Being a victim of nursing home abuse is devastating for both the actual victim and for their family members. That is why it can helpful to the injured party to get justice when bringing an elder abuse claim against the nursing home where the abuse took place. Holding a wrongdoer accountable for their bad act(s) goes a long way in helping to right a wrong. There is also the matter of being able to recover compensation. While a victim might be hesitant to go through the sometimes emotionally exhausting experience of filing a lawsuit, (in addition to the time and money involved) it may help to know what to expect if you are able to prevail. There are a lot of concerns as to whether it is worth it to pursue litigation. Read on for important information concerning the recoverable damages available in an elder abuse claim in California.
Statutory Damages for Nursing Home Abuse
Elder abuse is illegal under California state law. If you’re a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the nursing home and you can prevail by showing that the nursing home violated any state or federal regulation, that is relevant to elder care or committed violations under the California Patients’ Bill of Rights, then you can pursue statutory damages.
The law caps statutory damages by patients in nursing homes at $500 per lawsuit. While $500 seems very low given the circumstances, it’s important to note that if the circumstances are such that the instances of abuse are numerous and can be proven, then it can add up to a considerable amount of money. This really illustrates how important it is to document incidents of abuse.
Punitive Damages for Nursing Home Abuse
Punitive damages serve as punishment to the defendant for their bad behavior and as a deterrent to others who may follow suit. For many civil cases, punitive damages can be the greatest source of a plaintiff’s recovery. To recover punitive damages in a nursing abuse case, you must show that the nursing home acted with “recklessness, oppression, fraud, or malice” when they committed the elder abuse.
To show this, you must prove with compelling evidence that the defendant acted with disregard to the rights of the nursing home resident or acted in a way that they knew that their actions were a risk of harm to them. Then the resident was actually injured by this.
Additionally, a plaintiff can also seek to recover the full cost of their attorneys’ fees in initiating the claim.
Damages for Negligence
The statutory damages, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees are damages attributed to punishing the nursing home for bad acts, but if a resident/plaintiff has been physically harmed by the facility’s actions, the resident can also pursue the costs suffered due to the facility’s careless acts. This might include ongoing health care costs, as well as pain and suffering.
Pursue a Nursing Home Abuse Claim with an Attorney’s Help
Now that you’re more familiar with the damages that you can recover from a nursing home abuse claim, you might be ready to proceed. If you or your loved one was abused by a nursing home, make them accountable for their actions. Talk to a skilled Walton Law attorney who cares about nursing home residents’ rights. Contact us right away.