How much are nursing home lawsuits generally worth?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021

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In determining the value of a victim’s pain and suffering, courts use decisions and awards from previous negligence and abuse cases. The value of a case depends on many things, like how the neglect or abuse occurred, what injuries were suffered, future medical problems or other pain and suffering, the amount of medical expenses, and future medical costs.

Awards have certainly made it into the millions of dollars for particularly appalling cases involving injury or death as the result of nursing home negligence or abuse. But settlements are almost always confidential, so there is not too much data that has been connected on nursing home abuse or neglect cases.

It May Depend on the State

The state in which the suit is brought makea a difference in the recovering amount. Some state have specific statutes requiring nursing homes to be safe environments which give proper care; these state’s laws may allow actual damages and punitive damages to be awarded when the statute is violated. In some state, but not all, winning plaintiffs may recover attorneys’ fees and costs as well.

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Many Nursing Home Cases End in Settlements

There are many downsides to nursing home litigation, and because of the risks of plaintiffs recovering very little compared to the high costs of taking a claim to trial, most cases end in settlement.

All lawsuits require extensive and costly preparation, and in a nursing home claim this includes paid medical experts, depositions of current and previous employees and doctors, and paying for and reviewing perhaps hundreds (or more) pages of hand-written medical records. It can sometimes be a real challenge to prove that a nursing home resident’s death or injury was related to nursing home abuse or neglect, particularly if the resident was very old and/or had pre-existing health problems.

Medicare or Medicaid Generally Takes a Cut

Most nursing home care is paid for in great part or completely by Medicare or Medicaid, which asserts liens of $100,000 or more against any lawsuit recovery. So even if a recovery is made, a good portion of it might go to Medicare or Medicaid.

An experienced nursing home attorney can help you decide the best course of action when a claim is supported. It is important to find out up front what costs and risks are associated with a claim as well as what the possible damage award might be.

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