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How does wrongful death occur in nursing homes?

We have all heard the horror stories that abound about nursing home conditions, abuse and neglect that can, and often do, harm the residents. While the majority of nursing homes provide good care and place their residents’ health and well being ahead of everything, some of them, unfortunately, do not.

In a worst case scenario, lack of proper care can result in your loved one’s death.

Wrongful death causes

Attorney At Law Magazine explains that, in the nursing home context, most wrongful deaths occur for the following reasons:

  • Abuse of a resident by staff
  • Failure of staff to prevent resident-on-resident violence
  • Medication errors
  • Failure of staff to provide adequate care

One notable example of the last bullet item occurred in 2017 when Hurricane Irma hit Florida. It destroyed the air conditioning unit at one nursing home and 12 residents died from heat exposure. The staff could have prevented these wrongful deaths by taking its residents to a hospital only 100 yards away whose air conditioning still worked, but failed to do so.

Wrongful death lawsuit

If you believe your loved one wrongfully died in a nursing home, you may be able to file a wrongful death suit against the facility. FindLaw notes that, per California law, you can file such a suit if your relationship to the deceased was one of the following:

  • Spouse or domestic partner
  • Child
  • Grandchild if your parent, the deceased’s child, is likewise deceased
  • Someone dependent on the deceased
  • Someone entitled to inherit from the deceased if he or she died intestate, i.e., without a last will and testament

If you win your lawsuit, you likely can recover your loved one’s funeral and burial expenses, as well as a sum compensating you for the loss of his or her companionship and affection.

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