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Expertise Helps Win Damages after Nursing Home Negligence

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By Bryce B. Johnson

Accidents happen, and they can devastate a family. But it feels even worse when someone trusted to care for a loved one takes harmful actions and tries to avoid responsibility.

A client recently hired Johnson & Biscone after his wife was injured. The 67-year-old woman suffered end-stage renal failure and was living in a nursing home. She required a wheelchair, but was fully intact mentally and in good spirits. She enjoyed visits from her husband and friends.

That is, until improper actions led to serious injuries.

The nursing home chose not to use a special transport to take the woman to a dialysis treatment. Instead, it recklessly used a company van without wheelchair locks.

On the way to the hospital, the driver suddenly had to take evasive action to avoid a crash. Because the wheelchair was not properly secured, the patient was thrown around the van.

Instead of going to the hospital, the driver returned to the nursing home, and employees put the woman in her room. Hours later, they took her — by EMSA — to the University of Oklahoma Medical Center. Staff there found two fractured legs; contusions to her chest, hips and arms; and torn skin on one arm.

Our client’s wife remained in the hospital for six days. Things weren’t the same after that. She became depressed and unhappy. She clearly wasn’t the same person. Just 134 days after the accident, she passed away.

We assigned attorney Sherman Reed to the case. He formerly owned a nursing home in Oklahoma. His business experience, including performing financial audits of nursing homes, provides a deep understanding of the rules, regulations and guidelines they must follow.

Medical records illustrated the victim was in very poor health with a short life expectancy before the incident. Her condition complicated the case because it was hard to demonstrate exactly what effect the accident had on her death.

In cases like this, Oklahoma law unfortunately imposes a $350,000 cap on non-economic damages. However, because Sherman Reed reviewed the home’s policies and procedures, our client went into negotiations with a strong position. Eventually, the case settled for $350,000, the maximum amount possible for actual damages if the case went to trial.

Nobody can prevent all accidents. But results like this one help ensure care givers follow rules and regulations designed to protect vulnerable people. When corporations and people break those rules, we help victims and their families recover the maximum amount. We will continue to fight for the rights of the elderly who cannot fight for themselves.

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