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West Virginia Supreme Court reduces nursing home verdict

Putting your loved one in a nursing home isn't something that is easy to do. Once you decide on a nursing home, you place your loved one's care in their hands. The last thing you probably expect is that your loved one will suffer just because of an effort to increase corporate profit.

A medical malpractice lawsuit that was filed against Heartland of Charleston alleged that a resident wasn't cared for or fed during her stay in the nursing home. That stay lasted approximately three weeks. After a jury trial, the resident's estate and her son were awarded $91.5 million. That amount, however, was reduced to $90 million and then reduced again to around $32 million.

The first reduction was due to a judge who concluded that a portion of the verdict was subject to the West Virginia medical malpractice cap of $500,000 in non-economic damages. The second reduction was due to a West Virginia Supreme Court ruling. The Supreme Court found some issues with the filing of the lawsuit, such as an invalid claim that was made. The jury verdict was adjusted by the justices accordingly.

In this nursing home neglect case, the victim's son has the right to seek a new trial if he doesn't want to accept the $32 million verdict as it stands. His attorney says that he will discuss the matter with him to decide how to proceed.

Whether this case is over or not has yet to be determined. It is, however, a reminder for people who have loved ones in nursing homes that checking on the health of those residents is necessary. It is also a reminder that compensation awarded can sometimes change in accordance with the law. Knowing the law and determining how to proceed with claims can often be a complex process.

Source: West Virginia Gazette, "Justices reduce $90 million verdict against Charleston nursing home" Kate White, Jun. 18, 2014

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