Suing a California Nursing Home for Wrongful Death
Nursing homes are supposed to be places of peace and dignity for our elderly loved ones. Many of them live up to that expectation. But some don’t — and sometimes, the result is the wrongful death of someone we love.
What are your options when a nursing home has acted negligently and killed your loved one, spouse, parent, grandparent, or other elderly relation as a result? In California, you might be able to sue. If your lawsuit is successful, your family may recover fair compensation for the loss of your loved one, although no amount of money can truly undo the harm that has been done.
However, filing a wrongful death lawsuit against a nursing home is far from easy — especially if you’re trying to do it all on your own. Read on to learn what you need to know about nursing home wrongful death lawsuits and how our Costa Mesa wrongful death attorney at Case Barnett Law can help.
Causes of Wrongful Death in Nursing Homes
Sadly, many deaths happen in nursing homes. But do they all call for a wrongful death lawsuit? Not at all — in fact, many nursing home deaths are the simple result of an extended illness or unavoidable injury.
However, some conditions and actions or inactions by nursing homes can actually contribute to the death of an elderly resident. In those cases, families like yours may be able to file a lawsuit to hold the nursing home accountable and recover compensation.
Here are some examples of scenarios that may call for a wrongful death lawsuit against a nursing home:
- Medication errors
- Physical or sexual abuse to residents
- Conditions that lead to bed sores
- Delayed diagnoses and misdiagnoses
- Neglect that worsens existing illnesses or injuries
- Dehydration and malnutrition
- Uncontrolled and untreated infections
- Slippery or uneven surfaces that lead to dangerous falls
This is by no means a complete list of the possible causes of wrongful death in nursing homes. The basic recipe for a nursing home wrongful death lawsuit is negligence on the part of someone who had a duty to care for your loved one leading to the death of your loved one.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against a Nursing Home?
If you know your loved one died because of the negligence of a nursing home or one of its staff members, a wrongful death lawsuit may be warranted. But are you legally able to file the lawsuit?
Under California law, the following people can file wrongful death lawsuits after the wrongful death of a loved one:
- The spouse or domestic partner of the deceased
- The children of the deceased
- The grandchildren of the deceased (if the deceased’s children are all dead)
- Those who would be legally entitled to the deceased’s property after their death (if none of the above parties exist)
In other words, if you called the elderly person who died husband, wife, dad, mom, grandpa, or grandma, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Who Is at Fault for a Wrongful Death in a Nursing Home?
To recover compensation for the wrongful death of your loved one, you may need to file a wrongful death lawsuit. But to do that, you will have to name the proper at-fault party or parties — the people or companies who acted negligently, recklessly, or intentionally to cause the death in question.
In some cases, more than one party may be at fault. Your attorney can help you dig through the details of your unique case, but these are some of the parties that could be at fault in a nursing home wrongful death lawsuit:
- The nursing home
- The nursing home’s parent company
- An individual nursing home employee
- A third-party vendor operating within the nursing home
- A medical provider who provided care in the nursing home
- The manufacturer of a defective device or product used in the nursing home
Who, exactly, you name in your lawsuit will depend on the unique details of your loved one’s passing.
Damages in Nursing Home Wrongful Death Lawsuits
While no amount of money can bring someone back, suing a nursing home for wrongful death can give you and your loved ones some measure of justice for the wrong that was done — and, hopefully, prevent the negligent party from ever doing this to another family.
So, if your lawsuit is successful, what kind of compensation can you expect? Wrongful death lawsuits aren’t like other personal injury lawsuits because you’re suing on behalf of someone who is now dead rather than suing on behalf of yourself. With that in mind, here are some of the common damages for which you can receive compensation in a nursing home wrongful death claim:
- The loss of the deceased’s income
- Funeral and burial expenses for the deceased
- Medical bills the deceased incurred as a result of the negligence that took their life
- Pain and suffering of the deceased leading up to their death
- The loss of companionship and support the deceased provided to your family
As you can see, some of these damages are not directly tied to dollar amounts. That means you will have to place a fair value on them. Fortunately, your lawyer can help you assign a value to each and every damage involved in your wrongful death lawsuit.
Did Your Loved One Die in a Nursing Home’s Care? Reach Out
The aftermath of the death of a loved one is chaotic — both emotionally and in your daily life. You’re trying to find time to properly grieve while also managing life without your loved one’s support, as well as planning a funeral.
You barely have time to breathe, and now you’re faced with the prospect of suing the nursing home for your loved one’s death. To many people in your situation, that feels impossible. But it isn’t impossible — especially if you enlist the help of a qualified, experienced, and trusted wrongful death attorney.
The team at Case Barnett Law works hard every day to provide not only world-class legal representation, but a listening ear and shoulder to cry on for those who have just suffered the preventable loss of an elderly loved one. We make it our mission to hold negligent nursing homes accountable, and we would be honored to seek justice on behalf of your family.