Our Michigan nursing home death lawyers represent families of residents who suffered a preventable death.  Many residents die due to neglect and abuse in skilled nursing care facilities.

As the elderly population in the United States grows, the number of adults entering nursing care facilities and assisted living communities is also on the rise. To accommodate this accelerated need for these facilities, the nursing home industry has expanded rapidly. Unfortunately, this growth has resulted in many facilities being either understaffed or having employees without adequate training or experience.

However, even though the industry is growing, this does not excuse a nursing home from having unsafe living conditions for every resident. Therefore, when a patient dies due to substandard care, this can be the grounds for filing a wrongful death claim on the basis of negligence.

If your loved one passed away due to abuse or neglect, our experienced lawyers will sue the nursing home for the wrongful death.  We will review the medical records and reports and file a lawsuit for your family.

Medical Causes of Michigan Nursing Home Deaths

  • Infections, such as sepsis: The elderly are at an increased risk for developing sepsis, which is a life-threatening sickness. The nursing home staff must look out for signs of sepsis or other infections, and notify the treating doctor so that treatment can be promptly provided. When they do not, they can be held liable for the death of the resident.
  • Dehydration and malnutrition: When the elderly are not properly cared for in nursing facilities, they often show signs of dehydration and malnutrition. This is often due to nursing homes being understaffed and failing to provide the proper diet and nourishment needed.
  • Medication errors, including the wrong dosing of medications or giving the wrong medication: The improper administration of medicines and drugs by the nursing staff can have deadly results for a resident.
  • Untreated bedsores and pressure sores: Nursing home residents can develop pressure ulcers when they are not regularly turned and re-positioned by the staff.  Life-threatening complications can arise from bedsores, including osteomyelitis, and sepsis, and other infections.
  • Choking and asphyxiation: Residents can die from being fed the wrong food or not properly supervised during a meal when they have a swallowing order, such as dysphagia.
  • Legionnaire’s Disease: This disease is a type of bacterial pneumonia. Legionnaire’s disease is highly contagious and spreads mainly through water droplets where water has gathered for some time, like in air conditioning systems. When this happens, the disease spreads quickly and can threaten the lives of many in a nursing home.
  • Falls and Drops:  Unsupervised falls and staff members dropping nursing home residents can cause hip fractures and other injuries which lead to a death.

Deadly Accidents in Nursing Facilities

Understaffing and inexperience are common reasons for fatal accidents in Michigan nursing homes. This results in negligence that can lead to:

  • Falls from bed, chairs, or toilets: Falls often occur during transfers or when a patient attempts to get out of bed because the staff does not respond to a resident call light. A serious fall can cause a fatal injury or result in a hip fracture that ultimately causes the demise of the resident.
  • Elopement and wandering from the facility: Due to dementia and other issues, residents leave the nursing home due to poor supervision and can die due to weather conditions or being struck by a vehicle.
  • Bedrail entanglement: Residents can suffer fatal strangulation injuries from their neck and throat being wedged between the mattress and a bedrail or side rail.
  • Burn injuries: a resident can get burned by hot liquids or by a hot water in a bath or shower. Fires in a facility can also cause death.

The bar chart below shows the distribution of accidental death types in the state of Michigan in 2017. Falls account for the second-highest number of accidental deaths, and is more common than death from a motor vehicle accident.

Nursing home death cause chart - Buckfire Law

Brain Bleeds

Nursing home falls often result in direct trauma to the head and skull, which can cause an inter-cranial bleed, commonly referred to as a subdural hematoma or brain bleed. Subdural hematomas (SDH) often happen when blood vessels burst in the space between the brain and the outermost membrane that covers the brain.

Acute subdural hematomas are among the most lethal of head injuries, with a mortality rate of between 50-90%. Roughly 30% of fatal head injuries include an acute subdural hematoma and many lead to death.

Recoverable Damages for Nursing Home Wrongful Death

In most nursing home wrongful death cases, loved ones of the deceased might be able to recover damages for a number of losses. These include, but are not limited to

  • Hospital, funeral, and burial costs
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of companionship by the family members resulting from the untimely death
  • Pain and suffering of the decedent from the time of injury until date of death.

However, possible forms of compensation depend on the specifics of each case, which is why it is critical to talk with a knowledgeable attorney for help calculating your losses.

Are there Caps on Damages  in Nursing Home Wrongful Death Cases?

In Michigan, non-economic damages are limited in a nursing home wrongful death case if it is determined to be the result of medical malpractice.  These are generally known as “caps on damages” of “limitations on damages.”

The damage caps change yearly with inflation but in general, there are two damage cap levels.  The lower cap is approximately $500,000 and the upper cap is approximately $900,000.

In some cases, the caps may not apply and in those cases there is no limit to the amount of damages that can be awarded for the death of the loved one.  This includes situations in which the death was caused by ordinary negligence and not as the result of medical malpractice by a doctor or nurse.  An example is if a nurse aide did not monitor a resident with a swallowing disorder during a meal and the patient choked to death on food.  In other cases, the facility may not be licensed by the State of Michigan and therefore the damage caps would not apply.

Our attorneys will determine which damage cap applies to your case and fight hard to win the highest settlement.

Can I File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against a Michigan Nursing Home?

If your family member died due to negligence at a skilled nursing facility, you can file a wrongful death case.   The first step to suing the nursing home is to contact an experienced Michigan nursing home lawyer to discuss your case.  We will review the medical records and resident chart to determine if the death was due to neglect and abuse.

To win your lawsuit, our attorneys will prove that the death was preventable with proper care, treatment, and supervision.  We will hire the top medical experts, including doctors, and nurses, to prove your case.  We have a great track record of success in winning nursing home death lawsuits.

How much are Nursing Home Death Settlements & Verdicts?

Nursing home death lawsuits demand compensation for the pain and suffering of the decedent from the time of incident until death and for the loss of companionship by the family. In addition, settlements include payment of medical bills and funeral and burial expenses.

Our attorneys have won substantial settlements in these cases.  We also won the highest every jury verdict in Michigan for an assisted living death lawsuit.  The jury awarded the family over  $5,000,000 at trial for a resident who died due to improper supervision and negligent care.

Settlement examples for nursing home death cases handled by the Buckfire Law Firm include:

  • $ 750,000 settlement for a choking death in a skilled nursing care facility
  • $ 500,000 wrongful death settlement for a fall that caused a brain injury and later the death of the resident
  • $ 450,000 settlement for the sepsis death of a resident caused by an untreated bedsore
  • $ 375,000 settlement for a fall that resulted in fractured hip requiring multiple surgeries.

We have helped our clients win may other settlements, including deaths caused by falls, bedsores, and medication errors.

How Long Do You Have To Sue a Michigan Nursing Home for Wrongful Death?

In general, the statute of limitations requires that you sue a nursing home in Michigan within two years of the date of incident that caused the death. However, this period can often be extended based upon if a probate estate was opened and by using other strategic legal tactics. You should call an experienced nursing home attorney as soon as you decide to pursue a case.

Michigan Nursing Home Lawyers for Wrongful Death Claims

While no amount of compensation can bring a loved one back, filing a nursing home lawsuit can help to provide a sense of justice and closure during this difficult time.  These cases also help to prevent other tragic deaths in the future and save other families the grief and anguish that you experienced from the loss of your loved one.

Our award-winning Michigan law firm will work tirelessly and sue for highest possible compensation allowable under Michigan law.

Contact us today and we will start working on your case immediately.

There are no legal fees or costs unless you receive a settlement check.  And, it costs no money to start your case.

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