Learning that abuse or neglect in a nursing home led to your loved one’s death is a traumatic discovery. In addition to the heartache of losing a family member before their time, you and your family members may suffer extensive financial and personal damages from this tragic experience.
Recovering financial compensation following a wrongful death in a California nursing home may seem like an insufficient solution for your immense loss. However, legal action can still help protect your family’s future prospects while obtaining some measure of justice against the parties responsible for your losses. A compassionate nursing home abuse lawyer could provide dedicated support throughout the claims process, from establishing fault for a resident’s premature death to demanding fair restitution for all compensable damages.
Potential Grounds for Nursing Home Wrongful Death Litigation
In California, a wrongful death lawsuit may proceed in any situation where the deceased individual would have been justified in filing a personal injury lawsuit if they had survived the injuries and/or illnesses caused by another person’s negligent or abusive conduct. Various family members of the decedent may pursue litigation in their name independently or jointly, including their spouse, children, and/or grandchildren.
Nursing home wrongful death cases in California can be based on intentional abuse or inadvertent negligence. Either way, misconduct that directly results in a resident’s premature death could constitute a breach in the duty of care that all nursing home employees owe to residents. Even a failure to check in on a resident for several hours or not addressing misconduct by other residents could justify a claim if it contributes to a death, as a knowledgeable California attorney could explain.
Damages in California Wrongful Death Claims
The purpose of wrongful death claims pursued on behalf of deceased nursing home residents is to compensate surviving family members for losses they have sustained and will sustain as a direct consequence of losing their loved one. Any damages sustained by a deceased resident between the initial incident and their death, such as medical expenses and physical pain, could be recoverable through a separate but related claim called a survival action.
In economic terms, recoverable losses following a nursing home wrongful death may include:
- Any medical expenses paid by family members on the decedent’s behalf
- Funeral and burial costs
- Any lost income or financial support the decedent was proving family members through any means
- Non-economic damages such as lost love and companionship, lost comfort and moral support, lost training and guidance, and lost consortium with a spouse
As per California Civil Code §3294, a court may award punitive damages on top of compensatory damages if it finds based on convincing and clear evidence that a defendant engaged in “malice,” “oppression,” or “fraud.” In other words, punitive damages might be available if a defendant intentionally caused a resident’s premature death, subjected a resident to especially cruel and unfair hardship, and/or attempted to unlawfully misinterpret or conceal material information about their actions. The dedicated attorneys at our firm could further explain what forms of wrongful death compensation may be available to the family of a deceased nursing home resident.
Discuss a Nursing Home Wrongful Death Claim with a California Attorney
Wrongful deaths occur far too often in nursing homes. While civil compensation is a poor substitute for the value of a human life, it can still be key to protect the prospects of surviving family members and discourage neglect and abuse in other facilities in the future.
If you lost a loved one due to wrongful death in a California nursing home, a compassionate nursing home abuse lawyer is available to help. Call today to schedule a private meeting and get the compassionate support you deserve.