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Florida Lawmakers Consider Shielding Nursing Home Owners

Florida legislators are considering a bill that would greatly limit nursing home’s liability in wrongful death cases, according to an article in the Sunshine News.

Under the proposal, non-economic damages would be capped at $250,000.00 for any nursing home’s first wrongful death case. Similarly, it would make it very difficult to punish a nursing home for it’s conduct by awarding punitive damages or to go after out-of-state investors/owners of the nursing homes.

Good for Business, Bad for the Public

The bill has supporters and detractors. Groups that favor the bill (the Florida Health Care Association and the Chamber of Commerce) say that it would help nursing home operators save money currently spent fending off lawsuits and allow instead for it to be spent by the home in providing better health care at the facilities. Detractors (the AARP and the Florida Justice Association) state that nothing in the bill helps nursing home residents and that, instead, it only helps the nursing homes by limiting the liability for which they should be held responsible.

Bill Strikes Down Punitive Damages

HB 661 and SB 1396 (as the bills are currently known for their House and Senate denominations), will make it very difficult for the families of residents who wrongfully die due to the facilities’ negligence to get compensated for their loss, specially when it comes to being awarded punitive damages due to their negligence. This is how the current system makes sure that those responsible for the well-being of nursing home residents do their jobs right and duly care for our elderly. On the other hand, the bill shields people that invest in these facilities: so long as their places of residence or corporate offices are anywhere but in Florida, the victim’s families cannot touch them…In Florida, where our seniors are our greatest asset, it is wrong to send a message to nursing home operators that they have little or no liability for poor and substandard care. Studies show that when nursing homes and other health care facilities or institutions save money on claims, that money is not spent on improving patient/resident care, but rather the “saved dollars” go to corporate profits.

If a loved one has died due to the negligence of a nursing home, you should immediately contact a law firm experienced in handling these cases. The Miami Dade County Nursing Home Liability Law Offices of Greenberg, Stone & Urbano has throughout the years represented many clients involved in nursing home cases, traumatic brain injuries and serious personal injuries. Visit our website to learn more about our firm and contact us today for a free consultation.

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