuse, remember these key points:
- It’s important to quickly preserve evidence of abuse and damages to respond to nursing home defenses such as comparative negligence or pre-existing conditions.
- Nursing homes employ a number of employees, other companies, and consultants. All of these parties can be liable for your injuries but you need to swiftly identify everyone involved so that you can determine fault.
- It is important to figure out if the nursing home’s insurance policy applies to your incident at the onset of the litigation.
Lawyers at Nursing Home Law News works with nursing home residents that have suffered abuse. We help them bring claims on their behalf so that they can receive the recovery they deserve under Arkansas law. If you have been harmed while living at a care facility or have a loved one that was, then give us a call today. We can begin work immediately so that you don’t lose out on anything and that you completely understand your rights.
If you would like to learn more about nursing home cases in Arkansas, please read the following pages: