Nursing Home Wrongful Death Cases
If your loved one died in a nursing home, call the nursing home abuse lawyers at Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. right away. If you’re suspicious of this person’s death and believe they were mistreated by the nursing home staff, you have the right to look into the situation. The attorneys at Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. will explain your rights, and if you decide it’s the best course of action, will investigate the situation for you.
Individuals and families decide to move their loved ones into nursing homes for a variety of reasons. One of the main factors is that individuals can often get the best care in a long-term care facility. However, when loved ones receive poor care that results in injury, or even death, you may need help recovering compensation for those injuries. Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. has more than 65 years of experience representing people who have been injured due to the negligence or recklessness of others. Call our Alabama wrongful death lawyers today at 205-933-1500.
Nursing homes are supposed to be secure facilities where families can rest assured that their parents, grandparents, siblings, and other relatives receive the attention they deserve and medical assistance they need. As of 2014, there were 15,600 nursing homes in the U.S. with 1.4 million residents, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Millions of individuals and their families rely on nursing homes to be both home-like and high-quality medical facilities. However, some end up disappointed, or worse, devastated. With an increasingly aging population, elder abuse is a growing problem. Some families are discovering that their loved ones have been emotionally and/or physically mistreated. In extreme cases, on-going abuse or malpractice issues lead to wrongful death.
Elder Abuse in the U.S.
Elder abuse may include the emotional, physical, sexual, or financial mistreatment of an elderly individual by someone in a position of power. The abuse may be physical, including battery, inappropriate restraint, or failing to properly move, clean, and care for the individual. Elderly men and women may be sexual exploited by caretakers or other individuals. Many elderly people suffer emotional abuse. They are yelled at, humiliated, and threatened by their caregivers. Another common type of elder abuse is financial, whereby a caregiver steals or embezzles money or property from the individual.
There is no way to truly tell how many elderly individuals have suffered abuse in the U.S. Many individuals are mistreated at home by private caretakers, and even more are harmed by nursing home staff – the very people who should be caring for their health and well-being. It is estimated that between 1 and 2 million Americans over the age of 65 have been mistreated, injured, or exploited by someone they depend on for care, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA).
A Wrongful Death Claim
All types of elder abuse harm an individual’s health and can increase the likelihood of death. In addition to the abuse, if the individual doesn’t receive proper medical care, their health can quickly deteriorate. According to the NCEA, elders who experience even a small amount of abuse have a 300 percent higher risk of death compared to individuals who aren’t abused.
Under Alabama Code Section 6-5-410, a deceased person’s estate can bring an action against the person or corporation whose wrongful act, omission, or negligence caused the death. A wrongful death claim exists if the deceased individual would have had a claim against that person or business for their actions had he or she not died. For example, if the individual passed away because of complications to diabetes have the nursing staff repeatedly failed to test and manage his blood sugar, then his estate may be able to assert a wrongful death case because the person who died would have had a personal injury claim against the staff if he’d been only been injured.
The wrongful death claim must be filed by the personal representative of the estate, which may or may not be a family member.
Recovery in a Wrongful Death Suit
Most states in the U.S. allow the estate or family members of the deceased to seek compensatory damages in a wrongful death claim. Alabama is somewhat different in that the estate of the deceased can bring a wrongful death action to court, and it may only seek punitive damages. Compensatory damages reimburse the family or estate for expenses related to the person’s death, such as medical costs and funeral expenses. Punitive damages are meant to punish the wrongdoer and deter others from similar behavior.
Evaluating the value of punitive damages can be difficult. If your loved one wrongfully passed away in a nursing home, contact the nursing home abuse attorneys with Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. today to find out how they can help you.
Contact an Alabama Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyer
If you lost a loved one to elder abuse in a nursing home or assisted care facility, contact the lawyers at Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. immediately. They understand federal and Alabama law, including the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987, which dictates the level of care nursing homes are required to provide to their patients. They have experience in trying elder abuse and wrongful death cases. They’ve successfully negotiated settlements of more than $1 million in numerous wrongful death cases and settlements of more than $5 million in several other personal injury cases.
If you or a loved one were injured due to the neglect or abuse of a caregiver, call the nursing home and abuse and neglect lawyers from Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. at 205-933-1500 or use our online form. We offer a case evaluation free of charge and are ready to help you obtain full compensation for your losses. With offices in Birmingham, Mobile, Huntsville, and Montgomery, our Alabama injury attorneys will quickly travel to investigate your case.