A jury recently awarded a family a combined award of about $1.2 billion after a successful lawsuit against a nursing home that they said did not properly supervise their mother. The woman lived at the home for three years, during which time she fell repeatedly, according to the lawsuit.
Improper supervision is a major problem at some nursing homes and can happen when facilities are understaffed or when the staff who is available has not been properly trained. Without supervision and help when they need it, nursing home residents can fall while trying to get out of bed or while they are moving from one part of the facility to the other. At an advanced age and with other medical conditions, these incidents can be life-threatening.
Of course, an award of this size is not typical of any type of personal injury case. However, it does show that it is worth continuing to fight when a loved one has been injured by neglect or malicious behavior at a nursing home. An attorney for the injured family said that the jury sent a clear message that mistreatment of nursing home residents is unacceptable.
In this case the jury did not need to decide whether or not the nursing home had in fact been negligent since the companies who own the facility did not defend themselves in the earlier part of the suit, which meant that the court entered a default judgment against them. The jury in this case looked at the facts and made the finding about damages based on the evidence presented by the family.
Depending on who the negligent party was, collecting a large award like the one in this case can be difficult, particularly if company assets do not add up to the total amount that the jury awarded.