Nursing Home Negligence
San Antonio Nursing Home Death Lawyer
Did you know that the average elderly person only stays in a nursing home for just over a year before their death? In many cases, it can be difficult to determine if these deaths happen naturally or as a result of elder abuse. If you suspect that your loved one’s death may have occurred due to abuse or neglect, it’s crucial to call a San Antonio nursing home death lawyer at Janicek Law. We can investigate your claim and help you file a wrongful death lawsuit so that you can recover financial compensation for medical bills, funeral expenses, pain and suffering, and more.
Our San Antonio nursing home abuse lawyers will hold nursing homes accountable for the abuse and neglect inflicted on their vulnerable residents. Call 210-366-4949 to start an attorney client relationship with us today. Our law firm offers a free legal consultation to all new clients.
What is Wrongful Death in a Nursing Home?
Death is just something that happens among nursing home residents. Elderly people enter assisted living facilities because they struggle to care for themselves and they often spend the rest of their lives there. But maybe a nursing home resident dies after several months of recurrent urinary tract infections and a bout of sepsis, and you ask yourself: did nursing home neglect or abuse contribute to this death?
Nursing home wrongful death occurs when a resident dies due to the negligent actions or inactions of nursing home employees. To be more specific, Texas law defines wrongful death as a death that’s caused by a “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default.”
Nursing home wrongful deaths are generally the result of nursing home abuse or neglect. Because of how prevalent nursing home abuse and neglect is in the U.S. (largely due to short staffing and poor training), it’s very possible for many nursing home patients to have a shorter life expectancy in their assisted living facility.
What is the Average Life Expectancy in a Nursing Home?
According to a study conducted by the San Francisco VA Medical Center and the University of California in San Francisco, the average amount of time that an elderly person stays at a nursing facility before death is 13.7 months. The study also claims that the median length of stay is 5 months. Lastly, 53% of elderly people in a nursing facility die within 6 months.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death in a Nursing Home
Listed below are the most common causes of death due to nursing home negligence.
Medication errors fall under the large legal umbrella of medical malpractice. The medication error rate in nursing facilities must stay below 5%. If it gets higher than that, a nursing facility can receive a health citation on its federal inspection. Still, 5% leaves plenty of room for potentially deadly medication errors. Common types of medication mistakes include giving the wrong medication to a patient, giving the wrong dose to a patient, failing to follow medication instructions, etc.
As we age, we naturally become more fragile and less agile. Additionally, our vision may get worse. All of these factors increase the risk of tripping, falling, and suffering major injuries such as traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries. It’s the job of nursing staff to constantly monitor their patients and help them move around safely. If nursing home abuse and neglect is occurring, it’s possible for elderly residents to fall and suffer fatal injuries.
Another common result of nursing home abuse and neglect that can easily lead to wrongful death are bedsores or pressure ulcers. Bed sores happen when nursing home staff members fail to help immobile residents change positions in their beds or chairs every few hours. Long term pressure on a specific part of the body can cut off blood supply to the skin, which can result in a large gaping wound.
There are 4 stages of bedsores, with stage 1 being very minor and stage 4 being severe and life-threatening. Stage 1 or 2 pressure ulcers aren’t always preventable, especially if the patient is bed bound, but stage 3 and 4 pressure ulcers are completely preventable and should never happen.
Nursing home facilities must take care of bedsores immediately, before they turn into large open wounds, because the risk of a fatal infection goes through the roof. If nursing home neglect and abuse is already occurring, it would be very easy for a patient with a stage 4 bedsore to contract a MRSA infection (or a similar infection) and die from it.
Not only can infected bed sores lead to nursing home wrongful death, but so can a variety of other infections. A 2013 study claims that respiratory infections and UTIs are the most common types of infections among nursing home residents. Because elderly people have far weaker immune systems than the rest of the population, even a minor UTI can turn into sepsis, which can lead to wrongful death. This is especially the case if neglect or abuse caused the infection (through poor hygiene for example). Also, if the nursing home failed to quickly diagnose and treat the infection, which led to sepsis and/or death, they could face a nursing home lawsuit.
Malnutrition and dehydration is unfortunately very common in U.S. nursing homes. In fact, a 2005 study states that up to 60% of elderly people in nursing homes are malnourished. This study also claims that residents in many nursing homes eat less than 1,000 calories every day. This is considered nursing home abuse and neglect.
Malnutrition and dehydration is incredibly dangerous for anyone, but it’s especially dangerous for the average nursing home resident. In order to have a healthy body and a healthy immune system, you need to have the proper fuel. That means a minimum of 2,000 calories per day with a balance of protein, fat, and carbs. Additionally, micronutrient dense foods – such as fruits and vegetables – are crucial for a healthy body. Without the proper fuel, elderly people in nursing homes can endure a slow, painful death.
Believe it or not, physical abuse does happen in nursing homes, and it certainly does lead to nursing home wrongful death. If you notice that your elderly loved one is experiencing frequent bruising, broken bones, and other unexplained injuries in their skilled nursing facility, call a San Antonio nursing home abuse lawyer immediately. We can investigate physical abuse and help you come up with a solution before the abuse potentially leads to the nursing home resident’s death.
Can I Sue for Nursing Home Wrongful Death?
Yes, you certainly have grounds to file a wrongful death claim especially if you can prove that your elderly loved one died as a result of not receiving proper care. Our San Antonio legal team has what it takes to handle all sorts of nursing home wrongful death cases, especially those caused by intentional harm (such as physical abuse) or poor nursing home care.
Nursing homes have a duty to keep their elderly residents safe, healthy, and happy. Unfortunately, many residents aren’t safe, healthy, or happy in their assisted living facilities, and these facilities should be held responsible for that. This is especially the case if the neglect and abuse is severe enough to lead to a nursing home wrongful death.
If you’re still unsure whether or not you have a strong claim, call San Antonio wrongful death attorneys at Janicek Law. We have decades of combined experience in handling wrongful death claims. If you schedule a free legal case review with us, we can tell you if your nursing home wrongful death lawsuit is worth pursuing.
Proving Fault in a Wrongful Death Nursing Home Lawsuit
In order to have a strong nursing home wrongful death lawsuit, you must be able to prove the 4 D’s of negligence:
- Duty of Care: Nursing homes have a duty to keep their elderly residents safe, healthy, and happy.
- Duty Dereliction: The nursing home breached this duty of care by abusing and/or neglecting its residents.
- Direct Cause: The abuse and neglect directly caused the nursing home wrongful death.
- Damages: The loved ones left behind suffered a variety of damages due to the wrongful death for which they should receive financial compensation.
A San Antonio nursing home death lawyer can help you gather sufficient evidence to prove these elements of negligence. Important pieces of evidence may include medical records, autopsy reports, witness statements, and security camera footage.
Our experienced legal team has been successfully proving negligence in nursing home abuse cases for decades. We know how hard a facility may try to hide a nursing home wrongful death case in order to avoid a lawsuit. Still, we have what it takes to uncover the truth and fight for the justice of your deceased loved one. Schedule a free case review with Janicek Law today, and we’ll get going on your wrongful death case.
Who Can File a Nursing Home Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
If your elderly loved one lost their life to nursing home abuse and neglect, you may be wondering: who can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas?
Surviving family members and life partners of the deceased elderly person can file wrongful death lawsuits. Additionally, any loved one who was financially harmed by the death can file a nursing home wrongful death lawsuit. For example, if a family member, will executor, or a civil partner suffered a major financial loss from the nursing home wrongful death, they could certainly pursue legal action.
Possible Liable Parties in a Nursing Home Wrongful Death Case
Another important aspect of nursing home wrongful death lawsuits is determining who is at fault. A wide variety of parties can be held liable in a wrongful death nursing home lawsuit, including:
- Nursing home staff members
- Nursing home administrators
- Doctors, pharmacists, or physical therapists
- Third-party caregivers
- Other nursing home residents
When you hire a San Antonio nursing home death lawyer to investigate your case, we will determine who should be held liable for your loved one’s passing.
Damages for Wrongful Death in a Nursing Home
Family members who file a wrongful death lawsuit may be able to recover financial compensation for the following types of damages:
- Unpaid medical bills
- Lost wages of the grieving family members
- Physical pain and suffering of the deceased person
- Emotional distress of the grieving family members
- Burial and funeral costs