January 10, 2012

Nursing Home Lawsuit Verdict for Plaintiff After Choking Accident

by Levin & Perconti

TMJ News 4 reported this weekend on the end of nursing home neglect lawsuit. The case involved a mother who filed suit after her 51 year old daughter died after choking to death at a nursing home. The developmentally disabled woman was supposed to have close supervision at the facility to prevent accidents just like this one. However, it appears that the victim did not receive the care to which she was entitled, resulting in the deadly accident.

Following the ordeal the victim’s family filed the nursing home neglect suit. The complaint in the matter explained that the victim was blind and had difficulty swallowing. Her condition made it important for caregiver to take special care when she was eating. Her care plan required her food to be pureed. Unfortunately, one of the woman’s caregivers failed to follow those guidelines. The victim’s food was not properly prepared and she was not supervised adequately. She started choking, depriving her brain of oxygen. She ultimately suffered significant brain damage before passing away. After hearing all of the evidence in the case the jury returned a verdict for the family. They were awarded $1.5 million for funeral expenses, pain and suffering losses, loss of society, companionship, and punitive damages.

Our Illinois nursing home lawyers have worked on many cases involving residents who died because of choking accidents. Just last year we settled two different cases that were similar to this one. In our cases both nursing home residents have developmental disabilities and brain injuries that made swallowing difficult. Each resident had a care plan in place that mandated they intake only certain foods and be watched closely in case they began having trouble. Yet, those plans were not followed, ultimately taking the lives of each resident. Unlike this latest case, in our two situations last year, both cases settled before needing to go to trial.

When meeting with new clients, our Chicago nursing home abuse attorneys often explain the typical course of action for a new case. Many clients have heard that most cases settle before trial, but there is often confusion about what exactly that means. There is often uncertainty about how long the entire process will take. Of course, it is always hard to get specific information to these questions, because every case is a bit different and may present unique circumstances. It is true that most cases settle, but the timing of the settlement is different depending on the circumstances.

Even cases that settle generally take some time for all the evidence to be gathered and for both sides to better understand what an appropriate settlement amount might be. In a typical situation, a lawsuit will be field with the court—that is done with the filing of a document known as a “complaint. After that the opposing party will respond to the charges by filing a document known as an “answer.” Then the long “discovery” process will be initiated where both sides will collect evidence about exactly what happened. It is during this time that depositions are taken, which are interviews with those involved in the situation by both sides of the dispute. Usually after much of this evidence is collected, representatives for both sides with meet and discuss possible settlement options. So long as an amicable agreement can be reached, the parties may then take a settlement to the court for judicial approval. If that approval is given the situation will essentially be resolved and the matter will end. This may take anywhere from a few months to a year or more.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Levin & Perconti File New Nursing Home Lawsuit Against Lakeview Nursing & Rehabilitation Center

Negligent Illinois Nursing Homes Identified By Federal Regulators