Proving Nursing Home Neglect in a Wrongful Death Case

If you have lost an older member of your family recently, the loss was a pretty keen sting in and of itself. However, often coroners and even funeral home workers may raise a few concerns over the deceased that may suggest that the death of an elder wasn’t as natural as it seemed. Abuse and neglect of our elderly in nursing homes is a dirty little secret that no one wants to believe, but it is far more common than you think. It is not only horrific, but it is also criminal. If your elderly loved one died, and you think it was from neglect or abuse from their nursing home, then you may have a case for wrongful death.

Detecting Elder Abuse After Death

When the elder members of our family die, typically we think nothing suspicious of it. Elder people pass on, and there really isn’t anything suspicious about that. This is why wrongful death suits of an elderly person are rare, especially when an elderly person didn’t make any complaints. However, when in nursing home care, many elderly people aren’t able to make complaints due to their infirmities, meaning the neglect or abuse that raced them towards their end will go unpunished.

However, there are many symptoms that may suggest that the death of your loved one was not so natural as it may seem. These include:

  • Sudden death without health decline
  • Bruises, lacerations, or broken bones
  • Pneumonia
  • Malnutrition
  • Dehydration
  • Infected wounds, ulcers, lesions, or sepsis
  • Incorrect medications

Unfortunately, many of these symptoms can be difficult to prove as neglect or abuse because they are part of getting old. Having a cold progress to pneumonia can be cause by poor care, but it can also happen with proper care as well. However, other symptoms are more undeniable proof like bed sores that were left uncared for long enough to grow large an infected. There can be no arguing that infected bed sores were the product of neglect.

What to Do If You Suspect Abuse of a Deceased Elder

As death is such a natural part of growing old, very few elderly persons have autopsies performed on them after death. However, if you noticed something suspicious on the body or had the issue brought up with you, then you can easily request that an autopsy is done.

For the most part, elder abuse and neglect goes unnoticed for a number of reasons. As people expect the elderly to die eventually, abusers and those responsible for neglect can easily play it off as natural. Most doctors sign the death certificates without examining the body and many coroners neglect to investigate the death if everything appears seemingly normal. These have been common issues throughout the United States, and if it turns out your loved one’s death was a wrongful one, they can be held responsible as well.

What Happens If Wrongful Death is Proved?

When it comes to wrongful death of an elder because of abuse or neglect, not only do you have a case to seek compensation for your loved ones death, but there will also be a criminal case as well. Police will investigate the nursing facility and hopefully bring the person or persons responsible to justice where they will face hefty fines and jail time. The nursing home itself for overlooking such abuse will also face fines and doctors who overlooked the abuse, but didn’t cause it, may have their medical licenses limited.

Your wrongful death compensation will typically be paid out by the nursing home or their insurance rather than the individual employee.

If you believe the death of your elderly loved one was the result of abuse or neglect in the Burnsville area, contact us today. We can begin the process of walking you through a wrongful death claim.

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