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Nursing Home Wrongful Death

In such cases, nursing homes can be held accountable under wrongful death statutes, the elements of which vary from state to state.

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Nursing Home Wrongful Death Attorney

Many people, particularly the elderly, end their lives in nursing homes. Sometimes, these deaths are premature and preventable – they occur due to patient abuse or neglect.

The purpose of these wrongful death statutes is to allow family members to receive compensation for losses that they suffer because of the untimely and wrongful death of their relative. Damages can cover funeral costs, emotional suffering, loss of future income, and other damages under state survivor laws. A nursing home wrongful death attorney can help you determine if you have a basis for a wrongful death action.

The Basis for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Any death that is the result of neglect, negligence or abuse in the nursing home can be a basis for a lawsuit for wrongful death, so see an attorney if you suspect the home is at fault. Here are the most common causes of wrongful death in nursing homes:

Falls

The most common cause of nursing home deaths is falling. Most states require nursing home operators to complete fall risk assessments for all their residents, and failure to do so can constitute negligence.

Most nursing homes have linoleum or tile flooring. A fall onto such a surface can be deadly for an elderly, frail person. Debris and wet areas can be extremely dangerous, so staff have to be vigilant when patients are moving around dangerous zones.

Dehydration and Malnutrition

Often, the elderly have poor appetites, and may not get the nutrition they need. When disinterested staff are factored in, patients can become debilitated to the point of being unable to fight off diseases and infections, and death can be the result. Sometimes staff members ignore residents when they ask for fluids, or fail to help patients who need assistance with eating. This can be due to poor training or simple lack of compassion.

Infections

Anywhere that people live in close proximity can easily become a breeding ground for infection, especially if conditions are less than sanitary. Several infections can proliferate in nursing homes, and it is vital that staff always observe good personal hygiene and that surfaces are regularly cleaned and disinfected. Failure to do so can cause infections to spread rapidly, and can result in the death of residents whose immune systems are weakened.

Physical Abuse

In every state, abuse of the elderly is a felony. It is also, unfortunately, prevalent in nursing homes, and can result in immediate death, or a gradual deterioration in the resident’s overall health that ultimately results in death.

The most common forms of abuse and assault upon the elderly include punching, kicking, shaking and pinching. Frequently, staff will attempt to explain the elderly person’s injuries by saying that he or she fell. Often, the senior is too afraid to state what really happened.

When abuse can be proven, the staff member will likely be arrested, tried, and possibly convicted. Regardless of what happens in criminal court, family members will still have a cause of action for nursing home wrongful death, and should see an attorney.

Pursuing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

In a wrongful death lawsuit, the family claims that their loved one died because of the negligence of the nursing home, and states specifically the form of the negligence, and that they suffered losses (both monetary and emotional) as a result.

Nursing homes pay a great deal of money in insurance premiums each year, so as soon as a wrongful death lawsuit is filed, their insurance company will provide them with a team of very experienced lawyers. For the individual to attempt to take on these lawyers on their own would be foolish in the extreme. If you believe you have a basis for a wrongful death lawsuit, you should immediately consult an experienced nursing home wrongful death attorney.

 

Source:

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/wrongful-death-claims-overview/

 

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