Wrongful Death and Nursing Home Abuse: Seeking Justice for Vulnerable Loved Ones
Families trust that their vulnerable loved ones will be cared for and kept safe in nursing homes, but unfortunately, this is not always the case. Nursing home abuse is a disturbingly common occurrence, and it can even lead to wrongful death.
What is Nursing Home Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death occurs when a person dies due to someone else’s negligence or intentional wrongdoing. In the context of nursing home abuse, wrongful death can occur when a resident dies directly due to abuse or neglect or when a resident’s death could have been prevented if proper care had been provided. Examples of wrongful death in nursing homes include:
- A resident who dies from malnutrition or dehydration because they were not given adequate food or water.
- A resident who develops infections or bedsores because they were not turned or repositioned regularly.
- A resident who dies as a result of medication errors or overmedication.
- A resident who dies from falls or other accidents that could have been prevented if proper safety measures were in place.
When a loved one dies as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect, it is devastating for the family. A wrongful death lawsuit can help families seek justice and hold nursing homes accountable for their actions.
How To Seek Justice Against a Nursing Home for Wrongful Death
If you believe that a nursing home was responsible for the wrongful death of a loved one, you will have to prove the following four elements to hold the facility accountable:
- Duty of Care: The nursing home had a legal obligation to provide care to the resident.
- Breach of Duty: The nursing home violated its duty of care, meaning it failed to provide the reasonable standard of care expected of them.
- Causation: The nursing home’s negligence directly caused or contributed to the resident’s death.
- Damages: The resident’s death resulted in damages, such as medical expenses, funeral expenses, and loss of support or companionship for surviving family members.
In some cases, there may also be third parties who can be liable if they contributed to a loved one’s death, in addition to the nursing home. For example, if a visitor to the nursing home assaulted a resident, the assailant can be liable, as well as the nursing home for negligent security.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim Against a Nursing Home?
In Georgia, the surviving spouse or children of the deceased person are generally the ones who can file a wrongful death claim. If there is no surviving spouse, children, or parents of the deceased person, then the executor or administrator of the deceased person’s estate may file the claim. Any damages recovered will go to the next of kin.
Wrongful death claims must be filed within two years of the date of the person’s death, or it will likely be barred by the statute of limitations. Meaning the family will lose their right to pursue compensation. However, there are some exceptions. Therefore, it is critical to consult a trusted Atlanta Wrongful Death Lawyer as soon as possible for help understanding the relevant deadlines and other legal requirements that may apply.