You must typically give evidence that shows negligence or intentional harm to prove a wrongful death happened in a nursing home.
Wrongful death is a type of civil action in which surviving family members, such as spouses or children, bring a lawsuit against a nursing home or its staff to recover financial awards to cover the plaintiff’s losses.
When nursing homes are found to be liable for wrongful death, your family may be eligible to receive compensation for:
- Funeral expenses.
- Loss of consortium.
- Medical treatments related to the cause of death.
- Pain and suffering.
These are not the only awards your family may be entitled to. A nursing home wrongful death lawyer may be able to help you recover compensation for additional losses.
Meeting the Burden of Proof in a Wrongful Death Case
Wrongful death statutes vary from state to state, but each state has a burden of proof that must be met to prove a wrongful death claim. This burden requires the plaintiff to present evidence that proves the existence of each element of wrongful death, which are as follows:
- The nursing home had a legal obligation to ensure the safety of the deceased.
- The nursing home did not take the necessary safety precautions to safeguard the deceased.
- This failure was the actual and legal cause of the wrongful death.
In order to meet the burden of proof, the plaintiff must present a “preponderance of the evidence”–a legal standard that requires that the evidence in favor of liability outweighs the evidence to the contrary.
Note that, this standard is not as difficult to reach as the “beyond reasonable doubt” requirement for criminal proceedings. You can pursue a civil wrongful death claim regardless of any criminal charges, convictions, or acquittals involving the defendants.
Proving a Wrongful Death Claim Requires Substantial Evidence
There are many forms of evidence that plaintiffs use to establish these elements of wrongful death in a nursing home. If you suspect that your loved one was the victim of wrongful death perpetrated by a nursing home, we recommend that you keep all available evidence.
Some examples of evidence which may support a wrongful death case include:
- Medical records.
- Photos of wounds.
- Photos or videos of conditions within the nursing facility.
- Videos of abuse.
- Articles of clothing.
- Written accounts of abuse or cause of death.
- Witness statements.
- Documentation of nursing home correspondence.
- Timeline of relevant events and dates.
Keep in mind that abuse in nursing homes is not only physical. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, psychological abuse and gross neglect are both common forms of abuse in nursing homes. If your loved one reported elder abuse of any kind before they passed away, any evidence that shows this could be important for your case.
Evidence proving wrongful death in a nursing home can be challenging to obtain. Witnesses’ memories can fade with time or be unreliable. Physical evidence may need to be obtained and preserved. For a family grieving a loved one’s death, this burden can be challenging to take on alone. One of the most helpful services a law firm can offer in a wrongful death case is to take on gathering evidence while the family processes their loss.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-934-6555
Parties Who May Be Liable for Wrongful Death in a Nursing Home
The defendants in a nursing home wrongful death case can be the nursing facility and any negligent caregivers, such as nursing home staff or nurses. If nursing home officials were aware that a resident was being abused by another resident or staff member and they failed to prevent further abuse, the individual abuser and the nursing home may be held liable in a wrongful death action.
If nursing home negligence leads to a wrongful death in your family, our attorneys may be able to help determine which parties to hold responsible for your loss.
How Our Lawyers Can Help
Our attorneys can begin gathering evidence for your family’s nursing home wrongful death case by:
- Obtaining medical records.
- Establishing the cause of death.
- Interviewing witnesses.
- Hiring medical experts.
- And more.
The primary focus of our practice is bringing those who abuse senior citizens within nursing homes to justice. When we begin to investigate your claim, we can find evidence that supports your wrongful death claim and work to hold each contributing party liable. Our team can pursue an out-of-court settlement or bring your claim to trial if necessary.
We provide our services to our wrongful death clients at no upfront cost. We only collect fees if we reach a settlement or win your case at trial. However, wrongful death claims expire after a short time. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm now at (800) 201-3999 for a free case evaluation. Our phones are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.