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Proving Nursing Home Abuse Caused the Death of a Loved One

Published: Nov 13, 2022 in Nursing Home, Personal Injury, Wrongful Death
Empty room in nursing home

Did your relative or family member pass away due to abuse they endured in their nursing home or assisted living facility? Do you suspect that negligence or abuse was the cause of their death? If so, you may be ready to take action against those responsible.

Proving Nursing Home Abuse Wrongful Deaths

In civil claims, the burden of proof is different that of criminal court. Most people understand that in criminal court, a prosecutor only obtains a conviction if they prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

However, in a wrongful death claim for nursing home abuse, your case is a civil matter. Here, the burden of proof is based on a preponderance of the evidence. Meeting the burden of proof in cases of this nature can be challenging due, in part, to the fact that evidence can be difficult to come by.

Witnesses may have concerns about retaliation if they report the abuse they experienced or witnessed, and physical or forensic evidence may have already been disposed of by nursing home staff and administrators.

The Elements of Negligence

To prove liability, your attorney must prove the following elements of negligence:

  • The nursing home facility or staff owed the resident a duty of care, as all healthcare providers owe to their patients
  • Nursing home staff and facility breached their duty of care by abusing or neglecting their patients
  • The nursing home facility or staff’s decisions or actions were the cause of the patient’s death
  • The nursing home resident passed away because of the nursing home facility or staff’s abuse or neglect

Evidence to Support a Nursing Home Wrongful Death Claim

Nursing home neglect and abuse manifest in many ways. Signs that your loved one may have passed away due to nursing home abuse or neglect include:

  • Bedsores
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Signs of physical trauma or abuse
  • Unexplained cuts or bruises
  • Unexplained burn injuries
  • Disheveled appearance
  • Unexplained bone breaks or fractures
  • Signs of sexual abuse

Document Any Signs of Abuse or Neglect

You must document any potential signs of abuse or neglect if possible. Take photos of your family member’s injuries or other signs of their death. You should also take a video of their injuries, the victim’s nursing home room, and any additional footage that can demonstrate the decedent’s wrongful death.

Gather Witness Information

Obtain the contact information of any witnesses who may have information regarding the nursing home facility or staff’s role in your loved one’s passing. Your attorney will contact the decedent’s healthcare providers to obtain medical documentation of their injuries and the cause of death.

Any communication exchanges between the decedent, your family, and the nursing home facility could also be used in your civil lawsuit against the liable parties.

How Can a Nursing Home Wrongful Death Lawyer Help Your Family?

A nursing home wrongful death attorney helps your family get justice for your relative’s passing. Here are some benefits of hiring an elder abuse lawyer for your wrongful death lawsuit:

  • A thorough investigation into your loved one’s cause of death
  • The ability to obtain compelling evidence to support your case
  • Access to medical opinions from industry experts
  • Securing witness statements and depositions
  • A legal advocate by your side throughout the insurance negotiations process
  • Compassionate legal advocacy at trial

Who Is Responsible for a Wrongful Death in a Nursing Home?

Multiple parties could be held liable for your loved one’s death, including:

  • The nursing home facility
  • Nursing home staff members
  • Other nursing home residents
  • Nursing home facility administrators

Get Help from an Alabama Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

Do you suspect a senior living facility or nursing home is responsible for causing your family member’s death? If neglect or abuse caused your loved one’s passing, you could make the liable party pay.

Reach out to an Alabama nursing home abuse lawyer to conduct a thorough investigation into your family member’s passing.

Contact Belt & Bruner, PC, for a no-cost, risk-free consultation. You can reach us by phone at (205) 933-1500 or through our quick contact form to start working on your case.