A West Virginia judge approved a settlement on May 15, 2013 in a malpractice lawsuit that had been filed against a West Virginia nursing home arising out of the death of one of its residents. The nursing home malpractice lawsuit alleged that an 85-year-old woman who had been a resident of the nursing home from 2007 to 2011 died in 2011 because the nursing home staff failed to provide timely and adequate care to the resident to keep her from developing pressure sores and infections that led to her untimely death. The lawsuit also alleged that the nursing home failed to assess changes in the woman’s physical and mental conditions that contributed to her declining health.
The nursing home negligence lawsuit was filed on February 2, 2012 by the administratrix of the woman’s estate and alleged claims of negligence, premises liability, and breach of fiduciary duty. The large nursing home chain that owns and operates the nursing home suffered a huge loss in August 2011 when a West Virginia jury found another of its West Virginia nursing homes failed to feed and care for one of its residents, leading to her death from complications of dehydration after she had left the nursing home. The West Virginia jury in that lawsuit found the nursing home to be 80% at fault due to ordinary negligence and 20% at fault for medical negligence. The jury awarded the deceased resident’s family compensatory damages in the amount of $11.5 million and an award of punitive damages in the whopping amount of $80 million. The defendants’ motion for a new trial in that case was denied in April 2013. The defendants subsequently appealed to the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia, arguing that the non-economic damages cap under West Virginia’s Medical Professional Liability Act should apply to the nursing home claim, which appeal is presently pending.
In the present West Virginia nursing home case, the settlement terms are confidential but it was reported that the resident’s three children will share in the settlement amount, with the administratrix of the estate receiving 45% of the settlement.
Some of the most egregious nursing home claims involve the lack of proper and timely medical care for residents in nursing homes throughout the United States. Many residents of nursing homes are elderly and suffer from multiple physical and mental conditions (which is why they are in nursing homes in the first place) and many suffer from dementia to some extent and are unable to advocate for themselves. Adding to the issues involving the advanced age and poor medical condition of many nursing home residents is the fact that many nursing homes underpay their staff and fail to provide sufficient staff during all shifts to adequately take care of the needs of the residents. An important factor that negatively affects nursing home residents is that many residents unfortunately do not have visitors who visit them often enough to notice long-term deficiencies in medical care that cause harm to the residents.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries or other significant harms while a resident of a nursing home in the United States, you should consult with a local nursing home attorney in your state who may be willing to investigate your possible nursing home claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a nursing home negligence lawsuit, if appropriate.
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