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Indiana's wrongful death law challenged

Families who suffer the loss of a loved one in Indiana cannot seek damages for the victim's pain and suffering. They cannot recover more than $300,000 from a negligent person for the loss of companionship and love from the deceased person. A recent nursing home neglect and wrongful death lawsuit seeks to overturn these limitations under the state's Adult Wrongful Death act.

The action was filed in Howard County against a Rochester nursing home facility after the death of patient who suffered a serious head injury. The victim's family names numerous corporations and individuals who were allegedly responsible for care at the facility. It is owned by a for-profit corporation based in Cleveland, Tennessee, which owns or manages over 220 skilled nursing homes across the country.

The plaintiffs claimed that the patient continue to suffer falls after she was admitted to the facility's dementia unit. She later suffered a head injury that included subdural bleeding and brain swelling. After her second fall, the patient died two days after being admitted to the hospital.

Individuals responsible for patient care knowingly understaffed the nursing home and placed its patients in serious and clearly predictable danger of injury and harm, according to the complaint. Moreover, according to the plaintiffs, a state Department of Health investigation conducted near the time of the patient's admission found problems at the facility indicating serious failures with hiring, staffing, training, supervision and management.

The patient's family seeks to challenge the constitutionality of Indian's wrongful death law which limits recovery. They also claim, in their complaint, that the defendants repeatedly and wrongly placed corporate profits over their patients' needs. The complaint charged that the facility's owner settled a federal False Claims Act lawsuit with the U.S. Department of Justice for $147 million in 2016.

Families who have lost a loved one injured in a care facility that engaged in negligent conduct have rights that deserve to be protected. Moreover, they deserve to seek appropriate compensation for the damages they suffered. The outcome of this recent case could be important to many in this respect.

Source: Hartford City News Times, "Nursing home neglect lawsuit challenges Indiana law," March 21, 2018

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