In Washington, nursing homes have special obligations to “vulnerable adults” whom they are paid to care for. When a patient at a nursing home becomes suddenly withdrawn or acts out in an inappropriate manner, that may be a sign that there has been nursing home neglect.
Damages may be separately awarded for both common law negligence and “neglect” under RCW 74.34.200, so longs as the injured adult can prove separate damages arose from each tort.
RCW 74.34.200 (1) states:
In addition to other remedies available under the law, a vulnerable adult who has been subjected to abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect either while residing in a facility or in the case of a person residing at home who receives care from a home health, hospice, or home care agency, or an individual provider, shall have a cause of action for damages on account of his or her injuries, pain and suffering, and loss of property sustained thereby. …
In an action brought for nursing home neglect, a prevailing plaintiff shall be awarded his or her actual damages, together with the costs of the suit, including a reasonable attorneys’ fee. RCW 74.34.200 (3).
Damages from “negligent conduct” would include any “proximately caused” by the “failure to exercise reasonable care.” On the other hand, “neglect” is defined as:
… a pattern of conduct or inaction by a person or entity with a duty of care that fails to provide the goods and services that maintain physical or mental health of a vulnerable adult, or that fails to avoid or prevent physical or mental harm or pain to a vulnerable adult; or (b) an act or omission by a person or entity with a duty of care that demonstrates a serious disregard of consequences of such a magnitude as to constitute a clear and present danger to the vulnerable adult’s health, welfare, or safety, including but not limited to conduct prohibited under RCW 9A.42.100.
RCW 9A.42.100 states that:
A person is guilty of the crime of endangerment with a controlled substance if the person knowingly or intentionally permits a … dependent adult to be exposed to, ingest, inhale, or have contact with methamphetamine or ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, or anhydrous ammonia, including their salts, isomers, and salts of isomers, that are being used in the manufacture of methamphetamine, including its salts, isomers, and salts of isomers. …
At Buckley & Associates, our attorneys are dedicated to helping our victims of nursing home abuse and their families recover the compensation they need when they have been injured in their care facility. If your loved one has been injured, please call Buckley & Associates today at (206) 622-1100. We represent clients in Seattle and Tacoma, Washington.