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Indiana Nursing Home Abuse Settlements & Verdicts (Case Valuation)
Here is some information of how Indiana nursing home lawsuits work and settlements of nursing home claims in Indiana. The attorneys at the Nursing Home Law Center can help your family file a nursing home lawsuit when your loved one has suffered harm in an Indiana nursing home.
Indiana Nursing Home Statistics
According to Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare, there are a total of 545 nursing homes in the state of Indiana. 120 of these nursing homes have received the one-star overall rating for a low quality of care. Three nursing homes in Indiana are on the Special Focus Facility list, which denotes the worst nursing homes in the country.
As of October 2018, there were a total of just over 53,000 nursing homes beds in Indiana. As of July 2018, just over 39,000 of these beds were occupied for an occupancy rate of 74 percent. The largest concentration of these beds was in Marion County, which is where Indianapolis is located. Nursing homes in Indiana are regulated by the Indiana State Department of Health. The agency handles both licensing as well as enforcement actions when the nursing homes violate laws or regulations.
The agency conducts unannounced inspections on behalf of the federal government. Indiana gives each nursing home a report card which consist of grades in five categories, which includes quality of care. The state makes these report cards publicly available so families can compare nursing homes when making care decisions.
Nursing Home Damage Caps in Indiana
Given the high number of one-star facilities in the state, it follows that there are many lawsuits against nursing homes in Indiana. In the past, there has been a cap on damages that families can recover. Some states arbitrarily seek to limit damages in lawsuits to protect businesses in the state, and Indiana is one of those states. Specifically, there is a law on the books that places a ceiling on damages in wrongful death cases.
The Indiana Adult Wrongful Death Act only allows families to collect up to a maximum of $300,000 for the loss of companionship from a loved one who was killed by the negligence of another. Not only that, but loved ones cannot recover for the pain and suffering of someone who has died. This law is a harsh statute that deprives families of their legal rights and helps insulate nursing homes from the consequences of their bad acts.
Legal Challenge to the Indiana Damage Caps
In 2018, there was a lawsuit that was filed in Indiana that challenged the constitutionality of the statute. In the specific case, the nursing home allegedly failed to provide the proper supervision for a dementia patient who suffered multiple falls. One of the falls resulted in a severe head injury with a subdural hematoma.
The resident ultimately died from these injuries. The nursing home that is being sued has a long history of regulatory violations and issues with state and federal regulators. The complaint alleged that the nursing home purposefully reduces staff in order to inflate the profits, which reduces the quality of care at the facility.
According to the lawsuit, the law that caps damages improperly infringes upon the family’s constitutional right to seek compensation for the loss of their loved one. The complaint correctly points out that the nursing home would be economically better off if the resident died. This is because the death of the resident extinguishes the right to seek damages for pain and suffering. Had the resident survived, this could have been a part of the lawsuit.
Indiana maintains a Patient’s Compensation Fund to pay out claims that may exceed certain caps. Still, the amount that can be recovered from the Fund are still limited. The nursing home’s liability is capped at the amount that is provided in the statute. If the family believes that the damages exceed the liability cap, then they can apply to the Fund for additional compensation.
Claims are heard through a medical review panel that consists of three doctors or healthcare providers who are familiar with the type of care that is at issue. Note that the composition of the panel could by its very nature be favorable to nursing homes. The panel will issue an opinion, which generally takes 18 months, as to whether they believe that the nursing home was negligent. The panel does not determine compensation.
Once the opinion has been issued, the family would file a claim with the Fund. The nursing home would only be responsible for the first $250,000 of the claim. After that, the Fund would cover up to another $1 million of the claim. In other words, the total amount of recovery is limited to $1.25 million. Legislation has been signed to increase the cap to $1.8 million. In the event that a claim is denied, the family has the ability to take the matter to court. The family is responsible for the fees of the claim with the Fund in the event that the claim is not successful.
Settlements and Verdicts in Indiana Nursing Home Lawsuits
Settlement for $440,000 (2019) – The resident was being transported in a medical transport vehicle. The staff who was responsible for the transfer did not properly secure the resident’s wheelchair in the vehicle. While the vehicle was being driven, the resident was thrown from his wheelchairs and suffered injuries that caused his death.
Settlement for $375,000 (2012) – The resident claimed that the staff member pulled her legs apart in a forcible manner. This caused the resident to suffer a fractured right femur. This required extensive surgical procedures to correct.
Judgement for $1.079 million (2011) – The resident suffered a fractured hip while at the nursing home and died from it several weeks later. The nursing home stipulated that it was responsible for the resident’s broken hip and settled the claim for the highest amount that it was responsible for. The family then filed suit against the Fund for the amount that the damages exceeded the settlement.
Verdict for $2,500 (2010) – The resident was found in a pool of water with burns on his chest. The circumstances under which the resident was injured were not immediately apparent. The resident died shortly thereafter and his injury played a role in the cause of death.
Verdict for $1.5 million (2010) – The resident was allegedly placed in a tub of scalding hot water where he suffered first and second-degree burns to his legs. The lawsuit claimed that the nursing home failed to properly hire, train and supervise its employees.
Verdict $1.5 million (2002) – The resident suffered a variety of different injuries while at the nursing home including pressure ulcers, hip fracture, leg amputation and multiple contusions. The lawsuit claimed that the nursing home’s care was inadequate and that she was poorly supervised while the nursing home contended that it was the resident’s medical condition that caused the injuries.
Verdict for $500,000 (1996) – The resident tripped and fell over loose carpet on the floor at the nursing home. In the fall, the resident suffered a fractured femur as well as emotional distress.
Settlement for $30,000 (1994) – The resident, who was paralyzed from the waist down, fell backward in their wheelchair and struck her head. This resulted in a concussion and a subdural hematoma and the resident died six days after the fall.
Has Your Loved One Been Injured in a Nursing Home in Indiana? Get Legal Help Now
Since Indiana has its own special rules for filing claims against nursing homes, you will need an attorney to help you and your family litigate your case. The attorneys at the Nursing Home Law Center have the experience necessary to handle your case from start to finish and will provide you with competent and aggressive representation throughout the course of your legal matter.
Call us at (800) 726-9565 or get in touch with us online to schedule for free no-risk case assessment. You owe us nothing unless we are able to help you and family recover financially from the nursing home that failed to care for your loved one.