New Legislation Could Cap Damages for Nursing Home Abuse Victims
Nursing home abuse is a horrific, senseless crime which targets those individuals who do not have the ability to protect themselves. If you have a loved one who has been the victim of nursing home abuse, you want to do whatever you can to pursue justice.
The last thing you want to hear is that new legislation could cap damages for nursing home abuse victims.
Our elderly loved ones who have been harmed by negligent nursing home care deserve the opportunity to seek financial compensation for specific injury-related medical costs and other out-of-pocket losses. We also believe they are entitled to recover non-economic damages for the terrible pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish they have suffered.
A bill moving through our legislature would put new and unfair limits on their right to damages.
What Does the Medical Liability Insurance Bill Cap Entail?
Senate Bill (SB) 6, which has been touted by some as a way to "control the cost of liability insurance and to maintain access to affordable health care services for West Virginians," has now passed through the House of Delegates and the Senate, and is on its way to the Governor's office, according to The West Virginia Record.
The problem with this bill is that it will significantly reduce the amount of compensation an abused person is legally allowed to pursue for nursing home abuse.Once the bill is passed, claims against nursing homes will be capped at $250,000 for non-economic damages. There will also be damage caps for pharmacies.
MetroNews claims SB 6 is a way for lawmakers to fix a so-called loophole in earlier medical malpractice laws by expanding the definition of health care facilities to include all aspects of nursing home operations. This change apparently follows a landmark verdict wherein the family of one elderly woman was awarded $91.5 million (later reduced to $36.5 million) after she "become dehydrated, malnourished, bedridden and barely responsive."
As approximately 16 percent of West Virginia residents are senior citizens, there will be very few families who will not be impacted by SB 6. It is not the victims of nursing home abuse who should be penalized. Nursing homes and the staff who work there must be held accountable for any instances of neglect or intentional wrongdoing that constitutes abuse.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
If you have a loved one who is in a nursing home or other care facility, it is important you are able to recognize the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect. Not all abuse is easily discernible. Some of the most obvious signs of nursing home abuse include:
- Open wounds or bed sores
- Burns and abrasions
- Fractures or head injuries
- Unexplained or unusual bruising
- Sudden changes in weight
- Poor hygiene
- Unsanitary conditions
- Infection or frequent illness
- Loss of hair
- Stained, torn or bloody clothing
- Lack of care for basic needs or existing medical problems
- Emotionally agitated
- Desire to be isolated from others
- Unresponsive behavior
- Strange, odd or out-of-character behavior
- Dehydration or malnutrition, often due to deprivation of food and water
- Reluctance to speak in the presence of nursing home staff
- Physical or emotional withdrawal
Should you recognize any of these signs of nursing home abuse in someone you love, contact a West Virginia lawyer from the law office of Mani Ellis & Layne PLLC right away. Our lawyers have more than three decades of combined experience and have recovered millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts on behalf of our clients. Let us be the aggressive advocate you need in your fight against nursing home abuse.
- The West Virginia Record: House passes medical liability insurance bill
- The New York Times: Malpractice Reform Won't Do Much to Reduce Health Spending
- MetroNews: Lawmakers fixing nursing home loophole in medical malpractice law