May 10, 2021

Can You Sue a Nursing Home for Wrongful Death?

When you entrust a family member’s care to a nursing home, you expect that your loved one will receive proper attention and be treated with respect and dignity. Unfortunately, cases of nursing home abuse and neglect happen far too often. When a loved one dies at the hands of a caretaker due to abuse or neglect, the emotional devastation experienced by families can be overwhelming.

If you have lost a loved one due to negligent care at a Wisconsin nursing home, the experienced nursing home abuse attorneys at Studinski Law, LLC can help. We have extensive experience in these complex matters and can explain your rights and legal options during a free initial consultation.

Can a Nursing Home Be Sued for Wrongful Death?

There are circumstances in which a nursing home can be sued for wrongful death. In these cases, it is necessary to prove that negligence on behalf of the nursing home played a role in the death of your loved one. For example, if the nursing home failed to screen the criminal history of a violent employee who abused your family member and caused death, the nursing home may be held liable. If the nursing home was aware that another resident posed a threat to your loved one’s safety but failed to prevent that person from causing harm, the nursing home may be held accountable for the injuries and death that occurred as a result. If the nursing home failed to properly train its staff on important safety matters such as transfers and fall prevention, it may be liable.

The best way to determine if negligence played a role in your loved one’s death is to discuss your case for free with an experienced attorney at Studinski Law, LLC. We will assess the merits of your claim and advise you on your best next steps.

Who Can File a Nursing Home Wrongful Death Claim in Wisconsin?

When discussing who can file a wrongful death claim in Wisconsin, it is important to first distinguish that the person filing the wrongful death claim and the person benefiting from the wrongful death claim may not necessarily be the same person. The person or people who can recover damages from a claim for wrongful death in Wisconsin are established by statute.

Under Wisconsin law, actions for wrongful death claims may be filed by either the person to whom the amount recovered belongs or the deceased’s personal representative. A personal representative is the person who is responsible for administering the deceased’s estate. Personal representatives may be named in the will of the deceased, or appointed by a probate court if the deceased died without a will.

An immediate family member such as a spouse, sibling, or adult child may serve as a personal representative, but a personal representative can also be someone unrelated to the deceased.

How Much Is a Nursing Home Wrongful Death Case Worth?

No two wrongful death cases are the same, and the amount awarded to family members in these claims varies, depending on the unique details of each lawsuit. Depending on the specifics of a particular case, family members may be able to seek compensation for:

  • Medical expenses for which the surviving family members are liable
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of household contributions
  • Loss of financial support

What Causes Wrongful Death in Wisconsin Nursing Homes?

Wrongful death can occur in a nursing home for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • Suffocation: Ill and elderly patients are often at higher risk of experiencing difficulty breathing. Suffocation can occur when chemical or physical restraints are improperly used on senior patients. 
  • Dehydration and malnutrition: Nursing home staff are responsible for ensuring that residents get enough food and liquids every day. When staff members fail to do so, seniors can suffer dehydration and malnutrition, which can lead to death.
  • Physical neglect: Wounds, bedsores, and minor illnesses can develop into serious, life-threatening problems when caretakers fail to properly monitor residents, especially those who are bedridden.
  • Medication errors: When nursing home staff members fail to give residents medication in a timely manner or give patients the wrong medication, the consequences can be severe and even fatal.
  • Poorly trained staff: Nursing homes must ensure that every staff member receives proper training and oversight to ensure residents are cared for by knowledgeable, experienced employees.

How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Wisconsin?

In Wisconsin, the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is generally three years. However, you only have two years to file a wrongful death claim if your loved one was killed in a motor vehicle accident.

If you lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, it is important to take action as quickly as possible, regardless of the circumstances. The sooner you have an attorney working on your behalf, the sooner your lawyer can conduct an investigation, gather evidence to support your claim, and begin building your case. 

Contact a Nursing Home Wrongful Death Attorney in Wisconsin Today

Studinski Law, LLC has substantial experience handling cases involving nursing home abuse and wrongful death. Our firm’s founding partner, Jason Studinski, is the author of “How to Keep Your Loved One Safe in a Wisconsin  Nursing Home,” an informative guide to help families prevent, recognize, and remedy nursing home abuse and neglect. Our firm has successfully helped families across the state achieve justice through litigation and arbitration.

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If you believe negligent care in a nursing home led to your loved one’s death, call Studinski Law, LLC today at (715) 343-2850 for a free case review. Our nursing home wrongful death attorneys serve clients in Plover, Marshfield, and throughout Wisconsin.

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