Unfortunately, as the population grows older, elders are increasingly placed in facilitated homes. As hard as this can be for the older individual and his or her family, the last thing a child wants to imagine is that his or her parent is being mistreated in a trusted nursing home. Much worse is when neglect or abuse becomes deadly. Nursing homes are not likely to blame themselves for the death of a patient so it is up to the loved ones left behind, and their dedicated attorneys, to investigate and prosecute. Often, a death certificate will show the cause of death to be “heart failure,” with no information on what could have led to this heart failure. If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence of a trusted facility, speak with a personal injury attorney in Sacramento.
In many cases, nursing homes are overstaffed and funds aren’t allocated appropriately, resulting in unhappy employees and unpleasant living conditions. This stress on workers and the vulnerability of older individuals can lead to abuse and even death. A study in 2009 found that 1 in 7 senior citizens was abused. There have been numerous cases throughout California regarding elder abuse and neglect and subsequent wrongful death. Regardless of the circumstance the employees are in, no one should ever mistreat the elderly. Speak with a personal injury attorney in Sacramento if you, or a family member, has been abused.
Proving Wrongful Death
A wrongful death is defined as the death of an individual due to a wrongful act or neglect by another individual or entity. Wrongful death suits are civil and result in financial damages paid directly to the survivors of the deceased. Any spouse, child, or domestic partner can bring about a case of wrongful death. If there is no survivor from these categories, any individual that can prove financial dependence or who would be entitled to the property of the deceased may sue for wrongful death.
When proving the case of wrongful death, a nursing home attorney in Sacramento will need to prove the facility or individuals were responsible for the care of your loved one and that their conduct resulted in his or her death. It is important to gather as much evidence as possible including images of injuries or malnourishment, statements from other employees, medical records, contaminated clothing, etc.
Wrongful death suits include financial compensation and can include coverage for the following:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Medical and hospital bills
- Loss of income or other financial support
- Loss of love, affection, community, moral support, etc.
According to California law, descendants have two years from the date of the death of the loved one to file a wrongful death claim. Failing to do so could limit a family’s right to file at all.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death in a Nursing Home
Elder abuse and neglect encompasses a wide range of actions or inactions against an older individual. The most common symptoms of elder abuse that lead to wrongful death include the following:
- Serious infection – may be caused by severe bedsores
- Medication errors
- Physical abuse
- Malnutrition – may be caused by the failure to provide the proper diet for a certain individual or may be caused by the failure to provide adequate water especially for an individual on diuretic medications
- Unsanitary conditions – may be caused by the failure to provide adequate hygienic care
If anyone you know has suffered these conditions that led to a death, speak with a nursing home attorney in Sacramento who can provide legal guidance to get you the compensation you deserve.
Welfare and Institutions Code Section 1565
This section was added to the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act in 1991 to increase awareness of abuse and neglect on the older generation. This section allows for the coverage of attorney’s fees and costs and post-mortem general damages in cases of death when certain burdens of proof are met. This was meant to increase the likelihood of lawyers taking on cases for disadvantaged Californians as defendants guilty of abuse in a reckless, oppressive, fraudulent or malicious manner can be made liable for the cost of the plaintiff’s attorneys.
A Personal Injury Attorney in Sacramento Can Help You Fight Your Wrongful Death Case
Do you believe your loved one could have died from abuse or neglect at his or her nursing home? If so, it is important to contact a knowledgeable and compassionate nursing home attorney in Sacramento as soon as you can. This will greatly increase your chances to receive the compensation you deserve. Call us at (916) 299-8131 for a free consultation.