Having a parent or grandparent pass away while in a nursing home is a painful experience that will impact your life and your family’s lives. When you believe the death was preventable or the result of mistreatment, your grief could quickly turn to frustration and anger. You would have legal recourses if your relative was the victim of a wrongful death because of another’s negligent conduct or inaction.
The Upper Darby nursing home wrongful death lawyers at the Reiff Law Firm have helped those who have suffered an unjustifiable loss for decades. Our attorneys and staff provide professional and compassionate representation for people looking for closure after an untimely death. Call (215) 709-6940 to schedule a free consultation and to review your legal options.
Nursing Home Wrongful Death Claims in Upper Darby
If your relative died in an Upper Darby nursing home, and you believe it resulted from inadequate treatment or a lack of sufficient care, you could have a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death claim is a civil action in the Pennsylvania court system meant to hold a person or entity responsible for their negligent or intentional conduct that resulted in a preventable death. While the conduct in question could constitute criminal behavior, a wrongful death claim is not a criminal act. While a criminal conviction or charge could improve your chances of success in a civil lawsuit, it is not required.
Common Causes of Wrongful Deaths in Upper Darby Nursing Homes
Wrongful death in a nursing home could occur for various reasons. Often, the cause is related to more than one factor.
Intentional Abuse by the Staff
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for a staff member to abuse the older adults in their care. This abusive conduct includes physically hitting, kicking, or restraining a resident of the facility. In other cases, a staff member will intentionally neglect to provide care or treatment. When this behavior results in or contributes to a resident’s death, the staff member could be held liable for the harm committed.
Carelessness or Mistakes
In other situations, the conduct is not intentional, but the result of carelessness or an inexcusable mistake. When a nursing home is understaffed or hires inexperienced caregivers, accidents, and errors occur. Carelessness is not an excuse to provide residents with a negligent level of care. If your family member died because of a mistake, it could constitute negligence.
Complications of Neglect
Wrongful death does not always occur immediately after the abusive or negligent conduct. Many victims who die in an Upper Darby assisted living facility suffer prolonged harm when a treatable injury or illness is permitted to worsen over time. Unfortunately, a resident’s medical complications from an injury will result in a preventable death weeks or months after the negligent behavior.
For example, a common cause of death in the elderly is complications from a fracture. Suppose a resident’s hip was broken because of the negligence of a staff member. In that case, they could eventually pass away due to complications from a surgical procedure to treat the fracture or from the consequences of being immobile for weeks or months after the injury. If your relative suffered from any injuries before their death, they could have been the victim of negligence on the part of the facility’s staff or doctors.
Nursing Home Maintenance
Another common cause of an untimely death is a severe head injury. When an older person slips or falls, they can suffer trauma to their head or brain. If a nursing home does not properly maintain its stairwells, handrails or provide adequate safeguards to prevent falls, the facility could be held accountable for any injuries or deaths that occur.
Liable Parties for an Upper Darby Nursing Home Wrongful Death
As stated above, there are many reasons why a wrongful death could occur in a nursing home. The facts of your circumstances will determine who could be held liable for your relative’s suffering. If the wrongful death resulted from a staff member or doctor’s conduct, they could be held accountable. However, it could also be possible to hold the facility responsible depending on the employment relationship and the nursing home’s protocols.
In some cases, third parties could be held liable for wrongful death. For example, if a resident died because the facility administered defective medication, the pharmaceutical manufacturer could be held responsible for the wrongful death. Similarly, if a resident suffered a fracture that ultimately resulted in death because of a defect in a handrail or safety system, the manufacturer or company that installed the system could be held accountable. Our experienced nursing home wrongful death attorneys will thoroughly investigate every possible cause and liable party.
People that Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against an Upper Darby Nursing Home
To bring a wrongful death lawsuit against a facility or staff member, you must be a personal representative of the victims’ estate. Pennsylvania law sets forth the procedures for filing a wrongful death claim, including what damages are available and how the victim’s estate would distribute them.
In an Upper Darby wrongful death lawsuit, a person who is permitted to bring a claim is known as a “real party in interest.” Typically, these include family members, such as a husband, child, or grandchild. However, this could extend to the victim’s financial dependents, despite traditional family relationships, such as life partners. In most cases, if the death resulted in financial hardship, the person suffering the economic harm is entitled to seek compensation through a wrongful death claim.
Call Our Upper Darby Nursing Home Wrongful Lawyer for a Free Consultation
Losing a loved one is never easy. When the death was preventable or caused by the negligent conduct of the staff or doctors of the nursing home where they resided, it is especially painful. If you believe your relative died because of the decisions or actions of the assisted living facility, contact our Upper Darby nursing home wrongful death lawyer immediately. Call the Reiff Law Firm to at (215) 709-6940 to schedule a free appointment to review the facts of your case.