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In 2003, a fire in a Hartford nursing home killed 16 residents, but because of a dispute regarding funds available from the facility’s professional liability policy, the trial has yet to begin even after 10 years.

In response to this incident, a recently-proposed bill awaiting a signature from Governor Malloy could make significant changes to all Connecticut nursing homes and home healthcare centers. Starting on January 1, 2014, once the bill becomes law, all such organizations and facilities must have professional liability coverage of up to $1 million for every resident injured or killed through professional negligence. A coverage period would have a $3 million cap for all claims.

The Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association supports the bill. To the press, Rep. Gerald Fox III, co-chair of the Judiciary Committee, explained: “I think most nursing homes do have professional liability insurance; that’s something we want to make clear. But there were some nursing homes out there without it, and if they went bankrupt or into financial distress, there would be no protection.”

For reference, psychiatric patient Leslie Andino set fire to her bed at Greenwood Health Center in Hartford a decade ago. Just days after the incident, the company that owned the facility went bankrupt. The lawsuit has targeted Andino, while negligence claims cited insufficient response and staff training. Right now, 13 claims total $1 million.

As nursing home negligence lawyers in Connecticut, Trantolo & Trantolo’s attorneys take on cases involving elderly abuse or negligence at the hands of caretakers and facilities. By 2030, the elderly population is expected to increase to 70 million (up from 30 million in 2000) as the Baby Boomer generation ages, with 19.65 million age 80 or older by this point. Because of this growing need, a lack of trained staff, overcrowding, and unsafe facilities, leading to potential negligence or abuse, are significant concerns.