The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported this week on the end of a nursing home neglect case that resulted in an award for the family of a former resident. The case is somewhat unique in that it represents one of the rare instances when a binding arbitration panel sided with the family in one of these suits for a substantial amount instead of the nursing home.
According to the story, a man filed suit against a national nursing home chain after the death of this mother. The wrongful death lawsuit alleged that inadequate care at the facility–where the woman lived for only three weeks-led to her passing. Our Illinois nursing home neglect attorney often work with local residents on similar suits. When an individual dies as a result of neglect, the surviving family members are able to file a special type of suit–referred to as a wrongful death suit–to ensure there is accountability.
Few details are provided about the actual abuse, but the nursing home neglect lawyer that advocated the case on behalf of the family claimed that the facility “put profits over people.” This is a common issue in these cases and might suggest that the facility’s staffing level or quality was substandard.
In any event, the case was eventually brought before a binding arbitration panel. This is essentially a deciding body that exists outside of the regular court system. Somewhat different rules apply, but in general the body hears information about the case and issues a ruling that is usually binding on both parties. In this case the group found that neglect did take place. They awarded the family $4.5 million for the losses as a result of the death.
The attorneys are now asking a judge for final approval of the binding arbitration award. Following these decisions the judge usually approves the award unless there is some sort of procedural or substantive irregularity.
Unfortunately, far too many families never receive proper redress following the death of their loved one due to neglect. A big part of the problem is that when a senior passes, there are many cases where the family is never made aware that the passing was related to neglect. It can sometimes be difficult to untangle the health conditions that a senior has with the impact that care (or lack of care) has on that health.
However, from a legal perspective, negligence that exacerbates a problem or causes an illness to lead to serious problems is itself enough to meet the “causation” requirement in negligence suits.
In other words, just because a senior was sick or had health problems when they entered a nursing home does not automatically absolve the facility from accountability for ill health effects suffered by the senior. It is important for loved ones to understand that if there are suspicions about whether the care provided to the senior was inadequate, they are well-served by hiring legal professionals to ensure a full investigation into the situation. It is not easy to get nursing homes to cooperate by providing information about the exact steps taken by staff members during the health crisis. However, lawyers experienced in these issues are in a position to ensure these facilities cooperate and provide answers for families.
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