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House Bill 1907 passes Pennsylvania House

When it becomes necessary for someone in Pennsylvania to move to a nursing home for regular care, the move can be difficult for all involved. It is a bit easier when one feels certain that their loved one is at a place where he or she will be well taken care of with staff they can trust. When the nursing home resident is harmed in anyway, the loss of that trust can be devastating.

When a nursing home resident is injured or dies due to negligence, the loved ones of that person may feel powerless. While there is nothing that can be done to undo the injury inflicted upon the resident, there may be a legal remedy. In some cases it may be able to file a medical malpractice/wrongful death lawsuit against the nursing home and/or those responsible for the injury. When successful, the plaintiff in a case like this recovers financial compensation for the loved one's injury or death.

A bill that if it becomes law would place a limit on the amount of punitive damages awarded recently passed in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. House Bill 1907 seeks to limit damage awards to 200 percent of the total amount of compensatory damages. This would apply to lawsuits filed against long-term care nursing facilities, communities considered to be of the assisted living variety and personal care homes. According to a news release issued by the sponsor of the bill, state Rep. Glen Grell, the purpose of the legislation is to eliminate awards characterized as "jackpot-type."

Not included in the legislation are civil lawsuits that alleged intentional misconduct.

We will continue to monitor the progress of the legislation and post updates as they become available.

Source: Central Penn Business Journal, "Pa. House passes nursing home liability reform," Brent Burkey, Jan.19, 2012

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