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What Happens if A Nursing Home’s Negligence Causes a Death?

Whenever a nursing home causes harm, an elder abuse lawyer should be consulted by the victim. The nursing home may be held accountable both for its own negligent failures to have policies to protect patients, as well as for the negligence of staff members on duty.  The consequences of abuse can be dire, and taking legal action after a nursing home causes injury or illness is essential to recover for losses and to make sure the nursing home facility pays for the harm it has caused to a vulnerable resident. What Happens if A Nursing Home's Negligence Causes a Death?

Unfortunately, in some especially tragic cases, the nursing home’s negligence causes more than just injury or illness. The patient who is under the care of the nursing home could end up passing away as a result of the abuse or neglect that occurred.

When this happens, a claim may be brought by surviving family members including spouses, children, or others who would be entitled to inherit in the intestate line of succession. This could include parents, siblings, and other relatives.

A nursing home abuse or neglect case based on the death of a nursing home resident can be a complicated case, and the victim’s family who is making the claim should speak with an Irvine elder abuse lawyer as soon as possible after the death occurs. Brown & Charbonneau, LLP has helped many people to get compensation for the loss of a loved one, and to make sure the nursing home is held accountable for the failure that led to the tragic death.  Give us a call today if you believe a nursing home let down one of your relatives in a way that caused a fatality to occur.

What Happens When Nursing Home Negligence is Fatal?

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse: “Elders who experienced abuse, even modest abuse, had a 300% higher risk of death when compared to those who had not been abused.”  Death can result from a fall, from dehydration or malnutrition, from infected pressure sores, or from many other illnesses and injuries which commonly occur when a senior nursing home resident is not provided with proper care.

When a nursing home resident dies, family members will need to determine if a failure on the part of the nursing home was the direct or proximate cause of the death. In other words, did the neglect, abuse, or other inappropriate actions taken by the nursing home or its staff result directly in the patient dying?

If the victim’s family can show a staff member’s actions or inactions led to the death, this usually means that a case can be brought not only against the staff member but also against the nursing home itself. This is because the staff member is viewed as an agent of the nursing care facility and thus is considered to have been acting on behalf of the nursing home itself.

An elder abuse lawyer can provide assistance in proving that the nursing home or staff member provided a level of care below which was acceptable. Once negligence has been successfully proved, Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can also help you to demonstrate that the negligence was the cause of harm and can help you to show the extent of the damages.

In a wrongful death case based on personal injury, the surviving family member of the person who was killed can usually recover damages for funeral expenditures, medical expenses necessary to treat the deceased before the injury, and other financial losses the death caused. This could include loss of wages and/or household income the deceased was bringing in.

Seniors in nursing homes generally don’t work, but there may still be actual economic loss resulting from their death.  Surviving family members can also get compensation for loss of the deceased’s companionship and, in some cases, punitive damages are awarded when the behavior was egregious. Punitive damages are awarded partly in order to serve as a deterrent to future abuse or neglect.

How an Elder Abuse Lawyer Can Help

If someone that you love has passed away and you believe that the care provided in a nursing home- or the lack of care- was the direct cause of the death, you need to get appropriate legal help.  An experienced Southern California elder abuse lawyer will assist you in understanding if you can make a wrongful death claim and in helping you to prove your entitlement to damages.

To learn more about how Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can assist you in getting the money you need to cover losses and hold a nursing home accountable for a loved one’s death, give us a call today at 714-505-3000 or contact us online.