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What is an elder abuse/nursing home negligence?

A claim can be filed for negligence when an elderly patient suffers an injury or death as a result of neglect in a nursing home. For the most part, these claims are similar to any claim of negligence by a patient in a hospital. However, when an elderly patient dies as a result of such neglect, the heirs can claim damages for both the death of their loved one and for the pain and suffering of the patient before he or she died. This is an exception to the law for wrongful death claims that specifically excludes any pain and suffering by the patient before they died. This law is specifically designed to protect both elderly patients and dependent adults who are more vulnerable than other adult patients in a hospital or nursing home. However, such a claim requires evidence of neglect, which usually involves repeated acts of either negligent care or the total absence of care. When such neglect results in the death of a patient, California law allows two claims, both of which are subject to the same limitation on non-economic damages. Also, if the neglect that results in death is egregious, a jury may be allowed to award punitive damages against a defendant to prevent such behavior and to protect other patients in the future.

For more information about nursing home negligence and elder abuse cases, please visit our California nursing home abuse webpage to learn how we can help with your particular matter.