Kentucky Nursing Home Abuse Laws

Kentucky Damage Caps for Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Actions

In Kentucky, generally there are no limitations on the amount of damages that can be awarded in personal injury claims. The use of caps on medical malpractice awards is unconstitutional by the state constitution. However, if the defendant tortfeasor is the State, monetary damages are capped at $200,000 per claim, excluding interest and costs, and $350,000 per overall accident.

There is no limitation on the amount of monetary damages that can be awarded in claim for wrongful death. In Kentucky, claimants are permitted to recover compensatory and punitive damages in claims for wrongful death. The recoverable losses include pecuniary losses, funeral expenses, administration, including attorney’s fees, loss of consortium. If the death is of a minor claimant, the parents may recover loss of affection and companionship.

Punitive damages are permitted in wrongful death cases where the defendant committed willful acts or gross negligence that caused the claimant’s death.

City of La Grange, Kentucky

The Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations is a law that limits the time a claimant has to file a lawsuit. These time limits vary from state to state. Additionally, the time limits vary depending on the nature of the claim. In Kentucky the statute of limitations for personal injury and wrongful death claims is one year.

Nursing Home Regulation and Residents’ Rights

Nursing Homes in Kentucky are subject to federal and state regulation. The most sweeping nursing home reform began in 1987 when US Congress passed the federal Nursing Home Reform Law. Subsequent to this, the state of Kentucky incorporated nursing home reform laws into its state regulatory statutes which can be found at 902 KAR 20:300. Under the law, each and every nursing home resident is assured certain rights. These laws require Kentucky nursing homes and other long-term care health facilities to promote and protect the rights of each and every nursing home resident. The act places on a strong emphasis on each residents right to a dignified existence, self-determination and the right to communicate with others.

Kentucky nursing homes must also meet minimum quality of care requirements. Specifically, the Act requires that each resident receive the necessary nursing, medical and psychosocial services to attain and maintain the highest possible mental and physical functional status. In order to accomplish this, nursing homes are required to conduct comprehensive resident assessments and based on this information, develop and adhere to a plan of care in accordance with the patients needs.

The comprehensive assessment of a resident’s need will describe the resident’s capability to perform daily life functions and significant impairments in functional capacity. At a minimum the assessment must include the following information pertaining to nursing home patients:

  • Medical condition and prior medical history
  • Medical status measurement
  • Functional status
  • Sensory and physical impairments
  • Nutritional status and requirements
  • Psychosocial status
  • Discharge potential
  • Dental condition
  • Activities potential
  • Rehabilitation potential
  • Cognitive status
  • Whether drug therapy is needed
  • Whether any special treatments or procedures are necessary

Nursing home patient assessments must be conducted no later than 14 days after the date of admission and at least once every twelve months. If there is a significant change in the resident’s physical or mental condition a follow up assessment should be conducted promptly thereafter.

In Kentucky, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is responsible for licensing nursing homes and will investigates complaints of neglect or abuse against nursing homes. Additionally, reports of abuse in Kentucky nursing home facilities can be made to the Office of Attorney General’s Abuse tip line at 1 (877) 228-7384.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only.  It is not legal advice and should not be used as legal advice.  The legal statutes, laws and procedures contained in this article may not be current and may have been revised since the time of publication or contain errors. An attorney can provide legal guidance only after reviewing the details of your individual case.

Image via Flickr via Bruce Fingerhood