The family of a 96-year-old woman who died from injuries suffered while being transported in a Visiting Angels van reached a settlement with the health care agency.
The settlement between George Springer and Janet Springer and Visiting Angels is confidential, and no monetary terms of the agreement were disclosed in court or public court filings.
The settlement was reached Monday morning before attorneys in the case gave opening statements to a 414th State District Court jury.
After the settlement was finalized, Judge Vicki Menard excused the jury, which was selected Monday.
The Springers' mother, Emily Springer, a retired teacher, died from injuries she suffered after being thrown from her wheelchair in a van driven by former Visiting Angels employee Aimi Ariel Salazar in 2014.
Salazar, 25, has first-degree felony injury to an elderly person charges pending against her.
In a joint statement from the Springers' attorney, Ryan Johnson, and Visiting Angels' attorney, Jim Hering, the Springer family acknowledges that Emily Springer received compassionate care before the accident in which Springer was injured.
"At the same time, Visiting Angels certainly regrets that Mrs. Springer was injured while in its care," the statement says. "As a result of Emily Springer's case, there will be greater protection for the elderly, and additional measures have been taken to reduce the risk of similar transportation accidents.
"These protective measures include the purchase of safety harnesses for transporting the elderly and disabled; mandatory safety seminars for caregivers using the transportation van; increased supervision over all caregivers; and stringent hiring practices that include active and comprehensive driving records checks on caregivers that could possibly be transporting clients. Both parties are pleased that the outcome of Emily Springer's case will result in Visiting Angels continuing to provide exceptional care."
According to the lawsuit, Salazar was taking Springer in a van and failed to properly strap her in. Salazar, who was driving, "suddenly and unexpectedly" braked, causing Springer to be thrown into the dashboard.
Springer, who suffered from dementia, died four months later from multiple broken bones and internal injuries, the suit says.
Salazar did not seek medical treatment or call an ambulance or police, the suit alleges. She took Springer back to her residence and tried to clean the blood from the vehicle and from Springer's clothes.
The suit claims she didn't tell Springer's family about the incident and later lied to them.