Nursing Home & Elderly Abuse
As a result of multiple examples of horrendous care of elderly patients in nursing homes (also called skilled nursing facilities), the California legislature added statutes to the law in medical malpractice or negligence to provide added protections for elderly or dependent adults. Families of patients who die as a result of negligent care in a nursing home can sue for damages for the pain and suffering experienced by the decedent before death. In all other types of wrongful death cases, the family cannot collect any damages for such pre-death pain and suffering. However, the recovery for pain and suffering in an nursing home or elder abuse claim is limited to a maximum recovery of $250,000. This maximum recovery is separate from a claim for wrongful death that also has a maximum recovery of $250,000. In addition, if there is clear and convincing evidence of neglect (which is more than negligence) then the plaintiff may recover both punitive damages and attorney fees. The legislature added these additional potential recoveries as an incentive to nursing homes to improve the level of care, and the legislature determined that one effective way of improving care is to allow plaintiffs to pursue punitive damages where the evidence supports neglect.
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This resource page is provided by Dr. Bruce Fagel for your information. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation.