Will the Police Investigate a Suspicious Death in a Nursing Home?

Nursing Home Police Investigation

Thinking of calling the police to investigate a wrongful death inside a nursing home? Unsure if the police will actually investigate a suspicious death inside a long term care facility?

Don’t let your apprehension prevent you from taking action. Older people’s lives are just as valued as other citizens.

If your family member died under suspicious circumstances inside a nursing home or assisted living, contact the authorities immediately. The police will investigate an accidental death if the evidence supports that the death was preventable.

Why Would You Want to Call the Police Following a Suspicious Nursing Home Death?

There is nothing wrong with wanting the police to investigate your family member’s death inside a facility. Most people would prefer a homicide detective determine a cause of death instead of relying on the self-serving nursing home narrative. Additionally, many police-investigated nursing home deaths will result in an autopsy performed by the medical examiner at no cost to the family.

In order to maximize your chances of having the cops look into your loved one’s death, follow the below recommendations.

Tips to Encourage Police Investigation into an Elderly Resident’s Death

We get it. Police officers are incredibly busy. Detectives have an unnerving case load. Homicides occur daily and some involve harrowing tales of murder and gruesome vehicular deaths. However, if an older nursing home resident dies due to negligence (a legal term for failing to act reasonably), the police can and should investigate.

Without a doubt, the police are flooded with calls of older folks dying inside facilities. They cannot investigate all the claimed suspicious deaths. Therefore, we suggest explaining the following:

Try to Get The Patient to a Hospital

We understand this may be morbid. However, if the ambulance offers you the option of going to the hospital, even if things look bleak, go for it. Just having third party physicians objectively examine your family member is important.

Remember, if the resident passes away inside the nursing home or assisted living, the would-be defendant has exclusive control over the charting that describes the resident’s condition. If a hospital doctor sees and examines the patient, the physician can objectively describe their injuries without any undue influence from facility management.

Call the Police Right Away — Don’t Delay

There is really no benefit to waiting. If your loved one died in their nursing home room pooled in blood, don’t allow the facility janitor to clean it up. Remember, this may be a crime scene. Let the police come to the scene and take photographs and measurements. When in doubt, call the police.

Detail the Before and After 

Was this death totally unexpected? Explain to the police that your loved one was doing great just 12 hours before. Walking, talking; whatever it is that they could do. Contrast that with this sudden and unexplained death.

Be Concise

When speaking to the police or government authorities, be direct and concise. In other words, if you think your family member starved to death inside a nursing home, don’t lead off by complaining about a broken ceiling fan. Police and first responders are incredibly busy. Cut to the chase by telling them, quickly, who did what wrong and what happened as a result (wrongful death).

Offer Your Theory of What Happened

You are the resident’s daughter, son, spouse, surrogate, etc. You know this person better than anyone else. The authorities will listen to what you have to say. Do not be afraid to explain your theory of liability.

We are not recommending you allege a global conspiracy here. Only that if you believe a bad event happened and the nursing home’s story doesn’t make sense, explain that to the police.

Example: Your loved one tragically dies on the nursing home bathroom floor. Staff explains that Mom tried to get up and toilet herself, fell, hit her head and developed a subdural hematoma. If she could not physically walk on her own, this story is not plausible. This is something you would want to share with police, as it suggests a staff member dropped the patient.

Need More Help? Get a Nursing Home Lawyer in your Corner

If you believe your loved one wrongfully died inside a nursing home or ALF, contact our elder abuse law firm. At Senior Justice Law Firm, our firm focus is on cases involving abuse and neglect in long term care facilities. This is what we do.

The call is completely free and you do not have to pay us anything unless you win your case. Call now to learn more about what to do next.

Free Consultation: 1-844-253-8919

Senior Justice Law Firm

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