More and more people are checking out nursing homes and becoming new residents especially as the Baby Boomer generation retires and looks for care and treatment.
However, as we’ve seen in recent news and litigation, nursing homes are not completely ready for them. The care that they are providing to residents as in many instances been inadequate and harmed them in a variety of ways.
In the next section, you can read summaries of New York nursing home lawsuits where the victim received inadequate care:
$400,000 NURSING HOME VERDICT:
Nassau County, New York nursing home inadequate care case.
This case ostensibly seemed like a fall case but in actuality was an inadequate care case. The victim was in his middle to late eighties and was suffering from a variety of health conditions such as dementia. He was labelled a high risk for falls upon his admittance to the nursing home where the events of this New York bed sore lawsuit took place.
However, the facility did not create an individualized and tailored plan to stop him from falling, monitor him on a constant basis, or equip his room with tools to stop him from falling out of bed. Needless to say, he fell several times while staying there.
Due to the accidents, he broke his hip and needed to undergo surgery to correct the injury. Tragically, he died during the procedure.
His estate sued for survival and wrongful death damages using the errors described above as the basis for their complaint in addition to various statutory claims (like N.Y. Public Health Law 2801-d). The defendant contended that the decedent received the proper level and kind of care. The jury was not convinced.
They awarded the plaintiffs $400,000 in damages: $300,000 in compensatory recovery and $100,000 in lost services.
Here are some important takeaways from this case:
- The defendant could not point to any specific procedures it put in place to prevent him from falling down or any record of extensive supervision over the man.
- The man was elderly but it still seemed like his rapid decline in health and eventual death began with the falls in the nursing home.
- The man’s estate incurred large expenses due to the events in the lawsuit including medical, funeral, and burial costs.
$150,000 NURSING HOME VERDICT:
Kings County, New York nursing home inadequate care case.
The events of this lawsuit took place over a number of years. The plaintiff was a female nursing home resident. She was eighty-three years old suffering from many different health problems including heart failure, vascular disease, urinary infections, pneumonia, and even others. At some point, she was transferred from the nursing home in question to a hospital for treatment.
That lasted several weeks until she was brought back to the original facility. Once there, according to the allegations contained within the complaint, she experienced dehydration on multiple occasions that complicated her other health problems and took her life.
Her lawyers sued under negligence and statute (the Public Health Law). The defendant nursing home replied that it did everything it could and should but that she died because of her pre-existing and serious conditions that they had no part in causing.
The jury seemed to compromise in awarding the estate $150,000 for only some of the plaintiffs’ claims. Here is why they might have split it down the middle:
- New York’s Public Health Law is almost a strict liability act that awards plaintiffs anytime they experienced dehydration or malnutrition in nursing home and the plaintiffs utilized this effectively.
- She clearly experienced a significant and rapid decline in her health while at the nursing home but this coincided with her pre-existing conditions so it was hard to tell to exactly what degree the nursing home was responsible.
$500,000 NURSING HOME SETTLEMENT:
Richmond County, New York nursing home inadequate care case.
This cause of action kicked off after a female nursing home resident died in her sleep. She was eighty-five at the time and was living with the assistance of a tracheotomy tube. At some point while she was asleep on one occasion, the tube either malfunctioned or became loose. Either way, she stopped receiving oxygen and died.
Lawyers for her estate quickly filed a claim on her behalf. They claimed that the nursing home’s negligence was the reason she died. In particular, their lawsuit listed several errors that culminated in her passing including the following: a lack of proper supervision; a lack of sufficient equipment to sound alarm for this kind of accident; and other miscellaneous negligent conduct.
The defendant replied in the alternative that she would have died regardless of what it did because of her specific health condition.
Prior to the commencement of trial, both sides settled for $500,000 possibly due to the following factors:
- The defendant nursing home had no personnel or equipment monitoring her at the time of her death.
- This incident severely cut short her life expectancy even factoring in her pre-existing conditions.
- The defendant could not attempt to claim that the decedent was contributorily negligent.
- However, the decedent had no surviving family members and spouses so that weighed against even more compensation.
$750,000 NURSING HOME SETTLEMENT:
Kings County, New York nursing home inadequate care case.
This was a very novel case because a crucial element of the lawsuit hovered over whether or not the defendant facility was a nursing home as defined by New York law. The dispute began when an eighty-three-year-old man died in the care of the defendant.
Investigators for the man’s estate determined that he froze to death because the facility had not turned on the heat in over two weeks during the middle of winter.
Also, during this time, he was given sufficient water, food, or medication for his diabetes. Lawyers for his estate brought a lawsuit for damages on a theory of negligence. The defendant said that it was not a nursing home and, therefore, that it was not obligated to the duties of his care.
Furthermore, it stated that the man was only living there because the state said he had to be. Responding to these defense, the plaintiffs claimed that the defendant was holding itself out as a nursing home when in actuality it was not.
Again, the defendant denied these charges but sought to settle and gave the family $750,000.
Here’s how the plaintiffs still got a lofty sum in settlement despite the defendant’s vehement denials:
- The defendant probably could have been liable for negligence because of the lack of heat regardless of its title as a nursing home or not.
- The plaintiffs were prepared to argue that the defendant was a de facto nursing home because of the state’s actions.
$450,000 NURSING HOME SETTLEMENT:
Queens, New York nursing home inadequate care case.
The victim in this cause of action was a male resident in his early eighties. The lawsuit was brought against the nursing home where he was staying as well as the doctor who was treating him while he was there.
The exact misconduct during the operation that led to his injuries was unclear but the consequences were not: permanent numbness; disability; reduced range of motion; scarring and disfigurement; and long-term pain and suffering.
According to the allegations contained within the complaint, the man even died from complications due to the negligent treatment. The lawsuit sought damages for these harms as well as costs, wrongful death, lost support, and other items.
The defendants disagreed but did not contest the matter long. They settled with the man’s estate.
The defendant nursing home offered approximately $300,000 and the defendant physician offered $150,000. The man’s estate accepted both of these amounts.
Here’s why the figure was a bit lower than what you might expect for a wrongful death action:
- The exact nature of the misconduct was unclear and it would have taken a few years to illustrate that in court.
- The man was relatively old and suffering from a number of pre-existing conditions so proving that his death was from the defendants’ negligent care rather than his poor health would have been a tall task.
$750,000 NURSING HOME SETTLEMENT:
Bronx, New York nursing home inadequate care case.
What was unique about this case was the particular nursing home victim himself. He was a man in middle twenties. The reason that he was living at the nursing home was because he was a quadriplegic and needed constant care.
According to his lawsuit, that’s not what he got: staff didn’t reposition him; staff didn’t use appropriate pillows; staff didn’t inspect him; the list of failure went on and on.
As a result, level two bed sores sprang up on his heels and feet and level four bed sores emerged on his back and buttocks.
Consequently, he sought damages under common law claims as well as New York statutes like New York State Public Health Law § 2801-d. The defendant facility refused that it was negligent or responsible. It replied that it merely forgot to document all the care that they gave him.
However, rather than go through the ordeal of trial, it offered to settle for $750,000 and the man accepted.
Here’s why the nursing home may have seen the writing on the wall:
- The plaintiff had specific evidence of the facility’s failures (i.e. a lack of proper equipment and an exact number of times it didn’t reposition him) and no proof to deny them.
- The man’s development of pressure sores and their complications was a per se violation of New York statute as applied to nursing home facilities.
NEW YORK NURSING HOME INADEQUATE CARE CASE TAKEAWAYS
Nursing homes have so many responsibilities that it can be hard to keep them straight and identify exactly how they messed up in a given situation. Here are a few insights that you should be aware of from the case summaries above:
- If the home’s policies differed significantly from its practices, then you could possibly show that the home was negligent.
- A record of past negligence or similar lawsuits can help you build an argument that the nursing home has a history and practice of negligence.
- It is important to figure out what the doctors told the nursing home to do and if the home followed those instructions.
- Some critical issues are when the facility identified the problem, notified the proper medical authorities, and what else they did to fix the issue.
- If the plaintiff has pre-existing injuries, then the home will use to argue that it didn’t do anything wrong and the plaintiff’s condition was already bad.
WAS YOUR LOVED ONE INJURED BECAUSE OF A NURSING HOME’S MISCONDUCT IN NEW YORK?
The attorneys at Nursing Home Law News represent victims of nursing home negligence. If you were injured because of a facility’s misdeeds, then give us a call because we can help you!
Our team investigates nursing home accidents to determine if victims can recover and if they can then we help them bring a case in New York court. To find out if you have the right to recover, contact our offices and speak with someone from Nursing Home Law News team.
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