Lawyer Resources for Wrongful Death

wrongful death casesWrongful Death Statutes & Nursing Home Lawsuits

Wrongful death and survival statutes can give family members peace of mind in standing up for the legal rights of a loved one after death. Through a wrongful death statute, a cause of action survives the life of a deceased person. This means that if your loved one experienced neglect or abuse in a nursing home and later died, then you can still file a nursing home wrongful death lawsuit after the death of your loved one. Surviving family members can recover compensation that can be used to pay for outstanding medical bills and funeral expenses. In some cases, economic damages or damages for loss of companionship may also be available. Each state has its own Wrongful Death statute that specifies the total amount of damages that may be awarded to family members after the death of a loved one.

Nursing home lawyers can help you file a lawsuit under a wrongful death statute if your loved one has passed away. Our lawyers are ready to assist you in your time of need and provide you with direction through legal recourse. Nursing home wrongful death lawsuits can help you begin to move forward in your life and hold a nursing home accountable for the harm caused to your loved one.

What Needs to Be Proven in a Wrongful Death Claim?

When you are filing a wrongful death claim, it will be up to your lawyer to prove your case in court. This involves proving that the defendant’s conduct has been responsible for the death of your loved one. Second, your lawyer will need to show that a nursing home facility was negligent and liable for the death of your loved one. Third, there must be surviving family members of the deceased person that are the spouse, children, beneficiaries or dependents. Lastly, there must be monetary damages that have resulted from the decedent’s death.

The Many Forms of Neglect Under a Wrongful Death Claim

In proving a wrongful death claim, there are many forms of underlying neglect that can be used to support the claim. It is important for you to save any evidence that could be used in proving the underlying basis of a wrongful death claim, such as photographs of injuries, medical records, contaminated clothing, smart phone video recordings, saved testimony from employees and other evidence.

Some common types of neglect that can be used to prove a wrongful death claim are development of bed sores, dehydration & malnourishment, use of chemical or physical restraints, physical abuse, a fall during an admission, sexual abuse, improper medical care, physical therapy malpractice, burns and other forms of neglect. You may also have records to show the improper treatment that your loved one received while on a ventilator. There may have been instances in which an untreated urinary tract infection or cerebral hemorrhage lead to a worsened condition or death of your loved one. Meeting with a nursing home lawyer early on in your case will ensure that you preserve this evidence and gather any other evidence that may be necessary for your case.

Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit within the Statute of Limitations

Family members should also be aware that there is only a fixed period of time in which a wrongful death claim may be filed after the death of a loved one. In most states, this fixed period of time ranges from six months to three years. By meeting with a lawyer, you can ensure that you do not lose the opportunity to file a wrongful death claim and can have your wrongful death nursing home case filed in court as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, many incidents resulting in an injury to a nursing home patient may eventually result in their death. Consequently, legal action may be necessary to recover for the suffering the person went through following the incident and for the loss the family has endured following their passing. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers will evaluate the dynamics of each case in order to fully prosecute each case under the applicable laws.


An apparent nursing home suicide is under investigation at Heartland Nursing Home (a ManorCare facility) in Galesburg, IL. Using an oxygen tube and an electrical cord, the patient apparently fashioned a noose and hung himself from a bar on the ceiling which had been installed to help the man reposition himself— or did he?

While officials investigate this nursing home death, a primary focus of the investigation will center around if this patients death was indeed intentional or a situation where sloppy storage of medical equipment allowed the patient to become entangled— and eventually strangled to death.

Nursing Home Patient Commit SuicideDue to the uncertainly surrounding his death, the Knox County Coroner will be performing and autopsy to help bring closure to this unfortunate event.

Acknowledging situations where ‘accidential’ or ‘suspcious’ nursing home deaths may have gone without any formal investigation, South Carolina officials are considering ways to effectively investigate these situations.

Post-Mortem InvestigationsUnder the current system in South Carolina, after a nursing home patient dies from ‘natural causes’ the body may be transferred to a funeral home without any involvement from the local coroner.

Given that in many circumstances the determination between natural vs. accidental death is likely to be made by a physician who is employed by the nursing home, some South Carolina coroners are calling for their offices to be notified every time a nursing home patient dies.

A Kentucky nursing home was named in a recently wrongful death lawsuit filed by the widow of a patient who was allegedly neglected at the facility.  Donna Anderson’s lawsuit cites inadequate staffing and ongoing deficiencies as the primary reasons for her husband’s physical decline and eventual death at Madison Manor nursing home.

Wrongful Death LawsuitAccording to news reports of the lawsuit, Robert Anderson was at Madison Manor from April 9th through May 22nd of 2009 when he developed an infection on his foot.  The infection progressed to the point that his foot needed to be amputated and eventually contributed to his death.

A jury may eventually hear the evidence relating to the nursing home negligence allegations made against Madison Manor, its corporate owner, it nursing home administrator and other parties.  If found guilty, the lawsuit will seek both punitive and compensatory damages from the nursing home.  Read more about this lawsuit against a Kentucky nursing home here.

il flag.jpgHard to believe, but since we initiated Nursing Home Injury Laws last year, we have helped many families get the resources they need following an injury or death of a loved one in a nursing home or medical facility.

Nursing Home Injury Laws, has links and resources related to some of the most commonly encountered nursing home injuries including: medication errors, falls, elopement, sexual abuse and bed sores.

Though many nursing home injury cases involve similar fact patterns, the cases need to be evaluated on an individualized basis, due to the individual state’s laws. Over the next few weeks I will focus on the state of nursing home care within specific states as well as the applicable state laws.

Perhaps one of the more frustrating aspects of my job is attempting to convey the value of a senior’s life to a defense lawyer, insurance carrier or jurors.  Particularly, when evaluating the value of a nursing home or assisted living case, I find that people generally have a difficult time appreciating the significance of life’s later years.

Fall-Related Death Of 99-Year-Old WomanSure we can look at seniors and say, “Hey, he’s just an old geezer, maybe he had a another couple of decent years in him?  What’s the big deal if he died today or tomorrow?”

Alternatively, I suggest the value of our later days, months, and years really have more significance and value as many seniors gain a new perspective on life only when seeing the inevitable coming their way.

The family of a resident at a Wisconsin assisted living facility has filed a lawsuit against the facility and it parent company, Assisted Living Concepts LTD, in relation to the events leading up to her death in 2010.  In particular, the lawsuit claims that Marilyn Brown was admitted to Cedar Gardens in July, 2008 for assistance with her dementia and repeated urinary tract infections.

Wrongful Death LawsuitOver the course of her stay at the assisted living facility, the staff gradually provided less and less assistance for Ms. Brown’s daily living needs.  In addition to lack of daily care, the lawsuit further claims that the staff at the facility failed to properly supervise Ms. Brown which resulted in multiple falls.  It was a fall in December, 2009 that resulted in fractures to her hip and shoulder that lead to Ms. Brown’s death shortly thereafter.

Despite Assisted Living Concepts ongoing profitability as a chain of assisted living operators (having more than 34% increases in quarterly profits compared with last year), the lawsuit alleges that the company fails to pass along adequate funds for the facility to hire and train sufficient staff to ensure the safety of its residents.

Illinois Nursing Home With Longtime ProblemsA wrongful death lawsuit has been filed by the family of Doris Scharperkoetter in St. Clair County Circuit Court.  The lawsuit alleges that The Lincoln Home and its owner, Weiss Management Group LLC were negligent in the care of Ms. Scharperkoetter during the time she was a patient at the Belleville, IL nursing home.

The lawsuit alleges that the improper care was to blame for a variety of complications such as:

Nursing homes have an obligation to create and implement personalized care plans for every patient at their facility.  The care plan is not an optional activity, rather the plans are required by federal law.  Recognizing the threat of falling– and fall-related injuries— the care plan must assess and address each patients fall propensities.

Particularly in nursing home fall cases, where a patient may fall for a variety of reasons– some due to poor care and some completely independent thereof, it is important to look at the specific incident and evaluate if the safeguards were properly implemented– or not.

$1 Million In Nursing Home Fall LawsuitAs a nursing home lawyer, comparing the the safeguards implemented at the time of the fall vs. what was prescribed in the patient’s care plan is really a crucial step towards evaluating a potential claim against a facility.  Further, as patient’s needs change, facilities need to re-asses their care plans to accommodate the patient’s needs.

The family of a 97-year-old Washington nursing home patient has received $3.5 million under the terms of a settlement related to a wrongful death lawsuit.  The lawsuit stems from neglectful care at Everett Rehabilitation and Care Center over the course of several months in 2007 when staff at the facility failed to provide medical treatment to a man– whose penis literally deteriorated to the point that his genitalia was nothing more than a wound.

Neglected Nursing Home Patient Wrongful Death SettlementAccording to documents related to an investigation by the Washington Department of Health, the man was originally admitted to the facility in 2004 in order to spend time with his wife who was already a patient at the facility. In November, 2007 a nurse documented a sore on the man’s penis and gave the report to a manager at the facility who failed to take any action or provide any further care.

Further documentation of the man’s decomposing genitalia are absent until March, 2008 when the man was transferred to a hospital and the physicians notified the facility that the man’s penis was completely gone due to deteriorating skin and wounds.  Two weeks after the man was taken to the hospital he died from complications related to his wounds.

couple in hospital

Pressure sores (also referred to as bed sores, pressure ulcers, or decubitus ulcers) are an all too common and painful problem for nursing home residents.   Most pressure sores are preventable and are caused by faulty care where the nursing home or hospital does provide adequate care to prevent and treat bed sores.  Patients vulnerable to developing pressure sores are the elderly, people who are bedridden, and people with diabetes.

Pressure sores in nursing homes can be prevented by taking simple preventative measures including:
  • Turning patients

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Client Reviews

Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial. Lisa
After I read Jonathan’s Nursing Home Blog, I decided to hire him to look into my wife’s treatment at a local nursing home. Jonathan did a great job explaining the process and the laws that apply to nursing homes. I immediately felt at ease and was glad to have him on my side. Though the lawsuit process was at times frustrating, Jonathan reassured me, particularly at my deposition. I really felt like Jonathan cared about my wife’s best interests, and I think that came across to the lawyers for the nursing home. Eric
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