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Nursing Home Lawsuit Settlements

Understand Settlements & How Amounts Are Determined

Quick Answer

Nursing home lawsuit settlements occur when an elder care facility agrees to pay a victim of nursing home abuse and/or their family financial compensation and in exchange the case won’t move to an in-person trial. Settlement amounts vary based on several factors, but some have received over $1 million. Nursing home lawsuit settlements may allow older adults and their families to get money faster than a trial.

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).

a lawyer sits at a desk with a gavel visible

In a settlement, the plaintiff receives money for:

  • Emotional suffering
  • Funeral expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Medical bills
  • Punitive damages (which punish the nursing home for wrongdoing)
  • Other costs

Lawsuits that don’t reach settlements may go to trial where the verdict will be decided by a judge and/or jury. However, most nursing home cases reach settlements since they are less risky and time-consuming than a trial. According to Black’s Law Dictionary, about 95% of personal injury lawsuits end in a settlement.

Did You Know

According to the journal Health Affairs, the average nursing home settlement in the United States awards around $406,000.You may receive more or less than this amount if you decide to settle. Some past settlements have awarded $1 million or more.

Experienced lawyers can help you pursue a nursing abuse lawsuit settlement. Get started today with a free case evaluation.

Benefits of Nursing Home Lawsuit Settlements

Settlements are one of the best ways to resolve legal cases involving nursing home abuse. They offer unique benefits that trial verdicts do not.

Advantages of nursing home abuse settlements include:

  • Accessing money (compensatory damages) to cover medical costs
  • Avoiding uncertainty of a lengthy trial
  • Maintaining more privacy concerning the details of a victim’s abuse
  • Receiving additional compensation for pain and suffering (punitive damages)
  • Saving money in legal fees (trials are more expensive)
  • Shortening the legal process (trials 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 money in 61% of cases.

For all these reasons and more, your lawyer may note that it may be in your best interest to settle a nursing home abuse lawsuit.

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 abuse settlements below.

$6.75 Million
Sexual Abuse - Pennsylvania

An 86-year-old woman received this amount after being sexually abused by another nursing home resident. She actually won a trial against the assisted living facility but later settled.

$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. The staff was supposed to use an alarm that would notify them if she got up since she could easily fall. However, the staff failed to turn on the alarm and didn’t get the woman to a hospital fast enough 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 settlement was reached in 2019 after a 90-year-old woman died just two months after being admitted to a nursing home. An attorney that filed the wrongful death lawsuit 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 to get started.

Nursing Home Lawsuit 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 nature 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 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 also influence nursing home lawsuit settlement amounts.
  • Legal Precedent
    Attorneys may look at nursing home lawsuit settlement amounts from past cases where similar injuries occurred. They can use these amounts to pursue a fair settlement offer in your case.
  • Strength of a Case
    A defendant may make a low settlement offer — or none 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 problem. Attorneys can gather the evidence needed to build a strong case in the event a trial occurs.

Nursing Home Lawsuit 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 defendants’ lawyers.

Working with an experienced attorney may help you maximize the amount of compensation awarded in a nursing home settlement.

Depending on each party’s willingness to compromise and when settlement negotiations occur, the process may take a few months.

The six main steps to reach 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 see 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 or less.

Your lawyer may advise you to file a case as soon as possible to avoid missing the deadline.

Steps to Filing a Lawsuit

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 lawsuit is filed against 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. Send a Demand Letter

Your attorney will send a demand letter to secure a nursing home lawsuit 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, but unfortunately this rarely happens. Defense attorneys may respond with a counteroffer or reject the demand letter entirely.

4. Conduct a Pretrial Investigation

Law firms for both parties may collect evidence such as medical records or testimonies during the pretrial investigation or “discovery” process.

A defendant will not usually consider settlement discussions until after this process ends. This allows both parties to build their arguments.

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 agree to 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 where a judge or jury can reach a verdict. This will decide if and how much you are owed.

Two people shake hands at a desk with gavel and scales of justice

Jury verdicts usually take far longer to reach a conclusion than nursing home negligence lawsuit settlements. They are also very risky since you could lose the case and get no compensation at all. Further, you could win but receive less than what was offered in a settlement.

Because of these issues, lawsuits can be settled before or sometimes during a trial since lawyers typically want to avoid losing.

Get Compensation for Nursing Home Abuse

Contacting an experienced lawyer is the best way to start securing a potential nursing home lawsuit settlement. Attorneys with experience in handling nursing home abuse cases are more likely to help you get the money you need, be it through a settlement or verdict.

Start 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. 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?

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. 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 by a medical technician, 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 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 a lot of compensation if a serious one forms. In 2016, the family of an 87-year-old woman reached a $1 million nursing home settlement after she died of an untreated bedsore and sepsis.

A news report noted that staff members knew about the bedsore but failed to properly administer medical care. 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. 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 8 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. Monk, J. (2017, June 28). A dying cancer patient’s pain meds were stolen. SC care home settles for $1 million. Retrieved December 14, 2021, from https://www.thestate.com/news/local/crime/article158516094.html
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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