One of the most frequent questions I get as a nursing home negligence attorney is “how much is my case worth?” The answer depends on many factors.
Understanding Caps, the Limits on What You Can Recover
Many states’ laws place limits on the amount of money you can recover, commonly known as “caps”. For example, in Maryland the maximum amount of non-economic damages a plaintiff can recover on any medical negligence case (including most nursing home abuse cases) currently is $800,000.00.
The cap increases to $1,000,000 in wrongful death cases if there are two or more wrongful death beneficiaries.
Type of Injury Impacts Case Value
The type of injury suffered is very important and will dictate the value of a case. The most common nursing home negligence cases that we receive calls about include pressures ulcers and fall cases.
A pressure ulcer occurs when a nursing home patient’s skin breaks down due to prolonged pressure. These incidents are highly preventable if proper care is provided.
A fall case occurs when a resident who is at risk for falling is not provided sufficient measures to prevent injury. The most frequent fall case involves a resident falling and fracturing a hip.
How Badly Did the Nursing Home Act?
The amount of money a plaintiff can recover in a nursing home negligence case depends on how badly nursing home acted. For example, if the nursing home tried to cover up an injury, or documented something that didn’t happen, that can have a large effect on the amount of money a plaintiff can recover.
The most valuable nursing home cases involve fraudulent documentation, such as the nursing home documenting turning and repositioning a resident days after the resident died. Another common occurrence is the nursing home failing to make any documentation whatsoever.
Nursing Home Cases and Family Bonds
Another factor in the value of a nursing home negligence case is the family of the resident. Juries want to know that the resident’s family members were frequent visitors to the nursing home and cared about the resident. No one wants to award a lot of money to a family member who placed mom or dad in a nursing home and then never visited. We will not represent anyone who did not make regular visits to the nursing home
Jury Selection Plays is Important
The value of a nursing home negligence case depends on the jury. Every juror considers legal cases with biases. The key to obtaining a great result in a nursing home negligence case is crafting an argument that will resonate with the jury hearing the case. Juries in some jurisdictions award more money on average than others. Juries in Baltimore, Maryland, for example, will award more money on average than a jury in Roanoke, Virginia.