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What damages are recoverable in a nursing home neglect case?

If your elderly loved one suffered an injury in an Alabama nursing home, (s)he can file a personal injury lawsuit against the facility and/or its personnel. Whether the injury resulted from neglect or abuse, the money damages your loved one recovers compensates him or her for the medical expenses occasioned by the injuries, his or her pain and suffering while recovering from them and the reasonably foreseeable lingering effects they will have on his or her life.

As FindLaw explains, there are numerous types of recoverable damages that fall into the following six categories:

  1. Actual damages
  2. Future damages
  3. Pain and suffering
  4. Mental anguish and suffering
  5. Loss of enjoyment of life
  6. Shortened life expectancy

Actual and future damages

Actual damages, sometimes called compensatory damages, refer to the expenses your loved one actually incurred as a result of the injury. These include such things as ambulance bills, hospital expenses, doctor bills, lab and other tests, prescription drugs, physical therapy, and any other necessary and reasonable medical expense.

Future damages refer to expenses that your loved one is likely to incur in the future as a result of the injury. These include such things as ongoing doctor visits, medications, rehabilitation, and management of any debilitating condition the injury caused.

Pain and suffering

Pain and suffering damages, unlike actual damages, cannot be calculated by adding up a stack of bills. Nevertheless, your loved one’s pain was and is real, as is his or her “phantom” and other subjective pain. Likewise real are his or her mental anguish, fear, anxiety, sleep pattern disruptions and concern that (s)he will never fully recover and/or that (s)he could easily sustain similar injuries in the future. Many injury victims, particularly elderly ones, develop post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of their accident and injury.

Pain and suffering injuries, both present and future, are calculated using a formula that takes into consideration your loved one’s age, remaining life expectancy, the severity of the injury and a variety of other factors.

Punitive damages

If the abuse or neglect that your loved one suffered in the nursing home was particularly egregious, the jury could award punitive damages in addition to actual and pain and suffering damages. Punitive damages are an extra amount of money, often quite substantial, that juries award to personal injury plaintiffs so as to punish the nursing home and make it less likely that it and other nursing homes will engage in such behavior in the future.

This information is provided for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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