When families are unable to care for their loved ones, they may turn to a nursing home to manage the day-to-day care and medical treatments that their relatives need. Most nursing homes in Maryland and elsewhere do an excellent job of providing care. However, when nursing home negligence does occur, patients can suffer injury or even death as a result. One man was recently awarded an enormous sum after filing a civil suit claiming that his 69-year-old mother was neglected while under a nursing home's care. The two companies named in the lawsuit were involved in a previous nursing home abuse case.
The lawsuit was filed in 2009 and concerned a patient who lived at the nursing home from 2004 until she died in 2007. According to the suit, she fell several times while she was staying in the nursing home. Her son claims that she was not properly supervised.
At the hearing, jurors were asked only to decide the amount owed in damages and not determine liability. The jury decided to award $1 billion in punitive damages and $220 million in other damages. There is some doubt as to whether the entire sum awarded will be collected.
The outcome of this nursing home negligence suit sends a clear message that this type of patient abuse will not be tolerated. Nursing homes have a responsibility to maintain a high standard of care. Under Maryland law, a family that believes a loved one is being neglected or mistreated in a nursing home may be able to pursue legal action. Such litigation can serve as a punitive measure that may prevent similar situations from occurring in the future.