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Massachusetts nursing home neglect verdict comes despite arbitration agreement

A woman has been awarded $400,000 for the disfigurement and death of her stepfather in a nursing home, the Boston Globe reported.

The Massachusetts nursing home neglect and abuse claim stemmed from the 2005 death of a 93-year-old nursing home resident. The resident died a month and a half after suffering an eye injury at a Brockton nursing home owned by Kindred Healthcare.

The victim’s eye was gouged by a metal hook as he was being mechanically lifted from his bed. Two people were supposed to operate the machine. The patient later died from sepsis, which is an infection-related complication.

A jury awarded the stepdaughter $400,000 plus interest for disfigurement and pain and suffering. However, they did not find Kindred responsible for the death. It was a victory even getting the case to trial — last year, a judge invalidated an arbitration agreement the victim signed, which agreed not to sue if he was killed or injured at the nursing home.

Kindred owns more than 40 nursing homes in the state.

Hiring a Massachusetts nursing home neglect lawyer is critical to protecting the rights of nursing home patients against the large corporations that dominate the nursing home industry. The American Health Care Association reports that more than half of the nation’s nursing homes are run by large chain corporations and two-thirds are operated as for-profit companies.

In an increasing number of cases, nursing homes are seeking to have residents or family members sign arbitration agreements or other releases as a condition of admission. Essentially, they are acknowledging that your loved one is at high risk of serious or fatal injury in their facility and are asking you to agree not to sue them in the event of gross negligence. We recommend that families refuse to sign such releases; consulting an attorney to discuss a nursing home’s admissions procedures is also a good idea.

If you are dealing with a case of nursing home abuse or neglect, or are concerned about the conditions of a Massachusetts nursing home, contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 877-617-5333.