Punitive Damages in Cherry Hill Nursing Home Abuse Cases
Punitive damages are meant to punish a defendant. They exceed the simple compensation that would normally be awarded as economic and non-economic damages. Punitive damages are elevated to punish this facility or this defendant based on how egregious their conduct was.
To determine if you may be eligible to receive punitive damages in your Cherry Hill nursing home abuse case, it is imperative to consult with legal counsel. A knowledgeable attorney can help build a claim to maximize any potential compensation you may be owed.
Purpose of Punitive Damages
Punitive damages are not utilized simply to prove that the other party was negligent, but to establish that they were reckless and grossly negligent. That is a tough burden to prove.
Some factual situations support that the nursing home or the defendant was so egregious in their behavior, who they hire, and what happened that, a lot of times, there could be a claim for punitive damages in an individual’s Cherry Hill nursing home abuse case.
Sometimes, a nursing home staff member should get faced with owing punitive damages when there is intentional or physical abuse. That does not automatically mean that there are punitive damages awarded.
However, if an attorney is able to look at the facility’s setting of that individual and that employee, and if there was a prior instance of this employee either abusing residents and the staff did not do anything about it, it could be something that maybe would be a Cherry Hill punitive damages case.
These cases require a fact-sensitive analysis, and the person needs to look at the overall circumstances.
Calculating the Award
In New Jersey, punitive damages are limited to $350,000 or five times the amount of the compensatory damages, whichever is greater. Compensatory damages are what are given for the person’s non-economic loss and the person’s economic loss.
A jury determines that number when the case goes to the trial. An attorney is not allowed to ask the jury how much they want in punitive damages. It is something that they come up with after hearing all of the facts and circumstances of the case. They make the determination of a number they think would be fair in light of the situation.
Factors to Determine Damages
The jury would look at all of the facts of the case and how egregious the actions were when determining the value of punitive damages in an individual’s Cherry Hill nursing home abuse case. They will aim to determine:
- How reckless was this facility?
- How grossly negligent were they?
- What happened?
- What did they not do?
- Why did they not do it?
They will also look at the injuries and what the result was of this egregious behavior. Then, the jury will come up with a number for punitive damages.
Because there is a cap on that up to $350,000 or five times the compensatory, the court after the fact may have to move the verdict down to be in accordance with the statute. That is something that would be done after the fact, but that is how the jury comes up with the number.
Preparing the Case
An experienced attorney will prepare every case, regardless of if punitive damages are involved or not, for a trial. If a person is preparing a case for trial and they are ready to go to a trial, they have the best chance of getting a positive result.
An experienced lawyer will also prepare as if the discussion of punitive damages in a Cherry Hill nursing home abuse case is going to go in front of a jury. They will attempt to show what was done, how egregious the act was, and what the punitive damages will be. An attorney should prepare that case as if a jury one day will hear that story.
Benefit of an Attorney
If a person is dealing with a case where there is the potential for punitive damages, it is important to hire an experienced attorney. Punitive damages are rarely given, and are difficult to prove. The legal standard to prove punitive damages is a tough hurdle to overcome.
A person needs a lawyer that is able to not only evaluate the case, review the records, and get experts to review them, but the person also needs an attorney that is able to handle all the legal hurdles that are going to apply.
When punitive damages are pled by an attorney, the defendant on the other side fights them tooth and nail to attempt to get those punitive damages claims thrown out. A majority of the time, the judges will throw them out because it is a tough standard to get to.
The person needs to make sure that they have an attorney that is able to prove what needs to be proven to get punitive damages to a jury in a Cherry Hill nursing home abuse case.