Earlier this month, a New Jersey nursing home located in Paramus settled a lawsuit that was filed by the family of a woman who allegedly choked to death while under the care of the defendant nursing home. According to one local news report, the deceased was an 85-year-old Navy veteran who was eating his breakfast when he choked to death.
Court documents filed by the man’s attorney claim that the resident was left alone during breakfast, despite the known fact that he suffered from a swallowing disorder. In fact, according to the man’s family, the nursing home was under specific instructions to have an employee watch their loved one carefully as he ate.
Two weeks after this incident, another resident choked to death. Apparently, a nursing home employee walked in the man’s room to see him choking. The employee performed the Heimlich maneuver but was too late, and the man passed away. When the state inspector arrived, nursing home management told him that they believed the man had died due to heart failure, even though the patient’s death certificate listed “acute airway obstruction” as the official cause of death.
The nursing home lawsuit filed by the family of the 85-year-old Navy veteran alleged that the nursing home was negligent for “failing to provide sufficient nursing staff” to help carryout the man’s required care plan. Court documents indicated that the man’s breakfast was brought to his room around eight in the morning. Twenty minutes later when a staff person returned to check on him, he was “blue and cyanotic.” Rather than take the case to trial, the man’s family worked out a negotiation with the nursing home where they would receive roughly $1.4 million for their agreement not to continue with the case.
Out-of-Court Settlements in Maryland Nursing Home Cases
Like the case described above, the majority of personal injury cases result in an out-of-court settlement. There are several benefits to settling a case, but it is far from a universal remedy that makes sense in all cases.
Settling a case provides the benefit of certainty to a plaintiff. In other words, the risk of taking the case to trial and then losing is eliminated. In turn, the plaintiff sacrifices what likely could have been a more substantial award, had the plaintiff been successful at trial. Another consideration is whether a family would rather put the tragic events behind them as quickly as possible, rather than deal with an ongoing lawsuit. If you have a loved one who has recently passed while in the care of another, a dedicated Maryland nursing home negligence attorney can help answer any questions you may have.
Have You Recently Lost a Loved One in a Maryland Nursing Home?
If you have recently lost a family member to the negligence of a nursing home, you may be entitled to monetary damages. However, the nursing home will likely contest any claims made against them. To ensure that you are treated fairly throughout the process, be sure to retain a dedicated Maryland personal injury attorney to help you with your case. Call 410-654-3600 today to set up a free consultation with one of the skilled advocates with the Maryland personal injury law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen.
See More Blog Posts:
Resident-on-Resident Sexual Abuse Goes Unreported; Nursing Home Fined, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published May 7, 2015.
Nursing Home Charged with Covering Up Alleged Patient Abuses, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published May 21, 2015.