As with other types of lawsuits, a nursing home abuse lawsuit may end in various ways. A lawsuit may close with a dismissal, summary judgment, settlement, trial, or alternative dispute resolution such as arbitration or mediation. When a lawsuit reaches a settlement, the plaintiff agrees to accept a set amount of financial compensation to dismiss the case. Nursing home abuse settlements are handled outside the courts. Therefore, a full trial does not take place for a final decision to be made.
Settling a Nursing Home Abuse Case
In many cases, nursing home victims and their family members may find nursing home abuse settlements to be the most advantageous way to resolve a lawsuit. Nursing home abuse settlements are often significantly less expensive than taking a case to trial. Nursing home abuse settlements typically also save time and resources for involved parties. Lawsuits that progress to trial may last from one to three years before a verdict is made and a winning plaintiff receives compensation.
Benefits of Nursing Home Abuse Settlements
If plaintiffs reject a settlement offer in the interest of pursuing a trial, they accept the risk of losing any potential compensation in the event that the trial verdict is not in their favor. By accepting a settlement out of court, the plaintiff has the opportunity to review and accept a guaranteed set amount of compensation. Plaintiffs who lack substantial evidence or legal bases are more likely to benefit from nursing home abuse settlements.
Other benefits of nursing home abuse settlements may include:
- Less stress placed on the plaintiff and associated individuals
- The ability to maintain privacy during a settlement as opposed to a trial, during which the case becomes public record
- Flexibility that arises from the lack of strict trial guidelines and rules regarding procedures, rules of evidence, and restrictions on discussions
- Finality of the decision, whereas a trial allows the losing party to file an appeal to extend the case in an attempt to reach a new verdict
- The absence of a potential “guilty” verdict, which remains on the guilty party’s legal record
Nursing Home Abuse Settlement Examples
Nursing home abuse is a serious issue, which is often reflected in nursing home abuse settlements and trial verdicts. Residents and their families are encouraged to discuss a possible nursing home abuse settlement with the defending party. Experienced nursing home abuse lawyers can help to provide insight, guidance, and advice on whether or not it is in the plaintiff’s best interest to accept a nursing home abuse settlement.
Severe Burns Settlement
An 87-year-old nursing home resident at a facility in Illinois was seated in an extremely hot sitz bath, or a bath where the water reaches the patient’s hips. As a result of the failure of the nursing home staff to correct the issue, the resident sustained severe burns. A $1.5 million nursing home abuse settlement was awarded to the resident.
Failure to Monitor Settlement
In a Virginia nursing home, a mentally impaired resident was smoking a cigarette. The staff members at the nursing home facility failed to properly monitor the resident. As a result, the resident sustained severe burn injuries which led to the resident’s death. This constituted a violation of the federal Nursing Home Care Reform Act. A $1.5 million nursing home abuse settlement was awarded on behalf of the resident’s estate.
Resident Violence Settlement
A 74-year-old nursing home resident in an Illinois nursing home was assigned to share a room with a younger resident. The younger resident had violent tendencies that were dangerous to other individuals. While in the room, the older resident died as a result of a violent beating sustained at the hands of the younger resident. The deceased resident’s family received a $1.3 million nursing home abuse settlement.
Nursing Home Fall Settlement
An 89-year-old nursing home resident was left alone in a bathroom when she fell. As a result of the fall, the resident suffered a fracture of her left femur, or thigh bone. This fracture required surgery to correct. The resident died of post-operative complications from the femur surgery. The resident’s family members were awarded a $750,000 nursing home abuse settlement.
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“Nursing home wrongful death suit ends in confidential settlement.” Obesity, Fitness & Wellness Week 10 July 2004: 644.Academic OneFile. Web. 29 Sept. 2013.
Parisi, John M. “A weapon against nursing home fraud and abuse.” Trial Dec. 1999: 48. Academic OneFile. Web. 29 Sept. 2013.