Nursing Home Abuse Settlements - The Benefits and Process

Nursing Home Abuse Settlements

Understand Settlements & How Amounts Are Determined

Quick Answer

Settlements are the most common way nursing home abuse lawsuits end. According to one health journal, the average U.S. nursing home settlement amount is $406,000. Settlement amounts vary based on several factors, but some families have received over $1 million. Nursing home settlements may allow older adults and their families to get money faster than a trial.

What Is a Nursing Home Abuse Settlement?

Nursing Home Abuse Settlement

Nursing home settlements are legal agreements between the party filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit (plaintiff) and the party being sued (defendant). In a settlement, the plaintiff receives a negotiated amount of money to cover medical bills and emotional suffering.

Lawsuits that don’t reach settlements may go to trial before a judge and jury. However, most nursing home abuse cases reach settlements since it is less risky and time-consuming than a trial.

Did You Know

According to the journal Health Affairs, the average nursing home settlement in the United States awards around $406,000. However, payouts from nursing home settlements may vary greatly based on the unique factors of each case.

Experienced lawyers can help you file your case and pursue a nursing home settlement. Start your free case review to learn if you can get legal help.

Quick Facts About Nursing Home Abuse Settlements

  • According to Black’s Law Dictionary, recently available statistics report about 95% of personal injury lawsuits end in a settlement.
  • Averages are difficult to determine, but nursing home wrongful death cases have some of the highest settlement amounts of any nursing home abuse case type.
  • A study in the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies found that in 61% of cases where plaintiffs rejected a settlement offer, they actually received less compensation in a trial verdict.

Examples of Nursing Home Abuse Settlements

Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

The following examples explore a wide range of nursing home settlement amounts from different jurisdictions and case types.

$6.75 Million
Sexual Abuse - Pennsylvania

An 86-year-old woman received this amount after facing sexual abuse in an assisted living facility by another resident. The facility was originally ordered to pay $7.5 million after losing a trial but later reached a settlement for a slightly lower amount.

$1 Million
Wrongful Death - Massachusetts

A family received this wrongful death settlement after an 89-year-old woman died from a fall in a nursing facility. Since the woman was at a high risk of falling, staff members were supposed to use an alarm that would notify them if she got up. However, staff failed to turn on the alarm. The nursing home also delayed in getting the woman to a hospital after the fall.

$740,000
Elder abuse and neglect - Vermont

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.

$300,000
Wrongful Death - Virginia

This wrongful death settlement was reached in 2019 after a 90-year-old woman died just two months after being admitted to a nursing home. An attorney for the family noted the woman developed bedsores due to neglectful staff members.

We have successfully handled settlements across the U.S. Contact us today by calling (855) 264-6310.

Benefits of Nursing Home Settlements

Settlements can be very helpful when taking legal action against nursing home abuse. This is very true when you compare settling to going to trial.

Benefits of Nursing Home Settlements

Advantages to nursing home settlements include:

  • Accessing compensatory damages to cover costs stemming from abuse
  • Avoiding the added time and uncertainty of a trial
  • Maintaining more privacy concerning the details of a victim’s abuse
  • Receiving additional compensation for pain and suffering (punitive damages)
  • Saving a large amount in legal fees
  • Speeding up the legal process

Nursing Home Abuse Settlement Factors

Several factors affect how much money you may receive from a nursing home settlement.

  • Case type
    You may get more or less compensation depending on the extent of the abuse. For example, a wrongful death case may award more than a case where someone suffered serious injuries but survived.
  • Jurisdiction
    Jurisdiction is a government’s official power to make legal decisions. Some nursing home abuse laws fall under federal jurisdiction, but nursing home abuse state laws are often more relevant. Local laws such as special penalties for harming the elderly and compensation caps may influence settlement amounts.
  • Legal precedent
    Parties may look at settlement amounts from past cases where similar injuries occurred. They can use these amounts to help determine a settlement offer in your case.
  • Strength of a case
    A defendant may make a low settlement offer — or none at all — if they do not believe you have a good chance of winning a trial. Working with a nursing home abuse lawyer can help you avoid this problem. Attorneys can gather the evidence needed to build a strong case in the event a trial occurs.

Nursing Home Settlement Process

Reaching a nursing home abuse settlement is 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 lawyers. Legal help may make the difference between a weak settlement offer and a strong one.

Depending on each party’s willingness to compromise and how early settlement negotiations take place, the entire process may take several months or longer. The six main steps involved in a nursing home settlement are outlined below.

1. Connect With a Lawyer

Contact a nursing home abuse lawyer to see if you’re able to file a lawsuit and pursue settlement compensation. An experienced attorney can determine whether 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. Your lawyer may advise you to file a case as soon as possible to avoid missing the deadline.

Speak with our trusted advocates today to get your case reviewed. Call (855) 264-6310.

2. File the Lawsuit

After your attorney has collected the basic facts, they can prepare a lawsuit against those at fault, in many cases the nursing home 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 right court system based on the facts of your case.

3. Conduct a Pretrial Investigation

In most cases, a defendant will not seriously consider settlement discussions until after the pretrial investigation or “discovery” process. This process allows both parties to get all of the facts and determine how strong a plaintiff’s case is. Law firms for both parties may collect evidence, such as medical records, during this time.

4. Send a Demand Letter

Your attorney may send a demand letter to secure a nursing home settlement early on. Demand letters explain why and how much compensation you need. You can start to receive compensation if the defense attorneys accept the terms of the letter. However, defense attorneys may also respond with a counteroffer or reject the demand letter entirely.

5. Attend Mediation

Mediation typically occurs if your lawyers and the defendant’s lawyers cannot reach a settlement on their own. During mediation, a private mediator or judge will attempt to get the two sides to reach a settlement.

6. Accept a Settlement Offer

In most 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 and a judge or jury will reach a verdict, deciding how much you are owed — if anything.

Nursing Home Settlement OffersLawsuits can be settled before or sometimes during a trial since lawyers typically want to avoid trials. Trial verdicts usually take far longer to reach a conclusion than nursing home settlements. There’s also a lot of risk involved. You could lose the case, ending up with no compensation. Even if you win, you could receive less than what was offered in a settlement.

Get Compensation for Nursing Home Abuse

Victims and family members seeking nursing home abuse compensation should start by finding an experienced lawyer. Attorneys with experience in handling nursing home abuse cases are more likely to secure plaintiffs the compensation they deserve, be it through a settlement or verdict.

Start your free case review today to speak with one of our trusted legal partners and learn whether you may be entitled to financial compensation.

FAQs About Nursing Home Settlements

How much can I receive from a bedsore lawsuit settlement?

A bedsore, also known as a pressure ulcer or pressure sore, is a possibly life-threatening health problem that occurs when blood flow is restricted to parts of the body. Since bedsores in nursing homes are so dangerous, families may be able to receive notable amounts of compensation if a resident develops one.

In 2016, the family of an 87-year-old woman reached a $1 million settlement with a nursing home after she died of an untreated bedsore and sepsis. A news report noted that staff members knew about the bedsore when the woman was admitted, but failed to properly treat it. In fact, it actually grew to twice its original size by the time the woman left the facility.

What's the largest nursing home settlement?

The largest nursing home settlements can award tens of millions of dollars in some cases.

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.

What is the average settlement for nursing home neglect?

Average settlements for nursing home neglect may be worth thousands of dollars or more. Though nursing home neglect may not be an intentional act like abuse, 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, causing him severe discomfort as he was dying from cancer. A nursing home staff member knew of the thefts but took no action.

How much is a nursing home wrongful death settlement?

Nursing home wrongful death settlement amounts vary in each case, 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 recurring bouts of pneumonia and also made medication errors. Both problems worsened her overall health and contributed to her death.

How long does it take to settle a nursing home lawsuit?

Nursing home 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 is typically shorter than going to trial.

How do I find out how much my lawsuit settlement is?

Contact a lawyer to find out how much you could receive through a settlement. Lawyers can analyze the facts surrounding your case and may be able to provide an estimate. Get started today with a free case review.

Nursing Home Abuse Support Team

The Nursing Home Abuse Center (NHAC) was founded to bring justice to those affected by nursing home and elder abuse. Our mission is to educate and empower victims of abuse and their families to take a stand against this unlawful mistreatment. We work to return dignity back to those who have been broken down by nursing home abuse and neglect.

View 7 Sources
  1. The Law Dictionary. (n.d.). What Percentage of Lawsuits Settle Before Trial? What Are Some Statistics on Personal Injury Settlements? Retrieved December 18, 2019, from https://thelawdictionary.org/article/what-percentage-of-lawsuits-settle-before-trial-what-are-some-statistics-on-personal-injury-settlements/
  2. FindLaw team. (n.d.). What Does it Mean to Settle a Case? Retrieved December 13, 2019, from https://litigation.findlaw.com/legal-system/what-does-it-mean-to-settle-a-case.html
  3. FindLaw team. (n.d.). Nursing Home Lawsuit Settlements FAQs. Retrieved December 13, 2019, from https://injury.findlaw.com/torts-and-personal-injuries/nursing-home-lawsuit-settlements-faqs.html
  4. NOLO. (n.d.). How a Lawyer Settles a Personal Injury Lawsuit. Retrieved December 13, 2019, from https://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/personal-injury/how-lawyer-settles-lawsuit.html
  5. Stevenson, D. G., & Studdert, D. M. (2003). The Rise Of Nursing Home Litigation: Findings From A National Survey Of Attorneys, Health Affairs. Retrieved December 13, 2019, from https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/full/10.1377/hlthaff.22.2.219#sec-6
  6. Glater, J. D. (2008). Study Finds Settling Is Better Than Going to Trial. Retrieved December 13, 2019, from https://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/08/business/08law.html?login=google&auth=login-google
  7. Kiser, R. L., Asher, M. A., & McShane, B. B. (2008). Let's Not Make a Deal: An Empirical Study of Decision Making in Unsuccessful Settlement Negotiations, Journal of Empirical Legal Studies. Retrieved December 13, 2019, from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1740-1461.2008.00133.x
Back to Top