Wrongful Death in Nursing Homes
In 2010, Governor Pat Quinn requested that a special task force convene to address the poor care, neglect and violence found in Illinois nursing homes. The task force made several recommendations to improve care throughout the state’s nursing homes, including an increased call for greater screening of patients’ needs, better supervision and harsher sanctions. Unfortunately, these recommendations have not put a complete stop to wrongful deaths in nursing homes. If you have a lost a loved one due nursing home abuse or neglect, review the information below to determine what legal action you can take.
Failure to Investigate True Causes of Death
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published findings in 2011 showing that the number of autopsies performed on individuals 65 years of age and older dropped from 37 percent to 17 percent. Basically, we expect older individuals to pass away, especially those who are frail and require daily assistance in a nursing home. This means, however, that doctors will mark “natural causes” as the reason for death, thereby eliminating any reason to run an autopsy. In other words, death due to negligence of nursing home staff is vastly under reported.
If you suspect that your family member died due to the action or inaction of a nursing home care provider, you can request an autopsy. It is important you prepare yourself for the results: the findings may surprise you.
Wrongful Death Can Occur When You Least Expect It
Death can occur from one unsupervised moment or lack of proper care of an ongoing medical condition. For instance, one fall out of bed can lead to a head injury that causes death; one bed sore left untreated can cause infection and eventually death. Wrongful death in nursing homes can also result from:
- Falls & broken bones
- Bed Sores
- Wandering & Elopement
- Physical or sexual abuse
- Missed medication or other medication errors
The fact here is that any delay in treatment or neglect of basic care can cause the loss of someone you love dearly. And that is unacceptable.
Legal Claims for Wrongful Death
Through the Illinois Wrongful Death Act, family members can sue the negligent party who caused the death of their loved one. You must be able to prove three things to bring a successful wrongful death claim:
- That the negligent party owed a duty to your loved one
- That the negligent party breached that legal duty
- That you incurred financial losses as a result of that breach
While no amount of money can bring back your loved one, you can take action that can result in better care for future nursing home residents.
Contact Our Legal Team for Experienced, Compassioned Representation
At The Rooth Law Firm, we understand how difficult this time must be for you. We also understand how overwhelming it may feel to contemplate adding an elder abuse lawsuit on top of everything else. As your legal counsel, we will work hard to make this process as smooth as possible. Contact our Chicago elder abuse lawyers today at 877-356-3007 to learn more about how to bring a wrongful death claim against your loved one’s nursing home.