Evidence You Need to Prove Wrongful Death in a Nursing Home

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When an aging loved one needs care beyond our capabilities, we seek the best possible nursing home with the understanding that our elderly loved one will receive diligent care, compassion, and respect for their human dignity. Sadly, an estimated five million elderly citizens suffer abuse each year, with the majority of abuse occurring to residents of nursing homes.

When an elderly loved one dies due to egregious neglect or intentional harm in a nursing home, nothing can bring them back or alleviate the grief of surviving family members; however, the family can gain a sense of justice and accountability along with compensation for their loss with a wrongful death claim.

The Louisville nursing home abuse attorneys from Gray & White Law can help you receive this compensation and ensure you get justice for your loved one. What evidence do family members need to prove a nursing home wrongful death case?

What is the Burden of Proof in a Nursing Home Wrongful Death Case?

In a personal injury or wrongful death claim, the burden of proof is on the injury victim or their family member who becomes the plaintiff in the case. The plaintiff must prove the defendant’s liability through a “preponderance” of the evidence, or evidence that shows that it’s more likely than not that the defendant’s actions caused the injury or death. This is a lower standard of proof than required in criminal trials in which they must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Gathering Evidence After a Nursing Home Wrongful Death

Nursing home abuse comes in many forms, including direct physical abuse, gross neglect, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse. When a loved one dies in a nursing home, it’s important to preserve any evidence of abuse. This could include any of the following:

  • Photos or videos showing abuse or neglect
  • Photos of wounds or injuries
  • Broken personal items like glasses or dentures
  • Torn clothing
  • Medical records
  • Caregiver documentation
  • Eyewitness statements
  • The medical examiner’s report

It’s also helpful to create a timeline of events including any details noticed during family visits showing a decline in the resident’s physical health or wellbeing.

Evidence of Liability in Nursing Home Wrongful Death Cases

A skilled wrongful death attorney in Louisville assists clients in a wrongful death claim by investigating all aspects of the death and documenting evidence of liability. Proving liability in a nursing home wrongful death case requires demonstrating the following legal elements of negligence:

  • The nursing home administrators and staff owed a duty of care to the victim to take all reasonable measures to prevent causing injury or death
  • They breached this duty through negligence
  • Their breach of duty directly caused the injury and death
  • The injury victim and their close family members suffered damages from the death

Compensation for damages in nursing home wrongful death cases goes to the victim’s closest surviving family member, typically a spouse or child of the decedent in nursing home wrongful death cases.

Evidence of Damages in a Nursing Home Wrongful Death Case

Besides proving the nursing home and staff liable for damages, a successful wrongful death claim requires evidence of damages such as receipts and invoices showing expenses. Evidence of the following economic damages results in compensation for damages such as the following:

  • Medical expenses from before the death
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • The victim’s pain and suffering
  • The victim’s fear of imminent death
  • Emotional grief and anguish

An experienced Louisville personal injury attorney aids the family members of wrongful death victims to gather ample evidence for the best possible chance of an outcome such as a large settlement. If the insurance company of the at-fault party does not offer an acceptable settlement amount, the case proceeds to court for a lawsuit to recover damages while the evidence is still available.