Death is not unusual in nursing homes, but if a loved one of yours has died unexpectedly in a nursing home, it is important to understand the circumstances. Too many nursing home deaths are actually wrongful deaths caused by nursing home abuse and neglect.
In addition to criminal accountability for a wrongful death, there are financial consequences of a nursing home resident’s death that the nursing home owners, management and/or staff members may be responsible for. In a wrongful death caused by abuse, surviving family members may be eligible to recover compensation for their loss.
If your loved one has died in a senior living facility in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, or Tennessee, contact Becker Law Office in Louisville or Lexington for a free discussion of your case. We investigate nursing home abuse cases and work to assist families who have been unjustly harmed.
Explaining Nursing Home Deaths
Nursing home abuse generally involves the intentional infliction of physical, sexual, emotional, psychological or financial injury. Nursing home neglect involves withholding food, shelter, health care or protection from a resident of a long-term care facility.
Nursing home abuse or neglect can easily lead to death. Injuries from physical abuse, such as fractures or internal organ damage, can quickly lead to fatal complications. Neglect that causes malnutrition or dehydration can cause a decline in health that leads to the death of an elderly or infirm resident. Even psychological abuse can lead to depression that causes the nursing home resident to refuse food and activity, and to suffer an unavoidable decline in health.
In most cases, the family is notified after a nursing home death. There may be very little if any explanation of why a loved one died. The nursing home may be counting on the fact that elderly or ill people are expected to die and that family members knew that “this day” was coming.
But nursing homes are required by law to maintain records of their residents’ health, medical care, activities and more. A review of readily available records may indicate a cause for concern and the need for a more thorough investigation of a resident’s death.
Who Has Standing in a Wrongful Nursing Home Death?
In Kentucky, whenever the death of a person is caused by the negligence or wrongful act of another, certain family members may seek compensation from the person who caused the death or whose “agent or servant” caused it. This includes nursing homes and the staff or management who serve as the owner’s agents or servants.
Those who may seek compensation include:
- Husband or wife
- Parents (of a young person in a nursing home because of illness) if there is no spouse or children.
If there are no survivors, the nursing home resident’s estate can seek compensation for expenses and debts, such as funeral and burial expenses, and medical expenses. Kentucky law also says the defendant in a wrongful death lawsuit may be required to pay punitive damages if the cause of the deceased’s death was willful or because of gross negligence, such as nursing home abuse or neglect.
Such a wrongful death lawsuit requires that the court appoint a “personal representative” of the deceased nursing home resident. There must also be an investigation to compile evidence of the nursing home’s accountability for a wrongful death. In Kentucky, the deadline for filing a wrongful death lawsuit against a medical institution, such as a nursing home, is one year.
Any wrongful death lawsuit is a complex and time-consuming undertaking, and there are other stipulations of Kentucky law that can make a lawsuit based on nursing home abuse more complicated. Applicable laws and issues in Indiana and Tennessee are similar. It is always best to get started on a case as soon as possible.
Contact Our Wrongful Death Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
If you have any unanswered questions about the death of a loved one in a Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, or Tennessee nursing home, contact Becker Law Office for help today. We can investigate the circumstances of a nursing home resident’s death and help you seek any compensation you are eligible to receive.
All initial legal consultations by Becker Law Office nursing home abuse attorneys are free, and we do not charge a legal fee for additional services unless we obtain compensation for you. Please call to get started today.