California Supreme Court of San Francisco ruled today that caregivers of Alzheimer patients cannot sue them if they suffer any injuries while on duty.
This ruling came after a case involving private caregivers who filled a lawsuit against her three year patient. The patient happened to bump into her while holding a knife to be washed. The caregiver got injured on her wrist, cutting her skin around it. After this, she filled a lawsuit against the family of the patient.
Alzheimer Patients Protected from Lawsuits Because the Disease is Unpredictable
This way we can see Alzheimer patients protected in the future from various abusing lawsuits caregivers could possibly fill in order to benefit from their patients’ state of mind. At the same time, the disease’s progress entails memory loss, brain damage, and aggressive acts like fighting, which could affect the person physically the closest to them, in this case the caregiver. During the Court ruling today there were five votes in agreement and two in disagreement. Explaining the minority point of view, Judge Laurence Rubin said that violence was not very common in any stage of the Alzheimer disease, so the belief that caring for a patient implicitly came with dealing with it was a misconception and that it should be treated with caution. The majority claimed that a person entering the home of a diseased patient should be well aware of the pitfalls of interacting with an Alzheimer patient.
According to The Hoop News, Alzheimer disease can easily progress on a daily basis, so suing families of patients might be an unfair business. Therefore the unpredictable nature of the disease is a key factor in the current decision of the Supreme Court. Private caregivers can still sue families of Alzheimer patients, but only if it’s a non-work related matter. There is also an interesting detail which made the decision in favor of the patient. According to Medical Daily, the caregiver was hired through an agency, but families that are directly hiring are still liable for a lawsuit. From this point of view, the agency holds the responsibility of putting the caregiver to jeopardy, therefore suing the family is not liable. If she would have been hired by the family, her claims could be legally approved.
The Court ruling from today could have not only Alzheimer patients protected, but also their in grieve families, which most of the time lack knowledge on how the disease will develop, making them unaware of possible acts of aggression towards caregivers.