My father is in a nursing home and died last week from another nursing home patient.

My mother is being cared for at a nursing home in California. Last week, one of the nursing home residents caused the death of another resident. He had a history of abusive behavior at the nursing home. Are there criminal or civil penalties that can be imposed against the nursing home for allowing the death of the resident?

Answers (1)

There are both criminal and civil penalties that may be imposed on the nursing home, depending on the specific circumstances of the case.

The California Legislature, in imposing criminal penalties, declares that crimes against elders deserve special consideration and protection since elders can be mentally or physically impaired, confused, or otherwise unable to protect themselves.

For example, anyone who causes or permits any infliction of physical pain or mental suffering on an elderly person under circumstances or conditions likely to produce great bodily harm or death can face prison time and a fine. If the elderly victim dies, there is an additional 5-7 years added to the prison term.

California also has the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act. Under this Act, if there is clear and convincing evidence that a defendant is liable for abuse or neglect of an elderly person, and the defendant is guilty of recklessness, oppression, fraud, or malice, the elderly person is entitled to certain enhanced remedies. These extra remedies include: attorney's fees and costs; punitive damages; and the survival of a claim for general damages for pain and suffering despite the death of the victim.

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