SENIOR ABUSE I ELDER ABUSE I FRAUD I ELDERLY NEGLECT I WRONGFUL DEATH I CASE STUDY – Nursing Home Patient Suffering from Alzheimer’s and Dementia Wanders off and Dies from Impact follow a Truck Accident; VERDICT: $1.48 Million
By: Diana Adjadj, Esq.
January 22, 2021
Senior abuse is a term referring to any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a care custodian, a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult.
Nursing home facilities and its staff are deemed “care custodians”. Care custodians include administrators or employees working for a public or private facility or agency; or are individuals providing care or services for elders or dependent adults”. See Welfare Code section 15610.17 [care custodian]. Senior abuse is a term referring to any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a care custodian, a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult.
On December 31, 2005, decedent Wilson, after struggling with alzheimer’s and dementia was admitted to a retirement home. Roughly a year later, on January 02, 2006, while under the care of a nursing home facility, decedent Wilson wandered off. Nursing home staff waited approximately two hours after notice of decedent Wilson’s absence to notify the family, and further failed to call police to report the incident. Approximately 24 hours after he was discovered to be missing, decedent Wilson was hit by a truck and died as a result. Given the Alzheimer’s and dementia, decedent Wilson did not have identification on him at the time of the truck accident, his body was not identified until February 22, 2006. During this time the family sat in turmoil and distress not knowing what happened to the decedent.
Ultimately the decedent’s estate sued the nursing home facility in civil court. The underling complaint included the following causes of action: (1) Negligence; (2) Wrongful Death; (3) Fraudulent Misrepresentation and Concealment; (4) Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress; (5) Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress; (6) Abuse of an Elderly Dependent Adult, Violation of Cal. Wel & Inst Code § 15657; and (7) Unfair Business Practice; Business and Professions Code § 17200. Following a civil jury trial, the jury found the nursing home facility liable for wrongful death and elder abuse. The verdict awarded the plaintiff $1.48 Million ($300,000 for the wrongful death; and $1.18 million for the elder abuse)
Senior abused due to custodian neglect. A senior at an inpatient facility was neglect as a result he fled and wandered off the premise. While wondering the senior was hit by a truck and the facility was held liable for wrongful death and senior abuse and neglect.
Specifically, in the aforementioned case the nursing home facility was found liable for elder abuse, because they neglected decedent Wilson. The care facility did not prioritize their patient’s health and safety when they failed to promptly and appropriately respond to his disappearance. Care Custodians did nothing for the first few hours after learning that their dependent elderly patient, whom knowingly suffered from Alzheimer’s and dementia, had wandered away from the nursing home facility.
The nursing home should have notified emergency personnel immediately after they discovered his disappearance. In lieu of promptly contacting decedent Wilson’s family or reporting the incident to the police, the staff at the nursing home facility failed to take any actions making them liable for senior abuse
These obligations owed by Care Custodians are not limited to nursing homes. Elderly care providers and otherwise care custodians include:
If you suspect that an elderly friend or family member was or is subject to elder abuse or senior neglect, you must contact an elder abuse lawyer promptly. Senior neglect cases are complex and if there is a suspicion, please call our offices today to discuss your matter with a seasoned elderly neglect lawyer at 619-432-5145.
Senior Neglect Cases and Elder Abuse in other settings please see the links below:
Senior Abuse and Senior Neglect please see the links below:
Wrongful Death please see the links below: