Nursing Home Wrongful Death
What Is Wrongful Death in A Nursing Home?
Placing a family member in a nursing home can be an emotional experience, but most people are reassured by nursing home professionals that promise excellent care for your loved one. Tragically, too many families have lost elderly loved ones because of inappropriate actions or inaction by the very people trusted to keep the aged healthy and safe. Wrongful death is a legal term that means death caused by the negligent acts of another. In the case of wrongful death in a nursing home, this could be the result of medical mismanagement, incorrect medications, or a multitude of other negligent deeds by a trusted caretaker. Elder abuse is against the law, and wrongful death can be the result. While nothing can ever make up for the death of a family member, if you believe your loved one died due to the fault of another, it’s important to talk to a nursing home lawyer.
A wrongful death case can be filed when a person dies from preventable illness or injuries that were the result of negligence or the intentional conduct of a person or entity, including a nursing home staff member or the facility itself. A nursing home wrongful death lawyer’s primary task is to show that a provider acted in a way that caused the death of your loved one. The term negligence, is a legal word that means the failure to act carefully; when a nursing home employee acts outside the bounds of safety and the standard of care, they act negligently.
Negligence and Abuse Injuries
While it is not a truth anyone wants to face, some nursing homes do neglect and/or abuse their residents. Nursing home negligence will often involve a pattern of abuse injuries that can lead to a wrongful death. The abuse can come from a staff member who willfully abuses or intentionally neglects residents. If a facility is understaffed, doctors or nurses are inexperienced, or staff members are otherwise careless in the upkeep of the facility, and a resident passed away as a result, that can be considered wrongful death in Pennsylvania.
Many elderly residents of nursing homes will try to hide the fact that they have been injured or abused by the staff or others in a position of trust. Some feel threatened and fear retaliation for reporting the wrongdoing. Family members should look for the following signs of nursing home abuse:
- Bed Sores
- Wandering, Escape, and Falls
- Physical or Sexual Abuse
- Physical or Chemical Restraint
- Verbal Abuse
- Medication Errors
- Malnutrition and dehydration
- Serious infections
- Unsanitary living conditions
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In Pennsylvania, a lawsuit for wrongful death can only be brought by the personal representative of the deceased’s estate. The compensation awarded in a lawsuit will belong to the estate and may pass to the parties listed in the decedent’s will or to their statutory heirs. In a wrongful death lawsuit, the individuals who are allowed to sue, called the “real parties in interest,” can include:
- Family members
- Putative spouses
- Financial dependents
- Life partners
- Any individual who has suffered financial harm as a result of the death
Because the law is very strict regarding how a wrongful death lawsuit can proceed, having an experienced legal representative on your side will be crucial to navigating this process. You do not have to do this alone; our experienced legal team will help you through it.
How To File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Time and documentation are the two most important components of a wrongful death lawsuit. The statute of limitations sets a deadline for filing a lawsuit. If your loved one passes away in a nursing home, you need to contact a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer right away. Preparing to file a lawsuit takes time, and you don’t want to risk waiting so long that the statute of limitations deadline has passed. Additionally, locating and obtaining the documents needed in a nursing home wrongful death lawsuit is a lengthy and complicated process. Some of the documentation attorneys will search for includes:
- Medical records before and during the nursing home stay
- Facility employee and/or contractor information
- Patient care plans for your loved one
- Medication and treatment plans
- Nursing home safety records
- Medical documentation pertaining to your loved one
Nursing Home Wrongful Death Lawyers
We know that the death of a loved one can leave a family angry, confused, and wondering what to do next. Our grief at the loss of a loved one is compounded when their death was preventable. When an elderly family member passes away due to the failures of a facility you trusted to take care of them, the nursing home abuse lawyers at Lopez McHugh LLP are prepared to hold the negligent party or parties accountable. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.