Nursing Home Wrongful Death
Losing a loved one is always an exceptionally hard time for a family. However, when a loved one’s death is the result of the intentional or negligent actions of those who are supposed to be caring for them, it is especially tragic. At the Fotopoulos Law Office, we help grieving families hold negligent and abusive nursing homes and their staff accountable. With our help, you can effectively pursue a claim for compensation against the nursing home responsible for your loved one’s unnecessary death.What is a Death Case?
A nursing home wrongful death claim is a type of personal injury lawsuit that arises when a resident dies as the result of a facility’s negligence or abuse. In Illinois, any death caused by another’s “wrongful act, neglect or default” can form the basis of a wrongful death claim. Some examples of situations in which nursing homes may be liable for a resident’s death include:
- Failing to protect a resident from physical abuse;
- Failure to provide a patient with their necessary medication;
- Failing to rotate a resident’s position to avoid bedsores or pressure ulcers;
- Failing to ensure a resident has access to food and water;
- Failing to provide wheelchairs or assistive devices;
- Failing to seek emergency medical care; and
- Failing to administer the correct medication and dose of any prescribed drugs.
Nursing home residents are a vulnerable population, and even what seems like a small or insignificant injury can set a chain of events in motion leading to their death. Importantly, if a nursing home is responsible for an injury that eventually causes a resident’s death, the facility may be liable. In other words, the nursing home’s negligence does not need to be the only cause of a resident’s death for a family to recover compensation from the facility.
Under Illinois law, all wrongful death cases must be filed by a deceased resident’s personal representative. A personal representative is the person a resident designates in their will to take care of their affairs after they die. Often, nursing home residents will name a close family member as their personal representative. Regardless of who a resident names as their personal representative, the named party has a duty to act in the best interests of the resident’s surviving family members.
Generally, a personal representative has two years to bring a nursing home wrongful death case. However, if a resident’s death was the result of intentionally violent conduct, the statute of limitations increases to five years.
Families that successfully pursue a wrongful death claim can recover damages for the “grief, sorrow and mental suffering” they experienced as a result of their loss. While a resident’s personal representative initiates the claim, the proceeds of a wrongful death claim are for the sole benefit of the resident’s surviving loved ones.Are Nursing Homes Liable for a Staff Member’s Negligence or Abuse?
One of the most common questions families have after losing a loved one due to a nursing home staff member’s neglect or abuse involves who can be sued. Under the legal doctrine of vicarious liability, often both the staff member and the facility can be held liable. This is because, as a general rule, employers are responsible for the negligent acts of their employees. So, if a nursing home employee was acting within the scope of their employment when they caused a resident’s death, the nursing home can be held financially responsible.
Additionally, in some cases, family members can pursue a claim of primary liability against a facility. Unlike vicarious liability, these claims are based on the negligence of the facility itself. For example, understaffing, failure to train nursing home staff members, and failure to protect residents from threats presented by third parties can also form the basis of a nursing home wrongful death lawsuit.Take Legal Action Against Negligent and Abusive Nursing Homes
If you recently lost a loved one in an Illinois nursing home, the Fotopoulos Law Office is here to help. For more than 20 years, we’ve been advocating on behalf of nursing home residents and their families. We understand what your family is going through and will make the recovery process as easy on you as possible. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with an Illinois nursing home neglect and abuse lawyer, reach out to the Fotopoulos Law Office at 708-942-8400. You can also reach us through our online contact form.