Generally speaking, you don’t move an elderly loved one into a nursing home with the intention of moving him or her out someday. That doesn’t mean, however, that your relative’s passing won’t be cause for concern.
Sadly, neglect and abuse are incredibly common at long-term care facilities around the country. While it’s impossible to determine precisely how many residents are mistreated because not all cases are reported, the number of second-hand accounts detailing abuse is alarming. In one survey, for example, 44 percent of the residents who were interviewed said they had witnessed others being treated roughly.
Because their health is already declining, nursing home residents are especially vulnerable to debilitating injuries and even death when they receive substandard care. If your loved one died while living at a long-term care facility and you think negligence or abuse was to blame, your family may have grounds for legal action.
Should you decide to proceed, here’s what you should know about nursing home wrongful death lawsuits:
1. The Personal Representative Must Bring the Case
In Florida, a wrongful death suit may only be filed by the personal representative of the deceased’s estate. If the victim made arrangements prior to passing, he or she likely named a personal representative in the estate planning documents. If, on the other hand, there is no will—or the named party is unwilling or unable to take on the role—the probate court will appoint someone.
2. Only Certain Relatives Are Entitled to the Funds If the Case Is Successful
If your family’s wrongful death claim is successful, the resulting payout will be distributed among eligible beneficiaries. Such parties may include the deceased’s:
- Siblings; or
- Blood relatives who depended on the deceased for support or services.
3. There Are Strict Lawsuit Filing Deadlines
Although most nursing home wrongful death cases are resolved out of court, it is sometimes necessary to file a lawsuit. If the facility disputes liability or their insurer refuses to offer a fair payout, you may have no choice but to enter litigation.
In Florida, the statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits is usually two years. Because there are several exceptions to this filing deadline, though, it’s advisable to start building your case as soon as possible.
If your loved one died while residing at a government-run nursing home, for example, you still have two years to file; however, you will have to commence the proceedings much sooner because you must allow for a 180-day investigation after submitting written notice of your claim to the appropriate agency.
Call (727) 821-1500 to Speak with a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney in Florida
If your loved one died while residing at a long-term care facility and you think neglect or abuse was to blame, contact Emerson Straw. Our tenacious legal team has recovered more than $27 million for clients in personal injury and wrongful death cases. Call (727) 821-1500 or use our Online Contact Form to set up a free consultation with a nursing home abuse lawyer in St. Petersburg.