New Hampshire Nursing Home Neglect Laws

Damage Caps

Personal Injury

In New Hampshire, injury victims are entitled to be compensated for the harm actually suffered due to the negligence of a third party. New Hampshire state courts have ruled that a $250,000 cap on damages in Medical Malpractice awards is unconstitutional.

Wrongful Death

Compensatory damages are recoverable in cases of wrongful death. The recoverable losses include:

– mental and physical pain suffered by deceased as a result of the injury up to $3 million;

– reasonable expenses occasioned to the estate by the injury up to $3 million

– probable duration of his life but for the injury up to $3 million

– capacity to earn money during his probable working life up to $3 million

– Other elements allowed by law, in the same manner as if the deceased had survived

– The surviving spouse may be awarded damages for the loss of the comfort, society, and companionship of the deceased up to $150,000.

– The parent or child of a wrongful death victim may be awarded damages up to $50,000/claimant for the loss of familial relationship.

– There is a cap of $50,000 on wrongful death damages unless the plaintiff’s decedent has left either a widow, widower, child, father, mother, or any relative dependent on the plaintiff’s decedent, in which event there is no limitation.

Statute of Limitations

The general statute of limitations in New Hampshire for personal injury or wrongful death is three years. If the injury was not discovered and could not have reasonably been discovered at the time of the wrongful act or omission, the statute runs from the time the claimant discovers or should have discovered the injury and its causal relationship to the wrongful act or omission.

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Attorney’s Fees

Contingent fee agreements are the typical method of retention for nursing home neglect and abuse cases. Under a contingent fee agreement, as opposed to billing hourly, a lawyer will accrue a percentage of the client’s recovery by way of compensation for legal services. In New Hampshire, contingent fee agreements must be in writing and explicitly set forth how the fee will be determined. New Hampshire also requires that the attorney provide a written statement to the client at the close of the case explaining how the fee was determined and the amount due to the client if a settlement or award was rendered.

New Hampshire Nursing Home Laws: Residents’ Legal Rights

New Hampshire’s code of administrative rules for nursing homes is set forth in Chapter He-P 800 Residential Care and Health Facility Rules. Part of this code sets forth “Patient Rights” which are the privileges and responsibilities possessed by each resident. A complete list of “Patients Rights” in New Hampshire can be found at Section 151:21. Some highlights of the rights that consumers find most important are provided below:

  • That the patient must be treated with consideration, respect, and full recognition of the patient’s dignity and individuality, including privacy in treatment and personal care
  • The patient must informed of their rights and responsibilities
  • The patient must be fully informed of the facility’s per diem rates and be provided a statement of services that are not normally covered by medicare or medicaid
  • The patient must be informed by a healthcare provider of his or her medical condition, health care needs, and diagnostic test results, unless medically inadvisable and so documented in the medical record;
  • The patient must be given the opportunity to participate in the planning of his or her total care and medical treatment, to refuse treatment;
  • Barring limited exceptions, the patient cannot be be transferred or discharged involuntarily. Transfer or discharge may only be done after appropriate discharge planning only for medical reasons . No patient shall be involuntarily discharged from a facility because the patient becomes eligible for Medicaid.
  • The patient shall be encouraged and assisted throughout the patient’s stay to exercise the patient’s rights as a patient and citizen.
  • The patient has the right to voice grievances and recommend changes in policies and services to facility staff or outside representatives
  • The patient has the right to voice grievances without restraint, interference, coercion, discrimination, or reprisal.
  • The patient has the right to manage the patient’s personal financial affairs or may authorize the facility to do so in writing.
  • The patient shall be free from emotional, psychological, sexual and physical abuse and from exploitation, neglect, corporal punishment and involuntary seclusion.
  • The patient has the right to be free from chemical and physical restraints except when they are authorized in writing by a physician for a specific and limited time necessary to protect the patient or others from injury.
  • The patient has the right to confidential treatment of all information contained in their clinical record
  • The patient has the right to a copy of such records upon request.
  • The patient has the right to not be required to perform services for the facility.
  • The patient has the right to communicate with, associate with, and meet privately with anyone of their choosing
  • The patient has the right to send and receive unopened personal mail
  • The patient has the right to regular and confidential access to a telephone.
  • The patient has the right to participate in activities of any social, religious, and community groups
  • The patient has the right to retain and use personal clothing and possessions as space permits.
  • The patient has the right to be treated by the patient’s physician of choice
  • The patient may not be denied admission based on Medicaid as a source of payment if there is available space

Enforcement of Health and Safety Regulations

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services monitors and enforces nursing home rules and regulations. You can file a complaint with licensed or certified health facilities at:

NH Department of Health & Human Services

Health Facilities Licensing Unit

129 Pleasant Street

Concord, NH 03301

Telephone: (603) 271-9039

In addition to receiving and investigating complaints, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services conducts periodic inspections of nursing home facilities to monitor and enforce compliance with state and federal laws.

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 Jaine

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