What Is Wrongful Death in a Nursing Home?
If a nursing home resident dies from neglect or abuse, their death may be considered wrongful. A wrongful death means your loved one would still be alive had they received proper medical care.
If you lost a loved one due to suspected abuse or neglect at a long-term care facility, a wrongful death attorney can help you determine your next steps. Learn how an attorney can help you now.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Wrongful death in nursing homes can stem from many different causes, some of which are harder to spot than others.
Problems that can lead to nursing home wrongful deaths include:
- Broken bones
- Improper medical care
- Lack of fall prevention
- Medication errors
- Pressure ulcers (bedsores)
- Untreated medical conditions
You should also look for problems with the nursing home itself. Issues like understaffing or poor training increase the risk of nursing home abuse, neglect, or a wrongful death.
Can You Sue a Nursing Home for Wrongful Death?
Yes. Nursing homes have an obligation to keep elderly residents safe and provide proper care. Nursing home staff members, owners, and others can be held liable when proper care is not provided.
If you do choose to sue a nursing home, an investigation will likely be held in order to establish the degree of harm and who is at fault.
However, time is limited to file a nursing home wrongful death lawsuit. The statute of limitations (a time restriction on how long you have to file a lawsuit) varies from state to state, as do laws regarding proof and taking claims to court.
You will not be able to file the lawsuit if time runs out. Thankfully, you can work with attorneys who have handled nursing home wrongful death cases to avoid any problems. They can help you file the lawsuit within the set time limits.
Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death?
While state laws vary on who can sue, immediate family members like spouses and children have the right to sue in every state.
In some states, distant relatives such as cousins, executors, or others who have been financially impacted by the death of the resident can also sue.
Filing a Nursing Home Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Filing a nursing home lawsuit is relatively easy with legal help. Attorneys can guide you and your family through the process and will do much of the legal work for you.
Most nursing home abuse lawsuits follow a similar structure:
- A civil suit is filed and both parties submit paperwork regarding their stance.
- Discovery begins and both parties collect evidence to support their claim.
- Negotiations and mediations begin. A settlement amount may be reached.
- The settlement offer is either accepted or declined by the plaintiff (person who filed the lawsuit)
- If the settlement is declined, the case may go to trial.
The decision to take the case to trial can be difficult. There’s no way to guarantee you’ll get as much (or any) compensation to trial than if the case was settled. Trials also add more time to the legal process in most cases.
Settlements are generally faster and less demanding. For these reasons, most cases end up settling out of court. Working with an experienced personal injury attorney can help you make the best choice for your individual situation.
How Much Is a Nursing Home Wrongful Death Settlement?
A nursing home settlement for a wrongful death pays $406,000 on average. The actual amount you may receive depends on a variety of factors. These factors include the severity of the abuse and the ability of the defendant (the nursing home) to pay.
Factors that affect wrongful death settlement payouts include:
- Funeral expenses
- Lost wages
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
You can also seek punitive damages against the nursing home itself. Punitive damages punish the nursing home for misconduct and discourage similar behavior in the future.
Get Help Filing a Nursing Home Wrongful Death Claim
Nursing home wrongful death lawsuits hard to handle without legal help. You’ll need to provide detailed proof that abuse or neglect led to their loved one’s death.
This evidence may include:
- Autopsy reports
- Medical records
- Other documents
Navigating complicated issues of liability can mean that wrongful death cases can take months or even years to conclude. Mistakes when filing or providing evidence can prolong the case even further. Additionally, the assisted living facility will likely have lawyers of their own to help protect them from financial losses.
You can help protect yourself from these and other complications by working with nursing home abuse lawyers who specialize in wrongful death cases.
Lawyers can help you:
- File the lawsuit correctly and within state deadlines
- Gather evidence needed to support the lawsuit
- Negotiate strong settlements
You have a right to seek justice for your loved ones. If you have lost someone to nursing home neglect or abuse and are ready to take legal action, get a free case review today.