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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Alzheimer’s patients aren’t liable for injuries to home-care workers, California Supreme Court says

Today's blog is shared from the
The California Supreme Court has ruled that Alzheimer’s patients and their families are not liable to home health-care workers for injuries caused by the patients, if the employees were warned of the risks and the injuries were caused by symptoms of the disease.
The California Supreme Court ruled on Monday in a 5-2 decision (PDF), the Los Angeles Times reports. The court said the assumption of risk doctrine bars recovery.
“Because agitation and physical aggression are common late-stage symptoms of the disease, injuries to caregivers are not unusual,” the court said. “California and other jurisdictions have established the rule that Alzheimer‘s patients are not liable for injuries to caregivers in institutional settings. We conclude that the same rule applies to in-home caregivers.”
A contrary rule would create an incentive to institutionalize Alzheimer’s patients, the court said.
The court ruled in the case of a worker hired by Bernard Cott to care for his 85-year-old wife, Lorraine. Cott warned the worker that his wife would bite, kick, scratch and flail.
The worker, Carolyn Gregory, was injured in September 2008 when she was washing a large knife, Lorraine bumped into her and reached toward the sink. Gregory tried to restrain Lorraine, dropping the knife and cutting her wrist. Gregory lost feeling in several fingers and experiences recurring pain as a result.
Gregory worked for an agency and had received workers compensation....
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