The decision to place a loved one in a nursing home is never easy. It’s made with the expectation that your loved one will receive the highest level of care. When the unthinkable happens and negligence results in wrongful death, it’s a heart-wrenching tragedy that leaves families in distress. Knowing what to do next can be confusing, especially as you grieve. Hiring a Chicago nursing home wrongful death attorney can help you and your family navigate the legal process while you concentrate on your family.
At Senior Justice Law Firm, your nursing home wrongful death lawyer will work diligently to hold all responsible parties accountable. We’re dedicated to helping nursing home abuse victims and their families get justice.
Leading Causes of Death in Nursing Homes
Doing research when choosing a nursing home is important. However, even the best-rated facilities are not 100% risk-free. Negligence and misconduct in some nursing home facilities lead to avoidable deaths. Key contributors include the following.
- Falls and fractures. Seniors, due to age and health conditions, are susceptible to falls. Without proper supervision and safe environments, falls can lead to fatal injuries.
- Bedsores and infections. Neglect might cause bedsores. When left untreated, bedsores can become infected. Advanced infections might lead to fatal conditions like sepsis.
- Medication errors. Incorrect doses, wrong medicines, or a mix-up can lead to severe health complications and death.
- Choking and feeding issues. Elderly patients, especially those with swallowing problems, need attentive assistance during meals. Neglect can result in a patient trying to eat on their own and choking.
- Dehydration and malnutrition. A lack of adequate hydration and nutrition can lead to severe health decline, affecting vital organs and leading to death.
- Physical and emotional abuse. Unthinkable as it is, there are cases of abuse in nursing homes. Such abuse can result in psychological trauma, injuries, or fatalities.
- Understaffing. An understaffed facility cannot meet the needs of its residents adequately. That can lead to oversights, neglect, and errors that have fatal consequences.
If you suspect that neglect or abuse played a role in the death of your loved one, it’s crucial to contact a Chicago nursing home wrongful death lawyer immediately. Pursuing justice can also help ensure other families don’t suffer a similar tragedy.
What Qualifies As a Wrongful Death in Nursing Homes
In the context of nursing homes, wrongful death pertains to the untimely passing of a resident due to the negligence, misconduct, or inaction of the facility or its staff. Not every death in a nursing home is considered wrongful.
In nursing homes, potential wrongful death scenarios can range from medical negligence, like administering the wrong medication or dosage, to abuse or neglect that leads to fatal injuries or health conditions. Nursing home wrongful death cases are complex, which is why you should contact a lawyer right away to discuss whether you have a valid wrongful death claim.
Who Has the Legal Right to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Illinois?
In Illinois, the right to file a wrongful death claim primarily lies with the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. The following people might have the right to file such a claim.
- Immediate family. Spouses, children, or parents of unmarried minors typically have the priority to file the claim.
- Distant family. If no immediate family is available or willing to serve as the personal representative, then distant family members like siblings, cousins, or grandparents might step in.
- Beneficiaries. Any individual named in the decedent’s will who stands to benefit from a successful wrongful death claim can also be a personal representative.
- Legal representatives. The probate court will appoint a personal representative or executor if no family members are available or willing to take on the responsibility of filing the claim.
Although the personal representative must file the wrongful death claim, it doesn’t mean they necessarily receive any settlement or court award. Any compensation is reserved for the surviving spouse and next of kin.
Wrongful Death Laws in Illinois
The State of Illinois has several laws that protect surviving family members, allowing them to seek justice and compensation. The first is the Wrongful Death Act, which provides a financial avenue of recovery for surviving family members. While no amount of money can replace a loved one, nursing home wrongful death settlements can alleviate some of the financial and emotional hardships families face in the wake of such a devastating loss. Under the Wrongful Death Act, damages are meant to compensate the surviving spouse and next of kin for their losses.
Another pertinent law is the Illinois Survival Act. This Act is designed to give voice to the deceased, allowing the estate to recover damages the deceased might have been entitled to if they had survived. The probate court appoints the executor or personal representative to oversee the deceased’s estate. This executor will file a claim under the Survival Act to recover compensation for the deceased’s damages.
The complexities of Illinois wrongful death laws reinforce the need for surviving families to be well-informed and well-represented. If you have questions about the Wrongful Death Act or Survival Act, the legal team at Senior Justice Law Firm stands ready to help.
How to Prove a Nursing Home Wrongful Death Claim in Chicago?
Establishing a wrongful death claim in Chicago requires several crucial steps to ensure your claim is valid and enforceable. First, you must be able to demonstrate that the death of the individual was the result of negligence or a deliberate act of wrongdoing. For a wrongful death claim based on negligence, you must prove four main elements.
- Duty of care. You must show the defendant had a duty of care towards the deceased. That could mean they were responsible for the resident’s safety and well-being in a nursing home.
- Breach of duty. This element refers to the defendant failing to uphold their legal duty, such as neglecting standard care protocols.
- Causation. The third element requires you to directly link the defendant’s breach to the wrongful death. In other words, you must show that the nursing home’s neglect led to your loved one’s death.
- Damages. Lastly, you must submit proof of your family’s losses.
Engaging a specialized nursing home wrongful death attorney can guide you through how to prove a wrongful death claim.
How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Illinois?
Typically, families have two years from the date of the deceased’s passing to initiate a nursing home wrongful death lawsuit. However, exceptions exist, especially if the cause of death wasn’t immediately apparent or involved specific circumstances. There might be other circumstances that can impact the filing date. Don’t wait to hire a wrongful death lawyer, or you might inadvertently miss the filing deadline.
Damages Available in Chicago Nursing Home Wrongful Death Settlements
Available damages for a wrongful death claim will vary depending on whether it’s based on the Wrongful Death Act or the Survival Act. Examples of potential damages include the following:
- Loss of companionship—compensation for the emotional void left by the deceased;
- Loss of consortium—payment for the absence of familial relationships;
- Loss of services—financial compensation for the services the deceased would have provided had they lived; and
- Loss of financial support—estimation of the deceased’s potential future earnings or retirement benefits that the family will no longer receive.
Under the Survival Act, you might be able to recover compensation for the deceased’s losses. These damages might differ from other wrongful death claims that don’t involve nursing home abuse. Generally, you can potentially recover the following in a survival action:
- Medical bills—reimbursement for the medical expenses incurred between the injury and death;
- Past lost wages—for most nursing home patients, this won’t apply;
- Pain and suffering—compensation for the physical and emotional distress the decedent endured before their death;
- Disability—payment for any disabilities resulting from the injury; and
- Property damage—reparation for any personal property harmed or destroyed.
When you hire Senior Justice Law Firm, we’ll help you understand what damages are available in your case and how we calculate potential nursing home wrongful death settlements.
Why Hire a Chicago Nursing Home Wrongful Death Lawyer
Losing a loved one under any circumstances is an emotional ordeal. However, when their death results from negligence in a nursing home, the grief is intensified. A Chicago nursing home wrongful death attorney at Senior Law Firm can help in multiple ways. Let’s look at some of the most important reasons to hire a lawyer.
- Experience. You want someone with the knowledge and experience to navigate the complex legal framework surrounding nursing home deaths.
- Evidence collection. Your attorney can gather critical evidence, liaise with medical professionals, and ensure all the necessary documentation is in order.
- Objective perspective. Emotions can easily cloud your judgment. An attorney provides an objective, clear-headed approach to the case.
- Negotiation skills. Should the case reach a settlement stage, a lawyer can skillfully negotiate for maximum compensation.
- Legal representation. If the case goes to trial, rest assured you have a skilled trial lawyer advocating for your family.
Hiring a Chicago nursing home wrongful death attorney is not just about seeking compensation—it’s about seeking justice for a loved one’s untimely and unjust demise. You can also help reduce the chance that another family will suffer the same tragic loss.
Why Hire Senior Justice Law Firm?
Choosing a firm with experience, passion, and dedication is crucial when searching for representation in a wrongful death lawsuit against a nursing home. Senior Justice Law Firm stands as a leader in nursing home abuse cases. Here are some things that set us apart from some other personal injury firms in Chicago.
- Dedicated experience. Our attorneys are not general personal injury lawyers—we are all trial lawyers, focusing exclusively on elder abuse and neglect cases. We have over 50 years of combined experience.
- Nationwide reach. We are licensed in multiple states, including Illinois, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Additionally, we collaborate with attorneys across the U.S. on significant cases, expanding our reach and influence.
- Proven results. Our track record speaks for itself, with over $50 million recovered for victims and thousands of satisfied clients.
- Genuine care. To us, each case is personal. We genuinely care, and our commitment to pursuing justice for seniors is unwavering.
If you believe your family has a valid wrongful death case against a nursing home in Chicago, contact Senior Justice to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Let us review your case and determine the best legal options.