There are many Kentucky residents who are unable to live alone, yet don’t need the complete care offered by nursing homes. Assisted living is an option usually offered to senior residents. They live fairly independently in a small apartment or efficiency that is attached to the rest of the facility. They can have meals in the dining hall and their apartments are outfitted with pull cords that can be used if they need help. Younger people, however, tend to live in group homes if they are unable to completely care for themselves. A group home normally houses several adults with various disabilities and is overseen by an employee that lives at the home. Group home residents usually have their own room and are able to maintain some of their independence while being kept safe by the live-in caregiver.
Unfortunately that was not the case for a 35-year-old man who lived in a group home in Paint Lick, Kentucky. He suffered the effects of fetal alcohol syndrome and was unable to live on his own. In June, 2011, he was attacked by the home’s caregiver – the one who was supposed to keep him safe from harm. The 22-year-old caregiver kicked and beat the victim who died from his injuries at a hospital.
The victim’s father has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the employee who killed the victim and the company that ran the home, which was closed shortly after the incident. The suit claims that Community Ties is guilty of negligence because it “failed, refused or neglected to perform their duties to provide reasonable and adequate care” for the victim. The employee named in the lawsuit has already pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter and is awaiting his sentencing. While a guilty or not guilty finding in a criminal case does not always determine the outcome of a civil case, the fact that he pleaded guilty in the criminal case is certainly helpful for the victim’s attorney in the civil case.
The suit, filed by the victim’s father on behalf of his estate, is asking for both compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are meant to compensate the victim or the victim’s family for pain and suffering, lost wages, medical and funeral expenses, and mental and emotional distress. Punitive damages are supposed to financially strain an individual or company so that they will think twice before acting in the same manner again. Damages can reach into the millions of dollars range, especially if a large, multi-million dollar company is involved.
Making the decision to put a loved one into a group home or nursing home can be very difficult. And stories like the one above can make it harder because of the concern for your loved one’s safety. There are many good facilities out there that provide quality care to their residents. Thoroughly researching your options will help you make sure your family member is safe and well taken care of. If you suspect a loved one is being abused or neglected contact a Kentucky nursing home attorney like Charles Miller or Rheanne Falkner to determine what action should be taken.