Losing a loved one due to a wrongful death in Atlanta at a nursing home is a devastating and often preventable tragedy. Families grappling with such a loss may wonder if they have legal recourse against the nursing home responsible for their loved one’s care. The answer is yes—families can pursue legal action through a wrongful death lawsuit under specific circumstances.
Understanding Wrongful Death in Nursing Homes
When a resident dies as a result of the nursing home’s negligence or wrongful actions, it is considered a wrongful death. Wrongful death in a nursing home may occur due to various factors, including neglect, abuse, inadequate medical care, or unsafe conditions. When that is the case, their surviving family members may have grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Key Elements in a Wrongful Death Claim
To establish a wrongful death case against a nursing home, certain key elements must be established:
Duty of Care
The nursing home owes residents a duty of care to provide a safe and healthy environment, proper medical attention, and overall well-being.
Breach of Duty
It must be demonstrated that the nursing home breached its duty of care through negligence, abuse, or other wrongful actions.
There must be a direct link between the nursing home’s breach of duty and the resident’s death. This involves showing that the wrongful actions directly contributed to or caused the fatal outcome.
Surviving family members must provide evidence of damages, whether economic or non-economic, as a result of the resident’s wrongful death (e.g., medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, loss of companionship, etc.)
If these elements are met, families may pursue legal action through a wrongful death lawsuit. The lawsuit seeks to hold the nursing home accountable for its actions and obtain compensation for losses.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim Against a Nursing Home?
In Georgia, which individuals have right to file a wrongful death claim is specifically outlined by state law. Generally, the surviving spouse of the deceased has the primary right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. If there is no surviving spouse or if the spouse opts not to file a claim, the right passes to the surviving children. If there are no surviving children, the right may then extend to the surviving parents of the deceased. In cases where there are no surviving spouses, children, or parents, the administrator of the deceased person’s estate may file a claim on behalf of the estate and any other potential beneficiaries
Statute of Limitations
Families considering legal action should be aware of the statute of limitations—a timeframe within which a lawsuit must be filed. In Georgia, you have two years from the date of the deceased’s death to sue. There are minimal exceptions to this deadline. If you miss it, your case will likely be dismissed, and you will lose your right to pursue compensation
Consult an Attorney
Navigating the legal complexities of a wrongful death lawsuit against a nursing home requires the experience and skill of a trusted Atlanta nursing home abuse attorney. They can assess the case, gather evidence, determine liability, and guide the family through the legal process from start to finish.