Clark County, NV-When an elderly or disabled loved one is abused in a nursing home or other long term care facility, they have courses of action they can take. They can file a formal complaint to their state ombudsman, who can decide if the home should be cited. Additionally, the abuse or neglect victim can file a civil suit in order to seek compensation for any medical bills they have incurred and their emotional distress.
Choosing the right nursing home or long term care facility can be a difficult task for a family. When their loved one is abused or neglected in a facility, they also feel pain and betrayal. They often seek justice through civil actions but the clock is ticking.
There are four states, Minnesota, Colorado, Idaho and Indiana, where nursing home abuse lawsuits can be dismissed because the victim has died. This gives facilities the impetus to delay a case through motions and continuances so that clock can run out on a civil suit and they are no longer required to compensate a victim or their survivors. Wrongful death suits are often out of the question unless the victim’s death can be directly attributed to their neglect or abuse.
Personal injury and nursing home abuse lawsuits many times serve as punitive actions. Although, a facility can face fines when a resident or residents are physically harmed of neglected, a civil suit serves as further punitive action which compels the facility to make meaningful changes to prevent abuse and neglect.
These types of lawsuit also serve to expose the scope of abuse and neglect in the long term care facilities across the country. Exposing the problem is an effective way of forcing facilities to make systematic changes which no longer foster abuse and neglect.
Survival laws for nursing home abuse cases get the approval of insurance companies who believe compensation if intended for the victim, not their heirs.
“If somebody suffers pain and suffering, and would normally be eligible for pain and suffering awards, those are for that person and not their heirs,” Mark Kulda, vice president of public affairs with the Insurance Federation of Minnesota explained to Brndon Stahl of the Minnesota Star Tribune. “The damage was not to the families of the people. The damage was to the people themselves.”
These states do not recognize the emotional distress that affects the victim’s surviving relatives. They don’t or don’t want to understand how nursing home abuse can affect all parties involved. Since the relatives are the ones who placed their elderly loved one in a facility they feel a great deal of guilt when abuse of neglect occurs.
As we said earlier, the clock is ticking on nursing home abuse cases; states that don’t have survival laws still have a statute of limitations for all personal injury cases. It is critical for victims to contact a nursing home abuse attorney as soon as possible and set the wheels of an injury lawsuit in motion.