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“Are there limits on the compensation the victim of nursing home injury can recover?”

"Are there limits on the compensation the victim of nursing home injury can recover?" Asks Nancy of Palos Heights, Illinois with a pending claim against a Chicago nursing home involving her fathers wandering from a nursing home.

No.  There are no monetary limits on the damages available for victims of nursing home abuse and neglect.  You are entitled to whatever a judge or jury determines to be fair and reasonable compensation.  A jury may award damages for both past and future: medical expenses, pain and suffering, disability and loss of a normal life.  In the case of wrongful death, a jury may award damages for loss of society to the family of the deceased.

limits on the compensationHowever, there are important issues that impact the amount of compensation an injured person or the estate of deceased person may receive.  The first hurdle involves nursing homes with no liability insurance.  With a weak economy and some large verdicts rendered against them, some nursing homes have decided to go ‘naked’ with respect to liability coverage for claims and lawsuits brought against them.

The result of having no liability insurance (or in some cases limited insurance coverage) ultimately means that the injured party is limited in his recovery.  Unless a nursing home or assisted living facility is part of large corporation, it is difficult– if not impossible, to collect on a judgment involving an entity with no insurance coverage.  Put another way, a large judgment may be worthless if the nursing home is unable to satisfy it.  Many individual nursing home owners have established complex systems of ownership that limit the owners personal liability.

In cases of uninsured or under-insured nursing homes, settlements may still be arranged.  Most settlements with nursing homes having limited or liability insurance represent a compromised result–generally less than the full value of the claim. 

Most people never inquire about a nursing home’s insurance coverage until it is too late.  In addition to researching facilities track record with respect to complaints and lawsuits, it is also advisable that an inquiry be made with respect to the insurance coverage for a particular facility.  Why not learn as much as possible about the facility responsible for the care and safety of your loved one?

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