- The Nursing Home Problem
- Two Most Common Claims in Litigation
- How Much Are These Cases Worth?
- Getting an Advocate to Fight for You
An investigation by the U.S. General Accounting Office showed that 25% of this country's nursing homes "had serious deficiencies that caused actual harm to residents or placed them at risk of death or serious injury." The Maryland Office of Health Care Quality received a whopping 1,083 complaints about substandard care in 2015. Is it a mystery that legal proceedings involving nursing homes - both criminal, civil and administrative - are on the rise?
With more and more people living in nursing homes continues to age, there have been stunning reports of abuse and neglect in Maryland nursing homes. There has been an astonishing increase in reports from clients of a subset of medical malpractice: nursing home neglect, abuse, and malpractice cases.
We truly care about victims and their families and fight with every last breath to them the money they deserve for the harm that has been done to them.
You really want to think our seniors are living their golden years like we want to live ours. We assume Grandma and Grandpa are getting good care. It seems nice when we visit. But there are so many cases that have come across my desk that I simply did not believe at first because the story of neglect and abuse seemed too far fetched.
But upon further investigation, we learned that far too many nursing home horror stories that cannot be true are absolutely true.
A nursing home advocacy group called Members of the Family has created a Nursing Home Honor Roll. These are nursing homes identified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as meeting the minimum government standards of care, having no violations on the last three annual surveys, and no substantiated complaints during the same time span.
Incredibly, only 1.4% of nursing homes in the United States qualify. In this area, there are no nursing homes in Maryland or Washington, D.C. that qualify. What does this tell us? It tells us that of the 216 nursing homes in Maryland, far too many of them are causing needless pain and anguish to those who are dependent on them.
In 2017, things have not gotten much better. The Nursing Home Report Cards put out by Families for Better Care gave Maryland a "D". The language is harsh:
"Maryland’s nursing homes consistently underachieved, failing to score an above average grade in any reviewed measure... Maryland is the worst nursing home state in the Mid-Atlantic Region."
The point is, this is not a bunch of lawyer-driven hype about the sad state of nursing homes in Maryland. This is an independent study that shows that, comparatively, our state has substandard nursing homes.Types of Nursing Home Cases
There are two fundamental types of nursing home cases: abuse, neglect, and medical malpractice.Abuse
Nursing home abuse is defined by federal law (42 C.F.R. 488.301) as the "willful infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation or punishment with resulting physical harm, pain or mental anguish." It may involve:
- Assault and battery (including sexual assault and battery)
- Virtual imprisonment or unreasonable or unnecessary restraints
- Deprivation of food, drink, medicine, or other basis necessities
- Use of drugs not approved by a medical doctor or the knowing prescription of improper medication (usually some type of sedative in nursing home cases)
- Mental and emotional abuse
We see awful elder abuse cases. But the more frequent problem is not outright abuse but just plain indifference to the pain, suffering, health and well-being of the residents.
The primary distinction is that abuse is done with intent; neglect is the result of negligence and indifference. The standard for nursing home neglect is whether the caregiver acted as the ordinary reasonable provider in the same position would. It can be defined as failing to care for a resident to the degree, which a reasonable person in the same position would exercise. Federal law (42 C.F.R. 488.301) defines nursing home neglect as the "failure to provide goods and services necessary to avoid physical harm, mental anguish or mental illness." Neglect may include any of the following:
- physical or mental neglect
- failure to prevent infection or bed sores (which require the patient to be monitored and regularly adjusted)
- negligent or abusive use of restraints on patients
- failure to alert medical doctors of medical problems
- failure to prevent dehydration and malnutrition
The number of physicians who care for nursing home patients is inadequate. But this does not give doctors and other health care providers the right to ignore or not fully care for nursing home patients. The truth is that a small minority of medical doctors do not provide the same level of care to someone who is elderly and in a nursing home than they would to other patients. These patients deserve the same respect as anyone else. Too often this gets forgotten.Settlement/Trial Value of Nursing Home Cases We have come a long way in the fight against nursing home abuse and neglect. Twenty years ago, few lawyers were bringing nursing home neglect and abuse cases.
Sometimes, having a good lawyer is as important as having a good case.
According to a report by Jury Verdict Research, The 5 Myths of Nursing Home Litigation, premises liability accounts for 8% of all long-term care liability cases. Furthermore, plaintiffs have a recovery probability of over 50% in nursing home cases compared with approximately 30% of medical malpractice cases. The median verdict for nursing home negligence approaches $200,000 and can rise to $13 million when the verdict includes punitive damages. Punitive damage awards accompanied 19% of all plaintiff verdicts with a median award of $900,000.
Plaintiffs in Maryland will not receive punitive damages in nursing home neglect cases but punitive damages are available in nursing home abuse cases.
This data, of course, tells little about the value of any particular nursing home case, but it does give some background as to the general idea of the value of nursing home cases.
- Look at real Maryland nursing home settlements and verdicts here.
- Legal Aid Bureau, Inc. (Maryland Legal Aid) (410) 951-7777
- Maryland Disability Law Center (MDLC) (410) 235-0748
- National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care (NCCNHR) (202) 332-2275
- Voices for Quality of Care (888) 600-2375
Does someone you love who has injuries or unknown origin, bed sores, a broken hip or frequent falls? Are you suspicions of elder abuse or negligence? If so, there may be a claim that can bring about some measure of justice.
Call us at 800-553-8082 for a free no obligation Internet consultation to discuss a potential lawsuit. There are no fees or expenses unless a recovery is obtained.More Maryland Nursing Home Lawsuit Information
- Common Defendants in Maryland Cases
- Sample Nursing Home Complaint [Select here]
- Expert Report: they will fight these cases tooth and nail in the beginning, and they don't need logic or reason to do it. [Select here]
- Plaintiff's Expert Report: expert report used by our nursing home lawyers in a lawsuit against Manor Care)
- Example of a Scheduling Order in a Nursing Home Case
- Example of a Settlement Release in These Cases [Select here]
- Sample Mediation Statement [Select here]