What Is a Nursing Home Abuse Settlement?
Nursing home settlements are legal agreements between those filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit (plaintiffs) and those being sued (defendants).
In a settlement, the plaintiff receives money for:
- Emotional suffering
- Funeral expenses
- Future health care
- Lost wages
- Medical bills
- Punitive damages (which punish the nursing home for wrongdoing)
- Other costs
According to Health Affairs, the average nursing home neglect settlement in the United States is about $406,000. You may receive more or less than this amount. Some past settlements have awarded $1 million or more.
Lawsuits that don’t reach settlement agreements may proceed to court for a nursing home abuse verdict to be decided by a judge or jury. However, most nursing home cases reach settlements since they are less risky and time-consuming than trials. Black’s Law Dictionary states that about 95% of personal injury lawsuits end in a settlement.
Experienced lawyers can help you pursue a nursing abuse lawsuit settlement. See if you can take legal action today with a free consultation.
Benefits of Nursing Home Lawsuit Settlements
For many victims, reaching a settlement is the best way to resolve cases involving nursing home abuse. Settlement agreements offer unique benefits that trial verdicts do not.
Advantages of nursing home abuse settlements include:
- Accessing money to cover medical costs (compensatory damages)
- Avoiding the uncertainty of a lengthy trial
- Maintaining more privacy with the details of a victim’s abuse
- Receiving additional compensation for pain and suffering (punitive damages)
- Saving money in legal fees (trials are often more expensive)
- Shortening the legal process (trials usually take longer)
Further, a study from the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies found those who rejected settlement offers and went to trial actually got less financial compensation in 61% of cases.
Depending on the facts of your case, your lawyer may recommend settling your nursing home abuse lawsuit out of court.
Examples of Nursing Home Lawsuit Settlements
Nursing home lawsuit settlement amounts vary based on the unique factors in each case. Learn about notable examples of nursing home neglect settlement cases below.
The family of a former judge was awarded this settlement after nursing home staff failed to give him antibiotics for an infection he was battling. The infection ended up taking his life.
A resident received this settlement after being repeatedly raped by a staff member. The care facility fired the staff member when they discovered the sexual abuse. He was later arrested, but the unthinkable damage had already been done.
An 86-year-old woman received this amount after being sexually abused by another nursing home resident. She won a court trial against the assisted living facility but later settled.
Family members received this wrongful death settlement after an 89-year-old woman died from a fall in a nursing facility. Since she was considered a high fall risk, the staff was supposed to use an alarm that sounded if she got up. However, they failed to turn on the alarm and didn’t get her to the hospital fast enough, resulting in her death.
This amount was secured by Vermont’s attorney general in February 2020 for four separate instances of elder abuse and neglect in long-term care facilities.
This settlement was reached in 2019 after a 90-year-old woman died just two months after being admitted to a nursing home. The wrongful death lawsuit successfully argued that the woman developed bedsores due to neglectful staff members.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, find out if you are eligible to receive money through a nursing home settlement.
Nursing Home Lawsuit Settlement Factors
Several factors affect how much you can expect to receive in nursing home settlement amounts.
- Fact Pattern
You may get more or less compensation depending on the nature of the abuse. For example, a wrongful death case may award more than a neglect case where someone survived. Additionally, a medical malpractice case may result in more compensation than instances of emotional abuse. Cases involving malnutrition, dehydration, and brain injury or broken bones due to preventable falls may be considered stronger.
Where the nursing home abuse or neglect took place determines jurisdiction, which is a government’s official power to make legal decisions. Some nursing home abuse cases fall under federal jurisdiction, but many others must follow state laws. Local laws, such as special penalties for harming the elderly and compensation caps, may influence nursing home lawsuit settlement amounts.
- Past Cases
Nursing home litigation attorneys may look at nursing home lawsuit settlement amounts from past cases where similar injuries occurred. They can use these past case values to pursue a fair settlement offer in your case.
- Strength of Your Case
A defendant may make a low settlement offer — or no offer at all — if they believe you have a poor chance of winning a trial. Working with a nursing home abuse lawyer can help you avoid this. Nursing home abuse attorneys can gather the evidence needed to build a strong case when a trial occurs.
Here are some helpful topics on Nursing Home Settlements
Nursing Home Lawsuit Settlement Process
Reaching a nursing home abuse settlement can be relatively easy with legal help. Nursing home lawyers gather the facts of the case, file the lawsuit on your behalf, and negotiate settlements with the defendant’s legal team and/or insurance company.
Depending on each party’s willingness to compromise and when settlement negotiations occur, the process may take a few months.
Working with an experienced attorney may help maximize the compensation awarded in a nursing home settlement.
The six main steps to reach a nursing home lawsuit settlement are outlined below.
1. Connect With a Lawyer
Contact a nursing home abuse lawyer to see if you can file a lawsuit and pursue a settlement. An experienced attorney can determine if you have a valid claim and gather the basic facts to prepare your case.
This information includes:
- Who the victim is
- What injuries the victim suffered
- Where the abuse took place
- Who may be responsible for the abuse
Lawyers can also see how much time you have to file a case. Each state has laws called statutes of limitations that prevent lawsuits from being filed after too much time has passed. Most states require lawsuits to be filed within 3 years.
Your lawyer will likely advise you to file a case as soon as possible to avoid missing the deadline.
2. File the Lawsuit
After your nursing home attorney has collected the basic facts, they can prepare a lawsuit against those at fault. In many cases, the nursing home lawsuit is filed against the facility and/or the company that owns it.
You do not have to file the nursing home lawsuit yourself. Your attorney files for you in the proper court system based on the facts of your case.
3. Demand Letter
Your attorney will send a demand letter in an attempt to secure a nursing home lawsuit settlement early on. Demand letters explain why you are owed compensation and how much you need.
You can start to receive compensation if the defense attorneys accept the terms of the demand letter, but unfortunately, this rarely happens. Defense attorneys may respond with a counteroffer or reject it entirely.
4. Pretrial Investigation
Law firms for both parties may collect evidence such as medical records or testimonies during the pretrial investigation, also called the discovery process.
A defendant will usually not consider settlement negotiations until after this process ends. This allows both parties to build their arguments.
Mediation typically occurs if your lawyers and the defendant’s lawyers cannot reach a settlement agreement on their own. During mediation, a private mediator or judge will attempt to get the two sides to agree to a settlement.
6. Nursing Home Lawsuit Settlement Offer
In many cases, the defense will make a settlement offer that you can either accept or reject.
- If you accept the settlement offer, you will be compensated according to the agreement. This decision is final.
- If you reject the settlement offer, the case may go to trial, where a judge or jury will reach a verdict. This will determine if you are owed money and how much.
Jury verdicts usually take longer to reach a conclusion than nursing home negligence lawsuit settlements. They may also be riskier since you could lose the case and receive no jury awards at all. You could also win but receive less than what was offered in a settlement.
Because of these issues, lawsuits can be settled before or even during a trial. Find out if you can work with a nursing home lawyer to pursue a nursing home settlement.
Get Compensation for Nursing Home Abuse
If you or a loved one suffered from nursing home abuse or neglect, you deserve justice and compensation. Negligent care facilities cause agonizing emotional pain to countless families across the country. By making them pay, you can help ensure they do not continue to cause harm.
Hiring a skilled lawyer may be the wisest choice for abuse victims to ensure they get the highest nursing home neglect settlement amounts. Attorneys with experience handling nursing home abuse cases tend to be the best option for families who have suffered at the hands of negligent care facilities.
Get your free case review today to speak with one of our trusted legal partners. We can help you get started right now.
FAQs About Nursing Home Lawsuit Settlements
How much is a nursing home wrongful death settlement?
Nursing home wrongful death settlement amounts vary in each case. Therefore, it is challenging to predict an average settlement for nursing home neglect. However, several past settlements have awarded $1 million or more.
A family received $1.4 million from a Georgia nursing home in 2017. In this case, staff members failed to treat a nursing home resident’s pneumonia and also made medication errors that worsened her overall health and contributed to her death.
What's the largest nursing home settlement amount?
The largest nursing home lawsuit settlements award tens of millions of dollars.
For example, a family received $13 million after a retired judge died in a nursing home. Staff failed to provide him with needed antibiotics, resulting in the return of an infection from which he was recovering.
The staff falsely reported for weeks that the 68-year-old man had been given his medication despite not giving him a single dose.
How long does it take to settle a nursing home lawsuit?
Nursing home lawsuit settlements can typically be reached in a few months. Your lawyer will keep you updated as to if and when you can expect a settlement.
It’s also important to remember that reaching a settlement usually takes less time than going to trial.
What is the average settlement for nursing home neglect?
Average settlements for nursing home negligence may be worth thousands of dollars or more. Nursing home neglect may not be an intentional act like abuse, but it can be just as harmful.
In 2017, the loved ones of a man who died in a nursing home received $1 million from the company that owned the facility.
News reports revealed that the man’s painkillers were being stolen by a medical technician, causing severe discomfort as he was dying from cancer. A nursing home staff member knew of the thefts but took no action.
How much can I receive from a bedsore lawsuit settlement?
A bedsore, also known as a pressure ulcer or pressure sore, is a life-threatening problem that occurs when blood flow to the skin is cut off.
Since bedsores in nursing homes are so dangerous, families may be able to receive considerable compensation if a severe one forms. In 2016, the family of an 87-year-old woman reached a $1 million nursing home settlement after she died of untreated bedsores and sepsis.
A news report noted that staff members knew about the bedsore but failed to administer medical care properly. The sore had doubled in size by the time the woman left the facility.
How do I find out how much my lawsuit settlement is?
Contact an experienced attorney to find out how much you could receive by settling a wrongful death or personal injury case. Lawyers can analyze the facts surrounding your case and may be able to provide an estimate.