Is it possible to sue an adult daycare facility for neglect and pain/suffering when they allow a relative with dementia to wander off and become lost?

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Is it possible to sue an adult daycare facility for neglect and pain/suffering when they allow a relative with dementia to wander off and become lost?

Asked on June 1, 2012 under Malpractice Law, Kentucky

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the adult daycare facility for negligence.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable adult daycare facility would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).

In order to prove negligence, you will need to prove duty (of due care mentioned above), breach of duty (failure to exercise due care), actual cause, proximate cause, and damages.

Actual cause means but for the adult daycare facility, would your relative with dementia have wandered off and become lost?  If the answer is no, actual cause has been established.  Proximate cause means are there any unforeseeable, intervening acts which would relieve the adult daycare facility of liability?  If the answer is no, proximate cause has been established.  Damages means the amount of compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit.  Damages would include compensation for medical bills and compensation for pain and suffering.  If your relative was injured and required medical treatment, compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  You could argue that wandering away and becoming lost constitutes pain and suffering for a person with dementia.

Prior to filing a lawsuit against the adult daycare facility, it may be possible to settle the case with the adult daycare facility's insurance carrier.  If the case is settled with the insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the adult daycare facility's insurance carrier, reject the settlement offers and file your lawsuit for negligence against the adult daycare facility.  If the case is NOT settled with the insurance carrier, the lawsuit for negligence must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or your relative will lose his/her rights in the matter forever. 


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