California’s Recent $1 Million Elder Abuse Settlement

money walletWhen patients allege that a nursing home is responsible for injuries caused by elder abuse and neglect, what can they expect to receive in damages if they settle or win a case? According to a recent article in The Press Democrat, a “high-end Santa Rosa nursing home has agreed to pay $1 million to settle a wrongful death and elder abuse lawsuit alleging it allowed a patient to die from complications of a bedsore.” The settlement goes to show that nursing home abuse can happen at any level of facility—even at the most seemingly posh facilities—and elder abuse claims can result in substantial settlements.

To better understand the allegations, we should take a closer look at the case. In the meantime, if you have concerns about an elderly loved one’s safety in a California facility, you should speak with an experienced San Diego nursing home abuse attorney to learn more about filing a claim for compensation.

Brookdale Fountaingrove Nursing Home Agrees to Million Dollar Payout

Even the nursing homes that appear to have the best facilities and that cost the most money can be involved in allegations of nursing home neglect. Back in 2013, an 87-year-old nursing home resident named Eleanor Buckingham died of sepsis following transportation to a nearby hospital. Her family members who filed the suit alleged that “nursing staff erred in treating a pressure ulcer that developed on her back, withholding proper care until it became infected.” Once the pressure ulcer had become infected, Buckingham was taken to the hospital, but it was too late.

In 2013 during the time of the incident, the facility was known as Emeritus at Santa Rosa. It has since been renamed as Brookdale Fountaingrove. At the time of Buckingham’s death, the facility was charging patients approximately $100,000 per year. For those of you without a lot of knowledge about the costs of nursing homes in California, $100,000 a year for care is a lot of money. The cost of the facility is nearly double the current average California income, which is just over $60,000 per year according to the U.S. Census. In other words, Buckingham was living at a pricey facility, and her injuries make clear that family members need to be vigilant regardless of the seeming quality of a place.

Settlement Beyond Negligence Damages

According to Patricia McGinnis, the executive director of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR), “a million dollars is a statement” that suggests, “we did something wrong.” Other elder abuse advocates agreed, emphasizing that the $1 million settlement was particularly large given that “damages for simple negligence are capped at $250,000 under state law.”

How does nursing home negligence happen? Advocates from CANHR suggest that big, for-profit nursing home chains like Brookdale Fountaingrove may not be capable of providing the best quality of care despite appearances. Indeed, a lot of money does not necessarily mean a higher quality of care.

Nursing home abuse and neglect can happen at any facility, and it is important to be aware of your elderly loved one’s environment and well-being. If you have questions about filing an elder abuse lawsuit, a dedicated San Diego nursing home abuse lawyer can help. Contact the Walton Law Firm today.

 

See Related Blog Posts:

Physicians’ Roles in Protecting Elders from Abuse

FBI Investigates Riverside Nursing Home