Nursing homes may be sued for wrongful death when their abusive or negligent treatment of residents results in death. A surviving family member can bring a wrongful death lawsuit in the state where it took place. Surviving family members may be able to recover financial awards to compensate for their losses, such as:
- Funeral expenses.
- Loss of consortium.
- Medical treatments related to the cause of death.
- Pain and suffering.
The exact nature of the recoverable awards will depend on your specific situation. Your lawyer can help you determine what awards to pursue if you choose to sue a nursing home for wrongful death.
Liability for Wrongful Death in Nursing Homes
In order to establish that a nursing home is responsible for a wrongful death, we must prove:
- The nursing home had a duty to care for the resident.
- The nursing home failed to provide the required standard of care.
- The nursing home’s misconduct caused the resident’s death.
There may be more than one responsible party in a wrongful death lawsuit. Both staff and other residents can be abusive within a nursing home. If nursing home administrators knew or should have known that a resident was being abused by another resident or staff member, and failed to prevent further abuse, the individual abuser and the nursing home may both be named as defendants in a wrongful death action.
Proving that a nursing home is responsible for a wrongful death can be complicated. Evidence may be difficult to obtain due to unreliable witness accounts. Witnesses may be reluctant to report incidences of abuse because they are afraid of retaliation from nursing home staff or administrators. Having an elder abuse attorney investigate the cause of a wrongful death can help navigate these complexities, and can take your mind off the investigation while your family grieves.
Abusive Nursing Facilities Must Be Held Accountable
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, elder abuse can increase the victim’s risk for premature death. The Center stated that elders who experienced abuse, even modest abuse, had a 300% higher risk of death when compared with those who had not been abused.
Signs of Elder Abuse and Elder Neglect
You may have noticed signs of elder abuse when visiting your loved one prior to their passing. The National Institute on Aging lists the following as visible signs of physical abuse:
- Messy appearance.
- Signs of trauma.
- Unexplained bruises, lacerations, or scars.
- Unexplained weight loss.
If you witnessed these or any other signs of abuse, it could be a sign that their passing was the result of wrongful death. If you have any evidence of this abuse, such as photographs or videos of wounds, medical records, witness accounts, or correspondence with the nursing home, we recommend that you keep it. This evidence may be useful to prove your loved one’s wrongful death in court.
How a Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help
Do you suspect that your loved one passed away as a result of elder abuse while living in a nursing home? If so, you may be able to sue a nursing home for wrongful death. Hiring an elder abuse attorney can help with your wrongful death action by:
- Investigating the true cause of death.
- Compiling evidence that establishes causation.
- Reviewing medical records.
- Deposing witnesses.
- Obtaining expert medical opinions.
- Negotiating with the defendant to arrive at a pre-trial settlement.
- Initiating a wrongful death action and litigating your case in court.
Our attorneys can help determine the true cause of your loved one’s death. Once we establish causation, we can then identify all the parties who contributed to the fatal events. While no amount of compensation can resolve your losses, bringing those who are responsible to justice may bring some resolution and prevent others from becoming victims in the future.
Our attorneys investigate wrongful deaths claims at no cost until we recover a financial award for your family. However, the time that you have to pursue this opportunity may be short. Depending on the laws within your state, a statute of limitations could impose a time limit on when you can file a wrongful death case.
If you suspect that a senior living facility contributed to your loved one’s passing, please call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm now at (800) 614-4857. Consultation calls are completely free, and our phones are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Pintas & Mullins Law Firm works on a contingency-fee-basis, meaning you pay nothing out of pocket unless we reach a settlement.