Negligence, abuse, or poor conditions can claim the lives of many of America’s beloved elder residents. As a result, there have been steps enacted towards prosecuting those facilities that have allowed conditions to continue such that they endanger the lives of our elder family members. In this article, we’ll go over some of the major topics involving nursing home wrongful death suits including who can sue, what a suit looks like, and how to file for a nursing home wrongful death lawsuit.
What Is A Wrongful Death In The Nursing Home?
Before getting into the nuts and bolts of a lawsuit, we need to first consider what a wrongful death in the nursing home even is in the first place. A great anecdote to start with would be when Hurricane Irma destroyed a nursing home facility’s air conditioner. The residents of the home were exposed to extreme heat and twelve residents died. There was, however, a hospital only 100 yards away that could have prevented these deaths from occurring. This is a prime example of a wrongful death situation because of the care providers and administrators of the home being negligent towards their duties to save the residents. Other examples of wrongful death suits can arise from the abuse of residents, failure to break up resident-on-resident violence, medication errors, and, as we stated before, negligence of the resident’s current health situation. Wrongful deaths in a nursing home are extremely heartbreaking and could be avoided if the administrators had properly done their job. This is the main difference between wrongful death and a purely natural death in the nursing home.
Who Is Eligible To Sue During A Nursing Home Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
There are many members of the family that may bring up a lawsuit but, as a general rule of thumb, it is the resident’s next of kin that can file for legal action. Other individuals include:
- Immediate Family Members: Close family members like spouses and children can and should file in the case of a wrongful death suit.
- Other Family Members: Some states allow for brothers, sisters, and cousins to file.
- People Who Have Suffered Financially From the Loss: Adoptive children or estate managers that have suffered from the loss economically may also bring up a case even though they have no immediate biological relation to the deceased.
What Does A Wrongful Death Lawsuit Look Like?
Wrongful death lawsuits fall into the Nursing Home Abuse lawsuit umbrella that can benefit the family in many different ways. These lawsuits can award families with financial compensation, hold the nursing home financially responsible for the economic damage, and can lead the nursing home to enact policy changes when it comes to caring for their residents.
Most nursing home wrongful death settlements are settled out of court where the nursing home or defendant will pay those who filed for legal action a lump sum of money. Settlements can vary from case to case and typically depends on the economic and financial situation of the benefactors and how egregious the residential abuse was. If a settlement cannot be reached between the nursing home and the family members or individuals filing for legal action, then the case will go to a trial where a judge and jury can decide on the case. Sometimes those filing for legal action can get more money out of a trial than just an out-of-court settlement.
How To File For A Nursing Home Wrongful Death Lawsuit
If you are ready to push forward with a nursing home lawsuit, you will want to prepare yourself properly as nursing homes tend to have their own legal representation at the ready as they are businesses that aim to protect themselves from financial damage. One of the first things that you will want to do is hire an experienced attorney that will do everything and anything they can to make sure the family receives the proper compensation for their loss. While it is possible to file without the help of a lawyer, individuals are opening themselves up to certain vulnerabilities that an experienced attorney can expose. On the other hand, having an attorney can protect you during mediation in a settlement or if your case is brought to trial.
Wrongful death in a nursing home is an extremely tragic event. While all family members should seek to find out answers for why the death occurred, they should also be prepared to file a lawsuit against the nursing home. A wrongful death attorney can make the entire legal process easier while protecting them from some of the attacks the nursing home-hired attorney will inevitably push on to them. If you are in this position, do not hesitate to contact us as soon as possible. We look forward to hearing about your current situation.