If someone died in a nursing home because of someone’s actions (or inactions), certain family members can take legal action. You can likely sue the nursing home for wrongful death. In some cases, you might have a case against a staff member or healthcare provider who was negligent.
It’s best to work with a lawyer who can identify the at-fault party. In some cases, there may be more than one party responsible for the death.
Those Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death
The following surviving family members can sue for wrongful death, in order:
If the deceased person had minor children, the spouse must represent the children too. However, the spouse cannot receive less than one-third of the compensation.
If there are no surviving family members that qualify, a representative for the deceased person’s estate can file a claim. Any recovered damages will stay with the estate until they can go to the next of kin.
If a loved one living in a nursing home died because of wrongful actions and you are one of the above family members, you likely have a wrongful death case.
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What to Know About Wrongful Death Claims
There are two types of wrongful death lawsuits in Georgia
First, surviving family members can bring a wrongful death case to recover the “full value” of the victim’s life, according to OCGA §51-4-2. The law measures these values from the deceased person’s point of view.
This first type of claim can include damages like:
- Lost wages and benefits that the person might have earned if they’d lived
- Loss of companionship or other benefits the person provided to family members
The second type of claim is about what the deceased person’s estate has lost.
These damages can include:
- Medical bills from the last injuries or illness
- Pain and suffering the loved one experienced before death
- Funeral and burial costs
Family members can bring the first type of wrongful death claim. Although a lawsuit can never undo what’s happened, it can help loved ones handle expenses and demand justice.
Why Someone Would Sue for Wrongful Death in a Nursing Home
A family member sues for wrongful death when someone’s actions have caused harm. In the case of a nursing home case, someone at the business has caused abuse or neglect. A nursing home resident’s death might have been prevented if the harm hadn’t happened.
You can only bring a wrongful death suit if negligence or intentional harm led to the loved one’s death, according to the American Bar Association (ABA). If the resident hadn’t died, they would have had a valid personal injury claim for the injuries they suffered.
Examples of abuse in a nursing home include:
- Physical injuries
- Neglecting the resident’s essential needs
- Not providing medication properly
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Financial manipulation
- Failing to notice abuse on the property
Wrongful death claims center around negligence, which is another term for carelessness. Someone must have been careless in the resident’s care, and that carelessness contributed to the resident’s death.
Loved ones sue for wrongful death to demand justice. The family can hold a nursing home accountable for its lack of care.
At John Foy & Associates, we’ve been helping nursing home abuse victims for over 20 years. We are not afraid of nursing home defenses or their insurance companies. We’ll protect your family’s rights from day one.
To discuss your options during a free consultation, call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online.
How Much Is a Nursing Home Wrongful Death Settlement?
We have limited data on averages for nursing home settlement, since every case is different. However, the journal Health Affairs found the average was around $406,000. That number could be even higher today.
Your potential settlement will depend on the details of your case. It’s best to speak with a lawyer who can provide an estimate based on your situation. You’ll need to know what damages you deserve before taking legal action.
The Length of a Wrongful Death Settlement
Lawsuits take time. Although each case varies, nursing home cases often resolve in between 18 to 24 months. However, that’s the typical length if you go to trial.
Many personal injury cases settle out of court. For example, the nursing home’s insurance company might offer money in exchange for closing the case.
The first offer is rarely good, which is why we warn claimants to never take the first settlement offer. With help from a lawyer, you might be able to negotiate for a fair settlement.
If you cannot settle, taking your case to trial might be the best option. You and your attorney can decide what’s best for you.
What to Do if a Loved One Dies in a Nursing Home
No one wants to get that call. But if a nursing home informs you that a loved one has died at their facility and you suspect wrongful death, you’ll need to know what to do.
First, it’s best to call a lawyer. An attorney with experience in wrongful death at nursing homes can investigate the details. If they think you have a case, you can have your lawyer look into things further.
A lawyer can help you start building a wrongful death claim, including:
- Gathering evidence of the abuse
- Getting copies of medical reports and other documents
- Handling the nursing home and insurance company
- Fighting for the justice your family deserves
If you suspect negligence led to a loved one’s death, it’s also a good idea to call the police. You can also report nursing home abuse to the Department of Community Health (DCH) and the Department of Human Services.
If a nursing home’s actions may have caused a death, you should be able to hold them accountable. Whether the nursing home ignored red flags or an employee was abusive, it’s not okay.
We can help you and your family seek the justice and compensation you deserve. We do not collect a fee unless we win your case, so you can get started at no risk. With 20-plus years of experience, we know what it takes to win lawsuits.
Talk to a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney for Free
To get started with a free consultation, call John Foy & Associates at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online today.
We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to take your call.
404-400-4000 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form