Wrongful Death Claims Against Nursing Homes: What You Need to Know


February 08, 2024 | Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers

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Losing a loved one in a nursing home setting is not only emotionally devastating but also often comes with a heavy burden of unanswered questions and concerns. Families grapple with grief while trying to understand what happened, and whether the death could have been prevented. In these situations, comprehending legal rights and options becomes not just a matter of justice, but also a crucial step in finding closure. This blog post aims to shed light on these legal avenues, particularly focusing on wrongful death claims against nursing homes.

Wrongful Death vs Cause of Action

Understanding the distinction between wrongful death and other legal actions is the first step in navigating these complex cases. Wrongful death, legally defined, occurs when an individual’s death is due to the negligence or misconduct of another party. In the context of nursing homes, this could mean inadequate care, neglect, or even intentional harm. The Illinois Survival Act creates a cause of action that didn’t exist at common law, allowing the deceased person’s estate to file a lawsuit for damages. This could include compensation for medical expenses incurred, pain and suffering before death, and other losses. For instance, if a nursing home resident suffers due to neglect and passes away, the family can pursue claims for the suffering endured prior to death.

Illinois Survival Act

The Illinois Survival Act is particularly significant in these cases. It allows the estate of the deceased to continue pursuing legal claims that the individual could have pursued if they had survived. This might include compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses, and other damages that the deceased incurred prior to their death. This act is a critical tool in ensuring that justice is served, even after the victim has passed away.

Proving Negligence in Nursing Home Wrongful Death Claims

Establishing negligence is at the heart of a wrongful death claim against a nursing home. Medical evidence is indispensable in these cases. Autopsies, diagnostic tests, and other forms of medical examination provide concrete, objective evidence that can indicate neglect or abuse. These pieces of evidence, interpreted with the help of a wrongful death nursing home attorney, can be pivotal in proving the nursing home’s liability.

The Concept of Causation

A critical aspect of wrongful death claims is establishing a direct causal link between the nursing home’s negligence and the resident’s death. This connection is more clearly demonstrated in instances where the victim was taken to a hospital following an incident, such as dehydration in nursing homes. Hospital records, medical tests, and expert testimony can significantly bolster the argument that the nursing home’s actions, or lack thereof, directly led to the death.

Challenges in Determining Cause of Death

One of the most significant challenges in wrongful death claims in nursing homes is proving the exact cause of death. Even in instances of malnutrition in nursing homes, the issues are often diluted with complicating factors like pre-existing health conditions and age-related vulnerabilities. For example, a resident who suffers from chronic illnesses may pass away due to a combination of these ailments and negligent care, making it difficult to pinpoint the exact cause. In such cases, thorough investigation and expert medical opinions become indispensable to substantiate claims.

Legal Representation and Support

Navigating a wrongful death claim in a nursing home setting demands not just legal experience and proficiency,, but also sensitivity and understanding. An experienced Illinois nursing home abuse lawyer plays a vital role in guiding families through this complex and emotional legal landscape. They offer not only legal representation but also emotional support, helping families understand their rights, the nuances of their case, and the best course of action. Their role extends beyond the courtroom, providing a pillar of support to those grappling with loss and seeking justice.

The loss of a loved one in a nursing home can be a traumatic experience, especially when compounded by suspicions of negligence or abuse. Understanding the legal aspects of wrongful death claims against nursing homes is crucial for families seeking closure and justice. With compassionate and competent legal support, families can navigate these difficult times and work towards holding responsible parties accountable. Contact The Rooth Law Firm today to schedule a consultation to discuss your wrongful death claim against a nursing home.