Losing a loved one is heartbreaking even in the best of circumstances, but when the loss was caused by nursing home negligence, abuse, or neglect, it can be particularly devastating.
When nursing home staff fails to provide the accepted standard of care and that negligence or misconduct results in a death, the victim's family may be entitled to compensation.
Filing a wrongful death lawsuit allows the family to pursue a monetary award for a wide range of economic and non-economic damages incurred as a result of their loved one's tragic passing.
If someone you loved died as a direct result of a nursing home staff's negligent or abusive actions, here's what you need to know about filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas.
Common Types of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Families often choose nursing homes for elderly loved ones who require professional help with daily tasks and skilled nursing care to meet their medical or cognitive needs. While many nursing home facilities provide residents with the compassionate and dignified attention they deserve, others fail to live up to expectations.
The following types of nursing home abuse and neglect endanger residents and could potentially result in death:
- Unsanitary conditions. Dirty surfaces and bedding, mold and mildew problems, and insect or rodent infestations put vulnerable nursing home residents at risk.
- Dehydration and malnutrition. Many nursing home residents rely on aides or feeding tubes to help them eat. When a nursing home employee fails to give a resident scheduled meals or correctly care for the feeding tube, dehydration and malnutrition may result.
- Assault. Residents are particularly vulnerable to both physical and sexual abuse.
- Medication errors. Nursing home employees are responsible for administering various medications to a large number of residents. Mistakes such as giving the wrong medication or dosage may result in overdose or death.
- Inadequate supervision. Employees at nursing home facilities are also required to monitor residents appropriately. If a resident is seriously assaulted by someone, or wanders off the property, the nursing home could potentially be liable for failing to provide safe supervision for residents in their care.
Signs of Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse
It's not always easy for the elderly, especially those with health or memory problems, to effectively communicate that they're being abused or neglected. Or they may be too frightened to reveal their abuse.
However, a loved one's behavior before his or her death can provide valuable clues. The following signs and symptoms have been associated with nursing home abuse and neglect:
- Fear or agitation
- Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers
- Unexplained bruises, abrasions, burns, fractures, sprains, head injuries, or falls
- Unexpected or dramatic weight loss
- Frequent bouts of crying
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Not everyone can file a wrongful death lawsuit. In Texas, the right to seek compensation for the wrongful death of a loved one is limited to the decedent's surviving spouse, biological or adopted children, and biological or adopted parents.
If none of the eligible family members file a wrongful death claim within three months of the decedent's passing, a personal representative can file the lawsuit instead.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits vs. Survival Actions
While a wrongful death claim seeks to compensate the family for economic and non-economic losses associated with their loved one's untimely passing, a survival action compensates the family for the losses their loved one incurred prior to their death.
For example, the family could recover funeral expenses as part of a wrongful death claim, while also pursuing compensation for their deceased loved one's pain and suffering via a survival action.
Consult an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney
Did nursing home negligence, neglect, or abuse directly lead to the death of your loved one? Let McGartland Law Firm's award-winning legal team help you explore and understand your legal options. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free, no-obligation initial consultation to discuss your case.