When negligence causes an untimely death, surviving family members usually qualify to file a wrongful death suit, per the American Bar Association. The deceased’s will usually appoints one of them—or someone else—the representative of the estate, who has the power to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
If a will does not appoint a representative of the estate, the court usually concludes that the deceased’s next of kin can file a nursing home wrongful death lawsuit against the nursing home. These group of people may include:
- Immediate family. In every state of the United States, close family members such as children and spouses can file a nursing home wrongful death lawsuit. Some states, depending on the details of the case and nature of the relationship to the decedent, may allow life partners, putative or common-law spouse, and financial dependents to also take legal action.
- Other family members. There are states that allow parents, brothers, sisters, cousins, and other extended relatives to file a nursing home wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the decedent.
What Constitutes Nursing Home Wrongful Death?
When a nursing home resident dies due to the negligence or intentional harm caused by nursing staff, doctors, administrators, and other nursing home employees, it can be characterized as wrongful death. The reason it often warrants legal action is because the tragic death of the elderly could have been prevented if the nursing home had done its due diligence to adhere to the duty of care and provided high-quality care. Wrongful death can occur if the nursing home staff members:
- Physically abuse a resident
- Sexually abuse a resident
- Intentionally or negligently injure residents
- Fail to break up resident-on-resident violence
- Neglect a resident’s health care needs
- Make medication errors
- Misdiagnosed a resident or delay a diagnosis
- Fail to notice the physical or sexual abuse of a resident by another resident or party
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Filing a Nursing Home Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Wrongful death lawsuits can be complicated and often takes a toll on the next of kin or loved one fighting for justice on behalf of the decedent. A lawyer can defend the decedent’s rights, protect your right to take legal action against the nursing home, and help you seek monetary compensation for your loss.
To begin your nursing home wrongful death case, you would have to prove the following:
- The nursing home was bound to a legal contract to care for the resident.
- The nursing home breached its duty of care by engaging in harmful acts.
- The nursing home committed the harmful acts described by the plaintiff.
- The harmful acts harmed the decedent while in their care.
Stages of a Nursing Home Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The general steps involved in this process are as follows:
- Hiring a lawyer. You do not have to hire a lawyer, but some people choose to do so. Some personal injury lawyers offer a free consultation. They also cover the cost of your litigation and will not charge you anything out-of-pocket until they win the case. This can be incredibly beneficial if you are worried about the financial implications of a lawsuit.
- Pleadings. This stage consists of filing the lawsuit with civil court and the defendant responding to your claims with a suit of their own, explaining their side of the story.
- Discovery. After completing the pleading stage, both parties enter the discovery process to obtain information from each other to help strengthen each side’s argument.
- Settlement. Some wrongful death cases settle out of court, but if the parties are unable to agree on an equitable amount, the case can proceed to trial. In the trial stage, both parties present their arguments to a jury or judge for them to give a final verdict.
We Can Help You File a Nursing Home Wrongful Death Lawsuit
In the unfortunate circumstances that you lose a loved one in a nursing home due to negligence or an intentional act, the Ben Crump Law, PLLC can help you fight for justice. We work on a contingency fee basis so that we can advocate for victims and their families.
If you would like to learn more about filing a nursing home wrongful death lawsuit, call us today at 800-959-1444 to discuss your case with a member of our team.