Yes, you may still have the right to bring a civil lawsuit even if the police or the prosecutor’s office refuses to investigate your loved one’s death.
Why They Won’t Pursue a Criminal Case
The police and the prosecutor may have decided that it is unlikely that any law was broken. In other words, they have determined that there is not reasonable cause to believe that the conduct of a nursing home worker, resident, visitor or other party was murder, homicide, criminal negligence, or another crime. Thus, they are not pursuing an investigation or charges against the person whom you believe is responsible for your loved one’s death.
While you have the right to voice your concerns to the police or to the prosecutor’s office, you do not have the right to force them to conduct an investigation.
But You Do Have the Right to Make Your Own Investigation and Bring Your Own Case
You are not investigating a crime, and your investigation will not result in criminal charges. Instead, your investigation may result in a civil wrongful death lawsuit. The standard for bringing a civil wrongful death lawsuit is different from the standard for bringing criminal charges.
The evidence that you discover in your investigation may allow you to prove that the nursing home or an individual staff member was negligent or abusive, and that your loved one’s estate is entitled to wrongful death damages. To learn more about these standards and about how to protect your rights, please watch our free videos and read our related online articles today.