What Is Nursing Home Abuse Compensation?
Nursing home abuse compensation is payment — usually financial — given to a victim of abuse or neglect in a nursing home by the person or company judged responsible for their suffering.
Compensation can be gained through a settlement, a criminal trial, or a civil lawsuit. Regardless of its origin, compensation in a nursing home abuse case is intended to help set the injustice right by paying for the financial, physical, and emotional needs a victim suffers from as a result of their abuse.
Quick Facts About Nursing Home Abuse Compensation
- Victims of nursing home abuse have received compensation awards as high as $1 Billion.
- Although trial verdicts may lead to bigger compensation amounts, settlements are often faster and less stressful for victims and their families.
- Most nursing home abuse cases never go to court. In fact, many law firms report that around 90% of their clients take a settlement.
Who Can Get Nursing Home Abuse Compensation?
Compensation may be awarded to any victim of nursing home abuse who can prove the abuse and that they received property damage or mental or physical injuries as a result. The types of abuse that may result in financial compensation are wide-ranging.
Victims of the following abuse types may have grounds for financial compensation:
- Neglect: The failure of a nursing home to properly see to the needs of residents in its care
- Physical abuse: The intentional infliction of bodily harm on a nursing home resident
- Sexual abuse: Any sexual contact or advances toward a nursing home resident who did not or could not consent
- Emotional abuse: Cursing, belittling, isolating, or acting in other ways that psychologically harm a resident
- Financial abuse: Financially exploiting, coercing, committing fraud against, or stealing from a resident
If a judge or jury rules in favor of a victim in a civil court case, they will receive whatever amount of financial compensation is ruled suitable.
Nursing home residents and their families should reach out to their local long-term care ombudsman or a nursing home abuse lawyer if they wish to file a lawsuit against a nursing home or its staff members.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse Compensation
Compensation from a nursing home abuse lawsuit comes in the form of a dollar amount paid to the victim. However, a criminal court may also require a guilty party to pay restitution — compensation someone charged with a crime must pay to their victim for losses suffered.
In many states, those who commit crimes against the elderly are required to pay some kind of restitution, be it financial or service-based.
Someone charged in a nursing home abuse criminal case may be required to pay money to victims. This is especially true in cases of financial abuse.
Financial restitution can help pay for:
- Repayment of the value of stolen or damaged property
- Reimbursement for medical and/or dental expenses incurred as a result of the perpetrator’s actions
- Reimbursements for mental health expenses, such as therapy or psychiatry assessments
- Payments for lost wages or payments for interest on lost investments or profits
- Relocation or transportation expenses that result from the crime
- Repayment of the victim’s legal fees
- Physical rehabilitation expenses
Other Types of Restitution
In addition to financial restitution, a defendant may be ordered by a criminal court to perform other duties to pay back the victim — often as part of probation or parole.
Other types of compensation for nursing home abuse include:
Individual or direct service occurs when offenders perform some action to help their victim undo the harm the crime has caused. For victims of elder abuse, this may include services like mowing the victim’s lawn or shoveling snow. Because victims often want to avoid their abusers, this is the rarest form of restitution.
The offender must perform service to members of the community as part of their probation terms. In cases of nursing home abuse, this often involves serving the elderly or nursing home residents.
An offender may also have to give money to entities other than the victim, such as welfare programs.
Benefits of Nursing Home Abuse Compensation
Pursuing compensation for nursing home abuse can be intimidating, but the benefits are often worthwhile.
Some benefits of pursuing nursing home abuse compensation include:
- Help paying for medical bills resulting from the abuse
- Help paying for long-term disabilities caused by the abuse
- Help paying for mental health counseling needed because of the abuse
- Help with other expenses related to the abuse, such as relocating an elder to another nursing home
- Holding those who abused a loved one accountable
- Discouraging nursing homes and staff from abusing others
You may be able to access these benefits through a nursing home abuse lawsuit. To learn whether you may be eligible for compensation, it is important to work with a trusted legal professional who has handled similar cases in the past.
Nursing Home Abuse Compensation Case Values
A nursing home abuse case value is the amount of monetary compensation a victim’s injuries and a perpetrator’s punishment are determined to be worth.
Because nursing home abuse involves a vulnerable adult being mistreated by those who were supposed to care for them, compensation amounts are often high.
Nursing Home Abuse Settlements
A nursing home abuse settlement is an agreement outside of court between a nursing home abuse victim and those they are seeking damages from. This agreement outlines the facts of the case and how much compensation will be paid.
Victims receive less compensation through a settlement than they potentially could by taking the case to court, but settlements are often faster and less stressful than lawsuits.
This is why an estimated 90% of nursing home abuse lawsuits are settled.
A few examples of nursing home abuse settlements include:
A $65,000 Pennsylvania case
An elderly woman with a fractured leg had to have her leg amputated after staff at a nursing home ignored her orthopedist’s instructions to remove her immobilizer and keep her legs off the bed. The woman died shortly after her amputation.
A $5.2 Million Arkansas case
A 76-year-old nursing home resident writhed in bed for nearly 12 hours, complaining of severe abdominal pain before staff decided to contact her physician. He faxed them back, telling them to take her to the ER, but the fax was never received. She died from sepsis the next day.
A $7.12 Million Kentucky case
A 67-year-old woman recovering from knee surgery at a nursing home called an aid to help her to the bathroom. The aid told the arthritic woman that she was “too busy” to assist her and left. When the woman attempted to help herself, she slipped and fell into her own urine. The severe injuries cost the victim her ability to ever return to independent living.
Nursing Home Abuse Verdicts
A nursing home abuse verdict is the decision made by a jury after a trial involving a nursing home abuse case.
Most victims and their families settle cases out of court, but some choose to take their case before a civil court, hoping for better compensation.
To convince a jury to give a guilty verdict, a plaintiff must:
- Provide enough evidence that the alleged abuse took place
- Convince the jury that the nursing home or individual failed a duty to care for the resident
- Convince the jury that the victim is owed some form of compensation or punitive action
Some nursing home abuse verdicts include:
A $3.3 Million Colorado case
An 83-year old man suffered from multiple injuries as the result of neglect in his nursing home. These injuries included bedsores, skin tears and abrasions, dehydration, malnutrition, and E. coli and urinary tract infections.
A $42.5 Million California case
A woman was routinely drugged by nursing home staff who ignored her doctor’s orders to only administer her medication if she had seizure-like activity. Instead, they used it daily to control her “agitation.” She quickly developed aspiration pneumonia from the drugs and, a few weeks later, died.
A $91.5 Million West Virginia case
A nursing home was found responsible for the death of an 87-year-old resident. The woman, who had dementia, suffered head trauma from several falls and likely died of dehydration after the understaffed facility failed to provide her with even a cup of water.
Nursing Home Abuse Compensation and Insurance
When a nursing home resident is abused, insurance can play a part in compensation.
Nursing homes purchase liability insurance to help them cover the costs of paying for settlement and verdict compensation. When abused residents sue nursing homes, they may receive compensation from a facility’s liability insurance company.
A nursing home abuse victim’s personal insurance may also help with care and recovery.
Insurance can supplement nursing home abuse compensation in many ways, including:
- Home-based care: Nursing home residents and their families may, understandably, no longer feel comfortable with nursing home care after abuse occurs. Insurance may help cover the costs associated with caring for an elder at home.
- Medical expenses: Nursing home abuse can lead to serious injuries that require hospitalization. Medicare, private health insurance, and other forms of insurance may help cover expensive hospital fees.
- Relocation: Insurance may also help cover the costs of relocating an abused elder to another care facility, including paying for temporary home-based care.
- Hospice care: Sadly, some cases of abuse and neglect rob an elder of precious years of life. Insurance programs may help cover the costs of caring for an abuse victim at the end of their lives.
How to Get Nursing Home Abuse Compensation
Getting compensation for nursing home abuse can make a tremendous difference in the recovery and quality of life of an elder who has suffered abuse or neglect in a care facility.
Victims of nursing home abuse and their families can get compensation by:
- Locating a victim advocate group: An advocate group or local victim/witness resource center can help victims or loved ones apply for nursing home abuse compensation and assist with court hearings.
- Contacting their long-term care ombudsman: Ombudsmen serve as advocates for adults living in assisted care facilities. An ombudsman can give information and resources to those who wish to pursue compensation for nursing home abuse.
- Filing an official complaint: Filing a complaint with the licensing authority that regulates nursing homes in a victim’s state will prompt an investigation of the home and may help prevent future cases of abuse. Additionally, an investigator’s findings may help victims win a court case against the facility.
- Contacting an elder abuse attorney: A lawyer experienced in elder law or elder abuse can give you the best chance of winning your case in a criminal or civil court case and guide you through the process.
The thought of pursuing a legal dispute during a loved one’s time of suffering and need can be overwhelming, but you do not have to work alone.
To learn more, get a free case review from a trusted legal partner.