Many families face the difficult decision of placing a loved one in a nursing home or a long-term care facility. When nursing home abuse or neglect results in wrongful death, surviving family members have a right to file a lawsuit to recover damages. If your loved one has died as a result of a caregiver’s negligence in a nursing home, turn to J&Y Law.
We truly understand that no amount of money can ever replace a loved one, however taking legal action can help you find justice. When you consult with us, we will explain all your rights and explore all your options for obtaining the compensation you deserve. Although nursing homes often attempt to deny liability, we will leverage our skills and experience to hold them accountable, inside or outside of the courtroom.
Causes of Wrongful Death in a California Nursing Home
While most nursing homes provide their patients with quality care, nursing home abuse and neglect is on the rise in California and throughout the nation. Common forms of abuse and neglect that may cause or contribute to wrongful death in a nursing home include:
- Falls — Elderly patients typically lack coordination and strength to stand or walk on their own. When nursing home staff members fail to properly supervise patients, falls can cause broken bones and head injuries that may result in wrongful death. Nursing homes are required to establish a plan of care when a patient is admitted to ensure they can move around safely.
- Physical Abuse — Given that nursing home patients are frail, any type of physical abuse (e.g. striking, slapping, shaking, pushing) can cause an internal injury or head injury that causes or contributes to the patient’s death.
- Neglect — Pressure sore, cuts, illnesses, and other health-related issues that are not promptly and adequately treated can lead to complications that result in wrongful death.
- Malnutrition and dehydration — Caretakers must ensure that patients have adequate nutrition and hydration. If the nursing home staff fails to monitor food intake, a patient can die of starvation. Similarly, failure to provide patients with sufficient liquids can lead to complications (e.g. kidney failure, coma) that lead to death.
- Medication Errors — Nursing home patients must be provided with the correct dose of medication at regular intervals. A patient who is not given the correct dosage or who is given the wrong medication is at a high risk of death.
- Wandering/elopement — Without proper supervision, memory-impaired residents (with Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia) may wander away from the nursing home, which can result in death. Nursing homes must establish adequate policies and security measures (e.g. closed-circuit cameras) to ensure that residents do not leave the facility unsupervised.
While any of these negligent acts can result in a nursing home patient’s death, it takes a skilled attorney to prove that a facility is liable for the death of your loved one.
Proving Nursing Home Negligence
To hold the nursing home accountable for wrongful death, it is necessary to prove the following elements of negligence:
- Duty of Care — Under the theory of negligence, duty of care refers to the defendant’s obligation not to cause harm to the patient. The admissions contract establishes the nursing home’s duty to provide services, care, and safety to the patient.
- Breach of Duty — This element requires proving that the nursing home was negligent or guilty of wrongdoing. If the nursing home failed to conduct background checks of employees or staff members failed to properly supervise the patient, the nursing home has breached its duty of care.
- Causation — To establish causation, it is necessary to show that the nursing home’s breach caused or contributed to the patient’s death.
- Damages — In a wrongful death claim, damages include medical costs incurred before death, and the family’s loss of companionship, comfort, and guidance.
Given the challenges of proving nursing home negligence in a wrongful death lawsuit, it is crucial to work with an experienced lawyer. At J&Y, we have the skills and resources to conduct a thorough investigation to demonstrate nursing home negligence.
Our wrongful death lawyers will carefully review the admissions contract to prove that the nursing home breached its duty of care. In addition, we will obtain and review a copy of the plan of care and determine whether it was followed. Finally, we will identify and interview any witnesses, including nursing home employees, to uncover the circumstances that led to the death of your loved one.
We understand the grief and pain you are experiencing and will provide you with knowledge, compassion and trustworthy advice. As we fight to help you obtain just compensation, you should know that pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit can also help to lead to changes in the nursing home’s policies and procedures.
Contact Our Experienced California Nursing Home Negligence Attorneys
At J&Y, we are highly regarded for providing our clients with aggressive representation and dependable service. When you consult with us, you will have peace of mind knowing that our dedicated legal team is in your corner. We offer free consultations and you will not pay any attorneys’ fees to us until we win compensation for you. The sooner you contact our office, the sooner we can help you find justice for the death of your loved one.