Wishing everyone a great Tuesday
It comes as a surprise to many people, but there is no requirement in Virginia for assisted living facilities to carry liability insurance. Many families learn that an assisted living facility is uninsured when a loved one suffers a severe injury or dies due to neglect. The Virginia Trial Lawyers Association pushed for changes to the regulations. This year a bill passed requiring assisted living facilities to disclose whether they are adequately insured. However, it was left to the Board of Social Services to determine what constitutes adequate insurance. The Board has proposed a $300,000 threshold which is grossly insufficient.
Below are examples of real cases showing why this regulation is insufficient. Before I comment on case results the ethical rules for lawyers arguably require me to post this disclaimer in caps and bold print. CASE RESULTS DEPEND ON UNIQUE FACTORS AND THE RESULTS IN ANYONE CASE ARE NOT PREDICTIVE OF THE RESULTS OF FUTURE CASES UNDERTAKEN BY A LAWYER OR LAW FIRM. You already knew that didn't you!
With that out of the way, here is why $300,000 is insufficient: In one of my recent cases an assisted living facility resident suffered a severe hip fracture due to the negligence of an employee. The resident required surgery, a lengthy period of rehabilitation and she never fully recovered from her injuries. To this day her mobility and hence her independence are significantly limited by this act of carelessness. She incurred over $160,000 in medical bills. Fortunately, the facility was insured and we were able to resolve her case for over $300,000. Other examples of cases that I have handled that have settled for in excess of $300,000 include a resident who fell out of a 3rd story window, and a resident who died due to hypothermia in an inadequately heated facility. These are just a few examples of why this regulation does not serve to protect the public interest.
I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, have a great day!