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Nursing Homes and Wrongful Death

By: GDH Staff
Older people who experience almost any form of nursing home abuse, regardless of the type or extent, have a 300 percent higher risk of death than non-abused elders. Sometimes, these victims die as a direct result of their injuries, and sometimes the connection is more indirect. Nevertheless, in both situations nursing homes which abuse their residents, or allow them to be abused, may be legally responsible for damages.

In nursing home abuse cases there is more than just financial compensation at stake. This is because nursing home abuse lawsuits are also one of the best ways to bring attention to the mistreatment that patients at a facility must endure. When faced with a public trial, nursing home administrators must defend their practices both in a court of law and in the court of public opinion.

Common Causes of Wrongful Death

As the elder population continues to rise, so does the population in long-term care facilities. With this increase, there has been a noted rise in the risk of incidents like:
• Elder Abuse: The elderly are among the most frequently abused people in this country. Especially in nursing home settings, elder abuse can result in serious injury or even death.
• Dehydration and Poor Nutrition: A weak and/or dehydrated body is less able to fight off infections and illness than a healthy one. If the plaintiff establishes that the poor diet was a leading cause of the decedent’s final injury or illness, the nursing home is probably legally responsible.
• Medication Errors: Doctors sometimes fail to account for age, weight, preexisting conditions, medication allergies, and other factors when prescribing medication, and rushed nursing home staffers sometimes make tragic dosage errors.
Other serious incidents that either contribute to a subsequent fatality, or are fatal themselves, include financial abuse and resident-on-resident abuse.

Legal Issues

Nursing homes have a duty of care, and if their care for their patients falls below the accepted norm, they could be held liable for damages. Rules vary, but in most cases, either a personal or legal representative of a deceased person may recover compensation for:
• Final expenses, such as funeral and burial costs
• Medical bills related to the deceased’s final injury or illness
• Economic value of lost inheritance
• Other damages including pain and suffering and loss of consortium

Typically, plaintiffs have two years to bring a wrongful death lawsuit, though this period may be as short as six months in some situations.

If you believe you or a loved one has been injured or killed as a result of nursing home or care facility contact GDH Law immediately. One of our attorneys can evaluate your case and investigate whether negligence may have caused your injuries. As always, your evaluation is free and we do not get paid until we win on your behalf.
Contact us at 301-769-6835 or online at gdhlawfirm.com.

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