Filing a Wrongful Death Claim for Nursing Home Abuse

Categories: Wrongful Death

anthony elder woman in nursing home bed

Trusted Wrongful Death Attorney Serving Families of Nursing Home Victims in Georgia

The term “wrongful death” refers to an event where a loved one dies due to someone’s neglect or misconduct. Wrongful death is often used in personal injury lawsuits, especially in nursing home abuse or neglect cases where a loved one has died because of the treatment or lack of treatment they receive.

A wrongful death claim is not the same as an injury claim. While they share similarities, there are key laws that apply to one type of case and not the other. Therefore, it is best to consult with an injury attorney about the loss of your loved one to see if you have a case for wrongful death.

The Four Factors a Wrongful Death Attorney in Savannah Needs

When starting a wrongful death claim, your attorney will review four factors to see if you have a valid case. These four elements include:

  • If the death was caused by the nursing home or a staff member of that nursing home.
  • If the conduct of staff, professionals, or caregivers contributed to your loved one’s death.
  • If there are surviving family members or beneficiaries that can file the claim.
  • If the victim’s death resulted in any damages.

Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death?

In the event a loved one passes away in a nursing home, and you suspect it was a wrongful death, you must make sure that you or another family member is legally able to file a wrongful death claim. The courts allow for specific family members to submit their lawsuit, and depending on where you live, that list may be short.

Georgia laws have a specified list of those eligible to file ranging from the spouse of the deceased to surviving children. If the spouse and deceased had minor children, then the spouse is required to represent the best interests of their children as part of that wrongful death lawsuit. Therefore, the spouse will receive anywhere from one-third to two-thirds of the compensation.

If there is no spouse or minor children, then there are two other parties that are eligible to file for compensation:

  • The parents of the deceased.
  • A personal representative of the deceased’s estate.

When a personal representative for the estate files a wrongful death claim, all damages received are then held by the state and passed to the beneficiaries listed in the deceased’s estate plan.

When Does a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Apply?

Sadly, not all deaths qualify for wrongful death. Instead, you must show that the nursing home failed to provide their residents the expected standard of care for their daily living, medical, cognitive, and hygienic needs.

A wrongful death lawsuit can occur for a variety of reasons, but most will stem from outright abuse, neglect, or lack of care. Some common causes of a wrongful death lawsuit in a nursing home setting include:

  • Malnutrition or Dehydration – A nursing home resident may have dementia and forget that they have not eaten or drank any liquids. Other times, a resident may be on a feeding tube. Regardless of their medical condition or status, the nursing home staff is required to ensure that all residents receive proper nutrition and hydration to avoid severe dehydration and malnutrition.
  • Assault or Abuse – Assault and abuse from caregivers are common in a nursing home, unfortunately. The nursing home can be liable for the abuse or assault by any staff member – even if they were unaware of that staff member’s actions.
  • Wandering – When nursing home residents are not monitored, they could leave the premises and wander. This puts them at risk for a slip and fall, exposure, or even a pedestrian-versus-automobile accident.
  • Bedsores – Bedsores, when left untreated, can lead to deadly infections. It takes weeks for sores to progress into something life-threatening. Therefore, if a nursing home resident suffers from a fatal infection as a result of a bedsore – it is obvious that the nursing home failed in their duty of care.
  • Medication Errors – Nursing home residents often take multiple medications. The staff is required to monitor these prescriptions, ensure they are given at the right time and proper dosage, and keep residents healthy. Failing to give residents their medicine, over-medicating, or providing the wrong medication could be fatal in some cases.

Is There a Limit to How Much You Can Recover?

To file a wrongful death lawsuit for nursing home abuse or neglect, you must prove that the deceased would have filed a lawsuit for their injuries had they not passed away from those injuries. Furthermore, the damages you receive depend on the extent of neglect or abuse, the costs of those injuries, and how the death of the deceased affects family members.

Some compensation you may receive includes:

  • Medical Costs – All medical costs directly associated with the injury or abuse, including hospitalizations, medications, surgeries, or therapy.
  • Pain and Suffering – The pain and suffering that the deceased experienced, including physical, emotional, and mental.
  • Funeral and Burial Expenses – All costs associated with the funeral and burial service up to a reasonable amount.
  • Other Compensation – Other compensation that may apply depending on the circumstances includes incidentals, attorney’s fees, lost wages, loss of consortium, and so forth.

Speak with an Injury Attorney About Your Loved One’s Case

If you have lost a loved one and you suspect that their death was the result of nursing home abuse or neglect, you may be entitled to compensation. Speak with an attorney immediately about your case and start exploring your options.

Contact attorney Clarke Nash today. Clarke has represented countless victims and their families in lawsuits against nursing homes for abuse, neglect, and deaths. He can help you too.

Schedule a free consultation now at 912-200-5292 or request more information online.