The Tennessee Legislature is considering a bill that would cap any nursing home neglect or abuse jury award to $300,000.00. Apparently, the legislature does not believe that we as citizens are smart enough to sit on a jury and award a sum that is in proportion to any neglect suffered by a nursing home resident. Even more important is the fact that most nursing home are for profit corporations. The only way to deter a for profit corporation is to be able to hit them where it hurts, in the pocket book. If a nursing home has no real financial responsibility for its actions it will have little incentive to behave responsibly.
I believe we would all agree that we should be responsible for our actions. My children realize that if they misbehave there will be consequences. It may be loss of a toy or to be put in time out but they realize that they are responsible for their own behavior. I do not understand why a nursing home, a place that cares for our most frail and vulnerable citizens, should be place in a privileged class to have a very limited responsibility for their actions. Also, I recognize that $300,000 is a lot of money, however, do you think it is a lot of money do a company that makes hundreds of millions. Do you think that this sum would be a deterrence if a corporation knows it can profit more by taking shortcuts and cutting staff than they would ever have to pay in a lawsuit? Also, do you think the families of residents who were abused and neglected in a home should have a specific dollar amount set by the legislature for their loss or should a jury have the ability to determine what is just? These are all important concerns that will be drastically effected by this legislation.
I will state that however you fell this is an important issue. As such, whether you are for or against this limitation please call your representative and let your voice be heard. You can locate your rep at TN gov. If you would like to discuss the issue or concerns you have with my office feel free to contact me at hhpfirm.com.