San Diego County Nursing Home Sued for Wrongful Death

The son of Maria Cobian, the elderly woman who was hit by a car and killed when she wandered away from her nursing home, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Vista Superior Court.

The lawsuit alleges that Palomar Heights Continuing Care Center in Escondido negligently failed to supervise Ms. Cobian, and to ensure the safety of 94-year-old resident, who also suffered from dementia. Ms. Cobian was only a few hundred yards away from the nursing facility when she walked into traffic and was struck by a car. The company of the car that hit Cobian was also named in the lawsuit.

Despite her alleged documented history of trying to leave the facility, and the nursing home’s failure to prevent it, it doesn’t appear that there are allegations of elder neglect under the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act against the facility, which allows for enhanced damages against nursing homes, including pre-death pain and suffering, when certain burdens of proof are met.

Earlier this year, the California Department of Public Health issued a Class AA citation against the facility and fined it $100,000 for violations that caused Cobian’s death. It was the second AA citation against this facility in two years. In 2006 a resident burned to death after being allowed to smoke next to his oxygen tank.

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