The Peck Law Group recently achieved an extremely successful jury verdict of $2.5 million dollars for a Riverside County resident living in an assisted living facility in Moreno Valley, California. This resident suffered serious and painful injuries due to the extreme abuse and neglect, and total lack of care, during plaintiff’s residency in the assisted living facility, Integrated Care Communities.
In California, state regulations require assisted living homes to reappraise residents who have dementia at least once every 12 months—or when the resident’s condition changes significantly.
The plaintiff in this case was a woman with dementia. When she began living at Integrated Care Communities, she was fairly healthy and able to care for herself independently. After living in the facility for about a year, plaintiff’s condition rapidly declined. She required substantial assistance with her activities of daily living according to the records kept by the facility.
Despite state regulations, specifically requiring the facility to reassess the plaintiff’s condition after a year of residency, it negligently failed to do so. The facility also failed to adhere to state regulations requiring a reassessment due to any significant change in the plaintiff’s physical conditions.
According to state regulations, the facility should have conducted a complete independent reassessment when the plaintiff was suddenly unable to walk due to pain, and required wheelchair assistance.
At trial, the Peck Law Group attorneys called the plaintiff’s treating physician to testify. The attorneys skillfully elicited testimony from the plaintiff’s doctor, establishing that she had not been notified of substantial changes in the plaintiff’s condition—such as decreased appetite, mobility decline, increased lethargy and pain.
The plaintiff’s doctor testified that she should have been informed of these types of changes without any significant delay. The physician further testified, that if she had known about these changes, she would have changed the plaintiff’s treatment plan immediately, recommending that the plaintiff be summarily moved to a skilled nursing home for her to receive the higher level of medical care that the plaintiff should have been receiving.
The evidence at trial demonstrated that, eventually, the care staff at Integrated Care Communities discovered a large knot on the plaintiff’s tailbone area along with a very foul smell. Rather than giving the plaintiff immediate medical attention, the caregivers gave the plaintiff a shower, while still not advising plaintiff’s physician of the plaintiff’s change of condition.
Because of the assisted living facility’s reckless neglect, Plaintiff had to be hospitalized.
She was diagnosed there with various injuries and illnesses, including a stage four pressure injury to her coccyx and sepsis with acute organ dysfunction. A stage four pressure injury is the most severe level. At this stage, the injury has entered the muscle and had settled into her exposed bone, causing her a very severe painful infection.
The plaintiff was also required to unnecessarily undergo a painful procedure to remove the dead skin attributed to the Stage IV Coccyx down to the bone pressure injury.
At trial, expert medical witness testimony found that the facility’s staff was recklessly neglectful and negligent due to their failure to properly assess the plaintiff’s condition, her significant medical changes, and to immediately report these changes to her doctor. This witness also testified that these injuries would have easily been prevented if the plaintiff’s treating physician had been properly notified.
Ultimately, after a 14-day trial, the plaintiff and her legal team, the Peck Law Group, APC, prevailed. The Jury awarded $2.5 million dollars as just compensation for her pain and suffering, incurred as a result of the assisted living facility’s reckless neglect and negligence.
About the Author
Attorney Steven Peck has been practicing law since 1981. A former successful business owner, Mr. Peck initially focused his legal career on business law. Within the first three years, after some colleagues and friend’s parents endured nursing home neglect and elder abuse, he continued his education to begin practicing elder law and nursing home abuse law.