The very purpose of the NHRRA is to do away with the typical attitude in which these cases were addressed prior to its passing; that is, to eliminate the evaluation of these cases as not worth significant value because the person is elderly, had multiple co-morbidities and a short period of time to live. When passing the Nursing Home laws, “the Legislature recognized the need to protect a discrete class of citizens who, by virtue of their age and infirmity, are particularly vulnerable to sharp commercial practices, especially in the area of health care, housing, and end-of-life decisions.” Estate of Ruszala ex rel. Mizerak v. Brookdale Living Communities, Inc., 415 N.J. Super. 272, 296 (App. Div. 2010). In other words, the very purpose of the NHRRA is to protect the rights of nursing home residents and provide a means of recovery, by way of compensatory and punitive damages.
New Jersey has codified the rights of nursing home residents in N.J.S.A. 30: 13-5, and provides for a direct cause of action for violations of the resident’s rights. Either the resident or his/her guardian can bring the action, and the statute allows for punitive damages. N.J.S.A. 30: 13-8. If you believe you or a family member may have cause of action due to substandard nursing home care, please contact one of our experienced attorneys for a consultation.