legal resources necessary to hold negligent facilities accountable.
Wrongful Death Nursing Home
Families move their loved ones into nursing homes so they can receive the care they need to thrive and live out their lives as comfortably as possible. Unfortunately, some nursing home residents become victims of abuse and neglect, and instead of enjoying a high quality of life in their later years, they suffer an untimely death.
A wrongful death occurs when a nursing home resident dies due to negligence. In other words, the residents would still be alive if they had not suffered abuse and neglect.
Did you lose a loved one due to a nursing home's negligence? If so, the personal injury attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center, LLC can help you seek the justice your family deserves.
We guide families' victims through nursing home wrongful death cases so they can receive financial compensation and, more importantly, hold negligent parties accountable for their actions.
Contact our nursing home abuse lawyers at (800) 926-7565 for a free consultation. All sensitive or confidential information you share with our legal team remains private under an attorney-client relationship.
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit is a legal action brought by family members and legal dependents against individuals whose negligence caused the death of a person. The plaintiff can bring it against the defendant facing criminal charges for the same incident.
Even if the defendant is found not guilty of the criminal charge against them, a nursing home lawsuit may hold them liable for the deceased's family's damages.
Common Nursing Home Wrongful Death Cases
A wrongful death nursing home claim or lawsuit is usually caused by a facility's failure to provide proper care to a resident or protect them from avoidable harm. Many nursing home wrongful death cases arise from:
- Slip-and-Falls: Falls are potentially disastrous for residents, who are mainly elderly individuals. An older person is more susceptible to severe injuries, such as hip fractures, traumatic brain injuries, and spinal cord trauma, in a fall accident, due to their body's increased fragility and reduced healing ability. Fatal nursing home falls can occur while a patient gets out of bed, gets in and out of the shower, traverses the stairs, etc.
- Infections: Nursing home patients spend most of their time in close contact with staff and other residents, which is one of the reasons why infections can spread rapidly in nursing facilities. Furthermore, the elderly are more prone to severe health consequences and death from infections.
- Bedsores: Also known as pressure ulcers, these injuries are caused by excessive pressure on the skin. Residents may develop bedsores if they stay in one position for too long, e.g., being bedridden. Bedsores can become infected when left untreated and cause sepsis, a potentially fatal inflammatory response.
- Medication Errors: A medication error occurs when a nursing home prescribes or dispenses the wrong drug or administers a drug incorrectly. While most medication errors don't cause severe consequences, others can lead to significant drug-to-drug or drug-to-food interactions that increase the risk of death in a vulnerable patient.
- Inadequate Medical Care: Most residents enter nursing homes or assisted living facilities with pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease. Without a proper care plan, these residents' illnesses may progress faster and lead to nursing home wrongful death.
- Malnutrition and Dehydration: Nursing home neglect (the failure to provide basic needs) can lead to malnutrition and dehydration, conditions that may cause or worsen illnesses and prevent healing.
- Choking or Asphyxiation: Accidental choking is a common problem among nursing home patients, as many of them cannot chew or swallow food properly due to dental issues, dysphagia, dementia, and other conditions. The brain starts to die after 4 to 5 minutes without oxygen.
- Assault: Some residents become victims of physical assault from staff members or other patients. A nursing home wrongful death can occur if the assault leads to significant injuries, especially to the head.
How Does Nursing Home Negligence Contribute to Wrongful Death?
Nursing facilities are legally obligated to protect residents from avoidable harm, especially untimely deaths. Sadly, not all nursing homes meet this responsibility, allowing wrongful deaths to occur.
The following forms of nursing home abuse and neglect most frequently lead to wrongful death and a subsequent nursing home lawsuit:
- Inadequate Supervision: Nursing home employees must supervise residents frequently to prevent accidents, such as falls and choking. Some residents require round-the-clock supervision, such as those with dementia and patients prone to falling. Lack of care can allow untoward incidents to occur, such as accidents, assaults, and medical emergencies.
- Poor Medical Response: Failing to provide prompt medical treatment can lead to a nursing home wrongful death. For instance, patients suffering from bedsores may develop sepsis if they don't receive immediate care.
- Misdiagnosis: Giving an incorrect diagnosis to a patient can lead to disease progression and eventual death, a common cause of premature death in a nursing home.
- Lack of Infection Prevention: Every nursing home must have infection prevention protocols to prevent spreading potentially fatal diseases among residents. Otherwise, outbreaks are more likely to occur, increasing the risk of death, especially among the most vulnerable patients.
- Inadequate Fall Prevention: Many nursing home wrongful death cases involve fall accidents resulting from a lack of fall prevention measures. A nursing home or assisted living facility must protect patients from falls by securing beds, installing handrails, clearing debris, fixing faulty steps, evaluating fall risk, etc.
- Nursing Home Abuse: Elderly residents are prone to severe and potentially fatal injuries. Hence, any form of physical abuse or assault can be deadly. A nursing home must enforce rules and precautionary measures to prevent abuse from staff members and residents. For instance, increasing supervision for erratic patients can help avoid resident-on-resident violence.
How to File a Nursing Home Wrongful Death Lawsuit
A loved one's death is always devastating, and your family deserves compensation for such an avoidable tragedy. While no amount of money will take away the pain of losing a family member, recovering compensation from a wrongful death nursing home claim can help ease the financial burden on your family.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Nursing Home Lawsuit?
In all 50 states, surviving family members can file wrongful death cases, including parents, children, and spouses. Some states allow distant family members, such as grandparents and cousins, to file a wrongful death nursing home case if no close relatives are available.
In some states, life partners, financial dependents, and common-law spouses are also permitted to file a wrongful death nursing home lawsuit. Non-relatives who suffer a financial loss due to the death may also be eligible, depending on which state the death occurred.
If a resident files a personal injury lawsuit but passes before it is resolved, their family can continue the suit on their behalf. The family can also turn the lawsuit into a nursing home wrongful death case with the help of an attorney.
Who is Liable for a Nursing Home Wrongful Death?
Liable parties in nursing home wrongful death cases may include:
- Nursing home staff members
- Other residents
Nursing facilities, the companies that own them, and their insurance providers will be liable in a wrongful death nursing home lawsuit, regardless of who is directly at fault. Their liability stems from the failure to prevent a resident's death in a nursing home, a legal obligation under state and federal law.
What Evidence Do You Need to File a Wrongful Death Nursing Home Lawsuit?
The most challenging part of filing a nursing home lawsuit is proving causation. To recover compensation, you must show that nursing home negligence led to your loved one's death and it would not have happened if the facility did not act negligently.
A wrongful death nursing home lawyer will help you gather the evidence you need, such as:
- Medical records
- Facility records
- Autopsy reports
- Police reports
- Incident reports
- Surveillance footage if available
- Witness accounts
- Expert testimony
- Photos of injuries
What Damages Can You Recover in a Wrongful Death Nursing Home Claim?
Families of deceased residents file wrongful death lawsuits to hold the nursing home financially responsible for the following losses:
- Medical Expenses: Nursing home wrongful death settlements usually include compensation for the deceased's medical bills before death, including expenses for emergency transportation, hospitalization, medication, surgery, etc.
- Funeral Costs: A nursing home wrongful death victim's family could receive compensation for burial and funeral expenses or cremation costs.
- Lost Financial Support: Compensation for money that the deceased resident would have provided to family members, if applicable.
- Lost Inheritance: Money or assets the deceased resident would have given to heirs as an inheritance.
- Pain and Suffering: Financial compensation for the physical or mental harm the deceased suffered from the moment of the underlying incident to the time of death.
- Loss of Consortium: Compensation for loss of companionship or emotional support, usually awarded to a spouse or immediate family.
- Family's Pain and Suffering: In some states, families can pursue compensation for the mental pain and suffering caused by their loved one's wrongful death.
- Punitive Damages: The court may award punitive damages to your nursing home wrongful death case to punish the defendant for gross negligence and deter similar behavior in the future.
Your nursing home abuse lawyer will help you identify all your losses during your free case evaluation.
What is the Time Limit for Filing a Nursing Home Wrongful Death Claim?
The statute of limitations for wrongful death cases varies by state. In most states, you have less than three years from the date of your loved one's death to file a claim, while others allow filing up to five years.
File a nursing home wrongful death lawsuit as soon as possible to avoid missing the deadline. Otherwise, you may be unable to file a claim and receive compensation for funeral expenses, medical bills, and other losses.
What is The Average Settlement for Nursing Home Wrongful Death Lawsuits?
Nursing home wrongful death settlements range from $500,000 to several million dollars. It is difficult to pinpoint a more precise range, as no two wrongful death cases are identical. Your settlement will depend on your case's circumstances, the victim's age, the level of nursing home abuse involved, and other factors.
However, the extent of your damages (e.g., funeral expenses, medical bills, etc.) significantly impacts your nursing home wrongful death case. Your elder abuse lawyer will calculate the value of your settlement to give you an idea of how much your family deserves.
How Our Nursing Home Wrongful Death Lawyers Can Help
It takes a skilled legal expert to tackle a wrongful death case against an institution like a nursing home and its insurance company. While a lawyer is not required to file a wrongful death lawsuit, having one can make the process easier.
Our nursing home wrongful death lawyers will:
- Investigate the circumstances of your loved one's passing
- Establish the facility's negligence, e.g., the nursing home's failure to protect your loved one from abuse or intentional harm
- Collect documents to support your claim, such as medical records and autopsy reports
- Interview nursing home staff members, visitors, and other residents
- Consult with elder abuse and other nursing home wrongful death attorneys
- Submit a nursing home abuse case on your behalf
- Negotiate a fair settlement value
- File a wrongful death nursing home lawsuit and represent you in court, if necessary
Aside from helping you recover compensation for funeral costs, hospital bills, and other losses, having a nursing home abuse lawyer take over your case will allow your family to grieve in peace. You don't need the burden of a nursing home lawsuit during this difficult time; our attorneys are more than willing to shoulder it for you.
Schedule a Consultation with Our Nursing Home Wrongful Death Lawyers
Every nursing home facility is responsible for preventing accidents, injuries, and illnesses that could lead to death in a nursing home. A wrongful death may occur if a facility fails to avoid hazards or meet a resident's health care requirements.
If you lost a loved one in a nursing facility due to negligence, you could file a nursing home wrongful death lawsuit to receive financial compensation for your family's damages. The nursing home abuse lawyers at Nursing Home Law Center, LLC help victims' families file wrongful death cases and fight for their right to fair settlements.
Our experienced personal injury attorneys have extensive experience in handling all kinds of nursing home wrongful death cases, including nursing home abuse, slip-and-falls, medical malpractice, etc.
Contact our wrongful death nursing home attorneys at (800) 926-7565 or use the contact form for a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private under an attorney-client relationship.
Our attorneys handle all accepted nursing home wrongful death cases on a contingency fee basis. This agreement ensures you don't have to pay our legal fees unless we win your case.