It is undoubtedly tragic and upsetting when your loved one dies because of a nursing home’s conduct. A wrongful death lawsuit against the nursing home may help family members find some semblance of justice after such a loss. A wrongful death claim is a civil action usually brought by the decedent’s surviving family members or their estate. The purpose of a nursing home wrongful death case is for family members to receive compensation for losing their loved one due to the facility’s negligence or misconduct.
Of course, no lawsuit or amount of money can replace your loved one or compensate for their loss. However, it can hold the responsible parties financially responsible and provide much-needed compensation to the surviving family members. If you have questions about a possible wrongful death claim, speak with a seasoned Los Angeles nursing home wrongful death lawyer at Senior Justice Law Firm. We can help you to find justice during this difficult time.
How Can a Nursing Home Cause Wrongful Death?
Unfortunately, the mistreatment, abuse, and neglect of nursing home residents is an all too common occurrence. However, not every death in a nursing home constitutes a wrongful death.
Common conduct and crimes associated with wrongful death at nursing homes in California include the following:
- Physical abuse (intentionally injuring residents by striking, pushing, etc.);
- Sexual abuse;
- Emotional, mental, and verbal abuse;
- Improper use of restraints;
- Unwarranted isolation;
- Medication errors;
- Failure to provide necessary medical care;
- Failure to care for personal hygiene;
- Malnourishment or dehydration by withholding food or water;
- Failure to prevent violence among residents;
- Dangerous and hazardous environment;
- Failure to stop residents from wandering;
- Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose a patient illness or infection; and
- Resident neglect.
There can be several reasons for this misconduct, including understaffing, lack of managerial supervision, negligent hiring practices, and inadequate employee training. Do not worry if you are unsure what caused your loved one’s death at a California nursing home. Our Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer will get to the bottom of the cause and determine who is responsible. If the investigation finds evidence of wrongdoing, abuse, or neglect, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Evidence of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Often, Los Angeles nursing home wrongful death cases arise after a period of ongoing abuse and neglect. It is possible a one-time mistake caused your loved one’s death. But it is more common that they are suffering—often in silence—from long-term abuse and neglect at the hands of the facility. As the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20. But if your loved one unexpectedly died in a long-term care facility, an investigation into their treatment while there can provide you with answers.
By requesting records, speaking with witnesses, and conducting a thorough investigation, it may become clear that the nursing facility and staff were negligent, perhaps even criminal, in their actions. Neglect and abuse that can lead to a nursing home wrongful death claim often create physical and emotional signs and symptoms such as:
- Broken bones,
- Poor hygiene,
- Bed sores,
- Unsanitary living conditions,
- Unexplained weight loss, and
- Sudden fearfulness.
Many nursing home residents experience some form of dementia or inability to communicate effectively, which makes them especially vulnerable to abuse by staff. Once we begin work on your case, we will immediately start a lengthy and complete investigation into the weeks, months, and even years leading up to your family member’s death. We are committed to holding negligent individuals and entities responsible for their actions.
Can You Sue a Nursing Home in California for Wrongful Death?
As in most states, California limits who can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Only certain family members, including the decedent’s spouse, child, grandchild, or personal representative, can file a wrongful death claim.
It is important to remember that surviving family members typically only have two years from their loved one’s death to bring a claim. Because that deadline can be even shorter sometimes, we recommend you consult with an attorney as soon as possible.
Elements of a Wrongful Death Case
A nursing home wrongful death lawsuit proceeds similarly to other wrongful death or personal injury claims, and the person filing the case has the burden to prove their claims by a preponderance of the evidence.
A wrongful death claim can be based on someone’s negligent, intentional, or criminal acts. But most wrongful death lawsuits rely on proving negligence. To pursue a nursing home wrongful death claim in Los Angeles, there must be evidence that it or one of its employees did something wrong. You must have proof that the facility or staff committed an action or omission that a reasonably prudent party would not have committed under similar circumstances. And you must prove that this act or omission caused your loved one’s death.
Specifically, to prove that the nursing home facility or staff’s negligence caused the death, you must show the following:
- The facility and staff owed the decedent a reasonable duty of care;
- The facility and staff breached that duty;
- The facility and staff’s breach caused the decedent’s death; and
- You suffered economic and non-economic damages as a result.
An experienced LA nursing home wrongful death lawyer will know what evidence is necessary to establish and prove your loved one died due to the facility’s negligence. Sometimes the evidence is apparent and easily obtainable. Still, other times, it takes extensive investigative work to show the causal relationship between the responsible party’s actions and your loved one’s death. At Senior Justice Law Firm, we have dedicated our practice to helping individuals just like you hold unsavory individuals liable for their conduct. We are committed to assisting you.
Los Angeles Nursing Home Wrongful Death Lawyer
Suing a nursing home for wrongful death can be challenging. It can require cutting through red tape, standing up to corporate facilities, negotiating with insurance companies, and following complicated legal procedures. At Senior Justice Law Firm, we have over 50 years of experience helping nursing home victims and their families seek the justice they deserve. Contact us to arrange a free consultation with our Los Angeles team today.