Wrongful Death in Nursing Homes
By Younker Hyde Macfarlane on September 15, 2020
Individuals who have elderly family members in a nursing home should be able to rely on staff and administrators to care for residents as they would want someone to care for their own family. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse and neglect are common concerns.
If someone dies in a nursing home as the result of abuse or neglect, that is considered wrongful death. The wrongful death lawyers at Younker Hyde Macfarlane can assist surviving family members in seeking compensation for damages stemming from wrongful death at a nursing home. We strive to hold liable parties accountable so that our Salt Lake City, UT, clients get the justice they deserve, and so that we can discourage neglect or abuse from injuring future nursing home residents.
Defining Wrongful Death
People move into nursing homes when they have reached the senior stage of their life, often when they have health problems or other conditions that make it difficult to live on their own. It is natural that some residents will die while residing in a nursing home. Unfortunately, far too many nursing home deaths are cases of wrongful death.
Wrongful death is a death that is caused by another person or party’s reckless or negligent actions. In regards to nursing homes, if a staff member’s neglect or abuse causes a resident to die prematurely, that person can be held liable for wrongful death.
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect That Can Result in Wrongful Death
There are many ways in which nursing home staff or administrators can be abusive or negligent to their residents. Any of these actions have the potential to result in a wrongful death:
- Physical abuse or restraint
- Neglecting a resident’s basic health needs
- Denying food or water
- Medication errors
- Using medication in a way that is not consistent with the use authorized by a physician
- Failure to prevent or break up resident-on-resident violence
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Wrongful death is tragic and heartbreaking for surviving loved ones. Wrongful death takes a particular toll on those who were closest to the deceased, or those who relied on them emotionally or financially. According to state law, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed in by surviving “heirs” of the deceased, which may include:
- The deceased’s spouse
- The deceased’s parents (though this often does not apply to wrongful deaths in nursing homes)
- Adult children or stepchildren of the deceased
- Other blood relatives with inheritance rights
Damages in a Wrongful Death Case
Surviving loved ones who file a wrongful death lawsuit have the right to pursue financial compensation for both their economic and non-economic losses. Damages in each case will be unique, but our Salt Lake City clients may be due compensation for:
- Medical expenses (if the deceased received medical treatment before death)
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of support or companionship
- Punitive damages, which punish the nursing home to discourage future cases of neglect and abuse
Schedule a Free Consultation
If you’ve lost a loved one to a nursing home death and you suspect it was the result of abuse or neglect, you have the right to pursue a wrongful death case. To learn more about your legal options, call (801) 335-7025 at your earliest convenience and schedule a free case consultation with the lawyers at Younker Hyde Macfarlane.
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They were extremely knowledgeable, extremely helpful experts. The team helped me with all aspects of my case, including medical and financial, and understood that it affected more than me but also my family.- Jill S.