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Bankruptcy Derails Compensation for Assisted Living Abuse

It’s a case of adding insult to injury–literally.

HensonFuerst, a North Carolina injury law firm, successfully fought on behalf of Marine veteran Joe Cooper, who was severely and permanently injured due to abuse and neglect he suffered at the hands of people who were supposed to care for him. Countryside Villa assisted nursing facility in Cumberland county had been ordered by a judge to pay $1.2 million in damages.

According to an article in Raleigh’s News & Observer, the owners of the abusing facility, John and Janice Weeks, filed for bankruptcy. Meanwhile, Countryside Villa is still open and operating. Business as usual. So it was a case of justice properly served, but with no beneficial outcome for the Cooper family. No peace of mind.  No compensation. No punishment for the abusers.

I wanted to bring attention to the fact that I placed my dad in a facility expecting them to treat him like a human being.

(Victim’s daughter, Barbara Cooper, as quoted in the News & Observer newspaper.)

This was not a minor case of abuse.  In a single January 2003 incident, Joe Cooper suffered a head injury and concussion, respiratory failure that required a breathing tube, and the loss of several upper and lower teeth.

The take-home message for those who need to place their loved ones in a nursing facility:  Ask whether the facility has adequate liability insurance…and ask for proof! At a bare minimum, they should carry $1 million in liability coverage. Good nursing homes carry $10 million or more. If the facility won’t or can’t show proof of coverage, go somewhere else.

(News & Observer article can be read in full here: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local_state/v-print/story/314783.html)

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