Few things are as tragic as losing a loved one. When you’re loved one loses their life due to negligent behavior, especially by someone (or a facility) that’s meant to be caring for them, their death becomes that much harder. For those who have lost a loved one to an abusive nursing home, a wrongful death lawsuit can help you seek justice, and receive the financial compensation that you’re entitled to.
Understanding Nursing Home Deaths
Abuse in nursing homes typically entails the deliberate infliction of harm, whether it be physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, or financial. Nursing home neglect refers to denying a resident of a long-term care institution access to food, housing, medical care, or protection. Abuse or neglect in a nursing home can quickly result in death, especially given how much more susceptible elderly patients are too extreme and even deadly injuries. Internal organ damage or fractures brought on by physical abuse can quickly develop into lethal complications. A resident who is elderly or infirm may pass away as a result of neglect that results in hunger or dehydration. Even psychological abuse can produce depression in nursing home residents, making them reluctant to eat or engage in other activities and resulting in a natural deterioration in health. Contacting a wrongful death attorney, especially one that specializes in nursing home-specific cases, is a must when looking into potential foul play surrounding your loved one’s death in a nursing home.
After a nursing home death, the family is informed (outside or rare, conspiratorial cases). The reason a loved one passed away might not be explained at all, however, especially if abuse or neglect is known to have caused the death. The nursing home may be relying on the expectation that elderly or ailing persons would pass away, and that the day of their death was just around the corner. However, it is legally required for nursing homes to keep records of the well-being, treatment, activities, and other activities of their patients. The closer you are to your loved one, the easier it will be for you to look for possible red flags. Reviewing the readily accessible records could raise some red flags and point to the necessity for a more complete examination of a resident’s passing. Being prepared to fight for the truth is essential, as this can ensure your loved one receives justice, and that you receive financial compensation for their wrongful death.
Who Can File and Benefit from a Wrongful Death Suit in these Cases?
Specific family members have the right to compensation from the person who caused the death or from that person’s “agent or servant” where the death of a person is brought on by the negligence or wrongdoing of another. Included in this are nursing facilities and any staff or management acting on the owner’s behalf. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for greedy nursing home owners to obfuscate facts to protect themself from financial woes, so being ready to fight is once again key. Parents of a victim, their children, their spouse, and (in some cases) other special parties can seek compensation from the “agent or servant” responsible for their loved one’s wrongful death in a nursing home.
In cases where a wrongful death victim has no surviving family members, the estate of the nursing home resident may file a claim for payment of debts and expenses, including funeral and burial costs as well as medical costs. Depending on state law, a wrongful death defendant may also be obliged to pay punitive damages if the deceased’s death resulted from gross negligence or purposeful misconduct, such as abuse or neglect in a nursing home. The court must appoint a “personal representative” of the decedent nursing home resident to proceed with such a wrongful death action. Additionally, a probe must be conducted to gather proof of the nursing home’s responsibility for wrongful death. The timeline for filing these cases depends on the state you live in, so consulting with an experienced nursing home abuse or wrongful death attorney ASAP is key.
When looking to gain restitution after a loved one experiences wrongful death in a nursing home, it’s key to stay proactive. Doing so can help you gain evidence promptly, which will be key in winning your state against the nursing home responsible for your loved one’s death. Your actions and willingness to seek justice can help protect future residents of that home as well. Ultimately, you’ll need plenty of legal and law enforcement assistance in uncovering the true case of your loved one’s wrongful death.