If your initial complaints of abuse and neglect of your loved one are not addressed or he has suffered serious physical or emotional injuries, he may need to file a lawsuit against the nursing home for compensation for his injuries. Your family member may need your help to do this as he may be too physically or mentally challenged to take these steps on his own. One of your first questions that you may need answered is: How much compensation is my loved one entitled to?
Types of Compensation That Victims of Elder Abuse and Neglect May Recover
Nursing home abuse and neglect can take many forms, such as physical, emotional, sexual, or financial abuse. Damages in nursing home cases will depend on the type of abuse that occurred and the injuries suffered. For example, if the resident suffered emotional abuse, there may not be any physical signs of the injuries. Rather, the injuries are mostly psychological in nature. Compensation that could be awarded in a nursing home abuse case in general includes:
- Medical expenses. Sometimes the resident of the nursing home will suffer physical or psychological injuries or medical conditions caused by the abuse or negligence—sometimes life-threatening. In this situation, he would be entitled to compensation for his doctor’s visits, medications, hospital bills, physical therapy, counseling, travel expenses to and from his treatments, and more.
- Lost wages. While many residents of nursing homes are elderly and no longer working, a resident who is employed and at the nursing home on a short-term basis could be entitled to any wages and other benefits that he lost as the result of the abuse.
- Pain and suffering. The pain and suffering or emotional trauma that a resident suffered as a result of the abuse could be the largest part of his damages. While more challenging to prove, the victim of abuse or neglect is entitled to be compensated for this type of injury. An experienced elder abuse and neglect attorney can value this portion of his claim.
- Financial losses. If a resident was the victim of financial abuse, he could be entitled to compensation for the money or other property stolen from him or that he was fraudulently convinced to transfer to someone else.
- Wrongful death. If a nursing home resident died as a result of the abuse and neglect, his spouse or family members may be entitled to compensation for his medical bills, funeral expenses, and the loss of his companionship in a wrongful death action.
- Punitive damages. When the abuse and neglect was especially serious, the nursing home resident may be entitled to punitive damages to punish the nursing home for its behavior. In Georgia, willful misconduct, malice, fraud, wantonness, or the total lack of care that creates a presumption of indifference to the consequences of the abuse will still need to be proven. This is difficult—but not impossible—to prove in some cases.
Is There a Damage Cap on the Compensation That Your Loved One Can Receive?
In Georgia, there is no cap on the compensation a nursing home resident can be awarded for his losses, such as medical bills and pain and suffering. However, there is a cap on the amount of punitive damages that he can receive. This cap is currently $250,000 unless the nursing home had a specific intent to injure him.
There will be many factors that determine the value of a nursing home resident’s claim. This includes the seriousness of the abuse, the severity of the physical or psychological injuries, and the medical expenses incurred. These factors and others will be weighed differently depending on the facts of an individual’s case and its strengths and weaknesses.
An experienced elder abuse and neglect attorney can help you determine what compensation your family member is entitled to and the value of his claim. Call our office today to schedule your free consultation with David Brauns to discuss your loved one’s situation and his legal rights.