Wrongful Death and Nursing Home Abuse

Posted by Randy Andrus | Oct 18, 2022

The decision to move a loved one into a nursing home or long-term care facility is often a difficult one. The main reason for the move is typically one of near necessity and an effort to keep a family member safe from harm. As such, when abuse or wrongful death happens at a nursing home, it's especially devastating. No amount of money can bring your loved one back, but there are legal options to help you bring them justice, help you financially and emotionally recover, and bring awareness to the facility or the care provider to stop them from harming someone else. In this article, we'll outline the legal options you may have if your loved one has passed away as a result of someone's intentional or negligent behavior. We'll also discuss common signs of abuse.  

If your loved one has been hurt or has passed away because of nursing home abuse or assault, call our Utah nursing home abuse lawyer at 801-535-4645 to set up a consultation and case review. You may also fill out this confidential online form, and we will reach out to you to set up your consultation. 

What Is Wrongful Death in a Nursing Home?

When an elderly or a vulnerable person dies as a result of nursing home abuse or assault, a wrongful death suit may be filed. Nursing home abuse happens when the staff or administrators are negligent or mistreat “vulnerable adults,” such as the elderly or otherwise dependent residents of a long-term care facility. 

Wrongful death may happen when employees or caregivers:

  • Abuse residents
  • Fail to mitigate resident violence
  • Fail to diagnose or treat conditions such as bed sores and infections
  • Make errors in medication administration
  • Neglect the healthcare and other needs of residents 

Common Examples of Nursing Home Abuse

Some common examples of abuse that happens in nursing homes or long-term care facilities include:

  1. Slapping, hitting, or abusing a patient in another way
  2. Sexual abuse
  3. Neglecting patient hygiene
  4. Failing to notice and treat bedsores
  5. Skipping feedings, medications, or monitoring vitals
  6. Mental or emotional abuse
  7. Financial abuse including theft, fraud, and exploitation

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

In many cases, the victim may be afraid to say something about the abuse. In some cases, the patient does not have the capacity to communicate about the abuse due to cognitive troubles or other conditions that prohibit communication. Some signs that loved ones should look for include:

  • Soft tissue damage, including severe bruising, lacerations, or abrasions
  • Sprains and fractured or broken bones
  • Head or dental injuries
  • Suffocation, choking, or strangulation
  • Unexplained marks that may be related to restraint, such as marks on the wrist
  • Internal bleeding
  • Burns or welts on the skin
  • Illness of infection
  • Bedsores
  • Fatigue, insomnia, or other sleep disorders
  • Dehydration or malnutrition
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Heightened anxiety or depression
  • Onset of violent behavior
  • Lack of personal hygiene, such as dirty clothes or bed sheets 
  • Symptoms of trauma or post-traumatic stress disorder

Other things to look out for include financial abuse warning signs, such as new or sudden changes in power of attorney, new credit cards or bank accounts, and unexplained charges or transactions. 

You may also notice signs in staff members. If your communications and requests go unanswered for long periods, you notice a lack of concern or response to resident conflicts, experience rudeness, disrespect, or poor attitudes; these may be signs that something is wrong. 

If you notice any of the above signs, contact our nursing home abuse lawyer for a case review. 

Should I Sue the Nursing Home for Wrongful Death?

Determining which liable party to sue in a nursing home abuse wrongful death claim depends on the specific facts of the case. Depending on the circumstances, a few different parties may be liable. Your nursing home abuse lawyer will help you determine the appropriate party or parties to take legal action against. 

The nursing home has a strict duty of care to which it must abide because such a wide variety of services are provided to residents or patients. The nursing home is responsible for several important aspects, from medication administration to physical therapy, nutrition, hygiene, shelter, physical activities, and more. When a nursing home breaches its duty of care, common causes for it are:

  1. Improper training of staff
  2. Negligent hiring practices, such as performing subpar background checks
  3. Failure to monitor staff appropriately
  4. Failure to provide the daily necessities of living, such as food and water
  5. Medical negligence, such as failure to treat infections
  6. Intentional abuse by staff members
  7. Failure to protect from safety hazards, such as broken windows or broken HVAC systems

If the nursing home is found liable for the wrongful death of a resident, it can be held responsible for the damages sustained by the family. However, depending on the facts of the case, other parties may be liable, including a doctor, nurse, third-party manufacturer, etc. 

The decision to file a wrongful death claim may have a number of impacts. For the family, it can help them seek financial compensation to cover funeral expenses and other costs related to the death of their loved one. A lawsuit can hold the nursing home accountable to enact change so that other residents are safe. It can also help the family gain a sense of justice in the death of their beloved family member. 

Call Randy Andrus to Give Your Loved One a Voice

The wrongful death of a loved one is a difficult thing to accept, and no amount of money can truly ease your loss. However, a wrongful death claim may help ease your family's financial burden and make positive change in terms of holding the nursing home accountable. Holding the nursing home or care provider accountable via a lawsuit may also help family members obtain compensation for emotional or psychological damages. Consult our trusted and experienced nursing home wrongful death lawyer today to start the process. You may call 801-535-4645 to schedule your initial consultation or fill out this confidential online form. You're not in this alone – we'll work tirelessly to give your family member a voice. 

Note that the content on our blog and website is for general information purposes only. If you have specific questions and concerns, we urge you to reach out to our personal injury lawyer to discuss your case. 

Our nursing home abuse lawyer is located in Salt Lake City at 

299 S Main St

Ste 1395

Salt Lake City, UT 84111

We serve Salt Lake City, Layton, Ogden, Orem, Provo, Sandy, St George, West Valley City, West Jordan, and the entire state of Utah. 

About the Author

Randy Andrus

BIO   Education University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law (LL.M. 1987) Business and Taxation – Transnational Practice Courses and International Bar Association Convention, Salzburg, Austria Southwestern University School of Law (J.D. 1984) Dean's List American Jurisprudence...

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