A West Virginia nursing home will have to pay over $30 million after a judge found the home guilty of elder abuse and neglect. The nursing home was found guilty of failing to provide adequate staffing needed to care for their elderly patients. Apparently, there was enough evidence presented to prove that the actions of the nursing home constituted elder abuse and neglect.
The lawsuit was filed by a family on behalf of an elderly woman who lived at the home for a few weeks. According to the lawsuit, the nursing home failed to feed her or provide basic care during that time. The original ruling passed by a West Virginia court awarded the family $90 million dollars. After additional deliberation, the West Virginia Supreme Court reduced that amount to just over $30 million.
The state of West Virginia has a medical malpractice cap, which means that malpractice victims may only be awarded up to a certain amount. The nursing home claimed that they should not have to pay more than allowed by the cap. However, attorneys representing the family argued that punitive damages should not be subjected to these terms. Legal representation for the family has stated that they would discuss with their client whether to accept the reduced compensatory amount granted by the court.
Elder abuse and neglect is a serious offense, especially in nursing homes. This particular case illustrates the importance of seeking help if an individual is a victim or suspects that his or her family member has been mistreated. There can be no guarantee of a financial settlement, but it is possible that a family could receive an amount to compensate for any damages sustained.
Source: The Charleston Gazette, "Justices reduce $90 million verdict against Charleston nursing home", Kate White, June 18, 2014