The family of a 97-year-old resident of a Florida assisted living facility received a verdict against the defendant Florida assisted living facility in the amount of $6 million in May 2019, for the death of the resident in 2017 after she fell outside the facility in the scorching July heat and no one came to assist her.
The elderly woman, who was a widow and had resided in the defendant assisted living facility for more than nine years, drove her electric scooter into the courtyard to read her Bible after breakfast on July 5, 2017. The woman was not found in the courtyard until about six hours later. She was lying on the ground and was unconscious when she was found by someone who was visiting another resident.
When the woman arrived at the hospital, her temperature was 105.7 degrees and she was found to have severe burns on her body and suffering from heat stroke that led to sepsis. The woman died 87 days later, on September 29, 2017. The family’s assisted living wrongful death lawsuit that was filed in January 2018 alleged that the woman had fallen at the assisted living facility at least 14 times, including a previous fall in the courtyard, and that the staff knew she needed supervision.
The woman had been given a safety pendant by the assisted living facility and was told that she could press the pendant in the event that she fell and that help would come. What the elderly woman was not told was that the safety pendant was only effective within the facility and would not work outside in the courtyard.
The defense provided trial testimony from a burn specialist who stated that the woman’s alleged burns were not burns but were either the result of thrashing in her hospital bed when she woke up or were from a pre-existing dermatological condition. The defense also offered the testimony of a forensic pathologist who stated that the woman died from the failure to thrive and not from any injuries she may have suffered as a result of the incident. The defense hired a hospice physician, who was also a geriatrician, to testify that the woman had an unrelated urinary track infection that would have killed her on the same day she died, notwithstanding the incident.
The woman’s death certificate lists her cause of death as a fall from her scooter, heat stroke, and severe burns on her feet.
The Florida assisted living facility states on its website: “we understand that every individual is unique. We’re proud to offer a variety of services and amenities to fit your specific needs and interests … Resident safety and well-being is of utmost importance, which is why we strive to ensure a safe and secure campus. Our community is equipped with a 24-hour emergency response system closely monitored by on-site staff. This reliable service aids in providing security and peace of mind … we strive to provide customer-centered services and amenities that are tailored to each resident’s individual needs. From fine dining and meal options to scheduled transportation, residents are our top priority.”
If you or a loved one suffered injuries (or worse) while a resident of an assisted living facility in the United States, you should promptly contact a local assisted living claim lawyer in your state who may investigate your assisted living negligence claim for you and file an assisted living claim on your behalf, if appropriate.
Click here to visit our website to be connected with assisted living lawyers in your U.S. state who may assist you, or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959.
Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.