Peoria Nursing Home Wrongful Death Lawyers
Experienced Peoria Attorneys for Nursing Home Wrongful Death Cases
Few things are more difficult than the tragic loss of a family member. However, these situations can be even more painful when a family believes that their loved one’s death could have been prevented. If a person died while they were residing in a nursing home, their loved ones may believe that they did not die of natural causes but because of negligence on the part of the nursing home or its staff. Unfortunately, proving that a person was wrongfully killed is not always easy, and family members may be unsure about their legal options, the steps they can take to uncover negligence, and how they can hold a negligent facility responsible for their tragic loss.
Nursing homes are obligated to provide a safe, secure, and healthy environment for those in their care, yet when negligence or mistreatment happens, the outcomes can be devastating. At Nursing Home Injury Center, we know how difficult the loss of a loved one can be, regardless of the situation. When a person died because someone else failed to protect them from harm, family members may struggle to understand what happened and how they can respond. We work to help these families find answers, take steps to prevent these issues from affecting others, and achieve justice on behalf of their loved ones.
What Is Nursing Home Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death is a heartbreaking tragedy that can occur when a person dies due to the carelessness or deliberate acts of someone else. Nursing homes have a legal responsibility to provide for residents’ needs, ensure that they receive the proper medical treatment and other forms of care, and take all reasonable measures to protect their health and safety. When a nursing home does not live up to its responsibilities, and residents die as a result, family members may be able to take legal action to address their loss.
An experienced attorney can provide guidance in these cases. They can ensure that all necessary steps are taken to file a successful wrongful death claim against a negligent nursing home or other parties who may have been responsible for the person’s death. Surviving family members should not have to suffer financially after losing an elderly loved one due to preventable mistakes made by nursing home staff members. Through a wrongful death claim, a family may be able to recover financial compensation for their losses. These claims can also help ensure that the issues that led to a person’s death are corrected, which may help prevent future deaths.
Common Causes of Nursing Home Wrongful Death
Nursing home wrongful deaths are heartbreaking tragedies that can be caused by a variety of factors. Some common reasons that nursing home residents may suffer fatal injuries include:
- Insufficient personnel – When nursing homes are understaffed, residents may not be able to receive safe, effective care to address their ongoing needs. For elderly or disabled patients who have health issues, a lack of proper medical care may result in dangerous conditions going untreated or progressing beyond the point where life-saving treatment can be provided.
- Medication errors – When a person receives incorrect or inadequate dosages of medication, their health can be seriously impacted. If a person does not receive the necessary medications, their health issues may become worse, leading to fatal complications. If the incorrect medication is administered, it may cause dangerous side effects or allergic reactions, or it may interact with other drugs in a way that puts the person’s life at risk.
- Falls and accidents – Nursing home residents are at risk of slipping on wet floors, tripping on obstacles or unsafe surfaces, or falling when getting into or out of bed. Other accidents may also occur due to unsafe conditions in a nursing home, such as items that fall from shelves and strike patients or furniture that breaks. These situations can lead to a variety of life-threatening injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, or damage to internal organs.
- Nursing home neglect – If a nursing home does not have sufficient staff to provide the necessary care to residents, if staff members are not properly trained, or if a nursing home or its staff is negligent in providing the proper supervision and assistance for patients, residents may experience fatal injuries. In some cases, a person may suffer from malnutrition or dehydration because staff members have not made sure they are eating and drinking properly. Other injuries can occur if a person is not helped with activities such as bathing, using the bathroom, dressing, and eating.
- Choking – There are a variety of choking hazards that can affect nursing home residents, especially those who have swallowing difficulties, weakened gag reflexes, or reduced muscle coordination. Patients who are not properly supervised while eating may choke on food, or residents with breathing tubes may suffer harm if these tubes become blocked by food, water, or other issues. The lack of oxygen a person experiences while choking can cause permanent brain damage, leading to a person’s death.
- Infections and sepsis – Nursing home residents may be at risk of suffering fatal infections due to unsanitary conditions, failure to prevent the spread of communicable diseases, or foodborne illnesses. Many nursing home patients have weakened immune systems due to advanced age or health issues, and this can make them more susceptible to potentially life-threatening illnesses. Some infections may also lead to sepsis, an inflammatory response that can affect multiple parts of the body, and in serious cases, this can be fatal.
- Nursing home abuse – Patients may experience physical or psychological harm due to physical abuse or sexual abuse. Actions taken by staff members or other parties against vulnerable patients may include the infliction of physical harm, sexual assault, improper physical restraint or chemical sedation, or verbal and emotional abuse that causes a person to withdraw from interacting with others and fail to attend to their own needs. In serious cases, the injuries inflicted through abuse can be fatal.
Families of those living in long-term care should be aware of potential risks, and in some cases, they may be able to take preventative action before it is too late. By recognizing the signs of abuse or neglect or responding to health concerns related to the medical care a patient receives, a family may be able to prevent a wrongful death from occurring. However, if preventative action cannot be taken before it is too late, a family may need to determine the steps that can be taken to respond to the death of their loved one and hold a nursing home responsible for the negligence that caused the person to suffer fatal injuries.
Legal Options in Nursing Home Wrongful Death Cases
Following the death of a loved one, a family may explore a number of avenues that will allow them to seek justice for the harm they have suffered and prevent similar issues from affecting other families. Typically, the best step to take will involve filing a wrongful death claim against the negligent nursing home.
If a family can show that a facility or its staff members acted negligently, and this negligence was the direct cause of their loved one’s death, they may receive compensation for their losses. The damages that may be recoverable in a wrongful death lawsuit include:
- Medical expenses – The costs of receiving ongoing care in a nursing home can be high enough on their own. However, if a person needed to receive extraordinary care prior to their death, such as hospitalization or surgery, the medical bills a family may be required to pay may be even higher. Family members may be able to receive compensation for all expenses related to the treatment a person received prior to their death.
- Loss of companionship – Family members may have had a close, loving relationship with the deceased person, and they may have expected this relationship to last for many more years. Because of this, they may be compensated for the loss of this relationship when their loved one was wrongfully killed.
- Pain and suffering – A person may have suffered significant pain, discomfort, and emotional trauma due to the injuries that led to their death, and a nursing home may be required to compensate the person’s loved ones for the harm that was caused.
- Grief and sorrow – The untimely death of a loved one can cause significant emotional trauma for a family, and they may be compensated for the mental anguish they have experienced.
- Funeral and burial expenses – When a person was wrongfully killed, all of the costs of funeral and memorial services and the disposition of their remains may be recoverable.
In addition to these legal options available for nursing home wrongful death cases, families may also consider filing complaints with relevant state agencies, including notifying elder abuse hotlines, adult protective services, and licensing boards. This can ensure that the issues that led to a person’s death will be corrected while also making sure other families are informed of the potential risks that residents at a negligent nursing home may face.
We Can Help Families Respond to the Wrongful Death of a Loved One
The team at Nursing Home Injury Center provides experienced guidance and compassionate legal help for families who are struggling to respond to a loved one’s wrongful death. We can investigate the circumstances surrounding a death to determine whether nursing home negligence was responsible, and we can make sure these issues will be addressed correctly. Our goal is to help families find peace in these difficult situations while making sure others are protected against harm. To set up a free consultation, contact us at 309-524-6900.