Proposed Bill May Limit Availability of Damages for Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Victims

Late last month, one lawmaker introduced the Protecting Access to Care Act, which, among other things, would limit certain damages awards to the victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. While the Act does not mention nursing home victims specifically, the broad changes proposed by the Act would, in effect, limit the availability of non-economic damages for nursing home abuse and neglect victims. It would also limit the amount of compensation nursing home abuse and neglect victims could receive for their pain and suffering.

The Act

According to one news source, a proponent of the Act claims that it will “throw blame out the window” and will allow for all involved parties to focus on how to prevent accidents rather than engage in post-accident litigation. The Act applies to anyone covered under Medicare, Medicaid, military health plans, and the Affordable Care Act, and caps damages against doctors, hospitals, and nursing homes in many situations. In addition, the Act would provide legal immunity to pharmaceutical companies whose products harm patients, so long as the product was FDA-approved.

Those against the Act claim that it erodes consumer protection, and removes one of the most effective deterrents of medical malpractice and nursing home abuse and neglect: the threat of litigation. They argue that the fear of being sued for negligent conduct or inappropriate behavior keeps doctors and nursing home employees from acting in ways they shouldn’t. Without this safety net, it is argued that there will be less of a deterrent effect. Those who oppose the act also claim that the Act protects not just doctors who make an “honest mistake,” but nursing home employees who engage in a conscious pattern of abuse or neglect.

Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Nursing homes will always have a duty to ensure the safe treatment of residents. That will not change if this Act discussed above is passed. When a nursing home employee engages in abusive behavior toward a resident, that resident or their family can file a personal injury lawsuit against the nursing home staff and management.

Similarly, if a nursing home fails to provide the adequate level of care to a resident, and the resident’s health deteriorates as a result, a personal injury lawsuit may be appropriate. Due to the changing legal landscape these cases arise in, it is recommended that anyone considering bringing a nursing home abuse or neglect lawsuit consult with a dedicated personal injury attorney prior to doing so.

Is Your Loved One in a Maryland Nursing Home?

If you have a loved one in a Maryland nursing home, and you believe that they have not been receiving the treatment or care they deserve, contact a dedicated personal injury attorney to discuss the possibility of a nursing home neglect or abuse lawsuit. The skilled personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have extensive experience handling cases involving negligent and abusive nursing home staff, and know what it takes to be successful on behalf of their clients. Call 410-654-3600 today to schedule your free consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Sexual Assault in Nursing Homes Is Too Often Slow to Be Reported or Taken Seriously, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published March 10, 2017.

Nursing Homes Must Comply with Mandatory Discovery Requirements or Potentially Face Contempt Charges, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published February 28, 2017.

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